Faux Shagreen Tutorial

 Hey there!  I just completed the mother of all DIYs (in my opinion) for the sheer fact that it took all my patience to get this done.  Faux Shagreen...
 Shagreen is the skin, or leather, from a stingray and it has a spotty, pebbled texture.  It's used on furniture and small objects and usually pieced together since the stingray hides are rather small.  The hides are usually dyed, so the colors are endless.  
I had been wanting to redo my IKEA Docksta tabletop and shagreen was on the list of possibilities.  I have seen DIYs where folks wrap furniture in shagreen textured wallpaper or leather, but since this was an "eating" area I didn't want texture and the mess of food getting stuck in it. It had to be painted.  I also wanted to exaggerate the finish into larger than usual sections, so my version is a bit more of a fantasy shagreen.  I Googled "round shagreen tables" and found a blue mockup that was just the inspiration I was looking for:

Depending on the area you are painting, I highly recommend Google to get some ideas for the color and layout of sections.

You will need:
Choose a color palette...
Base color (lighter tone) in any finish except flat
Acrylic glaze tinted 2 shades darker than the base color
Large piece of cheesecloth
Brush for applying paint and glaze
Painters tape for Delicate Surfaces
Several Sharpie Paint Pens (I used white)
Pencil and ruler
Clear Coat to seal final finish
 I began by base coating my table with 2 coats of Benjamin Moore's Slate Blue (satin finish).
Once it was dry I made a navy glaze using 2 parts Ben Moores latex glaze and 1 part Ben Moore (eggshell finish) paint in Newburyport Blue.  I brushed a coat on quickly, staying a bit lighter in the center.  This step needs to be done fast before the glaze has time to dry, so if you are doing a large surface, tape it into sections or have a friend help.
 Take the piece of cheesecloth and pat the glaze, removing most of it and leaving a soft leathery texture.  Let it dry for a couple hours.
 While it dries,  find some images of shagreen and use them as a guide.  You don't need to follow these next few steps if you are just doing a small area, but in my case, I had 8 sections and I wanted them to be pretty consistent.  I traced the center part of a shagreen image, concentration on many of the larger circles that ran up it.  I then used a stencil cutter to cut those circles out.
This was going to be my template for the centers of each section.
I traced the circles with a white pencil and filled them in with my Sharpie paint pen.  
(You can stencil this as well, but I had no luck.  The first attempt was great, but then the paint started to bleed under the stencil and it got ugly.)
 This pattern became the foundation for each section.
I filled in around that area first more tightly...
 and then added looser, more spaced out dots along the rest of the section.
And I repeated this for all the remaining sections.  I highly recommend binge watching some trash TV while doing this to pass the time- because it takes a while!  
The smaller the surface the better... My table was 42" across, and a section took about an hour.  I don't recommend going this big for your first project because you will just down right hate me.  It was a solid 2 day project, but I am totally caught up on Vanderpump now. 
Once its done and dry, clear coat twice with a latex polyurethane in a satin or low-sheen. 
I wasn't in the mood for glossy here.

Not gonna lie, it was a long, boring slow-moving project but the end result was SO worth it!
I absolutely LOVE this table now.
I'm not going to let anyone eat here for a few days, and lord help the kid that uses markers at this table.  I might actually do a third coat of polyurethane now that I think of it.

Part 2- the Bath

I feel like I have so much to cram in here!  
Next up on the wayback dial is our master bath renovation circa Fall 2016.

The mahogany counter came out of an old bar in NYC that got demolished.  My mother had found it and kept it hoarded away for years for us.  Thanks Mom! The rail along the back was a fun place to keep toothbrush cups and toiletries.

The mirrors were super sentimental.  
They were the original window screen frames from the first house we lived in Salem.  I added mirrored glass and new brass latches.  They opened and acted as medicine cabinets.

The single centered sink happened for a couple reasons.  As much as two sinks would have been normal and good, it left no counter space for your crap.  I like to spread out my make up and hair appliances.  The raised marble vessels were pretty big and forced you to teeter things on the edge.  
Also, my husband and I don't get ready simultaneously so we only needed one sink at a time... gotta keep the mystery alive.  We nixed a sink, and the round mirrors both opened toward the sink so you could see in the mirror when brushing your teeth.  Not for everyone, I know, but honestly I can brush my teeth blindfolded (flossing not so much). 
Used the same cabinets in my kitchen, good old IKEA. I loved the double hidden drawers to hold all my makeup and junk. (I so wish I took pictures of them- I was so organized!) And towels were folded away neatly in the bottom drawers.

To make this master bathroom we combined the kids bath (yellow) with our bath (blue).
They were back to back and mirror images of each other. Remember these? 

Heres a crappy pano of when we gutted them.  It gave us a 14' wide x 10' deep space to play with.

Our wish list included:
-big shower with no glass or door to clean
-deep tub to soak
-reusing the old round window frames from our first house
-incorporating the old mahogany bar top 
-a neutral palate 

 We played with a ton of configurations and in the end we decided to do something like this...
use the left side for a long shower with a wall between the tub,
toilet vanity on the right.  This also used existing plumbing to save some $$.

The shower was my favorite.  
It was enormous at 10' long and 4 1/2' wide. It was heavenly.  I could seriously do yoga and cartwheels in it if I wanted to.  It was like your own personal locker room shower, although you could probably fit 6 people in it and have a dance party if thats what your into.  Not judging.

Lord I miss that shower!  
It spoiled me for all other showers.  The one at our new house feels like a space capsule.

In the end, when we decided to sell, we replaced the round mirrors with plate glass because we know that most buyers weren't quirky like us and wanted to see themselves when they brushed their teeth. And I gotta say it made the bathroom feel even bigger!

I really wish I had taken better pictures of this space.  
(Note crappy phone photo with the seat up above. "Hi!") 

Off topic, speaking of photos, I have a quick question... 
What is the best photo organizing tool to use?  I have a Mac with like 150,000 pictures on it and I need to clean it up.  Same for my 25,000+ emails on my phone... I don't have time to go through every picture individually.
What do you guys use? What makes your life easier?  HELP!

We only got to use this bath for less than a year when we decided to move. 
 It has been my favorite house by far. We stayed here the longest, 8 years- a record, and I loved that we took our time on it and didn't rush into renovating right off the bat.  
We had so many good memories here. 

She came a long way from the chocolate brownie she used to be when we first bought her. 

You were a good house Neptune Street! 
As my husband likes to tell me, a house is just a house- its the memories you make in it that you get to take with you forever.  Off to make new ones.

I'M BAAACK (part 1)

Hey, its 2018 and I resolved to blog this year, so here goes nothing!  Its been so long that I seriously forgot how... feels a bit like riding a bike after a couple tequila shots.  Wobbly.  

First off, and most importantly, I just want to thank all of you for your kind words.  When I last posted I was in a tough spot, and honestly I'm still a hot mess.  I still struggle with the motherhood/work/guilt thing and I have not found the silver bullet for staying organized and focused.  But can I tell you how nice it is to know I'm not alone?  All of your comments got me through a pretty tough time and I am forever grateful.  I have gotten better at being more mindful, keeping my stress level down and overall just not giving a fuck or comparing myself to others.  (That last one is a HUGE game changer.)  I had to step off social media and Pinterest and blogs in general to clear my head and reset myself.  

As for this blog, I am going back to the start.  I had to figure out what I liked and disliked about the whole experience.  I started blogging as a journal to keep track of my projects and it lead into a whole bunch of How-To/ DIYs.  It makes me so happy when I know I helped someone figure out how to make or do something- so I am going to keep doing tutorials.  I met so many talented and creative people here, and had many great opportunities that I'm thankful for.  What I hated doing was sponsored posts, I hated editing my voice,  it didn't feel authentic.  It felt like an ad.  So I am not gonna do that.  I'm not here to get rich, although that would be cool, but it has to feel good.  I make some money off Adsense, YouTube and fabric I design on Spoonflower and I'm happy with that.  This blog will basically be about what I'm up to or making and I hope to help or inspire someone in the process.  

OK,  so where were we? 
When I last left off (2+ years ago) we were remodeling our kitchen... and we have long since finished that, remodeled our bath and spontaneously moved down the street to a new house.  A LOT of stuff has happened so even starting this post has been a bit daunting trying to figure out where to begin...so much to tell you, its gonna be a multi-post I suppose.  

I guess lets start with the kitchen.  
Back in the fall of 2015 we finally did the kitchen over completely.  Took down the mudroom wall and opened her up and added lots of lights and windows. 

For anyone new the party here, I've had many incarnations of this kitchen... "renovated with paint", walls taken down and lots of piecemeal.
So lets do a before montage for old times sake.

(ORIGINAL VINTAGE KITCHEN circa 2009 when we moved in)
Renovated with Paint (everything including the counters) 2011
WALL DOWN (2012)

For this renovation we carried the hardwood throughout and I stained the whole first floor a soft caramel to kill down the orange oak undertones.  It was a two part process that killed my back, but it was so worth it.  The living room was original white oak and the new floor that got laid throughout the kitchen dining room was red oak (oopsy!) so the red oak had to be dyed with a water based greenish color first prior to staining.  In the end everything matched and there was peace and harmony at the red and white oak border.

We decided not to do an island because my husband is a Spartan and felt it would make it too claustrophobic, even though I really wanted one.  Just have to choose your battles.  
But I must say we had some great dance parties in this space, and in the end I loved the openness of the kitchen- so I'm not mad.

We did IKEA cabinets throughout and I absolutely love them. I used their kitchen planner to lay out the space, and it was easy.  I miss this kitchen so much and would totally do it all over again.  
My favorite part were the drawers.  And the drawers INSIDE drawers.  
I loved having my plates and bowls in a drawer next to the dishwasher.  The ultimate lazy unload!  
I even used these cabinets in the master bath renovation,  but more on that in the next post.

 Found some porcelain numbers at a junk shop in NH to commemorate the 2015 finish, and put them on the mega cabinets we used as mudroom storage lockers.  
Hardware is from the Dakota Collection at Restoration Hardware.  
Countertop is Silestone Lagoon.
Lights over the windows are from Illuminate Vintage.
And I used my Tribal Maze wallpaper to pop in some pattern and color.

SO that is the kitchen in a nutshell.  Let me know if you have any questions or if I left out any sources.  I'll be back with a bathroom post next as well as more on the new house.  
And again, thanks for reading this blog and all your comments.  I'm glad to be back!


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