Chalk It Up

Paint your way to French cot­tage style by fol­low­ing the lead of a Texas shopowner who puts a cre­ative spin on ev­ery­thing she touches.

Country Sampler - - Contents -

Paint your way to a French cot­tage look by tak­ing cues from a Texas shopowner who puts her cre­ative stamp on ev­ery­thing she touches.

If any­one could make a mid-cen­tury ranch look like an old French cot­tage, it’s Karla Ritchey. A for­mer con­sumer sci­ence teacher and owner of a home decor shop, Lady But­ter­bug Shoppe, she bought her Dal­las-area house a decade ago and im­me­di­ately set about or­ches­trat­ing its trans­for­ma­tion. “I like to buy houses and re-cre­ate them,” she says, not­ing this is her third home in the McKin­ney, Texas, his­toric dis­trict.

That’s not to say it was an easy task. The home had sat empty for a while and needed some struc­tural work as well as cos­metic up­dates. “The en­tire house was blue—walls, ceil­ing, trim, car­pet—and the kitchen had cop­per-colored ap­pli­ances,” re­calls Karla, who gut­ted the kitchen and re­moved a wall sep­a­rat­ing it from the break­fast room to open up the space.

The new kitchen has a mix-and-match vin­tage ap­peal thanks to sev­eral free­stand­ing cabinets and cup­boards, a dis­play-case cen­ter is­land and a fully func­tional an­tique stove. Even the cus­tom cab­i­netry has unique de­tail­ing, in­clud­ing slid­ing glass doors, wood ap­pliqués, sten­ciled de­signs and dec­o­ra­tive knobs. Paint was key to the home’s fresh new look. “I’m pas­sion­ate about paint­ing,” Karla says, not­ing that she took up the brush at age 12, when she painted a time­worn bed­room suite.

Karla painted her home’s walls, floors and just about ev­ery­thing in be­tween, much of it us­ing the An­nie Sloan Chalk Paint she sells in her store. The paint is known for its ease of use on myr­iad sur­faces, so it was es­pe­cially help­ful on the wood through­out the home be­cause the pre­vi­ous owner had cov­ered oil-based paint with a layer of la­tex, which peeled right off. The Chalk Paint ad­hered to the sur­face and cov­ered the mess, but Karla did leave a bit of the peel­ing fin­ish for dec­o­ra­tive ef­fect in a built-in cab­i­net. Although she once adored darker col­ors, in­clud­ing browns and greens, these days she fa­vors a lighter look. “I don’t think I will ever go back to color again,” Karla says. “It is so clean, peace­ful and spir­i­tual now.”

Her home may be tiny, but Karla’s art­ful ar­rang­ing max­i­mizes the space. For ex­am­ple, in a petite porch off of the mas­ter bed­room, she topped a long, low stor­age unit with a mat­tress to cre­ate a com­fort­able guest re­treat. And, she has a unique tal­ent for con­coct­ing dis­tinc­tive dec­o­rat­ing mo­ments through­out her rooms. “I like the whimsy of us­ing some­thing in a way you would not see usu­ally,” she says, adding that she has hand­ily made slip­cov­ers from bed­spreads and cur­tains from tablecloths.

Be­cause she em­ploys a neu­tral white-based pal­ette, Karla re­lies on tex­ture, such as nat­u­ral shells, wasp nests, antlers and stones, to add in­ter­est. Col­lec­tions, in­clud­ing pot­tery, sil­ver and teacups, pro­vide color or shine here and there.

Still a teacher at heart, Karla shares projects through a blog and leads paint­ing work­shops at Lady But­ter­bug Shoppe, so named to in­cor­po­rate a nick­name and to re­flect her propen­sity for flut­ter­ing from one pro­ject to the next. “I love to re-cre­ate things and make some­thing art­ful,” Karla says, not­ing that she ex­presses her cre­ativ­ity through sewing, paint­ing, cook­ing, gar­den­ing and more. “My home was a clean slate; now ev­ery inch is cov­ered in beauty. I find that to be re­ally re­ward­ing.”

Above: Cre­at­ing a dy­namic dis­play is all about bal­ance—here, col­or­ful Old MacDon­ald can­is­ters find a coun­ter­point in the red cook­ware on the top shelf, and util­i­tar­ian car oil jars are in­ter­spersed with del­i­cate flo­ral-mo­tif pitch­ers. Left: Although this fin­ish was the re­sult of acrylic paint peel­ing away af­ter be­ing ap­plied atop a layer of oil-based paint, you can achieve a sim­i­lar look by paint­ing a French blue base coat and then dry brush­ing over it in ran­dom ar­eas with gray or ochre paint.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.