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! 


  1. That turned out beautiful! Love the colors and I just pinned it to my "Painted Pieces" board. Great job!

  2. Wow! It' gorgeous as usual, but it's amazing how you persevere through these projects! It looks like it's already found a home....Lucky person to get an original CreateInspire relove! :) xoxo Robin

  3. Lisa, you are amazing. This piece is WOW!

    I cannot even believe someone hassled you about $250 for a dresser? Excuse me? That's a GREAT price for a solid wood artisan piece. Holy smokes, you should charge that for the labor alone.

    You do incredible work and you are an inspiration like you wouldn't even believe. Every time I see a new post of yours I get goosebumps. Thank you for your work, it is truly incredible. : - )


  4. Can you share more about waxing the drawers to help them slide easier? I have a feeling I'm going to need to know about it before my current mess/project is complete. Thank you.

  5. Beautiful job! Some people are just Philistines and when shown the light, still won't be gracious. Bet that fella will remember what you taught him he next time he buys a piece of furniture. AND he'll find a way to profit from the knowledge and still sleep well at night. Philistines! WH-aa--rrr-k!!!! The rest of us thank you for the primer on how you did it. Well done. Take a bow,

  6. Your comment about "I then got "the look". Oh, you know the one I'm talking about!" Literally made me laugh out loud. I get that same look all the time, same comments and all from my hubby too (Perfectionist-Carpenter). That was so freakin funny. Good to know I am not alone here. So funny.

    1. You worked your butt off on this piece. Great job ! Gorgeous lil petite princess she is now.


Love your comments! Please feel free to leave one!! <3