I'm sort of kind of taking today off, or well, that's what I'm telling myself. I've already sent this lovely c.1940 mahogany hutch off to its new home this morning, and prepped a coffee table for pick up, and at some point later this afternoon my picker is dropping off a couple new pieces of furniture, but between all that I'm going to run about seven errands that I've been ignoring, catch up on my horrifying and ever mounting backlog of emails, and clean my incredibly messy house. Does that count as a day off? I'm hoping to finish in time tonight to have a nice big martini and maybe do a bit of water coloring.
Also, damn it's cold out all of a sudden,
Also, Also I'm listening to THE BEST book on audio right now. I took a break from listening to serial killers and disasters to enjoy 'How to Be a Tudor' by Ruth Goodman. It's absolutely brilliant and fascinating. I can't recommend it enough!
And on to the main event-
My old boss and mentor once told me in regards to antique sales, "You'll make 80% of your profit on 20% of your purchases". Truer words have never been said. I'm pretty strict in my purchasing strategies; there's so much wonderful furniture out there ripe for the picking that I rarely need to dig deep into the coffers to maintain an ever flowing supply of projects to happily clutter my workshop. This hutch, for example, was $50. And that's about as high as I like to go on hutches of this type, it's supplies and time that eat up my margins, and of the two, it's time especially. This hutch, as much as I love it, and as happy as I am with its outcome, was a time hog.
I purchased it from the ReStore in Cromwell a couple weeks ago and a lovely client of mine snatched it up straight away for her new dining room. I've already done a drop leaf table and a little server for her, and a table and chair set is heading her way in a week. She's got a great eye and pushes the boundaries a little bit, which I LOVE. So we went with ink blue shelves, mahogany refinished drawer fronts, and new (antique salvaged) oval Federal brass pulls. All a great plan, lots of challenges.
Sanding the drawer fronts was tricky because I needed to fill the old hardware holes, re-color them so they'd be invisible when re-stained, and drill the new holes, then very very carefully sand the fronts so as not to slip through the highly figured mahogany veneer. I also had to replace a pane of glass. The missing pane made it easier to paint the interior on that side (trying to paint the tucked away bits on the other side was exceedingly trying), but putting the replacement pane of glass in was challenging. I had to do a fair bit of work on the feet, or rather the false feet that you can see, that don't actually touch the ground, but daintily hide the chunky real feet that are behind them. We choose to do what I've come to call a "double distress" a technique in which I paint the case all one color, then a second different color so that when distressed the first shade peeks through. And on and on it went. No one thing was impossible or even particularly challenging, but taken as a whole, I'd say I spent somewhere around fifteen hours on this hutch, or about twice what a typical one takes me.
That being said, I had such a good time with it. It was very forlorn before, and boy is it lovely now. And this client is really a sweetheart and has been a pleasure to work with, and let me tell you, that makes a HUGE difference.