Chalk it up to Creativity
New Bedford’s The Drawing Room explores the allure of Chalk Paint® and the creative ways to make a home artfully distinct.
Architect Anthi Frangiadis has a distinctive creative approach, which serves her clients well as she imagines new and invigorating spaces, which are functional and reflective of their individual personalities. Frangiadis indulges her playful approach to color and design through her kaleidoscopic New Bedford showroom, aptly named The Drawing Room, as it inspires and educates clients, visitors and a steady stream of shoppers who step through the looking glass into a world of artistry and imagination.
Frangiadis’ roster of artisans and makers are integral parts of her work, both by her recommendation of paint, wallpaper, fabrics, furniture, art and other accessories for her clients’ projects, as well as spawning an exchange and flow of ideas for all who walk into the downtown New Bedford shop.
The latest addition to Frangiadis’ artistic palette is the Annie Sloan® collection, with its paint, stencils, finishes and eclectic coordinating fabrics.
For those familiar with the brand, the simple utterance of the name Annie Sloan® triggers a Pavlovian response of “oohs” and “aahs” as people envision the images of recycled, repurposed and re-invented pieces of furniture which have been given a new lease on life thanks to the popular line of paints and waxes.
Sloan, a UK-based artist, author and interior design expert, developed the line of paints in the early 1990s, but didn’t stop there. For over three decades, her brand has grown, evolved and responded to the legions of loyal fans who exchange successes, failures and challenges via a robustly connected community that stretches around the world. Now New Bedford has a definitive place of distinction in that global community, as The Drawing Room has embraced the product and its vision of creative possibility.
“Furniture made in the last 50 years is nothing like what was made before,” Frangiadis explains. “The kind of furniture our parents collected was solid and built for generations. Many of us have it in our homes or basements, but don’t know how to make it our own.” With a strong focus on sustainability, the Annie Sloan® paint line easily transforms the sturdy pieces of our grandparents into hip, casual and energized pieces that make a statement in any bespoke home, especially those with a coastal inspiration.
The Drawing Room has long offered its own collection of “cottage” furniture, refurbishing pieces pulled from basements, estate sales, antique dealers, and consignment shops. Working with local furniture and restoration experts, each piece is evaluated and reimagined based on its own merits and potential uses: is the silhouette attractive, will this be a focal point or an accent piece, and so on.
“We love finding new ways to give life to old furniture. Some pieces are treasures that should be lightly refinished, reupholstered or updated with new hardware,” Frangiadis notes. “Others are of good quality, but aren’t precious. That’s when you can get very creative with colors, patterns, finishes and more. And that type of creative expression is what many of our Annie Sloan® customers enjoy exploring.”
The Drawing Room is a new stockist; which is to say they carry the entire line of colors, waxes and sealers, as well as the line of fabrics which complement the distinctive paint hues. Representing lines of decorative elements is not new to The Drawing Room, which also represents manufacturers such as Farrow & Ball® with their paint and wallcoverings.
An admirer of the Annie Sloan® products, Frangiadis was approached by the brand to carry the line in her showroom. After hearing from other stockists, she knew it would be the right fit, but was unprepared for the immediacy of the response.
“Even before we announced the line, the phone started to ring with people looking for Annie Sloan® paint,” Frangiadis says. “People were asking about specific colors and wondering if we carried the various stencils-we do. They’d seen our shop listed on the Annie Sloan® website, and were delighted to find someone carrying it locally.”
In keeping with the enthralling schedule of events The Drawing Room offers to the public, informational sessions immediately made it into the 2022 calendar, with workshops planned for the summer. “The level of creativity and professional results is never-ending,” Frangiadis emphasizes. “It is a complete phenomenon. I have never seen such a wave of creativity all focused on one medium.”
Of course, Frangiadis, an accomplished artist in her own right, couldn’t wait to try her hand at the product. “We found an old chair, absolutely nothing special, and had a lot of fun choosing a really unexpected color,” she explains. “I was not expecting how well the paint covers. For the most part we only used one coat and it just worked out really well.”
The next chapter in the chair’s new life will include a newly covered seat in one of the Annie Sloan® fabrics. Many of the Annie Sloan® inspiration pieces—whether distributed from the corporate marketing channels or found across a myriad of social media channels—feature intricate and artistic embellishment of pattern and detail. So that intrepid souls who want the same sort of look are not discouraged, The Drawing Room is always prepared to transform a client’s vision into reality, so anyone can have their own reimagined treasure inspired by one of the amazing designs proudly posted by literally hundreds of thousands of artisans, crafters and makers across the globe.
Like most endeavors associated with The Drawing Room, their relationship with the Annie Sloan® line of paint and fabrics is an odyssey, one with many chapters and adventures befitting the historic seaport that embraces the eclectic shop.
As this chapter begins, the next chapter will certainly lead to destinations yet unknown. One thing is certain, there will be color, there will be energy, and at the end, there will be memorable design.
To see a full schedule of The Drawing Room’s 2022 events visit anthif.com/shop.
Julie Craven Wagner is the editor of Cape Cod LIFE.