Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite & Slipper Satin & Painting Kitchen Units


Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite on Fired Earth Bastide plate rack with Greengate & Susie Watson pottery

For a long, long time now, let’s not say exactly how many years, painting my kitchen units has been on my ridiculously long list of things to do.  As you may or may not know, I am a bit of a savvy shopper and when Mr Chandelier & I first saw the Fired Earth French Oak Kitchen in their showroom I plotted and planned, (a very favourite pastime) a way to be able to afford it.

My plotting and planning paid off and we pretty much have a complete kitchen now, only 9 years later!  However, yes there is always a however in this household, this has meant that we have purchased the kitchen bit by bit.  The main units were bought by repeatedly going to their factory sales and purchasing either ex-display pieces or cancelled customer orders which generally tended to be roughly half price.  Also because we weren’t buying everything all at once, we could semi-recover financially before the next piece came up – I’m not sure Mr Chandelier would not agree with the semi-recover financial bit at all, but you know what I mean… hmmm….!


Beautiful Greengate & Susie Watson pottery

We have also purchased one wall unit and an island unit from Ebay and my very clever builder / carpenter Mr Chandelier, has adapted a base unit into a wall unit.  We still have quite a bit of adapting to do, particularly on the Island unit, and it has been more than a little painful at times, but it has meant that we will soon (well soon meaning a few months!) have a complete lovely solid French Oak Kitchen which we would otherwise not have been able to afford. Obviously, I am not accounting for the time and love we have lavished on it as it may well have come out more expensive, but we will just brush on by that shall we.


Cupcakes & Roses

The downside of buying a kitchen in this way does of course mean that even though all the units are meant to be the same colour, the tone never quite matches, although we are perfectionists and most people probably wouldn’t have noticed.  However, if I had been happy with the colour then I probably would have left it.  The units were meant to be cream but they were a very yellow cream and, much as there is nothing wrong with that, it ‘jars’ with my pottery and the colours that I have in my kitchen so they had to go.


Gorgeous Greengate & Susie Watson pottery

So, paint colours.  I absolutely adore my Greengate & Susie Watson pottery and it adorns my home in many different locations but it is in abundance in my kitchen.  I tend to go for the very soft pastels, always soft pinks, soft greys, soft blues & duck eggs and quite a bit of off white.  With all that colour going on I needed to have a soft background and I tried many different off whites and greys and even duck egg greens before settling on Farrow & Balls Ammonite.  I have used this in my Craft Room and as soon as I tried it in there I just knew it would be right for the kitchen and thankfully it is.


The ‘Chatting’ end of the kitchen with Laura Ashley chairs

Our kitchen is very long, it is approximately 31 foot and has 2 windows and 2 sets of french doors, one side faces South and the other North so the paint colours we chose do change throughout the day.  Sometimes Ammonite appears to be very Taupe in colour and sometimes more grey.  You can see from the photo below of the units I have painted, that the far right one is more grey and the others more taupe.  The more taupe ones are a little more blocked from light by the island unit.  We put Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin on the walls which is pretty neutral, but again can appear more white or cream in the darker areas and even seems to have a tinge of green in some lights but overall it all works and more importantly, we love it and it is of course, another tick on my never ending list!



Kitchen Units painted in Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite

I started painting the units in January (so Mr Chandelier says!) and I have done 7 so far and have another 3 plus the island to do.  They are extremely laborious and time consuming and cause quite a mess just doing one, plus I am running a business and have 3 children and I am doing many other house projects, so I kind of have to do it that way.


Some heavy sanding required!

The problem is, that I have to really heavily sand them back as I am distressing the edges of the units.  I then have to apply 5 coats of paint – 2 good quality undercoats and 3 of my chosen Ammonite eggshell.  If I don’t sand back that heavily, then when I distress them you will see the cream and I don’t want that.  Unfortunately, I really dislike the sanding element but as Mr Chandelier likes to remind me when I complain about it, I could have left them cream!

I know it is predominantly self inflicted hard work but, as they are hard working kitchen units and, our house is often on show to both current and potential clients for both myself and Mr Chandelier, and it is my nature if I do a job to do it properly, then that is how it has to be.  The worst is over now as the plate rack was just horrendous, made considerably worse as I had just had a small surgical procedure on my leg and had to try and paint it with my leg raised (yes I know, utter madness – don’t try this at home – never again!)  We are also going to pay for a little sanding help for the remaining top units so I just need to motivate myself to picking up the ‘Kitchen Units paintbrush’ again to give it another boost.  Then I ‘just’ need to finish the walls, finish grouting the floor and tiles, paint round the doors, paint the main door, paint the table and bench…………….omg  –  I can’t list any more  –  insert head in hands emoji here now!

How about you, ever thought about painting your kitchen units and what colour I would love to see.

Much Love,

Sarah xx





How to use Liming Wax / Paste



A short while ago, I had a text from a very good friend, saying that she had managed to get her husband to clear out all the old bits of wood he had hoarded for some time.  Knowing how much I love a bit of reclaimed wood, she texted me first and said that they had literally just been put in a big pile on her driveway and they were also going to text “the men with sheds” (whoever they were!) to let them know too and that we could all just come and take what we wanted.

kitchen shelves liming wax blog

Well, I literally got in my car and drove straight to her house and she was not kidding when she said it was a big pile.  It was literally up to my waist and the longest piece was probably just under 3 metres long.

After searching through the pile I found some lovely old wide floorboards and then yes, you’ve guessed it, I wanted the longest piece, which I believed to be oak and was ridiculously heavy.  The moment I saw it I knew exactly where I wanted it to go.  My lovely friend was out and there was no one around to help and I knew I would never get it into my car on my own due to the weight, but I had to do something with it before ‘the men with sheds’ came!  I also didn’t want it to get wet and spoil.

As she is a special friend and I know her very well, I knew that her garage was never locked so I thought if  I could somehow drag it over to her garage a couple of metres away, maybe I could summons the strength to stand it up………..Yeah right!

You really have no idea how ridiculously heavy this solid oak, almost 3 metre long, piece of wood weighed and clearly, nor did I.  At a rough guess I would say it took me about 20 minutes to literally drag it bit by laborious bit, to the garage just a couple of metres away. Then, when I opened the garage, it was like all my piles of ‘need to deal with stuff’ and my ‘fit to bursting Summerhouse’ and my ‘everything falls out when you open the door Shed’ were all rolled into one before my eyes.  OMG Ok ok, lets take a deep deep breath, let’s close my eyes and envisage the beautiful shelves I am going to make with this piece of wood and then, let’s picture the ‘shed men’ running towards me with axes and now let’s gather all my strength and move everything……Hmmm.

Kitchen Shelves liming wax

Yes, it probably took me another half an hour at least, to get this piece of wood to an upright position and I really did struggle and I kept thinking I can’t do this.  It was like a comedy sketch and would have been hilarious to watch but eventually, due to sheer determination and the fact that I never give up, I did it.  I quickly closed the garage, loaded up my other squirreled bits of wood and texted my friend to let her know.  All I needed now, was to persuade Mr Chandelier to come with me to collect it as in our house, the boot is on the other foot so to speak, as he is always trying to persuade me to get rid of my hoard……Hmmm!

Anyway, Mr Chandelier bless him, did indeed come with me to collect the wood and he agreed that it was perfect for our Kitchen shelves, which was exactly what I had in mind for it when I first saw it.  Although there were couple of imperfections in the wood, it was the exact thickness and look that I wanted for my kitchen shelves and I knew I was either going to paint or use liming wax on them.

Liming wax is very easy to use but you do need an unfinished piece of wood that hasn’t already been painted, varnished or waxed.  You can use wood that has been previously finished, but you do then need to remove all previous product to ensure it is free from any other finishing materials.  The idea behind using liming wax is to give a sort of whitewashed look to highlight the grain and brighten the wood up.

If you look at the image below, I have already done the 2 left hand shelves but the right hand one has not been done.  You can see they are quite different and for me, it gave me exactly the look I was after with the least amount of effort, which frankly in this house, is desperately needed.


You should start by brushing/rubbing the wood with a wire brush to ‘lift/open’ the grain of the wood.  The liming paste/wax will then work its way deeper into the grain and won’t lift off as soon as you wipe off the excess.  I however, didn’t feel the need to do this as I felt my wood was already very ‘grainy’ and a little rough so I knew it would absorb the wax well enough.  I used Liberian Special Effects Liming Wax but there are many different brands which will work equally as well.

The technically correct way to apply the wax is to use Extra Fine or Fine Steel Wool.  However, you can also literally just brush it on with either a paintbrush which I used, or you can apply it using a soft lint free cloth.  The whole process is exactly like waxing except it has liming paste in it.  You are meant to wait around 3 minutes for it to dry and I did a stretch of about a foot at a time, and then, using a soft lint free cloth  –  an old tea towel or similar  –  you just buff it off to a shine.  You can go over it if you would like it a little brighter but to be honest, it won’t make a great deal of difference as the grain will already be full of liming wax so any excess tends to come away when you buff it.  If you need it to be waterproof you can use a finishing oil and obviously, the more coats of oil you apply, the greater the water resistance.

You can see from these photos that each piece of wood will absorb the wax differently as it is a product of nature and every piece of wood will of course, be very different.  I love that, as it shows you have real wood and highlights all that beautiful texture and character.

So there you have it, really easy but effective.  I have quite a few pieces of wood that are calling out to me to ‘come and lime me’!  I think my little one’s Vintage school desk would definitely benefit from it but that is a whole other day!

How about you, do you have anything that would benefit from liming or do prefer a darker look?

Happy Liming!

Much Love,

Sarah xx

Shopping for Pastel Kitchen Accessories

Anyone that knows me will agree that I have a lot of soft ‘vintagey’ (yes, I made that word up) colours and pastels in my home.  My kitchen is a particularly strong example of this as it is predominantly shades of duck egg, soft pinks and blues alongside whites and creams.

It would be fair to say then, that I do love a pastel coloured kitchen accessory, particularly a pink one, and when I see anything in pink or duck egg, my heart beats just a touch faster and I hurriedly snap it up!

Now I don’t know about you, but I strongly feel that anything assisting you with household chores such as cleaning should bring a smile to your face whenever possible.  You can imagine my delight then, when I saw these gorgeous pastel coloured dishcloths from Asda.



Seriously, how yummy are they!  It gets better – they are only £1.00 for 4 – yes really – and they wash, and wash, and wash at 60 degrees and still remain as good as new!

I also spotted this adorable vintage style tea cup and saucer set from TK Maxx which was a ‘snip’ at just £6.99 – Mr Chandelier always laughs at that word, as I use it a lot when telling him about, or showing him, my shopping purchases –  I’m not sure he agrees  –  his ‘snip’ doesn’t quite match my ‘snip’!



Just gorgeous and look how beautifully it goes with my other teacups and saucers which are genuine vintage pieces.




So, we can make and drink tea from pretty cups, then we can wash them up with matching pretty dishcloths but frankly, we are missing the cake.

However, don’t be thinking about baking cakes with any old brown or black sieve – NO – get down to Poundstretcher where the lovely Jane Asher has produced a range of gorgeous baking products in soft pink, duck egg, soft blue and lilac.

I bought these yummy little pieces – I had to – my kitchen ‘needs‘ them and frankly, it would be rude not to at £1.00 per item – yes really – bit shocking I know!  Just don’t blame me when you find you’ve wasted an hour choosing which pieces to buy……Hmmm…….



I also saw these cute little jars in B & M – not sure what the B & M stands for but their stores are popping up everywhere – another ‘snip’ at £1.00 each – not sure what I will use them for but they are very adorable.

Have you bought any pastel bargains lately, I need to see them if you have.

Happy shopping.

Much Love

Sarah xx


I Love my new Laura Ashley chair!

I have just taken delivery of this lovely ‘Lancaster’ Laura Ashley chair which is actually a very special Birthday present for a very special person, Mr Chandelier.


This time last year he was in hospital, having suffered a brain haemorrhage.  We have been lucky beyond belief as he was fortunate enough to make a full recovery, even though it has taken some time for him to be back to his usual strong self.  It was a very traumatic time and my heart goes out to anyone that has a loved one who is unwell or in hospital – hang on in there and make sure you look after yourself too xx.

It is a little early for his birthday, but as Laura Ashley rang and said it was ready, I decided to take it to be safe.  I think it looks rather gorgeous sitting between my curtains which are made from Laura Ashley roses fabric – when I think of Laura Ashley, I always think of roses and country houses.

I don’t know about you, but the last few weeks have been unbelievably busy.  This is supposed to be the ‘calm before the storm’ as September until Christmas is my manic time of year but this year there is so much going on with the house that it is more like the ‘storm before the hurricane’!

We have, (of course – why wouldn’t we!), got even more chaos going on outside.   We have started digging out our patio to lay some decking and build a pergola over and are frantically going from job to job, trying to finish before the weather turns.


This is the chaos outside the doors at one end of the kitchen………


And this is the chaos at the other end, where we are installing new oak french doors………..


And this is the beautiful view we will have from our kitchen table when the new french doors are in, and the reason why we knocked through from our sweet little snug.

We are in total and utter chaos in every single room in the house and in the gardens right now and I desperately need order not just for my sanity, but for business too.  But, as always when renovating or refurbishing a house, you just have to hang on in there and look at what you have done, rather than what you haven’t. I know, having renovated houses since I was 17 years old, that this is easier said than done.  The problem is that nothing is in its ‘home’ and most of your possessions are piled up here, there and everywhere.  Our house is like a giant jigsaw puzzle in that’ this needs to be done’ before ‘that can be done’, then ‘this can be moved’ so ‘that can be done’ – does that sound familiar!  Everything and everybody has to form a giant queue, generally those that ‘aggravate’ the most tend to get done first.  It really and truly is just a case of putting in the hours, sometimes forcing yourself to carry on when you really can’t see the wood for the trees and finally, bit by bit, you will see results.

I used to take the approach that unless I had time to do the whole job I won’t do it at all but Mr Chandelier has always said “Just keep plugging away, an hour here, an hour there and now I do take that approach and it really does work – trust me!


This is me, genuinely cementing in preparation for the decking timbers.  I had done all the digging out, with a kango first.  It is not staged – I really did do that job – under the watchful eye of Mr Chandelier of course.  He gave me 7/10 which I know is good as I hadn’t done it before but I really wanted an 8 or more!  I did achieve this mark from Mr C when I did the next strip but I think he was only saying it as he knew I was disappointed with a 7 the day before!!!  We also have a bit of an issue as Mr C sees me as his labourer and I am sooo not.

It was really hard work, but the way I see it is, I want my house finished.  If I help, and I mean really help like above, it literally brings each job forward by weeks.  With Mr Chandelier working away all week most weeks, there are only 2 days in which to move forward and he does need to rest as well.  I then jump onto internal jobs like decorating, easy demolition, simple tiling or ‘hoarder next door’ decluttering whilst he is away.

Friends always ask me how I get this or that done, run a business and look after the children and the answer is always the same – “when most people are asleep or watching TV I am working!”  It is the only way as there is never enough hours in the day – even if I am exhausted I will still often sit in bed with the TV on in the background and I will work on something. This reiterates what I said above, just keep putting in the hours, even when you feel despair and eventually, loveliness will appear!

Soon, very very soon, loveliness will appear, I know it will because I am so absolutely on a mission and I will not stop until it does and I keep getting little flutters of excitement when I look at different aspects of the house and my imagination totally takes over – and I will share that loveliness with you – I can’t wait.

Keep chipping away.

Much Love

Sarah xx

Painting and Distressing Furniture – Ruby’s bed.

Baby Chandelier’s move from a cot to a bed was long overdue.


This was due to several reasons, the main one being her new little bed needed to be stripped, re-painted and a new unusual size mattress sourced.

The other reason, was that both Ruby Blue and I, adored her cot and were in no hurry, Ruby being my last child (dab eyes quickly), to pack the cot away for good – very sad face.

I originally purchased this bed for Master Chandelier, my son Benjamin, now a teenager and I originally hand painted it blue and stencilled little stars on it as his room, at that time, was done out in a gorgeous Laura Ashley fabric which had little boy’s in rockets flying to the moon, cute little aliens, moons and stars.


I made him this canvas wallhanging, now obviously looking a little worse for wear, to match one of the rockets in his bedding and the little boy was him and the BL1 stood for Ben and Lottie 1.  He adored this, but having long outgrown it, I am sadly about to dismantle it and recycle it into something else.

Although I subsequently re-painted the bed white for Lottie, for Ruby’s room I wanted it to be distressed to match the other furniture I have painted for her so unfortunately, this meant having it stripped, as I couldn’t have the blue showing through when I distressed it.

Fortunately, I had painted it in oil based paints as knowing myself very well (obvs!), I knew I would probably repaint it in the future and having painted lots of furniture, knew very well that usually, oil based primer could be stripped, unlike a lot of acrylics.


There was quite a lot of preparation involved and the whole job was very laborious from start to finish.

The pine stripper did a great job, and after letting it dry in my summerhouse for a week or so, I painted it with white vinegar and then let that dry.  This takes away the acid crystals that can appear after stripping furniture and is relatively quick to do.

I then gave it a light sand, catching a few small areas the stripping had missed and then finally painted two coats of white knotting compound onto the knots as, even though they are old, they could still ‘bleed through’.

Finally, it was ready to be painted – I was receiving comments from all the family at this point, wondering how much longer it was going to be in the kitchen!  Little did they – or me – know it would take me many more weeks to complete, he he!

As I was painting the bed white – Farrow and Ball’s All White – I knew if it were ever to be repainted, there would be no problem over white, so I did it in F & B’s Acrylics.  Also, nowadays, I very rarely use oils as they are no longer readily available and they are very bad for the environment. It took quite a lot to cover the knotting compound – even though it was ‘white’ – I think 2 coats of primer and then a really thin and light brush just over the knots.


I then painted two topcoats and let the paint cure before I started the messy job of distressing.  I always tell my students that come on my paint and furniture distressing workshops, that this is where you have to be brave as, at this point in time, the piece you have just finished looks absolutely perfect.  However, I am always so on a mission, and once I have made up my mind which way I am going with a piece, I just get on with it (although I’m not sure that Mr Chandelier would agree with this statement!).

Finally, a dust off, a sad farewell to the cot bedding – our much loved, gorgeous Susie Watson quilt and bumper – will have to re-use this somehow – then up to Ruby’s bedroom to dress her bed with her new bedding, just a bit exciting!



I chose the White Company’s ‘Fairies’ hand embroidered bed linen as her wallpaper is a strong pink and pink bedding would have been too much and Ruby and I both adored it.  It also has a 200 thread count and is amazing quality and so very soft.  I have always bought all my children nightwear from the White Company and although it can be expensive, (check out their sales) it just washes and washes beautifully every time and as I recycle a lot of my children’s clothing, this is even more important. It was also reduced a little, as it is now discontinued and it was literally the very last one in the whole company, which does of course make it even lovelier!  We all love her new bed so very much, particularly Ruby, and I am delighted with how it turned out.  As always, it is eventually worth the all the many hours of painting, sanding and hard work that was put into it and it will be several years before she will be ready for the next size up!


There is just one small, teensy problem – nothing too serious – because the bed is slightly larger than the cot was, it has thrown all the other furniture into slight disarray so I now need to re-arrange the whole room, possibly replace the odd chest of drawers or table? It also looks a tad bare over her bed and Ruby misses her cot canopy as I had lovely things hanging on it for her to see – I sense at least a little shelf creeping in and my imagination is seeing some sort of tree branches above her bed with hanging, twirling fairies and maybe a woodland garland… Hmmm – definitely a strong case for some magic and sparkle!  I also need a bedside cabinet and I know just the perfect piece, loitering in my summerhouse – Hmmm, job for another long day, (or many long days!) I think.

Much Love,

Sarah xxx

N.B. No ‘Lambie’s’ were hurt during the laundry process and he is definitely not being packed away – just so you know!