living with :: Coralia

armoire

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There is no one like Coralia.  Her classic, straight-forward form lends itself well to fiercely fresh modern colors and styling.  This armoire is all at once fanciful and refined. Since she is such a singular stunner, we knew we had to pair her with pieces that walk that same line of time-honored and brand-new.

Enter this dress, with smart tailoring but a sassy color.  And the bag – a tapestry tote with leather details, but in colors and shapes that wow.  Hang a portrait with a sense of humor nearby and stow a blanket with heaps of class and personality.  Coralia will feel right at home.

FYI – Sisters are the best

I am dead serious when I say that I have the best sister in the entire world! Don’t even start to tell me about your sister and how amazing she is because I guarantee you she would not, could not, ever not……hold a candle to my sweet sister. I am just teasing really………maybe.

My baby sister Sarah is almost 7 years younger than I am, and when she was born I used to carry her around like one of my baby dolls…..my mom would get all kinds of stares and comments because she let me carry my sister around like she was my own child. I had the hip hold mastered at the ripe old age of seven……:} Man how time has flown by……and my sister is now married with babies of her own. {very beautiful babies I might add!} I wish we lived closer so that I could see her more and kiss on my sweet nephews…….but maybe, just maybe there will be a change there soon! I am crossing my fingers and toes.

Even though we are far apart in miles….opposite sides of the country…..my sister never ceases to amaze me with her gifts of love and encouragement at just the right time. I arrived home from my trip to Delaware {my uncles funeral} and when my neighbor brought over the mail I saw a beautiful package addressed to me  in my sisters immaculate calligraphy….and wondered what in the world could be inside? I knew it would be fantastic whatever it was…..but I was not prepared for the flood of emotions that came when I opened it up and read her sweet note to me, and then saw this amazing watercolor calligraphy print that she had made just for me. I totally welled up with tears at the thoughtfulness and love that seeped off the pages of her gift……and my heart filled to the brim with love for the greatest sister in the world!

Her simple statement was a reminder to me of words that I have excitedly exclaimed to her over the years as I have seen miracle after miracle happen in both my personal life and with my little Knack business…..and as she sensed the sighs of my growing pains and signals of distress with the move and all that comes with it…..she took the time to remind me of the past……of the many miracles I have seen, and experienced first hand…..reminding me not to forget them……and to let the memory of them fall fresh on me again………

I love you Sakes!

If you all have never read my sisters blog, or visited her etsy shop…..you are missing out. The way she creates, photographs and captures life is so beautiful…..don’t miss it.

xo,

Barb

Etcetera

We have reached the end of another very hot summer week. I wish I had gotten more accomplished at the new studio, but it was so nice to have some time to sit back and relax with friends and family for the fourth. My friend Amy brought over these beautiful flowers for me from her garden! Aren’t they fantastic?! The super fun red sandals are an early BIRTHDAY treat to myself……oh and the glittery tank is as well! Yippee….the celebrating started early this year! Oh, and I literally lived off of bowls of freezing cold watermelon balls. They are so refreshing, and my new summer staple.

I hope to make a major dent in the studio work today! I spent 2 hours cleaning the bathroom on Tuesday! Seriously…I may have gone a bit mister clean on myself but the sparkly beautiful bathroom with its new rug, and towels is so inviting! Today, I will be sweeping, vacuuming, and sealing  the concrete floor and wall in the work space in order to help with dust, and to help keep the floors as clean and easily maintained as possible. i am going to work hard today so that I can enjoy MY BIRTHDAY tomorrow!! woot, woot! I am going to party like it is 2012! ……and for all of you who I know want to ask……the number is 38.

Have a great weekend!

 

xo,

Barb

P.S. did I mention it was my BIRTHDAY tomorrow?

 

Etcetera

Can you all even believe the lush, colorful beauty of my mountains?! I had to post a few more photos from our trip to the mountains last weekend for a couple reasons:

1. The color and beauty just get my juices flowin’

2. this weekend will be the polar opposite of complete relaxation in the mountains! hah!

For starters, I get the keys to my new studio today, and that will begin the moving madness {yipee!}…. my cousin is getting married on Saturday, family is in town for the wedding, and my guest bathroom is being demolished and gutted as we speak! Woot!

I am so very excited about the bathroom redo…it has been a long time coming, and I have lived with a huge hole in the hallway for about 6 months due to a leak that brought on this redo! The bathroom is going from seventies avocado green everything……to white subway tiles with gray grout, recycled wood, and penny tile goodness. I will be sure to photograph along the way and show it off when it is complete.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

xo,

Barb

Introductions

I think every time one of these giant pieces enters my studio I can almost hear the angels singing. I swear it. In my painting career I have had the privilege of transforming several of these gentle giants, but this one is extra special for a couple of reasons:

1. It belongs to one of the sweetest couples I know and I am truly honored to be trusted with their treasure.

2. It was such a mess with all of it’s white paint splatters and chipping veneer, so the prep work was intense, but that made the end result all the more rewarding.

I know there are those who look on these types of pieces as useless, victorian era, gaudy, yucky…….but seriously, in my opinion you can’t find a better statement piece that not only commands the room it resides in but also offers multiple storage and usage options. Painting these types of pieces brings them into the modern era and gives them a fresh and new aesthetic that surprisingly crosses multiple decorating styles. The detail on these pieces can’t be beat, and truly shines with a coat of paint. I also love painting the insides a bright and eye catching color so that it is always a pleasure to open the door. {wink}

Meet Berchelea.

xo,

Barb

 

Found Goodness

I pulled together this photo of three things that found me this week and inspired me with their beautiful shapes, colors  and function. The beautiful flowers from the farmers market, with their amazing colors and textures….the now infamous mexican blanket with its stripes in all colors of the rainbow, and the little owl knobs that will soon live on a piece of Knack furniture.

All of this is found goodness indeed.

xo,

Barb

FYI

I had several comments and emails about my design process after yesterdays introduction post, so I thought I would actually show you the drawings that go on behind the scenes. Sometimes I am just sketching designs that are in my head that are not necessarily connected to a specific piece, and sometimes I am actually drawing a specific design plan for a specific piece…….and then there are times where I don’t draw it out at all and just create it based on what is in my brain. I think there is a need for all of the above…..I don’t have to draw anything if I don’t want to because my brain is wired to see it without drawing it out, and spontaneity can be fabulous…..but I think creating visual aids, reminders, and guidelines is a great way to make sure that the proper time and care are given to each design.

Some of the designs pictured here have already been executed, and have found homes…..some have yet to be completed…some are half hidden because they may or may not be in the book….hee hee!…and some may get done in the next few weeks, especially the green one with the deep “V” pattern on it…….I drew that design plan last year….and I am going to make it happen……but it may not be on a chest of drawers. We shall  see!

It is super important to me, to truly create original and creative art with my furniture pieces…..so I choose to look at life and the everyday for my inspiration. It’s where its at.

xo,

Barb Blair

 

Introductions

There are projects that come along, and even though I have purchased them because I love something about them….. I get stuck trying to decide how exactly I want to take them to the level of frabjous. I started painting this little armoire with one plan in mind…I was going to paint the entire thing with milk paint and leave it pretty plain….but for some reason I felt like I was just rushing to try to get the piece done and check it off my list. I want to fight against that mentality…so I literally put one coat of milk paint on the entire thing, rinsed out my brushes, and went back to the drawing board and spent a day drawing and planning out my design.

I looked through magazines, fabric and wallpaper combinations, and stared out my front window mulling over colors and patterns….but the thing that finally got me going in the right direction was a beautiful mexican blanket that I  borrowed from a friend to use in a photo shoot. It was lying there just staring at me and the many different colors and different sized stripes totally caught my eye. Immediately the light bulb came on in my head. I knew the stripes would be hard, and a bit tedious but I had plenty of Frog Tape on hand and I crave a good tough furniture challenge. I knew if all went well, the pain would be so worth it! I went back to the studio the very next day, executed “my plan”, and this is what came out! Meet Tallulah! I am telling you…. with the turquoise, purple, yellow, cream, red, pink, orange, blue and green stripes…..the turquoise insides, and the pistachio green knobs….. Tallulah is a party waiting to happen!

I’m here to tell you it was indeed worth it to stand back and enjoy this little beauty!

xo,

Barb

Introductions

As I was telling you on Friday….I am so thrilled to be working on several really fun custom jobs for sweet clients over the next several weeks, and this chest of drawers is the first off the “assembly line”! This chest of drawers is as solid as they come and a real beauty with its bowed front drawers and carved detail. I love painting pieces like this!

The Storm family is expecting their first little one, and his name is Sam. I wish I could show you the fantastic nursery that little Sam will grow up in…it is so clean, modern and very well done. I am stoked that a little piece of Knack will get to be a part of such a happy place!

Congrats to the Storms! I can’t wait to meet Sam!

 

xo,

Barb

Introductions

This piece was truly “my pleasure” to makeover. I purchased this little piece at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago and seriously had buyers remorse when I went to load her up. I was beating myself up for buying a piece with green linoleum on the top …..and a  “really nice” metal strip to secure that green linoleum mind you! It was a done dealio though and so I started coming up with design plans in my head, and trying to take the easy way out. I was going to cover the top with paper, use metal leaf to hide everything, etc. Then, I came to my senses and knew that I had to remove the linoleum and do this job the right knack way. I was totally prepared for a mess….and it is a good thing because this is what it looked like when I peeled the linoleum off:

…after over 24 hours of soaking with a thick coat of Citristrip {the best stripping agent out there in my book!}, and then lots of sanding, cleaning, painting, and papering…..This is what she looks like now!  Meet “Perley”.

After all the work I did to expose the top, I thought it a crime to cover up the personality of the wood….so I gave it a good rub down with Danish oil and left it completely raw and unfinished….and for this piece, I totally dig it!

xo,

Barb