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Friday, February 13, 2015

mistakes, I've made a few.

A few weeks ago we hit upon a post-Empire American  furniture bonanza... From different sources... Even an unexpected source.

While we were dealing the deal on another cupboard, the homeowner let slip that their daughter is moving and her stuff is in that trailer right there in the driveway .  "Is that stuff for sale? Can we see it?"

Yes and yes. 
When the guy lifted the latch on the trailer door, it was as if the gates of Heaven opened. 

A post-empire American buffet in all its stately sturdy curvy glory stood in front of us.  It was beautiful. It was in bad shape. 

"I can fix it," said my post-surgical husband.
"You can't lift it," I chimed in.
"I can lift it, " said the guy.
"Sold!" JR and I said in unison.

So the guy and I hoisted that beast up into our pick-up.

After the much needed repairs and rebuilding, JR re-finished the top. The rest of the finish was not so nice, so,
I painted it.  

Being super excited about the New MMS European Colors, I opted for "Marzipan." We would select a different paint for the drawers, since so much had to be rebuilt and I didn't want chipping in all the wrong places.

The buffet got a good cleaning, and an even better sanding. The varnish was disintegrating before my eyes, so I figured it didn't matter if I was out of bonding agent.   I applied a coat of straight Marzipan milk paint.

The next morning, it looked like this:

After sanding, it looked like this:

And I wondered if I'd made a big mistake in my haste to paint without the bonding agent.

The finish was a little TOO dramatic for my customer base, so I put on my thinking cap. I layered some chalk paint over the top, which did two things. The chalk paint adhered to the places that the milk paint did not, and also, as I was painting, it pulled some chips of milk paint off, which mixed with the chalk paint and gave it a delicious texture. My hunch was that when it dried and I sanded it, it would loosen up even more of that milk paint in a few spots. Make sense?

My hunch was right. The result was this amazing chippy, texture-y finish that is to DIE for! A good application of clear wax sealed the deal.

Changed out the wood knobs for some vintage glass knobs and we have ourselves a very, very cool sideboard with a beveled mirror shelf that is loaded with storage and well, it's just perfect.

Coffee Station?  Bar? Kitchen storage? Baby's room?  

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery. " 
-James Joyce

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

the way it goes sometimes

Last summer, right in my very own neighborhood, there is this guy who, whenever it suits his fancy, and if it's not on a Sunday, will put stuff out in his yard to sell. And he usually has pretty cool stuff.
I picked up a little antique three drawer chest (Well, I bought it and JR went back later to pick it up).
Good sturdy dresser, small size, painted with layers of  hideous  white paint,  with even more hideous huge round brass drawer pulls.  No doubt, someone had it in their garage or basement, because it also had a good amount of hideous can stains and rust marks on it. 

But it had good bones. I was going to do something cool with it. I never got a before picture, but I think you get the idea.

About that time, I was going through my minty green stage. Remember this office chair that sold in a half a minute?

 And this dresser?

So, I mixed more paint and came up with this:

Yup...hours of paint mixing, masking off stripes and then painting. We changed out the knobs to antique glass knobs (here, I was anxious to show it off and took pics before I even had all the knobs on!)
Man, I loved that dresser. It got lots of interest on Facebook, too.  But it sat. And sat. Months later, it was still sitting. 

So we decided that this would become the Experiment Dresser. A way to try out different colors and techniques.  Of course, this dresser would never make us any money...we were already far past that stage.  I painted it again.

And it sat.

We changed the knobs to drawer pulls.

And it sat.

Sunday, we pulled the dresser to the back of the shop. I was thinking of just sanding the whole thing  and painting it white. Come to think of it, if I had just done that to begin with, I could have saved myself a whole lot of time, and made a profit to boot!

So there it sat, in the back of the store, and in comes a couple...looking for  a table with a drawer that boots could fit under. For an entryway. We showed them the stuff we had available in the basement. Nah. Then they spotted this dresser. By this time, the drawers were removed since JR was getting it ready to go  back to the workshop.   

Ideas started flowing, light bulb moments were happening. What if we took out the bottom drawer?  But I like the trim... What if we moved that trim up?  Can JR do it?  JR can do anything!
 They loved the colors, the distress of it all, and the idea that it could become the custom piece they were looking for...drawers to hold mittens and hats, a space for shoes and boots, and a landing pad for keys, mail, a bag.

So yeah, that's the way it goes sometimes. The best laid plans, so they say.  We decided to trade the remodeled dresser for some serious antique wood planks and boards for a bunch of other projects, so it was a win/win for all of us.

Good ending.