Monday, November 20, 2017

When One Must Paint the Top

As we all know at this point, I really prefer to keep my furniture tops wood. I love the contrast of wood grain to paint, and it's fun to mix it up staining and sealing to all paint brush work. The thing is, you can ALWAYS paint. Paint forgives all sins. The wood tops are the hard part, they're the challenge level. Sadly, sometimes a piece won't allow for a wood element. This coffee table, for example, had a flaw that just couldn't be sanded out of the top. After trying and failing to sand it, I cursed a bit, stomped around a bit, and then re-grouped.
      The form of this little oval table is really wonderful, and it's structurally flawless, by no means a lost cause, so I went ahead and painted it entirely. I can't abide by simplicity, and especially on this table, just one color would have been hollow. It was begging for a bit more. I went to my favorite paint inspo fail-safe: 19th century botanical prints, in this case ferns.
        I opted for rendering the entire plant just in white, to keep the lines fairly clean against the custom mixed mint green base shade. I sketched the entire thing in pencil over the base color and then used a teensy detail brush and white latex furniture paint (from another project) to create the leaves. It took about two hours total to draw and paint, then I sanded the entire coffee table with 220 grit, and sealed it with wax. A surface like this is just as durable as a poly'd wood surface as I sanded it down to the bare wood before painting. That allows the paint to really bond with the wood, and the wax then bonds with the sanded flat paint to give it a gentle luster and make it wholly waterproof.
       





Lately on the easel

Just a quickie post to keep you updated on what I've been working on as of late-
I have a holiday furniture and art show coming up a week from Saturday on the Dec.2nd here at 14 Edgerton Street. That means I'm once again in full throttle mode on both the furniture and art sides. On top of that I have a happy little mountain of custom artwork for the holidays, and also the largest scary mountain of custom furniture work I've every tackled. I am, for the first time, wait-listing both art and furniture. Things are hopping around here, and I'm very very grateful!
    So here's a motley mix of about 2/3 of what I've painted (that's not furniture) in the last few weeks, both custom and spec in the run up to the Dec. 2nd sale!







Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I Vote for Color

I try quite hard not to beat anyone over the head with the whole painted furniture thing, both literally and figuratively. Some people just love a house jammed with dark wood. I get that. Some people love pineapple on their pizza, it's weird, and probably not the best decision, but nor is it *my* decision. That's the beautiful thing about design, there is no right or wrong answer, just the answer that makes you, the homeowner (or apartment renter, or subletter, or guy living in a van down by the river) the happiest. Personally, classic forms in bold colors make me the happiest. It's truly such an excellent compromise- the quality of form and construction of a classic vintage piece, but the updated playful whimsy that suits a modern home. And every home needs some color. I'm counting down the days until the all white and gray joanna gaines fad finally kicks the bucket.
       In celebration of all things fun and colorful, here is an absolutely exceptional 100% solid cherry c.1965 buffet by Harden Furniture Company. I've painted it in a custom color, the exact shade of a bright and crisp November sky. The interior is a custom antique white, and I swapped the clunky lame Chippendale bat-wing pulls for sleek burnished copper cup pulls. I refinished the top, happy to rid the piece of that awful sticky red varnish, and stained it deeper, and far more towards brown.
I think this one's a winner for sure, and probably one of you should take it home!










Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A China Cabinet in White

Do you know what makes a huge difference? Having my workshop cleaned out. Last week my husband and I spent a full day clearing and cleaning. You could barely walk in the space before, and now it's fully functional once more. It's a massive relief. Then on Sunday I picked up a nice load of fun pieces of fresh furniture to refinish, many of which are now already spoken for! I'm feeling so motivated and hopeful!
       So here's a wonderful c.1945 mahogany china cabinet I just finished up for a client. She opted for white, lightly distressed inside and out, with the shelves refinished for a bit of contrast. SUCH a cool idea, and it turned out so fresh and crisp! I staged it with some pieces of stoneware and a few of my most recent oil paintings of winter scenes. Loads and loads of new furniture to share with you in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned!







Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Drexel Buffet in Eggplant

Finding balance. November's theme will be Finding Balance. In October I threw myself in several directions with great gusto- painting pictures primarily, but being that there are tragically and irritatingly only 24 hours in a day, other things started to slip faster than a toddler in roller skates standing on a banana peel on a steep incline. Firstly, I was eating like a garbage monster. Seriously, Oscar the Grouch called me up and was like, "slow down on those half stale sour cream and onion potato chips, jesus." And my house was a hot mess, dog fur fluff dust bunnies the size of a cabbage heads, creeping out from under every chair and sofa. Also, dear blog, I neglected you entirely.
      I'm a firm believer in fresh starts. They're a wonderful thing, and any occasion can prompt one. November will be my fresh start.
      Let's start with this perfectly charming c.1945 Drexel Federal mahogany buffet. I bought it at the ReStore last week, and dove right in refinishing it. I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted it in a deep moody shade of plum or eggplant. It's a risky color choice, but it just felt so right for this piece. I went with a reliable favorite, Benjamin Moore's Basalt. The interior is an antique creamy white. I refinished the top to play up the mahogany figuring, and opted to keep the original hardware.
     This was one of those pieces that gave me no trouble during the refinishing process, a rare bird indeed it seemed in October, when every other thrice damned piece was a nightmare. This darling was a walk in the park, I think it has good ju-ju, probably that means one of you should definitely buy it. Guaranteed to bring its good ju-ju to your home and look deliciously festive decked out for the holidays.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lucky Finds

Dear diary:
        Seriously though, I should start every post like that. I'm not sure if it's laziness, sass, or a need for an outlet, but I write these posts as much for me as you. I suspect most of you scroll hot and fast through the block of text to the pictures below (today it's well worth the scroll!!), but for those of you who stick it out, thanks for reading my diary, you weirdos.

       *ahem*, Dear Diary: today was an awesome day. The tagsale was an unmatched success, despite a heavy London-esque fog that sagged on us all morning. I am absurdly tired. This week I refinished around 25 pieces of furniture. Also, the furniture gods have been kind.
                                                                            Sincerely,
                                                                            Kate (and the martini she earned)

People curb good things. I learned that lesson first back when I worked at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. The museum was right around the corner from some very fancy schmancy neighborhoods, and when I worked Sundays in the summer I used to cruise the side streets in my pickup on my lunch breaks. Summer Sundays are peek curb season- things that are left over from tagsales, and people moving or cleaning out. Sometimes it's just a small thing that doesn't work for you, and rather than the aggravation of listing a piece of furniture online, you lug it to the street, release it back to the wild, like a dovetailed dove. I've done this many times. At least four dining tables, antique chairs, upholstered pieces. My dear friend Amy is especially adept at snagging my curbside offerings, which she then styles into effortless boho elegance in her stunning Victorian.
        It's important to offer curbside treasure to appease the furniture gods, who can be both fickle, and generous. This week, perhaps because of my earnest dedication to the cause, and frequent offerings to other believers in the trash to treasure church, I was favored with two gifts. A fan from facebook let me know that she'd spotted a sideboard on the side of the road in Portland (the next town over). Even though I was dog tired, I headed out, just incase. So glad I did. c.1920 jacobean walnut, immaculate condition (surface not withstanding). And then this week my husband spotted a solid pine dresser while he was out jogging. I was unsure, but when I drove out to see it my jaw dropped. Holy smokes so pretty.
      I had my plate full already this week, but sometimes pieces catch my heart and I just have to do them right away. There are a couple (very very patient) clients who are waiting for custom work, which I swear will be done next weekend. But this week I just gave entirely to refinishing "spec" pieces, for the tagsale today, and because sometimes you just need it. And thank (the furniture) gods I did. I haven't felt this excited and in love with my job in a while. I've been up since 5am. I've worked 90 or so hours this week, but I am SO happy. 
     Here's what I found on the curb, and what I did with it :-)








       

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Big Tag Sale!

Hey guys and gals! Sorry it's been ages since I posted! I've been busy busy preparing for my giant tagsale this weekend! In just the last four days I finished eighteen new pieces of furniture, and there's more to come, plus all that I already had in inventory, well over twenty of my original watercolors and oil paintings, antiques, antique art, and mirrors. SO MUCH STUFF!!
    Here's a sneak peek at just some of the new furniture that will be available for purchase on Saturday Oct 7th- 8am to 2pm on my front lawn at 14 Edgerton Street in East Hampton, CT!
Hope to see you there!









Friday, September 22, 2017

A Lovely Little Dresser

Boy oh boy did I have a crap day yesterday, to the point of hilarity, or at least, it will very much be hilarious in a week or so. I'm still licking my wounds right now. But, today has dawned clear and breezy, a perfectly miraculous New England Autumn morning. Day's like this- these are the days we earn with bitter cold stretches in February, and thick fat humidity in July. It's actually supposed to get hazy hot and humid again by the end of the weekend, so it's very important to soak up this glory while one can.
      The first order of business today was photographing this absolute doll of a dresser. It's c.1910, mahogany and mahogany veneer, and just immaculate. I looooooove the form. These late empire pieces tend to be low and squatty, but this little guy is long and lean, and ever so elegant. I refinished it custom for a client, playing up the rich graining of the top and drawer fronts, contrasting handsomely with a very lightly distressed antique white. This was one of those pieces that was just a joy to work on from start to finish. The design plan was perfect, the dresser was in such nice condition that the process was a breeze, and I'm tickled pink with the final result!
Happy Friday.