Meet the girls


    Mak and Jill have been friends since seventh grade. They both were lucky to have creative mamas who encouraged their artistic sides. 

  They have 45 years experience between the two of them upcycling furniture, creating works of art, styling and interior design. They have a beautiful store "The Abode" - located on Avenida Del Mar in downtown San Clemente, where you can find their upcycled furniture, unique finds, and so much more.

They are stockists of Chalk Paint® decorative paint and offer furniture painting workshops, teaching others what they have learned over a lifetime.






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Jack Johnson's Boat Wood Desk

Okay - I just said Jack Johnson to get your attention.  And I think Jack would really like this boat wood finish on our newest piece!  I just decided we will call this desk "Jack".   I remember last year around christmas we had a drift wood Christmas tree, made by one of our artists, Terry Murphy, that was for sale in front of our store.  People loved it and kept mentioning it reminded them of Jack Johnson's Christmas tree that they had seen in a magazine, so I looked it up.  It was so cool.  Just like Jack.  And just like our boat wood desk that we wanted to share with you.


Isn't Jack beautiful?  Check out this view of the top:


















So Jack started out as a sad dated pine desk.  You know, kinda shiny, with wierd planks going in a diamond pattern.  We love these old mexican pieces of pine furniture.  They are sturdy, have some interesting details, nice rustic hardware, and take a makeover extremely well.  This one just screamed "Boat Wood Finish"!!!!

So we got out the paint - lots of different colors - and went to town!  

Check out the layers of colors.....










There are probably 8 to 10 colors used on Jack.  About 3 different colors layered on each plank. 

We applied the paint with a rubber spatula.  You can use a plastic credit card - preferably one you aren't using any more, or a piece of cardboard.  Or a scraper.  My favorite is a rubber spatula.  You just dip it in the paint and kinda frost the plank like you would a cake.  Try not to cover all over, try to get it on kinda thick, and try to get some cool texture.  Let it dry, then do it again with another color.  And do it again.  And again.  And again.

It's actually pretty fun!

So after you apply the last layer, let it just barely dry, then get out a scraper and scrape away in places.  Get down to the wood here and there, and to the underlaying colors where you can.  Then sand it.  Then clear wax it.  And then......the final, and very life altering step - dark wax it!  The dark wax just makes it all meld together and gets this wonderful aged patina.  It's good stuff.

Here are some more inspiring pictures of boat wood finishes....

How about adding some graphics to your boat wood finish?  Oh the possibilities!






I think I could do this!










And I think I could do this too - but wow - that would be lot's of work!  So many slats!!









And this is the kind of piece of furniture you come across quite alot.  So next time you do, give it a boat wood finish!

And if you aren't quite sure you get it - check out the September issue of "This Old House" Magazine.  We were featured in it again!  We are super excited about it, and will be sharing more of that very soon, so keep an eye out.  

In the magazine, we did another boat wood finish table, along with four other projects with step by step instructions.  Like I said - we will share more of that soon.  Until then, keep your eyes out for great pieces to make over, and go for it!



Not really, but he should be.  Because Mak & Jill grace the pages of This Old House Magazine this month, with this amazing headboard-turned-bench!

Isn't it beautiful!?  

We made this bench a little over a year ago, and somehow the people at This Old House Magazine found it and asked if they could feature it in their next issue.  Uh - ya! This Old House?  Seriously?  We LOVE This Old House!!  Simon Wilson, (my husband - in case you didn't know) had This Old House on the t.v. all weekend long, back in it's hey day.  All weekend long.  He really did think that Norm was his friend.  Felt like he knew him well.  Norm taught him almost everything he knows!!  Really.  So not only was it exciting for us (Mak & Jill) but it was exciting for Simon.  

Have you seen the article yet?Isn't that so cool!?

Here is the cover of the magazine.  I know you will want to run out and buy it if you haven't already, and maybe frame it, like we did. :)


 See where it says Best low-cost blogger projects?  On the cover?  Ya - that's us!  They are talking about us - on the cover!! :)

Okay - enough about us.  For those of you who would like a little more detail about the "how-to", here it is.  But first lets take a moment to talk about shop safety.  :)  Not really!  Just had to throw that in there for all you Norm Abram fans.


Find a cute/interesting headboard/footboard.  Chop up the footboard to use for the arms.

Attach it all with the railings of the bed frame, or maybe some 2x4's if there are no railings...


Then attach it all with glue, screws, brackets - you name it!  Simon Wilson likes to build everything to withstand hurricane force winds, so he did all of the above.  :)






Then it's time to make a seat.  Simon chopped up an old coffee table.  You can also use planks of wood.  Get creative!





And then put a fabulous finish on it.  We always paint our things with Chalk Paint®.

 We LOOOOVE that stuff!  You can paint it and leave it raw to weather in the elements, looking chalky and beachy, or you can wax it (if it's going indoors) or you can do a number of other finishes.  We finished this project with a minwax stain/poly combo, to make it more weatherproof, and antique it at the same time.  Not or normal finish, but why be normal?

Here are a few more fabulous headboard benches to inspire you....

This is actually not a headboard bench.  Mak made this bench out of two chairs.  We LOVE it though, so we had to share.


This is another headboard turned bench made by Mr. Wilson.  Notice this seat was made using wood planks.

This is an image I found on line, and don't know who did it, but it definitely feels like a Mak & Jill style piece.  Love it!

And this is another I found on line.  Also beautiful, and very much our style!









So there you go.  Lot's of headboard benches and inspiration.  

If you are inspired enough to build one of these babies, we would love for you to send us pics so we can share it!  We'd love to see what you come up with!  And Norm, if you're out there, Simon says "We love you man"!




Do you ever come across a really boring piece of furniture and wonder what to do with it?  Well here is your answer!  Typography!  

Just slap on a coat of paint, stencil on some words, and whalah!  Look what you get!

This is Marjee's masterpiece.  Iconic surf spots along the California coast.

On this particular piece, Mak painted the base coat in French Linen.  Then she did a thin coat of Old White on the drawers, and a white wash on the body. She then stenciled on the white drawers with French Linen, and sanded it back a bit to get that beachy, weathered look.  Nice job MaK!!

Surf spots are pretty popular in San Clemente.  But the possibilities for typography on furniture are endless!  




How cute is this!  For the photographer in your life.


























Or this - for the British Subway rider in your life! :)









Or you could try some numbers.....                                                   

Some crazy, crazy, numbers....
























Or some fancy French numbers....

How about this?

Or this?












Subtle, yet awesome!










How about some reverse stenciling?  And leave some nice wood peeking through?  Oh the possibilities!


                                                                                          You can get really involved.


Or keep it really simple.
























Just let your piece of furniture speak to you!This one had a whole lot to say.

I better stop now!



Kathleen Jensen - One of a Kind!!

I would like to introduce you to my friend and very talented artist Kathleen Jensen!  Kathleen is one of our very talented artists featured at Mak & Jill's Abode.  If you have ever been to our store you will have noticed her amazing paintings.  They are gorgeous!

Kathleen has been a friend of mine for almost 10 years.  We met when our daughters were in the same ballet class.  10 years ago!!  Hardly seems possible! We would sit in the waiting room and chat.  One day she told me that she paints.  I said I did to, and was wanting to get together with some girls on a regular basis to paint together.  So we did!  Four, sometimes five of us would take turns hosting, and we would all sit around working on our latest paintings while the kids were in school.  We would give each other advice, have a little lunch.  Just hang out creating.  It was so fun! I miss those days.  Everyone got too busy and it kinda died off.  Maybe we can start it again when we retire!

This is Kat sitting at the front desk at the Abode.  She helps in the store one day a week.  Right now she is there on Mondays.  Sometimes it varies, but for now, if you want to meet the amazingly talented Kat, you can probably find her here on a Monday.  She's so great with the customers - such a kind soul!  We feel so lucky to have her be a part of our store!  Look how amazing her art makes our store look!

Kat grew up in Mission Viejo and graduated with a BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.  She likes to paint landscapes and seascapes, as well as succulents, flowers, shells, etc.  

Here is a recent painting she did of the view from below the Montage in Laguna Beach.  She has such an amazing style and perspective!  



All of her paintings just amaze me.  She specializes in the landscapes and seascapes, but she is always mixing it up and throwing something completely different in the mix.  I love that about her.  Here are a few more of some random paintings she has done:

She painted the crown on the left when Kate & William were getting married.  

So fun!





This is one of her latest Seascapes.

And this is another recent one.  She took a picture of a window while on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and created this!

This is a picture of a tree she took while on vacation in Pensacola, Florida.  She goes there every summer with her family.  Wow!


And those are a few more of her incredibly amazing, random, fabulous paintings.  I could just go on and on.  I LOVE THEM!!

So - if you are looking to get rid of some of those cheap framed posters, and become the owner of some amazing, original, affordable art, come to Mak & Jill's Abode, and get a Kathleen Jensen Original.  I'm telling ya, this girl is going to be famous.  Get em while you can afford em! :)


Thank you Annie Sloan

Hello Strangers! It's been a while! I don't know how people own stores, have kids and blog. And do all the other stuff in between. But I'm about to find out, because we have alot to share, and we are going to do it darn it!


This month has been crazy busy. Kids are out of school, paint classes are filling up, furniture is being bought by the boat load. Seriously. It's been a whirlwind. And we couldn't be happier. And we couldn't do all this without the help of a fabulous paint created by an amazing lady, and brought to us by an equally amazing company. Yes, we are talking about Chalk Paint® decorative paint.


Mak (Marjee) and I started selling Chalk Paint® about two years ago when we discovered it on line, ran out to buy it and give it a try, and were lucky enough to get in early and become stockists. If you don't know the history of Chalk Paint®, it was developed by Annie Sloan in England over 20 years ago, and was discovered by Lisa Rickert of Jolie Designs in New Orleans after her house was destroyed by Katrina and she was rebuilding and wanting to find a budget friendly way to make her kitchen cabinets look old world. The two fabulous women joined forces to create Annie Sloan Unfolded, to bring this amazing stuff to America. It is now made in Kansas City and sold by over 300 independant retailers in the good old USA.


We thank these women every single day as we open our paint cans and turn ugly, dated furniture into beautiful works of art. Seriously. We would not be able to do it all without this amazing paint! It makes it all so much easier than the old latex stuff we used to get at Home Depot. We never sand or prime. Just pop the lid on whatever color speaks to us, and begin creating. 


These are some of the amazing pieces we have created lately:












Marjee named this beauty "Old Man's Bar". Old Man's is a surf spot in San Clemente, and she pictured some cool surfer dude buying this beauty to use as a bar. In his hip beach house. Living his hip beach life.

Is it not just sooooo yummy!?



We just love the way this turned out. We really, really loved it. Yes. Loved. It's gone. Some hip surfer dude bought it. But he is using it to put his flat screen on. We were close!



















What do you think of this little beauty?

 One of our regular customers, whom we love so much, brought this to us. He was getting ready to give it to Goodwill, and thought maybe we could do something with it. And we certainly did!





It was a little sad, and Marjee and Martine, our new intern at The Abode, whipped out some painters tape and Florence and Old White CHALK PAINT® and did their thing! 




















We just love it!




Ombre baby!




































And then how about another beautiful but totally different work of art:
























 Is there anything you Can't do with this paint!?