School Desk comes out of hiding: Family history & function!

Welcome to Flashback Friday, where we re-visit a painted piece of the past.  I love transforming a piece of furniture, but if that piece has some family history behind it?  Well, that is the icing on the cake.  I love knowing these stories while I'm painting these types of pieces; it puts a whole new spin on the process, and is essentially, the core mission behind Novo Decor.... 

Re-creating & refreshing the home using what home-owners ALREADY OWN

It's time to bring those pieces of furniture out of hiding and display them proudly, share their stories, and remember their history!  This is what today's story is all about.

Tiffany was looking for a desk for her son, and then this happened....

When Tiffany's father-in-law found a collection of vintage school desks in an area church, she immediately saw its potential.  The coolest part about it, is that Tiffany's husband's grandparents founded that church years ago......and now, Tiffany and her family get to hold on to a piece of that history with this awesome "new" vintage desk! 

Tiffany contacted me with a photo of the desk, asking if I could do "something" with it. I said, "YES ma'am".  

The desk was in great condition, but the chrome was rusty, and needed some TLC.   

The wood pieces (seat, desk top, and arm rest) unscrewed right off the chrome frame, which was a time saver for spray painting the base.  Additionally, the screws were surprisingly cooperative (you never know with old rusty screws how well they'll come off). Huge bonus!

Here's a quick glance at the process.....

1.  Clean & spray paint the frame

Once the wood pieces were removed, I used baking soda and water to clean off the rust from the base.  I mixed half cup water with a bunch of baking soda to create a pasty texture. 

I painted on the mixture, let it sit a half hour,  then scrubbed it off with a light abrasive sponge. Most of the rust came right off.  The remaining spots were harmless, as they would soon be spray painted.      Once dry, I spray painted the entire frame using Rust-o-leum's "Oil Rubbed Bronze":  (three layers)

2.  Strip & re-stain

The desk seat and back needed refurbishing. Since they were authentic wood, I wanted to maintain that look.  I decided not to paint them. Once stripped and cleaned, they were ready for re-staining.  I used MInwax stain in "Dark Walnut".  

3.  Paint

Two layers of teal chalk paint were applied to the desk top, and arm rest.  Light sanding followed for a smooth surface. 

4.  Apply Wax (antiquing) 

Finishing the project with light and dark wax gave the piece an "antiqued" look.  I did this to the desk top and arm rest.   For the seat and chair back, I used a clear Polycrylic sealant.   Done!

One great Desk

It can be a challenge to find a perfect little desk for a "little" at home, not to mention a perfect little chair scaled to size!  I speak from personal I've been searching for a chair for Luke's desk.  The chairs I find are either too wide, too tall, too short......

But a desk like this one?  PERFECT.   With it's compact size, great quality, and built-in seat you can't go wrong!  Be sure to keep your eyes open for desks like these at second hand stores!  

Find those gems, haul them out of hiding, use them, and tell their story

And that is how recognizing the potential in a piece of furniture, can turn into a functional piece of furniture, that not only enhances the home interior, but has a family history that now can be represented and enjoyed for years to come.  I'd say this is a BIG SUCCESS make-over story. 

Happy school shopping (ug! how can this be happening already?!).....

Are you looking for an old school desk?   I have TWO left to custom paint just for YOU!  Here they are.....

Enjoy your weekend!!!!! 







Love it or leave it? LOVE it: Room make-over REVEAL

It's a good day for a reveal day!  You have been seeing sneak peek pictures of this room make-over for weeks, and now it's time to see the before and after's! 

The home-owner's goal for her living room , was to create a "finished" look, and to add some pops of color.   Due to the room's neutral walls and flooring, I had a great canvas to work with. You'll soon see how color made a difference for this space!!!

Photos don't quite seem to capture it, but I think you'll get the gist of how this room transformed....

Let's start with the BEFORE shots: 

Don't forget the windows....

Not only is the room big, but it has some great features too, like the fireplace and mantle, and the many windows; all in need of some accessorizing.   I added window panels, and accessories and the entire look of the room changed instantly. 

Now let's move on to .the AFTER shots: (some are a bit blurry, darn! I must have been shaking with excitement!)

The home-owner already had the large tree mantle art, which I used as the inspiration for the room's color scheme and decor.  The mantle is so large, that I wanted to add a bit more to it for more pops of color, texture, and height....

The homeowner had a great table and chairs in a different area of the house, which were re-located to the "new" room. The family really wanted that addition so they could have game night in their favorite room of the house.  

Pretty AND Useful

Designing and planning a room is largely about knowing the needs for a room (how the room must function for you and your family), and whenever possible, using items you already have to re-create a space.  This table was a nice addition, and it looks great over that gorgeous rug! 

Try this simple trick for LARGE windows that span an entire wall: Use short window rods on each end of your windows. This worked GREAT for the windows in this room.   You can see this best in the photo above.

On the opposite end of the room we find the TV, sofas, and ottoman.  Due to wiring and location of cable hook-up, the TV had to stay on this end of the room (which is great because this allows for a separate reading, and game area right by the fireplace!)

tv couch rug full.jpg
The ottoman was re-upholstered by Heritage Antique and Re-upholstering.  Juan Perez did an amazing job.  THANK YOU Juan.  I enjoyed visiting with Juan at his shop, and choosing fabric options for the home-owner.    (so glad she chose THIS one!) 

The ottoman was re-upholstered by Heritage Antique and Re-upholstering.  Juan Perez did an amazing job.  THANK YOU Juan.  I enjoyed visiting with Juan at his shop, and choosing fabric options for the home-owner.    (so glad she chose THIS one!) 

Before, the TV was lonely, standing out against a neutral wall.  To warm that wall up, some height was added to each side of the TV using shelves.  A little wall art hung above the TV also made the space more complete.  Now, the TV is no longer the "centerpiece" on that wall.....

TV After.jpg

The fish tank table had to stay....due to a GIANT fish tank (and fish!) that sits on top it.  I used a few tricks up my sleeve to "hide" the storage cubbies, which created a more cohesive look!  

Accessories were also added to the top of the armoire. For a large room with tall ceilings, always go for BIG accessories! 

armoire after.jpg


And that's a wrap!

And that wraps up one of the largest rooms I've done to date!  Each project poses its own challenge, and this room was no exception.  But, I learn something so important from each and every project!  Above all, I really love using my talents for the benefit of others!  And I love solving home decorating problems that so many of us have at one point or another!!!!

Thank you for this opportunity Stonehouse family!  I hope you enjoy many family game nights, movie nights, and cozy nights by the fireplace in your new room! 


See more rooms below......





Giant Rustic Letters for your wall: Make one this weekend

Happy Flashback Friday!   This is a cool tutorial I did last summer on making your own giant rustic wall letter.  If you like the rustic, farmhouse style, then you'll LOVE this.   And, you don't have to be a wood working expert to make this happen!  

Please note:  My letter happens to be "L", which only requires two, simple straight boards. No curves! No circles.   Not all letters are this easy to make using wood boards......

Letters that have curves and points, CAN still be made using straight cuts.  You just have to experiment a bit with how you can make it work.  Examples of these types of letters include: B,C,D, G, J, K, P, Q, S, U, V   If you have a saw that can cut curves, that's an even easier solution.

And the easiest letters to make using simple, straight wood cuts include:  L, T, E, F, H, I, X, Y, Z

For this project, you can use any type of wood board.  Pine wood works great for this type of project.  Pine takes stain well, and it is low cost (score!).   I like the simplicity of pine, and the price tag too.   

Below is what plain pine boards look like right off the shelf at Menard's. 

Letter Size

Your letter can be ANY size you want!  Using wider boards will result in a bigger size letter. the My boards were 1x6 inch.   You can go narrower than that (1x4inch), or wider (1x8 inch, 1x10 inch, and so on).    To make an "L", like you see in the picture here, I only needed to cut two pieces of wood.  One longer piece, and one shorter piece (I eye-balled that part).  

Once you have your boards cut, then it's time to stain them.  I used "Dark Walnut" by MinWax: 

There is no need to stain both side of your boards! Just stain the side that will be exposed when hung.      

Hanging your Giant Letter

I took the easy way out and pounded two nails through each board, right into the wall.  You could attach hooks on the back of your letter for easy hanging.  Or, don't hang your letter at all; set it on a buffet, or dresser and lean it against the wall.  

And that is one easy tutorial on how to make a giant rustic letter for any wall in the house.  The "L" in these pictures hangs in our son Luke's room.  He likes it  We like it!  

Browse the blog and see more home decorating tutorials......

Painted Cabinetry: A look back

Happy Friday and happy Flashback Friday! 

It is hard to believe another week has passed and here we are with another Flashback Friday feature!  I hope you enjoy these weekly peeks at painted pieces of the past as much as I do!  It has been two years since Novo Décor got its start, and I look forward to many more memorable years ahead, as well as many more Flashback Fridays!

Today's Feature......


The home-owner desired fresh "new" cabinetry that matched her tiling.  Painting the cabinets was a smart alternative to "gutting" her entire bathroom (especially since she still really liked the tile work)!  


With a plan and some paint, this bathroom transformed beautifully.  

Now, one year later, the cabinets need a few touch-ups in places where the usual wear and tare of bathroom usage left "marks".   The faucet handles had also began to show signs of wear; totally expected given their regular exposure to water.  

Now what? 

The home-owner contacted me and asked if I could "fix" the biggest stain; hair dye ( NOOOO not hair dye!).  Since I was there anyway, a few other areas were "fixed".    We decided I would take the faucet handles with me (leaving the faucet fixtures in place) and give them a few more layers of spray paint and sealant.  

Applying spray paint to the faucet handles may be an annual occurrence, and that's OK as long as the home-owner is OK with it!  All the other hardware has held up great (towel rings, toilet tissue ring, light fixtures), and that's a win. 

Hey customers!

Have you had a piece of your furniture painted by Novo Decor?  Please don't hesitate to contact me if your piece needs touch-ups.  See these examples:  

1.  The paint chipped in some places.   YES. I can fix that! 

2. A corner of your furniture was chewed off by your dog.  Um NO.  I cannot fix that! Sorry!  

I want you to be happy with your piece for many years to come!  If your piece has incurred sdamage, let me know and I'll see what I can do!   

And that's a wrap for this week's Flashback Friday!  Maybe the next featured piece will be yours!??  Until next time....

Have a great weekend!!!

See other Flashback Fridays below!!!!


Flashback Friday: Give me gallery walls!

Happy Friday and welcome to another Flashback Friday, where a project from the past is featured.  Today we're looking at how Brenda's "bare wall dilemma" was solved with my home decorating service! 

When people hear the word "interior decorator", they might think entire room, or maybe even an entire home "overhaul", where everything is "new". But, at Novo Decor, the process looks quite different, especially for each and every home-owner.....

So, what does the process look like? 

At Novo Decor it is largely about resourceful decorating; incorporating what home-owner's already own, and adding new decor, and accessories.  Sometimes, it's as simple as painting an accent piece to incorporate a new color scheme into a room, designing and decorating a small area in the house, or planning, compiling, and hanging wall accessories to complete a room! 

The Gallery Wall Situation: 

Brenda wanted to hang a gallery of family photos on her living room wall, but had no idea how or where to start.  She had seen my "stuff" on Facebook, and asked if I would create her wall for her.  Heaven knows I've created more than a few gallery walls in my own home, but never before had I done it for someone else!  

I was ready for the job! 

The Process

Brenda and I talked about what she wanted for her wall. Then we talked photo size, so she knew what size photos to get.  I took wall measurements,  and got to work.....

If you know me, you know I really like an old frame!  Some of the most unique, best quality frames are found second-hand!  I found a variety of great frames for this gallery wall....

Once the frames were gathered, I designed a lay-out for the wall......

Pictured above:  Using at the "wrapping paper" trick to plan a gallery wall lay-out

Pictured above:  Using at the "wrapping paper" trick to plan a gallery wall lay-out

I have a great wrapping paper "trick" I use for planning and hanging gallery walls.   I shared that on the blog last summer.  You can see it here:  "My Fool-proof method for hanging gallery walls"  

And here it the finished product: 

And that is how a plain wall, and an idea, came together to re-create a gallery wall packed full of something the home-owner loves; her family!   

Thinking of filling that empty wall?   Here are some more tips and tricks for creating gallery walls in your home...........

The Man Wall: Make a statement gallery wall with your "man" decor

Four walls, four ways: Gallery Style

So you have a gallery wall hanging method. Now what? 

Get it Done: Accessorize your empty wall

Have a great weekend!!!!


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You'll also get loads of before/after pictures, decorating tips and tricks, and special offers!!!  

Modern Retro Tables: Bold or neutral?

Flashback Friday time!  Today's featured piece is a set of mid-century modern tables.   It is hard to believe these tables received their make-over two years ago already!  Like they always say, time flies when you're having fun!!!!   

Bold & Neutral

Whether you know you love bold, definitely lean toward neutral, like both, or just can't decide which you like, you CAN do both in a single piece.  Yes really! 

Today's featured tables are just that; bold AND neutral.   The tables were painted white;  about as neutral a color as it gets.   And, for the bold part....bling.  Be bold.  Add bling!   

Here's a look at a table before photo:

And this is after the make-over: 

For some "hidden" boldness, I added a pop of color inside the drawers........

....because who doesn't enjoy a bright and bold drawer interior?    

These tables are a great example of combining neutral AND bold in a single piece of furniture, and they showcase the owner's style well. 

Going bold doesn't have to mean neon colors!  It's all in the details.....and in this case we added some bling in the knobs,  and metallic legs. 

Do you have a piece of furniture in desperate need of a make-over?Post a picture of it to Novo Decor's Facebook Page and I'd love to give a suggestion or two!!!

Have a great weekend!  


See more FLASHBACK FRIDAYS below:      

Flashback Friday: Family cottage, family chair

Welcome to Flashback Friday, where we visit a painted piece from the past!  Today we're looking back at a chair that holds some family history.  And, since it has received a make-over from Novo Decor, it will last even longer!  Woop!  

The chair came with the purchase of a beautiful lake cottage, back in the late 70's. The cottage and all the things inside it hold meaning to its owner, Dierdre, and her family.  

After years of use, the chair was in need of a facelift.   Here is the chair BEFORE: 

This is a great chair with good bones, but the wear and tear over the years had definitely got the best of it!  It was time to get rid of the chipped paint, and add a fresh new coat in a new color. 

The Story

It's always fun to hear the stories behind family pieces, as well as the customer's motivation for having their piece re-done.  

Here is what Deidre had to say about the chair: 

1. What is the history behind the chair? 

"The chair came with the cottage, when we bought it in 1979.  We bought all the contents because there were so many wonderful antique pieces that we loved.  This chair is one of them"

2.  Why did you decide to have your chair painted? 

"The chair needed to be repainted because it was chipped from years of kids and grand kids use over the years.  I also decided to move it to a different location and the green didn't work there, so repainting seemed like the right thing to do."

"One of the themes in the cottage is rosemaling.  All the beds were painted that way along with several other pieces.  So I wasn't afraid to paint furniture as opposed to having it refinished."

What's Rosemaling? 

Rosemaling is the name of a traditional form of folk art.  It is a style of Norwegian decorative painting on wood that uses stylized flower ornamentation, scroll work, lining and geometric elements.  Norwegian immigrants brought the art of rosemaling to the United States.

Hold on to those family pieces! 

A piece that has been in the family for years, is there for a reason.  And, it is meant to stay there!   Pieces like these have the power to evoke so many memories from all stages of our lives. 

A fresh new coat of paint not only keeps these pieces around longer, but, allows us to preserve family memories, while customizing them according to our current color scheme, and style. 

Some day this chair may be re-painted, but for now, it is in great shape and looking good.  No more chips, a new color.....and ready for another 37+ years!     

Do you have a piece of furniture that holds meaning to you, or your family?  Post it to Novo Decor's Facebook page below: 

These pieces are great reminders of where we've come from, and who we've come from! They have the power to stir feelings of nostalgia, special memories of a family members that have gone before us, and even childhood events.   

In any case, I believe these pieces deserve a second chance, so they can live on in our lives, and the lives of our children.....and grandchildren.   

Have a great weekend!


Try my mailing list and get my FREE guide to home accessory shopping the smart way.  I think you'll LOVE these home shopping tips!!! Get your guide below........

Hutch gets total make-over: See the story!

Greetings!  The day has arrived. The final reveal of the giant hutch I've been talking about lately!  It all started back in early January.  Valerie reached out to me and asked if I could find a hutch for her!  Of course I said "YES".  She gave me some specific features she was hoping for, and my search began!   

A hutch search can take anywhere from a single week to several months.  It depends on what you're looking for, and time of year!   Valerie was hoping for something with a buffet surface, doors, and a light inside the display area.    

This is an image Valerie saw on Pinterest that caught her eye. She sent it to me, and knew she wanted the hutch painted in either gray or white.  

image take from Eurofinishes.blogspot via Pinterest

image take from Eurofinishes.blogspot via Pinterest

Novo Decor's Furniture finding service

About 95% of the furniture I paint already belong to my customers.  But, did you know that I can also search for furniture for you?  It's a hassle-free process for you, and all it consists of is you telling me what you're looking for (like measurements, and other features you'd like), and me sending you pictures of potential pieces I find.   Once I have the green light from you, I snatch it up and the real fun begins. 

Finding "THE" one

The winter search was unsuccessful, as winter searches can be (people just don't clean out their homes in winter around here!)  But, once Spring hit, I knew we'd be seeing some great candidates.  And then one day last month, I found it.  When I laid eyes on it, I could immediately hear the theme song to "Dirty Dancing" ("I've had the time of my life") but with the lyrics, "I saw the hutch of her dreams". Really!  And the rest is history.....

Here's how she looked BEFORE:

Pay no attention to the lady in the picture....

Pay no attention to the lady in the picture....

And here she is NOW:

The transformation was a SO fun to share with Valerie and her husband.  They both love it.  And it looks great in their beautiful home.  Valerie chose gray, and it works so well!  And the patterned backing on the hutch really pops. 

Given me hardware!

Valerie was open to ideas for the hardware.  I love the look of old hardware, especially on pieces like this.  I decided to keep the old hardware on this piece.  It did however, receive a major washing before spray painting!  Holy cow do I love using baking soda and boiling water to do this.  You would NOT believe what comes off old hardware.   

TIP:  If you spray paint your old hardware, always clean it first!!!!

A successful ending to a furniture search, and a new friendship (double awesome!) 

And that my friends, is the story of how a hutch was found, and given a total make-over for a customer who knew what she wanted, but had zero time to do the searching.  While I was busy hunting and painting, Valerie was busy being a mom to her three littles and all those other things moms and wives do, and not thinking about a hutch! (though she may have been dreaming about it) 

Now for the fun part.  She gets to style her hutch and store things inside.   I would paint all our furniture just so I could re-style it all!  Seriously. 

Thank you Valerie and Nate!  It was a pleasure re-creating this piece for you!!! 

See more furniture make-overs below! 









Make monogrammed wall art with this simple tutorial

It's time for Flashback Friday!  Today I'm taking us back to a tutorial I did last spring: "How to make easy monogrammed wall art".   I was inspired to complete this project then, and once again I am inspired to take another look at it.  In fact, I might have to make another one this weekend!  

The idea

The idea struck when I was re-arranging our living room. I needed something large to cover a bare wall that I had just removed a mirror from.  

The solution

I had a picture hanging elsewhere in that same room that was the perfect frame size for the wall.  The frame was great as is, so I didn't have to do a thing to it (like paint it).  But, I didn't like the picture inside that frame anymore.  It was a no-brainer.  I could use the frame for my monogrammed wall art idea. 

 Here is the bare wall before: 

Supplies Needed:  

  • fabric scissor

  • paint/paintbrush or small sponge for applying paint

  • wooden letter (any type of large letter, doesn't have to be wood)

  • adhesive spray

  • thin cardboard (already in the frame)

  • old lampshade

  • hanging wire

How to make your monogrammed wall art:

1.  Get a photo frame that has a cardboard backing in it (eliminates the need to find cardboard, and cut it to size!). Most photo frames have these boards in them.   

2.  Remove the old picture and cardboard backing from the frame.  Use the cardboard backing to measure and cut your fabric.  The photo below shows my fabric already cut and lying over the cardboard backing: 

 3.  Spray your cardboard piece with spray adhesive.  Spray along borders of all four sides, as well as the center (similar to applying glue on a piece of paper).  This will adhere your fabric to the cardboard. You don't have to cover the whole board with spray, a little goes a long way.  Plus, by applying the spray conservatively, it will be easier to remove your fabric and re-position it if needed (to remove creases). 

4.  Place your fabric on the cardboard and press it flat, removing any wrinkles or creases as you go.  If you didn't apply too much adhesive spray, you should be able to remove corners pretty easily to "re-do" if you have too many creases.   

5.  Now you are ready to apply your magic!  With a little paint on your sponge or brush, dab the bottom rim of the lampshade so it's completely covered.  Use enough paint on the rim, so it transfers onto your fabric. Be careful not to glob the paint on, or your circle shape might not appear as a nice circle! 

6.  Center your lampshade over your fabric board (tip: you might want to make a pencil mark in the center of the fabric before placing your lampshade).  Once your lampshade base is on your fabric, press down around the lampshade rim so the paint can transfer onto the fabric.  The result won't be a perfect line, but that's what makes this project great!  It doesn't have to be a perfect to look great!

7.  Get out your wooden letter (any material letter is fine. It's purpose is to prevent you from having to make your own letter, free-hand). But if you are so inclined to create your own letter, go for it.  Paint the back of your letter (plenty of paint but not a ton, because you will be pressing the painted side onto your fabric. If you have too much paint on the letter, the excess paint will gush beyond the boundaries of your letter while you are pressing it down.  

8.  Once your letter is painted, center it inside the circle you just made with your lampshade. You can eyeball it, or use your pencil mark (if you made one in the center of your circle). Gently press your letter onto your fabric.  Make sure you press down on all surfaces of your letter so the paint transfers onto the fabric


9.  Once the paint is dry, you are ready to place your new monogrammed art into your frame! This is the fun part.  Secure the back of your frame so your cardboard stays in place (usually backs of frames will have little metal tabs you can simply bend over your board).  

Lastly, if your frame already has hooks for hanging, you're ready to hang that thing up!  But if not, you can try this:

Simple hook and wire hanging:     I measured 5 inches down from the top of the frame on each side of the frame. I made a hole on each side (centered), using a small nail so I could screw in hooks on both sides.  After hammering in the nail to create the holes, I removed the nails, and placed a screw hook in each hole, turning the screw to the right (righty-tighty!) until tight.  Then, I added hanging wire, looping each end into the hooks, and winding around the wire to secure.  

AND THAT"S IT!  Your new monogrammed art for any wall in the house!  Fill that dead space on your wall! 

I was happy with the outcome. And the fact that this project was simple made it even better! Wall art doesn't have to be complicated or pricey!  With just a few materials, you can create a great monogrammed piece of art for that bare wall! 

Like this tutorial?  See more below!










Geometric Dresser: MUST go this weekend! Special OFFER valid until 6/12

Greetings and happy Friday everyone!  The first day of summer is always a favorite day around here. The whole mood and feel of our household changes on this day. It doesn't change in a good or bad way.  It just feels.......different; like summer! 

You probably know by now that many of the pieces I paint have been passed down in families, or hold special meaning to the owner, and that is what makes painting them extra special. This emotional connection cannot be replaced with any other piece of furniture! 

Today's piece is a bit of an "odd duck".  It's a dresser someone wanted to get rid of, so they asked if I'd take it.  I said, "sure".    This was an opportunity to experiment and try something new.   I was feeling like geometric.....

The dresser is a great size; not too huge, not too small.   Great fabric-lined drawers (inside and out) make it a special little piece.

It's a cute dresser and it MUST go this weekend!  

Dresser Information: 

42" Width, 31" Height, 17.75" Depth


If you are interested, or know someone that might be, please "share" this post on Facebook!  Contact me by phone 920-627-1001, or email: with any questions or inquires!!!

AND, If you leave a comment on Facebook under this post, you'll get $20 OFF! 

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This offer is good until Monday, June 12

Have a wonderful weekend!!!