Let me tell you about The Bird and The Bee . . .

. . . and a thing called love.

Manager Melissa Welch and Owner Betsy DiGiornio
Manager Melissa Welch and Owner Betsy DiGiorgio

An old adage: “A southerner is never a stranger.”  So true. Early in the New Year, I jumped on FB and posted a video demo of how to paint furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. A longtime friend commented that she had just painted a chest in French linen. It sold before the paint barely dried! She works at The Bird and The Bee shop in Smyrna, Georgia, which I quickly Googled. Five seconds later, I was smitten. 

The Bird and The Bee is a charmer. It specializes in home and garden accessories, unique pieces of hand-painted furniture, homemade soaps and lotions, and handmade decorative items that you won’t find anywhere else. Do not miss the showroom—a showstopper! The shop also features pieces by local artisans and artists. However, I beelined for The Bird and The Bee’s all-about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint tips, furniture refreshing, and before-and-after pieces—a smash with home decorators and interior designers.

bird bee chair beforeafter chair 1st page

Back in the day, I was an art/antiques editor and Annie Sloan fan who thrilled to every book she released. But I had fallen behind the times. This Brit paint duenna still cranks out decorative arts crowd pleasers, including her latest title, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More. I didn’t plunk down cash for that one, as owner Betsy DiGiorgio and manager Melissa Welch gave me the scoop on this fast-fast paint process.

Why is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint so hot?

Betsy: It’s a no-brainer. There is no priming, sanding, stripping of surfaces before you paint. When we discovered Annie Sloan in 2010, we knew this was special paint! And thoughts started flooding my brain of everything that could be completely transformed in my house, not to mention everyone else’s homes.

diamond chest beforediamond chest after

The people that we meet and the stories they share are truly a delight. I think their stories rival men’s fishing or hunting stories. Except ours go a little like this: “I found this dresser at my parents’ house [Goodwill, garage sale, on the side of the road, etc.]. It was so ugly that it had fruit stenciled all over it. I chalk painted it and now look at it.” They pull out a string of pictures, amazing everyone!

Then there is the first-timer who is not “crafty” but brings in pictures of their finished work, overjoyed with what they have accomplished.

We are connecting with our community. That is what having a small business is all about.

before ottomanafter ottoman

Melissa: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is different from any other paint you’re going to find out there. There are a lot of competitors in the market that try to do what Annie Sloan does, but they just do not have the same wow factor. Her product is a higher quality, and overall looks better than that of any competitors.

Chalk Paint is not just for your “crafty person” or designer. It is for everyone!  It is user friendly and can make anyone feel like a painting expert!

The beauty of Chalk Paint is no prep work! You can virtually paint anything! You can paint that outdated brass chandelier in a new, cool way. You can transform the metal trash can in your office into something worth showing off. Just about anything goes—from Target furniture to an old 1920s dresser. Whatever the piece, it can be transformed with Chalk Paint!

before lanternafter lantern

You work on various types of furniture—but what is your signature style? That is, what you are known for?

Betsy: We work on all kinds of furniture. We don’t really have a signature style. I think our excitement is at its peak when we find a piece that we truly love and know it has potential.

The project folks (our painters) are partial to certain pieces. We call dibs on a piece when we personally want to work on it. Melissa has vintage in her DNA, and it comes out in her work. I like the imperfection look—I’m really drawn to distressed pieces.  Mary Jo is our all-around creative one. She can accomplish just about any look you want. The layers of her talent are amazing.


It’s our job to try all types of materials: wood, plastic, glass, concrete, acrylic, fabrics, leather (or pleather), marble, terra-cotta . . . and more. Because of our firsthand experience, we can tell customers what will work and what may not work.

Long story, short: Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint has been around for over 20 years. I’ve met her, and she is a woman after my own heart. She works hard. I have nothing but respect and admiration for her.

strt detail Before-Dresser-225x300_peAfter-Dresser-225x300

Melissa: I would say our styles are a little bit of a mix. We are vintage, French, shabby chic at times, and sometimes contemporary. Annie Sloan is very inspired by French colorways, which is an amazing style to create with her paint. We really enjoy being creative with her paint and reaching out to all different types of customers who all have their own style.

Melissa-Teaching-Chalk-Paint-ClassJoin the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint “party” at The Bird and The Bee in historic Smyrna. They hold frequent workshops, demonstrating beginner to advanced techniques.

If Smyrna is too far for a jaunt, you can find a list of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint retailers in your area. Either way, you’re in for a decorating love affair—that will last a lifetime.


The Bird and The Bee
2968 Atlanta Rd
Suite B
Smyrna, GA 30080770-432-5120

Photos courtesy of The Bird and The Bee

Personal Addendum

I just moved into a small contemporary house with sharp angles and light pouring through windows. Time for some style flipping à la Annie Sloan. I’m an eclectic soul, so my meetup with The Bird and The Bee ladies was fortuitous. Ten redo’s! First up? This Meemaw 1930s Duncan Phyfe sofa—and its 1970s mean-green upholstery.


catherine hamrick sofa detail_pecatherine hamrick sofa buttons_pe

I’ll take some color cues from my beloved blue, yellow, cream—and that little shot of red I cannot resist. Breezy linen? Stay tuned!



594 linen-cloth_pe

Special thanks to Ginny Laughlin Maner for the shop hop!



  1. Karen Lin

    Painting furniture never occurred to me (though I’ve reupholstered some and crackle -painted back when it was in style).. in fact… it is usually the fraying and the bunching of the innards that are a problem before the color issues.

  2. donnaanddiablo

    Fascinating, and the results speak for themselves! The shop sounds *incredible*–Just the kind of place I love to burrow into for a few hours. Thx for the design escape, Catherine–can’t wait to see how your projects turn out…😊

  3. Gina's Professions for PEACE

    Oh my goodness.. I love this post so much!! Every January I seem to get a decorating/reno-ing ‘bee in my bonnet’ 😉 and this has me really excited. Thank you for the link to her site and that had links to retailers and I found one near my home. I’m getting some chalk paint to-day! I also moved into an uber-modern home which is jarring for this old, eclectic soul so bit by bit this place is loosing the chrome and sharp angles to be softened with the rustic, farmhouse style I adore. Thank you!!! hugs xo

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