Introducing Jillian - and our gorgeous hand painted vintage furniture range


Evening All !!
If you wander over to our latest home page, you will see that we are showing our 'feminine' vintage side here in Natural Calico :) I shall be updating our home page each week and what you will begin see is just how versatile our design approach is - create a simple neutral blank canvas and add your own personality/style with gorgeous and unique accessories.
And on that note, what better time to introduce you to our wonderful paint effects expert Jillian. One of the things I love about Natural Calico is that we all know one another and are great friends. I've known Jillian for many years - I think we discovered within the first 30 minutes of meeting that we shared a passion for all things "housey" ... and what a great basis to form a lasting friendship I hear you say :)
I had admired some beautiful hand painted pieces of furniture in Jillian's own home - more often than not, these are vintage items which had seen better days. She recently extended her kitchen and rather than using fitted units, she went almost entirely for freestanding items that she picked up on Gumtree and worked her magic. She has very kindly agreed to let us shoot her kitchen so watch this space - it's absolutely gorgeous !!
When we launched Natural Calico, I asked if she'd be interested in transforming some vintage items for us and was delighted when she said yes. I love the way she tends to go for muted colours -  her pieces end up with a kind of rustic textured finish that works brilliantly in all sorts of settings - especially "modern country".
For example :-
Vintage Dining Chair
Jillian's paint finish works brilliantly with the vintage grain sack fabric. A beautiful vintage item !!
Solid Beech Stool
Such a useful little stool - we also sell it in a beigey/buff colour.
Lamp table
This vintage piece would be ideal for a placing a large plant or a lamp in a tight corner.
Her latest piece for us is a quirky and very unique little arts and crafts unit that started off looking like this:
Coal Box
And now looks like this
It is actually meant for coal and has the original metal liner - I think it would be perfect beside a vintage fireplace - but it would work equally well as a bedside cabinet or a sofa table.
Here are some close ups that show the  finish - I have no idea how she achieves this amazing rustic effect - but I love it !!!
And now, I'd like to hand you over to the girl herself to tell you a little about her passion for painting vintage furniture.
Marie x
And so to Jillian
Hi I'm Jillian, and my passion is painting furniture. I started doing this nearly 20 years ago when I bought my first house and had quite a big mortgage. So I had to scour second hand shops to fill it. As my finances improved over the years, I bought new furniture but I never felt the same about it as I did for the old pieces I was able to transform myself. So, eventually, I realised that in order to make my house my home I was most comfortable with buying vintage pieces, often antiques, and painting them to suit my décor.
As Marie will testify I painted many things over the years!! I remember candlesticks, picture frames, fireplace surrounds and tiles begging for mercy but to no avail as I went at them with a brush ( she did talk me down from painting the surround of my old style widescreen TV about 15 years ago for which I am eternally grateful!) 
Many years, several house moves and 2 young boys later I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and my life was transformed forever. As Marie mentioned I was able to extend our kitchen and finally have the freestanding painted kitchen of my dreams which my husband and I just love cooking in. I bought several separate pieces from Gumtree and a few from second-hand shops and painted them all in 2 of my favourite Annie Sloan colours, Old White and Country Grey, and we are just delighted with how it has turned out. My favourite style probably comes under the "French Country" label and we find it very relaxed and easy to live with. 
I find the Chalk Paint to be very hard-wearing and versatile which is very important for someone with a young family, and while there are many styles of painting, the distressed look I favour is very forgiving for family life and certainly stands up to a bit of abuse! 
It was a bit of a risk, but we were able to work out what we needed for a fully-functioning family kitchen as well as something which would offer the relaxed atmosphere we craved and we feel we have been able to achieve that. I realised that if I was particular about the quality of pieces of furniture that I bought then I would be able to create a look which was unique, affordable and practical and after living with if for a few months we feel like we have done that. 
All I can say is if Marie likes it, it must be OK!!
Jillian x