That magical place where the kids come to get their move on, that sanctuary of game consoles and rowdy evenings… our basement. Despite its magnetic appeal, it is a pretty average space: a ceiling suspended above our heads at barely 7′, wall to wall carpeting in a peanut colour and this nondescript built-in storage unit probably added to the house somewhere in the 1970s. Nothing sings chic or glamourous in this space.
What to do about it then? Well, in our current quarantine predicament, where my personal finances are as much on lockdown as are our malls and café hangouts, I looked for another solution that would grant me the satisfaction of a makeover at a fraction of the cost and time.
Enters Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint™, 44 colours which can be mixed to create a thousand more, an easy to work with texture and amazing coverage. I’ve been a huge fan of this paint ever since I discovered it on Sauvez les Meubles. So when the opportunity came up to work with the paint once more, I couldn’t wait. I mean seriously, I couldn’t wait! Have you seen this mess?
For the project, I chose to make my own custom colour, by mixing one of their new colours, Firle, with an Annie Sloan tried and true staple, Aubusson Blue. Firle, is one of three colours inspired by the Charleston farmhouse, the country retreat of the famed early 20th century Bloomsbury group. The Bloomsbury group, the name given to a coterie of English writers, philosophers, and artists who frequently met between about 1907 and 1930 in the Bloomsbury district of London, an area around the British Museum. Members of the group included: Clive & Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey.
Mix things up
To mix the paint, I used a large Mason jar of 2 litres in which I mixed one litre of each colour to obtain my desired product. Of course, for a smaller project, I could have used a smaller quantity to mix. The important thing to remember is that you want to make sure to mix enough paint to complete your entire project or to calculate precisely the ratio of each colour to be mixed in order to reproduce your recipe down the road.
The beauty with the Chalk Paint™ is that you do not need to sand, scour, or prime the surface to be painted. The only prep the surface needs is a good clean using T.S.P. to remove any residual grease or accumulated dust. Then, you paint away. With good tunes playing and my Madie Monkey (my 11 years old daughter) to help me, we applied 2 coats of paint in less than a day.
Wax on wax off
Now for the real workout, the wax. Inconspicuous enough, the 500 ml can of clear wax seals and protects furniture and walls painted with Chalk Paint™ decorative paint. To achieve Annie’s signature look, apply a thin coat of wax over your painted surface with a small wax brush. Work in small areas, wiping off any excess with a clean cloth. Different people use different techniques when it comes to waxing their pieces. My own particular preference is to wax small sections and buff them right away with a soft cloth. It is less strenuous than to buff all of the surfaces at once afterwards and you make sure to not forget any spots in the process.
Putting it back together
New handles made from recycled handbag leather, a tiny fisherman painting thrifted a few months ago, two mismatched chairs and there you have it, the room feels inviting, polished but not too precious and definitely updated. The whole transformation took the better part of two days only and cost less than 200$ in paint, brushes and wax.
How’s that for a quarantine makeover? If you would like to try the paint for yourself, check out the list of stockists in Québec.
This post is a collaboration with Annie Sloan Canada, the content and transformation are my own.26