Bottom Drawer, Pirate Chest…..

I was given this metal trunk by my mum, to be used by my son as a pirate chest. As he is just entering his second year at university that period in the trunk’s life is over.

Originally it had belonged to my Aunty Belle. She was in fact not related to me, but she was a very good friend and neighbour to my grandmother. The trunk had been used as her ‘bottom drawer’. Marrying in the 1930’s, she had filled it with pre-marital gifts of embroidered linens and sheets and had kept it throughout her long marriage.

Now looking a little tired and very rusty, I decided to paint and stencil it,  in order to revive what is still a really useful piece of furniture.

I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Graphite and added a liberal coating of both clear and dark wax. It was then stencilled using my Mini Kota stencil, keeping it really simple with just three motifs on the top. Finally I added some gorgeous vintage metal tassels which I bought in Delhi from the Rajasthani embroidery ladies.

Here it is, completely transformed, taking on a modern ethnic vibe. I wonder what it’s next re-invention maybe!


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Creativity Versus Commerciality

One of the (many) reasons I left my well paid design job for a life of financial uncertainty,  was because of a growing need to fulfil my creative urges and a rejection of the need to be “on trend”.

I think that any creative person who needs to earn a living will always struggle with the tension between creativity versus commerciality. I recently set up a unit at The Hertfordshire Craft Collective in Radlett and in a bid to make it a commercially viable space, I painted some pieces in grey and white, a colour combination which normally I love. In situ however, it all looked a bit dull and a bit safe.

Creativity has taken precedence over commerciality this week and I am going to completely change the space. Here are some of the pieces I am going to be using.Nicolette Tabram Designs Bureau 5desk2chairsstoolprovence1


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Less Is More

This beautiful Ottoman was dropped into my shop last week.

It was actually made by the customer’s brother for his mother. It is such a useful piece of furniture, but painted in a slightly yellowed white gloss paint it was in need of some re-invention.

I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Paris Grey and added my Neemrana Border stencil around the edges in Old White. We discussed the possibility of adding more stencilling but sometimes, less is definitely more.

I could have sold this piece to three different customers. Partly because it looks so lovely, but also because it really is such a useful piece of furniture.TRUNK3TRUNK4TRUNK2

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This red chair left the shop with it’s new owner this morning.

I had another of the chairs already painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Old White and waiting for the stencil design to be added. I keep meaning to do a tasteful, neutral chair, but for some reason I feel compelled to use the bright colours on the chairs.

I opted for the reverse of the one just sold and stencilled it in Emperor’s Silk. It is the perfect sister to the red version and seems such a shame that they never met each other! red chairred stencil 5red stencil 1red stencil 3red stencil4_DSC0017red stencil2

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Cool Colours For Cool Kids

These little chairs were hauled out of a local skip by somebody I know who can’t bear waste! She had no use for them herself, but thought of me. I pondered whether to paint them in pink or blue and then considered one in either colour, because that would be commercial.

Then I thought to myself,  I know I am not the only person who would like an alternative to the standard boy/girl colours. When my children were little I would have loved to have been able to buy chairs for them in grey and white.

Painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and Paris Grey, with the Neemrana Border and Mini Kota Stencil.  With a little bit of sanding on the edges and a coat of wax,  here they are looking very cool and just waiting for a couple of cool kids to sit on them.


kids chair 3kids chair5kids chair2
kids chair1

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Made to Last

I am such a believer in the benefits of re-inventing old furniture. There are the obvious benefits to the planet which come from re-cycling, combined with the possibility of creating something which is unique and tailored to your own home. Equally important for me is the ‘made to last’ quality of old furniture, which can be bought so cheaply.

Under much duress, I recently bought a not so cheap, flat packed dressing table for my teenage daughter’s bedroom. Believe me, I didn’t want to do it, but she flatly refused my offers to paint something for her.  Anybody who has a teenage daughter will know that to argue is futile!

Within a matter of weeks the drawer has fallen to pieces and I have since squirted large amounts of wood glue into the grooves in an attempt to hold it together.

Here are a couple of pieces I bought from a second hand furniture shop recently. Both looked very tired, but both are very well made and importantly are very useful pieces of furniture. I painted and distressed the exteriors and then added a selection of my stencils to the pull down desk tops. Both pieces took center stage in the shop window for a few weeks. Last week they both sold to different people within a day of each other.

I have no idea how long these pieces of furniture will be around in their present form, but I feel very confident that they will long outlast the flat packed dressing table in my daughter’s room.


white bureau frontwhite bureaubureau interiro_DSC0147desk interior 2desk topdesk close up

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Reloved Magazine – Reloved Bowls

Recently I worked on another feature for Reloved Magazine using a selection of unloved old bowls which my aunt had found for me. The plan was very much to use a range of pretty colours and some of my small stencils.

The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint tester pots are ideal for projects like this and you can mix some lovely paler tones using Old White. I used Henrietta, Emile, Arles, Scandinavian Pink, French Linen and my old favourite Provence. Old jam jars are great for mixing small quantities of paint in and will keep for a long time with the lids on. Just water down if the paint thickens too much over time.

I used my Mini Kota, Mini Jaipur and Star stencils which you can find on my Etsy shop here.

A liberal coating of soft wax and here they are as featured in the magazine.

Reloved, reinvented and ready to be reused!_Unpainted Wooden BowlsPaint and StencilsWaxingbowlsReloved JuneReloved contibutors

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