Vintage Secretary – From Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan (SOLD)

When I first saw this antique secretary, I knew a beautiful swan was waiting to emerge.

Her serpentine drawers and cabriole legs hinted at the beauty to come.


And a writing surface and cubbies only added to her charm.


Hidden under dirt, grim,


and layers of pealing and cracking paint


a beauty began to emerge!


On the outside, “Tricyle Red” milk paint from Miss. Mustard Seed

allowed the imperfections and character to shine through.


While”Driftwood” by General Finishes provided great coverage and durability on the inside.


 Damask and french script stencils add the final touch and


The Transformation Is Complete!

And that’s how an Ugly Duckling transforms into a Beautiful Swan!


 Thanks for stopping by! Love Nicole

Gray Wash Pine Dresser

Sometimes you get a piece of furniture and you can see the natural beauty of the piece just below the surface.  That was the case with this pine dresser that my friend Meghan’s father handmade.


The top stain had worn off so the top looked really dull.

By sanding and staining the top, you can now see the beauty of the wood. It is gorgeous!

IMG_2597For the body of the dresser, I layered on several colors to create a worn weathered look.  The first color I used was CeCe Caldwell’s Omaha Orche,


Followed by a Pittsburgh Gray color wash. To create the wash, I mixed 1/2 cup of water to 2 tablespoons of paint. I love that you can still see some of the graining and it looks like the paint has worn off over time!  

IMG_2605I am really happy with the final look. My goal was to maintain the history and integrity of the piece while making it fresh and current for a 21st century home. It’s now available at Maggie Jane’s, located at 913 King Street in Old Town, Alexandria, VA (703.706.0411). This versatile piece would fit in any room in the house. Nice small scale for a foyer; an awesome wine bar; side table or bedside dresser.


Here is a collage of before, during and after. Enjoy!

Graywashed dressercollage

Kitchen Reno-Part 3 (The Transformation)

Our kitchen renovation is finally complete!  Remember where we started?

A small cramped kitchen,


Becomes an open, airy space.0130151201a

We changed the layout,


For better flow and more cabinets.0130151205

And a non-functional pantry,

Becomes functional open concept storage.


This is a quick overview of our new kitchen. My next and final post will include details about cabinetry, counter tops, lighting, storage and more.

Thanks and Happy Decorating.


6 Trees and a Deer!

In keeping with my “vintage” Christmas decorations, I decided to find alternatives to the standard Christmas trees. The traditional green trees are fine, but I wanted to be creative.  So, here is what I created:

1) pineconetreeswmPine cones tucked in mercury glass containers create a pine cone forest.

2) branchtreeswmGreenery in vintage glass containers with vintage balls and a tree topper.

3) topiarytreewm A Topiary wrapped in a white shawl with a red  brooch.

4) treeinbasketwm White branches and nandina berries in a vintage metal bucket, with an apples and berries wreath.

5) railstreewm 3 Chippy white stair posts, a metal star and a burlap “tree” skirt.

6) clochetreewm A glass cloche filled with vintage holiday balls and a metal star.

deerbeforeAnd a deer.

I recently attended a holiday gift exchange and cute teenager got this deer as a gift.  It was obvious, she did not like it.  I loved it and was thrilled to “steal” it from her.  I could see the swan (I mean deer), it could become.

deerafter2 So, after a coat of paint and a new bow tie, here’s Dasher! He’s so cute……

I’d love to see your alternative Christmas trees and Deer.  Happy Decorating!

Love, Nicole