Sunday 25 May 2014

Is That an Optical Illusion in my Woodgrain...

I discovered this beautiful piece whilst out perusing my favorite re-store.  I spotted her strong beauty straight away - I think she was flexing her biceps at me, and as a bonus, she came with a large 'leaner' mirror. 

An older gentleman also navigating the store's aisles stopped and gave me a wink.  He said, 'that is a very good piece of furniture. Solid wood.  You could refinish it by sanding back and it will be beautiful again."

You read my mind little old man!
If you have read my blog before, than you know that sometimes the wood purist in my (inherited from my traditional parents) chirps up and commands 'Put thy paintbrush down, young lady!'  Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don't.   If its an ugly 70s dresser, than paint is almost a must to make the piece tolerable again.  But on MCM pieces, I will usually restain, or do a two-tone.
This piece had stunning grain.  Like swirling Van Gough clouds dancing across the top.  Paint that?  I. Just. Cant. 
But more amazing.  This piece contains an OPTICAL ILLUSION on the wooden inlay of the middle bank of drawers!!  Can you see it?  Take a look through the pictures, its pretty obvious, and SUPER COOL if you ask this old bird!  Stare at it long enough and it will turn into a breaching whale with a rainbow overhead!  Serious! You just need to keep staring.
So after I hauled this mammoth home (all 75" of her), I plugged in the orbital and sanded off the old finish which was easily done on all parts accept the top.  The top had a few extra coats of protection and it was making the orbital (and my elbow) I stripped it instead and finished it off with the orbital.
I was very careful not to sand through the grain, this can be tricky at the edges and corners (as I have learned the hard way in the past).  After all was sanded, I wiped down all the dust and I started staining.

I than protected with three coats of poly (5 on the top).

I opted to keep the original hardware because I love the way they slope up at the top. It reminds me of the peaks on BRASLIA dressers.
Here is the before.  She is on her side. She had a lot of scratches, but overall very good condition. No significant chips or dings.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Minty Antique Dresser

This little beauty rounds out the set of furniture I picked up recently.  I found someone who loved the little set and wanted the dresser painted out to match the vanity and the headboard.

The treatment was much the same as before.  A little bit o' sanding, a little bit of chalkpainting and a topcoat of dark wax (poly first on the top for extra protection).
I did a fair bit of distressing on the piece as I wanted that rustic aged look. 
Its funny because when I picked up this set I was so excited.  I always love the way the transformations of these pieces look.  I admire the work Reeves does over at THE WEATHERED DOOR and was really excited to do an antique chest redo. 

But its strange, although they were super easy to do, and I didn't need an extra pair of muscles to manoeuver them around, I still prefer the big 9-drawer 70s style dressers I do - even though I risk a slipped-disk every time I shift them.  I guess we all have our own little style!
The piece came with a removable backer piece.  What do you think, with or without?

It is a super duper sunny day here today, so I am keeping this post short and sweet!  Enjoy the sunshine everyone.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Weathered Armoire with Vintage Paper

Hi everyone, here is my latest piece!  NOW. Before I go into details I first want to say that this is the first piece that I took pictures of against my new 'staging wall' which is in the garage.  I love taking pictures against my black and white floral wallpaper, but Mr Chuckle's and I were getting a bit weary of brining every single piece into the house to take pictures of..So, I thought I would try something new.
I am not particularly happy with the outcome of these pictures.  I tried a couple of different approaches to how much light I was letting in, but it still isn't an ideal result.  I will have to keep playing and trying to tweak a bit with future pieces.  So I apologize for the less than amazing pictures (not that my previous pictures were that much better! - they just had a prettier backdrop).
I don't usually work on armoires because they are not my favorite style of furniture, but I came across this piece as part of a matching set with the piece I finished in navy and gold (here) and figured I may as well take on both.
I knew I wanted to do something using my vintage Eaton's wallpaper which I have used on the inside of a few pieces, but I haven't really used on the outside of one yet.  I just love this paper - both the colours and the design are beautiful.   It is a pre-pasted wallpaper (yay!) so it was so easy to apply.
I custom mixed up a blueish green to match one of the colours in the wallpaper.  In the jar it looked more greenish, but surprisingly it came out a little more blue on the piece.  I know this because my good ol' neighbor caught sight of it and said ' now you can't tell me that one isn't blue!'.  If you have read this blog for a while, than you have met this neighbor before with some of the funny blunder comments he has made (I still like him despite this).
I knew I wanted rustic with heavy distressing on this piece because I haven't done a piece like this in a while and felt like getting a bit whimsical.  I have done a similar piece (here) many months ago, but I was ready for another turn.
I distressed heavily and wonderfully the wood grain poking through has a great 'orange' colour to it which ties in perfectly with the orange on the paper.  I also highlighted with light blue, mint, white and yellow.  A whole wash of colours mix up to make this piece special.
I wanted some extra height, so I added the legs - not the most traditional on an armoire like this, but they are removable, so if they aren't to everyone's taste, they are easily removed.
I used chalkpaint on this piece, and I sealed with polyurethane as I have been doing a lot lately.  The original hardware was spruced up with a dab of rub n buff!
I did a lot of heavy distressing, as well as some whitewashing on the side.
 Here is a close up of the great paper!

And the before!

Sunday 11 May 2014

Refinished MCM Cabinet

Well blow me down Im tired!  Mother's Day has taken it out of me.  And Im not even a mother..  I do have a cat, Ms Do-As-I-Please, but all she gave me for mother's day was a morning armpit sniff and a ferocious bath refusal.  No bacon, no eggs, just a sniff sniff and a whisker tickle.
 I did spend the afternoon with my mom, sisters, and their kiddies.  I took the two older ones down to the creek to try and catch fish.  And before that I was working on furniture all day (no complaints there!) but Im happy to be flopped on the couch now.

So I just finished this beauty.  And sometimes wood is just so great that you can't bring yourself to paint over it.  This piece spoke to said...don't paint me. And I listened (for the most part, I did paint the hidden drawer).
It was in very good condition, but still needed a little spruce up.  I sanded the top and front panels back to the grain and re-stained.
I finished with 5 coats of satin sheen polyurethane.  The finish is fantastic.
It has one little drawer, and I did let myself paint that just to add a little bit of contrast when you slide the cupboard open.  I also lined it with vintage material.
I love the spidery legs. 
This shot shows how great the top came out.  I custom mixed up the stain using dark walnut and an orangey colour stain I have (can't remember what its called at the moment and Im too lazy to go check quite honestly!).
The shot below is the before, you can see how good the condition was, but up close there were some scratches and dings.  A little photobomber in the foreground there.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Regal Navy Blue with Custom Legs

I love this piece!  I think her colour is so regal, rich and inviting - you just want to pull up a throne, finger snap to the butler and feast on your roast pork and cognac. Add  the stunning gold hardware (all hail thee rub-n-buff) and Queen Elizabeth may as well pop round for some tea and scones.  Im hearing trumpets in the distance and I think I just saw a unicorn trot by saddled by an armoured knight.

This piece started out life in pretty good condition but was bland and boring. No one would pick her out of a lineup, that's for sure.  She needed love.  L-O-V-E I say!
I have had this tint 'blueberry twist' sitting on the shelf for a while now, and I finally blew the dust off the lid and decided to give it a go.  I mixed the tint into my dulux diamond and turned into a chalk paint. 
It got pretty decent coverage which sometimes dark or bright colours can be temperamental about.  Ive had some bad luck with reds that take about 7 coats to convince you that they are in fact paint and not stain.  Three would have been enough, but I decided to go for four as I wanted it to be perfect, plus I accidently mixed up too much chalkpaint and figure I might as well use it up as I find the DIY stuff doesn't have the longest shelf life.

Mr. Chuckle's was called in to lend some expertise and help me add the custom legs which I painted out gold prior to attaching.  The difference is amazing.  Those legs are little tools in a magician's kit.  I always marvel at how remarkable a transformation is when you add legs to a stumpy piece.  It stops looking like a 'dresser' and starts looking like a piece of furniture; fit for any living area in the house.  
These new stilettos take the piece to 37" tall now.    Whistle whistle.

I didn't use wax, instead I finished with satin polyurethane which makes for a wonderful finish.  It has a great sheen without being cheap looking or showing every little blemish.

I used some chevron paper in navy and turquoise and modpodged it to the inside drawers for a bit of whimsy.

Rub n buff was conscripted into action and used on all of the original hadware.  I love gold at the moment, I know it isn't for everyone (or every piece) but I think it is catching and making a comeback.

Moving this piece was backbreaking even with my backbrace on (yep, I wear a backbrace - safety first boys and girls).  I do my refinishing in the workshop (garage) and we bring pieces in to the house to photograph, but Im in the process of creating a staging wall in the garage because the constant shifing of furniture is starting to take its toll.  The garage won't be quite as flashy as the walls are not in perfect condition, but Im hoping that I can swing it somehow.
And to end on a bright note, I saw a flower today while out on my run.  A real live one!  I had to do a double take because for a second I thought someone stuck a fake one into the ground.  Spring has finally sprung!
And the Before!