Saturday, October 11, 2014

Vintage Lowboy in Tuscan Red

 Pure luck is what brought this vintage lowboy and I together.  My hubby asked if I wanted it and I said (with an extremely confused look on my face because I can't believe after all this time he would even think he needed to ask), "Uh, yeah!"  (Duh, honey.)
He said it was ugly and I almost kicked him out of my garage.  Ugly?  Pphttt!
I have a super soft spot for lowboys. It's bad.  It doesn't really  matter what they look like, I love em.  This one was an empire AND curvy!!  The lowboy of my dreams!  I drooled all over it and then made myself finish up my custom work before I got my little hands on it.
And, I had another fabulous piece of luck.  I love General Finishes products, but I can only get the Gel Stain close to me.  And, if you haven't figured it out by now I'm kind of a cheapskate, so I shy away from ordering paint products online unless I just absolutely can't live without it. 
I was in contact with Tara from GF about the recent dresser I refinished with the wood drawer fronts.  She asked if I had ever used their milk paint(which is not a true milk paint, but an acrylic) line and I hung my head in shame as I told her, no, I hadn't.  Well, guess what showed up in the mail a week later?!  You guessed it!  A box full of goodies.  I was so thrilled and ripped that sucker gently opened the box to see what was inside.  There were three cans of paint and a topcoat.  Oh boy!  One of the colors was Tuscan Red and I knew immediately that fate had intervened for my little lowboy.  A perfect combination!
I know, I know.  You want to see the pics.  Just hold your horses cuz I have to tell you about this paint.  The consistency is perfect.  Now, I've heard amazing things about GF paint, but I wanted to test it myself so I whipped out my brush and brushed the drawers of this lowboy.  I still sanded between coats, but I'm not sure I even needed to.  It levels beautifully and covers like a dream.  If you have been on my FB page I posted a pic of the drawer fronts and ppl were asking me if I sprayed them.  It's that good!   I'm dead serious when I tell you I only did 2 coats on most of the dresser.  Two coats!  For red!!  If you've ever painted with red you know two coats is unheard of. 
Bottom line.  I love LOVE it!  Big, huge, ginormous shout out to General Finishes and you can find them on FB  here.  If you haven't tried their products you are definitely missing out!!


That is one sexy piece of furniture I tell ya!  (sorry mom)

 I bought these knobs as a "just in case" for the white vanity I recently finished and was so glad I decided not to use them because they are so perfect against this deep red. 
This is the finish I was talking about.  AmAzInG, right?!!  Like silk. They recommend to sand with 220 between coats, which is what I always do anyway.  I promise you, you WILL notice a difference in your finish if you sand, sand, sand!!  It's a dirty job but your furniture will thank you for it.
 So many times I get pieces where the keyholes are there but the covers are missing.  I was so happy to see they were all there! I simply popped them off (be careful doing this), painted, and then put them back on.  I also loved these simple, flat black knobs for the smaller drawers.
 The grain in this top is amazing and I definitely did not want to paint it.  It's a hardwood so didn't take stain as well as a softer wood would, but Java Gel from General Finishes didn't let me down.  It's a beautiful piece of wood.

This piece is

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Vintage Vanity in French Vanilla

I have a soft heart.  I can't help it.  I feel sorry for lost kitties, sad babies, heartbroken teenagers, bugs on their backs, and ugly furniture!
So, when my client brought me this little vanity and said, "I'm not sure you can do anything with it."  I took it as a personal challenge because, let's face it, it definitely fit in the ugly furniture category!
Someone, bless their heart cuz I am not here to judge, tried to "revive" it by giving it some sort of hideous, drippy, stain wash.  I'm not sure how old or experienced they were or what their intention was, but it was definitely a project gone wrong.  I know you can't tell from the picture, but you will just have to trust me when I tell you it was bad!
It's actually a very pretty little vanity with great bones and she chose a very neutral color which I think compliments it beautifully.  Sometimes simple is best (and always versatile and classic!).
Poor, poor baby!
Much better!  Like a breath of fresh air!

 She's not sure she wants to reuse this stool, so I covered it in a piece of left over fabric for the mean time. It looks very "springy", but just imagine it with an orange pumpkin on it and we're all good. 
*pssst, I actually love turquoise and orange together!
 When I was done she whispered "thank you" to me.  The vanity, not my client, silly!  I didn't let my client see it yet.  I'm kind of a witch that way. ;)

 Every girl needs some bling and I think the gal this is going to will appreciate a diamond (yes, they're fake, but don't burst my bubble please!) encrusted knob, or 4!
 After the chippy red dresser I sadly admit I reverted to my old ways and put the polish
 on that finish. ;)

color = French Vanilla from SW

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ode to Fall: Dresser in Tricycle

I'm not much of a seasonal decorator.  In fact, if it weren't for the cute pouty face of my almost 10 year old daughter I probably would do no seasonal decorating.  I know.  I'm a stooge.  The thought of getting it all out and then having to put it all away gives me anxiety.  I am no different when it comes to painting really.  I paint whatever color whenever I want to. 
That being said, my client wanted this dresser red and it's perfect timing for fall.  So, consider this my Ode To Fall!! :)
The dresser was in good shape so it didn't need a lot of prep work.  She wanted me to use MMS milk paint in Tricycle.  I don't work with milk paint a lot, but I know it kind of has a mind of its own.  Not a good thing for a perfectionist with a touch of OCD such as myself.  She wanted it chippy and I was actually afraid it wasn't going to be chippy enough.  The finish was very flaky so I ended up sanding the whole thing down with 150 grit.  That sounds like a lot of work, but it really wasn't.  The finish was so old it came right off.  I know milk paint bonds really well to bare wood so I ended up staining the drawer fronts dark and then giving them two coats of poly so the paint wouldn't bond as well.  It actually worked really well and I love the texture of the paint. 
We need to talk about that.  Like I said, I'm a perfectionist and I've prided myself on my finish.  I like it smooooth and even.  Well, that is not the nature of milk paint so I had to put all of that aside and just go with it.  The finish is still smooth, but milk paint flakes and chips and there's a lot of depth to the paint (meaning there's a lot of variation in the color).  I took a few close ups so you could see what I mean if you aren't familiar with milk paint. 
I also chose to use hemp oil instead of poly (sorry ladies, you may stone me, but wax is just too much work for this gal) to really deepen the color of the paint.  It really makes the color come alive.  Love that!
I've shown you my ugly garage so many times it doesn't even bother me anymore! :)


I'm loving it!
 This is the top before.  Yikes, right?!!
I sanded it down with 150, making sure to remove any small scratches that the sandpaper may have left behind.  Gave it a coat of Java Gel and 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic.
 This is the top after (ignore the dust specks, we were having 70mph winds when I took these pics!).  Can you believe it's the same top?  I love restoring a nice piece of wood!
 I really do like the texture of this!  I love milk paint for the authenticity it brings to a piece.  Sometimes distressing can look contrived, but milk paint never does.  It looks like what would naturally happen over time.

 It's a contradiction of smooth and flaky. ;)
color = Tricycle MMS
top coat = hemp oil

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vintage Dresser refinished in Java Gel from General Finishes

This little dresser is why I love doing what I do! 
I think it has lived an amazing and exciting life!  I can just picture it new, some woman so excited to have a lovely piece of furniture.  Maybe it was her first.  I can picture the beautiful wood grain and the sheen of a freshly lacquered surface.  I can picture her reaction at it receiving its first ding or scratch.  Maybe she lovingly tried to fix it, maybe she thought "Oh well."  I can see the years taking their toll on the finish and it being moved around the house.  I can imagine the first time someone thought to take a paint brush to it thinking, at this point, it could only help. 
I found traces of fire engine red, canary yellow, royal blue, and bright green, along with white and black.  I'm not exactly sure what it looked like the first time it was painted, but I can imagine the artist, paint brush in hand, standing back admiring their work. 
There are pieces missing off the base, but it's solid with beautiful, dovetail drawers that still slide perfectly, evidence of good craftsmanship.  A lot of it had been sanded down by my client, so the finish was uneven and rough.  I finished sanding the whole thing down to the bare wood and was thrilled to find what was beneath the paint.
My client and her husband decided they wanted something classic.  I thought that was perfect for this piece.  It's got such beautiful, clean lines and a pretty bow front.  I also didn't do exactly what we discussed, so I hope it's ok!!
I posted this on my FB page a few days ago and wondered if anybody didn't read and thought this was an "after".  The thought made me giggle a little. :)
 This is what the top looked like when I received it.  Notice the dark mark on the bottom right hand side.  It look like a sideways heart.  Remember it. :)

You just know I did my secret-in-the-garage-behind-closed-doors happy dance about this one!  How could I not? 
It's so beautiful!  I know some probably think I am a wood hater since I paint everything, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  I love a pretty piece of wood and was so happy the drawer fronts were in such good condition.  

 The color of the body of the dresser is Light French Gray by Sherwin Williams.  I've used it before and I love how it's subtle and neutral.  It could fit in with almost any d├ęcor. I had to do multiple coats of shellac between coats of paint as the bleed through was horrible.  I think part of it was because the pigment from the red paint that was used on it before soaked into the wood and the new paint sucked it out. Just my guess. ;)
I sanded the drawers down, being careful not to sand through the veneer as it was thin.  I gave them one coat of Java Gel by General Finishes (just wiped it on with shop towels because I didn't have a chip brush on hand and wiped off immediately, going over it several times to get as much stain off as possible so I could still see the wood grain) followed by 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic (sanding between each coat).  I love the highlights and the lowlights. The wood just glows-so beautiful!
She still had 6 of the original pulls so I opted to use them on the lower drawers and used these ceramic rosettes on the uppers.  I always love the contrast of different textures.  I like the dark pulls (I used Oil Rubbed Bronze) on the dark drawers and the white of the rosettes against the gray paint.

 Remember this top?  The grain is incredible.  It's actually two pieces of veneer laid side by side.  When the pieces mirror each other it is called book match veneer.  You'll notice these two pieces "mirror" each other in the way they are placed, but they aren't identical (notice the rings on the top of the picture are smaller than the rings on the bottom).  I've never seen this before and I loved it. 
Remember the mark I pointed out?  When I stained the wood it wasn't there.  But, when I did the first coat of poly I noticed the wood resisted the poly.  So, there must be something soaked in the wood on that particular spot. I couldn't sand the wood anymore because it's already thin and I didn't want to sand through the veneer so I left it.  At first I was freaking out a little, but then decided I liked the idea of a heart in the top of this particular piece.  It's been loved (almost to death, lol) and now it has a beauty mark to show for it!


A new life for a lovely little dresser!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Vintage Highboy Makeover

When my client dropped a few of her other pieces off  she pulled this one off the trailer and said, "We were just going to junk this one.  I'm not sure you can do anything with it."  A lot of the veneer was chipped and peeling, but it was still very solid and the drawers were clean and worked perfectly.  I told her it had potential and I'm sure we could do something with it. :)
I'm not really crazy about this style, but I've done them before so I knew it could look like a million bucks.  I was a little sad to paint over those beautiful herringbone veneers, but they were a little rough--and it wasn't my call anyway. ;)

Updated in black with antique brass pulls, you wouldn't even know this was the same piece! 

 Fortunately, I was able to save the top of this piece. It's a pretty piece of mahogany, not perfect, but still looks amazing.
I started using Minwax Polycrylic a few months ago and although I think I like Varathane better, I do like the nice matte finish the Satin gives.

The sun wasn't actually out when I took these pics but it was very reflective anyway (which I always think makes the black pieces look blotchy, but they aren't).
I did all the prep work on this piece yesterday and when I went to put the second coat of paint on the drawers I noticed there were scratches all over them.  When I scuff sanded I used 150 (normally I use 220) and it left scratches all over in the finish, which paint does not "cover up".  So, I had to go back and sand off all the drawers and start over.  I knew better and should have sanded them down to the bare wood in the first place.  Lesson learned.  Again.

Good landfill save??  I think so!
paint = All Surface Enamel from Sherwin Williams in stock black (low sheen)
poly = Minwax Polycrylic in Satin