HBH Eastbourne: A spot of child friendly designing & upcycling with Annie Sloan

It was really important for us to create spaces where Jacob could play safely after his first 18 months playing mostly with holes and hammers! In the kitchen there was now ample safe floor area and also a special hidden cupboard making use of some corner kitchen space which was only accessible from the dining room side. Jacob could click this open to get to his toys and books simplyby pushing it so there was no need for a handle.

Stacey had bough a lovely rocking chair from a vintage shop in Eastbourne a few months earlier but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it to make it more to her style. She wanted to use it for reading to Jacob and also for nursing when the new baby arrived…. how could I not use it as a central part of the design?!

As the wallpaper was so bold and colourful, I wanted to keep to much more muted hues for upcycling both the rocking chair and an old plywood /faux leather box I’d found at a second hand emporium in Hastings. Stacey and Ben had a country oak and cream dining table and there was some vintage styled kitchen ware in boxes upstairs, so I decided on a a stylishly distressed feel to both items.

Using both the shades Versailles and French Linen from the Annie Sloan chalk paint range, I set to work!

There’s no need to sand, prepare or prime items before using this amazing paint so after giving the rocking chair a clean down, I gave it a coat of French Linen. Once that was dry (about 20mins in the Eastbourne sun) I gave most of it a second coat in French Linen, but the seat and vertical spindles a coat of Versailles, the pale green. Once that was dry, I gave it all a coat of soft wax and let that dry too. I wanted a distressed look so gently and softly sanded the areas which over time would naturally get the most use, e.g., the arm and seat edges, the back rest and parts of the seat. If you use two colours, when you gently sand, both colours can be visible.

Then I waxed it again and repolished with a dry cloth. This chalk paint sands wonderfully with no flakiness and once it’s polished has the most beautiful sheen and patina, plus the wax acts as a protective coat. I just LOVE it 🙂

With the toy box there was slightly less to do in one respect, as it wasn’t so fiddly, but more do do in another as it also needed re-covering. The box was pretty ugly when i brough it in, with mahogany stained ply and a faux black leather top, PM Nick just shook his head when he saw it 🙂

Two coats of Versailles and some dark wax later it was looking far better but still needed some work. Perfect for a Jubilee year and to give a British touch to a french painted box, this funky First Class postage stamp fabric was spot on. Even handier that the delightful Glyn our expert upholsterer was still on site to help with the fabric fitting, bless him, the result being one bespoke toy box which looked cool enough for the new living room!

Not everything which is child friendly has to be made from plastic and bought from new, with a bit of imagination we created a cupboard out of nothing and enhanced two slightly shabby items which had lots of potential 🙂

5 thoughts on “HBH Eastbourne: A spot of child friendly designing & upcycling with Annie Sloan

  1. In times of austerity the concept of upcycling is an important alternative to just buying new. We love the ideas in this article particularly the refurbished chest which is just gorgeous, Love the design of the fabric and the understated colour used in the chest and the rocking chair. Lovely.

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