Two Story Cottage

Inexpensive Fireplace Surround Update

Dear Friends,

I have been focusing on the family room since the New Year dawned.  We spend the most time there so it makes sense to use it as a jumping off point for the rest of the house.   I’ve been happy with our painted bookcase backs but over Christmas I decided the brown marble in our fireplace surround was just too distracting.  It was such a strong, elegant look and didn’t jive with the more casual, colorful vibe I was going for.


I had done nothing with the fireplace because in my mind I saw a total overhaul.  Shiplap or moulding, different tile, a cleaner mantel, the whole nine yards.  However, the reality of where that would be on the wish list meant it wasn’t going to happen anywhere in the near future.

Enter my decision to paint.


I spent a zillion hours on google looking at high temperature paints and ultimately decided to go a different route.  I discovered that Annie Sloan chalk paint is water-based and not flammable.  The website says it is safe for fireplace surrounds although it is not fire retardant so stay away from the anything that fire touches.


The graphite color gives a flat, slate-like look which is right up my alley.  I love slate so I’m a happy camper.  I realize that it doesn’t have the variation or interest that the marble did but I’m not looking for it to be a focal point. Oh, and I didn’t use any kind of wax because of the potential for it to melt.  I do plan on doing some kind of poly or topcoat to keep it from scratching but I haven’t gotten around to it. I wanted to be sure I liked it first.

I do so I should get on that.

Often, we hesitate to replace something that is nice or expensive.  Painting over marble is probably a sin for all stone enthusiasts.  However, I spent $30 and changed something that did not work for me to something that works for a few years at least.

One thing at a time and eventually we will get there!


Dragonfly Design {Fabric Inspired}

Dear Friends,

Thanks for all of your input on the fabric samples!  I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.  I’m also going to track down fabric sources this weekend.   I can tell you the dragonfly pattern was a definite yes the minute I saw it.  I have a little thing for dragonflies.   I have them here and there throughout my house.  I don’t want to be the crazy dragonfly collector lady with an overload of kitschy dragonfly doodads.  My affinity is a little more subtle and I hope to keep it in the realm of normal.  Whatever that means.

I think it might have started because of my love for the Dragonfly Inn on Gilmore Girls.  Can I say best show ever on TV?  Except for Friday Night Lights of course.  Oh, did anyone see the finale of The Office?  Thoughts? #jimandpamforever

ANYWAY, I thought I’d find some dragonfly inspired pics for you to peruse while you drink your dragonfly tea in a dragonfly mug.

Now that would be too much.  Just to clarify, I own neither of those things.

Dragonfly source
I had the bronze version of this door knocker on our old front door!
Not everything is my style but I’m going to show the love to any and all of my fellow dragonfly divas.  This has inspired me to do a treasure hunt and photograph all of my dragonflies. Maybe I am the crazy dragonfly lady after all.

Frames Makeover {Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Paloma}

Dear Friends,

   Many of you probably know that Annie Sloan chalk paint is all the rage in creative corridors these days.  The name is a little confusing; it is not chalkboard paint.  So, what is it?  By reputation, it is an easy-to-use furniture paint that yields professional results.  
Well, I finally got to try it.  I used the sample pot from my Haven Conference swag bag to make-over gallery frames from Target.  We had black & white portraits taken of the kids for Mother’s Day and it was time to display them properly!      

These Target gallery frames remind me of a similar style at Pottery Barn.

This project only used about 1/4 of my sample pot!

I used an old, yucky brush but it didn’t seem to matter.  The first coat was great!  
You can see brush strokes but that is part of the handmade finish.
I think it got lumpy because I put the second coat on too quickly.  
And in this case, since I was distressing the frames I don’t think a second coat was necessary.
I only did one coat on the remaining frames.
The beauty of this paint is how easily it sands!  Wow!  
It felt like glass or marble after about two minutes of sanding with my random who- knows- what- grit sanding block.  Distressing was simple.  In the areas that I wanted more, I sanded more.  Easy peasy.
The frame with the lumpy finish?  Smooth as could be after sanding.
On the foyer walls, the Paloma definitely takes on a purple-gray tone.  I love it!  
I knew I wanted the frames in the foyer.  Because an entry should reflect the nature of your home.  And family is our priority so I wanted the children front and center.  I had to settle for the sides framing the dining room but I like the combination.
I was impressed with the Annie Sloan chalk paint.  And I am really thinking of “going big” and tackling a piece of furniture.  
Have you used it?  Any thoughts?

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