When Stephanie Jones started refinishing furniture, she sold her work exclusively online through her Etsy shop. Things have since grown considerably and her business, Me & Mrs. Jones, has expanded to include two storefronts—a working studio in downtown Memphis with added retail space, and a second location in Germantown, Tennessee that serves as a more cleaned-up boutique.
When it comes to her medium of choice, Stephanie has been an enthusiast for Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan since it was first distributed in the United States in 2010. “It lit up my geeky little decorative painting world,” she recalls. Once she started using it, Stephanie says she immediately loved Chalk Paint’s ease of use, mixability, and the authenticity of its finishes.
For fresh style, Stephanie has shared the how-to for a project she undertook last year when refinishing chairs she found at a local junk shop. While they had pretty lines and were solidly built, she says, “I got them for a song because they were filthy and the fabric was kind of terrible.”
For this particular project, Stephanie enlisted her son Charlie (one of the studio’s “funterns”). While the chairs were delicately constructed, she wanted them to gain a more rustic texture from the paint that would complement Annie Sloan’s Normandie toile fabric, which she used to reupholster them. She trusted Charlie with the job. “Any of the rest of us would have tried to make it too perfect, because the chairs are so pretty,” Stephanie explains.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what Charlie and Stephanie did:
- First, Charlie cleaned the chairs with an ammonia-based cleaner and removed the seats.
- Next, he applied two textured coats of Paloma Chalk Paint, thoroughly covering the chairs.
- Once the paint was dry, he layered on a thin coat of clear wax, wiping down the chairs well to remove any excess.
- Stephanie stepped in and mixed clear and dark wax to get a lighter brown tone. She used a firm-bristled brush to put a thin layer on the chairs, really working it down into the brushstrokes for patina, and wiping back firmly to remove any excess wax.
- She allowed the wax to dry overnight and then buffed the waxes to a gleam.
- To give the details a little shimmer, Stephanie added some gilding wax in an antique gold shade, using her finger to apply and buffing gently with a cloth when she was finished.
- For the final step, Stephanie used her trusty old staple gun to recover the seats with Annie Sloan’s Normandie toile.
The results are a beloved set of chairs that remain in Stephanie’s studio. Despite customers’ best attempts, Stephanie hasn’t been able to part with them. “I love them too much to let them go yet!” she says.
As for the other handiwork created at Me & Mrs. Jones, Stephanie regularly posts her work and that of her employees and “funterns” (there are four of them) on her website. For more in-person inspiration, they offer weekly workshops, and sell a range of refinishing and creative decorating supplies.