Cara Worthley started selling Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan two years ago, setting up shop in a multi-dealer space among a number of other small businesses. There she met Jolene McKay, who was selling vintage clothing. Six months ago, the pair made the leap to brick-and-mortar shop of their very own, and opened Mélange on Main in Burlington, Vermont.
Cara and Jolene wanted to create a one-of-a-kind shop. They took the business’s name from the French word for “mixture,” because, Cara explains, “our shop is a mixture of eras and origins for decorating, entertaining, special occasions.”
Setting up a distinctive boutique—especially one devoted to offering the supplies, tools, and instruction needed for creative home-decorating projects—required a special attention to decor. Cara and Jolene met the task head on. Literally working from the ground up, they started by painting the shop floor with Chalk Paint.
The idea took root before the pair even purchased the space. While looking at it, the carpet was already pulled up and the previous owners were preparing to replace it. “They thought I was a bit crazy when I asked them to stall the carpet installation until we signed because I wanted to paint the floor,” recalls Cara. Formerly a financial services building, the shop’s location on the waterfront of Lake Champlain was ideal, but it still needed some work if it was going to exude creative inspiration.
Once the property was theirs, Cara and Jolene set about creating a harlequin pattern on the floor. With help from Cara’s husband, Justin, they used a laser level and straight edge, drawing in the lines with a pencil. To make sure they were happy with the layout, they started drawing the pattern in the middle of the room, and extended their lines from there. To ensure equal spacing throughout, they double-checked their measurements with a tape measure every three feet. “We found that going slowly and methodically was the best way to avoid making mistakes,” Cara says.
Laying out the pattern was the real challenge of the project, and the painting that followed went quickly. Working by hand, Cara painted each diamond in either Old White or Paloma by hand, using a single coat so that the floor retained a rustic look. To finish, she rolled on three thin coats of Annie Sloan Lacquer.
The floor has since provided the perfect accent to the French-inspired décor that Cara and Jolene have used throughout the shop. Six months in, and the floor has held up nicely—a good thing, since some wear and tear will no doubt accompany Vermont’s impending winter.
“I’m really happy with the choice!” Cara says.
As for the projects Cara and Jolene have undertaken since opening up Mélange, they keep fellow-creatives up-to-date with regular blog posts.