Quick and Easy. That’s How I Like My DIY.

As a busy mom and Design Professional, I want to make my house a home and reflect my (oh yeah, and my husbands) tastes and interests…all while sticking to a budget.

Over the years, I have tackled many DIY projects to save a buck. I’ve done everything from installing a patio to sewing my own window treatments. (What was I thinking?- I obviously had too much time on my hands!) While no one can argue with saving money, I mostly love DIY projects because they allow me to put my own spin on things. Though I am lucky enough to have a career as a professional designer, where I get to be creative all day, I still yearn for an outlet where I don’t have to adhere to brand standards or incorporate client feedback into my design solution.

I became a mom 3 years ago- and my priorities shifted. I’d rather pay a little extra to have something done for me so I can spend time with my little girl. However, I still seek that creative project that gives me the satisfaction of doing it myself. About two years ago, my parents were getting rid of a dated armoire they had in a spare room. We needed extra storage in our house- and I knew with my designer eye and DIY experience I could turn it into something fabulous.

It sat in our garage for months. Untouched. I didn’t have the energy or time to sand it, prime it, paint it, lightly sand, paint it again and finally seal it. I’m exhausted just typing that.

Then I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. If you haven’t heard of it you will wish you would have. Not only is it cheap- it’s easy-no sanding, no priming. Perfect for my new DIY mentality.

So I ventured over to Methany Weir in Shaker Heights one afternoon, picked up a couple quarts of paint, and transformed my 80’s oak armoire over the course of a few hours into a french-country, shabby chic, rustic piece that proudly sits in my home reflecting my taste and satisfies my desire for creative gratification. Quick and easy.

If you are looking for a quick and easy DIY project, I highly recommend Chalk Paint. Here are a few tips I have after using it several times on different projects:

1. Scour flea markets, garage sales, or even your own home, for a piece that has great lines or functionality, just needs a bit of freshening up.
2. Spend some time online researching different techniques for application; Methany Weir also offers classes.
3. Create a test board, so you can play with the application technique and ensure you like the final outcome before you paint your whole piece.
4. Pay attention to the lines and history of your piece, you don’t want paint a mid-century modern piece with a layered, rustic finish- it will end up looking like a DIY project.
5. If you are overwhelmed by the color options, opt for neutrals: black, white, gray and cream are always in style.
6. Have fun!

Have you used chalk paint before? I would love to see before and afters!

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Rachel Gehrs

Mom. Wife. Designer. Want-to-be-foodie. Classic rock listener. Neat-freak. Black coffee addict with a wardrobe to match.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Rachel, thanks for your blog post. We are thrilled that you stopped in at our Shaker Heights store and love to help clients with all their furniture painting projects. We offer workshops if you’re hesitant to start on your own however, Chalk Paint® is a DIY paint and very easy to use, as you know. We look forward to seeing your projects and would love to include them on our inspiration wall. Happy painting to all.

    • Hi Kim-

      I loved exploring your shop-everyone was so helpful and informative! And, I loved the inspiration wall- filled with stunning photos of great before and afters. Your shop and team are a great resource- and I love the product! Glad I could give you a “shout out” 🙂

  • i love it!. I have a piece I want to transform, similiar to yours. I think I will take a class at the Rocky. River store. Question, the family room I am using it in is open to my newly remodeled kitchen With white cabinets. The room has off white. Slip covered furniture. Should I go with a pop of color on the piece. . floors woodwork are medium stain.

    • Hi Andrea-

      Thank you!!

      Not sure of your style- but I think that black with slightly distressed edges would also look amazing on a piece like mine. Someone once told me that every room needs a black piece of furniture to anchor it. Another option is to white-wash or ceruse the oak. If you want a pop of color- red (heavily distressed with a glaze) may be interesting. I think all these options would complement your traditional (from what it sounds like) family room and kitchen.

      Related to your comment- Sounds like you have my dream kitchen! My husband and I will be moving to a new home- and plan on opening up the existing kitchen to the family room- with white cabinets- would love to sync up with you somehow to hear what local craftsman/contractors/vendors you used. 🙂

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