Fine artist and colour expert Annie Sloan was recently in Australia to launch her collection of new paint colours, in collaboration with the Charleston farmhouse.
During the first half of the 20th century the East Sussex country home was the regular meeting place of writers, artists and intellectuals such as Virginia Wolf.
The artists transformed the farmhouse with paintings, furniture and decoration, inadvertently illustrating how something old and ordinary could be given a new lease on life.
It’s the same philosophy Annie applies to upcycling furniture with paint, a skill the UK-based artist does with great aplomb, while enthusiastically encouraging others to give it a go.
“You can paint absolutely anything – your pine bedside table, maybe a raffia chair, an old brass chandelier, old lamp bases - they are really transformational,” she says.
“I once had an old disgusting lamp I bought in France, gold, purple, pink and turquoise with cherubs all over it. But if you look at something like that with your eyes half closed, the shape was nice.
“I painted it in a stone colour called French Linen (Annie has an eponymous chalk paint range) and it just transformed it to look like a really classy thing.”
Annie pinpoints the rise in popularity of upcycling with paint as being during the 1980s financial crisis, when people started to explore how they could update their home without spending much money.
“They started painting for economic reasons, but discovered that they absolutely loved doing it,” says Annie. “There’s no preciousness to it and it’s incredibly easy and good fun.”
Annie’s advice is to start with a picture frame, or a piece of furniture such as a side table from your sitting room or bedroom.
“It’s not too big, so relatively easy and makes a statement,” she says. “People have to follow their gut feeling and go for it.”
Annie notes that for some people this doesn’t come naturally, however as they paint more it will develop. “It’s like cooking,” she says.
As for what colours to use, Annie suggests bucking fashionable colours and choosing shades you love.
“Yellow is very on-trend at the moment, but if you don’t like it, don’t use it. If you love burgundy, use that. If you use the right combinations, you can make something look really cool, and if it works in your house, then go for it – deep purple with a muted yellow is absolutely beautiful.”
Details at anniesloan.com