Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Secretary Gets a New Look

Sometimes furniture refinishing can go awry. It happens to me more than I'd ever let you, dear reader, know. My basement and the back end of my workshop are filled with mistakes. Most can be rescued, but generally I'll get too discouraged or frustrated and have to ignore the pieces, sometimes for years, before I'm ready to attack them again. And sometimes I screw up so badly that the only place left for the hapless furniture is the firepit.

       Now this particular antique secretary, made by Maddox Furniture c.1935, actually started off in the hands of my friend/client who refinished it in a lemon yellow and deep blue. He wasn't wholly satisfied with the results so he reached out to me to see if I could revisit the look of the piece, or if it was destined to be fire-pitted. In fact, I believe his rather concise statement when I sent him this before picture -

- was, "Oh my God, burn it down". Which made me accidentally snort wine up my nose.

But in the end we didn't need to set the secretary ablaze (out of context that sentence would have a very different meaning!). 

I started by removing almost all the yellow paint. I hope he won't be mad at me for telling you, but he'd applied some of it with a roller, and that dimpled effect just had to go. Here it is about halfway through paint removal.

Next I sanded the case down and filled the old hardware holes so we could do a prettier pull with it. I also had to remove the old fretwork, which was damaged, and since it was glued to the glass, the glass went as well. I had new glass cut and ordered some gorgeous pieces of gingerbread to dress up the doors in lieu of fretwork. He gave me carte blanche on the paint colors so I used Benjamin Moore's Coral Spice (mixed into a chalk paint) and a custom mixed French Blue, I distressed it, and dark waxed the whole thing. If he burns it down now, we will no longer be on speaking terms. ;-)

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