Meet….East Street Design – refinished, renovated,renewed

This is the second in a series of interviews with small business owners that have touched our business in some way.  Let’s spend some time with Keri Malafa, the talent behind East Street[1]

Tell us how East Street Design began?

My business started long before it had a name attached to it. It is really just an extension of what I have been doing for years. My husband and I have owned 4 homes. Our first home was built in 1912 and that is when we started getting into DIY projects. After having our 3 children we custom built a house. I was the project manager on that build because only I knew what my vision was. Now we are living in a 1940’s colonial style home that had not been touched since the 60’s. I have always been the person my friends and family called for decorating advice. I never thought twice about helping anyone because I enjoyed it so much. So when my youngest was going off to kindergarten, I found myself trying to come up with the courage to start my own business. My father is a entrepreneur. In hindsight, growing up watching him is probably why it even crossed my mind to do the same.  I wish I could say I was 100% confident that I should go for it. However, if it were not for my husband and a wonderful group of supportive girlfriends, I am not sure I would have found that needed courage. I will always remember sitting on the beach in South Carolina with girlfriends and telling them about my business idea. That was the day I got the courage. That was the day they helped me think of the name of my future business. That is the day that East Street Design began. 

Let’s say you have a client that wants to redecorate her living room but has limited funds.  Take us through the process.

photo 1

Well, don’t we all have a limited budget in one form or another?! I think my process is the same no matter what. I first start with a design consultation. This is where I figure out how the space needs to be used and what my clients wants and needs really are. When that is established then I see what can be repurposed, reupholstered, brought out of the basement storage and what really needs to go. The fact that I can paint a piece of furniture and make it look completely fabulous is an added value to my clients. A new look does not mean everything has to be cleared out of the space and we have to start over. Maybe I can have that really expensive chair you bought 15 years ago reupholstered to make it cool again, put a new lampshade on your Grandmother’s lamp that you “must” keep or get new dining room chairs to change the look of that really expensive dining table your in-laws gave you as a wedding present(that you no longer love). I spend time figuring out the best way to spend the money. You have to know how to splurge strategically to get the biggest bang for your buck. Research all the options. Usually I can find a good alternative for an item that is going to take up too much of my budget. Sometimes spending most of the budget in one area is what will give the best results. I also never, ever forget the power of paint. Especially Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!!!

Has there been a time where you just had to say “no” to a job?photo (5)

 It has to be a good match for both of us or its just not fun.  Most of my clients are referred to me by a previous client or someone who knows me. In my opinion that has helped me to ensure a good client/designer relationship. If its not a good match I am not afraid to say so. In addition it has become difficult for me to take on all the work that comes my way. I know, its a good problem to have. I can only take on projects that are good decisions for my business. Sometimes that means saying “no”.

How do you balance being a mom and a business owner?

It is a work in progress. I will never completely balance being a Mom to 3 busy kids and a busy entrepreneur. I would venture to say that I am no longer actually trying to achieve balance. I have accepted that to be a waste of energy that could be used somewhere else. I have learned that just because I can, does not mean that I should. My husband and I make a darn good team, he remembers what I forget. There are days when everything goes smoothly. There are days when I am most thankful for friends and carpools. There are days when the crockpot is my savior. Ultimately, it all gets done because I am doing something that I want to do and it doesn’t really seem like work at all. I try to remember that I am showing my children that you can have a family and still do something for yourself. Something that is good for your soul. We all have to prioritize and remember that we can not do it all. The most important thing is that our families know that we love them and we are doing our best.

It’s 2017. How is East Street doing?

Doing well, enjoying life and continuing to do what I enjoy.
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Thank you, Keri, for letting us get to know you a little better!  Looking to renew a room? Contact East Street Design here: |



Easy Spring Craft – How to in minutes

20150123_164320 Enjoy making this easy Spring craft… is what you will need…..

small canning jar
Chalk Paint®decorative paint by Annie Sloan
soft wax by Annie Sloan
moss ribbon
glue gun

Let’s get started….

Apply two coats of your choice of paint color to the canning jar.  The paint dries quickly.
Next, apply one coat of wax. This step is optional but will give more durability. The wax will dry to a matte finish but may also be buffed to a shine.
Cut an 8 inch length of moss ribbon, wrap around middle of canning jar and secure ends with hot glue.
Cut a 10 inch length of twine and tie around moss ribbon.  You are finished already but adding this next
step gives you more options….

Wire Hanger

Cut an 18 inch length of floral wire.  Wrap wire around top of jar twice.
With the two ends left, twist together near the jar.
Form a circle with the leftover wire and twist to secure. This will form
a loop to hang the jar.

Add your favorite flowers or use to hang in kitchen or office to hold supplies
Chalk Paint Winsome Cottage






Tips for finding vintage furniture to paint and re-style | Winsome Cottage

WInsome Cottage Swap Meet

At Winsome Cottage our business depends on our ability to find a diamond in the rough. We love choosing old furniture for restyling because it’s usually handcrafted and has tons of character. Through scouring markets over the years we’ve developed an eye for picking broken, worn-out pieces that have incredible potential.  We’d love to share a few tips for finding fantastic furniture pieces to restyle.

Where to find great pieces and how often to look

We used to go hunting for vintage pieces on a regular bases, about twice per month, but now that we’ve built up enough inventory to fill a storage unit, we don’t need to go quite so frequently. Some of the best places to find great vintage for restyling are online auctions, flea markets, and antique malls. One of the biggest and best markets to go to in Ohio is the Springfield Antique Extravaganza that occurs bi-annually every September and May. Another great source is simply your network. Let friends and family know that you’re looking for pieces to restyle and that you may be willing to take some old furniture off their hands. This has become one of our best sources. Customers and friends often send us pictures of furniture we might like and that they’d like to get rid of. It’s win-win!

Winsome Cottage Dresser before and after

Know what you like

When searching the markets, it’s good to have an idea of what period of furniture you’re drawn to. We’ve found that furniture from the 1930s and 1940s works best for painting to achieve the french, shabby look that we love. Mid-century is also a great period for restyling. The retro style begs for paint in colorful and creative patterns like bright oranges and greens.

Winsome Cottage before and after cabinetA few more tips

  • When walking the stalls at a flea market, follow up your first pass with a second or third. You’re sure to see amazing things you missed the first time around. 
  • Bring cash!
  • Get there early before the market opens because there’s a lot of competition out there.
  • If you see something you love, buy it immediately. It’s not like a regular store where they’ll pull out another item identical from the back.
  • Really evaluate the worth of a piece. Just because something is inexpensive or a good deal, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s it worth money and time you’d invest in restyling.

5 Reasons we love Chalk Paint® | We know you will too

Winsome Cottage Annie Sloan Chalk PaintIt’s no secret that we love Chalk Paint® at Winsome Cottage.

We like to sing it’s praises and share the love in our painting technique workshops. But before Chalk Paint® came into our lives, we were repurposing furniture the hard way. Stripping, sanding, priming….so much work!  At that time, Kim was doing most of the painting for the business using latex paint only. I decided to paint a piece myself to give Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan a try for the first time. I was amazed at how easy it was to use and the finished result was incredible. It took some convincing, but after Kim saw and experienced how easy it was use, how much time it saved, and how beautiful the finish was, we never looked back.

Here are 5 reasons to use Chalk Paint® and after you read this, we think you’ll love it as much as we do.

1) It’s easy. You’ll rarely ever need to do prep-work. That means no sanding and no priming. This saves lots of time, especially when you’re painting furniture as a business and need to monetize your hours. You also don’t need a base coat which makes the dry time super fast.

2) It’s extremely versatile. You can apply Chalk Paint® over almost any surface, for indoor or outdoor use. We use it on unfinished or varnished wood, metal, concrete, brick, clay, and even fabric. We’ve seen someone paint their pool decking with Chalk Paint®. Another painted their outside store entrance in checkerboard pattern. Despite the elements, the paint holds up very well.

Chalk Paint Winsome Cottage

3)  It costs less than the alternatives. One of the most impressive and cost effective ways to use chalk paint is to make-over your kitchen cabinets. You can do an average sized kitchen with 4 quarts of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan and a couple cans of Soft Wax for about $220. That’s a huge savings compared to having your cabinets resurfaced.

4)  It’s a creative outlet. You can get extremely creative custom mixing colors and experimenting with finishes. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® are completely mixable with one another because they contain very little black pigment.. And with just one coat you can achieve an array of effects, including beautiful rustic looking finishes.

Winsome Cottage Workshop

5)  We can take you from novice to expert. At Winsome Cottage we teach painting technique workshops to people at all skill levels. We offer our basic technique class frequently. It’s a 100% hands-on learning and all materials are included. Two to three times per year we also offer an advanced technique workshop in which we teach more complicated finishes like leafing and crackle finish. And due to popular demand, we’re launching a color mixing workshop to teach students how to expertly mix their own custom colors with Annie Sloan Chalk Paints®.


Monday Jan 5th, Thursday Jan 15th, Monday Jan 26th

For more workshop details 


Our artisan rustic farm tables | Winsome Cottage

Winsome Cottage Unfinished Farm Table

How it began

While we aim to inspire our customers with our restyled creations, often it works the other way around and our customers inspire us. Over the years we’ve had frequent requests from customers looking for large, rustic tables. With so much demand, we realized it was time to start sourcing someone to make tables for us. But then one day, we stumbled across a friend’s beautiful outdoor table that he had made for himself. It was serendipity. And the result was partnership to produce locally made, 100% handcrafted farm tables in Waynesville, OH


Once the pine table is lovingly built, we receive it raw at the Winsome Cottage shop and then we get to work on the finish. Each finish is one of a kind. We take custom orders and can provide a range of unique stained and painted finishes. One look we love that’s become quite popular is to have the top table stained and bottom painted with Chalk Paint®. We’re also using creative washes of color that let the beautiful wood grain show through. 

WInsome Cottage Farm Table Finished


The tables can be custom ordered in the following sizes: 5’, 6’, 7’, 8’.

Giving back to the community.

On Thanksgiving we did our first Annual Pay it Forward Give-Away in which we gave away one of our custom farm tables to a family nominated by our customers. The Petrocelli family, a family of 8, were the deserving recipients. They were delighted with the table. We loved delivering it to their house and seeing their excited faces.

The positive feedback and excitement from our customers is an inspiration to keep growing our farm table business. Customers love the beautiful, rustic look and say that tables are extremely well-made. If you’re interested in ordering a custom farm table or finding out more details contact us here.

Pantone’s color of the year 2015 revealed! | How do we use it?

20141216_112821Pantone’s color of the year 2015 revealed! | How do we use it?

The Pantone Color Institute considers itself the authority on colors in consumer trends. This month they’ve announced that their 2015 color of the year is, drum roll please…..MARSALA. A strong divergent from the colors of recent years passed (you may remember Emerald from 2013 and Radiant Orchid from 2014), Marsala is an earthy color, resting somewhere in between rose and brown. While the last two “colors of the year” were a little too garish to use in interior decor, we can see getting some mileage out of versatile Marsala. 

“Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth….This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”  

–Leatrice Eiseman,  Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute®


We’ll be playing around with designs using Marsala in the coming weeks at Winsome Cottage.  If you’d like to get a close Marsala match mixing Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan at home, try this:


So how would we use it?

We see Marsala as big statement color but due to it’s brown undertones, it could be used as a neutral base to combine with bolder colors. On it’s own it feels heavy and needs a lift with saturated or lighter color compliments. 

Our favorite color combination with Marsala is a light pool shade–as demonstrated in Pantone’s styled feature photos. The two colors combined look really fresh and sophisticated. It also looks opulent paired with jewel-toned blues, greens and teals. And it make a perfect neutral base for layering with metallics in bronze or copper and exotic tribal patterns, in rich earthy colors.

Will you use Marsala this year? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Holiday party season is here. Need a gift idea for the hostess?

Winsome Cottage Unique Chrismas Ornaments Hostess GiftsHoliday party season is that time of year most of are making the rounds to festive shindigs. According to etiquette guru Emily Post (or at least her great-great grand children who carry on her tradition at it’s customary to bring a gift to casual dinners and cocktail parties. While it’s easy to get in the spirit of giving at this time to year, it’s often so hard to come up with the perfect gift for a host or hostess.

When we go to dinners and parties, we like to thank our hosts with a distinctive gift to show our appreciation. Here are some ideas for choosing the right gift:

  • Focus in on your host’s style, interests, or hobbies. For your foodie friend–try specialty locally made chocolates, pastries, or gourmet spices. In our hometown of Waynesville, OH, Braden & Sons Sweet Shop carries a delicious line of fudge and other candies that are the perfect treat for chocolate loving hosts. If your friend enjoys cooking, a set of sea salts, a bottle of truffle oil, or some exotic saffron will likely be a big hit.

Winsome Cottage Christmas Ornaments

  •  A unique Christmas ornament is always a fail-safe gift option for a December party. We carry a menagerie of sparkly Christmas ornaments at Winsome Cottage.

WInsome Cottage Hostess Gifts Jewelry Ribbon Roses

  • For more personalized, special gifts for your close friends and family, we also carry ribbon roses and jewelry. Our handmade ribbon roses are great for pinning on handbags, headbands, belts, and lampshades.
  • If you don’t know your host well enough or just can’t come up with an original idea, you can always stick with the classics–flowers, guest soaps, and candles. If you opt for flowers, bring them in a vase or simple mason jar since your hostess will be too busy to arrange the flowers. We carry a line of sweet smelling natural soaps and lotions made in New Hampshire by Sweetgrass Farms that any hostess is sure to love.

For all your burning holiday etiquette questions (how to set a formal holiday table, which fork to use, how much to tip at Christmas time, all about corporate gift giving, and tons more) check out Emily Posts’s the Holiday Etiquette Center.

Christmas Decorating Ideas | Bring the Outdoors In

winsome cottage christmas decorOne of our favorite traditions this time of year is to bring the outdoors inside when decorating for Christmas. Filling the house with sights and smells of green and red flora–from fragrant smelling noble fir that triggers memories of Christmas past, to giant poinsettias bursting with festive color.

In the retail world, we begin decorating for the most wonderful time of year way in advance–in October!  At Winsome Cottage we deck the halls early in preparation for downtown Waynesville, Ohio’s Hearth Warming Holidays open house. We’d love to share a few Christmas decorating ideas to help you adorn your space by bringing the outdoors in.

Christmas Decor Bringing the Outdoors InDecorating with natural elements.

  1. Drape your focal points with garland–In our shop and home we like to deck our halls (as well as our front entrance, fireplace mantel, or staircase) with green garland. On the mantel we fill the gaps of the garland with large candles or pinecones. A creative idea for tying in a natural, woodsy element is to fill hurricanes with chestnuts to surround the candle. Lit candles create a festive mood and look beautiful reflected in a mirror placed behind them. And don’t forget about color! Tuck sprigs of scarlet colored berries or red shiny ornaments in between branches.Christmas garland
  2. Wreaths–Fresh evergreen wreaths on a front door can get any scrooge in the holiday spirit.  We love a twist on the usual green wreath and fell for this cheerful, bright red wreath made entirely of pepper berry. For more creative DIY wreaths check out this slide show of 34 amazing holiday wreath making ideas from Martha Stewart. Some of our favorites include adding tiny bells to a wreath so your front door rings with Christmas cheer every time someone comes through. And for a super fragrant alternative to noble fir, make a wreath from bunches of bay laurel or rosemary and then use it after the holiday for cooking.Winsome Cottage Christmas Ornaments
  3. Nothing says festive like silver and gold.  At Christmas time we want everything to sparkle. Add some sparkly elements to enhance your all natural decorations. Scatter mercury glass votives within the mantel garland. Glittery ornaments are great for more than just the tree; they add sparkle draped from a garland or tied into a wreath. Visit our store to see our selection of unique ornaments.

Merry Christmas!!!

Giving thanks this holiday and living with gratitude everyday

Winsome cottage store front winterThanksgiving is just a few days away!

It’s that special time of year dedicated to expressing gratitude for all the wonderful people and things in our lives. We’ve been reflecting on all the many ways in which we’re grateful this holiday, but also on how we can live with gratitude every day. 

Restyling furniture is showing gratitude for old forgotten things.

We live in a society that is so materially abundant. Beautiful, usable, well-made objects are often thrown or given away because they’re no longer appreciated. When we, at Winsome Cottage, find these items we often wonder, who owned this thing, what did it mean to them? And then we take that discarded thing and transform it into something new to be loved and cherished again. When we restyle a piece of furniture, we show gratitude for it and recognize it’s value.

We take to heart this message on gratitude from Oprah Winfrey– “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” We’re fortunate to have so much abundance and creativity surrounding us in our business and community. We’re constantly inspired by the people in our lives who share the same love of repurposing old things and who are always coming up with new, amazing ideas to make those items new again. Winsome Cottage DIY workshopAs we get ready for the big holiday celebration with our family, we’d like to give thanks to our clients and patrons for helping us grow this business we love. The day after Thanksgiving you’ll find us at Winsome Cottage for the busiest shopping days of the year–Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday has grown into a powerful movement for shoppers to support brick and mortar shops like ours. Thank you and #shopsmall!