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.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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!

Kitchen Wall

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).
Hutch During
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.
Hutch After Open
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.

Dresser Plan Workbook

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.

Waterfall Dresser Before Side

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.

Trolley Postcard

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.

Graphite Wash

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

Brimfield & Beyond

I’m off to the Brimfield, Massachusetts Antique Show from Wednesday, May 15th to Saturday May 18, 2013.

I’m participating in the New England Motel Show (next to the main food court with the yellow and green umbrellas) in space 303 (main entrance, 2nd tent on right)  I hope to see you there!

I wrote in an earlier post about my top 10 tips for navigating the Brimfield Antiques Show.  If you are going to the show and haven’t been before, it is a must read!

My first and most important tip—“If you see something you love (budget permitting)–buy it on the spot!” was a lesson I learned the hard way….

I was shopping several years ago at the Brimfield Show with my husband—part of our annual trek that serves as my birthday present. 

We parked in the Quaker Acres field and my husband  immediately came across a great find…

When he pointed out the sign to me, I let out a gasp of surprise that got the dealer’s attention. Certainly not a good thing when you want to negotiate—especially if your last name is spelled C-H-A-C-E (of course I didn’t admit it when the dealer asked!)

Personally, I was ready to buy the sign on the spot but my husband was against it—we had just arrived in Brimfield—we had barely begun hunting…maybe he thought it was too easy game?  Anyhow he somehow convinced me to move on.

Fast forward 6 hours later –we were heading home.  It was all I could do to persuade him to go back to that field to see if the sign was still there.  It was!   I thought it was meant to be.   He didn’t want to buy it, didn’t like the price and he had no idea where we would use it.  We headed home sans sign.  Strike two.

Of course I was kicking myself that we didn’t buy the sign.  When I returned to Bristol I told my sad story to Robin Jenkins and Jeff Gladding of Robin Jenkins Antiques and Epilogues.  Robin said she would have bought the sign at that price herself.   They advised me to bring my girlfriends to Brimfield next time (sorry Rick!).

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A few days later, Robin flagged me down to show me a picture she had taken with her cell phone—it was my sign (or rather the sign-that-should-have-been-mine!)  Apparently the Connecticut antique dealer (who Robin knew) did not sell the sign at Brimfield and it ended up in his space at an antique shop in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  I was so lucky she came across it.

After a few phone calls (thanks Robin) and a secret shopping trip with my Mom and my Sister, the sign was mine—or should I say “ours”!

While it was a fortunate stroke of serendipity that we ended up with our now treasured sign, if you are shopping at Brimfield I would advise you not to count on lightening striking twice!

Happy hunting!

 

 

Gilded Stenciled Mirror {Before & After}

About a year ago we visited our friends Scott & Sandy in Boston.  They were in the process of cleaning out some things in storage and –knowing I like to paint things– they generously sent me home with two of their old mirrors.

Since then, the mirrors have made a home here –waiting patiently in line with all my other unfinished projects for a bit of time and a creative spark.  Luckily inspiration finally arrived…

in the form of Annie Sloan’s Work Book (perfect for color and paint ideas and tips!),

 Royal Design Studio’s Springtime in Paris Stencil (in French Script oo-la-la!)…

and in Hello Lovely’s beautiful stenciled mirror!

I sketched out my project ideas and color mixes in my new Work Book and dug in.

I used Empire Gold Gilding Wax to stencil the poem onto the mirror.  I taped the stencil down and applied the Gilding Wax onto the mirror through trial and error…

In the end, it worked out best to apply a good dose of the gilding wax to the top of a sponge dauber and pounce it onto the surface.

 

I painted the frame in a mix of Aubusson Blue and Old White Chalk Paint™.  After it dried, I wiped off the paint to reveal some of the original gold finish.

Next, I dry brushed Cream Chalk Paint™ lightly onto the surface.  Taking a tip from Annie’s Work Book, I decided not to wax the painted frame.

I love the chalky, gesso-like feel and the flat quality of the un-waxed paint and how the gold script shimmers in the light.

Now finished, the mirror has found its rightful place–over our mantel!

P.S.   Please don’t tell Scott & Sandy!

MMS Milk Paint Giveaway & Before/After

I announced in an earlier post the good news about Miss Mustard Seed’s new Milk Paint line. Well my first shipment is in and I am happily stocked with all the goodies!

In celebration, I will be doing TWO Giveaways.  One here on my blog, and another hosted by my good friend Danielle at Finding Silver Pennies.  It promises to be twice the fun!

Each Giveaway package (worth over $100 each) will include a full sample set of Miss Mustard Seed’s 12 Milk Paint Colors….

as well as her Antiquing Wax and Furniture Wax.  For good measure, it will also include some Bonding Agent should you decide you need it for one of your projects!

To enter:

*  For a chance to win leave a comment on this Giveaway post.
*  For a 2nd chance to win comment on the Sea Rose Cottage Facebook Page.
*  For a 3rd chance to win, share the Giveaway announcement and let me know you did.

To double your chances…

Visit the Finding Silver Pennies blog & check out Danielle’s latest Milk Paint project!

*  For a 4th chance to win leave a comment on her Giveaway post.
*  For a 5th chance to win become a follower of her blog.
*  For a 6th chance to win visit her Facebook Page and like/comment on her Giveaway post.

Entries must by received by Tuesday, October 16th at midnight EST.  The winners will be announced here and at the Finding Silver Pennies Blog on Wednesday, October 17th.  Good luck!

A Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint Before & After

Now to share my first Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint makeover – an antique spool table.

I bought the table from a friend who had stored it in his garage.  He had hoped to restore the wood finish but given the passage of time he was more than pleased for me to take up the challenge.

Luckily, he had stripped off most of the old finish, but the spool legs had some remnants of black paint.  I decided to restore the wood finish on the table top and paint out the rest. First I sanded the wood top and then moved on to paint color selection….

Photo Courtesy of Miss Mustard Seed

Once I unpacked the pigmented Milk Paint powder, I could not resist mixing a new color!  I combined Flow Blue, Mustard Seed Yellow, and Lucketts Green.  Here is the table with its new Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint finish and with the table top sanded.

The first coat of paint was mixed with water and then applied with a brush.  The paint took better to some sections of the table than to others. For the second batch I added Bonding Agent to the mixed paint and that did the trick. The paint went on very smoothly and evenly working more like a stain.  I loved the luminosity of the color!

Even though I wrote the color formula down, the second batch of paint ended up being a slightly different color than the first so I mixed enough to finish the project.  I suppose with the powdered mix it matters how you measure…loosely or tightly packed powder.  I just took a relaxed approach and had fun with it.

I used Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Wax and Antiquing Wax on the painted table base.  As the Antiquing Wax was applied, it toned down the bright color working more like a glaze.  It was very easy to use!

I used Annie Sloan Dark Soft Wax to stain the newly sanded wood table top.  I added a few simple wooden knobs to add interest, staining the unfinished knobs as well.

I love how a fresh coat of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint revived this old spool table while the top remains true to the original (and now restored) wood finish.

Do you have any unfinished furniture projects lurking in your garage?  October is a great time to bring them back to life!

Linking up to….

Furniture Feature Fridays

Restyle Your Furnishings Workshops!

We have a new workshop scheduled for Tuesday, October 23rd from 10am until 2pm. Follow this link to learn more and Register Now!  One spot left in our Sunday, October 14th Workshop.  Stay tuned for some Advanced Workshops coming this Fall and Winter…

 

Coming Soon-Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint!

I have been so busy with the Brimfield Antiques Show and Workshops that I haven’t had time to share the exciting news.  I will be carrying Miss Mustard Seed’s new milk paint line!

As many of you know I am a big follower of Marian Parsons and her popular Miss Mustard Seed Blog.  I am thrilled to be working with her as a retailer on her latest undertaking–the launch of her new Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint line!

Marian’s products will be available at Sea Rose Cottage by early August  (if not sooner!)

If you have followed her blog, you know that Marian loves to restyle furnishings with a variety of paint (including Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan), but she has always had a special place in her heart and her practice for milk paint.

She has achieved stunning results using this medium but has often longed for a bit more variety in the color palette.  Now, with her hand-selected custom colors she will have everything she needs at her fingertips.

 

The best part–she is sharing it with the rest of us!  Not only through her retailers but also through her series of Tutorials on how to use her milk paint to achieve a signature finish.

Marian has been revealing her colors one by one with a blog series of painted dressers in her new milk paint colors.  One of my favorites is Miss Mustard Seed’s Tricycle!

Right now I am busily working to get ready to launch the paint line in my retail and online shops.  As soon as I receive my first shipment, I want to be ready to go!  In celebration, I will be doing a special giveway with my friend Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies to make it twice as fun.  Stay tuned for the Giveaway and more news!

In the meantime, if you want to reserve any product from my first shipment, please email me at nan@searosecottage.com.

 

 

Back from Brimfield – Part II

It was a busy week unpacking from the Brimfield Antiques Show!  Luckily this time I was able to sneak off to do a little shopping at Brimfield as my friends and I took turns watching each other’s space.

For the very short time I had to shop, I was pretty happy with what I came home with…

 This 1930′s sofa table is my favorite.  I love all the details.  I think it will look great painted!

 On the smaller side… a 1940′s map of Newport, RI…

 Old cast aluminum street signs…

A coat rack made from the remnants of an Eastlake headboard…

A frame in the same style…

A saddle style stool with spool legs, a handmade bench with fretwork and an old wooden bowling pin lamp base.

 A 4-light globe tole light in need of rewiring and and some fresh paint!

 

And finally an Ironstone Soup Toureen in perfect condition—ladle and all!

Do you have any fun finds or favorites to share from the latest Brimfield Show?