When ‘Meh’ Is Actually Quite Wonderful

Not long ago I had a conversation with my twinny, Heather, on Facebook.  She was about to pull the trigger on a leopard covered ottoman and asked my honest opinion on it.  Heather loves leopard print.

Meh, not in love with it“, I told her.  And, as someone who values and appreciates my opinion with interior design, she bought it regardless.

To put it simply, Heather knows what she likes and ain’t nobody gonna change her mind.

Now, it’s not that I hate animal print.

I actually have a pair of fabulous leopard print loafers.  talbots

Sexy, right? And, to further prove a point, I have an equally fabulous leopard print scarf (which is one of my favorites).  And when I’m feeling crazy, I wear them both together.  BOOM!

But – I do have had a slight problem with animal print on furniture. And when I say ‘problem’ I mean that it has never ‘spoken‘ to me. Animal printed furniture is deaf to my ears.

Now, I must confess,  more recently I have been drawn to cowhide.   You may remember this bench that I refinished a few months ago.


It was my guinea pig.  It was the first attempt at using cowhide to recover a piece.  (word of advice: start simple).  I’ve yet to list it.  I will, maybe in the New Year.  Or whenever.  I just want to look at it a little longer.  But after upholstering the bench with cowhide…

I was smitten.

I’m also thinking about finishing the back of this chair with the same color cowhide.   It’s hard not to love caramel colored cowhide.  I have a Peacock Blue velvet for the front.  Fun, right?

(Don’t hold your breath, it’s going to take me forever to do this chair).

Not to mention the vintage chair that I plan on using a white Mongolian fur pelt to recover it. I think it may turn out to be uber-glamorous.


So in all honesty, I have too many lots of things going on in this little head of mine.  My creative thought process looks like this most of the time.  Most of the time I play within the constraints of my ‘comfort zone’.trajectory

And I was going to get around to doing them all…right now…


I found this antique loveseat, crying out for help.

loveseat1It’s a great little loveseat (made in Italy) with HUGE potential.  In fact, the fabric at one time had been a beautiful pink velvet.  Today it’s a faded and stained taupe color.  I’m quite sure it had also been quite comfortable to sit on.  In its hayday.

webingBut those were days were a very distant memory.

It would be a crime to ask that webbing to support my bottom!

{Said the Actress to the Bishop}.

I played around with the idea of using the Tibetan fur on the loveseat, but (as you can see by the photos below) it was too short.  And, as chance would have it, I stumbled upon another calfskin.

Except it was leopard print!!!

It could technically work, even though it had small areas of wear showing.  The colors were so warm and luxurious and inviting and …and… hadn’t I just finished telling Heather that I was just ‘Meh’ on animal print??  Could I convince myself otherwise?

Surprisingly, yes I could.

Naturally, I had to rethink my vision for the piece.  If I was going to use the leopard print, I couldn’t afford to have it look cheap and nasty.  It needed to look fabulous.  Like absolutely truly fabulous, darling. Instead of leaving the wood (which was actually in pretty good condition) stained or attempt to paint it with chalk paint, I ventured out and used Modern Masters Metallic Paint in Olympic Gold.  To tone it down a little, I used a General Finishes glaze, and sealed it with a dead flat finish.  The end result is a beautiful muted gold. Quite exquisite, if I say so myself.

It just works.


Complete timeless elegance.


It took me almost three hours to hammer in the 300 nail heads.    #timewellspent


Beautiful curved wood.  Hard not to love a good curve, right?



Even with the worn areas, it’s hard to detract from the beauty of this piece.


And so what can I/you learn from this piece?

(listen to Heather?)

Well, yes – but on a broader spectrum, maybe we should free ourselves to be more open during the creative process.  Maybe we all need to venture out of our comfort zone (I know I need to) and start to reexamine fashions, tastes, trends etc that we’ve previously discounted because of the ‘Meh’ factor.

Because sometimes,

on the right piece with the right execution

the ‘Meh’ factor can turn to the ‘Wow’ factor before our very eyes.

{Insert catchy ending phrase here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

20 thoughts on “When ‘Meh’ Is Actually Quite Wonderful

  • November 23, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    wow was trying to get your blog , but it never worked out !!! suddenly there you were!
    PS great job!!

  • November 23, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Fantastic work, Diane!

  • November 23, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    omigosh.. fabulous! Bravo!!!!
    i have a pair of 3″, sling-back, pointy-toe, leopard print heels that i can no longer wear but hang on my bedroom door. too gorgeous to give up, you know?? 🙂 looking forward to using MM’s gold paint myself!
    i just got an elk hid with the most gorgeous long hair i’ve ever seen. any tips to using real hide???

    • November 24, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Make sure it’s warm, it will stretch. I did have to keep going back to various areas (especially by the curves) to pull the hide taut again. Good look, and remember to share it on the page!!

  • November 24, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Absolutely gorgeous transformation Diane! I could have looked at a thousand more photos of this beauty and I just love that you showed us all the close up detail photos. Did you just sit and stare at it in complete awe when it was finished? I know I would have, lol.

    • November 24, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Yes, once the feeling came back to my fingers :/

  • November 24, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Love, love, love the leopard piece and I am not normally a fan of animal prints! I don’t even own an animal print scarf as popular as they are. I need to take your advice and step out of my comfort zone!

  • November 25, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Another fine job by you. I agree I would never have thought of the leopard print as something for me personally, but what you are showing is fantastic and beautiful.

    • November 26, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Thanks Kris! It made a believer out of me also!

  • November 26, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Fabulous! Love the pillow too!

  • November 28, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Thank You for excepting my request. Loved the part where you are planning to recover a chair, the back in cowhide and the front in peacock blue velvet. That is my chair!! Actually I have two of them.Never seen those chairs anywhere else till now. It’s time for some changes and I really didn’t want them to go but now you have inspired me. I don’t do any recovering myself, but am so.. looking forward to see the finished product!!

    • November 28, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      And can you believe I have two of them!! I’ll be finishing them in my nursing home!!

  • December 1, 2016 at 4:44 am

    As a person who loves special pieces of furniture with animal print, that settee is gorgeous! I think you are like me in the fact that furniture with animal print has to be just perfect and you sooo pulled it off with this piece! I have a antique remake of a piece very similar in my entry and also a cowhide chair that I love, I can’t wait to see the other pieces you will be working on, especially that tufted chair!! Great Job!


    • December 1, 2016 at 7:55 am

      The new chair is both daunting and exciting. I have two, and I’m hoping my upholstery instructor will grace me with his expertise!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *