26 Nov

What Great Bones You Have

I knew when I saw this vintage Victrola that it was going to be something special. How and to whom I hadn’t a clue but I just knew. It was missing a few key elements but it’s bones – I don’t come across pieces this old in such good shape often.

victrola cabinet

Now, you might wonder what I’ve been drinking as you think “What is she talking about? That thing is fugly! No way would I bring that into my house…”

damaged victrola

The ornamental detail, veneer and original wooden wheels were all in tact. So what if it was missing a record player, door and lid? Do you see those louvered doors that actually work? Special I tell ya.

vintage victrola

So when my chiropractor told me he was switching things up at the office, moving his exam room into a new space, I heard “I am going to need some furniture” and paid attention.

I’d already completed a Lego table that would go in there and didn’t have enough matching chairs to help him out. But when he said something about needing a place to stand at his laptop to update patient records I knew I had just the thing.

added plywood door top

Immediately, I got to work fabricating a top and door from quality plywood. Since the exam room was painted a vibrant blue the only logical color choice was black. Initially, I didn’t think I would like it but as it came together I changed my tune.

rebuilt victrola

I reinforced the bottom and added a second shelf. Before painting the new pieces, I made sure everything fit and functioned properly. Then I gave it an all over of a new favorite – Minwax Antique Oil Finish.

The matte luster wipes on easily but dries hard without that shiny, plastic appearance or typical polyurethane.

painted victrola

Since little ones might be tempted to open the door, I added a catch just inside the door.

added shelving

And if Doc wants to grab something quick, he can reach right through the shutters without moving his laptop from the top.

revamped victrola

I didn’t want to cover up the original wood inside so I recommended he install a basket or something if he wanted. Otherwise, it’s painted and sealed so tossing his supplies right in works too.

repurposed record player

I just love the detail of those side floral motifs. I’m still surprised that not a single one was missing or damaged.

louvered doors

Like I said, this one is a special project. I’m so pleased it found a home with one of my favorite people – in a space where many others will also appreciate it’s great bones.

rebuilt stereo cabinet

05 Sep

When Bold is Beautiful

update table & chairs

You know that cliché “go big or go home”? I’ve been in restaurants with tables smaller than the one Misty commissioned me to update for her busy family. She and her husband, a local church Pastor, entertain often and loved the size of their second-hand dining room set but knew it was in need of an overhaul. So when she asked, I was happy to see what I could do to help.

Because theirs is a home full of activity – with three young children and a constant flow of visitors – their tabletop had seen better days. The clear finish had gummed up and worn away in several spots. Misty gave up trying to get it clean and opted for a large tablecloth instead.

dirty table

the infamous ‘before’ picture

The chairs were in pretty good condition. A bit of glue to tack down the splat veneer, lots of paint and new upholstery would freshen them right up. They felt solid and were heavy. And once I’d stripped them of fabric and foam I knew why.

veneer chair

guess what the seat is made from…

I guess over in Malaysia it’s common to repurpose laminate countertops into seat bases. It must also be standard practice to secure fabric with 108 staples per chair. Have you ever tried to pry staples out of MDF? I don’t recommend it. Especially not eight times over.

Another lesson learned on this project was that attempts to spot-bleach wood will fail. Miserably. And since the top was composed of thin sheets of veneer an all-over-bleaching would soak through and compromise the substrate glue. That meant my plan to restore the natural blonde wood tone was out the window.

wood bleach

spot bleaching is bad!

See, originally Misty and I both assumed the filmstrip-like border was a sticker or paint and would easily remove when the table was stripped. I was surprised to find the checks were built into the tabletop itself and couldn’t bring myself to paint over the gorgeous ebony wood inlay.

black dining table

color: caviar & paint minerals

So, I taped it off and painted over. Three times.

ebony wood inlay

salvaged ebony wood inlay

Stunning right? I love how the skirting’s dentil molding pops against the checkered pattern that ties fabulously with the polka dots on the chair seat fabric (that is on sale right now.) Seriously, I love when project pieces just fall together.

Speaking of chair seat fabric, the very day I planned to haul these puppies out of the garage for delivery I had an unexpected challenge to overcome.

reupholstered chair pad

Why is there a gap under the chair pad?

The original screws seemed to have grown a 1/4″ causing the space between the chair base and seat. Apparently, eliminating the fabric-wrapped piping from the finished design meant I’d need (32) shorter screws (and a fancy new screwdriver) to complete the project.

painted veneer chair

paint: caviar black / fabric: wizard graffiti

But look at that chair. And those chairs down there! Gorgeous.

painted chairs

paint: lime rickey

Personally, I wasn’t sure if it would all come together. See, when we first discussed paint the plan was to finish the chairs in pairs with (4) different colors (red, green, black, cream) to tie in the bold fabric. Along the way, Misty decided to streamline the palette.

modern dining set

the glorious ‘after’ shot

And it works. Now the fabric takes center stage. Removing the captain’s chairs all together changes up the look too.

black kitchen table

not bad in all black

Now Misty doesn’t have to cover up when guests come over. Her fun, inviting table will no doubt make everyone feel right at home.

painted dining room table

back at home 

black kitchen table

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29 Aug

Mission Complete – Barn Red End Tables

mission style painted tables

When I first picked up these mission style end tables the plan was to paint and sell them as bedside tables. I had envisioned them in a creamy antique white with a French-inspired ink transfer or postmark or something romantic and swoony on top.

mission style painted tables

But after I got the primer and two coats of paint on I was out of steam and didn’t feel like working on them anymore. So, I set them aside and moved on to other projects.

mission style painted tables

A few weeks months later my girlfriend, April, asked if I had any small living room tables. AHA! So that’s why I’d lost my mojo on those suckers. We agreed they were a perfect compliment to her glass-topped coffee table.

mission style painted tables

So, the white was replaced with thirty-two coats of barn red. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that many coats but it sure felt like it.

mission style painted tables

At one point, I snapped a pic of the table top and texted it over to April. It was just about then that I decided ‘progress photos’ were not my friend. The next time we got together she cautiously asked if the tables had turned out orange. Apparently, the flash on my cell phone didn’t do the paint color much justice. I reassured her that the tables were, absolutely, positively, barn red just as she’d requested. I think she believed me…

mission style painted tables

What I didn’t tell her was that I’d taken some design liberty and added matte black around the lip of the table top and antiqued the sides with stain and dark wax.

mission style painted tables

mission style painted tables

The tops got the full poly-plus-wax treatment and now these tables are sitting pretty in April’s living room – where her coffee table awaits a similar paint job.

mission style painted tables

I don’t know why I ever thought they belonged in a bedroom.  (shrug) What do I know?

mission style painted tables

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