Monthly Archives: August 2013

Busy Chalk Paint Day


The Pioneer Woman has a section on her blog called Keepin’ It Real.    I appreciate that and started to title this post “Dear PW:  I am keepin’ it real” and include a photo of my dirty house and the ring in the bath tub.     Instead I will focus on the project and spare you the story of me taking two baths back to back to get all the grunge off after chalk painting all the live long day.    I’m not complaining…I love working in my shop.  I just didn’t realize it was over 100 degrees today and that I looked like a made mud pies all day when I finally came back in the house.   Here is the day in pictures:

Packed up the Aggie with food, boots and moola.    Kindly note that the moola laying on the top was not for the picture.   It was for the forgetful Aggie who called when he got back to TAMU to ask me to bring the hamper full of his clothes that he forgot.   I forgot to include all the fajita meat in the freezer.   Shhhhh,  I keep those things quite.

A Few Aggie Essentials

Then I went out to the garage, aka shop, to forget that the Aggie was leaving again and summer has ended and I miss him and I love him and I wanted him to grow up and be independent and responsible, but I didn’t know it would hurt so much… I chalk painted alllllllllll day long.  My younger son helped me.  I think he knew what I was up to and was a little sad himself, probably because he has already started school.

These are Duncan Phyfe Tulip Back chairs, still sturdy, but a little worse for wear on the finish.  I taped them off so that I could preserve the insert and allow the beauty of the old wood finish to be seen.

Duncan Phyfe Tulip Chairs – Before

The better part of the day was spent on the detailed painting of the chairs.  My youngest son made lunch.  He was really taking care of me today.  We had salad and baked chicken breast and he painted, too.   These lovely chairs have a drop leaf double pedestal table with two leaves still with the table to go with them.   I am thinking about keeping it which would create an interior avalanche.  You know how those things work.    You place a new piece in the room and you love it and then you notice some things in the same space that you don’t love so much and decide to change those too and your husband comes home and wonders aloud, “What was wrong with the old table?”    You ask yourself the same thing, but never admit it out loud.

Duncan Phyfe Double Pedestal, Drop Leaf Table and Tulip Chairs

This has been a tribute to “Keepin’ It Real”.   I thought it might be nice to see how chalk painting takes shape outside in the shop, aka garage, which is very messy and needs a good organizing session with a professional organizer.   Let me know if you know of a professional organizer who will take on an Irish Lady who chalk paints like a little kid making mud pies.

P.S.  I’ll try to remember to take a nice photo of the table and chairs when I figure out where they will land.


“The Fitting Room” Scale, Proportion and Layers Seminar Notes


Basis of Scale for this space:

Room Dimensions:  22×24

Ceiling Height:  20′ Vaulted, 10′ Window Wall, 12′ Entry Wall

Fireplace:  Top of Mantle 5′

There is such a thing as a “Fitting Room” in design.  It just means that when you walk into a room it just seems to fit just right.   It’s a feeling you get that this space is well done,  put together, pleasing to the eye, beautiful, tastefully done.   All those adjectives can be used to describe a “Fitting Room” and it depends on a few simple rules in design that relate to Scale, Proportion and Layers.    As a fellow rebel, you may want to scratch the word ‘rules’ and call them tips.  Here are a few you can rely on to achieve a well put together space:

1.  Scale:   If  you will,  picture Lady Liberty and The Scales of Justice she holds in her hand,  with each side of the scale being in balance,  this is your room and as you add each piece of furniture you can easily tip the scale in the wrong direction by placing something too large or too small on either side of the level scale.      If your room is 10×12, the size of most secondary bedrooms, you will not want to put in that king size poster bed.   To summarize:    In order to consider scale you start with the dimensions of your room including ceiling height, entry ways and architectural elements such as windows, fireplace and built-ins.  These elements have already been considered by an architect if your home is existing.  (NOTE:  If you are building or remodeling of changing architectural features,  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND working with a proven decorator or designer along side your architect.

2.  Proportion:  The best way I can describe proportion is with the picture above.  There are four chairs and they can all be used  within the scale of that space.  However, the proportion of the chairs in front of the fireplace is smaller so that it compliments the larger scale of the  fireplace.  The larger chairs are to scale with an entry way, that you don’t see in the photo,  and in proportion to the larger conversation sofa which is much longer and deeper than a standard sofa.   Therefore, proportion of a piece is meant to compliment the scale of the room and the scale of  the main furniture.   Most of the time I just use Scale to describe the same thing as proportion.   The importance of proportion of a piece really comes into play after you have chosen the larger pieces  for a space and then begin to add the additional design layers.  This is when size or proportion to scale really does matter.

3.  Layers:  This is where the difference of opinion on how to approach a design project occurs.  If you speak with two equally qualified designers you will receive two different responses.    Here is my opinion on the layers of design and how they best work to achieve the ultimate goal of a “Fitting Room”:  1) begin with your inspiration piece, develop your color palette and style from this piece.  This leads to paint colors  and painting the space; 2)  Flooring or Rugs are next and should be a simultaneous selection when choosing your color palette and paint colors; 3)  Sofa, Bed or the main furniture pieces; 4)  Textiles or fabrics come after the big choices because there are literally hundreds of thousands of  textile options.   Fabrics are for the window treatments, pillows, upholstered pieces; 5) Accent furniture which are the non-upholstered pieces such as occasional tables; 6)  Accessories are the fun part for everyone and easiest way to change up a space and add character to make it fit your style; 7) Life and Lighting is what I like to call the last layer.  It includes lamps or ceiling fixtures and greenery in the form of  live plants or silk arrangements.

This has been a quick and simplified explanation of  achieving a proper and “Fitting Room”.   Together with, Jennifer Hermann, we presented a design seminar at Hermann Furniture on August 22nd with more details and visual examples of  Scale, Proportion and Layers.   I have  some others tips to share on how to overcome small spaces and using what you have or love even if the scale seems wrong in the space.

Thank you to everyone who attended “The Fitting Room” Design Seminar.

“The Fitting Room” Design Seminar


Learn How Scale, Proportion and Layers

make a room “Fit Just Right”

Hermann Furniture


The Irish Lady

Cynthia Haba


“The Fitting Room”

Design Seminar


Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

10:30 – 11:30

Hermann Furniture

213 West Alamo

Brenham, Texas

Call for Reservations:  1-888-836-7237