April 09, 2012

Reimagined Monday: Abi Roberts' "From Boring to Bold"

Early in February, a very lovely young woman named Abi stopped in at the boutique to see what we had to offer, and to enquire about this red sideboard we had displayed in the window:

We had a wonderful chat about interior design and decor, and it turned out that Abi had hired some decorators to transform her new home, but she felt they had not quite gotten it right.  After living for awhile in her very modern, very neutral decor, Abi wanted something different... something unique.  We agreed that the best way to go may be 'back in time' and find a nice character piece to refurbish and to bring in some colour and interest in the easiest and most economical way possible... Annie Sloan chalk paint.  Though tentative at first, Abi decided to go for it and hasn't looked back.

Knowing a lot of people have the same concerns about taking on a big paint project or going with a new, bolder look, we invited Abi to share her story.

Hi, my name is Abi. Leanne has asked me to be a guest on her blog this week. She wanted me to share my experience using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ( ASCP ).  Not only was this my first time using ASCP; it was also the first time I have painted any piece of furniture.
Upon arriving at the Apple Box Boutique for the first time, I fell in love with all the beautifully painted furniture. When Leanne explained to me that she painted all the pieces herself, I was so surprised. She then showed me all the colours of the ASCP that she carried. I was struck with how pretty they were. Leanne then suggested that I should paint something. I immediately said “Yeah, right!” in disbelief. First of all, it would never turn out as nice as her furniture, and, secondly, I wouldn’t have enough spare time to take on a project like this.

Later that evening I did some research on-line about ASCP. Practically all the reviews I read said how wonderful the product is and how easy it was to use.  Between these reviews and the encouragement that Leanne had given me, I felt I should give furniture restoration a try.
Now the search was on to find a piece of furniture.  I recently moved and basically had to start refurnishing it from scratch. I hired a design group but their idea of design was to buy brand new pieces of furniture and place it in the space. After they were finished, I felt I had a very boring place with no personality.
One of the first pieces of furniture that I wanted my designers to buy was a china cabinet or a buffet table. I desperately needed something where I can put my china and silverware away in as they have been in boxes in my basement since I got married 9 years ago. The designers said that you had to spend major money in order to get a good quality cabinet, which unfortunately, could not be budgeted for at that time.
I wanted a buffet that was older. I needed a piece with good bones so to give my dining room more character. The best source for this was Kijiji.  If you have not heard about this website, let me explain it to you briefly. It is a basically a virtual classified ad website where you can buy and sell whatever your heart’s desire.  When using Kijiji to look for furniture I have found that you must be patient, as people place new ads on the site every other minute. So if you look long and hard enough you can find the piece you are looking for at the price you want.

Finally, after a few days I found a beautiful French provincial buffet hutch made from solid wood for 50 dollars. I was so excited with my find that I emailed Leanne immediately to tell her know that I found something that I would like to paint. I wanted a pop of colour to add into my boring beige dining room and knew that I was going to change the colour.  In my email to her I said that after I sand it I will come into the store to choose my paint colour. I checked my inbox and got an immediate reply from Leanne. She wrote in all caps – “DON’T SAND IT!!!
When I called back to confirm, she told me that no prep was required. Cool, I thought, I’ll be by this afternoon to get some ASCP and some supplies. Remember I said that I needed a POP of colour, well I chose Emperor's Silk which is a vibrant red colour. I basically decided to go for it! My space was already boring and beige. I wanted to do something bold and fun.
When I got home later, I was too excited to wait, so I got started on a Thursday evening. I applied the paint straight away seeing that I did not have to sand or prime. The paint dried so quickly that I was done painting in 2 hours. I let the piece dry overnight. The next day, I moved the buffet into the garage (I didn’t want to get red dust everywhere inside my house). I took an hour to distress it a little bit by sanding the corners and the edges.  After wiping the dust down, I wanted the paint to set so I applied clear wax and buffed it out.  I then got a dark brown paint pen and highlighted certain areas to add dimension. I took the handles off and spray painted them black. Literally in 6 hours spread out over the course of a weekend I had transformed my hutch. I think it turned out great.

I was so inspired by this transformation that it led me to continue with transforming my dining room. So I hired a contractor to paint, wallpaper and add wainscoting to the walls. I also hired a designer (a different one) to decorate it with pictures and accessories. Who knew that what started as a simple little project, has actually helped me finish decorating my first room in my house.

(Much appreciation and credit to contractor Mark Leithoff, and Nicole Nyenhuis, my 'new' interior decorator.)

To conclude, I guess I caught the refurbishing bug as I currently have 3 more pieces of furniture in my garage to refinish. I am planning on taking an Annie Sloan Chalk paint tutorial from Leanne so I can learn some really cool techniques. I already know that the next colour that I'm going to be using is Antibes Green. 

Antibes Green + mixed in various parts Old White

A BIG thank you to Abi for sharing her experience and enthusiasm!  We hope this inspires others as much as it has inspired us.

And if you need a little more encouragement, a class is a great way to learn painting techniques and gain confidence.  We've partnered with Tara Jamieson of Lauren Lane Decor (and Home Show fame) to offer monthly classes in Edmonton!

Happy Painting!

Here is how to share your reimagined paint project at On the Apple Box:

Send us a description of how you used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to get from your vision to the reimagined piece, before and after pictures, pictures of your project in progress or a couple of it in its finished state, and you may be highlighted on our blog!


  1. That's really neat. You did a beautiful job Abi!

  2. Hi Carole,
    Thank you for writing :) We completely agree, and we love that she chose Emperor's Silk. It is such a rich colour! I'll pass your comment along to Abi. ~Leanne


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