vintage chair wearing Paris Grey chalk paint by Annie Sloan
vintage chair wearing Paris Grey chalk paint by Annie Sloan

I have a laundry list of projects that I would love to complete this winter. One of them is painting some of my great finds from all of my treasure hunting over the past year.  I tend to collect these special pieces and hold them for a rainy day when I really need a good project.  What better time to get things done than January when it is time to refresh and renew.

January chair project
January chair project

This chair is everything!  I really mean it.  I spied it at the Blue Butterfly shop in Concord a few weeks back.  The owner of the shop, Danielle, gave me a tour of her workshop and her storage area where she has some incredible finds tucked all around.  We poked around a bit and I saw this gorgeous arm peeking out under piles of furniture and my heart skipped a beat. The chair looked like a musical note.  We pulled it out and Danielle offered to sell me the piece.  It needed love but everything was there that needed to be: a gorgeous shape, beautiful bones and it was solid. I reupholstered the piece with a new cushion and some new batting but did decide to keep the old horsehair in place and then I covered it all with a natural linen scrap that I had in my studio.  There were some minor repair spots on the chair so it did need to be unified with a coat of paint and for that I popped up to Danielle’s shop: The Blue Butterfly and picked up some Paris Grey chalk paint by Annie Sloan and some clear wax. I also finally splurged on a chalk paint brush for painting and I’m now a convert – amazing!

trumeau-style mirror ready for her close up
trumeau-style mirror ready for her close up and wearing a combo of Old Violet and Old White Annie Sloan chalk paint

While I had my painting supplies out, I figured I should cross another project off the list.  This mirror was a beauty; heavy and old.  It is stamped on the back “Old Meetinghouse” with a church as it’s emblem.  It was in rough shape when I found it.  My friend Anne-Marie and I fell upon it when we were poking around the Sage Farm Antique market in New Hampshire a few months back. We did rock, paper, scissors to see who would get the piece.  (I won)

mirror project
January mirror project

This was a fun and easy piece to work on.  I needed to do a little bit of sanding once I had it on what looks like my operating room table (cue the mad scientist laugh)… but I have to say, “that new brush!”  (thank you Annie Sloan) It made short work of my mirror project.  I wanted a bluish grey color that would translate well at the beach house so I mixed up one part old violet to 3 parts old white.  The color is gorgeous and so is the mirror.


Sometimes it’s fun to turn your attention to something different than what you are used to.  Whenever I am in a creative rut with my art, I love to poke around old dusty antique shops,flea markets and vintage stores to find some long ago creative inspiration.  Giving new life to old things opens up new ways of thinking for me and I get the added benefit of having some unique piece in my home.  This month if you are looking to feed your inner creative why don’t you stop by The Blue Butterfly in Concord to load up on paint supplies and maybe Danielle might let you take a peek at some of her Brimfield finds. Better yet, bring your own and take advantage of one of her workshops to paint your own treasure.  If you are in the mood for hunting down your own finds – Sage Farm Antiques has a Cabin Fever show happening in New Hampshire February 5 thru the 7th.

More to come but now I think I’m back to painting canvases,




16 thoughts on “vintage furniture refresh and renew with chalkpaint

  1. Sharyl Murphy says:

    Thanks so much for the mention Ellen. Will follow your blog and keep up with your creative endeavors! We appreciate it and will mention you on Sage Farms page as well!

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Thanks Sharyl and Sage Farm Antiques. I get some of my best inspiration from you all and I so appreciate it. Many great finds for our Rye beach house have been unearthed at Sage Farm and I’m sure plenty more to come. Can’t wait for the Cabin Fever show.

    • Ellen McHale says:

      The brush makes everything so much easier Kristi. A little secret between artists: I use chalk paint in some of my canvases especially when I’m looking for a matte finish. It is a wonder tool.

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Thanks Val – I just love the chair. It is crazy good. Stay tuned for another cool furniture transformation coming up over the next few months. I’ve got a beautiful one in the plans.

  2. Maureen Stachowicz says:

    Amazing, El! Love seeing what miracles you perform on old pieces and how much fun you have doing it!

  3. Ellen McHale says:

    Maureen – I have a gorgeous piece in the line-up that was a gift from brother Tim and you will not believe the transformation! Stay tuned for this one … xo

  4. Amy says:

    Love them both and I’d say you really lucked out on Rock Paper Scissors! Love my Annie paint brushes, hard to imagine it’s really that much better but it is.

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Agreed about rock, paper, scissors Amy. I’ve always used tools that I have around my studio and that includes paint brushes but when I splurged on that gorgeous brush – it was a revelation. Thanks for popping by xo

  5. Christine Machen says:

    The chair is so beautiful and as you said it looks like a music note. I love the new color you put in her, so romantic and elegant!

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