Thursday 23 January 2014

Getting a Pewter Look on Hardware

Just a couple of materials and a few simple steps is all it takes

I have done this look on a couple of different dressers now. It all began with the beautiful dresser below. 

 I had previously refinished this dresser in turquoise (HERE) and was over-the-moon to find the exact same gorgeous dresser in excellent vintage condition. It has wonderful raised detailing and I added the legs to give it extra height.

There was nothing wrong with the hardware in its original state, but it was so dark that it was difficult to appreciate all the ornate carved detailing.  Lightening it up and glazing it really highlights all of that beautiful craftsmanship.

I drew inspiration from a technique I have used on some old candlesticks to get a 'pewter' looking finish. This candlestick used to be glossy red and it really suited the Japanese inspired furnishings of the house I shared in Sydney (yep, I brought these guys all the way home to Canada), but I gave them new life to fit in with the decor of my new digs.

I washed the hardware well using baking soda and vinegar to get the gunk off.  I noticed this did leave a film on the hardware after it dried (probably a chemical reaction) and so I gave all the pieces of hardware a good sanding. Just to give you an idea of the finish. The middle is the original finish, the left is after I sanded/buffed it to a soft gold, and the right shows the residue post soaking. 

I sanded all the hardware really well in order to promote good adhesion for the spray paint.  This was the most time consuming and unpleasant step.  I wore a mask to prevent any of those nasty particles tainting my pristine nostrils. I want to be able to taste my Honeycombs after all.

Next up was silver spray paint.  I used Krylon in a gloss finish.  I did about three coats with 20-30 minutes of dry time between coats. Although the hardware looked great after this step, it really lacked the depth that the glaze provided.

I let the paint dry for a couple of days and kept myself busy doing other things before glazing.  For the glaze I mixed together Martha Stewart glazing medium with some black paint. That's actually an old herbs bottle I mixed it up in. A little of the glaze goes a-l-o-n-g way.

I wiped on the glaze with a dry paper towel and then used a damp cloth to hastily wipe it back off.  I didn't over wipe as I wanted the glaze to gather into the grooves of the detailing and create a darker shadow.  If there were any areas I felt were too dark I just worked the damp cloth a little more.

The picture above shows the difference in steps.  Starting on the right you can see the plate with spray paint, the middle is what it looked like when I covered with glaze, and the left is the end result after the glaze was wiped off.

I allowed the glaze to dry overnight before I sealed everything with a few spray coats of polyacrylic.  I used a satin finish, but I did find that it dulled the finish down to more of a matte finish.  I would definitely consider using a gloss polyacrylic spray for the next time to encourage a bit more luster.

The end result makes a stunning contrast with the white paint of the dresser. You can see another example of where I used this technique below.

It really is amazing how much of a transformation you can make with a little paint, a little imagination, and a little effort. Magic!

If you have any tips for hardware transformations please leave a comment or a link!

Monday 20 January 2014

Turquoise / Blue Dresser with Gold Hardware

A Bit of Furniture, and a Bit of my Living Room

I have actually had this piece for quite a while now. But I just realized I have never posted about it. Mr Chuckles and I are snowbirding it for the month of Feb and so I am currently on hiatus from any furniture transforming.  So I figured it was a good time to do some posting about things I usually don't have time for as I always seem to have a dripping brush in my hand.

The pictures above show this piece started its life out as a midget. I assume that it used to be the bottom section of a china cabinet because it is super short at 27" tall.  If memory serves, this is the piece that began my affliction of adding legs to dressers.  I have added custom legs to quite a few pieces now and this was the first one.  With the legs, it now stands at about 35" tall and looks very stately.  Before it just looked weird.

I used a diy chalk paint on this in a colour I have used a lot of times. I love the way it looks blue in some light and than greenish in some light.  I used a mixure of grout, water and a Behr sample pot.  

If you have read my TIPS ON BETTER DIY CHALK PAINT you will know that I dont really like Behr, and now I never use it.  I actually think Behr is one of the worst paints for furniture makeovers.  It does not stick well at all in my opinion.  But, this piece was done long before I began my quest and experimenting to find the best paints for furniture.

I sanded the piece and cleaned it first, but I didn't prime it.  I slathered on two or three coats of the paint, this colour has awesome coverage and 2 coats was probably enough.  I then used different colours to highlight the inlaid 'steps' of the drawer frames. I used yellows and different shades of blue, turquoise and black.  Its hard to see in the pictures, but the effect is great in real life and produces a wonderful rustic feel.

I sanded well between coats and after the final coat to smooth things out, and I lightly waxed with mixwax.  I only waxed very softly and I did not buff for shine.  This piece has a very flat feel.  I did some light distressing on the edges to tie in with the rustic charm of the drawers.

I initially left the hardware original, but when my rub-n-buff arrived in the mail a month and a half ago, I put it to use straight away by rubbing the hardware with grecian gold.  The contrast looks amazing and I love the piece even more now!

Just coming back to the behr/chalk paint.  This piece has been finished for about 15 months I would say. And even though I sanded first, and I waited at least two weeks before I waxed it (I didn't have any wax at the time), I can still SCRATCH the paint off with a fingernail.   To me this just reinforces what I said in my post on better DIY chalkpaint about how important it is to use a high adhesion paint as well as following the other steps.  Im not worried about it, because the piece is just for us and we are careful with it.  But if I had a do-over, I certainly would not use BEHR. The small scratches in the picture below are ones I made with my fingernail months after the piece was done.  The longer ones/corner were on purpose.

I don't usually stage my pieces with a TV on it, but we actually do use it as a media console so I wasn't about to lug it away.  We use all the drawers for dvds and other nic knacks and the middle cupboard section houses our big bass speaker. It makes a great pop of colour in our mostly gray, white and black living room. The wallpaper was just done over Christmas.  I was working on a large china cabinet(HERE)for a client and used the same paper in a different colour on the inside back piece.  I loved it so much I bought the same paper in gray/white for us. 

Getting Teaky With It!

A Vintage Teak Dining Set That Exceeds Expectations

I have been smiling all day today!  Smiling when I woke up 5:30 on a Saturday and couldn't fall back to sleep.  Smiling when I looked out the window and saw a fresh crop of snow burying the driveway I had shoveled the night before. Smiling when when I got cut off in traffic and had to put my defensive driving to the test.

Hmmm, you'd be right to wonder. Those don't sound like logical smiling situations..And normally, you would be right,  but today I had a secret.  I was taking Mr Chuckles on a quest to see a mid century modern dining set, that judging by the pictures, was in fantastic condition.

And oh my word, the voltage of that smile challenged the efforts of our local power grid, because, drum-roll please, that set was in better than fantastic condition!

I had seen and responded to the add within an hour of posting (I have learned you need to be Flash Gordon fast in your response on low-priced mcm stuff). I had been keeping my eye out for a great mcm dining set for the past month or so as we have been redoing our living room and dining area.  It started with a new couch, then wallpapering and gray paint, then crown molding, and suddenly, our old hand-me-down dining set was looking like the ugly-duckling in the wedding pictures.

And so the search began.  Once in the car I spilled the beans with Mr. Chuckles, and although the wattage of his smile didn't quite rival mine, he did seem pretty happy. We pulled up to a seniors residence and met with a lovely lady who was helping her aging father move into a seniors home and selling off the items he wouldn't need.  We got to meet the old chap who was a right character of German origin.

He asked his daughter what we wanted and she said we were here to look at some furniture. 'Furniture!' he barked, 'Im not buying anything. I don't need to spend anymore money!'.  Once she made him understand that we were in fact buying and not selling, he turned his 90 year old crinkly eyes toward us and asked us if we wanted to buy him. 'Are you for sale?' Mr Chuckles quipped.  'If the price is right, I am,' a little wry smile playing across his face.  I love old people who are funny, and this guy was as plucky as they come. In fact, during the awkward dance Mr Chuckles and I had trying to maneuver the table out the door, the veteran shimmied his way in beside me and elbowed me out of the way.  Imagine that, lifting a heavy table at 90.  I guess chivalry isn't entirely dead.

Mr C and I got the table and 6 chairs down to the Mazda confident that we would fit it all in in two trips, but unfortunately for the first time in a long time she let me down.  The table has non removable legs and she was two inches too tall for that perfect Cinderella fit.  Fortunately my daddy-dearest has a pickup truck and was kind enough to come lend us a hand.

I wasn't a fan of the brownish alligator seat coverings, so I recovered them straight away with some great fabric that I picked up at my favourite restore for $1 a meter a while back. It is very thick and durable and it should hold up well. I also think the colour scheme and circle design on it tie in well with the vintage look of the set.

I used my air compressor and the new staple gun that Santa brought me for Christmas to staple the covering on.  My cat was terrified at the sound of the gun and made the funniest little fluttery sounds of indignation every time I pulled the trigger.  I wish I had filmed it. It was precious.

Here you can see the before and after. The new fabric really freshens the set up while still keeping with the vintage vibe.

The wood grain on the table is gorgeous and is what makes the set so special, and it is in perfect condition having always been dutifully covered with a table cloth. I myself wouldn't dream of covering up that beautiful grain, but I certainly intend to buy some placemats for eating on.  I gave Mr Chuckle's a stern talk that under no circumstances are we to use the table without placemats. Being anal retentive himself, he just looked at me like I was trying to convince him the sky was blue.

My next task is to decide what I want to put on that gray wall.  Im on the hunt for some art, but haven't ruled out some vintage mounted posters.  Mr. Chuckles' contribution was that we hang a nice wooden beam. ???{headscratch}.

Its now just after 8 pm, and Ive still got that smile and a warm glow that comes from the satisfaction of having accomplished something.  My cup of hot chocolate and me keep turning around to give little winks at the new dining set.  And If I didn't know better, Id say it was winking back.

Nothing beats shared happiness.

Friday 17 January 2014

The Things You Don't Know About Monika

'Happy Accidents'

A fellow blogger left a comment on my blog once using the phrase 'happy accident', up until that point I hadn't heard of this neat little saying, but I can tell you I have given it a lot of mileage since.  

I had my own happy accident just the other day.  We were visiting with Mr. Chuckle's family, and his spunky cousin Monika was down visiting the old's from her adopted home of Whitehorse, Yukon.  We had exhausted the usual conversation of 'do your pipes burst a lot from the cold?' and 'do you feel suicidal coz you never see the sun?' when out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of her eclectic business card.

'What's that?' I pointed. It was at this moment I was mowed down to discover 'by happy accident' that Monika is an artist, an illustrator to be exact. 

Falling completely and utterly in love with the funky little hand-drawn line graphics on the back of her card, I played detective when I got home and googled her name to uncover more of her work.  Well blow-me-down-Martha, this is one talented lady! Who knew her skills were hiding in Mr. Chuckle's family all this time and I had no idea!

I absolutely adore the Indie vibe she conjures with her awesome graphics of warpy animals and funky hipster twenty-somethings. She flawlessly blends vintage, indie, childish-exuberance and inner-city edginess all in one penstroke. 

Obviously her talents have been spied by lots of others judging by all of the labels, coasters, and bags she has been commissioned to do.  True to form, I'm always the last to know!

I noticed Mr. Chuckle's nephew trotting around with a cute little minnie-me sized pillow on the night, naturally he turned and walked away when I asked to see it, but my Sherlock Holmes endeavors uncovered that Monika has recently designed her own line of fabrics featuring her awesome graphics, and pillows with her quirky little animals.  

So there you go. 'Happy Accidents'indeed.  I found out Monika sells on ETSY as well. Clicking HERE will take you to her shop where you can see more of her pillows and fabrics line. Also, you can check out her awesome portfolio by clicking HERE