30 Gray Toned Paint Colors For Swedish Styled Interiors – Behr

In this link, Quinn pieces together 30 of the best gray paint shades from Behr.  Where it gets interesting is for you to determine exactly what undertones you like.

In this article, there are 5 categories of undertones.  Blue, Purple, Green, Orange and Red.  Over time, most people usually lean towards either a cool collection, or warm arena.

Later in the article, what really makes the choice more complex is LIGHTING.  An example is given in the article, where a room is photographed at different times of the day.  One picture shows a light gray, and another showing a very clear blue.  Long story short, test your samples before buying large quantities of paint.

Have you ever found a paint color that looks absolutely incredible day and night in a particular room, only to bring it into another room, and have it look entirely different?

I recently painted over my basement this summer.  I had a color that worked in any room in my upstairs, so I figured, I would just go with that color downstairs too.

Many years ago I hand mixed colors, and found one that worked.  It works night and day.  It just looks incredible.  Its a darker gray, with undertones of green.  Its not overly dark.

I had it made up for my basement, and it turned out awful in that room.  No matter how hard I tried messing around with the shade, the simple fact, the lighting is different in my basement.  I shoved the paint in a closet, and started over.

You need to read the article- Behr

Can I Stain Over Paint To Produce A Patina?


Adding stain over paint on furniture, or exterior wood surfaces such as siding or a deck can give furniture and any other project a new lease on life. Clear or semi-clear stains can provide a distressed appearance and add patina. They highlight those areas where the paint has worn away or where the paint color varies. Solid-color stains, on the other hand, generally coat well and provide a durable finish to a variety of projects. Consumers must sand, clean and dust surfaces before staining them. You want a good wood base from which to coat your stain, and you should set aside a few hours to get the job done.

Using Stain to Add Patina

Patina describes the look of something that appears aged, delivering a gloss or sheen. Interior decorators often use this term to describe distress, or the aged look of furniture, where paint has faded or colors have lost some of their brightness.  While a patina also can refer to metals such as bronze, it’s used in this case to refer to wood furniture. Staining is one option available to add patina to furniture that already has a coat of paint on top. A clear or lightly colored stain adds the best effect to most wood surfaces, and is a great option for those who don’t want a messy painting project.

Applying Clear Stain for Patina

Consumers who want to apply clear or lightly colored stain to add a distressed look or a patina must first prepare the surface of the project by using sandpaper to remove any debris and previous painting imperfections, then wiping the surface with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust.

Decorators should coat the surface, applying the stain with a rag in small sections. It should dry completely; after a short amount of time, wipe it away with a clean rag. If the stain looks uneven, sand it down and apply another coat.

Read more about how you can work with stains at Ebay

Single French Louis XV Style Painted Beech Wood Fauteuil Armchair, 1920s- Ebay

Hand Painted French Writing Desk Drop Down Lid- Ebay

French Louis XVI Style Parcel Gilded White Painted Arm Chair Fauteuil circa 1940- Ebay

Vintage Doll Chippy Chair- Ebay


Mary Taylor Smith’s Gray Washed Butler’s Desk

This vintage butlers desk has the perfect lines for a Swedish Gustavian styled home.  In the picture above you can see she updated the look by replacing the glass with a metal radiator cover.  These metal sheets can be purchased at your local Home Depot.  Purchase a Snip Cutter which is ideal for cutting through sheet metal.  The updated brushed bronze pulls work really nicely with darker paint finishes, or distressed finishes in rustic colors.  Read more of Mary Taylor’s thoughts below: 

Mary Taylor Smith  I wanted to go more for a Restoration Hardware type finish. It may not come through in the photographs, but it looks identical to some of their finished pieces. Since I wanted it to be used as an entertainment console, I need it to replace those mirrors with something that would allow components stored inside to be remotely controlled.

I replaced the mirrors with the decorative metal grate that you can use on radiator covers. I wanted this piece to be used as an entertainment console. By adding the metal grates, you can use a remote with any components stored in there, think game systems, etc

“I don’t know color names because they were oops paints that I made into chalk paint. Tan, gray, brown, and beige all brushed into each other in long streaks. After the paint was dry, I applied a brown glaze, then gray glaze. Finished with white wax. I’m sure other painters may have a simpler method, this is just what I like to do.”

  • Find more of Mary Taylor’s Furniture at The Refinery on Facebook

Look at the paint detail in the right hand corner picture. 

Here is absolutely stunning set of French bar stools that were given an updated look. 

How To Avoid Yellowed White Painted Furniture With General Finishes Products

Christine Adams

Wood Finishing Technical Writer at General Finishes

October 21, 2017


Many you may have noticed that the labels on our bright white paints, Snow White Milk Paint and Chalk White Chalk Style Paint now carry a warning label regarding the yellowing of topcoats. All bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, with or without topcoat. Water-based topcoat is reactive and more likely to draw out substances in the wood such as tannins or unknown substances in existing finishes causing the topcoat to yellow. This is an industry-wide issue. Don’t carry the cost of white paint yourself– pass the cost on to the consumer who wants it with a fair upcharge. White paints, even if they did not yellow, require more coats to achieve coverage.

Enduro White Poly

General Finishes background was originally on the professional side, and the incidences of yellowing topcoat over white paint were almost nil, and when our sprayable professional finish, Enduro White Poly, is used, there have been no incidences. But as the use of our paints has increased in the up-cycling and furniture refresh markets, we have heard more reports of our topcoat yellowing. Our response was to teach about prepping, testing you finish schedule and finally creating Stain Blocker, our stain blocking primer, but this is not enough. Just as we advocate prepping all finishes, we are now advocating NOT using a clear water base topcoat over BRIGHT WHITE paint.

General Finishes is in the process of developing a brushable version of our professional Enduro White Poly (available only in gallons), but that will take some time and rigorous testing before we can release the product. Here is what you should know to protect yourself and also some immediate suggestions to decrease chances of yellowing.

There is no way to reliably predict yellowing ahead of time. Sometimes yellowing occurs, sometimes it does not. Every existing finish is different and we rarely know the finishing provenance on an existing piece. Every tree is different and every piece of wood is unique. Wood can bleed tannins immediately after the topcoat dries or months later with a change in temperature that comes with a change in seasons. Oak, pine, mahogany, and Douglass Fur are particularly prone to bleed-through.

As is true of most “water-white” topcoats, our High Performance Water-Based topcoat is a clear drying finish over a non-reactive substrate such as plastic. When paint is used over something as unpredictable as wood, all bets are off. Yellowing can be caused by the top coat activating the tannins in raw wood or aniline dyes, stains or contaminants in a pre-existing finish. This is most evident when using BRIGHT WHITE paint and most prevalent in the sculpted details of furniture, where the topcoat can collect, intensifying the color change to an unacceptable level.

To add to this issue, all bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, with or without topcoat. You have probably tried to touch up white woodwork in your home after several and noticed that the new paint is brighter.


• Whites have a lower “hide” quality and are more transparent than most other colors. Most bright whites require additional coats to achieve the desired color and minimize color variation. This can increase cost of paint finishing. Always include a clause in your contracts addressing the need for additional coats to achieve coverage.

• Bright white paints can yellow over time with or without topcoat.

• The underlying finish or wood species can affect the final color of light paint.

• Details and inside corners are difficult to cover with any paint color, but this property tends to be more noticeable with whites. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon in paint application and does not necessarily constitute a defect in the paint finish or your technique.


1. Use a disclaimer in your contracts or recommend a softer white such as Antique White or Linen. Upcharge for the extra coats needed and ever guarantee a white finish over a piece that you cannot trace the provenance on. Here is a suggestion: Terms of Agreement and Warranties: ________ (Initials) I have been informed that more coats are required when painting with bright whites, reds, greens or yellow. I understand that white paint can yellow over time and that water based topcoats can occasionally react with the substrate or existing finish under white paints causing yellowing, even is a stain blocking primer is used.

2. If it is a low use project, use a premium white paint that is self-sealing and does not require a topcoat. A clear top coat is not required on our Milk Paint for increased durability, as it is a self-sealing, exterior rated coating with very high durability and performance properties. However, top coats provide a smoother surface that is easier to clean and boost durability for high use projects such as table tops and kitchen cabinets.

3. Get a spray gun and use a professional “white coat” such as our Enduro White Poly. It is a white paint with “increased topcoat properties”, is a stand-alone finish when 3 coats are applied and does not require sealing with a topcoat.

4. If you are still brushing, try adding 10-15% of the paint you are using to the first or second application of topcoat. The last layer of topcoat should not have paint in it, to maintain durability. We have had good reports of this technique from customers but have not tested in the lab over a long period of time.

5. Always test your project’s entire finishing schedule (from cleaning to topcoat) on an inside door or a more hidden area of the piece. This does not help if the yellowing occurs later but you will at least know if there is an immediate problem.

6. Always apply a stain blocking primer under white or light-colored paint such GF Stain Blocker or a shellac based primer. Always let any primer dry overnight. Some of the primers we have seen suggest a 3 hour dry time and that is not enough.

7. If you are working on period pieces such as a 1940’s serpentine mahogany desk which were often finished in stain containing aniline dyes that cast a pinkish bleed through under light paint, stay away from light colors. Not every piece of furniture is suitable for up-cycling with a light paint color. Pine, Mahogany, and furniture of the 1940’s and 50’s are a red flag.

8. Last, not all manufacturer’s topcoats are compatible with other finishes and may react with a color change. Always follow best practices by not rushing, and testing to your satisfaction first.

Hope this helps and wish us luck on our next paint endeavor- Chris

24 Swedish Gustavian Paint Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores

Picture Credit- Creative Co-op Grandfather Clock

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores6Soft & Cool,  White Noise, Moonstone Blue From Do It Best

Take a look at the paint colors in your local hardware store the next time you go shopping.  You might be surprised at the colors that are available.

As I was getting paint mixed up at our local do it best hardware store, I found myself picking up several swatches of colors that would work nicely in the Gustavian Swedish themes.

Light blues, soft grays and muted beige paints are classic colors found on furniture.

Why spend a ton on paint, when often you can find nice colors locally?

Here are a couple of my favorites….

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores7French Manicure, Vapor Blue Leahs Joy From Do It Best

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores8

French Manicure, Blue Tears, Patience From Do It Best

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores2Granny’s Attic, Everglaze, Sheer Icing From Do It Best

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores4Early Morning Walk, Crisp Day, Mellow Lime From Do It Best

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores5Cotton Tail, Mint Meltaway, Mirella Mint From Do It Best

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware Stores3Evergalze, Silver Star, Silver Dome From Do It Best

Swedish Gustavian Colors From Do It Best Hardware StoresChalk Rose, Dawn Marie, Angel Dreams From Do It Best

12 Designers Pick Their Favorite Paint Colors – House Beautiful

House Beautiful Paint Color Experts- 12 Swedish Gustavian Paint Colors - Designers Picks

House Beautiful often features the best designers with their favorite go-to paint colors. Sometimes having the just-right color can make a tremendous difference in a room, or on a piece of furniture.  Here are some of my favorites that work with the classic Gustavian/ Swedish interior design themes.

1. Ann WisniewskiSherwin-Williams Emerald Fawn Brindle SW 7640,

2. Cathy Kincaid – Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion Pale Powder 204

3. Kerry JoyceBenjamin Moore Natura St. Johns Bay  584

House Beautiful Paint Color Experts- 12 Swedish Gustavian Paint Colors - Designers Picks

1.  Lisa McDennon – Sherwin-Williams Harmony Conservative Gray SW 6183

2. Whitney StewartC2 LUXE Seedling C2-188

3. Allison CaccomaBenjamin Moore Regal Harbor Haze 2136-60

House Beautiful Paint Color Experts- 12 Swedish Gustavian Paint Colors - Designers Picks

1. Paul CorrieBenjamin Moore Regal Select Blue Lace 1625

2. Ashley Whittaker –  Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell Pink Ground 202

3. Mara MillerRalph Lauren Paint Willow RLVM270

House Beautiful Paint Color Experts- 12 Swedish Gustavian Paint Colors - Designers Picks

1. Kevin Isbell – Benjamin Moore Aura Buttered Yam  AF-230

2. Lynn Morgan  – Benjamin Moore Advance Nosegay 1401

3. Deborah Walker Sherwin-Williams Duration Gray Screen SW 7071

12 Interior Designers Pick Their Favorite Swedish Paint Colors

12 Interior Designers Pick Their Favorite Swedish Paint Colors House Beautiful's September 2014 issue- Photographer Michael Croteau 1 12 Interior Designers Pick Their Favorite Swedish Paint Colors House Beautiful's September 2014 issue- Photographer Michael Croteau 2

House Beautiful’s September 2014 issue- Photographer Michael Croteau

Seen In House Beautiful’s September 2014 issue, interior designers spill on their favorite “Swedish” inspired paint colors.

Tori Golub suggests- Only Natural SW 7596 From Sherwin- Williams

Shea Soucie suggests- Blue Gray 91 Farrow & Ball

John Danzer suggests Pavement C2-988 C2 Paint

Jill Dienst suggests Donald Kaufman Color DKC-67

William Cummings suggests Skylight 206 From Farrow & Ball

Rhonda Eleish suggests Pavilion Blue 252 From Farrow & Ball

Laura Bohn suggests Sensible Hue SW 6198 Sherwin Williams

Jayne Michaels suggests Donald Kaufman Color DKC-6

Sara Story suggests Pavilion Gray 242 From Farrow & Ball

Christine Markatos suggests Milk White 15-32 From Pratt & Lambert

Sandra Nunnerley suggest Lamp Room Gray 88 From Farrow & Ball

Eileen Kathryn Boyd suggests Sleepy Blue 6225 From Sherwin Williams

5 Faux Wall Painting Techniques That Are Easier Than You Think

Lars Sjoeberg The Swedish Room Photo credit Ingalill Snitt Source

Lars Sjoeberg  The Swedish Room  Photo Credit Ingalill Snitt 

If you are wanting depth to your walls, here are some of the very simple faux finishes you can do yourself.

Start by selecting a color theme for your room.  In this post you will see a variety of color examples from pale blue, to lighter warm yellows and lighter greens.

Working with glaze, crackle finishes, and distressing techniques can make your furniture appear older than it is.  Likewise, layering paint on your walls will also create depth and give you that old world look we all have fallen in love with.  Here is how to do it…..

1. Ragged Finishes

Color washes are finishes that are produced with rags and paint.

Color washing is usually is achieved by a using rags which attach to a roller.

The trick to achieving this finish is to work with translucent glaze. Don’t attempt this finish with solid paint.  Using a glaze mixture of (half glaze, half paint), paint is applied over a previously painted wall.  The effect it produces a subtle textured finish.

Ralph Lauren Ragging

A Primitive Effect Using Green, seen on www.ralphlaurenhome.com

Notice the whole wall isn’t ragged, just a small portion of it. Also painted furniture in the same tones are paired in this room to join together the various looks.

Keep All Tones In The Same Color Family

  • One tip that I have learned through ragging finishes is to have the glaze mixture matched to be a few shades darker or lighter than the wall color.  If you decide to do three colors, keep the tones quite close in color.  The overall effect will be soft, and subtle.

Glaze + Paint For A Final Top Coat

  • Another trick I have learned is to go over your entire project with a layer or two of glaze mixed in with a small amount of paint.  The entire effect of the tinted glaze dulls the look slightly, and hides the roller effects. The idea behind this is to make your work appear subtle. You want to keep people guessing as to what you used to complete the finish.

2. Dry Brushing

Brushed finishes, is an effect which is achieved by dipping your brush into paint, and then removing most of the paint, on a rag.  The small amount of paint allows you to add a very soft effect over a previous layer of paint.

The effect depends much on the brush you use.  If you use a badger softening brush which tends to be very large and soft, it will produces a soft effect with paint.

I have used this effect with an old broom handle.  The bristles are thicker, and harder, and produces lines than a soft shading.

Again, mixing together paint + glaze will allow you to get the look of an additional layer with a faux effect, and you may not have to wipe off the excess paint.

  • In this picture, this effect can be achieved by using a dark brown artists oil paint. Most of the paint must be removed from your brush to achieve this look. This look can be achieved using brown artists oil paint over a muted orange base coat, slightly brushing the which highlights some of the raised details.
  • Achieve depth to your furniture by applying a lighter coat over top of a painted finish. As you can see with this look, a lighter shade of green-gray is applied over a darker shade of green. This look could be achieved by dry brushing.

3.  Sponge Finishes

Sponged faux finishes are those which a paint mixture is applied with a sea sponge.

Sponge painting is still the best and most frequently used mediums when it comes to classic faux finish painting.

Using a sponge, you can use multiple glazes layered over solid paint which gives the illusion of great depth.

Ideally, like most finishes, you want to start with a base coat, and build on it using a glaze mixture. The overall effect should be soft and serene.

Sponging can also be used on furniture to give an old world Swedish look.

In the past, I would use a base coat of brown, and then after it was dry, I would apply a base of oil paint in butter yellow and use a rag, or a textured paper towel to remove the paint.  Within just a few minutes of applying the paint, I would remove it, and the oil paint which was wiped off on the  rag I would then slightly dab here and there, on the furniture to create a very soft effect, making it seem as there was more layers to the paint finish.  After it was dry, dry brushing with the same oil paint was used to blend in the textured effects.

4. Faux Leather

Terrific faux effects can be produced using a very heavy garage bag. Again working with a wall that has been painted, apply a layer of a glaze mixture on the wall. More than half glaze to paint.

Tape the wall in rectangular sections and apply the glaze in the taped area.

Next apply a heavy weight garbage bag to the wall allowing the folds to be pressed into the wall using your arms and hands.

Take the garbage bag off, and the folds of the bag produces a beautiful faux finish.

This is a very easy way to create a classy effect on the walls.

– Great Article- How To Faux Paint

5. Stenciling

Stenciling can be very powerful if it is done right.

Create your own stencils using a stencil cutter which is a fine heated tip that cuts through the plastic blank stencils with precision. Lay a piece of glass in between the stencil and the pattern, and cut away.

17th and 18th Century stenciling has always been the very best model of inspiration.

Here are a few very well done Swedish stenciled homes:

– Book Review: Jocasta Innes Scandinavian Painted Furniture

Ted and Lillian Williams chateau in Normandy, France

-Neoclassical White Stenciled Walls-Petit Trianon

-Antique Original Red Hand Painted Trunk with Rosemaling Floral Motif

-This photo shows a great example of wall framing simply made by stencils and paint

-Here we see a stunning Rococo design stenciled, or hand painted on the walls for a distinct Swedish look.

Continue Reading…

Paint It White He Says….

Darryl Carter on One Kings Lane- Swedish ArmoireDarryl Carter on One Kings Lane- Swedish Armoire

Washington, D.C., interior designer Darryl Carter certainly has made a memorable mark on the color white.   Fifteen years ago he had a busy career as a lawyer when he decided to change course and open his own interior-design firm.  He made a name for himself by transforming rooms that were grounded in a neutral palettes with an appreciation for showcasing art and antiques.  Swedish interiors have always been known for their white based interiors.  In an interview by Veranda, designer Darryl Carter gives his best tips for using the color white in your home.

1. Pick Your Paint First

“It’s not a cop out,” he insists. “It’s a way to harmonize a house in its entirety.” Once you’ve chosen your paint, select textiles next—preferably a hue that closely matches the walls. “Navigate the drapery into the wall color so that you are not so aware of the window treatment,” he suggests.

2. Paint Your Architecture In White

He says that architecture looks best in white.  He gives an example pointing to a bookshelf cabinet in a Virginia townhouse which was painted to blend into the walls.  The coffered ceiling was also painted the same color, which added a subtle architectural element to the space.

3. Don’t Shy Away From White Or Cream Around Kids

He tells Veranda, that you don’t have to sacrifice style and serenity because there’s a toddler in the house. “There is a presumption that neutral cannot be kid-friendly,” says Carter.

“Instead of shying away from softer shades, he suggests changing the materials. Try enamel finishes and high-gloss paint in high-traffic areas, as well as durable faux leather and outdoor fabrics for upholstered pieces that withstand the wear and tear of young children”

4. Unite Your Kids Rooms Into The Rest Of The House

Carter encourages parents to integrate their child’s room into the larger experience of the home.

“You don’t want to open the door and suddenly wonder where you’ve landed,” he says.

In one family home, Carter created a space in the child’s room which matched the overall modern style of the family’s home. Over time, parents can adjust the space with different pillows and textiles as the child matures.

Continue Reading…

5 Pro Painting Tips For Black Furniture

Pro Painting Tips- Best Painted Furniture, Black Painted Antiques, Black Painted Furniture, How To Paint, Scandinavian Furniture, Swedish Antiques

Anyone can paint a piece of furniture black, but there are certain tricks to make your painted pieces appear more valuable than they really are.  Many of us feel that sensation of discovering a beautiful piece of furniture at a garage or estate sale, and then dreaming of what to do with it next.  If you are anything like me,  scrolling through pictures of paint chips, and color combinations can be a thrilling experience.

If you love lighter colored interiors such as white, light blue, or mint green, then black furniture might be a consideration for your interior.  Painting a piece of furniture black can create tremendous contrast for your interior.   Here are a couple tips to making your painted furniture look antique:

1.  Use Matte Paint

You won’t find shiny finishes on the old antique furniture in Sweden. This article won’t cover the modern black painted furniture that one would expect to see in the 50’s or 60’s , but rather the aged furniture that someone could come across 100 or more years ago.

When selecting a sheen, consider starting out with a matte finish.  Once the piece is dry you can add either a tinted wax or a tinted glaze to the final finish to give it even more depth.  The sheen will then produce a look between flat and satin.  Starting out with a low sheen will keep the overall finish looking rustic even after you apply additional paints.

2. Paint Your Hardware

While there are so many ways to feature hardware on black painted furniture, painting the hardware can be a smart way to making a black piece look understated yet elegant.  Take a look at a French Provincial chest painted in olive by Knack Studios.  The hardware was painted and carefully distressed.  In this case, a little bit of distressing went a long way.  Compare that photo, with this photo of a black painted bombe chest which is also painted in black.  The hardware is painted, but not distressed.  While bombe chests are considered some of the most spectacular pieces of furniture, this piece falls short for me.

– Darken your hardware with chemicals.  Rockler sells a brass darkening solution that ages brass, copper and bronze metal. It allows you to change the color gradually so you can control how dark the final product turns out.

– American Accents by Rustoleum sells an Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint that I have used on many pieces of my own furniture. After the paint has dried, simply distress the hardware with a sponge sander.

– 9 DIY Recipes For Rusty Hardware- Hersite

3.  Show Off The Wood With Distressing

Adding a bit of interest to your furniture can go a long way.  There are several ways to add patina.  Two ways that come to mind is by distressing, and another is by layering paint.

A: Distressing is a sure way of adding depth and interest to a vintage piece of furniture.  Some people like a LOT of distressing, and others like MINIMAL distressing.  It is rather interesting to see how people fall into those two categories.  Look at a few pictures on pinterest to decide what appeals to you.  The best thing about distressing is if you go too far, simply just repaint the areas, which will tone down the distressing.

Continue Reading…

Designers Pick Their Favorite Gray Paints

Picture Credit –Scandinavian Antiques Co On Ebay

House Beautiful Designer Grays

Featured above are the colors, Top Row: Pratt & Lambert’s Argent 1322, Farrow & Ball’s Claydon Blue 87, Farrow & Ball’s Green Blue 84, Middle Row, Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue 22, Benjamin Moore’s Sea Star 2123-30, Benjamin Moore’s Wolf Gray 2127-40 Bottom Row,  Benjamin Moore’s Graytint 1611, Sherwin-Williams’s Magnetic Gray SW-7058,  Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbor 2111-50

Home Beautiful featured an article on 26 Designers who shared their favorite Grays.  Gray painted interiors can be the perfect color palette for Swedish Gustavian or Rococo antique furniture.  Gray can showcase antiques like no other color, because it is neutral, and doesn’t compete with the furniture and decor. The last thing you want after spending thousands on a piece of furniture, is to have someone notice anything but what you spent your hard earned money on!   Pair your painted gray antiques with a backdrop of white gray interior walls and trim, and add a punch of color with your upholstery, accessories, and flowers.

Many of the designers featured in the article, were those of Richard Gluckman, Stephanie Stokes, David Kleinberg, Tori Golub, Stephen Sills, Phoebe Howard, Steven Gambrel, Gerrie Bremermann, and Sharone Einhorn and Honey Walters.  

Here are just a few of the designer quotes:

“Mesquite is a flattering light moss green without much yellow. I love it because it doesn’t shout ‘I’m green!’ It says, ‘I’m a very beautiful color.'” –Jennifer Garrigues, Benjamin Moore’s Mesquite 501

“Lago Argentino is a glacier lake in Patagonia, and it’s the most amazing color, an aqua, milky because as the ice melts it pulls minerals off the mountain. I stayed in an inn with a stunning view of the Perito Moreno glacier.” –Suzanne Rheinstein , Ralph Lauren Paint’s Blue-Green GH81

“For me, the most appealing colors in summer are not hot but cool. You don’t need to be reminded of the sun and heat — you’re in it. What you want is a cool breeze through the pine trees, like this chalky gray green.” –Frank Roop, Benjamin Moores Soft Fern 2144-40

“In my cutting garden I have morning glories climbing over a lattice obelisk painted this wonderful silvery sage green. It reminds me of lavender leaves.” –Michael Whaley, Benjamin Moores Cedar Grove 444

“I have a big, hugely functional Georgian Revival lawyer’s desk in tired dry mahogany, bought from a tired dry lawyer. I painted it this pale gray-green in an oil-base stain finish, cleanable, very calm, but not so pale that it dies. The gimmick is the old-fashioned desk in an unexpected color. It catches light and makes for a more interesting surface.” –Carey Maloney, Donald Kaufman Color Collections DKC-10

“It’s kind of robin’s egg blue, and with mahogany furniture and neutral upholstery, it looks great. I see dining rooms as mostly evening rooms, and this has life to it. It’s very soothing.” –Mariette Himes Gomez, Benjamin Moore’s Sage Tint 458

“Green is the great neutral, all the way from pond scum to soft sage or pale celery. I recently moved into a new house surrounded by greenery, and when I was thinking of what color I might use for a drapery lining, it came to me to reflect the green that is present year-round right outside that window.” –Barbara Barry – Donald Kaufman Color Collection’s DKC-8

“This is the color of the sky in Old Master paintings, when the varnish has yellowed; it’s luminous. Paint just the floor and you’d feel as if you were floating.” –Thomas Jayne, Benjamin Moore’s Heavenly Blue

“In my cutting garden I have morning glories climbing over a lattice obelisk painted this wonderful silvery sage green. It reminds me of lavender leaves.” –Michael Whaley, Benjamin Moore’s Cedar Grove 444

Gray Painted Swedish FurnitureGray Painted Swedish Furniture – Laserow Antiques

18th Century Swedish Tray Table – Jacqueline Adams Antiques

This mirror would have been part of a room paneling. It features a beautifully hand carved and gilded top panel of a basket with flowers and grape bunches before crossed mallets and grape branches and is surrounded with a square, gilt molded frame. Beneath is a square mirror framed with a beaded, molded edge

Continue Reading…

HOW TO: Paint Gustavian Finishes

Paint Gustavian Finishes

Andie, from Divine Theatre Blog, posted an amazing transformation of an outdated Mexican armoire, which was converted into the classic Gustavian styles with layers of distressed paint and new hardware. Andie shows us how to do it ourselves….

“These pine Mexican Armoires are outdated, having seen popularity in the mid to late 90’s, they are a trend whose time has come. It is evident by the sheer volume of pieces like this on Craigslist. This particular armoire is a bit different in that it has a domed top with a carved cutout in front.”

In the post, the biggest challenge with the armoire was changing out the hinges. Hinges can be really tricky. Transforming my own armoire, I know all too well, that not every hinge is alike.  Be careful when removing existing hardware.  Save the existing hardware until you find another set that will work well.

More From Andie about Hinges….

” There are more than 20 different types. Three of those types made their way into my home and had to be returned because they would not work on this piece. The doors are very thick! I ended up using plain old butt hinges. I chose 2 inch hinges and merely placed them under each existing strap hinge and drilled small pilot holes, then attached them all and finally removed all the existing strap hinges. I then filled the holes with wood putty and let it dry overnight. I also filled the knotholes with wood putty. It required two applications, allowing the putty to dry thoroughly between applications. I then sanded the putty with a fine grit sandpaper”


Armoire Transformation

Painting Steps:

1). One Coat Annie Sloan Old White
2). (Not Shown) Second Coat Annie Sloan Old White
3). One Coat French Linen
4). Sand with Medium grit sandpaper.

Andie explains more about the Swedish paint finishes:

“Following these foreign impulses the Swedes created a more restrained or austere style of decoration more suitable for Sweden than the over embellished continental Baroque and Rococo styles. Original 18th century finishes were achieved by multiple layers of a pigment such as black Iron Oxide, mixed with linseed oil. The typical Gustavian grey was reached by mixing these two ingredients and the depth of the color depended upon how much iron oxide was used. A high sheen is not common among Gustavian painted pieces.”

“When I paint a piece I peruse hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs, as well as old paintings. I look to see how the piece withstood the ages, where the paint is worn away and the patina of time and use. With this piece I imagined it came from a large home that had only fireplaces for heat and candles for light. I was heavy handed with the Annie Sloan Dark Wax to mimic the acrid, clinging smoke that no amount of cleaning could erase. Then I sanded the corners, where busy hands may have grabbed the doors through the centuries, taking bits of paint and depositing oils. I then sanded around the hardware to mimic the efforts of the housekeeping staff to keep the hardware clean. I imagined a servant buffing in the same pattern each time she was assigned the task of cleaning this armoire. Up and down…side to side…year after year… until the pattern became engraved upon the surface. The mops they used sometimes nicked the base of the piece and removed paint.”

Mexican Cabinet After Drawer Hardware

Andie’s Paint and Hardware Suggestions:

– Remember to have clean t-shirts or terry towels on hand to rub the wax in after it is applied.

– Place laurel, torch keyhole escutcheons on each drawer and used mock key pulls as well.  In this post, “The Best 5 Sites For Purchasing Hardware” shows these torch keyholes. Find additional Swedish and French hardware here

– “The mock key pulls had a shiny brass finish. I first soaked them in acetone to remove the clear sealer, wiped them off , rinsed in hot water, then boiled them in a mixture of salt and white vinegar. I used a ratio of one cup to one cup. After you boil them for 10 minutes, remove them from the vinegar and salt solution and place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Please be cautious when working with chemicals and high temperatures!”

– Add additional architectual details such as the large finials Andie found on ebay

Additional Posts From Andie:

-Craigslist Mirror Transformation and Tutorial – Divine Theatre Blog

-Louis Chairs Before and After- Divine Theatre Blog

-Rags To Riches- A Table Transformation- Divine Theatre Blog

– Craigslist Tutorial -The Craigslist Guru is sharing her secrets!- Divine Theatre Blog

-More Ormolu For Louis –Divine Theatre Blog

-You did What? A Table Transformation- Divine Theatre Blog

Gold Leaf Process Victoriaan Pier Mirror

Gold Leaf Process Victoriaan Pier Mirror- Divine Theatre Blog

Divine Theatre Blog

Gold Leaf Process Victoriaan Pier Mirror- Wreath Detail-Divine Theatre Blog

Divine Theatre Blog

Paris Grey With Dark Wax

Louis Chairs Before and After- Divine Theatre Blog

Louis Chairs Before and After- Divine Theatre Blog

Fill Length Bibliotheque Library

Fill Length Bibliotheque Library

The Shocking History Behind “Emerald Green” Paint

Seglora Church -Relocated From Western Sweden

*Disclaimer*-The pictures contained in this post are to illustrate the BEAUTY of yellow and green paint used in 18th century interiors.  We have no knowledge what so ever of the paint used in the rooms or furniture.  Emerald Green and Yellow colors are absolutely stunning colors to decorate a home around.     

The History Behind Emerald Green

Emerald Green, is the color of the year for 2013, yet what many people don’t know is the color “Emerald Green” at one time, killed people.

This brilliant blue-green color was extremely popular in the mid- 1800s, because emerald green paint was cheap to manufacture, and it had such a great depth of color.

In 1814 in Schweinfurt, Germany, two men named Russ and Sattler tried to improve on Scheele’s green, and made a paint made with copper arsenite. The result was a highly toxic pigment called “emerald green”. This paint was made with arsenic and verdigris and the bright green color became an instant hit within the design community.

The vibrant color was not only used as artist paint, but as well as household paint amongst other things. Many people at that time didn’t know the paint was made with poisonous arsonic, and who is to blame them when we don’t know ourselves what kind of unhealthy additives are contained in our foods.  As soon as the color was produced, it was picked up by many companies far and wide. The emerald green dye wasn’t only used for paint, but wallpaper and as liquid dyes.

In particular, in damp rooms where mold grew, the arsonic in the wallpaper paste would be turned into a toxic gas which would be deadly for anyone living in the room.  By 1830, wallpaper production had risen to 1 million rolls a year in the UK, and by 30 million in 1870. Tests later revealed that four out of five wallpapers contained arsenic.

Leopold Gmelin (1788-1853), a German chemist, suspected in 1815 that wallpaper could poison the atmosphere, that he made several efforts to warn the people in his day to strip their rooms of the paper, and advocated banning Scheele’s green. He noticed that the substance gave off a garlic-like odor when the paper was slightly damp. Experiments at the end of the 19th century proved that arsenic pigments in damp or rotting wallpaper were lethal.  If only they listened to Leopold Gmelin’s warnings!

The color “Emerald Green” became so popular and widely used in the cotton industry which used the chemical in pigments and dyes. It was also used by other industries such as glass manufactures as a de-colouriser, and in the production of leather tanning, soaps, lampshades, pharmaceuticals, agriculture for sheep dips, children’s toys, and candles.

Emerald green was also used to color cake decorations. In a few recorded instances, this dye was used to color icing, much like we do today.  In one case,  the industry making the dyes employed hundreds of young girls, who later died from chronic arsenic poisoning.  At a banquet held by the Irish Regiment in London in the 1850’s, sugar leaves that were dyed with the Emerald Green, and used as table decorations.  Many of the guests took the decorations home to give to their children to eat as a treat, whom later died.  Another dinner in 1860, a chef produced a spectacular green sugar dessert, used Scheele’s green and later, three of the diners later died.  If this is shocking, read this up on our modern day Aspartame. It has been proven that this popular sweetener used in coffee is toxic to your brain.  In fact, they say that when aspartame is added to hot waters, exceeding 86 degrees F. the Aspartame converts to Formaldehyde, and then to Formic Acid, which damages the brain….. yet this substance isn’t pulled off the market.

Emerald green was also called Schweinfurt green, Paris green, and Vienna green. The toxicity of emerald green was not initially recognized, until the recipe was published in 1822. Napoleon’s death in exile on St Helena was possibly a result by his exposure to the Emerald green wallpaper in his favorite room. The French painter Cezanne had an attraction for using paris green, and later it was known he suffered from severe diabetes. Later, the use of this pigment was abandoned when it became general knowledge that people who wore clothes dyed with this green tended to die early.

Here is the sad part- Even though they knew all the scientific evidence of its highly toxic nature, production of emerald green paint was not banned until the 1960’s. 

See: 10 Tips for Buying Used Furniture Online- Painted Furniture Online

The History Cinnabar Red

One of the most difficult to use and costly pigments on the market. Cinnabar red is obtained from a mineral (the principle ore of mercury). The Romans obtained it from the Almaden mines in Spain, which is still today an important locational source of mercury. In order for it to be used as a pigment, the mineral had to be purified, then synthesized and then ground to the correct fineness. If improperly handled, it could turn black.

Red’s hard. There are so many bad ones. They’re either too bordello or too raspberry nail polish. Or they’re so brown it’s like eating in a Southwestern theme restaurant, or so primary and overly frank that you want to ask, ‘Where do I put the presidential seal?’ I’m always looking for either a juicy pomegranate red, a Chinese lacquer red, or a really good oxblood. Because it’s such an important color, red needs nuance, subtlety, and depth, so in those rare instances that I break it out, I like to do it as a glaze, a lacquer, a fabric upholstery, or as red leather walls so there’s variation to the tone.”CELERIE KEMBLE

See: The Top Shades Of Red Paint By The Most Famous Designers- The Painted Furniture

The History Behind Lead White

The poisonous qualities of Lead White have been noted since Ancient Rome, when the color was made in Rhodes (Greece ) where workers would put shavings of thin lead over a bowl filled with vinegar. The acid on the thin metal would cause a chemical reaction and leave a white deposit of lead carbonate which was then powdered, flattened and left to dry in the sun. The small amount of lead white still manufactured today follows this same formula.

The History Behind Naples Yellow

The 18th and 19th century saw the discovery and manufacture of synthetic pigments and dyes, which quickly replaced the traditional yellows made from arsenic, cow urine, and other substances. Naples Yellow is one of the oldest synthetic pigments. Naples yellow was essential to the landscape tradition because it has a quality of appearing to recede, making it perfect for capturing the essence of the sun. The genuine pigment is toxic, and it is believed that Vincent van Gogh’s mental illness and suicide was a result of his frequent use of true Naples yellow.

Have scientists finally discovered why Van Gogh’s paintings are turning brown? Mail Online

Hope For Today

Today we have a wide variety of organic paints available within reach.  More than ever paint manufacturers are producing low VOC paints as people are looking at safer brands for their homes and health.  Olympic Premium and Benjamin Moore Aura have shown to have lower VOC levels than other tested paints and did a good job in this hiding test, according to Consumer Reports. VOC levels have been toughened because VOCs are linked to respiratory illnesses and memory impairment.

The top paints in the Consumer Report Ratings  had among the highest claimed VOC levels, including Behr Premium Plus Enamel low-luster and flat  and Benjamin Moore Regal semigloss.   They reveal that lowering the VOC levels can affect performance. “When you take out VOCs, you still need strong performance properties, but you have to find other ways to achieve them,” says Carl Minchew, product-development director  at Benjamin Moore. Still, some no- and low-VOC paints did well in performance revealed in the Consumer Report Ratings.  Posted in the Consumer Reports Magazine issue: March 2009

See: Green Dreams: Environmentally Friendly Restoration FurnitureThe Painted Furniture


This information below comes from www.wetcanvas.com

“PY41 is genuine Naples Yellow (Lead Antimonate), tubed paints come in two yellow versions, Light and Dark (sometimes available in a “red” pigment as well). Available from Vasari, Michael Harding and Robert Doak. Genuine Naples offer a smooth blending mild tinting yellow that works in more delicate situations, like portraiture. Here is a comparison of both Michael Harding genuine Naples Yellows along with others similar colors, including OH’s PBr24 imitation Naples Yellow Extra. The lower mixes show the colors tinted with white above, and black below.”

Continue Reading…

Fired Earth’s Anniversary Paint Collection


These beautiful paints  are the result of a recent collaboration between Fired Earth and the National Trust.

Founded in 1983 , Fired Earth began as a Terracotta supplier, and later expanded to offer bathroom and kitchen cabinetry, and hardware.  Although Fired Earth has a wide selection of house products, they are best known for their beautiful paints.

With their 30th Anniversary, they launched archive colours from their extensive library of paint pigments and featured six new colours named Delias Secret, Mad King George, Jazz Cafe, Hansel and Gretel, Eton Mess and Terracotta Warrior.

Fired Earth has also worked in collaboration with Kevin McCloud, a well known British designer and author and leading authority on colour.  Together, they created color formulas from carefully selected pigments, minerals and resins, chosen for their qualities of opacity, density, light fastness and durability. The paint was developed with minimal and low VOC’s.  These water-based paints are available in 120 colours in matte and eggshell finishes.

Kevin McCloud is best known in the UK as the color go to guy with a knowledge on every design style from historical to modern.  The Telegraph had an interesting article titled Are Posh Paints Really Worth It?they ask the question – Why spend the money, when you can get your local paint store to match the shade, and spend less? Here are a few interesting points from the Telegraph interview…..

McCloud, a self-confessed paint “anorak”, is unequivocal in his defence of posh paints. “Having used many, many different brands over the years, it is very clear to me that the more you pay, the better the paint,” he says. “Cheap paint has more water in it, less pigment and less binder.” Thus, as a rule, the more expensive paint covers better and lasts longer. It is also more environment-friendly, being lower in “Volatile Organic Compounds“.

“There is a place for cheap paint, and McCloud concedes he has painted his own kitchen in “bog ordinary trade white emulsion”, but the cheaper paints are made with synthetic pigments. And pigment, he explains, is what gives paint its quality and depth of colour. – “Traditional pigments tend to be made of rocks and minerals, earth and clay,” he says. “And consequently they are impure, and rather complex. The more complex the pigmentation, the more interesting the colour. It gives redolence and depth, and you get undertones – colours which subtly change in different lights.”

“One can say that this was a colour used in this particular house, on a certain day in, say, 1818, but the colour has probably faded, or gone darker, or yellowed. It’s very difficult to ascribe a particular nuance
of colour to a room for a particular date.”

The book ‘Choosing Colours’ by Kevin McCloud- Credit Nicola Holden Designs

Kevin McCloud’s Books

Choosing Colors: An Expert Choice of the Best Colors to Use in Your Home by Kevin McCloudAmazon

In this stunningly produced guide, internationally renowned interior designer Kevin McCloud puts together over 1,000 color chips arranged in over 80 palettes. Each palette—which includes anywhere from 6 to 16
color swatches—forms a blueprint for a unique decorative scheme. A palette based on old Chinese silk, for example, is seen reinterpreted in a contemporary New York apartment. Each palette features gorgeous photographs that bring the color scheme to life, along with invaluable advice and tips for using the colors to transform a room. This book provides manufacturers’ paint references and numbers, lists of suppliers, and much more.

Kevin McClouds Complete Book of Paint and Decorative Techniques by Kevin Mccloud- Amazon

From the earthy hues of Italian farmhouses to the cool elegance of Scandinavian interiors, color has always played a crucial role in decorative schemes. In the first section of the book a unique cut-out color selector illustrates the eight essential earth colors on the decorator’s palette and shows how to create and combine them successfully by clever intermixing of pigments. These essential colors, together with five secondary colors, are then used in the techniques throughout the book, so that all the stunning decorative effects can be easily recreated.

The techniques section that follows contains instructions and step-by-step photographs for more than 35 glorious decorative effects, plus countless variations. Each technique contains a list of essential ingredients, step-by-step photographs and a close-up of the finished surface or object.

Decorative Style: The Most Original and Comprehensive Sourcebook of Styles, Treatments, Techniques by Kevin Mccloud- Amazon

Using innovative, easy-to-master techniques and surprisingly inexpensive materials, Kevin McCloud — a brilliant young set designer turned interior decorator — shows you everything you need to know to design and create your own stunning adaptations of today’s most popular decorating styles.

There are forty styles in all — from Santa Fe, Shaker, Miami Deco, and Caribbean to Bauhaus, Biedermeier, Mackintosh, and French Country (to name just a few) — each designed and created especially by the author and stunningly photographed, with literally hundreds of styling options and color variations to choose from.

The decorative effects and other components of each style are analyzed, rephotographed with a full range of imaginative alternatives, and cross-referenced to all the techniques, tools, and materials needed to create each unique effect.

Kevin Mccloud’s Colour Now by Kevin McCloud- Amazon

Love blue but don’t know which shade to choose? In this dazzling new book, Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud has taken over 120 particular colours into 70 tried-and-tested palettes that are guaranteed to transform your home. A short introduction describes the history of colour and its replication, colour theory, how to combine colours into a palette and advice on how to use the book. Thereafter the bulk of the book is devoted to the colour palettes themselves – each made up of a collection of between 3 and 8 colour swatches and featuring an inspirational photograph demonstrating its possible use. Every palette is also introduced by a short piece of text describing its influences, potential and variety.

Choosing Colors: An Expert Choice Of The Best Colors To Use In Your Home by Kevin McCloudAmazon

This decorating guide explains techniques ranging from craquelure to marbling, colourwashing to liming wood, and provides information on tools and materials. The step-by-step photographs show exactly what to do, while the life-size details show the effect being aimed for.

Kevin McCloud’s Complete Decorator by Kevin McCloud- Amazon

This lovely 272 page book is filled with dozens of color photos showing many different decorating styles. It includes a unique cut-out graduated colour section, step-by-step instructions for a vast range of paint
techniques, easy colour mixing, working with different surfaces and objects and so much more.

Techniques of Decorating (Dk Living) by Kevin McCloudAmazon

Kevin McCloud is a leading influence in interior design. His unique and refreshing approach stems from a background in art history and the theatre. Using a repertoire of techniques ranging from the traditional to the self-invented, he offers an unsurpassed array of rich effects and a sure guide to effective styling. Each of the more than 30 creative effects – including gilding, verdigris, clair bois, stained glass and woodgrain – is explained in detail, while close-up, step-by-step photographs show exactly how to achieve it. A comprehensive section at the back of the book provides details of tools and materials needed and lists the addresses of suppliers.

‘Blue-ish greys are military and came into their own as World War I battleship camouflage. The really interesting greys, however, are those made with purple. They have a warm, brownish cast that flatters flesh tones and brings natural woodsy materials to life. They’re not popular, but they should be.’

‘Often the most stimulating colour combinations come from strong cultural influences – from the environment, from food or from nature. Here’s a pretty worldly palette: one of stone and sea and earth and sky.’

Principles Of Home by Kevin McCloudAmazon

On my list marked ‘fastidious obsessions’, getting the right fine old French grey comes pretty high on the list. If you were a colour expert, you could take some chalk-white casein distemper, add raw umber and a little raw siena and you’d be there. Note I didn’t mention black there – when you mix black and white the resulting colour is so cold you might as well call it blue. No, for a good grey, go greenish and go with earth colours. Fine complex colours are the tinctorial equivalent of a fine old French wine.’

“The hardest colours to get right are the four optical primaries: red, blue, yellow and green. The colours that will make your life a positive misery are tints of those colours. Most modern paints are coloured with a limited range of powerful synthetic dyes. The most interesting colours are those made with muddy, traditional earth pigments or complex arrangements of colourants.”

“The best pinks – those that change colour under different lighting conditions – are those on the cusp of red and purple, made with red oxide pigments. The best yellows or creams – those that can withstand bluish northern light and never look green – are made with yellow ochre.”

Continue Reading…

Painting Swedish Looking Furniture – 3 Tips / Part 3

Picture Credit Habitania Work Rooms

As we discussed in Part 2, Accent furniture, such as Gustavian chairs, smaller tables, drop leaf tables, stools, and benches can be brought into the home, and used instead of the larger scaled furniture that we are used to today to achieve that Swedish Gustavian look.

Another element that draws people to the historical Swedish look is the painted furniture.  There is an art to getting the rich patina that is seen on true antique furniture found in Sweden.  Almost anyone can find vintage French furniture in their area which can be distressed using a number of techniques to give it a historical appeal.

In this early post I wrote, I describe some of the paint techniques I have used to achieve great white painted furniture.

Here are some of my best tips to getting realistic Swedish painted finishes……

1.  Work with colors that are muted.  If you have ever mixed paint before, think about the colors that are produced when black or white paint has been added to a color.  In the 17th and 18th century, there was a limited color palette available, so black and white paint was added to an existing color to produce a shade that was darker or lighter.  On one of my pinterest boards, I compile some colors that will give you ideas of ranges of hues that are very appropriate.  Annie Sloan has a wonderful range of colors which all are muted, yet vibrant paint shades which I suspect were based off the French style that she is so attracted to.  She has put together a fabulous palette of colors which would work in any French or Swedish styled home.

Don’t ever work with colors with really bright pigments.  I cannot blame anyone for being confused as there are thousands of shades of paint to pick from.  The furniture should look aged, and color appropriate for the century you are after.  I guarantee you, getting a really nice finish on a piece of furniture doesn’t have to be complicated.

2.  Strip Or Sand To Get Down To Bare Wood. 

A raw wood piece of furniture is always the best to work with.  Although finding a piece of furniture that is untouched with paint rarely happens.  Starting off with a piece of furniture that is not painted is ideal, but if it does have paint, consider comparing the the color you have picked out to the color the furniture is painted in currently.

Would you mind having the original color showing through?

If not, consider spending the time stripping off the paint.  A perfect strip job isn’t necessarily if you plan on re-painting it, but enough of the paint removed will give you a new wood surface to work off of.

I have seen black painted furniture with distressing showing white beneath, and it doesn’t look great.  A base color of red looks terrific with black painted furniture, or just plain wood.  If you don’t want to strip the furniture, (as it is a lot of work) consider giving a good deep sanding to the furniture, especially to the areas you plan on distressing.

Often times if stripping the furniture is something I don’t wish to do, I sand the furniture quite well as a first step, paint it in the color I  plan on working with, and then sanding it again as a third step.  This allows me to touch up the original paint color that shows through, while leaving some of the distressed areas that show off the wood.  It is a lazy way of getting the finish, but the results are quite nice.

If you plan on doing multiple shades such as the chest below, consider colors that work really nicely together.  White works nicely as a top color.

 Swedish Distressed Chest From Atelier September

Distressing gives your piece of furniture a depth, which is often seen in Swedish antiques.  I am not afraid of roughing up my furniture, and I am not afraid of altering an antique.  Many antique dealers caution people from painting furniture, because it does loose the natural patina, and because of that, it often looses the value.  This is a wise piece of advice to those people who are looking to “invest” in heirlooms for the value.

If you always wanted a white distressed cabinet, paint it, and don’t be afraid to do so.  My motto is that you have to first love the piece, because after all, it is in YOUR home.  Your children may have a totally different style in mind for their own home, so do what makes you happy, rather than looking at furniture as items to pass down to family.

I used to sell used furniture for a hobby, and always ran into the problems with paint sticking properly.  Either you tore off your arm by sanding the heck out of every piece, or you ran the risk of the paint peeling later on, which lead me to use oil paint.  Not every oil paint brand is the same.  Some brands are so hard to work with, that they will make you pull your hair out.  It is almost impossible to find oil paint in a finish that is either flat or eggshell.  You won’t find glossy Swedish antique furniture, so don’t use it on your furniture.  The look should either be eggshell, or satin.

Cover Stain By Zinsser is a fantastic oil primer which I discovered by accident, and almost was beside myself when I discovered how well it performs.  You can buy this at Home Depot and almost every Hardware Store, and the best part of this paint is that it is TINTABLE in almost all the lighter shades of paint samples such as Behr, Martha Stewart, and so forth.

High Hide Odorless Oil Primer without Sanding – Odorless Primer

I bought the paint, because I couldn’t send out a piece of furniture which would later peel.  I wanted a paint that could stick to anything and not scratch.  Oil based paints are not environmentally friendly.  The trade off with this paint is that it has a heavy smell which disappears after it has dried.  You will need to use a paint respirator, and I emphasize that recommendation.

The most surprising aspect to Zinsser’s Coverstain Primer is that it is not a thick paint.  It is rather thin, and goes on like spreadable butter.  You rarely need an additional layer of paint, because it is oil after all, and isn’t like water based paints.  Oil paints tend to self level as they dry, leaving almost no brush marks.  Oil paints do cover well, and hold up wonderful.  Unlike other oil paints, which can take up to a week to cure, this Coverstain dries to the touch in 3 hours, and cures over night.

The other reason why I recommend this product, is that it is sand-able.  Almost every other oil paint brand I have tried doesn’t sand very well, and often leaves the finish needing an extra coat.  Because Zinsser’s Coverstain dries flat (matte) sanding blends in rather nicely.  In the past, I often added  two coats of the tinted primer, and then sealed it with a Polycrylic water-based sealer.

Polycrylic is one of the best finishes to use on white based furniture, because it doesn’t yellow over time, like polyurethane does.  With the polycrylic, I would apply it with a brush, and then with a damp white cotton wash rag, I would just wash it off.  This would give me a seal to the paint color, while at the same time, maintain the flat, or eggshell finish that I enjoyed.

Another tip I would recommend is to buy a good quality angle paint brush for water based paints.  I have used these with my oil paints, and my brush sits in paint thinner for weeks, and it is still not damaged.  Regular chip brushes are ok, and inexpensive enough to throw out, but a good quality brush won’t leave paint strokes.  Someone suggested to me to invest in an expensive brush, and I pass on those words of wisdom.

Swedish Accent Chair With A Fabulous Paint Finish $506

18th Century Buffet, circa 1760 Jane Moore Interiors in Houston

Picture Originally Featured on Indulge Decor Blog

Stunning Swedish Styled White Painted Accent Chair

Neoclassical Swedish Styled Accent Chairs Sold In Pairs $983

3.  Glaze Your Furniture With Brown Glaze…..

Glazing is so easy, it takes minutes.  If you can wipe your table after dinner, you have the skills to glaze!  It is that easy.  A glaze is a translucent binder which  paint pigment is added to the mixture to produce a translucent color. You can buy glaze mixed together at your local hardware much like ordering paint, or you can buy glaze alone and mix in paint yourself.

Buying brown glaze already mixed will go a far way if you paint furniture for a living.  I used it on all my painted pieces, including my white furniture.

Blend & Glaze Decorative Painting Liquid

Ralph Lauren Faux Technique Glaze

I have discovered that glaze can be applied in two ways.  You can apply it with a paint brush, let it stand for 3 minutes, and take it off with a slightly damp rag.  With white furniture, even though you may feel you removed a lot of the glaze, the little bit that is left gives your furniture that slight change in color.

With flat finished white furniture, I give some wise words of wisdom.  Add a coat of polycrlic before you glaze.  You could even dilute the polycrylic with a slight bit of water, OR, just brush on a very small amount on to your furniture, such as dry brushing techniques.  The reason for this, is that your furniture can turn a shade of brown, which is not what you are after.  White furniture will have a hue of brown, but you don’t want the glaze to STAIN the paint.

Another trick is to work with a creamy white, not a bright modern white.  Your whites should always have undertones of brown or green in them.  When glazing white furniture, if the finish is flat or eggshell, you will need to work fast in pulling off that glaze.  If the finish is satin, you will have a bit more time.

For painted furniture such as blue, or darker paint colors, glaze can be added, and it makes a world of difference.  Often times I just paint on the glaze, such as you would just dry brushing the furniture.  I use the term “dry brushing” as your paint brush isn’t loaded with paint.  A small amount is necessary to make a dramatic difference.  A brighter colored blue, will be muted when brown glaze is added, so experiment with brighter paint shades with brown glaze, you might be surprised what beautiful finishes can be achieved.

These Swedish chairs were likely scraped down to the original paint

Look how nice white upholstery looks with gray paint.

Originally featured on Romantiskahem.blog

 This beautiful console table featured on The Paper Mulberry Blog, originally from  Appley Hoare Antiques

Tara Shaw Swedish Chest- Coach Barn Now Sells Tara Shaw’s Collection

Reproduction Swedish Tub Chairs From Amazon $775

Swedish Distressed Chest From Atelier September

A Stunning Trumeau Mirror From Tone on Tone Antiques,

Featured on Henhurst Interior Blog

Swedish Aged Paint Finishes From Antiqbr Blog

An extravagant painted sofa in terrific blue gray paint with painted ormolu 

From Tone on Tone Antiques Featured on Featured on Henhurst Interior Blog

Swedish Aged Paint Finishes From Antiqbr Blog

A Few Previous Articles Of Interest

White Painted French FurnitureThe French Provincial Furniture

25 Ideas Of How To Incorporate Orange, Pink and Coral Into Your Home- The French Provincial Furniture

Ideas For Embellishing Painted Furniture– The French Provincial Furniture

French Provence Red Check Textiles– The French Provincial Furniture

Distressing Painted French Provincial Furniture

Breathtaking Weathered Dining Tables You Can Buy Online

French Louis XVI Directoire Provincial Walnut Dining Table- Quality Is Key On Ebay $765

French Louis XVI Style Drape & Bow Carved Painted Dining Chairs $1436 Quality Is Key On Ebay

Vtg White Furniture French Directoire Style Oval Dining Room Table $775 Quality Is Key On Ebay

Maison Dining Table Solid Oak Weathered Grey Oval Table

Consider this stunning Maison table available from World Bazaar Exotics on ebay, listed at $1,188 for your Swedish Gustavian styled home. 

Dimensions: 48″ Version:  48W X 47D X 31H, 68W with leaf,  72″ Version:  72W X 47D X 31H, 92W with leaf

This outstanding table with timeless 18th century style is crafted out of solid oak with aged finishing techniques that will surely impress you and all your guests.  This deep grey finish will work quite perfectly in a Gustavian styled home.  This table includes one 20″ drop-in leaf extension.

Restoration Hardware also sold a very comparable table inspired by 19th-century French Empire design.  RH’s table is also built from solid oak, and had a full skirt and slender tapered fluted legs. A weathered finish also lends itself to a look that has been aged for years.  RH’s price ranges from $695 – $1495


Restoration Hardware’s French Oval Table

Gustavian Oval Gate Leg Table

Gustavian furnishings have an uncanny ability to  express serious sophistication without ever veering into the indulgent,  foo-foo, or precious.  This oval dining room table is a classic example of serious form following the functionality that only a drop leaf surface can provide.  Whether placed in a loft of cottage, city apartment or large estate, this piece just works. 31 inches high x 63 inches wide x 77.5 inches long


Swedish Dining  From Traditional Home, April 2007

French Country Louis Dining Table $3,348

A graceful 18th century style piece reminiscent of the French country aesthetic, this generous dining table will please those devoted to beauty and simplicity.  Fashioned from solid oak and elm, the rounded edges and legs create a gentle, rustic effect. 

Beautiful White Rent Table – Seen In The Home of Shannon Bowers

Carl Larsson Table From The Gustavian Collection

Louis Extension Dining Table French White Solid Hardwood- Buy it on Ebay

The Napoleon collection faithfully captures the romantic feel of vintage, painted furniture from the French countryside. Featuring gently curved frames made of solid hardwood, brightly colored then rubbed down on the edges. Adds a soft splash of vibrance to any setting. $2,200.00  71″ to 91″ x 43″ x 30″, (91″ fully extended ) Oak wood

Harlequin Set of Twelve French Dining Chairs in Grey Linen Antony Tood

Linley Heavy Distress Farm House 14 Person Trestle Dining Table $3,938.00

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well

Designers Pick The Best Milk Paint Color For Furniture

Pictured, Slate Blue and Oyster White , both by Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co.

In House Beautiful’s “Add a Pop of Color to Your Furniture” key designers revealed their best paint colors for furniture.   Brian McCarthy’s reveals his favorite colors from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint line.

“Find a piece that has good lines and trick it up. I’ve taken a plain pine chest of drawers from a junk shop and done a simple, cottagey finish with milk paint. Start with a base in Swedish blue-gray and lightly brush over it with white, pulling back with steel wool in spots to reveal more color.” -Brian McCarthy

The gray Donald Kaufman color swatch that Carey Maloney suggested would look fantastic on any piece of furniture, and would be a great color that you could base your entire Swedish home around. The Blueberry Myrtille would look fantastic on a dresser chest with tons of distressing.  This color was chosen by designer Christopher Maya.  Ruthie Summers suggests Ralph Lauren Paint’s Relay Red , while Thomas Burak suggests  Benjamin Moore’s Heritage Red Exterior Roo, both would look terrific on a Swedish accent chair.

How To Decorate Around Pastel Greens Part 2

You wouldn’t be making a mistake if you choose green to base a room around.   Martha Stewart has brought pastel color tones into the spot light more than anyone else over the last 20 years.   Pastel tones were at their height during Rococo period (1725-1775) which was an 18th century reaction against the grand Baroque style.  Rococo is a lighter, more whimsical version of the Baroque style.   Pastels flurished during this time as the rococo style emphasized lighter based colors, sinuous curves, and patterns based on flowers, vines, and shells.

How to use pastels:

When using pastel colors in the room, it’s important to remember that there are  plenty of pastel shades to pick from.

-Base a room around yellow using light yellow on the walls with brighter canary yellow throw pillows and art. Consider contrasting painted black furniture to make a statement.

-Pastel colors work wonderful on the wall because they are light and not over powering.  Layer in darker tones of the same hue with furniture and brigher hues of the same color with accessories.

One simple way of selecting a shade is to use paint sample strips from your local decorating store.  Simply find a darker color on the  paint strip that matches your furniture pieces, then, choose the lightest pastel color on the strip  for your wall paint

-Pale apricot would be a terrific color to put on the walls.  Pair it with blood orange accessories, and light green accents.

Celery green painted walls would look terrific with brighter colored mint green painted storage containers.  Use a slightly darker green around the trim.

Where do you fall with warm or cold color tones?

A gray can look quite different when it has undertones of yellow, or blue.  Yellow can fall into the warmer category, while the blue is more of a cooler tone.

Pastel Colors

Warm Red: Permanent red, scarlet, poppy red, Cold Red: Carmine, crimson, madder red

Warm Green: Permanent and phthalo green, Cold Green: Aquamarine, teal

Warm Blue: French ultramarine, deep ultramarine, Cold Blue: Cerulean blue, turquoise

Warm Violet: Red violet, Cold Violet: Ultramarine violet or blue violet

– You can find inspiration in the most unusual places.  Here you see a lighter dulled down mint green combined with more of a Kelly green with red accents.  Talk about a great room color scheme!

– Consider collecting green glass which you can use as display or as a vase.

-Use storage furniture that you can paint.  I have painted my cardboard storage boxes in the past to unify my garage space.  Wicker baskets can be painted, along with wall shelves.

In this photo, you don’t see any furniture glazing, or distressing, – just simple hand painted finishes on the furniture and the trim.  It goes to show you that not everything needs to be glazed and antiqued.  Green is used throughout the room in subtle ways.  If you look at the top of the table, the pad is also painted or re-covered in the same color tones.  A green gingham fabric is a perfect combination for this chair; not too busy, but detailed.  Storage boxes and magazine folders match perfectly adding to this custom look.  It is interesting to see how ONE color tone can make such a big impact.

This room which appeared in Martha Stewart is based around pastels.  An asian table painted in black gives a wonderful contrast to the light green pastel.  If you look closely around the dog, you will see the trim is painted in a darker paint shade.  The best thing about this photograph are the lovely floating shelves on the wall that are painted to match the wall color.  White magazines show off an exceptional collection, while at the same time, allowing this look to remain clean and organized.

Consider buying a gallon of green paint, along with a quart of white paint.  When your walls, and furniture are painted, add in some white into the existing green paint to get a very light version of the color that the room is based around.  Paint a childs chair to sit in the corner, or some accessories in light green.  Consider painting the matts of your picture frames with this lighter color tone for a subtle contrast on the walls.

New from the Home Decorators Collection and Martha Stewart Living is a line of craft furniture designed to organize your crafts.  The line is called the Craft Space Collection and is designed to be highly functional with maximum storage capability. The pieces are based on the custom-made furniture that is found in Martha’s own personal craft rooms. This furniture is specifically designed for avid crafters who need special furniture for their crafting projects.

The crafting room is often the most disorganized room in the house, because of the endless supplies that make it appear cluttered.  For most people, they don’t have a whole room designated for their crafts, which is why this furniture line is so appealing.  These pieces are so beautiful that they wouldn’t look out of place in any area of your home.  These pieces are designed to work with one another.  Buy one piece to furnish just a corner or an entire room with pieces that mix and match.

The pieces will aid you with paper based crafts such as scrap-booking and card making, as well as sewing.  Pieces are designed specifically to hold wrapping paper and ribbon and plenty of drawer and shelf space for tools, paper, sewing supplies and more. The furniture is available in two colours, sage green and white.

Sasha Waddell Interiors also has a collection of furniture inspired by the classic simplicity of American utilitarian designs of the 1930s.  The color looks almost identical to Martha Stewarts.   Look how she matches up the magazine holders with the same color that is used on the furniture.

Craft Space Gift wrap Hutch, 34″Hx42″W, RHODODNDRN LEAF $169

Craft Space Table, 36“Hx54″W, RHODODNDRN LEAF $249

Craft Space Table, 31″Hx54″W, $229

Collection in Rhododndrn Leaf:

-Craft Space Deep Cubby Organizer, 13″Hx21″W, RHODODNDRN LEAF $69

-Craft Space Left Cubby Organizer, LEFT, RHODODNDRN LEAF $27

-Craft Space Corkboard, CORK, RHODODNDRN LEAF $49

-Standard File Cabinet, 31″Hx21″W, RHODODNDRN LEAF $159

-Small Cubby Drawer, TALL-6″Hx5.25″W, $6

Tall Cubbie Drawer, SHORT-4″Hx5″W,$6

-Zigzag Drawer Insert, 16.75″Wx11.25″D,$16

-Storage Console, SHORT-31″Hx21″W, $129

Magazine File, 11.5″Hx4.25″W, $14

-Letter File Cubbie Drawer, LETTER FILE, $14

-Deep Cubbie Drawer, TALL-6″Hx5″W, $9

Collection in Picket Fence :

– Craft Space Gift wrap Hutch, 34″Hx42″W, $169

 -Craft Space 42″w Storage Console, LONG-31″Hx42″W, $179

-Craft Space Deep Cubbie Drawer, TALL-6″Hx5″W,$9

-Martha Stewart Living™ Craft Space Table, 31“Hx54″W, $229

-Craft Space Center Cubby Organizer, CENTER, $59

-Craft Space Paper Organizer, PAPER-13″Hx21″W, $119

-Craft Space Right Cubby Organizer, RIGHT, $27

-Craft Space Standard File Cabinet, 31″Hx21″W, $159

-Storage Console, SHORT-31″Hx21″W, $129

Collection in Sharkey Gray:

-Craft Space 21″w Storage Console, SHORT-31″Hx21″W, $103

– Craft Space Paper Organizer, PAPER-13″Hx21″W, $119

–Craft Space Deep Cubby Organizer, 13″Hx21″W,$69

Additional Beautiful Pieces:

-Martha Stewart Larsson Desk in Black, $399

-Martha Stewart Living Larsson Cabinet $199

-Martha Stewart Living Ingrid File Console $399

-Martha Stewart Living Larsson Swivel Desk Chair $124

-Martha Stewart Living™ Ingrid Console Table, $279

– Martha Stewart Living Ingrid 3-Shelf Bookcase $259

Use Your Garage

Running out of space?  Transform your basement or attic with these attractive pieces.  Think about a major overhaul in your garage.  Get rid of the clutter and make it into a usable space, while at the same time not making your husband mad that he has to park outside.  If your garage is long and narrow, consider using the side of the garage, and work with the space vertically.

TV armoires are being thrown out at local used furniture outlets as people are hanging their flat-screens on the wall.  Consider a used armoire for the endless over-sized tools.  Consider staining your concrete a lighter beige to make the space look cleaner and paint the walls a coordinating green to make this room a usable extension of your home.  Work with existing furniture, and match up your previous collection by painting your existing furniture and accessories green.

Paint Your Cabinetry Gray Like Martha Stewart’s Kitchen

Tour Martha Stewart’s Home-Between Naps on The Porch

6 Bright Kitchen Lighting Ideas- Martha Stewart

Martha’s Bedford Farmhouse Kitchen – Martha Stewart

Remodelista snapped some incredible shots of the set of the Martha Stewart Show showing a fabulous kitchen modeled after her her very own kitchen in Bedford, New York.

Open shelving displays an amazing collection of all white tableware.  If you look closely, in the back of the cabinets, risers were painted and hide lighting that illuminates the collection of plates and teacups.  Vintage pitchers are used for utensil storage and grouped in a set of three.  Look how she seperates the wood from the metal.  Look at the additional picture Remodelista shows for how Martha displays her vintage rolling pins as decor on the wall.

The cabinet paint is Mourning Dove Gray (MS 151) and the wall paint is Evening Moth (MS 173), both from the  Martha Stewart Colors line.  Brass is commonly used by Martha on gray cabinetry, which dresses up the cabinets quite nicely.  Marble countertops also give the kitchen an upscale elegance.

Martha Stewart Kitchen’s Set On Her Show

Martha Stewart’s Grey Kitchen Showing Off Her Espresso Maker

Gray Painted Cabinets With White Dinnerware Displayed

Gustavian Swedish Painted White Mora Clocks

Original Transition Mora Clock 1764 This clock has a beautiful face and has inscriptions “A. A. S.” (for Krång Anders Andersson (1727-1799) of Östnor,) and “Mora”. Finely chased bronze hands. The body is in the transition style (between Rococo and Gustavian) made of soft wood and has a cream and gold patina.

Antique Swedish Clock circa 1830- This early 19th century Swedish longcase clock has an off white finish with oriental style decorative elements to the case. The brass 8 day clock
workings are key wound with weights driving the time and strike trains. The dialis accessed through a glazed and hinged door at the top. Access may be gained tothe pendulam and weights through a point in the front of the case. Jefferson West Inc. $6,500
Paint and Parcel Gilt Mora Clock Sweden 1840– Paint and parcel gilt tall case clock, called a Mora clock in reference to the Swedish city of Mora where these clocks were
first designed and built in the 18th century. This particular clock was built during the second quarter of the 19th century. Garden Court Antiques

3 Spectacular Blue Painted Mora Clocks

Unusual floor clock from Norway. Crafted in the Swedish Mora tradition, this
floor clock is signed by clockmaker Sven Nilsson and proclaims “Bjerke” as the
area of origin. This “Bjerke” is known as a large estate in Norway.

Swedish Tall Clock from Mora, circa 1820, with elegant rococo case surmounted by a carved urn. Hand-painted and signed dial. Original clockworks, newly cleaned and adjusted. $11,500 Cupboards and Roses
Mora, Sweden., Circa 1790 A Gustavian Period, Tall Case Mora Clock in original surface with elegant carved details on the crown piece.

Wonderfully Painted Swedish Mora Clocks

18th Century Swedish Mora Clock in its original finish and retaining its original works and pendulum. Beautiful color, shape, and details. Sold by M Naeve in Houston, TX

Early 19th century Decorative Swedish Mora clock retaining its original surface. Charles Spada Antiques

Mora clock, Sweden circa 1820, with classic rococo style. Early secondary paint in pink, original clockworks.  $9,600 Cupboards and Roses

Furniture Painting, Distressing & Glazing

Painted French Chair Baroque Chair Raymond Goins

The next time you get ready to paint a french accent chair, consider painting the frame a color and keeping the upholstery neutral.

This chair is one of the nicest painted french chairs I have ever come across. I cannot say if it is the lighting, but it appears to be like there are two shades of green that appear on this chair. The inside of the frame looks to be a lighter shade of mint than the rest of the chair. The gold details really highlight the spectacular details of the frame. A white is used for the upholstery giving way for the carved details of the frame to shine.

There are several ways of painting this look.

1.  Milk /Chalk paints have a saturated color making them an industry favorite.  Their chalk like appearance along with being very easy to distress make the paints a favorite amongst painters.

Simply paint your piece and let it dry.  As usual, distress your piece of furniture, and apply a tinted wax to the surface of your furniture giving it an aged effect.

2.  Using Regular Paints:

Any typical paint will work with this finish.  Ideally, starting with a brighter paint is always better.  The reason for this is, as additional layers of paint are added, the final paint finish will still have lots of pigment to the overall appearance even though additional dark glazes were added on top of the original color.

Consider using a brighter blue or green in the pastel range in a flat finish for your project french chairs.

Flat sheens allow you to work with the additional glazes much easier.  Flat or eggshell work very well, so either one can be used.  A satin or semi gloss tend to not eat up the glaze as well as an eggshell finish.

Lets get started:

Paint your entire frame and let it dry.  Once it is dry, distress the frame using a sponge sander.

Sponge sanders are great because they can give a natural distressed look compared to belt or electric hand sanders.  Norton has a 6 pack for $5 which is the price of two sanders in most stores.  The next step is to add the decorative finishes.

There are several ways of going about this.

A)  Dry Brushing: Is basically the effect of using a small amount of paint feathered on to a piece of furniture.  The overall look is subtle.  Much like applying blush to your cheeks over foundation.  The effect is light, and not rustic what so ever.

For example if you are working with a bright mint color, consider dry brushing 2 or 3 shades of the same hue (darker or lighter ) on to your furniture.

This is simply done by having a very small amount of paint on your brush, and wiping the excess off on a cloth and lightly going over your furniture. If you are finding streaks or lines with the paint brush, you have too much paint on your brush.

The overall effect should show no indication of what medium you used to create the effect.

An oversized badger brush is ideal for this.

B: Painting On – Wiping Off

This is one of the easiest techniques around, and one I am very comfortable using.  Not only is it easier than dry brushing, but it allows you to not over think the process.

This effect looks terrific on distressed furniture, so distress the heck out of your piece!

Again, mix up some paint a couple shades darker or lighter than your base color.  This doesn’t have to be complicated, add black or white in your original paint color.

This technique is simply achieved by brushing it on and wiping it off with a rag.  Working with a damp but dry rag works the best for me.

If you are working with a fairly large piece, consider working with glaze.  Glaze gives you additional time to get the paint off the furniture, compared to regular satin paint.

Going back a few steps……

At first, I recommended a flat finish as your base coat, and the reason for that is flat paint covers well.  It sands very easily, and it takes less coats to cover evenly.  Additionally it allows the glaze to stick well, and move around easier than a semi gloss base coat.

Glazing on the other hand- When it comes to using paint (not glaze) to dull your furniture down, a satin finish will give your piece a bit of a shine, and also allow you to move around the paint easier with a cloth. The product “glaze” purchased in a store will give your piece a bit of shine as well.

Working with glaze gives you extra time to move around your paint.  If you plan on working with paint only as your dulling medium, you have to work extra fast.  It takes some practice, especially on larger furniture.  Glaze is always easier on bigger pieces, and smaller pieces alike.

Ideally if you start off using a very bright color, dull it down with a couple shades lighter than the base color (see the color chart above) and then finish it off using a very thin coat of brown or olive glaze. I buy my glaze UNTINTED, and tint the paint myself as I go along, because I have a variety of painted projects that I use with glaze.

Glaze is usually mixed half paint to half glaze.  Again, eye ball it, you don’t have to measure it. 

I find sometimes the nicest finishes are those which I paint on a very light coat of brown glaze.  Instead of the other finishes which I take off with a damp rag, this finish is just a thin layer of glaze.  The overall effect just dulls down the overall color.  Brown glaze can make a huge difference with colored paints.  It also makes a impact on white paint as well.

When painting with white, consider a creamy paint, not stark white as your base paint.  When glazing over white, paint on the brown glaze, and take it off very very quickly.  This is especially so using flat paint. The flat paint will soak up the brown pigments so don’t leave your glaze on too long.  In fact, I would suggest using more glaze to paint ratio when glazing white furniture.  Experiment for yourself to get the timing right.

C)The best method I have used is oil paint to create surface glazes. I love working with oils because they produce an effect like nothing else.  I do the first two steps the same as above….1 (base coat), 2 (distressing) but when it comes to adding a glaze, I tend to work with a satin oil paint from my local Sherwin & Williams.  You can get custom colors mixed, and I tend to work with a yellow that is between the top two colors in the color chart above.  The yellow works over almost every color I paint with.  Over brown it produces the gray you see in this photographHere is another dresser which I used the color.  You can see remnants of the paint in the details.  With oil, you have to work pretty quick, because it can get very thick quickly, making it more difficult to create a nice even finish.

 CAST IRON URN Terra Finish From Desgin Studio D

(This is as close as I can describe what a finish looks like using oil paint.  Oil paint allows you to move the paint around the piece with a damp cloth leaving a textured finish behind.  You can see that in some areas the paint was removed more than others)

For dressers I work in very small sections.  Smaller pieces of furniture I quickly apply paint to the entire piece and work like mad to get it off.

I simply paint on the oil paint, over the entire piece (or small sections if it is a big piece of furniture) and use an old facecloth to take off the paint. 

If you do more pieces at the same time, I find my cloth gets saturated with oil, (which dries) and makes my later pieces much better. 

I have used a muted dulled yellow over blue, and green, and the effect is terrific!  Nothing comes close to oil paint.  Painting can be fun, experiment, and make the pieces your own. 

Swedish French Decorating - Shannon BowersShannon Bowers- French / Swedish Painting Ideas

This french chair appeared in Shannon Bowers’s Swedish styled home, which was featured in Veranda Magazine. The frame is painted a pastel green, and heavily distressed, while the upholstery is in a clean linen white finished with nail head trim.

French Provence / Painting Finishes- Twenty Six Twenty Antique Store Featured on Cote De Texas

On the armoire above you can see how attractive muted blue paint looks against white painted details.  The settee has a light blue painted frame, with heavy distressing.

Painted Antique Furniture Using Pastel Greens - Picture Credited to Cote De TexasPainted Antique Furniture Using Pastel Greens – Picture Credited to Cote De Texas

Painted Console Tables- Swedish Faux Finishes

Swedish Furniture Ideas- Suzanne Rheinstein November Elle Decor

Swedish Furniture Ideas- Suzanne Rheinstein November Elle Decor

This lovely photograph is from Suzanne Rheinstein’s archives.  A table such as this would often be seen originally gilded in a gold or painted gray.  Look how terrific it looks painted in muted blue with white accents!!  The paint appears to be on the chalky side, which is quite commonly found with Swedish antique painted furniture.

The dark gray stone top is a great match against the blue paint color.  White used as an accent paint color gives a refreshed appearance.

The combination of white, along side another color (gray, coral, blue or yellow) is often seen with painted Gustavian furniture.

Neoclassical Furniture - Mary Douglas Drysdale

 Here is another Swedish table painted in an off green pastel color with creamy white accents.  This piece looks as if it was glazed with brown paint to give an antique appearance.  Or….  it could be antique!  Mary Douglas Drysdale From William and Kate Blog

An Interview With Tara Shaw About Her Swedish Furniture Line

(These pieces are no longer on Amazon…sorry)

A few select pieces from Tara Shaw are now being sold through Horchow.

Reminiscent of favorite antiques imported from Europe, Tara Shaw Maison offers reproduction furnishings and decor for the home that will become your new classics. Simple yet elegant, this handcrafted birch Swedish side chair is hand carved of birch wood with a hand-painted finish.  19″W x 13.5″D x 38″T. This terrific chair sells for $1499 from Horchow.

Horchow had an interview with Tara Shaw that was very inspiring:

HORCHOW: What inspired your furniture collection?

TARA SHAW: “Guerrilla antiquing” for 15 years in Europe. II was so difficult, finding one-of-a-kind items and knowing only one person could buy it and enjoy it.  I couldn’t find these finishes and styles in a reproduction line – that inspired me to create the pieces I wanted.

HORCHOW: As an interior designer, what are your go-to’s?

TARA SHAW: For fabrics, Dedar; I used their acanthus  print in gray and cream for a showhouse bedroom. For paint, Benjamin Moore #925. an ivory that works with
whites or colors; tor high-gloss. “Possibly Pink” from Fine Paints of Europe. For wallpaper, I just launched my own “Grisailles”, based on the grisailles panels in
Tara Shaw Maison.

HORCHOW: Which design era is most inspiring to you?

TARA SHAW: Louis XV! in France and King Gustav II in Sweden. Louis was the father of the straight leg. and both are known for clean lines, pale painted finishes gilded to perfection.

Tara Shaw Swedish Reproduction Furniture

Three distinct chair backs, each featuring elegant curves, intertwine to form the back of this breathtaking Swedish-Rococo-style bench. Reproduced from a European original, it offers a unique seating option formal enough for grand dining rooms yet casual enough for entryways, bedrooms, or other areas.

  • Hand carved of birch; no two are exactly alike.
  • Seat upholstered in poly/cotton.
  • Hand-painted finish.
  • 64″W x 20″D x 42″T; seat height, 20″T.
  • Imported.

Tara Shaw Swedish Reproduction Furniture

Tara Shaw Swedish Reproduction Furniture

Inspired by a European original, this stately bench features ornate carvings on the apron and legs for Old World charm and antique appeal. From Tara Shaw.

  • Frame is hand-carved birch with a hand-painted finish.
  • Upholstery is polyester/cotton blend.
  • 52″W x 22.5″D x 21″T.
  • Imported.

How To Decorate With Yellow For A Historical Look

Yellow & Green Floral Applique Antique Quilt – French 72 On Ebay

Swedish Decorating Colors- Blue, Yellow, Navy And Gray- Painting of King Gustav III
Antique Yellow Rococo Chest- Scandinavian Antiques  1st Dibs

Yellow along side blue and white are colors that are known to be distinctively Swedish, so when it comes to picking a color for a room around, yellow is a fantastic choice.   If you have ever based your home around the darker colors such as red, or black, over time it can be very overwhelming, and just gloomy.  Yellow produces the opposite effect.  It is enlightening, encouraging, and uplifting.

The color yellow can apply to so many decorating styles, so when considering a period look that is Swedish, here are three tips to keep in mind to make it uniquely Gustavian.

1. Pick the Right Hue–  Yellows such as pale yellow or ocher yellow are more historical than high-voltage tones.  Brighter tones of yellow can be very fluorescent, which are not at all what you want for a period room.  Choose yellows that have a rich brown or slight reddish undertone for the best period looks.   Take an ochre yellow and go a few shades darker or lighter on the scale for a perfect tone.

2. Don’t rely on the Paint Chip-  A hue that appears just right on the paint chip will usually intensify once it’s on your walls.

In our small town we don’t have a paint store close to us which can match customized colors, so I experienced this very thing when I went to our local hardware store last week for yellow paint.  Our local paint store cannot custom match pre-mixed colors, so I had to pick from the selection that was available for sale.  The color which was almost right in the store turned out to be very bright on my outdoor table.  I added in every can of yellow paint that I had left in my home, and a gallon of dark ochre, and it happened to work out to be the perfect shade for the project I was painting.  The shade of ochre works every time I find when I am customizing colors.

With that being said, consider getting a couple samples of paint which cost only 2 or 3 dollars than getting a whole gallon of the shade you think is right.  Consider the color you think is right, and try a shade a few shades lighter.


Sudbury Yellow Paint From Farrow & Ball
Yellow Painted Walls- Historical Paint Colors Martha Stewart
ntique Swedish Furntiure – Gustavian Decorating

3. Combining 2 different tones of yellows can be quite stunning.

This classic Gustavian room that appeared in “Classic Swedish Interiors,” by Lars Sjoberg, featured on Mentar Mentar Blog shows classic painted paneling.   The paneling is a saturated tone of yellow, which is very rich in color.  The walls are painted yellow, which appears to be a duled down yellow.  The combination is absolute perfection.  You can see in this photo, they dressed up this room with a white painted Swedish  Mora clock and a black painted french styled desk with a brown leather desk chair.  The three tones are perfect color combinations for a Gustavian effect in this yellow based room.

Swedish Decorating Ideas- Gustavian Interiors- Decorating With Yellow- Drottningholm Palace Theatre

Again the same tones appear in this photograph of the Drottningholm Theatre.  Like the leather desk chair in the above picture, you see the same tone of burnt umber on the doors and window frames.  White is the second dominant color in this photograph.  You can also take tones of the gray marble from the base of the marble statue.  The light blue sky is a beautiful accent color.

You cannot go wrong with adding in a couple different shades of yellows.  Choose your dominant color of yellow, and add in a few more shades of yellow in the accessories.  Neoclassical lamps often feature a pedestal of some sort and a fluted section which can be painted in three tones.  Pick a shade of yellow, and combine it with black and gold, or yellow, gray and gold.  Paintings also allow you to add in several rich tones of the Gustavian palette.  Painted furniture is another way of adding in the just right tone into a scheme.

5.  Picking out the right upholstery fabric and throw pillows can go a long way in making your room more period in style.  Gustavian decorating often features fabrics that are based on white backgrounds.  Picking a fabric that is floral, check or stripe will give you that period style you are looking for.  Finding the right fabric can be a true battle, but remember you have so many other elements that can work in your favor to create the Swedish effect.

Swedish Decorating Ideas- Historical Paint Colors

Picking the right paint tone, along with the right tones for your accent colors will go a long way in recreating a Gustavian home.

Stunning Antique 1800s American Portrait Painting From Paris Couture Antiques on Ebay

You can see in this photograph a slight yellow tone on the wall, which may be from the camera flash.  If you can imagine the wall painted a yellow tone, with layers of gold paintings on the wall, and gold brass accents.  The weigh scale has a slightly brown tray holding black bottles, with a very bright yellow ribbon.  The various tones of black, yellow, red ( the bottom of the photograph) and navy, seen in the scale itself is the perfect color palette for Gustavian styled decorating.

Yellow Ocher Painted Walls From Southern Accents Magazine

“I like a buoyant, light-filled house, so I usually use all warm or yellow-based colors. This ocher is really a contemporary yellow shade with an antique resonance. It doesn’t draw attention to itself as, say, bold yellow or even white would. The ocher walls provide support for the exceptional paintings and furniture. Bright-colored walls would visually compete. This shade flatters everyone — it complements every skin tone.” – designer Thomas Jayne

Decorating With Yellows- Gustavian Style Decorating
Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden

You can see in this photograph of Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden his suit is a brighter yellow against a backdrop of yellow ochre. You can see the painting has a stunning blue sash, and a darker blue jacket, that isn’t quite navy.  The brighter yellow, and the peach tones such as the colors in his face would be a great color scheme for a yellow room.

Take some inspiration from the brighter yellow interiors found in the Swedish Chinese Pavilion. The interior featured brighter yellows and bold fabrics on upholstered Swedish chairs.

Here we find a combination of yellow and orange at the Chinese Pavilion.  The walls are lined with a light blue paint.

In this picture we find a combination of greens, lighter greens and pastel tones with brighter colored yellow ribbons.  Consider a scheme of pastel greens and yellows.

Designer Mary Douglas Drysdale uses brighter tones of yellow in her neoclassical room with Federal antiques.  She combines a brighter yellow check pattern  in the upholstery and for the window drapes

This ravishing yellow silk gown from 1760 gives off the perfect tone of yellow.

This 17th Century styled room features tones of beige, gray, and natural wood herringbone wood floors and a brightly colored yellow fabric cover.  Consider using yellow as your pop of color, such as they did in this room.

Tour Through Drottningholm Palace, And Drottningholm Theatre


Drottningholm Palace also has a theatre that sits directly beside the palace.  The Drottningholm Palace Theatre, or in Swedish called “Drottningholms Slottsteater” is an opera house from 1766.   Today it is run by a private foundation, but still functions as a real theatre!  The theatre was built for Gustav III by his mother in 1766.   Gustav III loved the theatre so much and was often known as the theatre King. In 1792 when he was assassinated, his mother Louisa Ulrika of Prussia decided to close up the theatre at Drottningholm.  Then in the 1920s it was rediscovered, and because the theatre had not been used or touched in so many years, almost all the original equipment is still there.

This wonderful group of pictures came from TC4711 on Flicker, and Sim 1 Travels

I am so thankful to people like Hansn’s Flicker who have taken pictures for us to view.  King Gustaf III had this lobby made as an addition to the Court Theatre in 1791. It was also used for having breakfast. Musicians then sat on the upper floor making the music sound like coming from the heaven painted on the ceiling! When the King was murdered one year later the theatre was closed and it stayed closed for 130 years. Check out the marble finish on the walls. There are so many colors of faux marble wallpaper that you can put up to give the look of a high end interior marble. Add a tinted glaze over top of the wallpaper to mute the overall look so it doesn’t appear to be wallpaper. There are also many free videos on You tube today with Master Painters who show How to achieve these looks. If you are willing to learn, it just takes some practice.

Continue Reading…

Falu Red- A Prominent Color In 17 and 18th Century Sweden

Swedish RedThe color red has been distinctive color in Sweden in the 17 and 18th centuries.  Falu red  (pronounced “FAH-loo”, in Swedish Falu rödfärg) is the name of a Swedish, deep red paint well known for its use on houses, barns and cottages. The paint originated from the copper mine at Falun in Dalarna, Sweden.  During the 17th century Falu red was commonly used on smaller wooden mansions with the intention to imitate buildings with brick facing.  In the Swedish cities and towns, buildings were often painted with the Falu red until the early 19th century, when many began to oppose the paint.

It was then that other colors were introduced such as yellow, white and the beautiful lighter pastel colors that you see in historical architecture in Sweden.   Houses and buildings in Scandinavia are usually painted white or yellow.   Red paint was the cheapest, so many of the barns and outbuildings in the countryside were painted red.

Only the noble buildings of the farm were painted in other colors.  Falu red saw another surge in popularity in the countryside during the 19th century, when farmers  began to paint their houses in the beautiful saturated paint color. Falu red is still widely used in the Swedish countryside to this day due to its effectiveness in preserving wood.   Incorporate a little bit of red in your Swedish decorating to get an authentic Nordic look.  A wood side chair or commode would look terrific in this color!

Falu red during manufacturing may range in color depending on how much the oxide is burnt.  The colors can range from dark red almost borderline black to a bright, light red.   The paint itself consists of water, rye flour, linseed oil and residue from the copper mines of Falun.  The residue contains silicates iron oxides, copper compounds and zinc.  The color to the left in pot is a very accurate hue of the Falu red .

18th century architecture Sweden, Stockholm.

A lovely country Swedish Red house.  An iron oxide based wood preserver was used on the timbers.

A lovely red painted house near Trollesund.

Sources Wilipedia

Swedish Red Mike Downey On FlickerSwedish Red Mike Downey On Flicker

18th Century Home From Country Living Magazine18th Century Home From Country Living Magazine

18th Century Swedish Manor House Lars-Sjoberg Featured on Trouvais BlogColonial Red Painted Panelling By Thomas Jayne Featured at Home Beautiful

18th Century Swedish Manor House Lars-Sjoberg Featured on Trouvais Blog

Colonial Red Painted Panelling By Thomas Jayne Featured at Home Beautiful

Dione Herself sold an outstanding late 19th century French Bergere chair that would have worked really nicely with a Swedish styled decor. The chair was upholstered in a red check fabric, while the frame looked to be either painted or white washed.

Check fabric is one of the staples of Swedish decorating. Red along with shades of blue and yellow have always been classic choices for Swedish textiles. If you are looking to do a large project with check fabric, look at NY Fashion Center Fabrics, as they carry fabric in the bolt. A 25 Yard Bolt in red and white gingham checked fabric is $162. Raggedy Ann & Andy sells a brightly colored Flannel ngham fabric in blue. Online fabric store also sells a larger print gingham red fabric.

Swedish Plates

Red has always been distinctively Swedish. A simple red chair amongst a muted gray background can be powerful all on its own.

Incorporating authentic Swedish colors such as red into your Swedish decorated home can really bring forth a more authentic antique Nordic look.

America Retold has stunning Swedish looking dinner ware in a red floral chintz pattern that would look remarkable up on a plate rack.

Their collection is limited to three pieces; a serving platter which sells for $26.49, a bowl which sells for $12.99, and a dinner plate that sells for $10.49. This set can be grouped with other white table ware, or pair it with glass, pewter, copper or brass for a very regal effect.

America Retold also sells a set of 4 mini dessert cloches that might work just perfect for your dinner parties serving mini 3 tier cakes.


English American Red Early Decorating Ideas

This lovely pictured featured in Martha Stewart Magazine shows an orange Fitzhugh-pattern Chinese-export porcelain inspired the dining-room color scheme. The painted walls match the deepest tone on the china. A quince-colored velvet tablecloth and sunset-hued fabric on the folding screen highlight the richness and depth of gold-tinged reds. This room is based around Federal style decorating, and includes a terrific Empire gold mirror that really makes the space extremely rich!

A Louis XVI-style chest From Charles-Emile Moinat

Villa D'Este Town & Country Red Swedish Looks

Villa D’Este Town & Country Red Swedish Looks

Red Gustavian Chair Featured-on Karina Gentinetta BlogRed Gustavian Chair Featured on Karina Gentinetta Blog, Check out this beautiful red Swedish Gustavian Style Dining Room Found Here

French-commode-lacquered-red-From-Live-Auctioneers French-commode-lacquered-red-From-Live-Auctioneers2Swedish Furniture Ideas- French Commode Lacquered Red From Live Auctioneers


Stunning European Paint Colors For Painted Kitchen Cabinets


The Beautiful colors found in the Farrow and Ball Paint Line

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK shows some beautiful kitchens painted in various blues.  The kitchen featured lovely English styled cabinetry with recessed cabinet doors.  Recessed doors allows the door to be painted as well as the capability to match wall colors because the cabinet face blends seamlessly with the overall cabinet design.

Consider painting your walls a shade darker or lighter than your kitchen cabinets.  In the pictures you can see out into another room which is within the same color groups.  The natural wood floors breaks up the use of blue in these rooms.  The color yellow is also very Swedish and plays off the blue quite nicely.  The brass hardware is a nice pop compared to silver which would blend into the blue tones.

Cover Stain in Oil has been my go-to-paint for several years now.  It is one of the best discoveries when I used to paint furniture as my full time hobby. Coverstain IS NOT your typical oil paint.  It goes on smoothly, than most other oil brands.  If the mixture is a bit thick, add a small amount of paint thinner to the paint.  The overall finish is levels out when it dries, and it dries to a flat finish which is incredibly unusual for a oil paint.

The best thing about this paint is you can get it tinted almost any lighter color.  I have been purchasing my paints at Ace Hardware as we live in a smaller town, and they have been able to tint the paint vibrant colors, and darker shades.  If I want something darker, I simply buy a quart size of satin oil paint at my local Sherwin & Williams and mix it in to darken it up.

In addition to the unusual features of this paint, it can be sanded down when it fully dries.  The paint dries to the touch within about 3 hours, but I wouldn’t suggest sanding it down.  I usually sand my furniture after day 3.  The next day you can sand it down, but I find I run through sand paper quickly because the paint is still not fully cured.  Because this paint dries flat, you can add any color over top of it, and it doesn’t have to be oil based.  What I would suggest is have Cover Stain tinted the color that is close to your ideal choice, and add your ideal color over top. If you do choose to spray this paint on to your cabinetry, PLEASE buy an industrial heavy mask with air filters.  I cannot  stress that point more.


Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchens

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK www.remodelista.com

Plain English Kitchen

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK

Plain English Kitchen Designs in the UK www.remodelista.com

Butler sells a terrific butter yellow console table that gives a unique Swedish impression. The first time I saw this table, I got so excited as the color and style are so close to Swedish styled furnitre. The soft blue floral set on the butter yellow are both typical Swedish cloors. The Artist’s Originals line is sold through Butler and is a collection of highly desired fine furniture hand-painted by accomplished artists. This stunning table is made from wood construction and features a single drawer. This table is entirely hand painted, and measures 32” H x 35” W x 16” D.

Martha Stewart's Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill

The console table would fit right into the Martha Stewart’s home in Connecticut. The butter yellow is very simular to historical paint colors.Martha Stewart's Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill

Martha Stewart’s Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill

Martha Stewart's Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey HillMartha Stewart’s Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill

Martha Stewart's Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill

Martha Stewart’s Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill

Martha Stewart's Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill

Martha Stewart’s Previous Home In Connecticut , Turkey Hill


7 Secrets From Suzanne Rheinstein To Pull Off A European Decorated Home

Suzanne Rheinstein

Suzanne RheinsteinThe photos above and below were taken in a room designed by Suzanne Rheinstein at the Greystone Estate, the site of Veranda’s annual showhouse Picture seen on lusterinteriors.blogspot.com

Architectural Digest & House Beautiful magazines both publish annual lists of current successful designers, and Suzanne Rheinstein always is noted as one of the top designers in the LA area.   Other established designers such as Michael Smith, Thomas Beeton, Kathryn Ireland, Barbara Barry, and Waldo Fernandez also are all noted to be the best in Los Angeles.

Suzanne Rheinstein is owner of Los Angeles renowned Hollyhock, an extravagant LA Antiques Store.  Rheinstein is known for her relaxed, elegant style, and special attention to luxuries.  Beyond her store, and her book, Rheinstein also has a fabric line with Lee Jofa.

Rheinstein’s Manhattan Home made the cover of Elle Decor for the month of November 2010 featuring an upscale Gustavian designed residence in New York.   After her daughter Kate got married, and grandchildren were too hard to resist being away from, her husband Fred relented and the couple finally found the perfect corner space in the upper east side of New York.  Rheinstein tells Elle

We adore our house in L.A.,” she says. “It’s very forgiving and full of wonderful family treasures. But for New York, I wanted something a little more city, a little more stylized. And I wanted the palette to be a little more calm.”

The Gustavian styled home is filled with hues of grays, creams, taupes and soft greeny blues which is known to be classic Swedish style.    “There’s color, she adds, but “it’s just very offbeat, like the pale ochre pillow on the chaise…….”

Beyond the beautiful extravagant 18th century antiques Rheinstein owns, is a stunning mural which has captured the publics attention.  Bob Christian, a decorative painter and artist created a gorgeous mural that surrounded the room. The overall effect was a large scale toile look.   The room wouldn’t be the same without it.

Her current book At Home: A Style for Today with Things from the Past,  features six distinctive homes that express Rheinstein sophisticated elegant style.  The book also features both of her own homes in Los Angeles and New York.  Rheinstein’s book is beautifully photographed, and shows an inspiring volume of her own work, in which she mixes Gustavian with Edwardian and Regency with ease.  The book shows a range of styles including a brick farmhouse in the Virginia countryside to a  Beach in Newport Bay.


She has been quoted saying it is better to buy quality one-of-a-kind pieces, and decorate around them “Fewer but better things, painted surfaces, a mixture of furniture styles, a personal art collection and attention to comfort, colors, textures, details and light.”

We couldn’t agree with her more.

This 18th century Antique Swedish Gustavian Painted Bench is the epitome of Swedish furniture.  They are almost impossible to find in America, and quite expensive to purchase.  Rheinstein’s Swedish bench is upholstered in a dark  beige with undertones of olive and grey.  The bench perfectly sets the stage to match the paint on the walls which also governs the paint colors on the hand painted floors.

  • The secret to design is precisely as Rheinstein suggests- Designing around a few pieces of fabulous furniture.
  • Period antiques are well made and often have features that are very hard to come by in today furnishings.
  • A great antique usually has one of these qualities
  • Great Bones, and Style such as the curvature of Louis XV furniture, or the straight appeal of the Directoire styles of Louis XVI.
  • Fantastic aged patina– Gustavian furniture has incredible painted finishes with beautiful ornate painted motifs.
  • Quality wood like Empire Furniture , or Lavish wood veneers such as Regency furniture.
  • Well made statement pieces truly are show stoppers on their own that all that is needed is a few well chosen accent pieces to finish a look to get a magazine quality highly-decorated home.

See the November issue of Elle Decor For More Pictures of Her home.

Visit Hollyhock’s web site to see antiques, upholstery and decor items for sale


Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs 4 Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs 5 Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs 6 Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs 7 Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs 8 Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs 9

Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs Suzanne Rheinstein's Designs 2

Suzanne Rheinstein’s  Designs on Style Compass


These classic Louis XVI Style FauteuilDining Chairs are often found featured with classic Swedish decor.  Note the chairs are painted in a classic gray and washed in a fauxfinish and upholstered with a a red Ticking stripe.

Joni from Cote De Texas has an in depth article on Suzanne Rheinstein’sGeorgian home which is worth viewing.  It has been hard to locate any of Suzanne Rheinstein’s work, and Joni seemingly has went out of her way to gather some of the previous rare pictures of her amazing home through the transformations.  We borrowed a few of her pictures that really show the Swedish style in its best!

Compare her New York apartment with her LA Home, and you will see so many beautiful painted floors.  Paint can completely transform a room.  The colors on the floor in the above picture create a calming atmosphere.   The detail on the console is exquisite!  You would want to float a piece like this in the center of the room.  –  Picture from Cote De Texas



How To Wash Raw Wood For The Perfect Swedish Finish

Swedish Furniture & Decor Ideas - Directoire Chest By WisteriaSwedish Furniture & Decor Ideas – Directoire Chest By Wisteria

This chest from Wisteria is one of my favorites. The minimal carving paired with a calming hue of a painted wash gives this mango wood chest that Swedish feel.

The Swedish have always been known for their wood furniture and in North America, many people identify them more for their beautiful painted finishes.  In the Scandinavian countries of Northern Europe, the day light didn’t last long in the winter, and painting furniture became a natural response to adding light into their homes.  Countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, are much like northern Canada, in that the winters seem to last a lot longer, as the sun goes down quite early making the days feel shorter and shorter.  Midnight sun is when sun is visible for a continuous 24 hours, mostly north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle.   In Svalbard, Norway, the northern most inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August.

The opposite effect, which is called polar night, is where night lasts for more than 24 hours. This only occurs inside the polar circles.   Some populations in several countries experience these extra long summer days, and extended nights in the winter are those areas in the by the Arctic Circle such as  the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut in Canada.  The United States of America has a state above the Canadian Provence of British Columbia called Alaska which see these extended periods of night and day.  Also we have Denmark, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and areas of Iceland who also experience  varied degrees of longer winters and summers.

(Picture Credit Sarah Richardson, and Wisteria )

Swedish Furniture & Decorating – Early afternoon in Tromsø, Norway

The rustic grey antique painted finishes are why most people love Swedish ANTIQUE furniture.  The muted paint colors which have been naturally distressed over time have an ornate feel to them with layers of beautiful patina.  These old time paint finishes have become popularized by Restoration Hardware to Wisteria, and have become one of the most frequent emails we receive on our Painted Furniture site asking us to show how to achieve them.

Rustic distressed furniture has become incredibly popular as people turn towards the comfortable primitive looks for their homes as they settle down, moving away from the modern interiors of the upper city looks that tend to be cold and uninviting.  Today people still want the upscale furniture, but they also want the heirlooms of natural worn woods, and painted finishes that have been passed down through family generations.  There is nothing like throwing a log on the fire and cuddling up in a wool blanket with a cup of hot chocolate as you enjoy watching the kids run around with their toys, not worrying if a nick or scratch is going to ruin the look of a piece.

This Directoire Dresser By Wisteria is bleached and the naturally distressed acacia wood is accented with diamond patterns and antiqued metal federal styled hardware

One of the most common and easiest ways to achieve a Swedish distressed finish is simply by watering down paint and applying it to raw wood.

Most of all Swedish paint colors are muted grey and beige tones.  Other classic antique colors blues, greens, yellow, but they are all muted tones with some sort of black or white mixed in.   In the late 17th and early 18th century there was a limited amount of colors compared to our vast selection today so painters would either add black or white into the main colors they had available, which is why you see darker shades of green, yellow and blue, and then really milky white versions of basic colors.

The KEY to re-creating antique looking finishes are to work with the period colors, and not brights.  Bright white is never a color you find in antiques, and is often the number one mistake when people white wash furniture.  You want to stick with the undertones that have green or beige, as these are common undertones in antique furniture.

The best way to achieve THESE particular wood finishes that Restoration Hardware is so famous for, or Wisteria’s Directoire Chest looks is to work with bare wood.

I find that finishes that have a polyurethane top coat do not work well, because the paint needs to soak into the wood, so if there is a top coat, be sure to sand the finish down so the paint has something to grip on to.

Take some beige, or green-gray paint, and a small bowl with water in it.  With your paint brush dip the brush into the water, and then into the paint.   Your brush should contain a water down version of the paint.  As you can see in the primitive wood basket below, I used Painters Touch in the color Fossil, brushing on the paint, leaving it for a few minutes and then wiping it off.

I took a really weathered bench which had been eroded by the rain over several years and painted on a greenish beige over the entire bench.  I painted the entire bench on my front lawn within just 5 minutes.  It was a rather sloppy job of painting, but after 10 minutes, before the paint was really dry, I took the garden hose and washed it down with a small amount of pressure, which left only a watered down wash of the paint on the bench.

The paint should essentially penetrate the wood like a glaze, and reveal the wood below, leaving a wash. You can use any shade, so long as it is not white, but either has natural undertones such as green or beige.

Additional ways you can add time-aged character is to add marks to your piece of furniture manually giving the look of wear and tear.  Use a canvas bag that closes, or a natural type of cloth bag and fill it with bolts and nuts.  Hit the surface of the wood with the nuts and bolts, which will produce indentations in the surface of the wood.  Don’t go over board with a hammer or chisel, because they often don’t look realistic.

Painters Touch in the color Fossil is a color I use often.  You can buy it at Home Depot, although strangely enough I haven’t been able to locate the quart size on Amazon or at Home Depot. (Maybe it is just popular)  So I scanned in the formula I had Sherwin & Williams Make for me.

Swedish Furniture & Decor – Fossil Color CUSTOM COLOR Formula
Behr Paints – My Paint Suggestions For Swedish Furniture Finishes

Here are some of my suggestions with the Brand of Behr Paints.  My suggestion is to go with a color you really love.  I do enjoy working with Olive colors such as the top color UL 180-1, but I also use colors like UL200-18 in the middle.  The color I used leans towards for this project is the color in the bottom right hand corner, UL200-19, as my basket turned out darker than the pictures portray.  The key is to work within the natural colors, and within colors you really enjoy looking at.

The other paint suggestions I have are:

Martha Stewart Paints-  Heath MSL212

Martha Stewart Paints-  Mourning Dove MSL210

Behr – Sand Fossil 770C-3

Ace Paints- Dried Fern D23-6

Ace Paints – SW 6158

Swedish Furniture & Decor – Swedish Raw Wood Paint Finishes