Friday, 17 January 2014

Changing Your Mind

Mind-Changing Dilemmas with Shifting Trends

I fib you not when I tell you that I have been accused of being 'fickle' on more than one occasion. And truth be told, when I squeeze myself under the microscope, I suppose I can't really deny it (nothing's as cathartic as admitting to your own warts, right). 

So given this disposition I seemingly have to mind-change from time to time, I suppose it is only natural that eventually there would come a time when I would regret a furniture transformation.

And Im sad to say that it has arrived.  The subject is our very own coffee table set, of which one of the end-tables can be seen in the picture above.  You see, Mr. Chuckles inherited some furniture from his grandparents years ago, and when I first started to foray into the world of furniture rehabbing, I naturally painted and refinished everything in the house, and these vintage gems were helpless in the wake of my brush.  When I stripped and re-stained the coffee table and one of the side tables, I hadn't yet come to appreciate the beauty and trendiness of the Mid Century craze. Doh.

At the time, we only had the coffee table and one end table on display, so I didn't bother refinishing the second end table (pictured above).  At Christmas, we had such a full house of people, that Mr. Chuckles decided to bring up the remaining (unfinished) table to accommodate all of the drinks and merriment. It was at this point that Ol' Blue Eyes started crooning in my head 'Regrets, Ive had a few...'.   You see ladies and gents, the unfinished one looked AWESOME. Especially since we have wallpapered our back wall in a trendy 70s-meets-contemporary pattern.

I suppose its only natural that your style changes over time, and where I used to love everything that looked chic and contemporary, now I am moving to more of a fusion blend of contemporary and vintage combined.  I really love all things MCM at the moment (in fact Im going to check out an MCM dining table set tomorrow that Im hoping to put in our small dining area)and suddenly, magically I love the colour walnut again when two years ago I thought it looked like vomit.

I j'adore the way the walnut makes a great organic break-up to all of the colours.  The refinished side table, and also matching coffee table now look too dark to me; I finished them in a really dark stain called 'kona' that I saw at a friends house and loved.  So that's that. Little ickle fickle me.  

So naturally I am now toying with the idea of stripping them (again) and reverting to the original walnut. The curves of the legs are so great and they remind me of the 'Brasilia' range of dressers and credenzas.   

Above is another closer-up shot of the Kona stain.  It is so dark that you can't see any of the wood grain.  Mr. Chuckles thinks Im a moron, and I can't lie, I kind of agree with him.  I actually came across an old picture of the coffee table in its original state the other day and my heart sank a few fathoms. 

Darn it all to hockey-sticks that I didn't have the vision to see how cool mid century walnut or teak furniture was going to be again.  And dang those bloody magazines for setting a trend that I used to have but then cast aside...  Now that I think of it, I just cleaned out the closet and have a bag of 'old' clothes that I don't wear anymore abound for Vinnies.  Hmmm. Maybe I should rethink that decision too. Maybe, just maybe, purple-suede platform shoes are going to make a comeback just to spite me.

If you have ever had your own 'refinishing regrets', please let me know, because after all, misery loves company. :)


  1. Thanks for writing about your change of heart. I hate to see beautiful wood painted because it's the thing to do--a temporary fad.
    And I have seen too many antique pieces painted. Some old furniture is made of different woods and was intended to be painted, others not. Some of the older pieces are in terrible shape and anything would be in improvement, but painting destroys the collector and csh value of intact furniture. It's refreshing to read about someone who sees the value in the original condition of the older pieces. Thanks again for writing about the issue.

  2. I grew up with the mid century modern and have to admit I still love it. Some of it begs to be painted or changed but there is something about the lines of it that really speak to me! I grew up in a house with my grandmother and she always had a paint brush in her hand, if she had an idea or saw a color she liked she painted it! Nothing was safe, the Christmas ornaments have been a million different colors. All I'm saying here is if you feel a change...change it! I really like the color of the wood beside your couch and cabinet!
    Kelly T

  3. Hi Kelly and Marje, thanks for your comments. I suppose its human nature to change your mind and style as things change, and I guess you can always strip and re-do even if it does mean more work! And Marje, I hear you, I do love painting furniture, but I am really developing an appreciation for the beauty of wood grain and if a piece is in great condition I think twice about painting it and opt to refinish instead. I haven't worked on many 'antique' pieces because I usually can't afford them ;) but I know that there value drops straight away. In fact Mr. Chuckles has a 70s vintage working pinball machine in the basement that I caught him painting the other day. I gasped when I saw him doing it, but he assured me it had already been painted, ergo it wasn't worth much anyway. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. so charming! visiting via MMS and hope you'll visit me back: