DIY Chalk Paint Workshop



Chalk paint has really taken the DIY decorating world by storm over the past few years. One of the major benefits of it is that there is very little prep work required before you can apply it to a piece of furniture that needs a makeover. Many boutique shops like mine carry it, and I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t considered bringing it into the store myself, but I’ve always held back because I wish there were more of a color selection in most of the lines. The leading brands carry only between 20 and 30 colors, and while that’s not horrible, it doesn’t give you much of a range. As we know, there are more than three shades of gray in the world. As someone who loves color, I also know that getting the exact shade right can make or break a refinishing project.

So when Lisa Cadan at Cadan Chairs told me that she’s been making all the chalk paint she uses on the furniture that you all have been snatching up, and that she’d be willing to share her recipe with us, I jumped at the chance! This Sunday, March 23rd at 2 pm, Lisa will be here to show us how to make your own chalk paint (in ANY color your heart desires!). Participants will go home with the recipe, a can of paint, a small finished project, and all the tips and tricks (including using wax finishes) Lisa has learned in her extensive work with making and using this paint on her refurbished furniture pieces. Not only does that mean that your future in chalk paint possibilities are endless, but you can also save a bundle on making only as much as you need for each of your projects and not be stuck with lots of half-used cans of paint.

We still have spaces left so if you love to use chalk paint or you always have wanted to give it a try, call 619-1966 and sign up for this class (pre-registration is required). The class is $50 (about the cost of one can of paint from those other manufacturers), plus $15 for materials, and the knowledge is priceless!

Moulding Maintenance 101: How to Repair Those Dings and Scratches


I don’t feature a lot of guest posts here, but when Home Depot contacted me about doing one on how to repair damaged molding yourself, I thought that many of you would be interested in learning these tips. From door frames to baseboards, there is no doubt that the moldings and trim in our homes take a beating, and sprucing them up can make a whole room go from tired and worn to looking like new. However, it’s the kind of project that always has me nervous to try it myself, but it also doesn’t seem big enough to hire a contractor to fix. But after this post I think I can now tackle it on my own!

Photo: Shutterstock

From dogs’ teeth to cats’ claws to energetic little feet, the wood molding in your home is likely to endure its fair share of abuse over the years. Generally made from softer wood, baseboards and trim need a bit of love now and again. Fortunately, this does not have to be an expensive or time-consuming endeavor. With the proper tools and a little know-how, fixing damaged molding is often easier than it seems – and can save you big bucks in the end.

Before tackling any such project, always use your best judgment. If you can pinpoint the damage, chances are that you can get away with some minor repairs rather than replacing a whole section. Know what to look for, evaluate your options, and decide if you are indeed up for the task. If so, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

Get familiar with your tools

The tools needed for minor molding repairs are surprisingly simple and inexpensive. A trip to the garage might even be all you need!

  • Wood putty/filler – for small dents and scratches, wood putty will work just fine. For larger or heavier damaged sections, you might want to go with epoxy filler.
  • Putty knife – this flat, metal scraper is great for spreading putty into holes. It can also be used to scrape away paint dripping or bits of damaged wood.
  • Sandpaper – be sure to go with medium or fine-grained sandpaper that won’t damage the wood.
  • Caulk – this hardening putty is great for sealing gaps.
  • Wet sponge – a trip to the sink should suffice!
  • Paint – be sure to use paint that matches the existing surface.

Fixing dings and dents

Mending damaged molding yourself – as opposed to replacing entire sections – can end up saving you a bundle! Start by sanding down the damaged area to get rid of excess wood bits. Using a putty knife, smear a generous heap of wood putty into any gaps or holes. It’s better to use too much than too little – wood putty tends to shrink as it dries. You can always sand it down afterwards.

After the putty dries (be sure to read the instructions – some brands take up to 24 hours to dry out) simply sand it down and paint over it. Voila!

Filling gaps and cracks

Sometimes there will be sections of trim that have cracked or come disconnected from the wall. If this is the case, caulking will seal these up just fine. Use a caulking gun to patch the gaps, making sure to get in there deep. Sliding a wet finger across the area will get rid of any extra caulk and even out the surface. Caulk will dry pretty quickly, and can be painted over quite easily.

Tips for painting

When painting over a recently repaired section, make sure your new paint matches what is already there. Outline the area with masking tape to avoid splatters and uneven brush strokes.

Paint is bound to splatter now and again. For paint splotches that have already dried, denatured alcohol works wonders. Dip a thin rag in the alcohol and wrap the rag around a putty knife. Gently scraping the area should get it right out!

General maintenance

Moisture can be molding’s worst enemy. Always keep baseboards and trim – or any wood surfaces for that matter – clean and dry. Using a damp sponge to wipe down molding works great, but be sure to dry the area immediately. Also, consider a dehumidifier for keeping moisture at bay. This will keep your trim in tip-top shape (not to mention your floors and furniture)!

House repairs can often be intimidating. Fortunately, fixing up baseboards and trim isn’t always a job for the professionals – a few simple tools and do-it-yourself attitude can go a long way! Do know your limits, though. Some jobs are, after all, best left to a specialist. Evaluate your damage, consider these tips, and decide if you are equipped to take on the job. You might just surprise yourself.

Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot on-the-floor sales associate in the Chicago suburbs and a frequent contributor on DIY door topics for Home Depot’s website. You can view Home Depot’s molding page here.

Brass Attack


A few weeks ago a picture of this modern wingback chair from Chairloom came across my news feed on Facebook. I love the mix of the traditional silhouette paired with the sleek brass legs. It certainly caught my eye. In fact, so much so that I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. And the thought of it in navy, emerald or fuchsia velvet just about makes me explode with excitement! Can you image how amazing it would look? For me it’s just the perfect balance of traditional and modern. And the price is pretty nice too for something of this caliber. But beyond this chair, I find myself continually being drawn to brass legs on furniture. I know brass is “trending” right now, but I think it’s really timeless, and while you wouldn’t want every piece in a room to have it, one great statement piece is sure to last you a long time. Here are a few other pieces that have caught my eye of late.

This Walter Lamb designed lounge chair from DWR is super chic. You’ll need one rocking bathing suit to sun yourself in that. I love the lines of it as well as the black and brass combination. It’s also available in white, but the white doesn’t give it quite the sophistication that the black does. And there are many other pieces in this outdoor collection that are pretty fabulous too, but this is the one at the top of my list (not that it would fit in at my house at all–I’ll have to save it for that awesome apartment in the city with the pool that I’m going to have some day–insert laughter here).

Proving that brass never really goes out of style, this 1970s travertine topped coffee table from 1st Dibs would just as easily find itself at home in today’s living room as it did back then.

Like the modern wingback chair, the Cordoba Couch from Organic Modernism has simple, sleek brass legs.

And while I’m typically draw to the more squared off version, the Cleveland couch, also from Organic Moderism is pretty gorgeous too. And for under $1,000, I’d say a pretty amazing deal also.

Lastly, another twist on a classic. Kelly Wearstler takes a classic parsons table and updates it with this perforated brass look which would take any room to another level.

What brass pieces have caught your eye lately?

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide



Jonathan Adler Love Pillow

All you need is love. That’s as simple as it should be, but anyone who has ever skipped buying that Valentine’s gift for their special someone knows that love isn’t quite enough. It needs to come with a little treat too. Flowers are always nice, but who wants to spend twice the amount of money on a bouquet on this holiday. So I’ve rounded up a few items that I think you’ll love to give or get.

Shibori Cashmere Throw

LOVE Marquee Sign

Highgate Heart

Gardenia Candle

The Art of I Love You

And because I want to spread the love, if you find anything in our online store that you want to buy for your love (or yourself), I’m offering your choice of discounts through Saturday. Pick free shipping (enter code: SNOW) or 20% off your entire purchase (enter code: LOVE). In addition, anyone who signs up for one of our classes with a friend between now and end of day on Saturday will get half off the class price for the second person. And really what’s better than spending quality time with someone you love?

Winter 2014 Chateau & Bungalow Design Class Schedule


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It’s a big week here at Chateau & Bungalow. In addition to launching our online store, we are also really excited to announce that we will be offering a series of classes on DIY home decor! This is a really important part of what I’ve wanted to do with Chateau & Bungalow because I’m pretty sure that a lot of you, like me, like to tackle your home projects on your own. After all, that’s why you read design blogs like mine, right? But if you’re like me, you often know the look you want, but achieving it in your price range means a bit of elbow grease, and the skills to get it done. With these classes, I hope to empower you to refinish that piece of furniture that just isn’t quite right, finally pick the paint color for that room you’ve been afraid to tackle, sit down at the sewing machine and make those curtains you want, and create that statement piece of art for your home even if you’ve never taken an art class in your life before. Visit our Classes page to see a complete listing of our classes which kick off next Sunday, February 9th with Make Your Own Chalkpaint (Did you even know that was possible? The chair pictured was painted with homemade chalk paint.), and find out more about registering.

We hope this is just the tip of the iceberg with our classes program, and we’d love to hear from you about what other classes you’d like to see or let us know if you have any special DIY skills you’d like to teach others. See you in the classroom!

Introducing the Chateau & Bungalow Online Shop!


While Newport isn’t exactly booming in January, I’ve been quite busy because I’ve been working diligently at creating the next natural step in the Chateau & Bungalow world, an online shop! And today, I’m thrilled to announce that it is officially live and ready for you all to see. I really have loved the past six months of gathering products to share in the store, and I’ve been flattered by the number of you who have made special trips into town just to check it out in person! Now I’m very excited to be able to offer many of these items to those of you who live too far away to make it into the shop in person. I wish I could say that all of our products are available online, but we’re not quite there yet (about one quarter of the 800 different products we have in store are available so that’s still A LOT). We’re launching the online shop with many of our favorites and also our most popular items. And check back often as I’ll be constantly adding more items. In addition to our new items, we’re also offering select pieces from our Estate collection. Looking for some items to add to your silver collection or that one of a kind piece to finish off your room? Look to the Estate collection. Happy shopping!

2014 To-Do List

Looking back at my 2013 to-do list from last January, I have to admit that a lot of the list was really pipe dreams. But thanks to lots of problems with water both inside and outside, we ended up getting A LOT of those list items crossed off. It was a lot of work, and even though it was all worth it, I’m also really happy that I’ll never have to live through that again. We started construction on some small planned projects in mid-February, and the last project we finished was in mid-November with a whole lot of house turned upside down, massive trucks stuck in mud in the yard, and much more chaos in between. So here’s the list of what we actually completed this year. Some of it was on the to-do list last year and some of it got added along the way.

1. Renovate powder room.

2. Add built-in bookcases to living room.

3. New Dutch door and front steps.

4. Completely re-landscape front yard and quite a bit of the backyard too, and replace fence. (I can’t wait to share this you, but I never got a chance to photograph it before winter came because of some stubborn patches where the grass refused to grow. This spring for sure!)

5. Replace the roof.

6. New kitchen!

7. Open up wall between kitchen and dining room and add sliding door.

8. Convert pantry closet and dining room closet into built-in bar in dining room.

9. Refinish and reupholster dining room furniture.

10. New deck.

11. Tear out paneling in basement and replace with beadboard, and update playroom.

12. Have curtains made for daughter’s room.

I know I still haven’t shared many of these projects, but we’ve still been digging out from all of the construction and are finally getting to the point where I can photograph them so don’t worry, they’re coming.

Really, what we accomplished last year was enough of a to-do list for a decade so this year we’re going to keep the to-do list real simple!

The living room (pictured above) made major progress last year with the addition of the built-ins, as well as new end tables, lamps, and a coffee table, but the upholstered furniture and rug is very tired after nearly seven years of babies and a dog. The one piece that is still in ok condition is the coral chair which I put Sunbrella fabric on. But in my dreams, these things will happen:

1. Reupholster couch and striped chair. I was thinking of going with a simple navy Sunbrella for the couch, but the truth is that a pattern is going hide stains better, and I really don’t want to have to re-do this couch again anytime soon since I just did it a few years ago.

2. Replace ceiling light fixture. The one that is there was a quick fix to replace a ceiling fan (my least favorite thing in the world!).

3. Replace curtains. I like the simplicity and lightness of the white grommet top curtains, but I’d really like to take them up a notch.

4. Clean and/or replace rug. I purposely bought a wool rug because they are naturally stain resistant and have a good record when it comes to looking like new after a professional cleaning so I have my fingers crossed that this rug can be salvaged, but if it’s still looking a little worn, I’ll move it upstairs to our bedroom where much of it will be covered by the bed and get a new one for the living room.

5. You can’t see it in this picture, but we updated our fireplace by removing the tired old brass screen, however, we still need to re-tile the surround which is currently a not very attractive brick tile.

Next up on the list is the staircase. This is probably just a day job which makes it seem easy, but I know finding the time will still be a struggle, especially considering some of these items have been on my to-do list for a while.

1. Replace railing with natural (or possible navy) rope and stanchions.

2. Paint the walls. This is the only space we haven’t painted since we moved in. I don’t dislike the sandy color, but I’m tired of it. It’s taken me awhile to figure out what color I want to paint it, and I think I’m just going to with a bright white. It will look great with the navy stripes and rope, and because this is such a dark staircase, I hope it will brighten it up a bit.

3. Speaking of how dark it is, because the sun rises on the front of our house, most of the light that comes into this space comes solely from the window in the bathroom at the top of the stairs. It’s not much, and when the bathroom door is closed, it’s downright dark. So we’d love to put a sliding door on the bathroom with a frosted porthole window to maintain privacy while allowing the light in with the door open or closed.

There a few other projects on the list, but I’m not sure when they will happen.

1. Install an outdoor shower. Living by the beach with two kids means this should probably be at the top of the list.

2. Add a master bath/walk-in closet. We had talked about moving the master bedroom to above the kitchen addition and doing this, but because we had a lot of major unexpected expenses due to all the water issues, this got put on the back burner. We also decided that the best way to add this is to simply dormer out our bedroom. We’re not looking for fancy—we need functional so there is plenty of space to do it by boxing off the final corner of the house like we did when we added our third bedroom on the other side of the house. However, this project is still probably a couple of years down the road.

So that’s it. Here’s hoping that our much less stressful to-do list stays that way in 2014!

Dining Room Facelift


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You may recall from some previous posts that this is what my dining has looked like for the past few years. Let’s just say that while I love the curtains, rug, and mahogany dining set, the furniture really needed some work. The dining room set was handed down to us from my parents, and I do love having a more formal look for this space, but because my mother used some of the chairs in our old living room and some in our old dining room, they were covered in different fabrics. I also have two more chairs that had broken and had a third fabric on them because they didn’t make the cut the last time she recovered them. The table had also gotten really scratched up over the past several years. So when we were working on our kitchen renovation, we decided to bring the dining room up to snuff at the same time.

We sent the table and broken chairs to The Strip Joint (yes, that’s really what this furniture restoration place is called) in Saunderstown, RI to be refinished and repaired. They came back looking as good as new!* I was a bit torn on which way to go for the new fabric for the chairs. Part of me wanted to bring in another bright color like pink or coral, and another part of me wanted to go with some really cool fish fabric that mimicked Gyotaku printing. And while I love geometric prints, I thought this room already had enough of them. But while perusing the local fabric store, this chinoise pattern caught my eye, and I knew right away that it was the one! I recovered the chairs myself (well, my four year old helped!) using the simple method of unscrewing the seats from their frames, placing them atop the fabric–faced down, cutting to size, and wrapping the fabric to the back side and fastening it with a staple gun.

And here is the new and improved look! This room also got a fresh coat of paint in the same Benjamin Moore Stunning for the upper walls and Linen White for the chair rail and below. After all the dirt and dust from the kitchen renovation, it really needed it! The entrance to this room also got widened as part of the kitchen renovation, and we can slide the barn door across it. As much as I love having a separate dining room, doing this means that we can now fit all of the leaves in the table and still get a chair at either end when we’ve got a larger group for dinner.

We also created a new built-in bar in this room by removing two back-to-back closets, but I’ve still got to photograph that so stay tuned!

*Note: Refinishing and repair is not an inexpensive endeavor. In fact you could probably buy a new set for as much as I paid, but I’m a firm believer in using antiques and that old furniture is built better than most new furniture so it’s well worth the cost. I also only had one of my three table leaves refinished to cut down on the cost because I typically have a table cloth on the table when I put more than one leaf in.

Happy New Year!



Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Today finally feels like the first day of the New Year to me because both of the kids are back in school, and I have a day off (if you can ever really call it that) from the store. Now that I’m looking to the New Year, when I think back at 2013 I really can’t believe just how crazy it was. Maybe I should have known when we started the year in the ER with our three-year-old who had slammed her finger in the car door that it was going to be less than smooth sailing.

2013 was probably one of the most challenging years of my life, as well as one of the best. We had major flooding in our house for the first 6 months of the year which lead to nearly nine months of living through massive renovations, and we had to put our dog down who I’d adopted 12 years prior, before having ever even met my husband. But I’m also beyond thrilled with all of the renovations (kitchen, front yard, powder room, and more), and I fulfilled my longtime dream of opening the Chateau & Bungalow store!

In 2014, I’m looking to really build  on Chateau & Bungalow, the blog and the business, but also take a step back and simplify life. In the New Year, so many people jump on the losing weight bandwagon or the getting organized bandwagon. People starve themselves on cleanses, and before long the resolutions are gone. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past year, it’s to do what makes you happy and what you can maintain. So for me, 2014 is going to be about centering myself. Would I love to lose weight? Sure. But after a year of chaos, my goal for 2014 is to cook more homemade meals and sit down around the table as a family, go for more walks to get moving and to enjoy all that this gorgeous place I live in has to offer, go to bed earlier, get more massages, try yoga, and yes, put some finishing touches on the house!

The above painting is one of my favorite Christmas presents. The watercolor and gold leaf combination created by Newport artist Isabelle Lirakis (more of her work is available in the store) is calm and simple, yet sophisticated. I thought it was the perfect piece to finish off our renovated powder room which I hadn’t hung any artwork in yet. And now that it’s been hung, I think it exemplifies what I seek out in design and what I hope will be the themes of 2014.

This year we rang in the New Year by taking our kids out to dinner and then visiting with great friends at various house parties (without the kids) before spending a lazy day in bed and spending time with family. It’s all about balance, and it appears that we may finally be teetering on the edge of finding it. So I hope that this year the blog will be largely dedicated to ideas on simplifying life while maintaining the passion for style and design, learning to use more of what we have to get what we want, and knowing when it’s time to get rid of what’s not working. Stay tuned for my updates 2014 to-do list!

Stocking Stuffers Under $25


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If you’re anything like me you’ve still got stocking stuffers to buy! These are a few of my favorites from the shop.

1. Jonathan Adler Zebra Dish: This is one of our best sellers and I saw it get swapped over and over again at the Yankee Swap my friends did this week. Very popular, and also available in silver. It’s a great catch all by the door or on a bedside table or bureau. $24

2. Anchor Bottle Opener: Most of the sailors I know are also pretty big fans of beer so this is a no brainer if you’ve got a sailor on your list. $12

3. Anchor Placecards: For the hostess by the sea, these are perfect for her next dinner party! $7

4. Dana Gibson Leopard Eyeglass Holder: Wearing glasses is a lot more appealing when you can store them in this chic little case, available in pink or orange. $24

5. Crab Matches: Cute everyday matches. Pair them with some of our colorful candles for greater impact. $4

6. Stripey Straws: Everyone’s party favorite, stripey straws are also great to make any day a little more fun. Great for both kids and adults and available in many colors. $6

7. French Soap: This amazing soap smells as amazing as it looks. Available in three colors, it’s sure to become of favorite staple in the house. $6

We know a lot of people who would be very excited to receive these goodies in their stockings. Stop in and pick a few up for the chic person in your life. We’ll be open today and tomorrow from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm, and Tuesday (Christmas Eve) from 10 am to 2 pm.

Merry, merry!