How to get the Restoration Hardware look for less

If you read my last blog about ‘5 tips to get the Restoration Hardware look’ and you’re now reading this blog, you’re probably like me, and don’t have a large budget. You can definitely get this look by following the 5 tips and shopping around for similar pieces.

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Our lounge before – English country style

Although our lounge wasn’t bad before (note this was before we put the TV on the wall!) it just didn’t feel like those beautiful images of the Restoration Hardware showrooms that I loved so much. In my last blog ‘5 tips to get the Restoration Hardware look’ I deconstructed the look into 5 elements to make it easy to reconstruct the same look in our lounge.

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The 3D plan of the redesigned lounge.

Walls:

Firstly the wall color needed to be darker. All the Restoration Hardware images have a warm grey / brown color on the walls to add drama and coziness. So I chose Caffeine by Behr to recreate a similar look.

Furniture:

Next, the obligatory balustrade coffee table was a must, and a French casement cabinet. I found a much cheaper version of the balustrade coffee table at Joss & Main. It’s usually $834 which almost half the price of the Restoration Hardware version, but I got it for around $400 on sale.

I really wanted a French casement cabinet also, and did find similar options for less. But being that my budget was virtually $0 for this make-over, I decided to repurpose an existing bookcase by painting it white with Annie Sloan chalk paint. Read how to do that here in my other blog post.

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Greenery:

I needed to remove all color from the previous design, and only add it back in through greenery in plants. So I added a couple of topiaries either side of the fireplace, which also added symmetry, and moss balls in a striking dish that I bought from Z Gallerie.

I also removed all color from the room from pictures and accessories, and only accessorized with neutral colored items.

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Mantel:

I wanted to get a more classic look on the fireplace, and less Mid-Century Modern, so I repurposed the fireplace mantel by trimming the length down and painting it with some more of the Annie Sloan chalk paint. I added corbels to it to give it that classic feel, which were a whopping $6 from a Goodwill store that I again chalk painted.

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Symmetry:

I really wanted to add these arched mirrors either side of fireplace from Joss & Main, however on the $0 budget I had, that’s something that will have to come later. For now I created my own version with mirrors I found on sale at Hobby Lobby for $16 each. They looked a little bit lost on the brick wall, so I made some white shutters to make them appear larger and less lost. In total they cost about $50 for the pair.

Nerissa+Arched+Accent+Mirror

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Old prints:

A signature look of Restoration Hardware is the use of old prints or maps. Loving this look, but not the $1000 or so it costs to buy their version, I created my own. And actually, I’m glad I did as these prints have meaning to this house, as they’re the original architectural drawings for the extension they had in 1987.

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It’s not a total replica of the Restoration Hardware look, but on the shoestring budget I had to play with, I think the room is completely transformed and feels much more like the look I was aiming for. Whilst you can certainly get a similar look for less, you really can’t beat the real thing.

Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

How To Paint Furniture With Chalk Paint – 6 Easy Steps

Finished bookcase painted with chalk paint

Have you ever browsed listings like Craiglist, eBay or Facebook Marketplace and loved a piece of furniture but thought “If only it was white/black/grey”? You may have skipped past it because you thought it was too difficult to make it look like you wanted it to. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s super easy to make-over furniture. This blog post explains how to paint furniture with chalk paint in just 6 easy steps. To see how to paint furniture with spray paint and regular acrylic paint read my blog here.

I decided to chalk paint a bookcase we brought over from the UK. It’s a pine bookcase we paid about £30 for and painted in Downpipe Grey by Farrow & Ball (on the left). Which I do absolutely love, but with repainting the lounge to a darker shade it would’ve looked lost. So I decided to paint it in Old White by Annie Sloan to contrast with the brown paint we’re doing.

Here’s how I did it in 6 steps, so you can try it on a second-hand bargain find too!

What you’ll need:

  • Chalk paint
  • Clear wax
  • Dark wax (if you want to age it)
  • A brush
  • Some lint-free rags
  • Fine sandpaper

I recommend Annie Sloan chalk paint, it’s a little pricey at $40 per quart but has better coverage and color than others I’ve tried. I also used the Annie Sloan clear and dark waxes. Make sure the rags are lint-free with no fluff or dust on them, otherwise you’ll end up waxing bits of fluff into the finish.

Step 1: Firstly give your furniture a light sand. You don’t need to sand things when using chalk paint, but it helps to get rid of any imperfections that you don’t want showing through at the end.

Step 2. Start painting! Chalk paint is quite thick, so if you don’t want it to look so textured you can water it down to give a smoother finish. I didn’t thin mine down, I wished I had now. But the texture definitely picks up the dark wax at the end if you’re distressing it which gives a nice effect.

First coat of chalk paint
After one coat

Step 3. Keep painting until none of the old color shows through. It took me three coats, and I probably should’ve done four, but I have no patience!

Step 4. If you want it to stay looking perfect and clean, then all you need to do now is apply the clear wax. I applied it with a rag, rubbing it all into the grain. Then rub off the excess with another clean rag.

Step 5. If you want it to look distressed, start sanding off the edges to make it look worn.

Sanded edges on distressed furniture

Step 6. If you want to make it look really old and worn, apply the dark wax. This step takes a lot of skill to apply it well without making it look too dark. I ended up mixing a tiny bit of the dark wax with some of the clear wax so it didn’t make it too dark. If you do apply too much dark wax, just apply more of the clear wax over the top until it lightens up. Or if all else fails, try sanding it back a bit more before it dries.

Chalk painted bookcase
Chalk painted bookcase with dark wax
Finished bookcase with chalk paint and wax

And that’s it! 6 easy steps to paint furniture with chalk paint to transform a bargain into a beauty! You can also paint other things like books, lamps, fabric etc. Annie Sloan’s website has some great tutorial videos and tips. You can check it out here: Annie Sloan website.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear how your chalk paint projects go. Share in the comments section or tag me on Instagram @britflipper.

Please feel free to Pin It!

Until next time,

Jo

A modern country study

I absolutely love traditional dark wood paneled studies that you typically see in old country homes. However fast-forward to 2018, and this is my take on the traditional country study.

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I love this study by Charles Cudd Co. It epitomizes a grand country home to me. With the ornate wood paneling, dark wood stains, leather chairs, rich fabrics and antique books.

Orono Custom Home traditional-home-office

I wanted to get a similar look and feel but with much lighter colors, so as to not darken the room too much, and obviously on a much smaller budget!

The study was actually a small dining room before, with very bland features. Cream walls, cream curtains, white ceiling and white beams, and a light maple floor. There were no redeeming features about it, other than the large windows, which were covered by the heavy valances and curtains, and double height sloping ceiling with beams. Everything had to go.

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The color scheme I chose was grey, mustard and off-white with hints of gold and warm mid-toned wood. I kept most of the walls off-white to keep everything bright and airy, and added some color with one feature wall in mustard / gold. I painted the ceiling beams grey to accentuate them and make them stand out more as a lovely feature of the room, and tied in the grey of the beams with a plaid rug.

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I’ve kept a few hints of the traditional country study artifacts such as trophies, pheasant feathers, bronze statues and traditional hunting scenes. But I’ve freshened it up with modern paint colors and industrial rustic elements such as the old workbench I used as a desk.

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I opted for a free-standing bookcase from Restoration Hardware called French Panel double shelving. I managed to buy it at half price at just $1500, and think it gives a very similar look to fitted shelving, with similar crown molding. However it would probably have cost me a lot more to have a carpenter make and fit shelving to the same quality. This was by far the biggest expense of the room, but I think worth it and necessary to create this look.

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We refinished the floors to match the windows in a mid-toned rich colored stain. Caution: If you ever want to stain maple floors use a gel stain. Maple is a very hard and tightly packed wood that doesn’t take stains very well at all. It actually took us two attempts to get the right look with the floor and honestly they’re still not perfect. But they look much better than they did before. Also, be careful with sanding marks. You need to make sure all the sanding marks are gone before staining it, otherwise they will show up in the stain.

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I toyed with whether to add curtains to the room to soften it a little more, but decided to leave the windows without to maximize the light in the room. Eventually I will change the ceiling chandelier for something like this one available from Houzz which is a little more modern than the one there now.

Dover 4-Light Antique Bronze Vintage Globe Cage Chandelier With Crystals, 16" contemporary-chandeliers

And even though I love the look of the workbench desk (which was actually free as it was an old workbench left with the house) I’ve been on the hunt for a more traditional style executive desk to really give the room that country home feel. Plus it will be more of a standard height, as the workbench is a little too high to be comfortable.

I love this one by Restoration Hardware – the St James desk 76″ – although it’s a little too large for my room.

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They also do a 55″ version with just one set of drawers.

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This one is also a really nice modern take on a traditional executive desk. The Siedlewski executive desk by Joss & Main.

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Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog again. Please ask questions or leave comments below. And as always, if you’d like to read more, please subscribe to my blog. And don’t worry, I certainly won’t spam you with 3 emails a day. One, I don’t have the time; and two, I wouldn’t want to be an annoyance. So for a few carefully curated blog articles per month, please feel free to sign up!

Jo