Three Easy Steps for a Perfect Coastal Paint Job

IT’S SUMMER and the beach is calling my name.  Ok, who am I kidding, the beach calls my name all year round.  There’s just something about the blue hues of the ocean and the tropical colors of the Caribbean that makes my heart happy.  Although I’ve never lived within 100 miles of the ocean that has never stopped me from filling my home with colors you’d typically see in a coastal village.  I live by the decorating mantra to “love what you have. have what you love.”  For me, that’s all things that remind me of the coast.  So I will continue to decorate my 1990s suburban, builder’s special like it’s a fabulous beach cottage.  I really don’t care if this is a hoity-toity interior design faux pas!

Embrace My Space: Coastal Paint Job

Today I’m going to show you how to achieve an oh-so-soothing coastal paint job that’s sure to take you back to your last trip to the beach.  Our master bedroom is rather large and rather empty.  Really, I don’t see much of a point in extra expansive bedrooms, especially if there’s also ample closet space, but I’m embracing this opportunity to have something indulgent: a vanity!  I’ve kinda been on the lookout for a vanity for a while but I hadn’t been very vigilant.  With a new baby around I can’t say that I wear makeup (or even shower!) on a daily basis so investing a ton of time looking for a piece of furniture to house a whole bunch of cosmetics wasn’t something that was top of mind. When my mom told me she was getting rid of this old honey colored children’s desk my less-than-enthusiastic search was over.


Ok, so now what?  I’m going to come right out and say that my master bedroom is really lovely.  I’m obsessed with my Quincy bed from Ethan Allen.  When I first stumbled upon this bed it only came in black and brown.  I forgot all about it for about three years.  When we moved into our current house we wanted to get a new bed and I stumbled upon Quincy once again.  But something had changed.  Ethan Allen had new colors.  Ethan Allen had turquoise.  I ordered that sucker without thinking twice.

Embrace My Space: Master Bedroom

Along with the turquoise bed, my bedroom also boasts white-washed nightstands, a teal dresser and a dark brown dresser.  Rather than fight all the blues I decided to just go with it and paint the vanity in a shade that would coordinate with, but not match, the rest of the stuff.

Embrace My Space: Coastal Paint JobLike any good sleep-deprived, lazy, DIYer mom would do, I busted out the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Look, there are a million different lovely ways you can blend, feather, layer, fan, fluff and wax Annie Sloan paint to make it look cool, but right now I’m loving this paint for one simple reason: this s*%t sticks without sanding.

I slapped on a few layers of spackle to cover the holes on the second drawer because having two pulls on one drawer is just weird.  Other than giving it a good scrub, that was the extent to which I prepped this piece before painting.  Now for your perfect coastal paint job in just three easy steps:

STEP ONE: CHALK IT UP.  Annie Sloan paint is thick, so with a cup of water by my side I layered on a few coats of Duck Egg Blue, frequently dipping my brush in water to keep the paint flowing smooth over my piece.  All told, it took about three full coats to get even coverage on the desk’s slippery finish.

STEP TWO: BRUSH ON SOME WHITE.  Working in small sections, I dry-brushed on a very thin layer of white paint.

STEP THREE: WIPE IT OFF.  Before the white paint dried completely, I used an old t-shirt to wipe off/rub in the layer of white paint I just applied.

I repeated steps two and three until the entire desk had a great weathered look to it.  This process really couldn’t be easier, although it does take a little finesse to get the white paint to dance oh-so-casually over the blue.  If there were spots where the white was too thick or splotchy, I added more Duck Egg Blue to that area and applied more white as necessary until everything was blended.

Embrace My Space: Coasta Paint Job

I’m really pleased with the final look.  I didn’t use wax or anything else to seal the paint job.  I figured the vanity wouldn’t get heavy use so the extra step was unnecessary.

Embrace My Space: Coastal Paint Job

I did, however, get a piece of glass cut to size for the top of the vanity.  Since I’m eventually going to use this as a nice place to sit and put on makeup, I wanted to the surface to be easy to clean up.

Embrace My Space: Coastal Paint Job

I have yet to use the vanity for its intended purpose, but I am finding it a pretty place to store/display some of my favorite baubles and jewelry vessels.

Embrace My Space: Coastal Paint Job

And I obviously couldn’t end this post without telling you about my little fishy drawer pull.  He’s from Anthropologie and he’s fabulous.  Doesn’t the paint job make it look like he’s swimming with the waves? I love it!  I’m trying to decide what other style of knobs would best accompany this little guy.  I don’t want to steal any of his thunder.  Simple white porcelain might do the trick.

Embrace My Space: Coastal Paint Job

Oh, and I also need a chair because eventually I’m going to have to sit here.  That’s next on the list!

Do any of you have a vanity? Is it an old heirloom piece or did you repurpose something?  What about a chair? Do you have something that matches or did you use something unexpected? I’d love to hear from you!



What Came First, the Chicken or the Road?

EVEN THOUGH IT’S not Thursday I decided on a quick throwback post this morning.  I’ve been spending a lot of time lying on the floor in my son’s room playing, reading stories or passed out from exhaustion waiting for him to fall asleep.  I posted this super-filtered photo to Instagram yesterday whilst a brief stint on the floor and one of my friends mentioned the chicken crossing the road artwork that hangs above the crib.

Embrace My Space: Nursery Art

That’s when it occurred to me that I’ve only briefly mentioned the story behind this print on the blog.  Since it’s a rainy day and the boy is napping, I figured I might as well give you the scoop!  While this print looks like something that you could find out in the real world, the truth is it’s actually a personal photo I had enlarged using the Easy Canvas Prints website.

Embrace My Space: Nursery

My husband, Matt, and I LOVE Key West, Florida.  So much, in fact, that we forced all of our friends to fly down there one snowy spring for our wedding.

Studio Julie

If you’re wondering what my wedding in Key West has to do with the artwork in the nursery then I would bet my bottom dollar that you’ve never been to this funky island.  One of the things that gives Key West its charm (if you’re laid back and aren’t afraid of birds) is that it has chickens roaming the streets just like you’d see in many Caribbean islands.  Apparently someone brought the chickens to Key West back in the 50s to use for food and the little cluckers never left.  Now the chickens are protected by local law so you don’t have to worry about whether the chicken you talked to while you ate your breakfast on Duval Street will also show up in a different way at dinner time.

We celebrated one year of wedded bliss by returning to Key West for a few days.  It was during this trip that I snapped a photo of a beautiful rooster crossing Duval Street.  I captured his image just as he was crossing the yellow center lines.  After I got home I was scrolling through my photos and knew this one would have to be displayed somewhere in the house!

Embrace My Space: Nursery Reveal

Fast forward a few years and we’ve moved to a different house and my decorating wheels are turning.  Even with all the empty rooms to tackle I didn’t have a place in mind for the chicken.  When I discovered we were expecting it was obvious where the chicken would go!  I knew the nursery would be the perfect place to display this special photo. What could say kid more than a good old “why’d the chicken cross the road” joke?

Embrace My Space: Nursery

Using personal photos as artwork in my home is also part of my “have what you love” mantra.  While I love Home Goods and Target for many things related to home, artwork is one thing that really needs a story in order to make it onto the wall.  I’m totally over buying art to hang in a space just to finish the look.

How about you?  Have you used personal photos as artwork in your home?  What’s your go-to method for personalizing your space with art?