Design Maven Annie Sloan on Paint, Color, Clyfford Still
Here's the question paint professionals must surely answer a dozen or more times a day: "Do I have to prime first?"
The answer, in most cases, is yes. But if you're talking about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a furniture-refinishing product invented by the British interior designer and author of more than a dozen DIY books, the answer is an emphatic, "no!"
That's one reason Annie Sloan Chalk Paint -- and its companion Annie Sloan Soft Wax -- has become a darling of the home-design blogosphere: its results are quick, varied and nearly foolproof.
"I love the simplicity and versatility" of this paint and wax, says Amber Unfred, a Monument-based designer who runs Annie Sloan Chalk Paint workshops through her business, Shades of Amber. "You can create so many different looks."
Sloan has been in the U.S. this month tot teach and also talk about her latest book, "Quick and Easy Paint Transformations: 50 Step-by-Step Ways to Makeover Your Home for Next to Nothing." We spoke with her to dip into her inspiration and insight.
Q: You were in Colorado recently to host a workshop (at the Colorado Convention Center). How was it?
A. I had never been to Denver before and I absolutely was knocked out by the scenery. ... But what was most exciting to me was the art. I walked to the Clyfford Still Museum and it was such a delight for someone who is really, really interested in color.
Q. What's your advice for eyeballing a piece of second hand furniture that's worth refinishing?
A. A good bargain is always something that's got stained wood. (Sellers) think that it's too difficult to get rid of, that you're not going to paint it, so they'll sell it cheaply. Anything where there's a veneer that has lifted a bit. Anything with damage -- I love it because it offers characters and interest, plus it'll be cheaper. ... Don't look at the wood color. Half-close your eyes so that you see the shape of (the piece).
Q. You invented the paint that carries your name. How?
A. (As a designer) I was painting furniture and walls, but I was finding it difficult because I liked one sort of paint, but it's very expensive and had limited color range. ... Then I happened to be in Holland one day, and I was talking to a young man there, saying 'I don't really have the right paint.' He said, 'I know a paint factory in Belgium.' So off we went the next day and drove there.
Q. You paint over some old hardware instead of removing or replacing it.
A. My thing is, you should be able to paint a piece of furniture in one day: You paint, wax and treat, and get it back into a room in one day. ... With that whole thing, who wants to take off hardware? One, it's difficult and usually never goes back on the right way. But also, a lot of the piece I refinish are reproductions. The handles are sometimes too flashy and old, so the idea is that you paint right over them and rub them back.
Q. Which DIY home blogs do you regularly read?
A. Well, I have to mention "Miss Mustard Seed." It was started by this woman named Marion in Virginia and is now one of the biggest blogs in the world. ... There really are so many good blogs. "One Girl in Pink" and "Paint in My Hair" are lovely
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