Shortly after deciding to put the creative side of my brain to use, a new church friend presented an opportunity to custom finish a piece of furniture. Lisa had a small bookcase she wanted to use in her bathroom. It had been in the family for a while, was solid wood and the perfect height and depth. But the light honey finish didn’t work for her and she wondered if I could fix it up. I happily accepted the challenge assuming I’d restain the piece and have it back to her the following Sunday.
After a little more chatter, however, I realized Lisa didn’t want to see the wood grain of the piece. She didn’t want it stained and she didn’t want it painted brown. She had her heart set on the popular espresso finish applied to most pieces of cheap laminate furniture.
But she didn’t want the shiny, lacquered top coat those quasi-wood jobs wore. It occurred to me that this project would be a little harder than I thought. So I got to work stripping the original stain and top coat while contemplating how to create the desired finish.
Eons ago, I went to beauty school. A lot of times when I’m playing with color I think back to the basics learned in that program. Since the color wheel is the same regardless of the application and since brown is a variation of red, I chose rust for the base coat primer.
Then I followed up with Rustoleum’s version of Espresso but was left with a one-dimensional color that lacked the sophistication Lisa wanted. After lightly sanding down the brown and coming up short on Google search I got creative. The primer was starting to show through the brown, giving it a hint of depth. I played on that by adding some brown paint to cherry stain and clear glaze. I hand rubbed that on and after it was dry, sanded down and repeated the process.
It was taking longer than I’d planned but the result was exactly what I had hoped for. When the second phase was dry I sealed the bookcase with a dark wax I had cooked up to give it the low lustre sheen Lisa wanted.
And now it sits happily in the powder room displaying her necessities.
I’m so glad she didn’t pitch this piece in lieu of something new. I know she is too.