Monday, August 24, 2015

Vintage Dresser in Peacock Plume

I picked this cutie up from a garage sell yesterday.  I loved the shape of it and the fact that it was so petite!  It's just plain cute and that's why I like it. ;)

I will tell you right now, it may look like tiger oak (which is just quarter sawn oak, btw), but it is not tiger oak.  It has a fake finish on it to make it look like tiger oak and it was hideous to behold.  I mean N.O.T.  G.O.O.D.  Even hubby said, "What is that on there?"  So, I had no issue with covering that baby with paint! 



The color is Peacock Plume from SW.  It's a beautiful medium blue green (although you can't see much of the green it it from these pics, that always makes me sad).

This was a pretty straight forward redo.  No primer or sealer, 2 coats of paint, and wax. 

 She's got these adorable side panels. 

 A beautiful wood top,

 pretty new knobs, 

and, a cute flower detail on the mirror. 


And, I love it. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Antique Wardrobe in Iron Ore (SW)

I got this from the same woman as the vanity I showed you last week. It was in pretty rough shape, too.  Even though the vanity was lovely the woman I bought this from said she had a soft spot for this wardrobe.  She had wanted to refinish it for the longest time so she could use it, but just never got around to it.  She said, "It's just such a neat piece of furniture!"  

I agree!  While the veneer was in rough shape on the top and one of the sides the wardrobe itself was in great condition.  The finish on this piece was very rough, too.  But, I knew I wanted to use that to my advantage.  

I usually try to keep the "feel" of a piece while painting it.  I absolutely adore the vintage"ness" of it.  I wanted the finish to look worn (but, still be beautiful, of course) and I wanted to showcase all the great texture you can only get from the passage of time.  It was so much work, but I can't stop staring at it now! :)

The old finish was bumpy and I couldn't help but run my hands over it (a lot).  It also had lots of scratches and dings (as you can tell from the front) and I left all, but the deepest, alone. 


I seriously could look at it all day.  I want it for myself. Oh God, please give me a bigger house! 

I will take you through a step by step for this piece. 
1.  Peeled all the loose veneer using an iron, a wet rag, and a chisel
2.  Sanded it all down with 150 to smooth it out.  I left the imperfections because I wanted them to show in the final finish. 
3.  Gave the whole thing 2 coats of Shellac to seal it
4.  Used  a latex and added baking soda to make my own chalk paint.  The color is Iron Ore from Sherwin Williams and it's gorgeous. I did 2/3 paint to 1/3 baking soda and then thinned it a little with water.
5.  Did two coats of my base color. 
6.  Mixed 1/2 and 1/2 French Linen with water and then used a wet rage to "wash" the surface,  I did the corner first and then just went up and down, in section, with my rag. 
7.  Gave it a light sanding with 220
8.  Clear waxed it
9. Dark waxed it
10.  Used Gilt creme to accent the corners, the hinges, the knobs, and the beading. 

Stood back and smiled from ear to ear! 

Thankfully all the beading was intact on this one!  I used a craft paper for the inside of the beading, gave it a wash of gray, and then dark waxed it.  I used the gilt creme to highlight the beading. 

I love how the back piece looks now!!

I made sure to highlight the edges of the raised detail so it would stand out against the dark color. 

 I tried changing out the knobs but decided I like the originals the best.  The were just more fitting with the final look.  I used gilt creme to highlight them. Look at the amazing texture on this piece!

 You know how I feel about legs!  So amazing!

 Even though the paint has so much texture it's as smooth as a baby's hiney.  I love the soft sheen waxing gives.  It's so beautiful!

 I hemmed and hawed about painting the inside.  But, after cleaning it I decided I loved the way the wood looked with the graphite paint color.  I opted to paper the drawer fronts and am so happy I did.

 Aren't they so sweet?

Of course, the drawer bottoms had to be done, too!

 So pretty!

 Here's a close up of what the gilt creme looks like in the corners.  I had so much fun playing with it and layering it.

After giving it a good sanding I stained the top with Special Walnut from Minwax.  I love the wood color with the paint color and all the imperfections in the wood just add to its charm! 


Here are the waxes and creme I used. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vintage Console Table

This was a custom piece.  It looks so basic, pretty outdated, and a little rough around the edges. 

I constantly have this debate with myself about continuing to refinish furniture or just to move on and do something else (I love politics!).  Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by all the projects I have that the stress seems to outweigh any benefit I get from painting.  But, I still can't see a piece of furniture like this and not think it could look so much better and make someone happy!  And, that, my friends, is why I am still painting!  


The top is pretty rough and has some pretty deep water stains. The veneer is chipped off the front piece, and it's just looking a little drab.  

This piece is actually all cherry veneer. The finish on it hid all the grain. 

This is what the top looked like when I sanded it down.  I know, right?!  I'm not sure if the top is cherry, too, because I've never seen a grain like this in a cherry piece, but it sure did feel and act like cherry when I stained it. 

I was a little sad because my client wanted a dark top and I was afraid the dark stain would hide a lot of the grain.  It did, but it is still a beautiful piece of wood!


She said her kitchen was pretty neutral and we decided a little color would be nice.  She showed me an inspiration picture and we went from there.  I love how this table has so much more character and presence now.  I don't think you would walk by it and not notice it. 

 Can I tell you a little secret?  These side angles are always my favorite.  I've done about 500 pieces of furniture in my day and a smooth finish still makes me want to reach out and touch it.  I always run my hands over it because I just love how it feels under my fingertips! 

The grain isn't as pronounced as it was before, but it is still gorgeous.  I used to freak out if there were any marks in the wood after I stained the top (you usually can't see a lot of things in wood until you get the stain and clear coat on).  But, now I just embrace those small imperfections and tell myself this piece of furniture is not new.  It has a history and a story to tell.  I don't want to erase all of that with my orbital. ;)  Anyhow, when you're working with veneer you can't sand too deep or you'll go right through and that makes me cry.  I don't like to cry. 

I love these antique brass knobs. I'm always amazed what a difference hardware makes! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Antique Vanity in my white

This piece was another mercy buy.  I picked it up from an elderly lady who said she'd had it for 40 years.  It was left in her home when she bought it, so it didn't have sentimental value to her, but she liked the piece and wanted to do something with it one day.  Well, that day never came.  When I went to pick it up it was in very rough shape.  So much so that I wanted to leave it there.  BUT, I had driven an hour and she looked so hopeful that I just couldn't say no! Yes, big big big problem of mine!

Last week a man asked me how I could charge $250 for a dresser.  Well, I knew he didn't know furniture, but I also couldn't let the opportunity to rid the world of one more ignorant person pass, so I simply told him exactly what cost went into a restoring a piece of furniture.  What I did not tell him was the WORK that goes into restoring a piece of furniture!

I also gave him a little cost comparison between refinished antique furniture and Pottery Barn.  We all know most furniture (yes, even the "nice" stuff) is MDF compared to all wood furniture from the past.  But, I would sound like a broken record if I went into all that again.  Suffice it to say, he did not have anything to say when I was done. ;)  (What?  I was nice!)

This pic is an in-progress pic of the veneer coming off the top.  It was lifted (the sub layer, too, which had to come off as well) and cracked all over (no way to fix it).  I was sad to have to remove all that mahogany veneer but it had been sitting in a damp garage and there was no salvaging it.  I was lucky there was some good wood underneath all of it. 

I used an iron and a damp rag to loosen the glue and a chisel to remove it. 

Same process for the drawers.  Yep, it's a mess and it sucks!  The drawers were worse than the top.  Most of it was barely hanging on. 

 I glued the sublayer back on and clamped it.  And, the beading came off when I was peeling the veneer.  I loved it so much I couldn't see it go in the trash, so I painstakingly glued it back on. Yep, it sucked, too, but it was worth it. 

 The top part of the mirror was completely missing so I had hubby  make me a new piece.  It wasn't curvy like the old piece but it's a lot sturdier and got the job done! :)

The drawers were ink-stained and nasty, too.  I gave them 2 coats of shellac and then painted the.

 Here it is after I peeled all the veneer, patched the dings, and sanded it all down. 


I loved how rustic this vanity looked and I wanted the final look to be in keeping with it's age and condition.  It is a beautifully solid piece (thank you  master craftsmen), but she's got history!  I used a custom white and a custom turquoise to keep it soft and then heavily distressed her. 

I found these knobs on Antique Farmhouse and just had to have them.  Then when I saw this vanity I knew they just belonged together.  So beautiful.  And, look at all that texture from the old medium that was on the details. Makes my heart go pitter patter!! :)

Ok, I seriously just want to touch it right now.  I'll be right back....

Yep, love it. 

This is my favorite part.  I was sad all the veneer had to come off the top, but was happy to see there was solid wood underneath.  Now, it wasn't perfect, but neither is the rest of the vanity.  I love a dark top, especially with white, but I just felt like it would be too formal for this piece.  I opted to sand the existing wood down and stain it gray.  Yep, it was a first for me.   Minwax has a new color and this was the perfect piece and the perfect wood for it.  I don't think it would do anything to a dark piece like mahogany or cherry, but think it looks great on lighter woods like oak and maple.  Now there were gouges in this wood (after all it was just the sub layer) and the gray stain settled nicely into them and just darkened the rest of the wood a little.  A perfect weathered look! I sealed with 3 coats of poly. 

My hubby said, "What about the cracks?"  I said, "What about them?"  He said, "Don't you want me to fix them?"  I said, "Nope, I love them just the way they are.  They're perfect."  I then got "the look".  Oh, you know the one I'm talking about! 

Cute little legs. 

Drawers are so much nicer when they're clean. ;)  I promise your buyer will thank you for it.  I wax the outside and top edges, as well, so they slide easier. Works like a charm.

I adore everything about it! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vintage Dresser in Black

A friend asked me if I would be interested in this dresser.  When I first went to look at it I was hemming and hawing (only on the inside) and couldn't make up my mind.  But, the man who was selling it looked so hopeful for a buyer that I had a hard time saying no and it came home with me.  I had a little bit of buyer's remorse on the way home.  Even after all the experience I've had buying furniture that still happens to me. :P

The lines of this piece look very masculine to me, and I don't do masculine very often, so I decided to go for it. My hubby likes black on furniture.  Every man I've met doing this likes black on furniture.  So, black it is.  I didn't want it to be one big black hole though so I decided to do a little something different with the drawers while still keeping them simple. 

It just looked so tired and so bOrInG! Like something you'd find tucked in the corner of a not-used-very-often lake house. 


I can't help but smile when I see the before and after.  Who doesn't like a good transformation?  It just looks sharp now. 

 The stripe helps tie the top in with the body and doesn't leave the top drawers hanging there like they don't belong. I love that the eye is drawn to the natural wood and then the stripe just adds a little something special. 

I love antique brass against black.  I had to use cup pulls on the top two drawers to help hide the holes I had to fill.  I like the brass with the wood.  I considered adding two knobs to each drawers but like the simplicity of one in the middle. 

This is my personal opinion, but a good finish can really do a lot for a piece.  ;)