Month: May 2014

A Royal Blue Empire

Raise your hand if you love American Empire style furniture.  ::RAISES HAND::

I absolutely love and cherish this style of furniture.  It can range from very utilitarian farmhouse-esque dressers, to fancy eagle-claw footed, beautifully veneered, heirloom quality sideboards and dressers.  It’s been my experience that the more utilitarian pieces are easier to come by…which is fine by me because I happen to prefer the farmhouse chic look…but every once in a while I come across a very unique and more fanciful Empire dresser…

This one…I found this one at a flea market, of all places.  It was just sitting there, all dusty, at the back of this little old lady’s booth.  The mirror was just casually laid across the top, rather than attached upright, showing off it’s beauty…no doubt because the lady was missing the bolts.  It looked frumpy.  And really heavy.  Which is probably why it was still available 3 hours after the market opened (I was late that day!).  As you can imagine, I jumped all over it…that is, I negotiated like an expert and got it for an even better deal than it already was.

Sadly, in my immense excitement to help this classic piece become a modern masterpiece, I totally forgot to snap some before pictures.  You can get an idea of what it looked like before, though, because I totally wasn’t about to paint over the beautiful veneered drawer fronts.

A stunning vanity chest.

A stunning vanity chest.

Just stunning! Right?!?

If you look closely, you can see that this piece wasn’t in the greatest of shape before I bought it.  It appeared to have been exposed to a good bit of water at some point and the veneer was chipped off in many places and cracking/bubbling in others.  After gluing down what I could, I simply left the rest as is and unfilled because I love the way milk paint settles into the recesses and distresses easily off the edges.  Gives it more character!

I used Miss Mustard Seed’s line of milk paint for this piece and, instead of making a custom color like I normally do, I stuck with one of her recipes: flow blue.  I used the same color on The Appolonia last summer and hadn’t used it since, but I knew this was the perfect piece for it.  I just love the way that this more royal-ish blue color complements and contrasts with the red tones of the natural wood.

Flow Blue and the red hues of the wood really complement each other.

Flow Blue and the red hues of the wood really complement each other.

Look at those gorgeous red-hued veneers!

Look at those gorgeous red-hued veneers!

And check out those knobs!  These are NOT glass reproductions picked up at Anthropologie or Hobby Lobby…nope, these are the real deal and are original to the 100+ year old dresser!  They are absolutely gorgeous…

These crystal knobs are original to the piece!

These crystal knobs are original to the piece!

Everything about this dresser is just breathtaking…even the ornate cheval posts for the mirror…

The mirror posts are so beautifully detailed.

The mirror posts are so beautifully detailed.

A close-up look at the detailed post.

A close-up look at the detailed post.

And the beautiful legs…

Beautiful legs

Beautiful legs

A profile of the classic Empire shaped posts

A profile of the classic Empire shaped posts

And look at all that wonderful chippyness!  This is one of the things I love most about milk paint…you really never know how much is going to chip away and give that authentic looking chipped paint appearance.  The empire posts and the top really chipped and chipped and chipped!

The beautifully chippy top.

The beautifully chippy top.

Just look at all of the chipping!

Just look at all of the chipping!

 

I’m in love.  So in love.  This is a piece I wouldn’t mind completely redesigning my bedroom around.  But as luck would have it for its wonderful future owner, I don’t have the time or space to do so, haha.  Therefore, it’s up for sale in my Etsy shop!  And for a limited time, I’m offering 10% off everything in the shop so go check it out.

 

Advertisements

Evolving…and Marketing!

Whoa, holy neglecting the blog for months, Batman!  I didn’t realize it had been so long since I posted over here.  I’ve been meaning to for weeks.  Truth is, there is a LOT going on with Urban DEN right now that is all extremely exciting, extremely terrifying, extremely time-consuming, extremely stressful, and extremely worth it!

When I started this little business a couple of years ago, it was nothing more than a stress-relieving creative outlet that brought in a little extra cash.  I had no idea how successful it would be, and frankly, successful wasn’t the goal.  I never imagined that I would fall in love, so much, with redesigning, upcycling, and modernizing antique furniture that had seen better days.  I also never imagined the immensely positive response to my unique take on color and whimsy that I have received.  Because of that, I never imagined Urban DEN, or, RPhD: Renewals by Pelham Hebert Designs, as it was called back then,  could ever be more than just a little hobby based out of my garage.

Oh, how time changes everything.  For many reasons, I have decided to explore options for opening up an actual brick and mortar store front somewhere in central Denver.  While a store-front is at least 6 months down the road, the decision made me rethink my business strategy and marketing for this upcoming summer.  While I used to be content just selling out of my garage, online and via word-of-mouth, I decided that that would not suffice this summer if I plan to open an actual store before next summer.  Nope.  It was time I start looking for ways to increase exposure.

And that is why I haven’t updated the blog in a while…I had to prepare for this summer’s open-air market season.  The first market I would be selling at was the Horseshoe Craft & Flea Market’s Spring Market, which was this past Saturday.  Due to winter vacations and the really spotty weather we enjoy during the Spring-time in Denver (it snowed 6+ inches the day after the market…thankfully it didn’t happen on market day), time-management became a huge nightmare for me.  Also, my inexperience with preparing for something like this resulted in a last-minute rush that I rarely allow myself to fall into.

I started my preparations by getting organized.  First, I created a “Make-list,” a “Take-list,” and a “Logistics/Price list.” These were the lists of everything I wanted and needed to have in my booth at the market to present a complete image of my brand and to capture as many potential customers as possible, as well as a list detailing everything I needed to do to ensure a smooth day at the market.  The “Make-list” listed everything that I wished to create and bring to the market.  I prioritized the list by listing the must-haves at the top and included the “only-if-I-have-time” items at the bottom.  The “Take-list” listed every item that I needed to bring with in order to have a great booth: canopy, rug, glass-cleaner (for cleaning mirrors), rags, price-tags, business cards, etc.  And the “Logistics/Price list” listed everything I needed to do prior to the market…things like creating a new business card, securing my special events sales tax license, and creating a spread sheet for pricing everything I would have for sale.

Of course, my “Make List” ended up shooting for the stars (I always do this…I have big dreams!) and as the market approached I realized I was going to have to seriously cut back…both for space reasons at the booth, as well as time-restraints.  I still managed to have an overflowing and beautiful booth, but the  overachieving “Make List” stressed me out and caused me to essentially work non-stop at the last minute getting everything completed.  You live and you learn.  And what I learned was that I’m nearly spot on with estimating the amount of time it takes to complete my larger projects…but the smaller projects??  Wayyyy underestimated the time required.  But that’s where experience comes in…next time I know.

Overall, the market ended up being a great success.  I sold a few of my large pieces and a lot of the small pieces and most importantly, I handed out my business cards and met a lot of awesome people.  The exposure was my biggest goal with the market and I believe I achieved that.  I’ve already taken 2 custom orders from connections made at the market and I hope to receive more in the coming weeks.

Instead of boring you more with all of my musing and ranting, here are some photos of my booth from the market and some close ups on some of the items I had for sale:

Such a vibrant collection!

Such a vibrant collection!

Market booth

Love these little side tables!

Love these little side tables!

Beautiful chippy red antique wash basin

Beautiful chippy red antique wash basin

I just love that little wash basin!  It was very popular amongst the market visitors, too.  On top of the basin is a great picture frame painted in ASCP Antibes Green…we had a few of them and sold all but one.  The cute little jug is a ceramic milk jug that we painted as well…it was one of the first things to sell!

Pink Lacquered mirror

Pink Lacquered mirror

This mirror was a huge hit all day.  It sold early on but stayed in the booth with a “SOLD” tag on it and many lamented the fact that it was no longer available.

In the reflection of the mirror is our wonderful safari themed parlor table, “The Seregenti.”  I’ll be making a post for that in the next week or so showing off the transformation.  The other table is a cute little Duncan Phyfe style coffee table that still had it’s original glass insert.  I painted it in two different colors and stenciled “LOVE” on the top so that people could put photos of what they LOVE most underneath the glass and have a wonderful conversation piece.  It also sold pretty quickly to this wonderful and cute elderly couple!

Look at our awesome little business card holder!

Look at our awesome little business card holder!

Look at that stunning top!  Like I said, more on that later.  But look at the awesome little card stand that I made out of beetle-kill pine…I just love the blue that the pine beetle leaves in the wood after killing the trees.

Our pair of vibrant green chairs, The Janis and The Joplin.

Our pair of vibrant green chairs, The Janis and The Joplin.

And, I did decide to bring one neutral piece to the market…to show that I do neutral as well…just far less often!  (P.S. I will have a handful of more neutral pieces at the Summer Horseshoe Market in July…not because I want to bring more neutral pieces, but because I have a fabulous dining set and French Provincial dresser set that are begging me to paint them in tones of gray and white)  Here is the beautiful gray dresser I brought to the market:

Meet "The Rainier"

Meet “The Rainier”

Isn’t she stunning?  She’s still available!  She’ll be up in Etsy shop soon.

Come back soon, as I’ll be doing my best to post some of the new pieces we made for the market over the next week!