I saw this wicker sofa in the brocante and it’s been sat in my parent’s garage over the summer whilst I finished other projects. As my plans to give the living room an American French Country focus have developed I felt it was time to get it out of storage in time for the Christmas period.
I do this every year. Set myself an unrealistic amount of decorating projects coming up to the festive season, imaging a beautifully finished home to welcome guests in style. It is never finished to the extent I want and sometimes I’m left frazzled from the effort. However each year I’m closer to the home that I want, so there’s that 😆.
I wanted to make it lighter to fit the style of the room so I thought I’d chalk paint it. Normally I don’t give a how to for any chalk painted piece of furniture as there are so many excellent tutorials out there. However as this involved caning I thought I’d share this piece’s transformation with you.
Remove any trim and fabric
The first thing to do is move any trim and fabric. Mine had nail head trim which was rusty. I had to use pliers and a flat head screw driver to get them all out. Levering the nail head with the screwdriver first then prising it free with the pliers.
Mine was covered in nailhead rust and other dirt so a good clean down was needed. I always check my cloth now to see if there is any stain on it along with dirt. After painting my secrétaire and having lots of trouble with that I didn’t want to go through hours of painting to no avail.
It looked ok, but more on that later.
Paint the caning with chalk paint
I started with the caning as I’d heard I might not be able to paint it. However chalk paint did a good job. I used a round headed brush and applied it in a circular motion. It’s really important to only added a little paint to the tip of your brush as you’re painting a holey surface and too much paint will just make a mess.
Applied over a small section on one side then catch the drips on the other, again using a circular motion and effectively using the same paint to cover both sides. You have to really work the paint into the caning to cover it. You can see an image below of blobs if paint that had accumulated before I’d done the other side. Without catching it it would form drips.
Here it is after I’d painted the first panel of cane….
Paint with chalk paint
Next I painted the frame. I alternated between the caning and the frame like this, eventually adding three layers of chalk paint. I needed so many as it was a dark piece which was difficult to cover. However I always get inexpensive cans, so it didn’t break the bank.
As I continued it was evident that I did have some bleed from the old varnish; just in some places the paint was developing a very distinctive pink tinge. Also in spite of my nifty brush work the cane wasn’t completely covered. Onto the next step.
Spray any bits
I got some insulating, white primer and sprayed this over the patchy areas of cane and the pink tinged wood. It was just here and there – I wouldn’t recommend this for an all over job as it can have a bobbly texture due to its formulation. I can show you this in a bookcase post soon.
Double check the legs are well covered
Turn it over and paint any areas missed on the legs. At this stage it’s obvious how disintegrated the underside is (the pictures are below). More on that in a bit.
Lightly sand the chalk paint with fine sand paper, taking extra care on areas that had insulating primer and the caning.
This isn’t the most professional how to. As the sofa will be rarely used and the springs seemed secured I just removed the grotty covering fabric, secured the webbing then recovered in a heavy weight piece of upholstery fabric that I had.
It was a leftover from a previous upholstery job. The fabric had a fire proofed backing which had a plastic like feel. I’m hoping this does the job, but if not I’ll have to redo this part. At present though I’m on a deadline for Noël.
If it does need redoing I’ll put a note here and a link to how I handled it.
Add padding and base upholstery
I added extra padding to make it more comfortable. As I said in the post on making an extra large, coffee table ottoman, I often recycle washed, worn quilts to use in various soft furnishing projects. I just used some of it like batting prior to covering it with the same fabric as the underneath.
Adding the first layer of upholstery
I’d already used the original fabric as a template and cut another piece, leaving an extra inch around the outside whilst cutting.
I started stapling at the back, tucking the edge of the fabric under and stapling it in the middle of the setee first.
Immediately stapling the opposite edge, keeping it taught. Do that all around the outside.
Using a clean, round headed brush apply the sealing wax a little section at a time, then polishing with lint free cloths before moving onto another section. Do the caned area too.
After covering the cushions this is what the little setée looks like….
I haven’t included a how to for the cushions as the technique is pretty much the same for the fitted chair.
What do you think? You can see it’s next to the round table I re-painted. It suits the style of the room so much more now. I keep this largish, dining table in here as I love to display lots of family photos like this.
The room is really developing that American French Country style now don’t you think?
I’ve spoken about how I was trying to develop a cohesive look for our living room and I shared how I was inspired by American French Country decor.
This part 2 isn’t about aesthetics so much as how best to use the lay out of the room. The room itself is an L shape, and as a result it’s a little “bitty”. A bit here, a bit there. FYI – I’m about to go through why I felt this was important, so feel free to scroll down for the options to hide your tv.
With the huge corner fireplace (still hate it) the part near the dining room has a chunk of its floor space missing along with the dreaded L shape.
The tv outlet is on a wall near to the doorway with a glass cupboard just next to it, making it tricky to use the space well. Particularly as this is the narrowest part of the room.
Furthermore there is a wall with bi-fold doors leading to the dining room and one with a semi circle of windows leading onto the garden.
In addition to all that we got some disappointing news this week. I had someone round to advise me about the fireplace. The only option that worked was the conservatory one and that is estimated at 7-8,000€. More on that later.
Eventually I thought that to make the best of the L shape I should have two separate sections; a tv and reading section. I plan to put a floor to ceiling bookcase in the sunny side of the room as well as comfy sofas. I also plan to divide the room with a sofa – so it will look something like this…
This floor plan is just a sketch; in reality the central sofa will sit back a little so it’s not directly in front of the tv.
However at present the tv cabinet was taking up a good chunk of the connecting area, so to make the sofa divider work I had to wall mount the tv (on the plan you can see the symbol for it just above that central tv. I really didn’t want a big tv on the wall – it’s hardly a part of French Country decor. So I started to look around on the internet for ideas to hide it and these are the solutions I came up with.
1 Behind picture screens
There are lots of different options to do this, and you can find lots of examples on Pinterest for how to do it. I would have loved to do this, but as the outlet for the tv signal is in between the door and window it would have been difficult to fold them back conveniently.
2 Behind a bi-fold painting
I liked this option the best. Notice how they’ve put plug sockets directly behind where the tv will be mounted and inset the whole thing in the wall. Gorgeous!
3 Behind a standing screen
It was whilst I was painting that I suddenly realized that just standing a screen in front of the tv would have the same affect as above without the hassle. Then I realized that with my girls running round it wouldn’t be practical for us. But if you have older children or are generally child free then this could be your perfect solution.
4 Inside a cupboard
You could convert an existing cupboard to do this. However it would take up valuable floor space.
5 In a wall mounted unit
Similar to above.
6 Behind sliding screens
these are great options, but the window and door again.
7 Behind bi-fold mirrors
I love these! Love them!
They look a little expensive though and I haven’t seen anything like it in France.
8 Behind a map
A great idea for a more eclectic home.
9 Behind a tapestry
This. This is my French Country solution. I’ll update you soon on how I’m putting it in place.
Do any of these solutions suitable for you? Or have you come up with something else?
I first told you about this rose table in a brocante buys post. It was a real bargain and I love the carved details. However having reviewed the way the living room decor is going I decided that I needed more continuity in the furniture. So I’ve opted to paint and slightly distress the table.
I’m lightening a lot of the furniture, but I didn’t want solid white either. So I mixed the inexpensive pots of “moss green” and “grey” chalk paint that I got from Action here in France and painted away.
As with the painted wardrobe, I’m not going to go into how to paint with chalk paint as there are lots of tutorials out there.
Here’s the finished table. I painted it whilst the kids were in bed and then they “helped” me sand and wax it. FYI if you have eager hands to help I found giving them a normal piece of brown paper instead of sandpaper keeps your project intact.
I like the way the distressed paint highlights the rose details on the table.
I’ll update you soon on further changes to the living room. À bientôt!
I’m changing some of our living room decor – I’ll go into this more in another post. Today though I thought I’d share this little, big find that I discovered at the brocante. I had been searching for something with character and this seemed to fit the bill with its pantina and beautiful, turned legs. It’s a table that I had to reduce down, but it’s still wonderful and to be honest I genuinely like the height. No more bending over to put my cup down.
This is what it looked like when I first brought it home. Unfortunately it’s on its side in the hallway, but you get the idea.
The first thing I did was look underneath to see how it was secured. All these slats of wood are to allow a central leaf of the table to extend it. That leaf no longer exists and I didn’t want a table that big anyway. I think the combined height of this was 2-3 inches, so that seemed a good place to start reducing the table.
A hefty screw driver managed to get out all the screws without too much difficulty. I’d actually paid 9€ for the table. As my DIY journey continues I’m starting to develop an idea of just how much things cost, and believe me these screws alone would set you back that amount new.
I had the choice, do I further reduce the legs on the table? I knew if I did that a lot of what had appealed to me about it would be disguised. Do you see below where it would be natural to remove the top part of the posts leaving the first curve? The trouble with that is the lowered edge of the table would hide this first curve from view. I thought that would be a shame, so took a wait and see approach.
Each of the tops of the posts had a round piece of wood jutting out to fit into the slats connected to the table. I didn’t have the tools to make a similar hole in the table top directly, so I decided to screw right into the table. I was thinking at this stage that I would paint it and slightly distress the finish to highlight the shape.
Along the way I originally thought the central columns had to go, but I managed to review this later.
I reused some of the slats to join the tables like this….
… and then added the legs in the same direction so that they also joined the two halves of the table top together.
I reused the screws which have a slightly rusted look and actually blend with the table really well. I submerged them into the top by taking a wider screw bit and doing this about halfway into the wood to make a slightly deeper hole at the top for the screw head to nestle in.
As they’re so well disguised I’m not going to paint the table, or even refinish the top. I like the worn, characterful wood. We decided to live with the height for a little while and then when we’re certain we’re happy with it I’d unscrew it, glue the legs and rescrew it all together to make sure it’s sturdy.
Here’s the table looked at that point…
Here’s the patina…
You can see the screws don’t stand out.
Oh, and here’s what the kids liked to do….
After we’d lived with it a while we definitely liked the height, but I kept looking at the table legs thinking they looked unfinished. Then when I was chatting to my mum I picked up the central column and compared it to the table. It had been too tall you see, so I wondered what the difference was.
I could see a slight crack between the table top and it’s wooden apron and the difference was minimal. Keeping the central column straight I marked where this crack was on each leg then sawed across. Then this could be slid in the middle.
This is where we are now…
I’ll update you soon on my plans for the room. In the meantime let me know what you think in the comments – I’d love to hear from you if you’ve used a re-purposed item for your coffee table.
This wardrobe was a 30€ bargain at my local brocante. You can see from the before photos below that it was a well made piece of furniture. With its interior lined with fabric, intricate carved details, it’s draw lined side cupboard and brass fittings – I fell in love with it.
The wood was worn in places though, some of the trim had been knocked off and it was very dark in the little bedroom I planned to make its home. I decided to paint it with chalk paint and highlight the ornate carvings. I’m not going to bore you with the application of chalk paint – it’s not new and there are lots of how tos on Pinterest that are excellent quality. Instead I thought I’d focus on how to highlight the trim.
FYI – normally I’d remove all the hardware, but this was impossible with this scenario, so this has affected the way I’ve dealt with the piece.
Remove all the drawers
I spray painted the shelf like drawers entirely with gold paint. I then spray painted the interior of the other drawers. prior to painting them with chalk paint.
Paint with chalk paint
I know you will probably know all about chalk paint, but I love to use it as when it, inevitably, gets knocked and some comes off it doesn’t leave ugly, chip holes.
I put on about two to three thick coats. I needed the extra layer to cover the dark stain. Thank God the old stain didn’t bleed into the paint like when I up cycled this secrátaire.
Sand with very fine sand paper
I find doing small, circular motions the best to sand. It’s not a glass like finish, but it is smooth to the touch.
Start with the Flower
You can see my paint here, which is acrylic paint. You notice I have two shades of the pink and green along with white…
Start with the paler pink and paint the roses, not forgetting the underneath of the flowers…
I needed a couple of coats, but there’s minimal drying time. Take a flat artists brush and put some coral pink on there, then start to dab it in the gap between the bud and its exterior petals. Add some within the centre of the bud and underneath and at the edges of the petals.Keep blending to have darker and lighter pinks.You’ll notice I used darker in the crevices on the bud’s petals.
As that’s drying move onto the leaves.
You can see my different shades of green with the white below. Start with the darker shade in the crevices, then start to add a little of the lighter green to give it some dimension, then start to add more lighter shades on the tips and high points of the leaves, as if sunlight is catching it there.
Paint the ribbon with the coral colour, without adding any lighter paint.
Go over the coral and exterior trim with gold paint.
Start to highlight areas of the relief in gold as below. Just after this was dry I went round with my flat brush again and painted the chalk paint over the top to clean up the edges.
Wax the painted finish
Complete the entire wardrobe with chalk paint, highlighting the relief and adding gold to any other details you want to. When this is done wax the exterior of the wardrobe with transparent wax. Then you may want to take some dark wax and give it an aged feel.
Add gold to any interior areas you want to
As I had some interior areas that I felt could do with some extra highlight I painted these gold too.
Use acrylic varnish on the inside
The interior of the wardrobe is going to have a lot more wear on it, so you may want to varnish this with water based, transparent varnish. You can even use this on the exterior instead of wax if you wanted to.
This is what the wardrobe looks like when completed…
It reminds me of the one in Beauty and the Beast….,
(I don’t know whether that’s a good thing). It goes beautifully with the secrétaire in the corner. I’ve got a dressing table and some chairs to finish then I’ll post an update.
For a long time now I’ve been thinking about changing the door on the spare room, but we have so much to do before Christmas that the cost was prohibitive. That and the fact that I don’t know how to hang a door myself. I’m willing to give most things a go, but sometimes when you have a long list of jobs to do another skill to learn can just be too much.
Then, as I started to put together the very room that the door was needed, we came across a bit of a hitch. The wardrobe that we’d brought with us from the house we rented when we first arrived in France seemed to have warped. There was much to admire about this wardrobe, and I knew I could use lots of it’s parts for projects around the house. So a new wardrobe was bought and I set about repurposing what we had.
Back to the door. The rose detailed side panels on the wardrobe were perfect as central panels on the door. However they were a bit narrow, so I decided to add some corner moldings and some half rounds to finish it off.
This is a photo of my planning out where everything would go. The gold finger plate is one I already had; it was the only one I’ve managed to find with a space for the key hole.
You can see below that I’d changed the lock on the door as there was never a working key there. You can see the mechanism that you just change over. The man at my local quincaillerie checked that it was an exact match for me; so now there’s a working lock and key.
I glued and nailed the central panel, wood moldings and half rounds in place. Then I painted it all white before screwing the finger plate in place.
I already had this beautiful cut glass door knob. I’m so pleased with the results. I only spent 11€ on this, however I obviously had the finger plate and door knob as well as the wooden fixtures that I’d already bought.
The door hardware came from eBay; I just put in “ancienne poignée de porte” and “plaques dés doigtés” for the finger plates.
Here it is before….
….and here it is hung back in place.
As you can see the original stain on the wood panel has bled a little, so I’ll be adding another coat of sealant primer and then finishing the paint work again. I was just so excited to have a door more in keeping with the room that I thought I’d share now.
I’d love to hear what you think and what items you’ve repurposed around your home. It would be great if you hit the subscribe button for future projects and leave a comment in the box.
There are some movies I watch just for the decor. Pretty much anything by Norah Effron, particularly with a young Meg Ryan in it, a lot of Hallmark movies (let’s face it the plots are often the same)….I was about to go on but I think this needs its own post.
Back to today’s topic; The Holiday. In particular Kate Winslet’s and Jude Laws respective homes. Rose Cottage, the tiny home swapped for the holiday, has a quintessentially English cottage vibe and in the centre of the sitting room is this gorgeous ottoman…..
Obviously you knew that I was looking in to ottomans from the inspiring ottomans post and as I dreamed my mind turned to how I could have one.
Wow, this has been a challenge. It’s been a real trial and error process; so much so that I actually ache in my arms and back. Yet this is mainly as a result of correcting mistakes that I made on the way to getting this….
….so I thought I’d share how I went about it so you don’t make them.
Obviously I’d been on Pinterest and seen the ottomans people had made using coffee tables as a base. However there was a bit of an issue for me with that. We didn’t have a suitable table, the ones I found at brocantes and other places were comparatively expensive and none of them were big enough. So I started to think about what I could do instead.
I had some furniture legs that I’d bought on a whim at the local DIY here in France; Brico Marché. They had a screw built in, so I thought it would just be case of drilling a hole and away we go. But best laid plans and all that.
I also recycled a lot of things in this project which saved money; namely an old cot, foam mattress and the wadding from an old quilt. I often use the latter as they sometimes get a bit lumpy when they’re old and you can easily cut them up and wash them in the machine, dividing the contents into pillow cases and securing the end with an elastic bands to keep them inside.
The former I will buy if I see them in second hand places or on internet sites. I can get them for as little as 5 euros, and anyone who’s bought foam will know what a bargain that is. So, saving the planet and saving money; woohoo!
Stage 1 – Marking the wood
As I thought I had the legs for the project already I went to the same Bricomarché and bought a large piece of pine wood; 120 x 80 cms.Now, here was my first mistake. I should have bought at least 2, if not 3 straight away. The pine was as much as the MDF board (15 euros per piece) and I later found I needed more. When I returned to the store there wasn’t any, so I just bought MDF pieces and I later found that they didn’t work as well. When I screwed the legs in the material wasn’t strong enough to hold it properly.
The depth of the wood is 1.6 cms, and I needed it to be deeper so that it was more robust and looked good to. I could have happily used one at the 1.6, and another double the depth but there wasn’t that option for me. So make your decision accordingly.
I made a plan for the button hole placement and marked it on the wood. My initial workings where on paper, ensuring that I started button holes with a sufficient gap between them and the edges, and having an alternate extra button so that there would eventually be a diamond effect.
You can see that there would have been a lot of buttons in my initial plan, and I thought it would be too much. So I took this time to re-plan, marking a B for button to differentiate. I should have written in pencil initially, but there we go.
When I thought I was satisfied I even did the diamond, tufted pattern to be sure the shapes would work; then I drilled the holes. Make sure your drill bit is wide enough to give a hole that you can pass an embroidery needle through comfortably.
Stage 2 – Add the foam, and make the holes
Next thing you need to do, if necessary, is cut your foam to size. I just used a bread knife and it went in the dishwasher afterwards.
Once it’s cut to size use some heavy duty, material glue spray and stick the foam to the wood on the opposite side to the plan.
Take a skewer and poke through the holes. Then using a pair of scissors cut a square shaped hole out where the skewer is. You can score four lines coming out of the hole to form a diamond pattern when finished, to give better form for your tufting. Also score out away from the exterior holes to the sides in straight lines too. You may want to make thicker indentations than the ones here, a start of V shaped channel, I did this later and it works so much better when you add wadding.
Stage 3 – Add the wadding
This was a big error of mine. Below is the original attempt half way through – can you see how flat the whole thing is? It ended up too hard, literally a rigid, foam table (you wouldn’t think those two descriptions would go together, but believe me they do).
So add wadding over the foam. I didn’t glue mine in place, I just went onto the next step.
Stage 4 – Start middle buttons
I used greengardening wire for this – yes really! You don’t have to keep passing it through to make it strong enough, which would be tricky with all that foam, and it is strong and easy to work with. Just make sure you use a large enough embroidery needle to let the wire pass through it.
Cut about an arms length piece of garden wire, then thread it through the embroidery needle. You don’t have to keep the wire doubled up throughout. I started off with a good bit of overlap of wire so that I didn’t lose it when going through the layers the first time, then when I threaded the button I reduced the overlap so that it was tied by one length of wire.
I can’t stress this enough – start with the central button hole in the centre of the material. This was when I changed the fabric, inspired by further Pinterest searches to get me going again following on from my setbacks. At this point I discovered The Holiday ottoman again, went on eBay and ordered some velvet material.
I used a really good piece of upholstery velvet fabric – I made sure it was one used for furnishings not just for curtains and cushions. It must be heavy duty in other words. I could tell it was heavy duty as on the back it had a felted, thick texture, not just the velvet pile. I ordered a 3M piece as I knew it would have to cover the length of the board and have sufficient to encase the depth I wanted.
First put the needle through the hole, then through the wadding and, when you’re certain it’s positioned correctly, pass it through your material. Then thread your button, leaving it loose bring the needle back through the material, wadding and foams. Pull on the wire so the button nestles within the folds.
Start on your next button and continue along the middle row.
Then you start the rows above and then below the middle one. As you pull the buttons into position you can start to create the tufts by folding the material into the scored crevices to create diamonds (see image eight above).
When you have completed the middle row, and have started the rows either side then you can pull the middle row extra tight and staple on the reverse a few times to secure the central row wires in place. Continue like this alternating the rows, gradually coming out from the middle. Sometimes I tied the garden wire to its neighbour to see the shape whilst working as you can see in image seven above.
The back is going to look something like this…
Stage 5 – Add depth to the base
As you can see I then added two layers of the MDF to the one with the tufting. Only do this when you are certain your happy with how it’s going. I originally started to drill and screw them together, but I actually found it just as effective and a lot easier to nail it together with the appropriate length nails.
You’ll see how I have 4 x 120 x40 instead of 2 x 120 x 80. They didn’t have the MDF in the right size as well as running out of the pine. Grrr. So I bought double the amount and put them two fold thick and side by side.
Start by nailing one of the boards with about six to eight nails to the one with the reverse of the tufting. Keep the nails in a straight line down the middle so you don’t try and nail one board in the same position and have difficulty.
Then nail the second board to this. I used about ten nails each half to make sure. Do these in parallel lines avoiding the middle.
Stage 6 – Add legs
At this stage the images are from my second, yes second, attempt. So I’ve gone from no wadding to wadding for ascetic reasons and changed the fabric to a plush velvet.
I had put in six of the legs that I’d bought thinking “This will be nice and sturdy”. No. The MDF broke when I put the heavy ottoman on its side to work around the edges and the legs had weight on them when positioned to turn it over.
So then I turned to these legs that I found on Amazon, which almost exactly match the ones on The Holiday ottoman. You can get them in three sizes – I chose 10 cms so it wasn’t too high, but there are varying heights depending on your preference. Because it wasn’t going to be as high I only ordered four legs, I think it would have required more with additional hight to make it more stable.
The legs come with all the essentials ie screws etc. However, the key thing is this metal Plate. You mark where the holes are in the middle of the plate on the side of the leg which will be fixed to the ottoman. Then drill holes and screw the plate into the leg. Then mark the four, corner holes in the plate on the ottoman and drill and screw into the wood. See below.
The stapled material is from my second, failed leg attempt. I undid this to re-style the ottoman. Skip that, obviously, and move onto the next step.
Stage 7 – Fix the fabric
Again, use starting from the middle as your guide here. Add more wadding along the side of the ottoman, to give it a comfy look and disguise the hard structure. Then take the fabric which runs from the middle, exterior row and fold and staple underneath the ottoman base. Then go to your next exterior buttons either side of this middle one and do the same thing. You can then staple the fabric taught in between these buttons before working towards the corner, but don’t do the corners yet.
Each corner button should have a tufted line running from the button to the side and one to the top.
When all of the sides are stapled you’re going to start on the corners. Double fold corners by folding the excess fabric in one way, and it’s counterpart in and over the other prior to stapling.
Trim any excess fabric around the legs in particular and double check it’s stapled well all around the outside.
Stage 8 – Adding gold trim
Add the gold trim by stapling it to the base, making sure the braided part can fit comfortably over the edge. Leave some excess trim to be tucked under away from the ottoman’s edge. Go all around the exterior, stapling every ten centimetres and more at the corners.
When you’ve gone around once do it again, trying to staple as close to the edge of the ottoman as possible to double the piping if you want. Secure it with the ends coming into the base.
Stage 8 – Adding fabric underneath
I did this as I have spare fabric and I’d used those half width boards which caused a bit of a mess underneath. Measure out the size of fabric with additional material so that you can fold some underneath to give a tidy hem.
At the leg secure the fabric in place by folding the four flaps you’ve cut away from the opening circle underneath and staple them in place to give a smooth line around the screwed in plate of the leg. Then fold underneath the other way and staple the fabric to give a neat corner. Do this round all four corners.
Estimate where the leg needs to come out and cut a hole just bigger than the end of the leg. Then cut four lines out of this circle, as if you’re making the circle into a square. Put this over the ottoman leg. Start just below the leg on the edge, and making sure the fabric is straight, turn a hem and staple it as close as possible to the trim. Go down the length of the ottoman and then return to the leg.
Turn the ottoman the right way up, dress and admire it!
What do you think? If you have any questions or comments drop me a line below.
I’ve had a terrible chest infection, it’s something I’ve been susceptible to since forever, but this one has been very hard to shift. It still lingers, but I’m starting to be able to join the land of the living -even if I limp away after short periods of time.
However as it’s the feast of the Sacred Heart today I thought I’d give you an update on the hallway, with its dedication to the Sacred Heart, and in particular the doorways that I’ve painted. The hallway isn’t finished so you’ll see some snags in the paintwork amongst other things which I’ll touch up prior to those final details.
The doors originally looked like this…
I’d already added the vintage fingerplates and I knew I’d paint and gild the doors as I did in the dining room, but as you can see from these picture I’ve also added a feature on the top….
These were wood mouldings bought here that I didn’t painted gold. They tie in with the wood carving over thee main door. Those of you who read the blog at that time will remember that I’d bought this old top from an armour and put it above the door (the post is here).
As you can see I’ve highlighted this in gold too. I’m considering hand painting some roses in the panel that is bare as I did with my secrétaire. When I have more energy I’ll get to it.
On the doors you can see I’ve filled the gaps between the armoir carving with these wood mouldings bought here and spray painted gold.
You can also see that I’ve added additional flourish mouldings bought here and, again, spray painted gold. I’ve also highlighted details on the door in gold too. I did this as these doors are original Art Deco, which would be great in a more modern scheme but doesn’t really go with this. I took a chance that the details would bring it in line with the rest of the room and I think they’ve worked.
Previously I’ve given how tos on the panelling (here and here) but these were literally paint, glue them on and then repaint any details that need it. I haven’t done that last part yet due to my illness and you can see that when I remove the masking tape a little extra gold and blue came with it. It will be done.
You can see the little, porcelain door handle that used to be in the dining room that I’ve now moved here as I thought they went so well with the decor theme and colours.
I gave you a sneak peak of the marble relief picture, but here it is in more detail…
You’ll notice I’ve used the picture rail. The picture is so heavy I’d taken it down for fear of it dropping and smashing. I’d ordered the wire and picture rail hooks from here and here and it had taken some time to get to France (I hadn’t seen an equivalent here). They’re the brace to the belt of the picture hook and eye system that I’d already used. I’m a little more confident now that it will remain there.
The Queen Anne chair has been pictured on both sides of the room as shortly after I took the photos my husband came in and complained about its position. He thought that as it was just in front of the door it was an inconvenience. So I moved it to the other side.
Here’s a close up of the ceramic umbrella stand which is an original Art Deco piece and suits the colouring of the room superbly. I think it mimics the central chandelier with its pink candle cap light shades and the ceiling rose that reflects the stained glass design I made (see here).
In these shots you can see the cornice I’ve added and, unfortunately, the unfinished side panels. The one drawback of ordering the wood carvings from China is that they take soooooo long getting here and I’m waiting for two more pieces.
I was going to add some more wood carvings on the ceiling and above the picture rail, but it looks ‘enough’ now, and I don’t want to spoil it by adding more. Some of them have already arrived and I think I’ll use them in the dining room where I’d intended to do something similar.
What I am also waiting for is some crystal droplets to arrive for the chandelier – I’ll post with the other details as well as one more little thing I want to add.
So I moved the chair on the other side. I covered this about three years ago and had considered recovering it in gold damask as I have some material upstairs just waiting to be used. However seeing it here I’m not so sure I’ll rush into that.
Here’s a reverse shot of the chair. I’ve always loved the rose pattern on the reverse of the chair. I think the umbrella stand looks good here too.
Above the radiator, which I’ve spray painted pale blue along with the gold shelf, are some old dress design prints. One is from a collection in 1914….
or season one Downton, and the other is from 1922….
Now is that season three or four? Doesn’t the old telephone suit them?
Anyway I think they’re beautiful and the black and gold seems to tone down the cutesy girliness of the room as does, I hope, the muted pink and taupe.
I’ve replaced the photos of my great grandmothers, again. Whenever I decorate a new room they are ceremonially moved into it it seems.
Here’s a close up of that beautiful clock. I haven’t even tried to get it going yet. I don’t think it has a key. I know I won’t be winding it up every day so why fuss?
Finally here’s a close up of my Sacred Heart statue. I’ve added some tea light holders and flowers so it doesn’t look so bare as before. I’m dedicating all my family to Him anew today. Are you?
You may have noticed my long absence; I’ve had so much to contend with and in the middle of it all I decided to start the second part of our mouldings. I cannot tell you what a mistake that was! It turned out to be a huge job -not the mouldings themselves, which were simple, but I suddenly found myself doing lots of other work around them too.
I’ve seen on Pinterest lots of helpful ‘how tos’ on wainscoting or panels to your walls. I always think they look classic and they’re on my decorating want list for the other entrance.
However with the main entrance I wanted something more classicly French that would still go with my Art Noufaux doors (how to here). So I came up with this way to add faux panels (take a look at the more intricate panels in my first how to here).
Throughout the hallway was textured wallpaper with an underlay of very thin polystyrene. This had been used because the plaster beneath was rough and in some places falling a part. So the reason I’ve been delayed, amongst other things, is I’ve been stripping most of the wallpaper off and plastering the wall as well as starting to work on covering the seams of the remaining wallpaper to paint.
I’ve also added a picture rail. If you want a how to for either of these let me know in the comment box below.
For the panels I used19mm half rounds and more decorative wood appliques. The ones I used are here…
You need to decide if you want rectangles or squares for the panels. I chose rectangles as they elongate the room. I cut all my half rounds into the same length though as the height and length of the mounding still were very different so they actually created the rectangular shape.
Unlike the other panels I painted the wall before I applied them to make it easier to decorate post paneling. However I’m not sure if this was the best thing. I’m going for a two tone look in this section and I think I wasted paint in the middle which will be painted over with a taupe colour. Here’s my inspiration for this section by the way….
One benefit of painting first is that you can see blue through the fretwork of the scrolls, as you can see here…
I’d also pre painted the lengths and scrolls. Painting delicate details in situ can be tricky so this gave me a head start. My gold liquid paint is a slightly lighter colour, so I’m going to use the two shades as a detail itself.
As I had to work around the radiator, which I’ve sprayed the same shade of blue and it’s given it a new lease of life, it naturally led to my considering it in the placing of the panels considering its dimensions. Would I place it near the wall, and therefore have the entire panel on display, or would I have some of the detail behind the radiator itself? I went for the latter as I wanted the panels to be parallel to each other and, as there was no impediment on the other side, the spacing wouldn’t look right.
Work out the spacing?
Prior to continuing I placed what would be the upper half of the panels on the floor running alongside the wall to have an idea of how they’d fit. Satisfied I carried on to the next part.
Obviously when I was working out where to place the mouldings I measured the half rounds in addition to the lengths of the appliqués and then with the depth. As I was going to have two panels I subtracted the total of the two from the length of the wall and I was left with 32 cms. So I decided to allow for the majority of the gap in between and divided the space as 10cms, panel length, 12cms, panel length, 10cms.
I did the same with the depth, deciding on a distance of 5cms between the wall and the length of the wood scroll.
Adding the first detail
Just like my previous tutorial I used no more nails and immediately applied some to the back of the first, wooden scroll. I measured 5cms down and 10cms in and applied it to the wall. Using my infra red beamed spirit level I continued along.
Adding the first length
NMN was added to the half round and applied to the wall with the spirit level’s aid. However I checked the distance from the dado rail with my measure as we’ll.
It’s really important to do this as in an old house like this (ours is definitely pre 1850s, they only kept records after that date, so it could be sìgnificantly older) there is often movement in the walls etc. So although the houses are solid they may not be 100% level. As a result a level line might not coincide with the dado rail.
Continue with the rest of the rectangle.
Measure the width between the rectangles and start again
Is this sounding simple? It is. It would probably be tricker if I didn’t have the dado rail already. After the internal double doors, where I plan to continue the moulding, there’s no dado rail. I’ll have to apply a dado rail there and I’ll post about that then.
In the corners it was too small for individual panels without them looking odd, so I continued the panel around the bend. This meant still using four of the scrolls, the same half round length for the depth and a significantly reduced horizontal half round.
I glued the two top scrolls first, then worked out the different length for the top horizontal. Having glued the verticals and the second scrolls I worked out the next horizontal before gluing. Like with the previous panels I checked the measurements throughout.
More odd areas
The next odd areas where too narrow for double scrolls, so I used this carved, corner detail and a scroll without any horizontal half rounds. I’m actually really pleased how this one turned out.
I painted the interiors this taupe colour, but I feel it’s a little strong. I intend to add a raised stencil to that area in the blue to tone it down. I’ll update you on that as well.
I’ve also used a complimentary gold to highlight the scroll detail and, as you can see in my last ‘odd area’ I’ve started to highlight parts in gold.
Of course, I’ve done it all out of order as I should have started with the ceiling first. However I was waiting for coving to arrive and was too eager. Next will be door details and following that the coving, ceiling details and a feature between the picture rail and the coving. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of it and let me know in the comments what you think – I’d love your feedback!
It may seem strange that I’ve started the hallway when we’re still working on the kitchen, I’ve not completed the curtains in the hallway, or the final couch upholstery (I always wait for my hubby to be travelling for work and the children’s to be in school to sew), and even the dining room isn’t at the point I’d like it to be. However, having finished the Art Noufaux window (how to here) on our front door I thought to myself that on days when I can’t get a lot else done I can do a small section at a time.
So here’s how I’ve started to give our hallway a more classic, French Provincial look along with that painted ceiling medallion we put up last year.
Choose possible decorative mouldings
As you can see in order to create the panelling I’m using decorative wood mouldings. If you go to eBay and put this phrase in you will find lots of options that come up and I started by watching ones that cause my eye.
I found this exampler wood moulding on Pinterest which demonstrates how each one is made from adding additional shapes to one another…
Make a plan
The first thing to do is get an idea of how you want your layout to look and what pieces you could use to achieve it. I saved images from eBay and used the edit function to frame them as close as possible in order to use them in a design. Then in a document I inserted the images and played around with them. Mine ended up looking like this….
You’ll notice how I’ve made a note of the height and width of each piece as I needed to ensure that the entire width didn’t exceed the panel and that the design would work overall.
I changed the design slightly on application, but this enabled me to have an idea of what to order.
Here is what I used to make the panels and the links where you can buy them…
I tried to use carvings that were classically French but also reflected the stylised flowers of Art Nouveau because of the doors. I think it was successful 🤷♀️.
Place the central piece
I put the central piece in place first as it’s wide and I wanted to make sure I have enough space for it.
I measure and marked a halfway, central point then used my spirit level to draw a line as a guide for positioning the moulding.
I use no more nails glue, wiping any excess with a wet baby wipe. Immediately after I placed it I used my spirit level again to make sure it was positioned right so that, if necessary, I could move it slightly whilst the glue was still wet.
Start to measure out the outer design
The height of my area was 230cms and my lengths of curved wood are 200cms. I marked my lengths at the half way point, I applied glue to one and placed it with the half way mark in line with the central point.
Then, using a spirit level make sure they are in the correct position all the way down. I used one with a beam; it really helped throughout the process as it gives an indicator of where the length should run from start to finish.
Whenever you’ve finished gluing a moulding in place use a wet wipe to gently wipe away the excess so you aren’t left with unslightly bumps when it’s dried.
Repeat with the second length, then add your corner mouldings prior to your horizontal lengths so that you can ensure you have sufficient space. Once the corners are glued in place, again ensuring they are level, measure, cut and place the horizontal lengths.
You may notice a slight gap between my length and the corner moulding on the left. When it’s comes time to paint and finish it all I’ll just fill this with wood filler – I’ll update you on that later.
To to add mouldings at the top and the base
As you can see I have a design, consisting of two seperate mouldings, towards the top and the bottom of the panel. I placed my first moulding by measuring halfway along the base to find the midway point, then I just placed the first one so that the centre of the moulding was in line with this. When I later placed these it was necessary to measure the distance from the edge of the panel too to ensure there was a mirrored image.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a free hand to take pictures of this part, but here’s an image of how I knew that the tip of the upper Mouldings was central wit her the laser spirit level.
I’d chosen a longer, thinner moulding to compliment this first shape as it elongated the section. The moulding had broken in the post, but i managed to fit it together when gluing and will smooth it over with wood filler when I do the gap.
Can you see how I’ve chosen the mouldings to fit together? This is a ‘toe to toe’ meeting as it were, I’ll give you a close up of the alternative next.
Add the final mouldings
I also added two more mouldings to the central one. Again it elongated the central moulding and the fact that this central part was bigger than the two ends gav et the entire panel balance.
When you chose your mouldings really consider how they’d fit together if you want a similar look -it makes the planning part essential. Here the mouldings is in the indentation of the central one so it ends up looking like all one piece.
Give it a coat of primer
No matter the final effect your going for you will need to give the naked wood a coat of primer, otherwise you’ll waste expensive paint.
A bonus of using mouldings is that, depending on how many mouldings you’re going to create, you might want to take things slow. It’s not a hard process, but this panel took a couple of hours to do, so an intricate group of panneling will take a while and you may not finish straight away.
With this method I can do a panel or section a week and my down stairs hallway could be done by Christmas without too much stress. I couldn’t do this without anaglypta or something like that, so that and the fact that this is significantly less expensive than the former is a real plus.
Painting it with primer gives it a cohesive look in the meantime.
At the risk of sounding pantomimey – what do you think of I think so far? (Altogether now children – rubbish! 😉)