Chalk Paint 101

Chalk Paint 101

 

There is no escaping the buzz in the crafting and diy world right now, everyone is talking about chalk paint. This amazing product has been around for quite a few years across the pond. Annie Sloan in England wanted a paint that would be fast, easy and cut out the prep work of painting furniture. Smart woman. The arduous task of sanding and prepping a piece of furniture has been eliminated. You just slap it on, I kid you not. I recently picked up some of this fabulous paint at Rusty Hinges  at the Hydrostone in Halifax. If you have never been to this lovely store you are in for a treat. Reclaimed furnishings, linens, soaps, mirrors and of course a rainbow of Annie Sloan chalk paint colours.

 

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You can take a curb side find and transform it into a customized piece for your home, with very little effort. The furniture piece I made over recently was a Bombay Company buffet passed on from my Mother. It was in great shape to start with but I wanted a new look for my dining room. No sanding or prep needed, just wipe down to ensure no dust or sticky fingers and start applying, any which way. No going with the grain, you want brush strokes to show, that’s part of the rustic, shabby chic look.

 

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I chose to use 2 colours. Greek Blue on the top and Paris Grey on the base, one of the most popular shades. One coat of blue and move on to the base. By the time I had finished the base the top was dry, that’s how fast the process is. Once the piece has dried do a little bit of distressing with sandpaper. Around the corners, top of the drawers, edges, handles, anywhere you would normally see wear and tear. You can remove the hardware before painting or just paint right over them as I did.

 

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An absolute must is the wax. This is applied after the paint has dried. Available in clear or dark finish, the wax protects the piece and gives a wonderful sheen and smooth finish. It can be applied with a brush or a lint free rag ( I raided husband’s t shirt drawer) It takes a little bit of elbow grease but is so worth it.

 

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Here is the finished piece. It took about 4 hours from start to finish, so so easy and it really changes the look of the pieces. I also made over a small hall table and bench that was in really rough shape. Same technique, Paris Grey and dark wax. I added the new fabric and it makes a great place for keys in my entry way. This smaller project only took a tester size of the paint, a great way to try it out before you commit to a larger can. Here is the before and after.

table before & after

 

Rusty Hinges also runs chalk paint workshops at their store, give them a call for details, the ladies are so helpful.

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Annie Sloan Stockist Halifax

Behind the scenes

Styling a lifestyle photo shoot

I love a blank canvas, in my case usually a room/rooms, though I have been known to paint a canvas or two. Much like creating a work of art, lifestyle staging whether for Real Estate or to promote a product is all about layering elements.

The images myself and Vanessa Lentz of www.farmgateimaging produce for Halifax retailer www.wickeremporium.ca are done in a photo studio at Wicker Emporium’s head office in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Not quite a room ( we usually work with 2 walls) the other half of the studio is used for web  product photo shoots. This half is painted in white and resembles a skateboard ramp with one wall curved on the bottom to eliminate shadows in the finished web image. Every Wicker Emporium item from napkin rings to armoires is photographed here so it is a busy spot.

As soon as Vanessa and myself finish a lifestyle shoot we are busy planning the next one. Each shoot takes a week or more to plan. First step is to collaborate with Wicker’s Marketing Director to get an idea of what products to promote. Next I make a list of items I will need for the shoot. This involves checking the website , visiting the stores and sending the list to the inventory department. If available the large items of furniture are reserved in inventory for the shoot and placed outside the photo room for me before shoot day.

Lifestyle shoots are all about creating a mood so lighting comes into consideration. Vanessa and I discuss the setup (is this a morning/ afternoon/ evening vignette) We have a moveable wall on wheels (wouldn’t we all love one of those! ) which has a window with frosted glass. There are more than a few challenges to overcome when shooting. The photo studio has large windows that look out on a parking lot, a drop ceiling, a large double door and 1 smaller one that lead to the warehouse and a staircase, which we can use in the shoot if we reposition the wall.

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I arrive the day before the shoot or the morning of to unpack and position the furniture, steam linens if needed, select and pick up accessories from one of the stores, shop for any food, flowers etc. for props and unload and unpack any additional items needed for props from my own inventory. I start with positioning the larger pieces of furniture (I may also get a sneak peek of any new items just arrived in the warehouse, it’s like Christmas!) Once I have this part right I can start to layer. Rugs, drapes, artwork, accessories. It’s a process that takes a lot of tweaking before I am happy with the finished result. It usually takes 4-5 hours to set up a small shoot. More elaborate shoots like the Holiday ones may take up to 2 days to complete.

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This particular shoot was a “bathroom” setting. Not being done in an actual bathroom we had to get really creative to give the look of a country bathroom without a tub, sink or even running water. To make it even more challenging for Vanessa I used a large mirror. Mirrors are so tricky in photo shoots. The reflection of a drop ceiling and warehouse doors does not a pretty image make, so I positioned the moveable wall to reflect the window, quite effective in the finished image! There is a lot of tweaking during the actual shoot too, just off camera one part of the setup can be ripped apart as we reposition everything to get a good variety of images. There can be dozens of images shot but only a few are used (the cream of the crop) Even slight adjustments can make a world of difference to the final result so Vanessa and I constantly review her shots on camera and make changes as we go along to get the perfect end result.

After the shoot, it’s time for Vanessa to work her magic in the editing department. It’s always a thrill to see the final images after Farm Gate Imaging has done the technical stuff (she’s a genius) and it always amazes me how her vision and expertise can change what I might think was an ok shot into something spectacular.

Here are some images from the shoot. Prepped, re prepped, tweaked, edited and finally with text added by a designer. A lengthy process but so satisfying to see the finished result after everyone has done their part. These images are used for website, Face Book, Twitter, print and in store advertising.

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We try to make every shoot different and fresh and we are so proud to be associated with Wicker Emporium, a fabulous local Halifax company that is expanding in big ways in Canada.

Country Fresh

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 Props added

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 Showcasing accessories

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Final Web image

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Last weeks shoot was a kitchen setting and I have to say Vanessa outdid herself. Keep checking the Wicker Emporium website, Face Book page and Twitter account to see new images of our work and Wicker Emporium’s beautiful products.

In a few weeks it’s time to start on the Fall lifestyle shoots, I hope the weather cools down before I set a Thanksgiving table.

Enjoy your Summer 🙂

Avril

Prop Styling

Avril Brown

http://prepstaging.com/

Photography

Vanessa Lentz

www.farmgateimaging.ca

Product

http://wickeremporium.ca/

 

Online images make or break a sale

We all keep hearing over 90% of buyers are searching for their dream home on line . A captive audience,or is it? Bad images don’t entice a buyer, grab their attention or do any listing justice. A great picture should stop a prospective buyer in their tracks enough to investigate that listing further and arrange a viewing. There is no way to get people in the front door if they don’t like the image on the screen. We see it all the time. Agents eager to get a listing on the market snapping a home that is nowhere near ready to be photographed, with a cell phone camera or a good quality camera for that matter. Having a better than average camera doesn’t guarantee good images. It’s not what you have, it’s how you use it! Not marketing a property with all the tools available in this day and age is doing a client a great disservice.

Before staging
Before staging

 

Staging and professional photography has to be seen as a very worthwhile investment. The two go hand in hand. A home can be beautifully staged and ready for buyers but bad lighting and odd angles don’t do it justice in the eyes of a buyer. Having professional pictures done of a home that has not had the trained eye of a Home stager do at least do a consult at the property, is not maximizing the potential of a client’s largest investment.

After staging
After staging

 

In the images above you can see the before and after. In the first first image the room has awkward furniture placement and too much has been removed, leaving it sparce and uninviting. Only one section of the room is featured, leaving it to the imagination how much space there really is. Light is poor out and even the wall colour is not true. The second image after the room has been rearranged and a few items from my staging inventory have been added for colour and interest. You can see the whole room, light is balanced and you can see the view outdoors. Some light staging was all that was needed in this home but it made a vast difference. This property was sold within 3 weeks after staging and professional photography.

If you were in the market to buy a home either for yourself or as an investment, ask yourself this: Would the pictures you take draw your attention to the property?

A good picture is worth a thousand buyers.

prepstaging.com

902 489 6162

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