Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Antique Dresser Turned Island in Pale Aqua

Step 1 when you're refinishing a case piece is to remove the drawers.  When I remove the drawers on the older pieces, I often wonder how many years, decades, generations, it's been since they were last fully taken out. If you ever want to find something you've lost, take the drawers all the way out of your dresser- because, it's there. As I take the drawers out of these dressers I'll find all sorts of objects that were lost years and years and years ago. It's like a secret time capsule. One of the things I found in this antique dresser was so sweet and poignant that it changed my plans for the whole piece.

I had originally planned to paint this piece a tan, with a golden oak top:

But then I took the drawers out and I found two very personal objects, a handwritten address book from 1956 and a hand painted chinoiserie silk scarf. 

I was so struck by finding these pieces, and later a penny from 1911 wedged against a backboard glue block, that I decided I needed to give the objects a little nod.
     I custom mixed a color to precisely match the color of the silk scarf, which is a soft teal, with equal parts green and blue. (and of course, the scarf, penny, and address book will go with the island to its next home)

Here's the result:

A Classic Gray Kitchen Island

I'll be the first to admit, my job is pretty terrific. My favorite part is meeting all the wonderful people. On Sunday I met an awesome gal named Jill, who knew how to properly move furniture (rock on, sister) and was clearly kindred spirit. She sold me two knock your socks off antique dressers. Well, they knocked my socks off. I suppose for most people they were just old mahogany veneer dressers, c.1930, with drawers that didn't really work. Which, of course, makes them the most perfect candidates to be made into kitchen islands.

         Last week I did a post on brass accents and decided I'd really love to do a piece of furniture inspired by this bit of gorgeous cabinetry:

So with that in mind, I attacked island #1, which features an unbelievable scrolled and pierced apron. When I started working on it, I found some treasures that made the refinishing process so much more personal. I removed the drawers and found a nice bit of early hand made lace, a postcard, a marble. and some math homework. I had already surmised that the original owner was a crafty sewing gal, as I also purchased a beautiful Queen Anne style mahogany sewing cabinet, complete with buckets of old thread, needles, zippers and notions, from the estate. But to find a sample of the lady's own work (I'll admit) made me teary eyed. The marble and lace will go with the island when it's sold.

I do hope, wherever she is, she's pleased with the look of her dresser. I try so hard to do justice to these pieces, and though I modify them, to honor their character and history. 

An Antique Empire Card Table

My favorite furniture guy found this stunning antique mahogany and mahogany veneer empire table for me. He thought it was my kind of thing. I only keep my very very favorite pieces for myself, so I guess he was right. I'll be putting this looker in my dining room when I swap my decor over to Christmas. I think I'll probably keep it there at least through summer, as it will transition nicely from winter to spring. The lines remind me of a tulip, and I'm already planning on putting a vase of red tulips on it come March. Originally the top would have opened up, but only one of the two leaves was presentable, so I stacked them, reattached them, and made it a single chunky top. The top is solid mahogany, and just look at the breathtaking wood grain! I painted it a soft green that I custom mixed, distressed it to accent the curves, and finished it with dark wax. There's a complimentary sewing table that I'll be putting in my family room that I'll show you tomorrow, too.

A Vintage Pine Dining Set

This was one of those perfect instances when I was able to unite two pieces that did not start life together, but truly were meant to be paired. I picked up this lovely vintage solid pine dining table with four matching chairs at a tagsale a couple weeks ago. The table is readily big enough to accommodate more than the four chairs, so I was searching around to find two more complimentary chairs to add to the set. I happened across this vintage handmade pine bench at the flea market on Sunday and knew it belonged with the set. I sanded the table and bench tops, stained, and sealed them. I painted the table base and chairs in a cheerful red to compliment the rustic farmhouse charm of the form. I didn't snap a 'before' of the table set, but I did get one of the bench.

Bench before

Monday, October 27, 2014

All the Beautiful Colors

There was a time not so long ago when the only furniture that would sell was either white, black, or cream. I still enjoyed refinishing, but oh it was a bit stifling. At the beginning of the summer I started trying more colorful pieces, and found that there was once again a market for them. Huzzah! It's been such a joy to paint all these beautiful pieces of furniture in all the colors I can imagine. Here's a kaleidoscope of my furniture- what's your favorite color? What color would you like to see me do next?