Sunday, July 8, 2012

Paintbrush & Pearls At Brocante Home

Another hot day in beautiful Irvington, VA.  It was well over 90 degrees by 10:45am.  
Beyond the picket fence bordering Brocante Home, tidy rows of folding chairs dotted the lawn leading up to their front porch.  Figured we'd probably need to chase the shade, once the sun broke above the tall pines.  Even an occasional puff of southwest breeze provided welcomed relief from the heat.

A friendly voice beckoned from the doorway, "come inside, if you'd like to stay cool until our class begins."

Sounded like a good idea.  It would give me a chance to look around the shop to see what's new.

With bottles of chilled water and heaping trays of delectable cookies, Southern hospitality greeted everyone who entered.  Everywhere I looked, noteworthy furnishings and accessories (with a decidedly french flair) enchanted.  Neutral colors were artfully mixed with punches of color, including vibrant Ikat fabric pillows.  Lovely.

Hard to believe it's been a couple of months since I'd stopped by.  In addition to creating beautiful home interiors with Ann Carpenter Designs, Brocante Home is the area stockist for Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan.  What a great resource they've been for me!

As part of their 'Paintbrush and Pearls' design series, Brocanteur Rachel Pugliese shared real-life techniques and tips at this morning's session.  Whether it was layering paints or applying the waxes for a distressed Chateau-worthy finish, she had plenty of ideas and answers that guided about two dozen weather-hardy attendees.

For years, I've used Ralph Lauren paints and glazes with great success.  These days, I paint 'en plein air' with Annie Sloan products almost exclusively.  Admittedly, I learned several helpful insights today.  For instance, instead of cutting dark wax with clear wax to reduce its opacity, I'll take Rachel's advice and create a translucent glaze by combining dark wax with low-odor mineral spirits.  Nice cost savings.

Rachel also relayed Annie Sloan's belief, "let the furniture speak to you."

Painting furniture isn't a science.  It's all about experimentation and creativity.  I've been refinishing/refurbishing furniture for years.  My grown daughters have embraced it, too.  It's a great way to help your home reflect the true you.  When painting anything, it's important to find one's own unique way for working past frustrations or unforeseen mistakes.

Simply put, sometimes a piece just doesn't turn out the way you'd hoped, no matter your experience level.  Rachel encountered this situation yesterday, in preparation for the class.  Like her, choose to adjust your technique and expectations.  Try something else, whether it's varying the color, texture or both.  Admittedly, sometimes I have to remind myself that it's just paint, not neurosurgery.  "Don't over-think it, Tam... stay flexible and remember to have fun."

Judging by the eager nods and questions
from the lawn seats this morning,
I'd say that Brocante Home has a brand new crop of painters
clamoring for their line of Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan products.

Bravo, et merci, Rachel!

(Want to learn more? Visit today!)


  1. Thanks for your wonderful post on the workshop! I love sharing my thoughts and Annie's techniques!

  2. awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really sweet!
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