Monday, May 15, 2017

French Provincial For a Princess

    When I am this quiet on the blog, you can count on the fact that I am super busy!  My cabin at the Farmer's Market opens on Wednesday.  I have a lot done, but will be there tomorrow finishing everything up.  I replaced the too large front counter with a display case that fits the space better, will allow for a display area for special items, and still have essential storage space.  Now, on to this cute set that will be at the cabin on opening day.
     This desk is typical 1950's-60's French Provincial, that had an original color scheme of gold and white.  As with all of the pieces of this era that I have worked on, it is not all wood, so it takes more than usual prep time, to get a lasting finish.  Someone had painted it I had that to deal with also.  I forgot to get a picture...but I can was bad.  I chose to paint this in Blush Pink and Linen White from Rustoleum Chalked Paint.  Cute butterfly stencils decorate the top.  The chair is an ice cream parlor type painted in Linen White.  Both pieces were sealed with Rustoleum Matte Finish.
The seat has been reupholstered in a canvas type material and stenciled with rosebuds and roses.  If you are in the area the Market will open Wednesday, May 17th from 10-5.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Waterfall Night Stand

I was contacted and asked if I could repair this piece.  Once I had a chance to look it over, I realized that it actually had once been one side of a vanity.  Its pealing veneer and a one inch square hole on one of the sides was a give away.  The veneer is quite a bit worse than the picture shows.  Some was very brittle, some was barely hanging on, and some was covered in glue.
    The before pictures were taken by the owner.  The after pictures were taken here and show my constant struggle with lighting.  This piece has not turned red despite my picture!  I cleaned the piece and sanded where I would need to adhere veneer and patch.  I had hoped to find veneer that was a close match to what was already on this and was not successful.  I used what was usable on the piece, took some from my stash, and patched other places.  I reglued what was usable back onto the piece, then soaked the veneer I would add to make it pliable.  Next step was to glue it on and weight it.
When all pieces were dry I sanded and filled in the gaps with plastic wood.  There were a lot of gaps!  There was also the hole to fill.  Since the plastic wood is white, I used small amounts of brown paint and stain to try to blend the areas of repair.  A couple of coats of Polyshades followed.

Lots of glare in this picture.
    I hope the owner will be happy....I am happy that this piece is now usable!
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Barley Twist and Hand woven European Grainsack Chair

   Any time an antique piece of furniture is painted there are many naysayers who are horrified.  I believe this chair is from the turn of the century.  It does have screws in the braces underneath but I do not think they are original to the chair.  Everywhere else the chair has pegs holding it together.  This originally had a caned seat and back.  This is where we get into whether to try to restore a piece or would it be acceptable to change it.  This is the condition of the caning and finish.

    Hours and hours of stripping and sanding revealed a still uneven tone to the wood and very deep grain.  I would have preferred to restore this piece but it was just not possible to do so and also have a chair that most people would want in their home.  I have seen some people with strong negative reactions to antiques.  They had a relative that had a houseful, and many times the furniture was dark, dirty, and untouched for fear that it would damage the value.  I found refinishing addressed with reactions from some of the experts from Antique Roadshow
To be honest it does not cover painting the piece.  Most of us, though, will never encounter a craftsman made piece that is several hundred years old.  The question is whether to let a very nice piece of furniture continue to rot away in a barn, or whether to turn it into something someone would want.  This chair was painted with Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Linen.  I replaced the cane with upholstery webbing, and foam.  I wanted this to be a statement type piece.  I used handwoven linen European grain sack fabric, 60 to 100 years old upholster it with.   I made double welted piping to trim the seat but used a different type of trim for the seat back, because the double welt was too bulky.  I feel like this lovely old Barley Twist chair has a crisp, clean, pretty new look.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

French Provincial Cabinet

      I acquired this about three years ago.  Typical for the time period and type, this reproduction French Provincial piece, made sometime between 1950-late 1970's, is not all wood.  It ended up at the back of my storage area until I decided to give it a make-over.   Dark and light gray chalk paints were used to update it, and then silver was used for accents.   I found some wonderful graphics on Etsy, at a shop named GraphicsMarketplace.  There were so many to choose from I had a problem narrowing it down.  A total of five were chosen and I transfered the graphics to the cabinet.
A clear matte finish has been added, and these cute knobs finish it off.  The measurements are 30 inches across the front, 31 1/2 tall and about 17 inches deep and this piece will be available for delivery next week.  It has a few bumps and bruises, but it is a lovely piece that could be an entry way piece, coffee station, or serve a variety of other purposes.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Dragonfly....Eastlake Settee

    I picked up this Eastlake style bench last summer.  The fabric was faded.  The frame was slightly wobbly and much of the webbing underneath was coming off.  Sadly at some point someone had replaced the underpinning, but used bent over nails to fix it.....yikes!  Bed pillows had also been stuffed  inside of it.  I was told by the owner that it had originally come from Michigan.  That is probably correct, as most Eastlake style furniture came from the Midwest and Eastern United States, and was made during the latter half of the 1800's and into the very early 1900's.  I have no doubt this piece falls well within that time frame.
    Charles Locke Eastlake an English writer and architect wrote a book, extolling the virtues of lighter, simpler furniture for the home.  Preferred woods were oak and walnut.  Oils were used to finish the wood rather than heavy laquers, and low-relief carvings, incised lines, glued on moldings, geometric ornaments, and flat easily cleaned surfaces are hallmarks of Eastlake style.

    I did a lot of research before and during the process of working on this piece.  After stripping the frame down all holes were filled, proper metal and wooden chair brackets were added for stability.
I replaced the old webbing with new webbing.  They ran out of black striped and I had to use red striped also.  I stapled, folded the ends over, more staples, and then 3 tacks on each end, which is what is recommended.
    This tool was absolutely essential in getting the webbing firmly stretched in place, I couldn't have done without it but it is sooooooo sharp!
    I re-used the springs.  Not sure whether they were original, since they were slightly different in size.  They were the same type though.  I had been prepared to sew the springs individually to the webbing, but they  were within an enclosed frame, so I sewed the frame of both to the webbing instead to keep them in place.  I placed foam between them to fill the gap and ran webbing over the top of the back and front to even out the edges of the springs.
    The springs were covered with drop cloth material, stapled to the frame and then covered with new foam.  I did not want the seat to be overstuffed, that wouldn't be traditional. 
    I chose cotton rather than dacron for over the foam.  I just don't like the way the dacron feels.  I must have forgotten to take pictures of the cushions on the inside of the seat back.  They were in excellent condition, so I was able to reuse them.  I used the same waxed button thread to affix them to the webbing.  Then covered them with the cotton.
    On the back side of the seat back, no padding was needed, so the webbing was covered with cotton and then the fabric.
    At this point I refreshed the wood and fixed a pretty serious cosmetic flaw on the frame.  I chose not to refinish the entire frame.  While the peg that held the top rail to the back of the frame  was still in place, there was a gap and a crack that ran down it.  If not fixed it would, without a doubt become a structural problem.  I was able to glue and epoxy it using some of the original pieces.  Since the epoxy is supposed to hold up under over 3500 psi, I feel like it will hold well.  After the epoxy dried, it had to be sanded and stained to match and blend in.  The front is where the original damage was the most obvious and this is how it looks now.  There was about a half an inch gap up at the top left where the peg was visible.

    I fell in love with this beautiful fabric at the store.  I actually way over bought, so I'm thinking there is a dragonfly chair in the future.  I was hoping to find a fabric that would bridge the gap between what someone might have chosen 100 years ago and something that would be appealing to someone now.
    One of my biggest challenges, besides the strain on my arms and neck(I see a pneumatic staple gun in my future....goodbye trusty Arrow, lol), was trimming the fabric that was a little messy from not cutting close enough to the edge.  While applying the gimp I did not have the little bar that pushes fabric under it and I should have had that.
    I had two really big goals with this project.  I wanted to fix the frame so that it would be sturdy  and I wanted the fabric to line up well.  I was obsessed with not having wonky dragonflies, lol.  I think I was able to accomplish these goals!  This is available for a short time, but if not sold, will be tagged, wrapped and stored for the Bubbling Brook Vintage Market in Wasilla this summer.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Silver and Glitter

    I picked this dresser up quite a while back and just recently had a chance to give it a make-over.  When I picked it up, it had to be emptied first.  It was in a storage building and filled with heavy tools.  I knew that although it was not cosmetically beautiful, it must be quite sturdy to hold that weight.  At some point when it was moved the left rear leg broke off.  It had been repaired in the past and now would need to be repaired again.

  The dresser was painted dark brown and was dated 1957 and made in Tacoma, WA.  At one time a lot of America's furniture was manufactured in Tacoma.  I am sure it was finished with stain and varnish at one time, but upon stripping it became apparent that painting this piece was the best option.  As with a lot of pieces in this time frame it has thin sheets of real wood veneer.  It needed to be reglued in places and it had many cosmetic flaws on the veneer.  Surface flaws on veneer can be really hard to disguise because it is fairly thin and vigorous sanding can cause more damage.  I believe the veneer is white oak and the grain was very uniform and not pretty at all.
    I glued and re-screwed the leg back on and added some wood pieces and some filler.
    This piece needed a glam look in order to make up for its flaws.  I decided on Rustoleum Metallic paint and I was very happy with it.  This is an acrylic paint as opposed to an oil based paint.  It went on smoothly and covered well.  I also wanted to add some texture and extra fun, so I added high quality crystal glitter to the paint and to the top coat.  It is subtle but the glimmer is there, and is especially visible on the top.  I painted the handles with the same paint and topcoat.
    This will come with the mirror pictured.  It is probably older than the dresser and very heavy.  It will not come with the easels that are holding it up but it has picture hanging wire on the back and it can be hung vertically or horizontally. 
    The dresser measures 44 inches across the front, 32 1/2 high, and 19 inches from front to back and will be available later this week.  This would easily work well as an entry way piece, dresser, buffet for linens in a small dining room, or coffee bar!
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Monday, October 24, 2016

China cabinet is done!

First of all, I cannot believe it has been so long since I posted!  I had a busy couple of weeks buttoning up the cabin, went on a couple of small picks, took some time to go visit my new grand, and I also took some time out to dig my house out from all the clutter that collects while we are running around trying to cram everything we can into our short summers.  After that it was full steam ahead to finish two projects that had been waiting.  Somehow, someway, I forgot to get pictures of the first......sigh.
    The next project took so much longer than it should have.......I bought this china cabinet of uncertain age and origin.  Then promptly forgot to take before pictures of the top excuse......
   It had interesting and unusual details and I felt that it would be so much prettier after it had been painted.  This was mid-August with only a few weeks before the cabin would close.  I thought it would make a great anchor piece and hopefully sell before closing up for the winter.  Lol, that didn't work out as planned.  I usually stay away from really trendy colors on large pieces.  While they are very striking, they don't always sell well here.  The life span of a piece with an unusual color can be shorter.  I take a lot of care and time so that my paint jobs hold up, so it can make removing them difficult.  So, late in the process of painting this piece a lovely trendy turquoise  color, I realized that the new paint that I was using just did not meet my standards for durability.  I just was not happy with it.
 Sneak peek pictures had been posted on  my  Fb page and there had been interest in the piece so I explained why it wasn't going to be available.  Shortly after,  I was contacted by a repeat customer who was interested in it,  if I could re-paint it red.  The long process of removing the paint began,  I still have kids at home and other obligations so don't usually have time for marathon sessions.  I chose a pretty red from Americana Decor paint.  It was very bright and not the aged red look that we wanted.  After several coats of red, I brushed on walnut stain and then wiped it off.  The grain on this piece is pretty deep and  the stain settled into the crevices very nicely giving it the look I wanted.  I chose Rustoleum Clear Shellac for a durable top coat.  The lower cabinet doors had odd faux hinges that served no purpose, as the doors have piano type hinges, so I never re-attached them.  There are no handles for this piece but there is a key that will open the doors.

    I think this and another  cabinet I did for the same customer will compliment each other nicely.

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