If you love the French Country look, then painting furniture will be second nature. It is one of my favourite looks and the combination of washed out colours, aged patinas and rustic charm, come together in an elegant look that is calming and beautiful. I am aiming for this look and feel in my current home renovations. One of the many tools now available to help you create this look, includes Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. The first kind of furniture paint I ever used, this is a staple in my tool kit. I am refreshing this post from 2014, because it has some amazing inspiration if you love this look too. Trained as an artist, Annie Sloan is one of the world’s most respected experts in the field of decorative painting. She has written more than 20 books, printed in 11 languages, including the best-selling Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, Quick and Easy Paint Transformations, Creating the French Look, The Painted Garden and Annie Sloan’s Painted Kitchen, all published by CICO Books. She developed her highly acclaimed range of decorative paint, Chalk Paint™, in 1990 and now sells her ever-expanding range of interiors products via over 950 stockists worldwide. She divides her time between Oxford and France.
Annie is not just the creator of one of the world’s most popular decorative paints, but an artist, decorator, stylist and writer, among other things. Offering new insights and observations into interior design and home décor, her book, Recipes for Style and Colour, is filled with fresh home decorating inspiration. An Australian by birth and painter by passion, Annie created the Chalk Paint™ range after her own frustrations finding an easy to use range of paints in colours that allowed her creative aesthetic to really come to the fore. In this post I have a look at this book and a quick chat with Annie to learn a little more about the woman behind the paint.
Whether styling and colour are instinctive, or you are looking for inspiration, this book from Annie Sloan looks at interior style as a whole, whilst working with painting styles and techniques. This is a brilliant concept as you can see how to work painted pieces and styles into your overall decorating scheme. Written with her son Felix Sloan – a designer who is Brand Director at Annie Sloan Interiors – this 192-page book offers stunning photography and examples of many current and classic interior design styles, helping you find the right interiors recipe to suit your chosen style. Nine popular styles are examined: Boho Chic, Neoclassical, Vintage Floral, French, Classic Swedish, Coastal, Classic Country, Modern Retro and Warehouse.
Annie chose interior design as the subject for this book because we frequently hear that people just can’t get things to look right in their own interiors. “I believe this is because they need to really think about what their own personal style is, rather than be swayed by the latest trend. This style can range from anything from Bohemian to Modern Retro, but importantly, realise that most taste are a fusion of many styles.” This is precisely the aim of our Real Homes Movement. I think it is very important to decorate in a way that makes you happy, not one that reflects the latest trend, unless of course that is your own personal style! Decorating in a sustainable way works far better when you make lasting choices that you will love for a long time.
Annie Sloan continues: “Secondly, it is important understand the style of the property you are working with – an extensive Swedish style renovation might not work in a Victorian house, for example, but taking elements of Swedish style might, if that is your preference. It has been wonderful to work with my son on this book. We have similar tastes, but my approach from a Fine Art background obviously differs from Felix’s background in Graphic Design and this, combined with the synthesis of both our generations, means that we are always learning from one another and inspiring each other.”
About Chalk Paint ™
Why the name Chalk Paint ™? Annie Sloan’s innovative decorative paint range has little to do with chalkboard paint, and a lot to do to do with the stunning chalk-like matte finish it creates. If you have used it, you will know exactly what this means. The ease of this paint and its simplicity is what makes it a firm favourite at Recycled HQ! It can be applied straight on to furniture without the need to prime, sand, or even remove old wax, paint or varnish – the paint will adhere to wood, plastic, stone, brick, concrete and metal. No mixing is required to create a great look, but you can easily personalize your piece by mixing colours, diluting the paint to make a wash to show the wood grain, or by adding Annie Sloan Soft Wax to change the depth of colour, or to add a protective finish. You can read more in our post here on the basics of using Chalk Paint™.
1) What started you on developing a paint range and what led you to Chalk Paint ™ in particular?
I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I had three young boys and needed a paint that was very quick and easy to use, without any preparation required. I met someone who owned a paint factory when I was out at a dinner party and the rest is history!
2) What do you love about the matte paint finish?
Matte paint to me has a feeling of elegance, it’s cool and gentle.
3) You have a background in fine arts – do you still paint on canvas as well?
No, all my creativity goes into painting furniture and writing books.
4) What is your favourite kind of project to paint?
Transforming something that has no merit on its own, as simple as a ubiquitous pine chest of drawers.
5) Is there a most popular colour or combination among customers?
Paris Grey is a very popular colour – our customers often use this with Old White as a combination. Duck Egg Blue is also a favourite. Popularity can change suddenly too. In more recent years, Provence, Paloma and English Yellow have been something many people are enjoying.
6) People may not know that you also offer other products such as decoupage – can you tell us about those and how these techniques can work with Chalk Paint ™?
Painting and decoupage have always been used together in history and it’s so easy to use. Other products I offer in my range are fabrics, fragrance collection, gilding materials and crackle varnish and brushes.
7) If someone wants to paint a timber floor how should people approach this project with Chalk Paint™?
Always do several patch tests on your floor to check that there will be no staining coming through. If the wood is old it should be very easy. Modern floors that have been varnished recently sometimes pose problems.Use a roller to apply the paint and make sure it is nice and flat. Apply two coats of paint. Once dry, apply our floor lacquer.
8) Being water based and containing virtually no VOC’s, makes this a great eco option. Why do you think these things are so important?
Of course it’s important. We only have one planet and its imperative that we look after it.
9) Can you tell us about your book? And how has it been working with your son?
My book is called Room Recipes for Style and Colour and we have been thinking about for a long time. It’s about bringing style, colour and techniques together. Working with Felix has been a delight- something that I never thought would happen.
More on Annie, her books and products here
Do you have a favourite piece of furniture you have painted or have you tried using chalk paint on a floor or wall? I would love to share so please let me know with your comments
**this is an updated post from 2014