Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Mahogany Queen Anne Cedar Chest

        I'm not smug about this stuff that often (or am I?! I just had a horrible thought that perhaps I'm intolerably smug. You guys would tell me, right?). I see all sorts of flaws in my work that all of you would never notice. We're all so critical of our own work. But really. This cedar chest is the bees knees. It's the cat's pajama's. It's wicked wicked wicked handsome.
       I bought this looker this past Sunday from one of my favorite dealers at the Mansfield Flea market. I've bought some cool stuff from him before, including the window boxes on the front and sides of my cottage, and a terrific pair of benches I refinished earlier this summer. 

        I can't take much credit for this piece. It's killer; excellent craftsmanship with a yummy scrolled apron, cabriole legs high up on big handsome pad feet, and a shell that's as sexy as woodworking detail can get. I sanded, stained, and sealed the fabulous mahogany lift top and painted the case in a new custom mixed emerald green called 'Demijohn', inspired by a big vintage demijohn in my collection. 

Congratulations! It's a Montgomery Ward!

How adorable is this antique lift top solid cedar chest!! The best thing about these mid 20th century chests is that they act as little time capsules, keeping safe all the bits and pieces that the owner thought important enough to make 'moth proof'. In this particular chest I found fabric and notions. She must have been a seamstress. These were almost always given as gifts to young ladies upon their graduation from high school. This one still retains the original labels and is dated February 10th, 1940.
        I got it months ago but stored in down in my cellar because it was what I call a 'tough sand' which means the old varnish on the top was a bit tacky and so, as I sanded it, it would goop up on my sanding pads, clogging them in under a minute. When I'd started sanding it I hadn't had stripper on hand, so I'd tucked it away. I bought stripper for another project this week and then remembered the lovely little cedar chest. The stripper loosens up the gunky old finish enough to scrap it off so sanding is a bit more straight forward.
       Underneath the old finish was a most spectacular solid cedar top. Just look at that wood! I stained it in English Chestnut and then painted the case in a pale muted sage called 'Dusty Miller' which I use every Autumn when the Dusty Miller in my garden always starts to get big and fancy. I highlighted all the fine art deco carving on the front with a custom chartreuse called 'September Vineyard' which I used on a hutch last week. I staged it with mums in a rusty red because, Yay Fall!!

 I got the mums today at my very favorite nursery, Paul and Sandy's, and if you're looking for some Fall Fun in late September/October, their Pumpkintown USA is not to be missed! We get all our gourds and pumpkins there every year!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Handsome Antique Dining Set in Red

This week I refinished two dining sets and I absolutely adore them both. It was about time I revisited the dining set world, they used to my bread and butter but I've been working on lots of large cases pieces in the last few months. With the entertaining season fast approaching, it's time for my to start making dining sets once more, and you to start buying them!
       My friend Jess spotted this fabulous antique mahogany double pedestal drop leaf table at Savers, of all places, and snatched it up for me on the spot. I got the vintage chairs the following evening. It's a match made in heaven! I painted the chairs and the table base in a custom mixed rich red called 'Red Delicious' (are you noticing an apple theme this week?), then distressed and waxed them. I sanded, stained, and sealed the spectacular top.
         This would be the perfect set for a small dining room or eat in kitchen. It offers so many options, leaves down for two chairs, one leaf up to seat three, both leaves up is more than enough room for four chairs, and could even fit six!

A Solid Maple Farmhouse Dining Set

I snagged this wonderful dining set at the flea market last weekend. It's vintage, made by Cushman c.1960 and is 100% rock maple. It's so so beautifully built, just the highest quality and craftsmanship you can imagine, and that made it such a joy to work on. I sanded stained, and sealed the spectacular top in a warm honey tone, and painted the six chairs and table base in a custom mixed bright apple green I've named 'Apple Tart'. I distressed all the painted surfaces and sealed that with dark wax. I'm biased because it's one of my favorite shades of green, but of all the dining sets I've refinished, this is one of my favorites!

Friday, August 21, 2015

An Empire Library Table

I love the elegant lines of this antique mahogany library table. It's so high quality too, the top is two superb slabs of solid highly figured mahogany. It had the worst shellac-y syrupy finish on it, so bad that it was clogging up my orbital sander so I had to strip it before sanding, something I never do as stripper is hard and messy to work with. It was worth it though the stripper took enough of the bad surface off that I could sand the rest to reveal the wonderful wood underneath. I painted the base in one of my favorite colors, Folk Art Gold, and highlighted the carvings with a buttercream yellow before distressing and dark waxing it. The best part about this table is that the top swivels, to reveal storage within, and opens, for a larger table surface!

A Handmade Hutch

I got this hutch on Tuesday from Carl the Furniture Guy. I suspect it was handmade, and very nicely done, indeed. I love all the cyma curve scrolling down the sides, and the boldly scrolled top crest as well. So handsome! It was a boring dated pine so I spiced it up a bit with a fresh springy custom mixed green called September Vineyard. I distressed the piece liberally to get lots of variation in the tones and then sealed it with dark wax. I replaced the enamel pulls with antique turned wood ones in their original surface, just to give the piece a bit more warmth.

                       Before                                                                                               After