So the shabby chic era may have moved on but painted furniture remains as popular as ever, as does my passion for up-cycling.
As with fashion, anything goes when it comes to interiors. I see this now more than ever. Stick to one style throughout your home and it may look a little boring or like a showroom display. A mix of old and new always seems to work well. And now, there are so many vibrant colours and good quality paints to choose from when it comes to decorating walls and furniture that making a decision can be quite difficult… but enjoyable all the same.
Furniture doesn’t have to be vintage to be up-cycled either. It may be furniture in your home that you’ve had for a while. It may be good quality furniture that you’re just a little tired of. I get asked to update a lot of pine furniture because people realise that it’ll be more cost effective to have it up-cycled than to try and buy new furniture of a similar quality without spending a fortune.
I recently up-cycled these pine bedside drawers. They came to me looking very tired with an orange hue. Now these bedsides are bang on trend! I used Hick’s Blue from The Little Greene Paint Company and it works so well with the natural wood top and the gold knobs. I love to paint furniture in colours that you won’t find in the shops. The results can be quite stunning.
This mahogany cupboard was dated but in good condition. Painted black and with the addition of some modern chrome knobs it looks quite stunning against a bold coloured wall. The paint was a black satinwood so didn’t need a varnish although I still often treat the tops for extra protection. The inside has also been up-cycled and Reloved by Jo 🙂
I tend to fall in love with whatever piece of furniture I’m working on. I can only see this as a good trait because it means that I’ll always do a good job. The results speak for themselves, beautifully painted furniture.
When I’m not working on commissions for clients I’m usually planning ahead with my own projects… What piece will I up-cycle next? What colour will I choose? Will it need a fabric? Etc. As it’s now officially spring, Autentico Fern Green is next on my list on a set of six dining chairs with botanical fabric seats. I get excited just thinking about new projects and finishes, it keeps my job interesting. And distressed furniture may not be as popular as it has been, but I’ll never say never to shabby chic!
I love to up-cycle furniture that is quite special and this elegant sideboard is no exception. Bought by Nicky of Nicky Jones Furniture in Corbridge, this Art Nouveau sideboard is made from mahogany and has inlay floral panels to three drawers and two door fronts. It is beautiful. Nicky commissioned me to up-cycled this superb piece, requesting that I paint around the inlays, giving them a framed effect.
Originally Nicky wanted a blue finish, however, after discussing various options we decided on a green shade, Troubled Waters, by Autentico. After preparing and undercoating the sides, back and framework I applied the first top coat which instantly lifted the look of the sideboard, giving it a new lease of life. The framed inlays on the doors and drawers now stand out, just the effect that Nicky wanted. I sanded the original glossy top right back to reveal wood full of interest, colour and pattern. Applying a matt varnish and finishing wih a wax to gives it warmth and depth.
The copper and brass handles are absolutely stunning. Nicky took these off to clean prior to me working on the sideboard and replaced them once complete so I guess you can say this was a team effort!
There is sometimes a dilemma when it comes to painting beautiful old furniture… to paint or not to paint? Hopefully, on this occasion, you’ll agree that this special piece of furniture has been very much enhanced.
This is one of my favourite commissions to date. I hope you like it as much as I do.
I am now showcasing my beautiful up-cycled furniture at Nicky Jones Interiors in Corbridge, Northumberland.
Over the last few months I’ve become friendly with a women who has very similar interests to me. We met through Twitter. Nicky complimented me on my work and after a few conversations online we met for coffee and hit it off straight away. We have so much in common and now, several months later, we’re working together. Our tastes are similar and compliment each other.
Nicky recently opened a shop in Corbridge, Nicky Jones Furniture. Corbridge is a very pretty village in the North East, a lovely place to wander, shop and stop for coffee or lunch. The shop is lovely and filled with a good choice of vintage and second-hand furniture and new accessories. As well as Nicky’s finds, you can see furniture up-cycled and Reloved by Jo (me). Because we have similar tastes, the combination in the shop works well together and locals and visitors alike have been delighted and very complimentary about the shop.
So, thank you to Twitter for bringing Nicky and I together!
If you’re passing do pop in for a browse, we’d love to see you.
When sourcing furniture to up-cycle for my business Reloved by Jo, I love nothing better than finding something unusual. Ultimately, I fall in love with it and don’t want to part with it! Hazards of the job.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact that we all need storage and drawers, and although not so interesting they are necessary if we want our homes to be in any kind of order. Second-hand drawers can be found in many places such as auctions, sale rooms, online platforms and local papers, etc. I see many pieces for sale which at first glance look quite charming until you struggle to open each drawer and then fight to close them again. Not so charming.
However, there are some lovely drawers out and about and I still manage to fall for the odd set for various reasons. It may be the workmanship, some carved detail or the quality of the wood? Whatever it is, I always make sure that each drawer glides easily!
I recently up-cycled these two chests of drawers which are both lovely for different reasons.
These green drawers are made from oak and have a charming carved detail across the top. The handles were in a good condition and I liked the style so I decided to re-use them and coated them in a matt black paint. I can imagine this lovely piece of furniture in a conservatory or garden room.
Not so detailed, these are classic, good quality drawers. I painted them in a light grey and replaced the old and dated handles with large ceramic knobs. Now they look great and I’d love to keep them if I had the room.
Inside the drawers is just as important for me. I clean them and apply a wax oil to the inside of each drawer, although on occasion I do paint them. It just depends on the quality of the wood. Grey paint and natural wood are one of my favourite combinations at the moment.
So although a second-hand chest of drawers may not very exciting, I still get a lot of pleasure from updating them and as we have to have them in our homes, they may as well look good too!
I loved this ‘bathroom beauty’ from the moment I first saw it in the auction room.
A very pretty and unusual, early century carved oak sideboard. I could immediately visualise how it would look when finished as a bathroom or bedroom vanity and was determined to win the bid for this one! The bidding went fairly high, but I felt it was worth paying that little extra to secure such an original piece of furniture.
The style is charming and the carvings so pretty. The shelf is perfect for displaying bathroom or beauty bits and bobs and/or scented candles. Unsightly bathroom products and medicines can be hidden in the drawers and there’s plenty of storage for towels in the cupboards.
I was so excited to start this lovely piece.
First (as always) I sanded and cleaned the cupboard inside and out and in the process I discovered some old prescriptions dated 1937! I love little finds like this, it adds to the interest and history of a piece.
After a couple of hours work, it’s already looking better.
Then followed the very important coat of primer. You can now really start to appreciate the pretty floral carvings.
I then painted the cupboard with several coats of my own mix of blue chalk paint, painted the top bright white followed by a couple of coats of matt varnish and arranged for the basin and tap to be fitted (I’m not quite experienced enough to tackle this job well enough myself… yet!). So now it’s ready for plumbing in.
I love this shade of blue. The black and bronze antique style tap adds a little charm to this bespoke piece of furniture.
Just the handles and knobs to be fitted now…
And here it is! A beautiful bathroom vanity. Probably my favourite piece to date. I can imagine this vintage piece of furniture in a period home. It would look as stunning in a white bathroom as it would a vintage styled bedroom. If I had the space I’d certainly be keeping this one!
It’s not often you come across a piece of furniture that is as functional as it is pretty, and this one was certainly a pleasure to work on.
So after a great break on the Norfolk Broads (which I’d recommend to anyone wanting a complete break as there is literally nothing else you can do apart from drink, eat, read and drool over the beautiful riverside properties as you pass by) it was back to the North East and upcycling furniture.
It’s nice to have something to look forward to after a holiday and I was very much looking forward to upcycling this dressing chest, however, when I took delivery I didn’t realise that the veneers on the front of the drawers had lifted in places and needed more TLC than I’d anticipated.
After rubbing down and painting several times to try and prevent the bubbles re-appearing on the drawer fronts, I ended up cutting them out, filling, sanding and painting again. And, because the dressing table was made up of so many parts that I’d dismantled in order to paint properly, it took an age to put back together again. Still, the final result was well worth it…
A very pretty vintage dressing chest painted in Autentico Milk eggshell which is neither white nor cream (I love it). I thought about introducing new knobs but I liked the original ones and sometimes you can take the character away from a piece rather than enhance it by removing bits and pieces so I painted them in the same colour as the chest and applied a gold rub over the top to give them a nicer look.
Upcycling is more popular than ever, not only for your own home but for second homes too!
Since starting my upcycling business last year (which I love!) I have steadily built up a list of satisfied clients as well as creating beautiful upcycled furniture to sell through my website Reloved by Jo. One of my more recent commissions was to upcycle some furniture for a holiday cottage, The Old Ale House, which is new to the collection of Coastal Retreat’s five star holiday cottages. When the refurbishment started, it was an ideal time for me to remove the old furniture from the cottage so I could work my magic from my workshop, creating bespoke pieces of furniture that would fit the new scheme and it also gave the decorators space to work.
Furniture for this holiday home included a gentleman’s wardrobe, a dressing table that was to be converted into a chest of drawers, a bureau, a beautiful but damaged chest of drawers, an old quirky cabinet, a large built in kitchen dresser and half a dozen old chairs. Repairs were needed on several of the pieces, however generally the furniture was of good quality (which is usually the case with old furniture) just a little tired and dated.
The brief for the furniture was to be ‘quite masculine and quirky with some brightly coloured pieces’. So, after a lot of TLC (prep, priming and at least two coats of paint) this is how the furniture now looks. What were old and tired pieces of furniture, are now quirky, bespoke pieces that help make the cottage extremely inviting.
Click here to take a video tour of the cottage and see my work in more detail and if you would like to book a stay at The Old Ale House (you just might after seeing the video) include the code Reloved5 for a 5% discount!
If you have a holiday home in the North East and would like some furniture upcycling, just get in touch.
This beautiful bathroom vanity was remade for sharing!
I love elegant old furniture so when I spotted this sideboard at an auction it was high up on my bid list.
A quality piece of furniture made by a company in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the early 20th Century, it did have some sun damage to the top and was almost too good to paint, however, I had something special in mind for this piece…
With it’s beautiful bow front, shaped back panel, pretty doors and claw feet I thought it would make a stunning double vanity. I have memories of vanity units from when I was a child, coloured basins sunk into cheap modern units which were considered posh in those days. I had something much more luxurious in store for this beauty.
So, I had a vision (I always start with a vision) and couldn’t wait to get to work. After preparing and priming I applied three coats of Autentico low sheen eggshell in Bright White. Once the taps and basins arrived I had the holes cut, ready for plumbing. As well as being pleasing to the eye, I wanted this bathroom vanity to be practical too so the cupboards and drawers can all be used.
I can now imagine this stunning double vanity in an older house (for all the right reasons) with two ornate mirrors placed above each basin, sitting alongside a roll top bath. It will certainly be a talking point for any guests!
I thoroughly enjoyed upcycling this piece of furniture. It turned out exactly as I’d imagined and I hope it gives the new owner/s many years of pleasure.
Click here to see more of my upcycled vintage and preloved furniture.
Although I have painted furniture at various times over the years, it is only now at 52 (nearly 53) years young that I have started to earn money doing what I love, and when I’m not being a mum, nana, wife and top caddy (to my golf pro hubby) I look forward to progressing as a furniture stylist and sharing my work and interests with you in the months to come. Just wish I’d done it years ago!
I did actually start years ago when my kids were young, one piece I remember well was an old chest of drawers I bought for next to nothing, painted it navy blue and stenciled gold stars and moons all over it, it makes me cringe now but it was great at the time and I even made curtains to match! When we bought our current house, 8 years ago, we had several pieces of mahogany furniture which were too good to throw away so I upcycled and painted them. They still look great now.
Things started to change for me last year when I upcycled some furniture as a bit of a release from my business, Premurosa Letterbox Gifts and since then I’ve not looked back. I found some old side tables in the garage which weren’t really my style anymore but they were in good condition, so I upcycled them (using chalk paint for the first time which I love) and sold them. On my next day off I went along to my first auction and won 5 lots! My husband kept reminding me that we didn’t have any way of transporting the items home, but I had the bug, I was hooked! I took the furniture home, upcycled it and sold every piece (with a little help from Facebook). From then on I started to receive requests to paint furniture for others and Reloved by Jo was born.
I love all things about interiors so sourcing and upcycling furniture, following what’s on trend and advising clients on colours all comes naturally to me and after many years, and several businesses later, it feels good to have found what it is I’m meant to do. The ironic thing is, it was always at my fingertips… quite literally.
If like me you are a little obsessed and enjoy everything interiors (interior/house programmes, magazines, furniture, design, styling and more) I hope you’ll come back and read my blogs and follow my progress.