Monday, December 8, 2014

Vanity to Two Tone Desk

Here's a piece I finished a few weeks ago.  It belongs to a friend of mine.  It was his grandmothers vanity and he wanted me to restore it so that he could use it as a desk.  He lives in a small space so the size was just right for his needs.  His apartment is one of those converted lofts in downtown with the concrete floors, brick walls, and great view. I wish I would have taken the time to stage the desk up against one of the brick walls, it would have made for a better reveal photo.  


The piece had last been used as desk by his son.  It had water damage on the top and the finish had darkened and crackled in some areas.   He initially wanted the whole thing stripped and re-stained but I told him I don't do that. ;)  We compromised on just stripping the top and drawers and that I would paint the rest of the body.  I showed him some inspiration photos and he was on board.  To get down to bare wood I used chemical stripper on the top and drawer fronts.  It took two applications which is pretty typical. I was actually surprised that all the issues came out and how pretty the wood was underneath.

I think the direction of the wood grain on the drawers is very interesting.  For the paint finish I suggested Milk Paint and he chose Drift Wood by Old Fashion Milk Paint.  The stain is Watco Danish oil in the color Walnut.  I top coated everything with wipe on poly for durability and to give it a consistent sheen.  I am really loving warm wood tones right now and I think the walnut color looks rich with Driftwood. 

I replaced the original knobs with antique bronze bin cup pulls.  I had to hunt for just the right size to cover the holes from the original knobs which were 4.25" apart.  The solid brass casters are my favorite part, I'm obsessed with them.  It's all about the details right?  They also give a little more height so he can fit under the desk.  Both the pulls and casters are from

I think the two tone finish as well as the industrial hardware definitely gives the piece the more masculine feel that we were going for.  

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Bold Mid Century Chair Makeover

Half the fun of doing custom work is the story behind each piece.  Recently I reupholstered this Mid Century chair for a very sweet couple.  It was his grandfathers chair.  My client told me his Grandfather had learned the upholstery trade after retiring from the military.  He had his own business for years and had actually reupholstered this very chair.  It still had a tag under the cushion with his business name on it.  It is a special piece to the family and I am thrilled to have been able to bring it back to life for them.

The before was a crunchy avocado crushed velvet with a short skirt and arm covers.  It's funny how old upholstery fabric was so stiff and "crunchy" for lack of a better word.  Modern fabrics are much softer but can still have all the great texture that the old school fabrics had.  My clients love color and selected this vibrant purple. I have used this fabric style several times in different colors. It's very durable with a linen texture to it.  It works great on any style of furniture.  I get it through a wholesale source. 

We decided in order to make this chair a little more this century I would not replace the skirt.  The swivel rocker base is a medium tone wood and looks great, no need to cover it up. 

Since my clients love pattern and color I decided to give them a little surprise with this fun fabric under the cushion.  You don't see it unless you lift the cushion but it's fun to know it's there.

Other then that I reupholstered the chair just as it was.  I love the squared off edges and button pattern on the back.  It's classic mid century updated with a fresh bold color for a modern couple. 

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Milk Painted Buffet

I have been upholstering like a mad woman.  When I stumbled across this buffet I just had to stop everything and paint it.  My business has changed so much over the past year and upholstery work is what occupies most of my days.  I really enjoy it and am so thankful I can make a living doing something I love but some days I just need to do something different.      

I knew just how I wanted to paint this piece the minute I saw it.  Milk Paint of course.  It is by far my favorite paint to use.  If you've been reading for awhile you have probably heard that one million times now.  

The top of the buffet was in perfect condition. The sheen of the finish lent itself well to the rustic paint treatment I did on the base so I left it as it was.  

I used Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in the color grain sack.  The look I was going for was a whitewashed, distressed finish with lots of depth.  To start I applied one coat of shellac to prevent bleed through.  Next I painted two coats of milk paint with bonding agent added.  Without the bonding agent there would have most likely been chipping due to the shellac sealing the old finish.  I did not want chipping.  When using a light color like this only applying two coats will not give you solid coverage.  Those who like a more clean crisp painted look would probably think it looks very bad at this point.  The next step, which is to sand with a medium grit sanding block, changes that. Just sand until it looks good.     

I sealed the paint with Maison Blanche's gray liming wax.  The consistency is very similar to Miss Mustard Seeds Wax and it's very easy to work with. The gray in the wax slightly changed the color of the paint but it's subtle. 

This project was a nice little break from my new norm and I really enjoyed painting it.  I have to give myself permission to drop everything once and awhile when inspiration strikes or else it feels too much like work.   Heaven forbid.  Trust me I don't do it every time inspiration strikes because that would be daily and I would never finish anything. ;)
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