When I left you last I had just wrapped up the first day of work on a vintage wardrobe my mom had picked up at a local auction. The sides were badly warped and the entire lower half had water damage, mold and mildew.
See how the maple veneer buckled from sitting in water? Along the bottom front the finish had completely washed away leaving behind a green tinge of mold. Pretty huh?
I repaired and replaced all of the damaged wood before loading up my brush and putting on a few coats of cream mineral paint. The following morning at 7:00 am, I rolled off the couch and headed back out to the porch. In the early morning sun it was easy to see why my right arm was killing me. No, I hadn’t slept on it wrong rather I had forgotten to pack a paint roller and wound up hand brushing the side panels – twice.
Can’t you tell? I had a feeling it would wind up streaky once I sanded the sides down with steel wool. Since the nearest hardware store was 30 miles away, I planned to finish up the rest of the piece and stop in at the local shop the following Monday morning. Until then, I finished sanding down the rest of the piece and washed it with a stain.
Since I was going to let the kid play hooky, I enlisted him to snap a few shots of me hard at work. I also bribed my little brother to bring over his IPod dock. I couldn’t take another day of the local station full of static. It was chilly but the sunshine made working outside easier. Every time my dad popped out on to the porch for a smoke I had to resist the urge to shoo him away. My guys know that my work space is a ‘spectator free’ zone but I couldn’t tell my dad to bug off. Besides, it was fun to watch him watch me work. He never said as much but I don’t think he is a fan of painted wood. I could tell by the way he furrowed his brow when he thought I wasn’t looking.
Now, I have been revamping furniture for over a year but this was the first time either of my parents bore witness to my new line of work. What has become old hat to me seemed to have them in awe. My mom commented how cool it was that I knew what I was doing. You know, even as a 36-year-old woman it’s still great to hear your mother say she’s proud of you.
What I didn’t want to hear her say though was “…it looks cracked.” I guess my mom is as much of a fan of the distressed look as I am. But with this piece, I really wanted to pay homage to the years it spent storing unmentionables and looking back at whoever stood before her working on their face and hair preparing for each day. As I explained to my mom, had I just slapped a few coats of paint over Jane’s ‘wrinkles’ she would have looked a cakey, trashy mess.
Instead, I added dark wax to the areas that would accentuate the wardrobe’s years of experience and brightened up the drawer fronts. After rolling the darker green paint along the top and down the sides, I stenciled a cream border to add a youthful touch of whimsy.
After three long days of work Jane didn’t look so plain any more.
After a final coat of clear wax, my dad and I hauled her back to the bathroom against those powder pink walls where she looked like she belonged all along.