5 February 2016

Maison et Objet Paris

Last week I was in Paris for Maison et Objet 2016.  It is *the* big international trade show for interior design, with exhibitors – and visitors – from all over the world.  It’s so exciting, I go once a year to see for myself all the new trends.  Some of the stands are just enormous – I worked out that one was easily twice the size of my house! Often it’s where I’ll find new things for my shop here in Oxford, but this year I had my own stand there, and had a wonderful time meeting with stockists and potential new stockists from across the globe – Hungary to Japan!   (Images below- left: Shiro and Kimie Ito, my distributors in Japan, with Monika Gawinecka - my distributor in Poland. Middle: the Chalk Paint colour wheel. Right: My Spanish distributor, Maria, doing a short demo on the stand.)

I made time to take in what else was going on – I’m so frustrated but, because it is strictly trade only, I’m not allowed to share any of the pictures I took of the other stands with you.  However, I just had to sketch out some of the amazing ways in which people are using colour.  I was incredibly inspired, and – I hope! – you will be, too.

For the past few years, the big story has been white with grey.  I love this pared down look, but somehow it just doesn’t excite me in the way that bold use of colour does, so I’m thrilled to say that this year colour is big and strong!  There were some really powerful statements: red walls, red furniture, strong splashes of bright green and yellows…yellow everywhere!  And, importantly, this wasn’t just in reference to one particular style (e.g. mid-century Modern) but across the range.  Palatial grandeur, warehouse, bohemian (of course!) all infused with the colours I know so well from the Chalk Paint® palette (Emperor’s Silk, Burgundy, Antibes Green, Greek Blue, English Yellow to name but a few).  Barcelona Orange and English Yellow worked particularly well in warehouse settings, especially when paired with Paris Grey, French Linen, Versailles

I’ve been struggling to come up with a way of describing the colours used, and can only come up with ‘strong florals’ – these aren’t pastels, but instead the strong red of tulips, vivid yellow like daffodils, marigold orange and beautiful cornflower blues.  And in combinations which were striking and somehow exotic.  Here’s a sketch based on a stand I saw which put together Graphite with Emperor's Silk, Antibes Green, Barcelona Orange and English Yellow.

Despite this and although colours were generally more dramatic, they were also used to create some more gentle looks.  The ubiquity of white and grey has been refreshed by using colour to replace white - it is now grey with orange, or blues, or yellow.  I saw a fabulous room set made up of soft greys – so relaxing – but with one vibrant orange chair – I love it!! For this look I've used Paris Grey and Barcelona Orange from the Chalk Paint® palette. (See image above.) 

I love seeing pictures of your bold colour statement pieces, keep sharing them with me using #AnnieSloan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Use @anniesloanhome to tag me too!

Yours, Annie

20 January 2016

Tim Gould's Objectabletable

Here's the latest project from my British Painter in Residence, Tim Gould. You might remember that he works as an artist under the name Objectables. Well, here he's created the Objectabletable – a table with attitude!

This cheeky piece of furniture has its own Twitter account (@objectabletable) and it undergoes constant makeovers, highlighting the way that people share their opinions across social media channels – and everyone knows how much I love social media!

Tim tends to work with stencils and always creates his own. For this, he created the lettering on his computer and printed it out on vinyl. He gave the table top a light sand to remove any varnish before applying his stencil. He then created a stain with my paint in Graphite – diluting the paint and applying it onto the surface before wiping it away almost instantly. Tim did this three times, gradually leaving a build-up of colour around the stencil. He applied a bit more paint in some areas to create an uneven patina.

I love the legs on this table too – he painted them with a pattern made of hashtags, again in Graphite. He also gilded the edge of the table in with silver leaf. Tim then finished the piece with a couple of coats of my Clear Soft Wax.

So what do you think? Are you going to tweet anything to Objectabletable? Maybe it will tweet you back!

Yours, Annie

Follow Tim on InstagramFacebook, and his website: http://www.objectables.co.uk/

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest

13 January 2016

Christmas in South Africa

Christmas now seems a distant dream – I hope yours was a merry one. I was very, very lucky this year and spent Christmas in South Africa with my husband David and two of our sons, Henry and Hugo. My son Felix (whom many of you will know works with me here at HQ, couldn’t come as he and his partner Lizzy are expecting their second child in the next couple of weeks – we were sad they couldn’t be with us, but so excited about a new addition to the family!).

South Africa was really gorgeous, I loved it. I think it is one of the most creative places I’ve ever been – it’s incredibly inspiring and I’ve been trying to put my finger on why that is. I think in part it must be due to the extraordinary mixture of international influences and visitors dating back to the Seventeenth Century. I met some great people – I really enjoyed a conversation with my taxi driver on Christmas Day in Cape Town – as a self-identified ‘Cape Coloured’ he spoke three languages – Afrikaans, Arabic and, of course, English. Another lovely man I met whilst doing a wine tasting (it’s the law to do a wine tasting in South Africa!) told me his great, great, great, great, GREAT grandmother was from Indonesia. The cultural mix coupled with South Africa’s separateness and the Afrikaans heritage, based around farming and home-making, make this a peculiarly unique part of the world. I don’t know how, or why or what, but the effect on the country combined with fantastic weather and such diverse flora and fauna plus those inspiring views make it an astonishing, and very, very creative place to visit.

It *was* a holiday, but I’ve come back wanting to make things. I found a freedom of expression, a loose style – people don’t do fiddly, precise little things. It’s much more in keeping with the way in which I like to work – no restrictions, just pick up a brush or pencil and enjoy yourself.

Here are a few little sketches I made while I was there – I didn’t really make them with the idea of sharing them, but in my blog back in October, when I introduced my new Chalk Paint Workbook, I wrote that I always like to have a sketchbook to hand... and here’s the proof!

I also took advantage of the opportunity to pop into The Pause Room in Cape Town, and say hello to my Stockist there, Michelle Kunze. And, of course, I visited lots of galleries. The style is so craft inspired – African workers using traditional techniques to make tremendous, contemporary pieces. Above all, they’re not scared of colour in South Africa – not in the slightest!!

Finally, please indulge me by letting me share some photos taken by my son, Henry, who has a Facebook page. His photographs really capture some of the diversity and colour I loved so much!

Yours, Annie

8 January 2016

Mid-Century Modern Chairs

My paint, Chalk Paint®, has been influenced by the painter’s palette, which means that it is perfect for recreating any style – and mid-Century Modern is no exception. I adore this modular streamlined look, made bold by use of colour and pattern. For this project, these mid-Century chairs have been transformed into something quite tremendous using just a small set of products from my range. This is a project that would be fairly straightforward to try at home. The chairs I used here were languishing in an attic, having been cast aside as too dated – yes, really!!

1.The first thing was to strip the old shabby velvet from the seat pads and add a new piece of polyester wadding and some fire-retardant calico before adding a new fabric covering. I chose the Gentleman fabric from my range – it’s perfect for the Modern Retro look and, as a natural cotton fabric, it’s so simple to dye using my paint, Chalk Paint®. 
2. Use masking tape to mark out the area you’re going to paint and get a good clean line. If you look carefully at the set of chairs you’ll see the colour is painted over different sections of each seat pad – the devil is in the detail! 
3. Mix the paint with water until you get a loose consistency, roughly one part paint to ten parts water. If you apply it too thickly it may dry with a crust (this can be brushed off, but it can be a messy job). Better to layer washes of paint, until you reach the intensity of colour you’re after. Use a small, flat brush and make sure to work it into the fabric as you apply it. 

4. For the frame, I wanted to contrast the colour of the seat pads with something stark that would make the colours sing out. I used Graphite on the legs and supports for the seat back, but kept the panel in its original grain, polished with some Danish oil to bring out its natural lustre.
5. Once the paint is dry, apply my Clear Soft Wax and take any excess off with a dry cloth or rag. 

6. Pop the pad back into the seat and they’re good to go!

I’m so pleased with these chairs – they work really well as a set, but, individually, each one works just as well on its own.

I hope you enjoyed this project – follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and please, please, please share your own projects with me by sharing your pictures with me there.

Yours, Annie

6 January 2016

Jelena Pticek's Striped Chest of Drawers


Today I'm sharing the final project from Jelena Pticek, my brilliant Painter in Residence from Toronto, Canada. For this project, Jelena used my paint, Chalk Paint® to give a chest of drawers a modern look with horizontal stripes of colour.

Following the simple lines of the chest of drawers, Jelena used a palette of Graphite, Olive, Duck Egg Blue, French Linen and Antoinette to paint different widths of stripes around the piece. The French Linen and Graphite act as neutrals, keeping the colours balanced and working together.

Jelena applied my Clear Soft Wax, then lightly distressed the moulding on the top drawer. She then sealed the piece with a final coat of Wax.

I hope you've all enjoyed Jelena's worannk as much as I have and have been inspired to add some pattern to your furniture with Chalk Paint®?

Yours, Annie

Follow Jelena on InstagramFacebook, and her blog: poppyseedliving.blogspot.co.uk/

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest.

26 December 2015

The Annie Sloan Family

For me, and for many of us, the holidays are all about family: spending time together, squabbles and all! So I wanted to talk a little about my ‘other’ families. My company, Annie Sloan Interiors, is a family business in every sense of the word. I’m thrilled each day to be working with my lovely son, Felix and his wonderful partner, Lizzy. And, of course, my husband David is the lynchpin holding us all together. But, it’s not just my actual family members that make HQ a family – it is all the fabulous people that work here.

And I’m lucky – I have more ‘families’ – nearly 1,500 Annie Sloan Stockists and, of course, you! Over the years, since I first started with my own small shop here in Oxford I’ve made some tremendous friends – people who’ve popped in for a browse, or with a question, and who are still popping in all these years later. In fact, some of them even work with me now, either here at HQ or as shop-owners themselves!

Every few weeks I run training sessions here for my Stockists, which gives me the chance to spend time with each of them in person – the world over. They come here to brush up on their techniques – and for lots of chatting, questions and laughter! I always start by stressing that I’m in exactly the same business as them – I run a small shop and it was my whole world. I want to get to know each and every Annie Sloan Stockist, to help and support them, and to encourage them to help and support each other – it’s so important, and we all need help at different times – I’m no exception!!

Each of my Stockists is fully trained in my techniques – I strip it right back to the basics: from how to hold a brush (near the head, with a firm grip) and apply paint (wide, irregular strokes of the brush using your whole arm, not just the wrist!) to some easy but impressive tricks (try applying heat from a hairdryer to make cracks on the surface of your – liberally applied – paint to add interest and age to a new piece). This means all Annie Sloan customers are getting the exact same level of expert advice from their local shops – despite our different design styles, we’re all the same. That’s what makes it all so fun, and always so exciting.

My own taste may lean towards a fusion of neo-classical (architectural, masculine forms and lots of symmetry) mixed up with Boho (seven years at Art School make this arty, slightly surreal clash of colours, patterns and cultures endlessly appealing to me) and a dash of Folk (Eastern European use of pattern and colour), but my paints can just as easily create light, classical Swedish interiors, distress haughtily glamourous Rococo boudoirs or to produce Modern Retro-style bold, flat blocks of colour.

So, embrace the differences, and whatever you’re doing over the Christmas break, and whether it’s with your ‘real’ family, or your chosen family, have a wonderful one!

Lots of love,