Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

17 Jun 2018

making over the sofa

And finally, I can tell you, after months of uncertainty, that I will be moving to Suffolk at the end of this month. The house we fell in love with and will be hosting an Air bed and breakfast location, is a Grade 2 listed house that is over 500 years old. 

Before we go I've had a chance to change some of my existing furniture for the new look we will be nurturing to suit the ancient beams and crooked floors. This incredible old sofa, bought at auction for very little money is having it's second transformation with me, changing the dark wood and the floral covers to a pink and grey scheme.

Naturally, I wouldn't dream of painting furniture in anything but Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but for this piece I wanted some subtle touches to age the paintwork.  While not obviously visible, I've added some details that will notice more when you are sitting on it.

One such technique is the crackle glaze which I've used in two different ways on here. You can see some short videos on my instagram highlights of the application process. On the back rail I painted the glaze over the Antoinette pink paint and applied dark wax into the cracks.  On the main part of the sofa, I applied white wax into the cracks to lighten the overall look of the Paris Grey.

To highlight the pink colour on the carved details I've done a couple of things here. I put dark wax into the grooves and used the gilding cream in copper onto the highlights. It doesn't look too precise in these close up photos, but the overall effect from a few feet away is that the effects are aged and worn. 

I am far from being an expert in upholstery, I do it to suit myself but it is not professional in any way. I believe you are supposed to cover your nails with a braid but I don't really like this look, and I'm quite a fan of the deconstructed look anyway, so I kept it basic. The fabric was super cheap from e-bay, I don't feel that my skills warrant an expensive fabric, also the cats will bound to take their turns on the seat, and one, who shall be nameless, does like to claw at sofa arms. I found some old and aged pink velvet to cover the bolster cushions, which I have just hand sewn for now. 

I've left it in a position that it can be changed quite easily, but is totally fine to use as a seat.

Because my next home is basically a wooden framed house, with original floorboards and lots of exposed beams, I need to neutralise the wood on the furniture or it will look a bit mad in that setting.  So painting with chalk paint is the perfect solution to making all your furniture complement the ancient wooden structure while matching with the other pieces. I've bought a few French pieces so I'm making my existing furniture tie in with that and keeping to a pale palette of grey with pink touches. 

Details and links will be posted here and on instagram for when the Air bnb is up and ready for visitors, so I do hope you can come and holiday with me. I may be talking about photography, social media and interior decorating in future retreats, perhaps also collaborating with some other experts and giving guided photo walks around the area.

Bye bye to my big Florence coloured wall and Buckinghamshire and hello Suffolk long house and seaside visits. Until then, find me on instagram. 

For more information on Annie Sloan products, including the crackle glaze, brushes, the copper gilding paste, the paints and waxes go to 

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