For years and years I have pored over house and garden magazines looking at the beautiful interiors. A few years ago I started thinking about studying interior design, but thought it would either be too expensive or too difficult.
It was almost 12 months ago that I discovered the Diploma in Interior Design by the Interior Design Institute, a self-paced online program. At that time I looked into it, but decided not to proceed as I was preparing to launch Upcycled & Co. as a business.
Over the past year I have been keeping the interior design course top of mind, all the time finding that I was being drawn to it more and more. So, at the beginning of September, I decided to go for it. I'm now three weeks into the course and I am loving it! I have completed three modules, receiving 10/10 for the first two, and 9/10 for the third one.
Why am I sharing this with you?
If you've wanted to study interior design, I'm here to tell you to "Go for it!".
Here's what I'm loving about the course so far:
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Last week I had a real treat!
On Friday morning I got ready and set off. The French Country House is only 10 minutes from where I live so I didn't have far to go at all. Before I knew it I was there pulling into the driveway with this magnificent home right in front of me.
Walking up to the huge double front doors my senses were already overloaded with all of the incredible detail of the property. A collection of beautiful planters either side of the door, exquisite tiles on the front entrance, intricate wrought iron, gorgeous light fixtures and a chalk board to welcome me made for a breathtaking start. Using the cast iron door knocker, I knocked twice and was greeted by Kay, the Manager.
We chatted in the entrance briefly before starting my own private tour of this stunning accommodation and wedding venue.
As we wandered from room to room my eyes were offered a new feast of exquisite artefacts from all over the world that accentuated each space. From the crisp white bed linen, to beautifully painted furniture, gorgeous robes hanging in the bathrooms and the most stunning views, everything was perfect.
With three guest rooms, each with it's own enormous bathroom, every detail is taken care of. Each room is furnished with elegant pieces that enhance the stunning design.
Take a tour through The French Country House with me...
Rustic outdoor fireplace and lanterns.
A beautiful collection of floral arrangements and furniture.
An exquisite chandelier sits over the kitchen island.
French country charm.
A stunning collection of French country furniture.
The blue room.
The green room.
The star of the show, Freddie.
Really, I could go on and on showing you more and more photographs and talking about The French Country House. But I'll stop here, and if you'd like to see more, head on over to my Facebook page or to my Instagram account where I will be continuing to share more images from my visit.
Take a look at The French Country House on Instagram too!
For a special occasion you'd like to celebrate in the most charming space, book yourself a weekend at The French Country House. Similarly, considering this exquisite wedding venue is a must!
Thank you Kay, The French Country House really is a testament not only to the inspiration and creativity of the owners, but also to your day-to-day management of the property and its guests. Thank you so, so much.
If you'd like to know how to create French country style furniture, sign up for my Furniture Paint 101 workshop (online or face-to-face).
Next weekend is the first of The Stone Effect workshops I'm going to be running over the next couple of months. This gorgeous finish is ideal for home decor items such as urns, vases, bowls, candleholders and more - it can even be used on furniture!
With a number of keen students all signed up and raring to go, I have a few places left. So, if you're in Tauranga, Pukekohe or Cambridge, be sure to book your place on The Stone Effect workshop before it fills completely.
You will learn this technique that includes:
In browns, blacks and golds.
Stunning in blacks, greys, whites and silver.
White, greys and silver.
You can create any colour combination you wish with this finish. In the class you will learn how to mix colours too, meaning you have an endless spectrum of tones to include.
If you're keen, head on over and book your place here.
I can't wait to teach this class!
See you soon,
I don't know how many years it is since I've been to a show home; I'm guessing it's at least eight.
A little over a week ago, I started a Diploma in Interior Design with the Interior Design Institute. It's something I've wanted to do for a very long time, and, now that I have a home decor related business, I decided it was a good time to do the course.
I'm so excited by what I'm learning, by the possibilities of where this could lead, and what I can do with our home, that I've been out to look at a show home today. As part of the course, it is recommended we visit as many show homes and open homes as we can so I thought, what better time to start than on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon.
Relatively close to where we live there is a lot of new building going on with a number of show homes.
I must say I was really blown away with the design, the decor and the styling of this beautiful home. I have seen plenty of examples of these trends on HGTV, which by the way I'm totally addicted to, but I hadn't seen them in real life. This GJ Gardner home really is quite lovely.
A beautiful entrance with a huge round mirror, wooden sideboard, flowers and greenery.
The barn door and recessed shelving in the kitchen and dining area are stunning.
Cane furniture, faux fur and iron all feature in the family room.
Soft pastels, dark green and browns in the guest room.
Artwork lines the soft grey hallway.
The huge master bedroom in blues, greys and florals.
Beautiful linen and furnishings.
A chair in the infant's room looks comfy too.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed that little tour of my afternoon out looking at a local show home. I know I'm inspired, and I'm guessing you might be too. Even if you're not building, there are lots of renovation and home decor ideas here to use Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint on to bring them up to date.
If you're short on furniture painting skills, check out my Furniture Paint 101 workshops available online or in the Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Hawkes Bay regions in New Zealand. Next year I will be travelling further into the Manawatu, Wellington and South Island areas.
Keep expressing your creativity in any way you can.
Until next time...
I love bright colours, and right now, all shades of Mustard are among some of my favourites.
Experimenting with mixing my Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in Mustard, I've been able to create some beautiful pieces for our home, and so have my students. As with all colour, there are so many shades you can achieve when you get your creativity flowing.
The Rustic Finish workshop.
Using a custom colour mix, I think you'll agree that this piece has really been brought to life.
A slightly different custom mix gives a different look altogether.
Painted in the same hue as the urn above, both work in our decor.
It's almost Spring here in New Zealand so it's time to start thinking about the garden and outdoors again.
Last weekend I decided to give our outdoor pots and planters a spruce up with Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in Jet. It's amazing what a coat of paint can do!
When I thought about launching my own paint brand my biggest focus was bringing something to the market that made furniture painting QUICK, EASY + AFFORDABLE. I wanted the paint to be as versatile too, so you could easily create numerous looks without having to spend fortune.
With Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint you can create both indoors and outdoors, meaning you don't need different paints for your different projects. Simply use my paint for your interior and exterior projects.
Here are the shots of my furniture. Click on the images to see a larger version.
Around 12 months ago I started to explore ideas I'd had about painting techniques.
Until this point I'd been creating aged antique looks using chalk paint and waxes, but this was costly by the time I'd bought the paint, clear and coloured wax that was needed.
Me being me, and with my background in process improvement, I thought there had to be another way. My thinking was this, if I could develop processes that created the same aged antique look, using only paint, it would be quicker, easier and more affordable.
And that, is what I did!
For months I tested different paints and different processes, talked with paint manufacturers, then tested some more until I was happy with both the product and the process.
Now, you can create a beautiful aged antique look such as these ones below, and all you need is paint.
You can learn this technique, along with three others, at my Furniture Paint 101 workshop, either online or face-to-face in New Zealand.
I'd love to teach you how to create this beautiful effect using only paint. Like all of my students, you too will discover how easy it really is!
I hope to see you at a workshop soon!
Since I started my Furniture Paint 101 Workshops in May 2016 I have wanted to take them to other towns and cities around New Zealand. This year so far I have run many in my home town of Tauranga, in Cambridge and Pukekohe, and I have them scheduled in Howick, Whakatane, Rotorua, Waiuku and Taupo.
I'm so excited about teaching more and more people what I know about furniture and home decor item painting.
In November I will be taking my workshops even further. Right now I'm working on my schedule to do a week long tour of other areas of the North Island.
If you'd love to have a Furniture Paint 101 workshop in your town or city, please email me or get in touch via my Facebook page.
Here are a few images from previous workshops:
Get all of your questions answered.
A wee treat for each student.
Everything is provided - even the items to paint!
A selection of brushes, sandpaper, rags and paint are available.
One of the most popular colours, Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in Duck Egg creates a soft and beautiful finish no matter which paint effect you use.
A recent upcycle in my studio, this desk was totally transformed from a boring brown dark stain to this soft luxurious look. With two coats of Duck Egg, carefully sanding out any imperfections between coats, I then applied a dry brush effect to give it another dimension.
This is a colour I've used to upcycle photo frames and baskets too, both of which come up beautifully.
If you're looking for a soft feminine finish, then Duck Egg from the Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint range is for you!
Remember, we have all of your painting accessories that make the job easier too. And, my Furniture Paint 101 workshop is online now too.
This piece is for sale. You can find out more HERE.
If you'd love to see more of the Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint colour range,
download your FREE colour chart.
Last year we had the gorgeous Persimmon Lane Cake & Coffee Shop open just 10 minutes away from where we live, and oh my goodness what a treat this place is.
With the most stunning setting amongst persimmon trees in a quiet country road, Persimmon Lane Cake & Coffee Shop is an absolute delight. As you pull up the driveway beautiful trees and an expansive lawn area surrounds the most delightful purpose-built white cottage. An all-weather verandah looks out over this beautiful space.
Stepping inside to see the array of scrumptious offerings is just as impressive. From cakes to savoury and healthier options too, Persimmon Lane have it all. My treat today was Apple and Feijoa Crumble.
Oh, and by the way, the coffee was superb too!
Come and have a look...
Feijoa & Apple Crumble
Distressed Tea Trolley
So, next time you're in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, make sure you make time for coffee or lunch at Persimmon Lane Cake & Coffee Shop, you'll not be disappointed.
If you'd like to find out more about furniture painting, take a look at my Facebook page for more inspiration.
In the meantime...
p.s. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at my new Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint.
Projects that I can complete in a few hours are my favourites, with weekend projects coming a close second.
Now, as you can imagine, I've got a few pieces (well... more than a few actually) waiting in line to be transformed so this recent project was a good one to get completed end to end over a weekend.
I'm really in love with the whole French farmhouse look right now so I'm working to create a few pieces.
This hall table was the first on the list and I love how it came up.
Here's what I did:
1. Wiped the entire piece with a warm soapy cloth to remove any dust and dirt.
2. Removed the handles.
3. Applied masking tape to the sides of the drawers.
4. Painted the drawer fronts.
5. Turned the table upside down to paint the legs and under sides.
6. Finished off with painting the top.
7. Distressed using sandpaper.
8. Wiped over with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust.
9. Replaced the handles.
I'm sure you will agree that a coat of paint, some distressing and new handles makes all the difference to this cute wee table.
What is your next piece on your upcycling list? Let me know in the comments below.
When I was researching and developing Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint, my main objective was to bring a product to the market that was QUICK, EASY + AFFORDABLE, the three key components that make up the philosophy of my business. This was non-negotiable.
The idea: Create a limited range of diverse colours. Then, teach my students to mix colours to create any shade they need or want. This is proving popular.
I love the fact that I'm encouraging people to explore their creativity even more. For me, this is definitely one of the most satisfying parts of the creative life; experimenting, testing, trialling and even having failures because it is all part of the fun of creative self-expression.
Our furniture paint is a 3-in-1 paint that primes, paints and seals in one process. NO SANDING. NO PRIMING. NO WAXING. NO POLYURETHANE.
Jet is proving to be one of our most popular colours. Used on it's own it of course gives a beautiful lustre and depth to any piece, and mixed (here with White) you can create any shade of grey you desire.
These bar stools were originally clear varnished and were quite light. The next iteration was a dark stain I put on around seven years ago, and now they've been brought up to date.
Here's what I did:
1. Asked my husband Craig to cut the backs off for me.
2. Painted two coats of Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in Jet using a Textured Finish.
3. Left to fully cure for 7 days to ensure the paint had hardened.
4. That's it!
Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint is QUICK, EASY + AFFORDABLE!
Check out my FREE Online Furniture Painting workshop.
Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in Jet
Bar stools before
This was yet another quick and easy project that has made a HUGE difference to the decor of our home.
Question: What is your next project going to be? Please share it in the comments. I'd love to know!
What a wonderful find it was coming across this delightful cafe.
On a recent road trip to the Manawatu region of New Zealand, I was most pleased to discover this outstanding cafe. With delicious homemade food, coffee that is definitely up there with the best, and a decor that is right up my alley, Hansen's Cafe & Store was one of the highlights of our trip.
Owned and operated by five families who moved North from Nelson two years ago, the store offers an array of handmade soaps, children’s clothing, wood crafted pieces and sewn homewares.
Housed in an early 1900s building which was totally renovated when the new owners took over, the decor consists of beautiful repurposed timbers from the property. From its rustic chalkboard signage to the solid wood tables and enormous fire surround, the well thought out layout and furnishings are just lovely. A mixture of small and large tables and chairs, couch and comfy chair areas and bar stool benches, there’s a space for everyone.
Stopping for afternoon tea, the rhubarb crumble took my eye, and Craig had the ginger crunch slice; both were baked to perfection. The coffee couldn’t be faulted either.
Of course the decor was the thing that attracted me when I saw the images on Google. The rustic finishes, repurposed wood, painted furniture and upcycled products were inspiring for sure.
For me, one of the highlights was the staff. All members of the families that own the business, they were exceptionally engaged. Of the three staff I spoke with, each had a story, and each was genuinely interested in me and my story - where I’d come from, and where I was travelling to and from.
Take a look for yourself at the decor and food.
Hansen's Cafe & Store
Beautiful homemade food
Rhubarb Crumble & Flat White Coffee
A variety of crafts are available for sale
Upcycled coffee sacks, children's clothing and soy candles.
Rustic signage and upcycled pieces.
You might like to check out some of my before and after inspiration of upcycled pieces that have been transformed.
I'm so excited to bring you my online Furniture Paint 101 workshop.
No matter where you are in the world, now you too can learn to turn your tired old pieces into ones you absolutely LOVE.
Learn all of the favourite painted furniture techniques I teach in my face-to-face workshops designed to give you the upcycling skills you need to make your home beautiful.
ABOUT UPCYCLED & CO.
Upcycled & Co. is my 'baby', founded on a philosophy of providing quick, easy and affordable furniture painting workshops, and furniture paint. I have always loved to create... I love texture, colour, and most of all, expressing myself through the creative process. As a teenager it was sewing my own clothes, then later knitting. In my 20s I tried all sorts, from decoupage to abstract acrylic painting on canvas. And for the last 15 years I have been into upcycling in one way or another - repainting plant pots, recovering lampshades and painting furniture and old photo frames to a create a new look.
HOW IT WORKS
You will be joining me online and I will be coming to you from the Upcycled & Co. studio. The techniques for Furniture Paint 101 Online are recorded in individual videos and give you a step-by-step demonstration of each technique.
FURNITURE PAINT 101: THE WORKSHOP
Learn 4 different and beautiful techniques at my Online Furniture Paint 101 Workshop then set to work to turn your tired old furniture into pieces you absolutely LOVE! I've created four separate videos to make it easy for you to learn one technique at a time
You will learn how to:
You will get to access videos that take you through each process step-by-step, and you can watch them again whenever you want to.
Plus you will receive 2 BONUS Workshops - The Colour Mixing workshop & The Stone Effect workshop.
Here's what my clients say:
"I didn't realise it was going to be so easy!" Jo
"Thank you for a fun and informative workshop." Kate
"It was so much easier than I thought it was going to be." Wendy
You can find more reviews on my Facebook page.
If you've done one of my workshops or if you've painted furniture, please share your experience in the comments below.
If you've been following Upcycled & Co. for a while you will know how much I love quick and easy projects.
This urn had been sitting in my studio for quite some time, until I got my hands (and paint brush) onto it recently.
The colour I chose is a custom mix of Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in Mustard, Jet and Tangerine, and I love it! It's one of the colours in our dining room chair fabric so I've used it as an accent colour in our decor.
Now when I say I like quick and easy projects, this really was quick. I'd finished painting my chair in the same colour and I had enough paint left to do this urn, so I set to work. With no need for preparation, apart from a quick wipe over with a damp cloth, I knew I could get this done in under an hour.
Here's what I did:
1. Applied two coats of Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint.
2. Dried each coat with a hairdryer, making sure they were completely dry before applying the next coat.
It really was that simple!
A real transformation.
I love how this looks in our lounge.
Now... what's my next project...
Question: What have you been painting lately? Head on over to my FREE Facebook group and share your pictures, and get inspiration and ideas from others.
Last month I took a couple of days off to visit a friend in Whitianga, a seaside town in the Coromandel region of New Zealand. This area holds a special memories for me as it is one I visited with my parents as a child.
A two and a half hour drive from our home, it's windy and hilly in places, but very, very beautiful.
After a night at my friend's house catching up, I took a trip into town before leaving to head back to The French Fig, a cafe I'd visited last time I was in Whitianga. I remembered it being a particularly inspiring space, not only for the scrumptious food, but for their beautiful French style collection of homeware and giftware, and once again, I was not disappointed with either.
Of course I had to have a wee bit to eat with my coffee, and both were absolutely delicious. Then a wee wander around, and after a few photographs (kindly approved by the owner), I went on my way.
A gorgeous collection of French inspired homeware and giftware.
More beautiful pieces.
All of those delicious goodies.
Homeware and giftware.
Fabulous food and fabulous things.
Freshly baked too!
So, next time you're in the Coromandel, a trip over to The French Fig Cafe in Whitianga is well worth it!
A few months ago I was lucky enough to takeover our double garage as my studio. Craig and I spent an entire weekend, emptying, cleaning, painting and decorating the space and it was transformed.
Since then, I've been running my paint workshops, and having some wonderful painting sessions myself, from the space. It's definitely a work-in-progress with more decorating to be completed, but it sure is wonderful to have this dedicated area to work in.
Here are a few photographs of the space.
All set up for a workshop.
Paint, paint... and more paint...
Everything is provided at your paint workshop.
If you've got a workshop space or studio, I'd love to see it. Head on over to my Facebook group and show us.
In the meantime, if you're curious, check out Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint.
With newly developed processes, and my paint, your upcycling projects will be QUICK, EASY + AFFORDABLE!
p.s. Until 30th May, 2017 you can enter my Upcycled & Co. Paint giveaway too!
I'm so excited to bring you my brand new workshop, The Stone Effect.
This technique is one I created some months ago and I just LOVE it... and so do my clients. Every time I have a workshop at my home I take my participants on a tour of my home to look at the furniture and home decor items I have created, and this effect is one of the favourites.
So, I have decided to teach it.
The first workshop is set for Saturday 15th July at 1.00pm in Tauranga. This 3-hour workshop takes you through this process step-by-step, and you will have two gorgeous pieces to take home at the end. Of course we will be using Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint, including our new metallics.
I've had loads of interest in this technique so be sure to secure your place so you don't miss out.
I can't wait to teach you this awesome finish!
You're going to LOVE this!
Ooh I'm loving this new angle I'm taking with my blog because I get to visit these inspiring spaces all the time... and I like that!
Last week I visited Ooplah for the second time, and was just as inspired as the first. This cute store is packed with French vintage finds, from outdoor furniture to wine bottles, tins, leather suitcases and more.
After spending four years in the countryside of Poitou-Charentes in France, the owners of Ooplah, Bridget and Shane Laugesen, returned to New Zealand with a large collection of French vintage finds. Before their return, their weekends were spent visiting markets to gather mid-century French fabrics, old cinema seats, beautiful chairs, tables, road signs and more.
Every piece has been hand selected, packaged up and shipped from France to New Zealand to end up at Ooplah.
Take a look at the Ooplah Facebook page for even more inspiration. And, even better, visit Ooplah when you're in the Bay of Plenty.
Old tins and beautiful leather suitcases
Genuine French road signs
Vintage cinema seats
Cream cans and milk crates
Vintage pedal car from the early 1900s
If you're in the Bay of Plenty, Ooplah is definitely a place to call into.
With new vintage finds, and the large amount of items they're rotating all the time, you'll find something new and interesting each time you visit.
This is one inspiring space!
I used to love these brass plaques back in the 80s; in fact I had one just like this displayed on my lounge wall.
For a while now I have been looking at these in charity stores thinking, one of these might look good painted. So, I picked one up last week, and on Saturday morning I gave it a fresh new look in 30 minutes.
Here's what I did:
1. Applied one coat of Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in Ash.
2. Dried it off with a hairdryer for a few minutes.
3. Painted a second, slightly watered down coat.
4. Used the hairdryer again to dry it off.
5. Applied a wash of Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint in White. You can learn how to create a wash by watching my FREE Furniture Painting Workshop in my Facebook group. Join the group, then search 'free workshop' once you're a member and you can see the video.
What do you have around your home that you could transform in 30 minutes?
If you'd like to learn how to use Upcycled & Co. Furniture Paint, then join a Paint Workshop today (online, in Tauranga or another New Zealand town).