Bursts of green, yellow, and aqua paint complement the blue skies and clear waters of California’s southern coastline at San Clemente’s The Abode. Here proprietors Jill Wilson and Marjee Ann Kress (“Mak”) put their creative talents to work refinishing furniture and creating unique works of art. The pair—known as Mak and Jill—first became friends in the seventh grade. Since then, they have amassed more than 45 years of combined experience in styling, interior design, upcycling furniture, and creating their own unique works of art.
After getting their start by selling their creations at flea markets, they watched their business grow as they relocated first to an antique mall and later a co-op. Then, two years ago, they opened their own storefront for The Abode on downtown San Celemente’s Avenida Del Mar. With smooth, white stucco walls and a red-tiled roof, the characteristic southwestern simplicity of the space’s exterior provides the ideal contrast to Mak and Jill’s brightly colored projects inside.
Not long before opening The Abode, Mak and Jill’s creative world got a special boost when they first learned about Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. “We loved it immediately,” says Jill. She recalls Mak initially using it and describing its quality as the “artist oils” of decorative paint. They especially loved the ease of using Chalk Paint, and that it required no extra prep work. Soon after discovering Chalk Paint, they became stockists and began selling Annie Sloan’s signature creation to other furniture-painting enthusiasts.
Thanks to their shared wealth of experience, Mak and Jill have found a number of applications for Chalk Paint. They recently applied a colorful boat wood finish to a dated Mexican pinewood desk, and fashioned an old bed into an outdoor bench, painting it in a bright mixture of Florence and Napoleonic Blue. They include their various projects on their blog, so that others can find inspiration. For those in Southern California, Mak and Jill also offer workshops at The Abode.
They shared this especially inventive project with fresh style: a friend’s piano once in sore need of a refreshing update. The instrument originally had a dated, polished wood finish that Jill says called for a rejuvenating coat of Chalk Paint. They couldn’t immediately tackle the project, though, because the piano was a gift from the owner’s mother, who didn’t want to see the original color changed. Mak and Jill managed to win over the reluctant matriarch by showing her a coffee table that they had refinished.
Jill explains that they mixed Old White and Provence to create a light color that would match the friend’s coastal home. While painting the piano, Jill also regularly dipped her brush into Old White, giving the finished product the soft and flowing look of a watercolor painting.
While the piano’s once-drab exterior previously attracted little attention, Jill says, “Now it’s a showpiece when you walk into her house.”
For more inspiration from Mak and Jill, go to www.makandjill.com, and learn about The Abode, the workshops they offer, and their latest creative endeavors.