Retro Metal Accent Chair

The other day I drove to sweet and scenic Almonte, Ontario to visit some of the cute shops there. It’s about a 45 min drive from Ottawa but well worth it, especially if you like browsing through antique shops, vintage housewares, or one-of-a-kind boutiques while you eat a freshly baked pastry!

I wasn’t really looking for anything particular, but I saw a few things that tempted me; like a vintage bird cage filled with pillar candles at Tin Barn Market. But in the end the only thing I couldn’t say no to was a retro metal chair from one of the many antique shops that line the main street (I knew it was a good find when someone passed by me lugging it back to my car and  commented “Great chair!”).

Never mind that there’s no space for it in our current apartment- and I don’t really know what I want to do with it- but it was only $35. I was sure that I would think of a spot for it eventually, and would regret not taking it home. I might decide to paint or distress it to give it more of a vintage patina, right now it’s a creamy white finish with a tiny bit of the metal showing in places.

Any ideas for what I can do with it?

Maybe next to an old cupboard with some vintage mirrors?

metal chair vignette 1

(from Pinterest, original source unknown)

Or stick a throw pillow on it?

metal chair with throw pillow

(from NestaHome on Etsy)

Or use it as a plant stand?

metal chair plant stand

(from Julia Haney Montanez on Pinterest)

In the mean time, I put it beside my re-vamped night stand in the corner of our bedroom, where I used to have a larger chair (which allowed me to pile way too many clothes on it- maybe now I’ll be neater). And I will continue to dream about where I will put it when we have a bit more space.




Workshop at Malenka Originals

After months of blog-stalking Malenka Originals, I finally got the chance to attend an intro to Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint™ (ASCP) workshop! I first read about Malenka Originals and the owner, Katrina Barclay, in the Ottawa Citizen when the shop first opened. Ever since then I have been itching to try ASCP to refinish some old pieces of furniture- you know, the ones that you wish were a slightly different colour/style but that you keep because they’re functional, or the budget doesn’t stretch to replacing them just yet.

The beauty of ASCP is that it goes on with minimal prep work (read: no sanding or stripping required!), takes little time to dry, is very forgiving, and can be modified to do any number of finishes or techniques. You can thin it with water or apply it in thick layers, use waxes or layer the coats to change the texture, sand through multiple layers to give dimension, or paint it on in smooth, even coats for a more modern finish. The paint comes in a variety of colours that are really beautiful and richly pigmented, and they can even be mixed to extend the palette!

I knew right away which piece I wanted to take to the workshop: an old nightstand, inherited from my husband’s roommate in university. It had a dark reddish brown finish that was scratched in places, and it didn’t match anything else in our bedroom. But it was solid wood with a good little drawer and a shelf, so it was super functional. It just needed a makeover!

At the workshop, Katrina taught us how to do a variety of techniques using 2 colours of paint and clear or dark wax. I opted to go for a combination of a wet and dry distress using Old Violet, a blue with grey and purple undertones, and Paris Grey, a grey with blue undertones. I skipped the dark wax because it would have given the paint a brownish hue that I didn’t want.

Here is what my nightstand originally looked like:

nightstand1_watermarked nightstand1_watermarkednightstand1_watermarked

I first applied 2 coats of Old Violet,


and added some Paris Grey, wiping it off here and there to get a distressed look;


in some places, the original dark finish came through underneath, which actually looked pretty neat!


Then I alternated between applying clear wax and using fine grit sand paper to take off the Paris Grey, revealing more Old Violet underneath. The wax gave it a smoother, almost glossier finish. The wax can be worked into the different layers of paint and brushstrokes, giving it a sort of antiqued texture.


Once I was done painting and waxing, I exchanged the old drawer pull for one from the collection that Katrina sells, which really put the finishing touch on it!


I painted the inside of the drawer with only Old Violet, for a little pop of the pretty shade of blue.


My sweet little nightstand is now just as beautiful as it is functional!


Now I’m looking around my apartment and wondering what else I can use Chalk Paint on… whatever it is, I know what colour it will be: Provence, the colour I chose for the free sample pot that was included in the workshop!

Definitely check out Malenka Originals if you’re in Ottawa, and attend a workshop if you can… but be forewarned they book up fast! Visit the website for more info: