Graphite Hutch

Hi all!  I wanted to share how I turned a once fussy and dated hutch into this:

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Here is how the hutch looked when I first spotted it at a local thrift shop.  Despite the scratches and dings that were on it, it was overall in decent shape.  And I loved its smaller size and the open shelving. What I didn’t care for was the French Provincial look to the piece, it’s not a style of furniture I care for.  I wanted to simplify the look of the piece and envisioned something less formal in appearance.

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While I usually try very hard to make original hardware work, I knew this over the top hardware had to go if I wanted a simpler, farmhouse or cottage feel  to the piece.  I removed it and filled the holes to prep for new glass knobs. I then smoothed out the many dings and scratches with fine grit sandpaper. Next, I contemplated color. I felt that a lighter shade of paint would highlight the French Provincial underpinnings of the piece, something I wanted to avoid.  So I instead opted for a darker shade, Annie Sloan’s Graphite.  It is a very dark, almost black hue.  I painted on two coats and then sanded the edges and details, exposing the original wood.  Since  a piece like this could potentially get heavy use, I decided to protect it with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Flat.  It’s a super durable topcoat with a very subtle sheen. I applied three coats to the top and shelves and two to the rest of the piece.  To ensure a super smooth finish, I sanded in between coats with fine grit sandpaper.

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So what do you think?  MUCH better in my opinion!  And I love how a hutch like this can add that open shelving look we all love to a kitchen or dining room.  Plus, adding casual dishes like I did here helps transform this once dated and fussy piece into a something fresh and current.

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Peacoat Desk

Hi all and Happy New Year!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday.   Our winter break was spent with family and friends with just enough downtime to allow our family to feel refreshed rather than spent.  We even had snow which my two boys, Jack and Finn, just adore.   It’s been a while since I shared anything on the blog so I thought this desk makeover in a gorgeous shade of blue would be a great start for the new year.  This piece belonged to a friend’s late mother-in-law but after years of use was in need of a little TLC. She asked me to paint it so that it better fit into her home and reflected her mother-in-law’s love of all things nautical.  Given that and the fact that her husband is a Naval Academy graduate, my friend liked the idea of using a navy blue for the piece.  Country Chic Paint’s limited edition color Peacoat seemed the perfect choice for a fresh, Naval inspired look.

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As you can see from the “before” photo, the desk had many scratches and dings from years of use.  Typically, sanding is not necessary prior to applying Country Chic Paint.  But in this instance I opted to sand before painting to ensure that the rough scratches and dings were smoothed out as much as possible.   And because I’ve had the wood color bleeding through the paint on several of these desks that I painted in the past, I then applied a coat of shellac. Shellac does a great job preventing that and helps keep your color true.

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I applied three coats of the Peacoat to the exterior and interior of the desk, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.  The piece was then sanded again to create a super smooth finish while highlighting the lovely details.  I finished the desk with two coats of Country Chic Paint’s Natural Wax and buffed to a high sheen.  The original brass hardware was removed, cleaned up using Bar Keepers Friend, and reattached.

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This once tired desk now has a fresh, updated look.  I hope my friend and her family use and enjoy it for many years to come!

 

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Two Tone Buffet

Hi all!  I thought I would share how I achieved a muted, two-tone look on this buffet.

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It was yet another craigslist find and while overall in decent shape, the finish was scratched and worn, especially on the top.  In addition, several trim pieces were missing from the cabinet doors and needed to be fabricated.  Here it is as I began to work on it.

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Sanding the top of its scratched and chipped finish exposed warm, beautiful wood.  I decided to forgo any stain and simply added three coats of natural wax for protection.  I then moved on to the body of the piece knowing I wanted a soft, two-tone finish.  I decided on two shades of gray and since I didn’t have the exact colors on hand that I envisioned, I mixed my own.  For the darker gray, I combined Country Chic Paint’s Cobblestone, a warm gray, with Vanilla Frosting, a soft white.  I added the gray into the white until I reached my desired hue.  I didn’t measure but if I had to guess I would say it was approximately one part Cobblestone to two parts Vanilla Frosting.  And while I wanted a lighter shade on the door and drawer fronts, I didn’t want too sharp of a contrast between the colors.  So after painting with the gray I had mixed, I added more Vanilla Frosting to that in order to achieve a very light gray.  I then used that on the door and drawer fronts. I next sanded the entire piece with fine grit sand paper, focusing on the edges and details. Finally, I finished the buffet with natural wax.

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And here is a shot of the buffet as it sat in my shop space before being taken home by its new owner.  I love it when my pieces find great homes!

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Custom Desk

 

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This sweet desk had been well loved and in my client’s family for many years.  Here is the only “before” photo I have which shows just the top of the desk while open.

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My client knew she wanted some shade of blue and after seeing the Country Chic Paint color Elegance on another one of my pieces, requested that.  It’s a very pretty greenish/blue and is quickly becoming one of my favorite hues to work with. I started by wiping down the desk and removing the hardware.  I then painted a thin coat of Elegance over the entire desk and once dry, applied a second coat.  I next sanded the piece with fine grit sand paper focusing on the edges and details.  I finished the desk with two coats of clear wax followed by a gentle buffing.  The original hardware was put back on and the piece was done!

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My client loves the new look of her desk and says it will remain in her family for many more years to come!

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Buffet in Gray

These long leg buffets are some of my favorite pieces for a dining or living space.  They are functional and pretty at the same time.

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As you can see though, this one didn’t start out quite so pretty.  The buffet was part of an estate sale and while very solid, the tired finish was worn and scratched.  It seemed like a great candidate for a makeover.

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I opted to go with Country Chic Paint’s Cobblestone, a medium gray.   I painted on two coats and once both were dry, sanded the entire piece with fine grit sandpaper.  The sanding gave the flat surfaces a very smooth feel and highlighted the details of the piece.  I finished the piece with two coats of clear wax followed by a gentle buffing.  I next turned my attention to the hardware.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I try to keep original hardware whenever possible.  In this case the brass pulls were fine, just quite tarnished as you can see in the above photo.  I cleaned them up with a little Brasso and love how the shiny brass pairs with the warm gray paint.

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Finally, how about those doors?!  Would you believe that I found them curbside?  I happened to be driving by a local museum (founded in 1890!) and they were putting these, along with a number of other items, on the curb!  They told me they needed to purge some items from the museum and if I’d like to have the doors they would be glad to load them for me.   Of course I wanted them!  I was thrilled to bring them home and knew exactly where I wanted to put them.  They are incredibly heavy and at 72 inches when together, quite wide.  They fit nicely on one of my dining room walls which is where I took the above photos.  I plan to either put another buffet in front of them or perhaps a banquet to go with my dining table.  The museum also gave me a large number of beautiful wooden curtain rods along with wooden rings and the most gorgeous turned finials you’ve ever seen.  I love how they, along with doors, add character and charm to my home.   I believe pieces like these with soul and history make a house a home.  How about you?

 

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Summer Blue Bureau

Summer is here and with that a bit of a work slow down for me as I enjoy the warm days with my two young boys.  I did just finish this piece though, in yet another shade of blue.  I’ve never seen a shade of blue I didn’t like and this one is no exception!  It’s called Summer Blueberries and it’s one of the latest limited edition colors from Country Chic Paint.  It’s such a happy, summery hue that I knew would be the perfect fit for my latest makeover.

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Usually I try to take pictures of pieces as I work on them so that you can see how things look not only after they’re finished, but also during.  I’m afraid I didn’t do that this time and I’m sorry!  Unlike many of my projects though, this one was a pretty straightforward paint job with no major issues to contend with.  The dresser was another craigslist find and overall was in pretty good condition.  However, the reddish finish was a bit tired and very dated. I applied two coats of the Summer Blueberries and once dry, lightly sanded the entire piece with fine grit sandpaper.  This gave the flat surfaces a very smooth feel while highlighting the edges and details.  I used Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish to finish and protect the paint.

At some point the original hardware was replaced and though the pulls were appropriate in style for the piece, the finish was not.  They were not brass (which I love!) but instead some sort of metal painted a very shiny gold.  They unfortunately looked cheap and not at all in keeping with the vintage look of the dresser.  I typically try very hard to keep original hardware and while these were actually replacements, I wanted to make them work.  I opted to paint them, something I’ve done on many occasions.  I gave each pull two coats of Country Chic Vanilla Frosting and once that was dry, applied one coat of Country Chic’s new glaze in the color Graphite.  That softened the white and gave them a slightly aged appearance.

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The above pull on the left has been painted with just the Vanilla Frosting while the pull on the right has been finished with the glaze.

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That’s it for now but I’ll be back soon with another makeover.  Happy summer!

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Coastal Cabinet

Hi all!  I wanted to share a recent makeover of a tall pine cabinet.

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A friend who happens to also be a client of mine recently asked me to paint this cabinet for her.  As it is going in her beach house, she wanted a weathered, coastal look for the piece.  I often like to use a “washed” effect on furniture where I let some of the wood grain show and think it can be a great way to give a coastal vibe to pieces .  But given that the cabinet had many dark knot holes, I realized I would be unable to do that with this piece.  Here is the only “before” photo I have, captured after a few paint samples were applied.

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After having a look at the color samples, my client decided on the color Elegance, a muted greenish blue from Country Chic Paint.  Knowing I needed to cover these knot holes, I painted the cabinet with completely opaque coverage.  When done, I thought the finish was looking very “flat” and not at all like what I imagined for a coastal inspired piece.  I was unsure as to how to remedy the problem when right then,  the UPS driver arrived with my latest order from Country Chic Paint.  Inside were two shades of their brand new glaze.  Perhaps this was just what this cabinet needed!  The photo below is courtesy of Country Chic Paint and shows the four color options available.

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The colors are graphite (a dark cool grey), topaz (a dark cool  chocolate brown), and tiger’s eye (a mahogany brown with a warm undertone) as well as a clear that you tint with paint.  I decided to try some of the graphite thinking that grey and blue are always a good combination.  I simply used a paintbrush to paint it on in small sections, wiping off each section before starting another.  In this photo the graphite glaze has been applied to the door on the left and wiped off.

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Coating the dark glaze over such a light color can take a bit more work to ensure the color doesn’t look too uneven.  After snapping this photo I wiped off more of of the glaze, concentrating on the areas I felt were too dark.  I then repeated the same process over the entire piece working in small sections at a time.  After I had wiped off as much of the glaze that I could,  I let it dry.  Glazing results in a smooth finish with no sanding required.  However, because I was hoping for a more coastal look, I thought using 400 grit sandpaper to expose some of the paint through the glaze would achieve that.  And it did!  The cabinet is now a beautiful greyish blue with lots of dimension and variations in color, almost like a weathered wood.  I finished the cabinet with Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish.  This is becoming my go to topcoat as it provides a matte finish with no yellowing or brush strokes.

coastalcabinet

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That weathered effect is evident over the entire piece though it is a bit difficult to capture in photos other than close ups.

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Washed Gray China Cabinet

Hello all!  I have another makeover to share, this time a china cabinet.

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This piece was found on craigslist, here is the original photo from the ad.

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As you can see, the piece has very pretty lines and a good amount of storage.  What you can’t see in the photo is that the finish is in poor condition with scratches, dings, and uneven wear over the whole piece.  I felt paint could fix that and give this tired cabinet an updated and fresh feel.  I chose Country Chic’s Lazy Linen, a soft gray, for the exterior and Elegance, a muted blue/green, for the interior.   Country Chic paint covers extremely well but because I wanted to create more of a “washed” look, I thinned the paint with water so that I would achieve less opaque coverage.  In order to keep paint off of the glass, I slipped pages of a catalogue under the fretwork and after one coat of paint, here is how it looked.

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I added a second coat of paint and then sanded the entire exterior with fine grit sandpaper.   This blended the paint, gave the piece a very smooth feel, and highlighted the details.  I then topped it with two coats of Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish.  This stuff is awesome!  It goes on very easily, gives a completely matte finish, doesn’t yellow, and leaves no brush strokes.

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I like using formal pieces like this in a more casual setting and opted to fill it with simple white dishes, our everyday cloth napkins, and silver flatware. Besides providing beautiful storage in a kitchen or dining room, a piece like this would also look lovely in a bath filled with fluffy white towels and apothecary items or as a bar stocked with entertaining essentials.

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The silver belonged to my late grandmother.  Many years ago as I young child  I mentioned that I thought it was beautiful.  Years later, just before she passed away, my grandmother remembered that comment and made sure the silver was passed along to me.  It’s one of my most cherished possessions, I’m reminded of her every single time I use it.

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Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this makeover!

 

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Rustic Charm

Hello all!  I have a sweet makeover to share with you.

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But its beginnings were not so sweet.  Like most of the pieces I choose, this one needed work!  As you can see from the before photo, there was quite a bit of veneer missing on the bottom drawer front.  There were also numerous scratches, marks, and even paper stuck to the top.  But, I loved the details, turned legs, castors, and brass hardware.  I had to make this work!

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After I made sure all the loose veneer was off, I lightly sanded the drawer front and weighed my options.  I could painstakingly remove the rest of the veneer but I really didn’t want to go down that path.  If you’ve ever removed veneer you’ll understand why I didn’t want to go with that option, it’s tedious to say the least.  I had just received a package from Country Chic Paint which happened to include their Embossing Plaster.  The product is intended to be used to add texture to furniture or with a stencil to add decorative details to pieces.  And that is what I initially had planned for the product.  But as I looked at all that missing veneer I thought, “Why not try to fill the gaps with the Embossing Plaster?”  The texture seemed perfect for such a project and it is already tinted brown, so I decided to give it a try.  It’s offered in three colors with the Praline being a medium brown.

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Here’s what the drawer front looked like after I spread the Embossing Plaster on.  You can use a brush or a putty knife and because I wanted to avoid brush strokes, I hoped to use a putty knife.  But I couldn’t find mine and was so eager to get going I used a small piece of cardboard instead.  It worked fine!

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Since I applied it rather thickly, I let it dry overnight and then sanded it down with my orbital sander.  The instructions state that you may have some cracking if the plaster is applied heavily and I did have a little.  But most of the unevenness was a direct result of how I applied the plaster.  I could have applied it more smoothly, but I thought that given the rustic nature of the entire piece, the texture would add even more charm to the bureau once painted.

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I wiped off the dust and was ready to paint! I had also just received the color Rustic Charm from Country Chic and given the condition of this piece I thought it was the perfect fit.  I did mix in just a tiny amount of  their color Vanilla Frosting to soften the shade a bit and added a little water.  Country Chic paint covers very well but I wanted less opaque coverage, allowing the wood to show though in places.  I finished the dresser with General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Flat.

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I think the Embossing Plaster worked great!  Yes, the drawer front is not perfect.  But neither is the rest of the dresser and all the imperfections contribute to its charm.  Rustic Charm, that is!

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The Blue One

 

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Hi all!  I’m finally getting around to writing a post about this dresser.  I don’t know why I dragged my feet on this, this bureau ended up being one of my favorites.  The piece was a craigslist find and of course, I forgot to take a before photo!  It did need a bit of work including repairing a drawer, fixing drawer glides, and adding drawer stops.  However, once all that was done, the rest was pretty straight forward. Here is what the dresser looked like with the drawers out and two coats of Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue, probably my favorite shade of blue.

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Once the paint was dry, I used 220 grit sand paper to distress the edges and details of the dresser.  I also lightly sanded the entire piece to ensure the overall finish was super smooth.  Next, I turned my attention to the original brass hardware.  I prefer to use original hardware when possible, and I especially loved these round brass pulls.  Here is what they looked like before I cleaned them up.

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Using natural cleaning products is a priority in my home so I first attempted to clean the hardware with lemon juice and baking soda.  Unfortunately, it just didn’t take much of the tarnish off.  So I broke down and bought some Brasso, that stuff is smelly!  But it works, as you can see below.  I’ve since been given a crockpot and next time will plan to clean hardware in that.

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The insides of the bottom three drawers were in perfect condition.  However, since the top one had some staining, I opted to cover it with some coordinating paper that adds just a bit of farmhouse glam.

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I applied two coats of Annie Sloan clear wax to the base of the dresser and three coats to the top and buffed it to a high sheen.  I of course wanted to make the bureau look pretty for pictures but find with having two young boys that I seldom buy decorative items.  I found this globe curbside and the watercolors were painted by my now 8 year old son, Jack, when he was just two.  I love those and when a plan comes together!

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