A Fresh Start:: The power of optimism and a can of white paint

A new reading nook to start off a new year.

I always loved the New Year holiday.  Not so much the partying on New Year's Eve ( I always, except for one very memorable year, found New Year's Eve to be something of a let down...a time of trying too much to have fun....I guess I like my fun more organic), but the chance to start again, to start fresh.  It's the same thrill I get opening a new journal or notebook and thinking about how I'm going to fill it.

But before I start talking about resolutions and goals and planning my 40th year on this planet, let's talk about a more concrete fresh start---giving new life to an old chair in my office's reading area.

Reading nook and brown chair before move upstairs.

Earlier this year, I posted about some changes in my house--the largest at that time being the switch around of my office/library and dining room (here and here).  After rearranging, I ended up with a reading nook under the stairs.  At the time, I set it up mainly for aesthetic reasons---after all, the area under the stairs is one of the first things you see when you walk in.  After putting the chair there, though, i discovered I liked sitting and reading in that cozy nook, especially in the evenings while listening to WWOZ, savoring  a couple of fingers of Maker's Mark nearby, smelling dinner cooking in the adjoining kitchen, and keeping Thomas company while he reads the news on-line at the desk.  When further changes in the house (I'll share later) necessitated moving the brown chair to another room, I immediately began the search for a replacement.  The main difficulties with finding a replacement were two fold:  first, the ugly topic of no budget for furniture and the second issue of very little space.  In other words, the replacement chair had to be cheap and small enough to tuck in a tight corner, yet big enough to fit my large behind comfortably enough for me to read for a couple of hours.
The kind of sad looking replacement chair on it's first day in its new home.

I was lucky enough to find the right chair at a local thrift store, Pelican Thrift on Carrollton Ave.  (I find this a strange thrift store---it's all over the place in terms of quality of merchandise and pricing--some of the furniture is in excellent shape and competitively priced while some items, especially clothing, is damaged and priced way too high)  The upholstery was a good color (I love orange, plus it's in the room's draperies, and it's an accent color in the adjoining living/dining room), a good pattern (a small scale check), and in acceptable condition ( a little worn, but no major stains---and quite frankly, in a house with two red wine swilling slobs, a 100 lb dog, and a cat who occasionally bypasses his scratching post for something more interesting, I would hate to subject perfectly preserved fabric to such  a certain shot at being ruined anyway).  And at $50, it fit my budget.
Painting the blah brown legs white immediately perked things up.

New leg color and a jazzy new pillow cover from vintage fabric, and the old girl has perked right up.
It was a little drab, but I thought a shot of white paint on the blah brown legs would perk it up....which it did.  Now, when it came to picking the white paint, I deliberately picked an off-white, and one with quite a bit of yellow undertones.    This was for two reasons:  1.  A crisp, bright truer white would have been too crisp.  In stead of making the muddy orange look brighter, that much contrast would have just made the orange look even muddier and more drab.  Second, the reason the drab orange worked in my house in the first place is because I have almost no crisp colors anywhere.  My wall colors are all "dirty" colors with a lot of ochre and even my "white" trim is actually a pale, pale yellowish green (the paint name "calla" gives that away).  So, if I used a true white, those legs would have been blinding in my muddy toned space.  The paint I ended up using was Sherwin William's Casa Blanca (left over from another project).  

Amazingly, after a vacuum job and that touch of white, the drab orange fabric seemed immediately brighter.  Then I added a bright pillow cover made with a vintage fabric sample, and the chair came back to life.

Reminder of the before.

And after.

Anyway, off to start working on my resolutions and goals for 2012.  One of them I've already decided on is to blog more and share more projects with you.  Hope you liked this first one!

Happy New Year, and may your days in 2012 be merry and bright!

1 comment:

Vickie H. said...

Lovely!!! Meant for you!