Before and After: a place to sit and rest

fireplaceI love a good before and after, and I like this one so much because I created it exactly the way I wanted and disregarded every painting rule ever made.  It’s a great mix of old furniture pieces and knew ones, a lot of chalk painted furniture, plenty of candles, shimmery plaster walls I troweled, a florentine stencil all over the walls, some carpentry from my husband, real art from Molly over the fireplace, and then a few oil pieces from me (one original from me, two I copied, hate me).

Here are a few pictures of the before.  This view shows one side of the room.  You can see the plain fireplace, before the surround my husband built:
family roomThis one shows the other side of the room, before the new wall we framed up and added.  Notice this built in.  It’s still there, it just got a makeover…but that’s another post all together.old bookcaseBut here is a little peak.  It’s much prettier now.  More on that later:hall built-inOne of the first things we did was tear out the yellow shag and install hardwoods.  The floors have been done for awhile now, but I still remember the process.  We rented a floor nailer and spent several weekends on install.  Starting your first row is the hardest part, but once you know your line is straight, it goes quickly.

The bookcase:

built-in-411x600Kevin built it for me, I chalk painted it.  Click here to get that recipe.

full bookcase

top corner of bookcase

The walls.  They were created with a custom finish that I kind of made up as I went along.  The product is called Lusterstone and it is a beautiful, smooth, shimmery plaster.  I would be happy to share my recipe and process, but I’m pretty sure all the products I used are from a proffessional product line not available without training to “become certified”.  That makes it sound so legit, doesn’t it?  If you know me in real life, you know how humorous that is.

One thing I know anyone can purchase and do themselves is the stenciling.  This stencil is called “Florentine Damask“, and it is from Royal Designs Studio.  Click here to view and/or purchase if you are interested.  Melanie’s stencils are wonderful to use.  They are durable and come with great instructions.  open stenciled wallsThey add such an elegant touch.wallsStenciling is literally as simple as deciding where you want your stencil, marking level points, spraying on a temporary adhesive to hold the stencil to the wall to help prevent seepage, and then applying your product. stencil

I used this temporary spray adhesive, but many are on the market, I just buy what is available.  
spray adhesive

I have used both paint and plaster with my stencils.  Both work beautifully.  For this project I was troweling on plaster:

Once you are done, you simply pull the stencil off, clean it, and repeat.  Royal Designs really does have a gorgeous collection of stencils available.  Some of her new, whimsical designs are really fun.  My mind is spinning.stenciling

A few other details maybe worth mentioning.  One is the mirror.  It was a big, black, heavy, plastic framed mirror.  Chalk paint made it pretty, you can click here to get that recipe.  The other detail is this sideboard.  It was my grandmother’s piece of furniture, and it received a chalk paint makeover too.  I don’t think I ever posted on how to get that look…I will work on a recipe for that.
mirror and side table
And finally the art hanging on walls.  Some of this I have shown you before.  I really love Pino Daeni’s style.  I saw his…

original-449x600…and wanted to try painting her too.  She’s pretty and hardworking, so up on the wall she went.
bookcase and lady

Then I fell in love with Belgian painter, Jan De Vliegher.  

I wanted something with a lot of green on that wall, so I painted that too.  I know, I know, a cheap imitation; but for me, it works, for now.

Lastly there are these three little beauties.  I have three little sheep of my own, and so I knew I wanted to paint them.
3 sheep photograph

If I had a nursery, they would be hanging in it; but I don’t, so in the sitting room they go.  I really love the color in this painting; and obviously, since it’s my own work, I am most proud of it.  I kind of love painting sheep and I think I may start painting more of them.
my three sheep

I know that was a lot of random information.  I hope you found inspiration somewhere within the bouncing around from project to project in this room.  I wish we knew each other in real life.  I would love to have you over, so we could sit and rest together.
full view sitting room



  1. Kristen says:

    Your blog is easily my favorite. It is inspiring on so many levels! You truly have a knack for making a beautiful home. Keep up the good work!

  2. WOW! You have many talents and your design is lovely. What a beautiful room, and I love your paintings, especially the sheep. I love the finish on the bookcase and your grandmother’s piece. You have been a busy girl…………

    The French Hutch

  3. Gorgeous! Love it all…

  4. Gorgeous! I LOVE the new and improved fireplace – your room looks super cozy in winter or summer. ENJOY your hard work!

  5. I love your vision & style. You are gifted with a beautiful creative spirit. The details make your projects sparkle. the hard wood floors ground the light & airy space. Do you recall what variety the wood is? I love the color variations & tonesin the wood and am looking to replace my carpet soon. Thanks for your inspiring work.

  6. Amy, you have once again created an amazingly beautiful space! Your artwork is absolutely stunning!! You are truly an artist! I need you to come to Minnesota and make some magic in my house!! :-)

  7. MotherUv2Pearls says:

    Thank you for sharing about your walls. I always study them and wonder how you make them so fabulous. ~ Rosanne

  8. What an incredible makeover! The sitting room is so serene and gorgeous although your art work gets prime billing! You are incredibly talented, and I enjoy your posts..

  9. I always love to see a new post from you. Everything you do in your home is so lovely!! Everything!!

  10. it’s beautiful, Amy.
    I love that you’re investing yourself into your painting….figuring out what it is you love and are passionate about in Art.

    The vignette with the mirror and your grandmother’s sideboard is probably my favorite in this post…so beautifully thought out and styled.

  11. Great post, your room is gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  12. Have you ever thought about selling your paintings? Your talent is awe inspiring.

  13. Every detail is beautiful! Love your paintings and admire your artistic touch throughout the room. Want to know something funny? I stenciled a bathroom with a toile pattern from France when I was 8 months pregnant (small repeat; lots of work) and didn’t know about spray adhesive. Found out about it AFTER I stenciled and am still dying that I didn’t know about it! XO!

  14. I’m here from Better After – Lindsey was right about there being so much to see on your blog! I’m stunned – everything is gorgeous! Have you submitted this to Royal Design Studio? I’m a big fan, follow them on FB and I know Melanie is always featuring how their stencils have been used. This is something she needs to see!

  15. Okay, ignore my above question about Royal Design Studio! After spending the morning perusing your blog, I now realize what a dumb question that is. You obviously have an established relationship with RDS :) And a fabulous blog that has kept me completely engaged while I sit here with goop on my head trying to rid myself of grey :)


  1. […] stencil on the bottom doors.  I do not have this process documented in pictures, but you can click here to see how I have stenciled other things in the house.  The stencil pattern is from Melanie Royals […]