With seven children and 30 pigments of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® to juggle between them, business owners Becky Georgiades and Andrea Miner have their work cut out for them. They are one-time stay-at-home mothers, best friends and owners of a boutique, yet they handle the balancing act with style and grace — the same way in which they paint.
The mompreneurs make up the face of The Little Black Chair (www.TheLittleBlackChair.net), a whimsical, charming boutique located in a cozy 1915 bungalow in the heart of Historic Downtown Littleton (5767 S. Rapp St.).
Their innovative business takes custom orders for upcycled furniture, is a constantly evolving retail refuge, and is a retailer and certified instructor of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® — a product surely on your Pinterest radar screen of late.
Georgiades and Miner met through a mutual friend who sensed the two would be on the same wavelength with their fashion-forward, eclectic tastes; with Georgiades’ knack for mural painting and Miner’s love of flipping houses, the business match was providence.
“If you surround yourself with things that you love in your home, it’s all going to make sense.” — Andrea Miner
After teaming up on a school decorating committee for a silent auction, “dabbling” in interior design quickly blossomed into full-time careers for both entrepreneurs.
Now, the women balance their time between work and home, bringing their clients replications of high-end furniture finishes using upcycled furniture at a fraction of the cost.
They have turned reclaimed Regis Jesuit High School benches into a fine dining table, an antique lobster basket into a lighting fixture, and a nicknamed “Humpty Dumpty” hutch (left in puzzling pieces) into three unique tables.
“I started dumpster diving before it was cool because of budget, being a stay-at-home mom getting started,” Georgiades said. “I loved it so much. For me it’s the creative challenge of seeing something beyond what it is, giving it life and making it beautiful that someone else is going to discard.”
What Georgiades and Miner do at The Little Black Chair is maternal ingenuity at its finest.
ANNIE SLOAN CHALK PAINT® COMES STATESIDE
Chalk paint. The word floats around a lot these days on DIY blogs and Pinterest boards, but the woman who began the namesake product did so more than 20 years ago in Oxford, England.
Dissatisfied with the uniformity of paints available, Annie Sloan set out to design a versatile product based on 18th Century historical European finishes.
With 30 true pigments, the shades available to invent are endless.
Here is how the hot product stacks up against the average latex paint:
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®
Except for Graphite, none of the 30 pigments contain black like latex’s fillers, which allows for mixing different paints without muddying color
No priming, sanding or cleaning required (the more dirt and spider webs, the better!). Paints most surfaces (metals, glass, walls, floors)
Texture and body
Shorter cure time
Many looks from one can
By adding Annie Sloan Clear or Dark Wax design even more finishes (European matte to modern sheen)
“You can create different looks with one can of paint … pretty much no surface is untouchable.”
— Becky Georgiades
The collection arrived in the U.S. just three years ago, and you better believe Georgiades and Miner were anticipating it.
In order to become a Chalk Paint® “stockist,” the women applied and interviewed before gaining corporate approval for the boutique. It was then they were personally trained in European paint finishes. There are but four retailers in the State of Colorado who carry the product.
“When it came over to America we started using it,” Miner said. “We really liked it. We pushed it to its limits. We did everything they said not to do with it. We did it just to see what would happen. Becky and I are very much — if someone tells us we can’t do it, we try to do it because we want to know why.”
DO COUTURE YOURSELF WITH THE LITTLE BLACK CHAIR’S PAINTING CLASSES
Have a few hand-me-downs stored up in your garage? Annie Sloan’s decorative paint could be the modern juice you need to make those pieces vibrant again. You can learn how in one of The Little Black Chair’s class offerings.
Georgiades and Miner hold beginner classes two to three times per month and an advanced class (get excited for gilding and stenciling) once every three months. Look for specialty classes in the future.
Each class is three hours chock-full with everything you need to know to go Chalk Paint® crazy! Lunch and great conversation with other class-goers is included. Sample paints as well as other materials are provided.
“We have beginners who have never picked up a paintbrush who are here, to people who have been faux finishing for years,” Georgiades said.
The Little Black Chair kindly hosted me a couple of weeks ago for a beginner painting class. For someone who had only ever picked up a paintbrush twice in her life, my end result seemed questionable.
But, I surprised myself, guided by the advice of the Chalk Paint® connoisseurs. I was inspired to refinish a childhood jewelry box into a grown-up Antoinette pink European matte masterpiece.
Get crafty yourself by getting involved in The Little Black Chair’s contest launching March 20. If you share your favorite painted finishes from Pinterest, retailers or wherever else on the shop’s Facebook page, Georgiades and Miner will select one photo to replicate and teach you and nine others in a special painting class! (Like we need one more excuse to peruse Pinterest, yes please!).