Couched in a French Patina


Six years after I bought my French-style couch at a second-hand furniture store, my dream of what I thought it could be finally came to life. 

My friend Shawna spent a week painting furniture at my house. She transformed my couch, a French provincial dresser and a hall table, working her magic with chalk paint and wax. 

Shawna lives in my neighborhood but I didn’t get to know her until she read my blog and we discovered we both love all things French. We got together over the holidays and I showed her everything I wanted to paint but didn’t know where to start. 



When I pointed out my 1950s French provincial dresser in my bedroom that is solid but beat up with plenty of gouges, nicks and dings, Shawna started talking colors. 

Her eyes lit up as she described the softest ballerina pink. Then she said but pale blue or dove gray would be great too. 

Wait, she said, she knew just the color. Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Paris Grey. 

That was it, of course. A little Paris in my bedroom was exactly what I wanted.



I showed her my French couch. I told her how I once tried to paint it but I panicked that it wouldn't turn out  {since I didn’t know what kind of paint the glossy wood needed} so I wiped the paint off before it dried. 

And now six years later, the couch was still unpainted. I told her how I had high hopes for this couch.

Six years ago, I was living in uncertainty after I’d sold my darling bungalow house, put my belongings in storage and moved in with my parents while I waited for the bank to close the short sale on my new townhome. 



I wondered if it would ever work out, as one day looked promising with approvals, while the next day all progress ground to a halt with some new contractual snag.

Instead of being grateful that I had a place to stay rent-free, I worried that I'd made the wrong decision. I was impatient in this temporary limbo and irritable with my parents. 

I was flipping through decorating magazines, wondering if I would ever have a home of my own again, when a French couch caught my eye.


Not long afterward I was surprised to find a similar couch at a resale store but with a dark wood frame. I thought if I painted the frame maybe it could look like the one in the magazine. 

My sister and I drove my brother-in-law’s truck {in a rainstorm} loaded with the French couch straight to my storage unit. 

Weeks afterward, when I’d swing by to check on things, I’d spot the French couch against the back wall with tables and chairs stacked on top of it. I’d hope that someday I’d be able to curl up on it, a book in my hand and a cup of coffee sitting nearby.



As Shawna looked at my furniture and excitedly talked about the colors she would paint it to let the original finish shine through, she envisioned it how she thought it could be.

And as I listened to her, suddenly I could see it like she did.

Isn't that how God sees us? 

He calls things that are not as though they are. 

Our scars, scratches and difficulties don’t mar our beauty in God’s eyes. What we’ve been through and what’s happened to us along the way don’t detract from how he sees us.


Our experiences have marked us, possibly forever, but the way God weaves what has happened to us into our stories to add a different dimension is stunning and alluring, if we choose to see it from his perspective. 

And the only way to explain it is because our plans are not like his plans and our ways are not like his ways. 

We can let our hurts and pain and brokenness leave us in those places, cowering and huddled, without hope. 



Or we can with great effort draw ourselves nearer to him, up very close, where we can begin to see the hidden beauty in ourselves, just as he does and hear the life-giving words he is speaking over us.

“ . . . even God, who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were.” Rom. 4:17



Shawna painted my furniture all week while I was at work. Every night I couldn’t wait to see the progress she made as she revived and renewed their tired old finishes.

On Friday, I came home to find my couch finished, paint and drop cloth gone and my pillows arranged on the couch. 

It looked like it belonged in a Parisian parlor.



It only took six years but somehow it seemed to be perfect timing for Shawna to make my dream come true for my French couch.

She dropped by on Saturday to hand me back my key, and said she was sad that her week at my house was over. I felt the same way. 

But I’ve been thinking.

She mentioned something about painting my piano {if I’m daring}. But I think I have some ideas for paint colors for my dining room buffet.

Coco? French Linen? Or maybe Antoinette or Versailles?

I think I'll ask her to pop over so we can chat about colors while we drink some coffee sitting on my French couch.





Shawna Lieberman's painted furniture can be found here on Facebook

I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for Your Heart and Bonnie Gray's Faith Barista. Read more inspiring posts from my blogging friends!





Comments

  1. This illustration is beautiful! And so is the couch! God takes our scars and turns them into His beautiful fingerprints.
    Paige

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    Replies
    1. Paige,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! You never how God's work in our lives will turn out, but he always makes something beautiful of our scars, doesn't he? I'm loving the couch too!

      Delete
  2. Oh, I love your decor! May I come over and hang out??? lol. Thanks for sharing! ~gina

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    Replies
    1. Gina,
      Thanks so much for visiting my online home and you are welcome to hang out anytime! :)

      Delete
  3. Love how the furniture saga lends itself to lessons from the hand of our Creator. Wonderful, Valerie ...

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    Replies
    1. Linda,
      Yes! In his hands, all things can become new again -- thank you for taking time to share your encouragement here!

      Delete
  4. Oh how i love this-
    Or we can with great effort draw ourselves nearer to him, up very close, where we can begin to see the hidden beauty in ourselves, just as he does and hear the life-giving words he is speaking over us.

    “ . . . even God, who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were.” Rom. 4:17

    I need to be hear very close to him- and see things like he does! I was just reading a very similar message in my quiet time this morning in another book-So feel like I need to think on this more! Thank you for this beautiful post- and your way of seeing God in the everyday! :)

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    Replies
    1. Susie,
      Thank you so much for sharing your lovely words here with me -- I always am inspired by the way you look at things, with your poet's heart! I treasure your words!

      Delete
  5. I love the paint on your French couch. It's getting a whole new breathe of life with a little love and hard work. What an amazing metaphor for life. Love and hard work can make something small turn into a big change!

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    Replies
    1. Bree,
      Didn't it turn out great? Yes you are right -- love and a lot of effort bring delightful changes. Lessons to live by, right sweet friend?! :)

      Delete
  6. Gorgeous furniture, you have an eye for beauty... Inside and out !

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  7. Valerie, I love how you take the pretty things in our lives and make such beautiful Biblical application! Hmmm, I may have to go home today and see what my china teacups are trying to tell me! Such a beautiful post gilled with so much truth! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Ellen,
      I'd love to hear what your teacups are whispering to you! I'll check your blog to find out! :)

      Delete
  8. I just love this post. Thank you so much for those encouraging words. I'm so glad that God never gives up on us. P.S. The couch turned out great!

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    Replies
    1. Debbie,
      Welcome to the blog family, old friend! So glad to reconnect and thank you for your sweet words -- they mean so much!

      Delete
  9. oooohhh I have chill bumps...! My choir director just made it a point to say to us last night "don't you wish we could see ourselves the way God sees us?" And I LOVE the results of all your painted treasures!! Chalk paint sounds so fun-- but I'm a little shy to try! Beautiful as always Miss Valerie!

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    Replies
    1. Heather,
      I just love it when God whispers the same things to us in several different places so we remember those words in our hearts! Oh, I was way too intimidated to try the chalk paint on my own and that's why I'm so grateful for my friend Shawna's expertise!

      Delete
  10. That is amazing! I love how God brought you a friendship and finished your furniture at the same time. He truly doesn't waste anything :)
    Man, I wish I had the eye to see how things could be, that artistic side sounds so cool!

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    Replies
    1. Sarah,
      A friend and furniture-finisher -- I think that is just how he works! :)

      Delete
  11. I LOVE this post and I LOVE your couch! I have been blessed lately with a friend doing a French makeover on our home and your post so beautifully captured what the 'makeover' meant on so many levels - we primarily transformed existing furniture and I love your reminder that while God makes 'all things new' He doesn't rip out our past He weaves and restores it. Enjoy your couch...now I want one when we get to doing our room!

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like the couch! I hope you find one too -- half the fun is looking for a treasure! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to share your encouraging words with me!

      Delete
  12. Loved reading your post-how fun to come home and see the progress. Nice friend you have.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading -- so grateful for your visit! And yes, she is an exquisite friend!

      Delete
  13. What a treasure you have in your friend Shawna who shared her creativity. I do love that couch! Blessings, Linda

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    1. Linda,
      I couldn't agree more about Shawna -- she is a rare gem! And I'm so glad you love the couch too!

      Delete
  14. Very creative, Valerie! The paint looks so good on that couch and the dresser. I marvel at how you always find a spiritual lesson in your decorating. :) "Our scars, scratches and difficulties don’t mar our beauty in God’s eyes." Beautiful!

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    1. Trudy,
      My kind of decorating finds a purpose for broken and chipped things, which reminds me a lot of life! :) Always happy to hear from you around here, friend! :)

      Delete
  15. Wow, I am so loving that couch. It's very Parisian to me. And I am so loving the furniture as well. Classic

    Please don't forget to take my Readers Survey
    Kay of Pure & Complex
    www.purecomplex.com

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    1. Kay,
      Love having you here --- and yes, I took the reader's survey -- thanks for the reminder, but your blog is already amazing, friend! :)

      Delete
  16. I still cannot get over how beautiful this couch is!!!

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  17. Valerie,
    We have so much in common...we both hail from Pittsburgh and obviously both love to write. I studied Communications and French in college and even studied in France, so I LOVE anything French. Needless to say your makeover for your French couch is truly lovely and enjoyed your analogy of how God looks at us and sees the potential. So glad I stopped by!
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    Replies
    1. Bev,
      I've seen you so often in the comments at (in)courage and I never knew we were practically kindreds from Pittsburgh with a love of all things French! I'm going to make your blog one of my regular stops now, for some inspiration from a fellow Pittsburgher! :)

      Delete
  18. Hello, the couch transformation is amazing. I have the same couch, and I want to paint it too, coud you tell me what paint did you
    used and color, please. I really apreciated. thank you soo much for share.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's Annie Sloan chalk paint, but my friend Shawna, who painted it, custom-mixed it for me so I'm not sure of the exact color, but it has cream, gray and tan in it, if that helps!

      Delete
  19. I really love this furniture and how you transformed your couch! French inspired furniture is my favorite!

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  20. Dreams come true even if it took six years!if we hold on and believe God is able to make our smallest and quiet desires come true. You inspired me here, Valerie. Congrats on your renewed furniture.
    God bless you

    ReplyDelete

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