AE Outdoor-The Dawson Collection

It has been forever since my last post! But I have good reason, I promise.  You know that little thing called money that we use to buy things like food and electricity?…well, I have been working my tail off making some of this so-called-cash.  Many of you know my company, no, not my blog or design business, my outdoor furniture company AE Outdoor.  I own this company with my amazing business partner Eric and together we are taking over the outdoor furniture world!  Check out our website if you want some more info on us, but for now I was going to give you a little behind-the-scenes look at one of our 2014 collections that is out on right now.

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Alt-ArrangeSee, Eric and I have a great working relationship.  He handles all of the financial analysis, sales rigamarole, import/export logistics, and the general crap-piles that come with owning a business.  And I get to design pretty things all day!  See, a perfect balance, even steven. (read more about our roles here)

Since Eric’s part of the job isn’t über exciting or very visually stimulating, lets stick with my portion.  Below is a quick look at my sketching process when I started laying out the design for the Dawson Sectional.

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-sketch process-Samantha PattilloI gave up drawing on paper a long time ago.  Now I draw on my Wacom.  I literally could not live without it.  I’ve talked about it before in other posts, but it’s so true.  So much so that now I have the Cintiq 22 HD for my office AND the Cintiq 13 HD for when I travel.  And no, they are not paying me to write about them, but god knows I would whore myself out for another one of these for my home – they cost a ton!

It’s just like drawing on paper, but it’s all digital using photoshop and the paintbrush tool.  Check out the final rendering below.  Free-hand bitches!

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-final renderingThese were quick iPhone shots I took while pulling ideas together for fabrics and wickers.  You can see there are always tweaks along the way, and I like where we ended up with the blue-er cushion color and lighter wicker in the final photos. You?

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-fabric swatchesThe sectional is huge and super comfy, great for a little afternoon nap-time in the sun.

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Main-1AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-BackAE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Pillow-DetailAE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-WeavePull out the separate chair pieces and you can make a mini sectional with chairs for more ‘conversational’ seating.  Yes, brilliant, I know.AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Main-AltHead on over to and get yours before we sell out!!

Reupholstery – How Many Yards Does It Take?

When I saw this quick little cheat sheet posted on my Instagram feed I just had to share!!  One of my fav bloggers and part of my ‘insta-family’, Cheryl of the blog Dwell by Cheryl, posted this after seeing her go-to upholstery guy getting fed up answering this over-asked question- “How many yards will it take to recover this chair?…”

Samantha Pattillo-How Many Yards to Reupholster

Isn’t it great!?! I now have this baby saved to my phone so I can get a quick understanding on cost when I’m thrifting at my favorite vintage stores.  Thanks for sharing Cheryl!

As always, no post should go without some eye candy, so here are a few fun reupholstery before and afters:

Samantha Pattillo-Chairloom 3 before-afterSamantha Pattillo-Chairloom 1 before-afterSamantha Pattillo-Chairloom 2 before-afterThese are all from the amazing designers at Chairloom.  Check them out for more cool reupholstery projects.

Samantha Pattillo-apartment therapy before-afterThis funky gem is from my always favorite before/after posts by apartment therapy.

Samantha Pattillo-Craftnik before-afterYou know I love me an Eames era chair…though this is not a real one.  Still cute though with its sassy denim chevron from the blog crafnik.

Samantha Pattillo-Just About Home before-afterThis little guy is so classic with its clean lines and turned legs, I love the graphic pattern Peg and Liz from Just About Home blog used to recover the chair.  This would add some punch to any room without being overwhelming.

Emily Hendersen for Oh-Joy-Studio-Chairs1I couldn’t find the before shot of this cute pair, but I still had to share these groovy office chairs.  Emily Henderson is one of my favorite designers, these are vintage chairs she found and recovered for her color savvy client Oh Joy Studio.  The combo tweed/plaid with the solid is so fun!

Happy hunting and reupholstering guys!

What’s Your Angle? – Pattern Inspiration

Lawdy, lawdy, lawd…are you all as busy as me?!  I feel like I can’t catch my breath I have so much going on.  My blogging has suffered, it gets pushed to the bottom of the list, after all the other things that help me get paid.  LOL  I guess thats how it should be though.  At least that’s what my animals think since my paycheck helps to feed them and buy them fashionable pets beds and fancy collars. ;)

Just to get back in the groove, here is the an easy ‘inspiration’ post for you.  I got such a fabulous response to my credenza upcycle post a few weeks ago that I thought it would be cool to show some other product on the market doing a similar angle theme.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-5Angular and/or triangle patterns are most popular on softgoods right now, they are everywhere!  I love this pillow featured on HGTV and this wood-cut blanket-TO.DIE.FOR.  Check out Elisa Strozyk’s rugs and textiles, there are too many amazing ones to feature here.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-2I love this little console table from West Elm and this outdoor furniture is interesting…not my style, but still cool.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-4This origami inspired lighting is amazing.  The pendant makes he think of a crumpled piece of paper. :)  And that lamp needs to go in my office!

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-1Wrap your walls in geos too with this shelf, wall clock, and even this statement wallpaper.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-3And you know a trend has some staying power when it’s incorporated into architecture.  This funky window gives a modern home some pizzaz and this shade structure by designer Jamie Durie got lots of attention when it was featured on HGTV.

Braizen Design Studio – Makeover Part 1

Do you guys remember that amazingly talented graphic design team that designed my logo and website?!  (You can see my blog post about it here.)  Braizen was my first choice when I decided to hire a professional to design my brand, and I was blown away when they returned the compliment and asked me to redesign their studio.

They wanted a chic industrial vibe, with pops of their signature Braizen Red throughout.  Here is the mood board I pulled together to kick off the project.

Braizen-Mood-Board-Samantha-PattilloThey already had quite a few good pieces to work with in the space like these IKEA arm chairs and a beautiful handmade desk that the sexy Walter designed and made himself.  Working in those few items I started sketching…

Braizen-Ideation-Samantha-PattilloWe wanted to give them 4 workstations- 1 for Ashley, 1 for Walt, 1 for Amber, and 1 to grow! They also wanted a ‘chill zone’ using the cozy arm chairs where they could curl up with the company mascots: Choo Choo, Katie, and Chester, as well as a separate meeting room for Skype calls and a worktable for large project layouts.  You can see the floor plan below with the smaller meeting room at the back on the left side.

Braizen-Floorplan-Layout-Samantha-PattilloHere is the main studio now:

Braizen-MainBefore…and this is my plan for after:  Add curtains to frame those great windows and main entrance doors, move the ‘sitting area’ to the side wall with a great gallery wall behind showing off some of their amazing graphic design work.

Braizen-Living-Samantha-PattilloThe reverse side of the room with built in shelving for much needed storage, a custom reclaimed wood double desk cantilevered off the cabinets, a dropped pendant to add a focal point to the room and an awesome gallery wall on top of a chalk board painted wall-perfect for graphic design doodlers.

Braizen-Main-Samantha-PattilloBelow is the back meeting room where all of the top-secret brilliance will happen…. (see all that much needed storage?!)

Braizen-MeetingRoomBeforeTo continue that rustic industrial vibe I added a feature wall of weathered wood planks that the TV will be mounted against, a recycled glass light fixture, a metal shelving unit for more storage, and an awesome adjustable height work table with red stools.

Braizen-MeetingRoom-Samantha-PattilloWe are in the process of pulling everything together now: repainting, staining the concrete floors, installing light fixtures, and shopping shopping shopping.  I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.  In the meantime, what do you guys think of my renderings of the space?  Effective?

Jillian - Hi Samantha,

I love your design for the space, but I am really enamored with your renderings! I study interior and architectural visualization and teach it at the University level. I would love it if you wrote a post on your process for generating such beautiful work. I know my students would be so interested, since your renderings are different from anything I have shown them before.


Samantha Pattillo - Thank you Jillian! I will def put together some info on my rendering process, though it’s mostly just sketching by hand. I’ll shoot you an email when I post it. Thanks for reading!!

Mid-Century Modern Credenza Upcycle

Yay!! After being finished with this project for months now I am finally getting around to putting it up on the blog.  It was a long process, but I think it turned out well, don’t you?

Samantha-Pattillo-Final-1BDo you guys remember how the credenza looked with I first found it?  It was on that random craigslist run I posted about here.  For 45 bucks I couldn’t pass him up!


This little guy was hidden in the back of a garage and I knew that he just had to come home with me.  With a little love, creativity, and a lot of painters tape, I got to work.  I’ll talk you guys through all of the gory details below…

1. Strip Existing Finish

I knew parts of him were damaged, he had some deep gauges and years of rough wear on his aged body.  I wanted to see what the extent of the damage really was, and the best way to do that was to strip him down.  (isn’t that the best way to really get to know anyone?…)

Stripping finishes can be a pain depending on the detail of the piece, but when you are working with furniture that has very thin veneer you can’t just sand it down.

{ Look at the back edge of one of the boards on the furniture to see if it is veneered or not.  Only the back or bottom edge will show it since makers use ‘edge banding’ on the fronts to hide it so it looks like solid wood.  If the veneer is less than an 1/8” you want to sand as little as possible. }

Since my guy was veneered (with what looked to be a pecan wood) I needed to strip that finish off.

You Need:

  • A paint, stain, varnish Remover (I like Dad’s Easy Spray, it comes with a spray bottle)
  • Cheap, disposable paint brush
  • Putty Knife, the flatter your surface is, the wider your putty knife should be
  • Chemical grade rubber gloves
  • Paper towels for accidental clean up needs


Make sure to put on your gloves before starting!!  Very dangerous stuff people!

  • Make sure area around your furniture piece is clear of any overspray that may occur
  • Spray one coat over a large area, I did the top and sides of the cabinet all at once
  • Let stand for 15 minutes (it turns into a jell so it will not drip)
  • Scrape off bubbled up finish with your putty knife, being careful not to gouge the wood
  • Repeat the process once again, only let it stand for 5 minutes.  This will take any last residue off the surface.
  • Whip off finish with an rag or paper towel
  • Lightly sand with fine grit steel wool, this should keep you from having to sand anything down with sandpaper.

Repeat steps on all surfaces of the piece that need stripping.

2. Fill damaged spots


Sadly this little guy had some spots that were beyond refinishing, so I needed to fill the holes and paint over them.

  • Make sure the damaged spots are clean and clear of dirt
  • Fill your holes (I like Durham’s Water Putty-it’s strong and easily sanded)


  • Let your putty thoroughly dry after filling all holes
  • Using a flat sanding block, sand the putty flush with the surface


3. Clean/condition your wood

I just whipped the whole credenza down with a dust cloth to remove major dirt, then whipped it clean with a damp towel.  I don’t find conditioning necessary if you don’t have a lot of nooks and crannies like carvings for stain to get hung up in.  Plus it’s just one more step in the process, get ’er done people!


4. Make a design plan

Now the fun part!!  My challenge was to use just enough paint to cover up the damaged spots on the credenza without covering up that beautiful pecan wood grain.  Part of what makes mid-century modern pieces so distinctive is their devotion to warm mid-tone woods.  I wanted to keep what wood I could…so I went a little funky…


When I’m looking for pattern inspiration I like to shop stationary stores, art galleries, and see what other bloggers are trending.  I love this angular pattern I’m seeing all over the markets right now.  I talked about some of the specific images that I looked at for inspiration here.

When laying out patterns I usually start with a quick sketch then go to Photoshop.  You don’t need a fancy computer program like that to do it your self though- just take a picture of your furniture, print it out and trace over it with a piece of paper.  That way your pattern will be to scale and you can get a realistic idea of how it will look when you’re done.

Anyone who knows me or has been to my blog knows I LOVE teal, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that in the design somewhere.  I started there, and just plugged and played with other colors until I found a balance I liked.  Then I printed out my rendering and matched paint colors from Valspar’s paint line.

  • Coconut Milk 2007-10C
  • Everglade Deck 5011-3
  • Elegant Silk 5010-7
  • Woodlawn Valley Haze 5004-5C
  • Filoli Ginkgo Tree 5006-4B
  • Mystic Sea 5007-7A
  • Olive Suede 6010-3


5. Purchase materials (paint, rollers, tape, stain, poly)

  • I went with Valspar brand latex paint/primer in one, knowing I would already be doing a ton of coats, I didn’t want to add more to the mix with a separate paint and primer


  • When possible, on flat surfaces, I prefer to use foam rollers to apply paint by hand as opposed to brushes.  It dries with a smoother finish.


  • You need GOOD QUALITY tape!  For something this detailed it is key that you have clean paint lines.  I used 3M Edge Lock-fabulous!!

6. Layout pattern with straight edge (I used tape)

This process was super tedious since all of the straight lines were crazy hard to do with all of the angles of the drawers.

  • I used masking tape to layout the initial design
  • Then I took a straight edge and ‘connected’ the dots


7. Tape off and paint!

This was the part that tested my patience…With all of the overlapping color blocks I had to paint one ‘non touching’ section at a time.

For each color block:

  • Tape off outer edge, and PRESS that tape line down with your nail.  Nothing’s getting thorough that bad boy!


  • Roll on paint, allow 1st coat to dry for 2 hrs


  • Apply second coat, allow to dry for 24 hrs (I know, I know.  Why so long?  Since you will be taping over those color blocks to do the next color you want to MAKE SURE it is dry or you will ruin all you have done so far.)
  • Remove Tape (so satisfying)
  • Repeat for ALL color blocks (deep breaths)


8. Stain Wood

Since there were still some dark discolorations on the wood I decided the best way to cover them was to stain the credenza.  Normally I would sand those spots out, but when you are working with a veneered piece you don’t have that luxury.  My veneer was less that 1/16” so I only sanded enough to smooth the surface before painting.

I used Varathane Wood Stain in American Walnut finish.  This stain is fab, super easy to work with and dries really quickly.  You only need one coat to get a nice saturated color and it is dry in an hour.


  •  First, I tested my stain on a sample board I made with a paint line.  I taped one paint section off and left the other exposed.  I wanted to see how/if the stain would affect the paint and if the tape would keep a clean line.
  • I decide that taping off was the way to go.  Now I had to tape off ALL of my paint lines so that the stain would not ‘stain’ those.  I just wanted to darken the exposed wood.
  • Apply the stain with an old, but clean, T-shirt or cloth.  Wear latex gloves so you don’t stain your skin.  Be generous with the stain; just whip the excess when you have covered the whole area.
  • Remove the tape when you are done.  Beautiful!!


9. Apply Poly

Last step!  You just need to protect all that work you’ve done.

  • I used Minwax Polycrylic Water Based Protective Finish in a clear satin.  2 hrs between coats, I did two coats.  You can sand between with 220 grit sandpaper, but since I had painted a pattern I did not want to scuff up the paint finish.
  • Apply finish with a high quality synthetic brush over the whole thing.


10. Reassemble

Now the fun part -  Put it all back together again!!  (Remember to mark the inside of your drawers and legs before removing all of them to start the project, since they usually are not interchangeable even if they look the same)

Check out the whole process!Samantha-Pattillo-Process-Shot

Samantha-Pattillo-Final-4BSamantha-Pattillo-Final-6Samantha-Pattillo-Final-1Samantha-Pattillo-Final-7Samantha-Pattillo-Before-After-2Hope you guys like it!!

Shavonda@AHomeFullOfColor - Holy hell this is beautiful Samantha. Serious perfection. Thank you so much for sharing the process from start to finish. It’s just gorgeous.

kristin keilt - Fantastic work…love how it works in the room!!!

Michelle - Wow so cool!!!! Super impressive!!!!

Ksenia - Such a great project – love the color combination!!

Treva - Awesome!

Rebecca - Wow!! Love it, you are so amazingly talented!

What’s Your Angle? – Pattern Inspiration » Samantha Pattillo - […] here is the an easy ‘inspiration’ post for you.  I got such a fabulous response to my credenza upcycle post a few weeks ago that I thought it would be cool to show some other product on the market doing a […]

Tara - This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!! Seriously, you did an amazing job! I’m totally inspired!!!! :)

Eva Sabbado - Wonderful! Fantastic work. Congratulations!

l - Love this so much! You did an amazing job! Thanks for the inspiration.

Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse - This is AMAZING!! You have so much patience, and such creativity. I would never take my eyes off this dresser if it were mine. Incredible job!!

Vanessa King - Loving this

Ben - This is next level. Super inspiring – well done!

My Dining Room – Update 1

Time for another mid-process update on my new house.  We have not made a ton of progress with all that I have going on, but at least the space is livable now… ’cause lawd knows I could not live with those orange walls!

Dining Room Update-Banner-Samantha PattilloDining Room Update-BeforeAfter-Samantha PattilloWe are still missing some key items for the dining room to be finished, but I am loving this light and airy vibe that is going on in here.  My dining table is one of the favorite things that I own-it was my grandfather’s and it has wonderful memories tied to it.  He got it, and a few other items I have in my home, when they lived in Holland during one of his Naval assignments.

Dining Room Update-Gallery Wall 1-Samantha PattilloAfter placing the major pieces of furniture in the room I wanted to start a gallery wall with a large mirror over my new live-edge console table.  I wanted the mirror because directly across the room in the kitchen is a beautiful recycled glass light fixture hanging over our island.  The mirror reflects that light at night when we entertain.  So pretty!

Dining Room Update-Gallery Wall 2-Samantha PattilloDining Room Update-Gallery Wall 3-Samantha Pattillo

I started out with a pretty even balance on both sides of the mirror, but I will be adding to it as I get more of my art and photographs framed.  It’s a process people!!

Dining Room Update 2-Samantha PattilloThis is the matching buffet to the dining set.  Isn’t it gorgeous?!  I still have the original brass keys for each door and each pillbox hinge is still perfectly functioning.  The best part?  When I open the doors I can still smell the faint scotch scent from my gradfather’s decanter he kept in there.  Ahhh, memories rooted in alcohol…aren’t those the best?…when you can actually remember them.

Dining Room Update-Hershey-Samantha PattilloAnd of course I can never do any redecorating without a little furry help…Hershey loves the new rug.

Dining Room Update-Needs-Samantha PattilloI still need to order our new chandelier for over the table and I want to do a little DIY recovering on the dining chairs, I’m thinking dark teal to pop that color out of the rug?  But until Bailey, our cat, decides to not sharpen her claws on the fabric I will live with the outdated blue stripe. (animals suck sometimes)

Dining Room Update-Curtains-Samantha PattilloLastly, for a little more ‘decorative’ privacy, I will add curtains to the sliding glass door that goes out to our small deck overlooking our back patio.

What do you guys think, you like where it’s going?

Suzi - Love how the house, room by room, is coming together.

Shavonda@AHomeFullOfColor - Your dining set is amazing. What a beautiful heirloom. I love all your ideas for the space as well. It’s going to be awesome once it’s done:)

Design Bloggers Conference 2014


Who else out there in the blogger community will be in Atlanta this sunday for the 2014 Design Bloggers Conference??  I personally have never been to a conference dedicated to blogging so I am super excited!  I am still new to this blog thing and I am eager and hopeful to learn a ton from the speakers and classes that are showcased…but let’s be real, the best part are the after parties!!  I will be hob-nobbing with design bloggers from around the country alongside the editors of Traditional Home and HGTV Magazine.  Getting my business cards all polished up and flashy.  Let’s network people!

If any readers are going and want to get together, message me on my contacts page and we can set something up.  Buckhead, here we come!

Erin @ DIY on the Cheap - Hi Samantha! It was great to meet you at the DBC. You can email me at DIYontheCheapBlog at and I will add you to our Atlanta Home/DIY Bloggers group. Hope you can make it to the Haven Conference this summer!

Kristin Mayfield Meredith - Hey Samantha,
I met you at the Design Bloggers Conference, I sat next to you the first day. I am going to start following your blog so I look forward to reading. I love your sense of humor.
I am forwarding your site along to a friend of mine who is a designer. He is opening a retail store and is really trying to curate a collection that not every other store has.

Stay in touch,

Kristin Mayfield Meredith