Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shabby Sweet China Cabinet

First let's start with the facts: I said I wouldn't paint it. Unless it didn't sell. It didn't sell. So I painted it!

Here it is looking clean and shiny
after the first attempt at refinishing.
It didn't last.
Let me back up and fill you in. I fell in love with this china cabinet as soon as I spotted it in the thrift store. I believe it is Depression Era (perhaps either 1920's or 1930's). The finish was damaged and there was surface damage, but it was sturdy with no major structural issues.. My intention was to paint it (Plan A), but then after I started working on it, the beauty of the wood veneer whispered to me to try to restore it (Plan B). And I did just that and was pleased with the result even though it still had signs of wear and tear. (See initial blog post "Refurbished Vintage 1920s China Cabinet")


I had good intentions to take it to the booth for sale, but one thing led to another, and it never quite made it to the booth (which probably explains why it didn't sell). But in the end I am glad I didn't sell it, because after about 30 days or so, the veneer started to dry out. I reconditioned it and all was good again, but once again it dried out. Repeat. And repeat again. Suffice it to say I decided it was beyond saving.

Uh oh, the veneer dried out.
Puppy teeth marks?
More evidence of chewing!


So I went back to Plan A and decided to paint it. I chose a color scheme of Duck Egg Blue on the exterior with Old White for the interior and exterior details. Rather than making extensive repairs, I decided to work with the wear and tear, some of which is apparently from a puppy as evidenced by the teeth marks. So I applied medium-to-heavy distressing throughout the entire cabinet to give it a shabby chic appearance. Now it has a fresh finish that looks like it has worn gracefully through the years. I'll leave you with photos of the "after" and wish you a productive and joyful week.
I painted the top, so now it is smooth and easy to dust.

I painted areas in white to highlight the details. 
I love the sweet little details on the front.
Evidence of teeth marks on the left. I think they look charming now.

Details of highlights on the bottom.
The teeth marks on the cross bar are still there but not as apparent.
Heavier distressing was applied to the front of the cabinet.
The white really pops against the blue. 

The hardware was painted white to add to the color balance.


The glass door includes a wood filigree insert.
It was also paint in Duck Egg Blue.
The interior has 3 shelves.
Additional distressing was applied to the shelves.
The nesting boxes in the photos were a small project I worked on.
They are painted in Antoinette Pink and Paris Grey.

The bottom drawer also offers plenty of extra storage.
Before and After
(background removed for comparison)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chest of Drawers

I picked up this gorgeous chest of drawers (circa 1930's) from a local auction. My local circle all said they liked it as-is, but although a picture paints a thousand words, looks can be deceiving and it doesn't always give a true indication of condition. As the saying goes, "seeing is believing". Let me explain. . .


One knob is missing in the photo,
but it was inside the drawer when I picked it up.
The chest appears to be a circa 1930's, although it could be either a little earlier or later. It is a sturdy piece with a somewhat understated design. It was previously painted black, and the color did look stunning. It appears the paint was a latex that was applied with a sprayer. 

It looks great in the auction photo that I included here and you might be wondering why I would paint it. Well this is just a teaser photo to illustrate how looks can be deceiving in a photo. The auction house did provide close up shots, so I knew what I was getting into. In reality the paint was beginning to show signs of wear and tear. Overall the previous paint finish was nicely done and held up well over the years, but it was time for a new finish. 

I'm on the fence on whether or not the hardware was original to the piece and I'm leaning towards the latter, but who knows? I considered changing out the hardware, but one of my daughters said she liked the teardrop style, so I decided to keep them.

Close up of side panel. Notice the paint is chipping through normal wear and tear.

This was actually a nicely done paint finish,
but you can see some drip marks which I didn't like.
You can see the previous paint was beginning to deteriorate and chip.
Sanded off and ready for a new look!

During and After

I sanded off the paint on the top and corners.
I sanded off the black paint from the top of the chest, the drawer fronts, and any other areas where there were adhesion issues. Also, I didn't necessarily want the black to show through on the front when I distressed the piece. However,  I only did a light sanding on the side panels so that some of the black would show through in this area during the distressing process. (Unfortunately the distressing on the sides doesn't show too well in my photos.)

I also sanded the drawer fronts.
Here's a close up of the "before" hardware.
You can also see some dents and dings in the wood.
This was smoothed out during sanding. 
I chose a color scheme of Old White and Paris Grey. I added light distressing to the front and edges, and a medium distressing on the side panels. Now the chest has a more feminine look without being overly fussy.

Old White and Paris Grey.
Isn't the ceramic statue beautiful? I decided to use her for the photo shoot, but she is not for sale. Unless someone offers me a million dollars and then I might consider selling it. But the answer would still probably be "no". My grandma painted it back in 1978.  :-)

Another view with the beautiful ceramic lady.
The original key is long gone. I have a set of skeleton keys,
but haven't found the right fit yet.
Light distressing around the edges.
Close up of painted hardware.
Sturdy serpentine legs in front.
Side view.
I lightly aged the top.
The chest has 4 drawers with plenty of room for storage. The top drawer is 4.25" deep, the second is the deepest at 10.25", and the bottom two drawers are approximately 7.25" deep. I cleaned and refinished the inside of each of the drawers. Dimensions of the chest are 47" high x 36" wide x 20" deep. The back piece adds another 3.25" in overall height, and the supports in the back add another inch to the depth.

Top drawer.
Deep drawer offers plenty of storage. 
Bottom drawer.
Below is another view of the front leg. Notice the framed print in the background? It is one of two Cherry Jeffe Huldah prints that I picked up recently. They are just so pretty that I haven't been able to take them to the booth yet!
Another view of the serpentine leg.
Finished and ready for a new home.
So all-in-all this piece has a whole new look and a second chance. I am letting the wax cure for a few days before taking it to the booth. If you've made it this far then I thank you for reading and hope you have a fabulous week. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vintage Occasional Table

After a lot of blood, sweat, and tears the table is finally finished. Well no blood actually, but there was some sweat and maybe a few tears. All's well that ends well, and this one is done!


To recap my previous blog posts, I purchased this table from a thrift store along with two chairs. The chairs were not originally part of the set, but they were painted in the same color scheme and were sold as a set at thrift store. I'm sure a couple of little girls used it as a craft or tea table at some point and I bet they really enjoyed it. I know I would have!

Kiel Furniture
This is an occasional table that was manufactured by Kiel Furniture. The Kiel Furniture Company was in business from 1907 - 1932, so I date the table somewhere in that time frame, but cannot get more specific than that other than to guess it was made closer to the 1930's. The company ceased operations under the Kiel name and is now operating under the name of A.A. Laun Furniture Company.

I had initially planned to paint over the existing paint, but the paint was starting to chip and peel badly, so it required removal of the existing paint before its makeover. Unfortunately, the paint was more difficult to remove than I ever imagined, especially on the spindles. But it's done now and I've put those days behind me. 


For the new look I chose a more grown-up and traditional color scheme of Arles and Graphite. I tried something new and applied the dark wax directly on the un-waxed Graphite paint then applied soft wax over the dark wax. I recently saw this technique on a project featured on Annie Sloan Unfolded and I thought this would be a good piece to try it on. I am pleased with the result. Next I applied soft wax to the Arles and then aged it ever so slightly.

Here's a visual recap of the before, during, and after:
Here's a visual comparison of before and after applying the wax:

Un-waxed. The colors are vibrant but very flat.
After waxing.
Notice the colors are a little deeper and the finish is shinier.
I am undecided what to do with the table at this point. My initial plan was to refinish it and sell it, but with the amount of time involved in the refinishing, I'm not sure if I can price it correctly for the market and also make a profit. So I might put it in the booth and use it as a display table. While I'm thinking it over I will let the wax cure for a couple of weeks and then decide.

Overall the project was a LOT of work. But I love the finished look and am glad I was able to transform it. I'll end the blog post with a few more photos and I wish you all a wonderful day!
Arles and Graphite.
Close up of spindle painted in Arles.
Light distressing with hints of dark wax and glaze.
One more shot of the spindles.
Boy were they a challenge from start to finish!
This is one of my favorite color combinations!