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Chalk Painting: Creating the Perfect Swanky Bar

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Chalk Painting Furniture: The Backstory 

A couple of years ago, it seems like ages, I became a furniture painter. I loved chalk painting pieces for myself, starting with my own bathroom vanity, pieces solely to sell, and I even got to paint custom pieces for others. It was a fun time; quite good therapy for a young mom and I felt proud of my work and delighted when someone called me to do something for them.  I would always feel a little bummed when someone said they just wanted white. I loved to create my own colors and when customers turned me loose and said to do what ever I felt like doing, it was a thrill. Such a thrill, in fact, that I became quite a hunter for the perfect pieces. I went in unfamiliar basements, auctions, had coffee with a little old lady for over an hour when I picked up a piece of her used furniture, and made a friend with a woman who had so many cool things in her house that I could have pilfered for days!

Chalk Painting Friday Feature

I have so many favorite pieces that I want to feature them from time to time. I’ll start with my most recent. I took a long sabbatical from furniture painting when we started spending time on the Northfork River. This is a piece that I did at the Norfork Lake.  I was left behind a giant Hooker China hutch and I knew I could resell it for a chunk of dough or take a chance a make something really cool out of it. I didn’t need or want a china hutch, so I came up with a plan.  It was HUGE, but I knew if I I pulled it off, I would have created the perfect swanky bar for a lounge area.  If it flopped, it was going to be the biggest disappointment I’d had in any chalk painting experience to date, but I took a deep breath, THREE coats of paint, a few bells and whistles and I was extremely pleased with the result.

Chalk Painting Hutch to Home Bar

Isn’t it fabulous? As soon as my wheels started turning on chalk painting this piece, I knew what color it had to be. I had dreams and pins of a kitchen of modern white with an island similar to this color. I would have to call this NuBlue. Recently, Jake and I went shopping for a new suit for him and I visited with the store owner and told him how I would really love to see Jake in one of those bright blue suits (you know the ones). He said, “Oh yeah, we call that New Blue. Like Navy, but new.” As I write this post, I realize that I chalk painted this pretty darn close to that suit color I liked. I’d have to say this suit of blue makes my head turn too.

Chalk Painting: The Canvas

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I wanted to give you a proper “before” picture. Remember that dirty kitchen that I showed you here? This is the living room version. Complete with a mattress in the floor to your right. What I wish you could see in this photo, is outside that window. Its a lake! The original china hutch that I chalk painted is to the left, but I posted this photo so you could step into my brain and visualize with me. When we first came in, everything was brown (who doesn’t love brown!?); floor to ceiling to furnishings. I knew if I were to change anything brown would be the first to go. Walls were repainted white; even the woodwork on the windows and ceilings. We left the beams original for effect. There was soo much space here. I splurged for four lounge chairs in a panicked hope that I could fit all of them into the space behind the couch (there was room to move a couch further the other direction to make a little room). With two sets of chairs facing each other and a set of bunching cubes for tables, I had my fingers squeezed crossed that this would be the perfect space for a lounge over looking the lake.

So, obviously a proper picture of the china hutch before chalk painting is in order. Here it is. Can you see why I was terrified to chalk paint it? It was definitely not my style, but it was a really nice piece of furniture, but it was well worth the leap of faith. As you can see on the right, this color of chalk paint was going to pay off. What I had to figure out at this point was how I was going to achieve a mirrored look behind the shelves. I knew that in order for it to be the perfect swanky bar it had to have mirrors. I felt that without mirror it would just look like I’d stuck booze on a bookcase. That’s weird, right? My first thought, before starting the chalk painting, was that I could use mirror decals, like the kind you would wrap a car with or similar to window tint. I could find it online, but it only came in smallish sheets and being that I’m not mathematically blessed, I didn’t feel confident trying to match up seams. What I later realized, after reading reviews, was that mirror decals can be very bubbly and its very tricky to get all of the said bubbles flattened out. Since this hutch had a paneled backing I knew that each seam in the panel would show through the sticker. I’d worked too hard to let that happen, so I did what I had to do and I called in a glass company to make custom mirrors. It wasn’t a cheap route, but it wasn’t shocking (a few hundred bucks) and I knew it was the best thing I could do for the final result.

Chalk Painting a China Hutch: The Final Result

I loved chalk painting this china hutch. It was definitely the biggest piece I’d ever took to and it took three whole coats (I don’t think I’ve ever coated anything three times)! The hardware I had in mind didn’t pan out at the time I took this, but I didn’t wait. What do you think of this piece? Would you have braved chalk painting a piece like this one? This perfect swanky bar is just that. It’s a favorite hangout! A great place to visit with company, sit and read with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine, obviously), or just stare at the view.

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20 Comments

  1. Love your writing style! And your ideas are so inventive!

    1. jstauff10 says:

      Elena, thank you so much! That was very kind. I love to hear that I have a writing style and one that is liked, to boot! I love to hear that even more than liking the furniture 😉 thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Love the final look! The blue really makes the look more modern and updated!
    xoxo
    Annie

    1. jstauff10 says:

      Thank you Annie! It goes really well with the modern open concept room.

  3. I wish you could see the project I’m working on!! I’m definitely a novice furniture painter, but I’m currently repainting an old clothing armoire with a charcoal navy chalk paint. I’m so excited about it and seeing this finished bar is making me feel like not a crazy person for choosing navy!! My husband is a little bit unsure on my paint choice 😆

    1. jstauff10 says:

      Oh please send me a picture! I’d love to see it! I’m obsessed with blue! Way to go on tackling something so big!

  4. confettiandbliss says:

    What a beautiful renovated China hutch! I absolutely love the gorgeous blue color. And what a wonderful home backing up to the calm and peacefulness of a lake. You’re a very lucky gal!

    1. jstauff10 says:

      That I am. Thank you!

  5. themotherhoodhustle says:

    That turned out so cute! I love the blue color and the mirrored backs! I think it gives the room great dimension!

    1. jstauff10 says:

      Thank you so much! I love how it turned out. It’s a great focal point!

  6. What a gorgeous way to breathe new life into a piece of furniture! I love the pop of color from the blue.

    1. jstauff10 says:

      Thank you so much!!! It’s my favorite thing about the house!

  7. It turned out great and is quite a focal piece (although it’s tough to compete with a lake view). Did you post instructions showing how to do it?

    1. jstauff10 says:

      I didn’t, but I did post an opt-in for the paint recipe. I’m in the process of making an ebook with the step by step instructions for painting a piece start to finish if you’d be interested.

  8. This is gorgeous! I do not have an eye, or knack for this kind of thing, but it makes me want to keep my eye out for a hutch to repurpose! Nicely done!

    1. jstauff10 says:

      I think it’s an acquired skill. I have a dear sweet aunt who is very competitive and she told me I couldn’t do it (lovingly of course) and so I was determined to prove her wrong. I’ve been painting pieces for about two years now. I think I made my point, lol.

  9. […] and know that I was going to take some chances when it digging for just the right piece to paint (unless it was left behind like this one). Fortunately, I always made it out without a scratch on each pick up and from time to time would […]

  10. Love this! I often “update” older furniture with paint – glad you shared in the CT post on FB today – I love your blog

    Marissa

    1. jstauff10 says:

      Thanks Marissa! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by!!!

  11. […] area to tackle. Since I chalk paint furniture (like this Trombone Yellow Chest of Drawers or this Swanky Bar), my garage can tend to get filled to the brim with used furnishings. Oh, don’t forget to get […]

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