Once Upon A Sign

Once upon a time (over 6 years ago), I came into possession of a vintage “Paint Supplies” sign for my studio via Robin Jenkins Antiques.

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This wasn’t the first time serendipity struck and I secured a much treasured piece with the help of Robin–but that is another story.

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Shortly after I claimed ownership of the sign, I became the first Stockist/Retailer for Annie Sloan in New England.  My once private studio was opened to the public for business stocking Annie Sloan’s decorative paint- Chalk Paint® for walls, furniture and cabinetry.

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The sign has graced the west wall of my shop ever since.  It is often the first thing people notice when they enter my store and working studio.  A true harbinger—marking the beginning of my time as a small business owner while simultaneously exposing my love for antique and vintage trade signs.

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Robin did not know the provenance of the sign–it had been exposed to the elements and needed some cleaning up (which I did here).

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While I hoped the sign came from an old mom & pop shop in Bristol, there was no way to tell.  The sheer size of the sign appeared to contradict that possibility.  Who would need a 12 foot Paint Supplies sign in a small size shop (aside from me) ?  Certainly the sign had to come from a large department store where it would aid in navigation.  There was a similarly-sized companion sign at Robin’s Tiverton location labeled “Hardware – Tools.”

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Fast forward 2 years when two local women popped into my shop to see what it was all about.  They stopped in their tracks and pointed to the sign and asked about its origin. One shared with me that the sign came from an outbuilding on her property on Usher Terrace (once known as Usher Place) in Bristol.  She didn’t know where it came from either and was regretting not keeping at least one of the signs. It was a possibility that someone who lived on that property may have owned a paint and hardware store but I thought it would forever remain a mystery –until now!

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A few weeks ago I bought Richard v. Simpson’s book “Bristol Through Time.”  It contains many “then and now” photos of Bristol including the shop I purchased the book from–Paper, Packaging & Panache at 418 Hope Street.  The shop was the “now” photo at the bottom of the book cover and is also shown in a ‘then and now’ picture comparison inside the book.  If you have any interest in Bristol’s architectural history I highly recommend the book.

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Source: Bristol Through Time by Richard V. Simpson, Photo by Sandy Town

Lo and behold, on page 29 the book features a July 4, 1937 photo by Sandy Town of the same location where I purchased the book.  However, back then it was a  Hardware -Tools and Paint Supply store that looked to be owned by a “Johnston.”

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Looking at the photo I was pretty sure that the sign gracing the wall in my shop is one and the same as the exterior mounted “Paint Supplies” sign in the photo.  The companion “Hardware – Tools” sign is shown on the left side of the photo.  That would explain the sign dimensions.

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Source: Town of Bristol, RI Property Card, 418 Hope street

Just to be sure, I did a little digging.  I used the Town of Bristol Website to look up the Property Record Card for 518 Hope Street.  I discovered that Algernon and Lida Johnston purchased the property from Samuel Colt in 1923 and it did not transfer hands again until 1953 when it became owned by Marguerite Johnston.

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My next step was to search the online archives at Roger Williams University made possible by the Bristol Phoenix Indexing Project.

An August 13, 1943 article in Rhode Island’s Bristol Phoenix described a temporary WWII era recruiting station set up at “Johnston’s Store” at 418 Hope Street.

This was helpful after finding an A. L. Johnston advertisement in the March 14, 1930 Bristol Phoenix that did not contain the store address.

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The most revealing of the articles was an October 13, 1948 obituary for Algernon Le Baron Johnston of 41 Usher Terrace in Bristol.  According to the Phoenix “Mr. Johnston conducted a hardware business in Bristol for twenty five years until his retirement in 1942.  His love of tools not only gave him business incentive but resulted in his numerous wood craft hobbies.”  Hmm, could he have made the sign?

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Interestingly, Mr. Johnston, born on September 7, 1880 was a 9th generation descendent of James Cole who came from London in 1633 to settle in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  This makes sense as Bristol was once part of Plymouth Colony (purchased after the King Philip War ended in 1678) and part of Massachusetts until the Crown transferred it to the Rhode Island Colony in 1747.

Mr. Johnston was a charter member of the Bristol Rotary Club, serving as Treasurer for many years and took special interest and effort in creating and supporting Summer Camp opportunities for children in Bristol.  So much so that the Bristol Rotary created a fund in his honor – “The Algy Johnston Memorial Camp Fund.”

His wife Mrs. Marguerite Johnston was listed as the sole survivor with no mention of his first wife that appeard be listed in the historic property record.  Aided by an obituary in the Phoenix, I was able to confirm that Mr. Johnston’s first wife was Lida (Pearse) who passed away in 1938 and was a direct descendent of John Howland that came to this country on the Mayflower. At the time of her death she was residing at 103 Church Street.

I gleaned from another obituary that Mrs. Marguerite Flowers Johnston was Mr. Johnston’s 2nd wife, and a well-educated former Teacher who passed away in 1971.  She lived at 41 Usher Terrace and was originally from Saranac, New York.  In December, 1970 the deed to her land and buildings was transferred to her nephew H. Sanford Town (the son of Harry Town and her sister Ina Flowers Town.)  The current Bristol, RI Property Card for 41 Usher Terrace shows H. Sanford Town as one of the prior owners  of record.  Matthew Town (most likely related) is recorded as once owning a neighboring property where my sign was found.

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Source: Bristol Phoenix 1922 Advertisement

I am grateful to own a small piece of Bristol’s mercantile history and to finally uncover the significance of its origin.  While many businesses come and go and the future of brick-and-mortar stores is up for debate, I continue to be proud to be part of the small business community in Bristol and happy to walk in the footsteps of the many who came before me as I celebrate my 6th year in business.

 

 

 

RI Home Show Chalk Paint® Challenge!

Sea Rose Cottage is pleased to announce the DESIGNER SHOWCASE CHALK PAINT® CHALLENGE at the 67th Annual Rhode Island Home Show!

 

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The Chalk Paint® Challenge is Sponsored by Sea Rose Cottage and Unfolded and will showcase Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan.

 

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Participating designers will be using Chalk Paint® to colorfully transform surfaces and interiors in their 2017 Designer Showcase rooms! The theme for this year’s Showcase is “The Gracious Gardener’s Home.”

 

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We can’t wait to see how the designers work their magic interpreting the theme while bringing the rooms to life with Chalk Paint®!

 

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We hope you will join us at the RI Home, Garden & Flower Show at the RI Convention Center March 30 – April 2, 2017.  Follow our progress on Social Media for an opportunity to win free tickets to the show.

 

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The winning Designer will receive $250 in Annie Sloan products from Sea Rose Cottage.  There will be a corresponding prize for one lucky RIBA Home Show attendee.  Come see us at the Designer Showcase for an entry form and to join in the fun!

 

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Hope to see you there!

Barcelona Orange Bedside Tables

My latest project was updating two matching bedside tables–straight from the 1970′s.  The old surface was a faux ”green oak”  laminate veneer.

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My hope was that a fresh update with Chalk Paint® would help usher the furniture into the modern era.

I decided to banish the faux oak laminate with Annie Sloan’s bright and bold Barcelona Orange Chalk Paint ®.

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Provence Chalk Paint® will be used inside the drawers for a special touch.

Provence_OpenLidFirst I used Annie Sloan’s Graphite paint to cover the faux wood grain of the veneer.  This allowed me to achieve better coverage overall.

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Next I topped it off with Barcelona Orange.

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The paint was sealed with Annie Sloan’s Clear Soft Chalk Paint® Wax.

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The jewelry-like drawer pulls were updated with spray paint in oil-rubbed bronze.

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It is amazing how the power of paint can transform such outdated pieces!

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Once timeworn and lackluster, these fun & functional side tables have fresh modern appeal!

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Thanks to Barcelona Orange!

 

“Posh” Pink Paint Stirs Speculation!

It is hard to believe that three unsuspecting pots of paint could cause such controversy!  Meet Antoinette, Emile and Henrietta

Posh Pink Paint Trio

Apparetly these “posh paints” quietly made their way to Anmer Hall, the current home to the expectant couple of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, from the Annie Sloan Shop in Oxford–or so it was thought.

It now turns out that this painterly trio somehow spilled the goods to Sebastian Shakespeare of the U.K.’s Daily Mail fueling speculation that Kate Middleton may be expecting a baby girl.  Since his first report “Does this posh pot of paint mean Kate’s having a girl?”  news and conjecture has spread across the continent and the pond.

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Source:  Mirror U.K.

It is no surprise that Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan appeals to the royals–what with its rich pigments, historic color palette and being known to many as “the best paint in the world.”  However, up until now no one attributed divination qualities to this high end brand!

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While Annie Sloan is being mum on the subject—neither confirming or denying the location of her happy hues, the speculation continues.  I for one, am REALLY interested in which color the royals prefer, will it be Antoinette?

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Work by Annie Sloan, photography by Christopher Drake

“A soft pale pink that takes inspiration from the dusky wall colors and decorative pieces of 18th century French interiors.”

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Work by Annie Sloan, photography by Christopher Drake

Could it be Emile? “A color used first by artists and then in decorative work, finding its beginnings in bohemian Paris.”

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Work by Annie Sloan, photography by Christopher Drake

How about Henrietta?  “The Grand Tours of the 18th century brought this color into the finest houses of Europe as part of gentle neoclassical schemes.”

While the jury is still out on weather Prince George will have a baby brother or sister, there is no doubt that Annie Sloan rules as the Queen of Color and that her Chalk Paint® truly befits royalty.

 

Coastal Cottage Piano Seat {Before & After}

I love furniture that has cottage appeal!

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When I found this Eastlake era walnut bench I thought it would look fabulous with a fresh new look.  I didn’t realize it was a piano seat with storage until I brought it home! A nice surprise.

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The plan was to pair Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan with one of my favorite fabrics from Oliveira Textiles.  This worn velvet fabric will be replaced with….

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Oliveira Textiles colorful Anemone print in Mystic Blue!

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This colorway pairs perfectly with Greek Blue–an exuberant paint color created by Annie Sloan and inspired by the Mediterranean.

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I love the organic and graphic quality of the sophisticated coastal-inspired pattern.  The fabric comes in beautiful colorways and custom colors as well.   Be sure to shop Oliveira Textiles while you are in town or pop over for a virtual visit here.

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Thanks to some handy upholstery by a local artisan, the fabric is artfully carried on inside the bench.

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While it is a far cry from its late Victorian origins…

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Brighten Up with Barcelona Orange!

This sturdy dresser with dovetail drawer boxes was found at a New York Flea Market.

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Knee deep in home renovations, my neighbor asked for some help getting the dresser updated for her son’s room.  She had one simple request.  ”Paint it the brightest orange you can find.”

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Annie Sloan’s Barcelona Orange was the obvious choice!

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The first order of business was to remove the ornate metal scrollwork accents on the top and bottom of the dresser to make it a bit less fussy.

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While changing out the hardware was initially anticipated, in the end we stuck to the original drawer pulls which pair well with the brightly painted finish!

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Now buttoned up in a fresh coat of Chalk Paint® this dresser is ready for its newly refurbished home….

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and just in the nick of time!

 

 

 

Annie Sloan’s Smooth Finish Flat Brush

Finally the paint brush you have been waiting for to achieve a smooth finish with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan has arrived!

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The FLAT BRUSHES feature advanced synthetic fibers for the ultimate silky finish.  They are designed to work specifically with Chalk Paint® to achieve a smooth modern finish.  The brushes are shaped to hold a lot of paint and apply the paint evenly, eliminating brush marks.

The comfortable handles are pre-drilled so the paint brushes can be hung to dry.  Both are light weight, the small brush weighing under 2 ounces and the large brush weighing just over 3 ounces helping to avoid hand fatigue while you paint.

Annie Sloan Small Flat Brush

Chalk Paint® is a versatile decorative paint that was designed  for a variety of finishes (wash, textured, impasto crackle, etc).  It is important to use the right tools and techniques to achieve your desired result.

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For a smooth paint application be sure to use the right brush and paint more traditionally in the direction of the wood grain or the previously painted finish.

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Since the paint was designed to thicken as it dries (to show more texture and brush stroke) it is helpful to keep the paint ‘open’ while you work for the smoothest finish–especially on a hot summer day!  This can be done by introducing water into the equation either by thinning your paint with water, working with a damp brush, or lightly tipping your brush in water each time you re-load it with paint.

For smooth sailing, order your Annie Sloan Flat Brush today!

Price: $14.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Back Hutch {Before & After}

We have been playing musical furniture in our house a lot lately.  My favorite hutch found a new home in our dining room.  While the cabinet has made a world of difference in its new location, it has left a gaping hole in our kitchen!

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Lucky for me, I found the perfect sized Step Back Hutch at Simply Vintage of Cape Cod.  It came from an old kitchen in Osterville, MA and is thought to date from 1910-1930.  Surprisingly it has a solid one-piece backing (the top cannot be removed).

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Although the size worked,  I hesitated because I thought it was a bit primitive looking and the hardware looked out of place.  I wanted something more farmhouse style and was not quite sure if a paint and hardware update alone would do the trick.

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I sketched out a plan in my Annie Sloan Workbook to help visualize the changes without any distractions.  Sorry for the terrible rendering but it gave me a quick idea that the piece would work!
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Once in place,  I cleaned the cupboard (with help from my Mom and one of my willing daughters) and removed the old hardware using wood filler to banish the holes.
Hutch Before
I found left over cabinet drawer pulls from our kitchen renovation (classic bin pulls from Pottery Barn) that would be a perfect fit for the larger drawers.  For the smaller drawers I  decided to use file-label draw pulls in a matching finish.
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The plan was to paint the cupboard with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan.  The exterior and shelving would be painted in Old White with a pop of color planned for the shelf backing and the inside of the drawers.
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I decided on a custom color mix using Provence (2 parts)  Florence (1 part), and Old White (2 parts).
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This is the in-progress version (before wax).
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I  love how the Old White brings a more unified look to the hutch while the custom color brings the piece to life.  Next, the hutch was finished with Annie Sloan’s Clear Soft Wax and the new hardware installed.
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For a more streamlined look, the cabinet door hardware was eliminated.
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After a short respite at Simply Vintage of Cape Cod, this freshly painted hutch is back in service as command central in our kitchen.

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Hopefully it will keep for another 100 years!

Painted Subway-Car Dresser Tutorial

Feeling nostalgic for all things Boston (my hometown), I hatched a fun plan for a makeover of a waterfall-style dresser to look like a Boston Subway Car.

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The dresser I sourced had some issues with the finish making it a good candidate for painting.

Waterfall Dresser Before

Waterfall furniture was mass-produced from the 1920′s-1940′s with new plywood construction techniques that made it affordable to introduce curvilinear elements into furniture construction.

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I usually avoid painting waterfall style furniture at all costs! That was until I came across a vintage postcard of a Boston Street Car when a more playful plan for the dresser came to life.

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Seeing this postcard evoked so many happy memories for me!  Growing up in Boston, the MBTA Green Line was a lifeline to many activities in the city.  My favorite green line station is KENMORE or Kenmore Square– home of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox.  Images of the big green wall, the iconic CITGO sign and the hustle and bustle of this vibrant section of the city immediately came to mind!

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Once I had the subway-car inspired design plan mapped out in my Workbook, I used Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan to paint the design onto the surface.  I started with an under-painting of Graphite and Paris Grey.

Underpainting

I also planned on using Annie’s Sloan’s Old White but needed to get into some mixing for that signature subway-car green.

Antibes + Florence          Custom Green Mix
An equal mix of Annie Sloan’s Antibes Green and Florence did the trick.

Taping Off

I taped-off areas of the dresser as I went to keep the lines more clean.  At this point I decided to forgo adding the mirror and back support.  The mirror was in pretty bad shape and the support just didn’t look right without it.

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For the lettering, I made my own stencils– printing them on card stock and cutting them with an X-Acto knife.

Stencil Print Out             Kenmore Stencil

I did some dry brushing of Old White and Graphite on the windows and headlight to add shading and dimension.  A script liner brush was used to free-hand the curved lines.

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To add character and grittiness to the piece, a wet distress technique was used to reveal some of the Graphite under the custom green mix.   A wash of Graphite was also used to add to the effect.

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Once the trolley was all detailed, it was finished with Annie Sloan’s Clear & Dark Soft Wax.

Subway Car Dresser After

Just in time for its maiden voyage…

Subway Dresser Sideview After

NEXT STOP KENMOOORE!

This dresser is for sale at Sea Rose Cottage – proceeds to benefit the One Fund Boston.  Please contact us for more information.

Linking up to:
Furniture Feature Fridays

Hello English Yellow!

Sea Rose Cottage is happy to welcome Annie Sloan’s English Yellow to the historic collection of Chalk Paint® colors!

According to Annie Sloan, this clean yellow first appeared with the development of chrome yellow pigment in the 1700′s.

It was the first non-earthy yellow and was particularly popular in English 18th Century decoration.  The color is also inspired by hand-painted Chinese wallpaper.  In the 1950s this yellow became popular as a strong primrose.

Work by Annie Sloan, Photography by Christopher Drake

English Yellow can be mixed with Antibes Green Chalk Paint® to make lime green and a sharper yellow.

Antibes Green

Antibes Green

Annie combines it with her other paint colors (above) to make some “pretty stunning bright modern color combinations.”

It can also be mixed with Old White or Pure White to lighten.  Below is a mixture of equal parts English Yellow to Old White Chalk Paint® or a 1:1 ratio.

Starting with English Yellow, and then adding increasing amounts of Old White (1:1, 1:2, 1:3, & 1:4), allows you to create a beautiful extended color range using this pigment-rich color.

English Yellow is a bright, happy color and a great addition to Annie Sloan’s color palette!

Currently English Yellow can be purchased by the quart, 4 ounce sample sizes are expected to be available for purchase in the US by late summer. We will be adding English Yellow to our online store offerings shortly.  In the meantime, if you want to say hello to English Yellow for your next project, please use the Add to Cart button below.

English Yellow

Price: $36.95

Happy painting!