Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy Returns

I have been away for a while. I actually forgot that I started this blog, save for the fact that I have it linked to our website. Much has gone on, and many new pieces have been transformed. Since I have been gone a while, I thought I would share what we have done since I've been away from blogging and a sample of my favorite before and afters.

I could not keep up with scheduling appointments for viewing of our finished pieces with all the other daily things a family of 7 needs to do, so my husband and I opened up a booth at a local antique mall to showcase and sell our latest pieces. This has been a big blessing and has freed up my time to paint more pieces, but it has also challenged me to refinish enough pieces to keep our booth stocked. I'm not complaining. It's a good problem to have.

I have also slightly changed how I refinish furniture and the materials I use. I can share that later in upcoming posts.

Here are a few of our favorites we have done lately.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Henry Link Mandarin Wardrobe Armoire

I knew I found a winner when I spotted this beauty on Craigslist. I really loved the brass drawer pulls. I also loved that it was a short armoire and not one of those gargantuan things. Petite is good.
Henry Link Mandarin Armoire
I loved the burl wood and wanted to restain it darker, but when I stripped it, it just didn't look like it would stain well, so I opted for paint. Since this was Asian inspired, I went for a reddish orange color. It didn't turn out quite as red as I had envisioned, but when it was all done, I loved the color. 
Henry Link Asian Armoire

I did end up glazing her in black to add an aged look and I gilded the carvings in gold to match the brass. 
Orange Asian Armoire
The inside I painted black with the one interior drawer in the orange color. 
Painted Henry Link Armoire

And, don't you just love her legs!
Henry Link Armoire

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Removing Smoke Smell From Wood Furniture

campaign dresser before their transformation

Removing smoke smell from wood furniture can be challenging, but I have discovered that it is not impossible to remove most, if not all, of the odor. When I bought these Campaign dressers that reeked of smoke, I wasn't sure if it was possible, so I scoured the internet and found that some people had successfully removed the smell left from cigarettes. I was hopeful. What I found was that a combination of what others had recommended was what was needed to remove almost 20 years of smoke and nicotine odor. What I am sharing is what worked for me. It's what worked for wood that had a finish. I have not tried this on unfinished wood or plastic and I most definitely would not think of doing what I did to upholstery. 

By the time I was finished with my smoke removal regime, I could not smell any traces of smoke. I even had friends and family conduct a sniff test to make sure. They all agreed that the smell was gone. 

My Smoke Smell Removal Regime
Vinegar is useful at removing smoke smell from wood furniture
I love vinegar! Is there nothing it can't do?
1. Throw baking soda in all the drawers and let that sit overnight. 
2. Dump out all baking soda and repeat step 1.
3. Wipe down the outside of the dressers with a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar. This removed much of the nicotine residue.
4.Repeat step 3.
5. Mix 3 parts water to 1 part Murphy's Soap in a spray bottle and spray the outside and inside of the furniture.
6. Let this sit a couple hours and then wipe off. (I wore gloves. Murphy's Soap can really irritate the skin. Also, I couldn't wipe the Murphy's Soap off the inside but that was ok.)
7. Repeat step 6 if necessary.
8. Sniff - Hopefully all smoke smell has disappeared.

This is what I used.
Disclaimer: This was my very first experience at cigarette smoke removal. This worked for me, and hopefully it works for you, but I can not guarantee it. Nor can I guarantee that the vinegar and Murphy's Soap won't damage the wood, so proceed at your own risk. (I just had to add that.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Two Tone White Campaign Dresser

Campaign furniture is my current obsession. I admit it. So when I found these Campaign dressers with hutches on Craigslist,  I was very excited.
Dixie Campaign Dresser with hutch
I raced over to purchase them before anyone else spotted them advertised. To my dismay, the owner was a heavy smoker and the furniture reeked of smoke. I had second thoughts about buying them, but they were so inexpensive and were made by Dixie, I took the risk and bought them. I wasn't sure I could completely remove the smoke smell, but I wanted to give it a shot.

Fast Forward to today. I was able to get the smoke smell out completely (more about how I did that in here). I wasn't crazy about the hutches, so I removed them. I decided to tackle the larger one first. I'm saving the smaller one to paint for my son's room. 

Well anyway, I liked the grain of the wood on the drawer fronts, so I stripped them with Citristrip and restained them to a dark walnut and finished them in a gloss Polyurethane. The Polyurethane made them shine and look more modern. 

I painted the body of the dresser in White Linen by Benjamin Moore and finished it in Polyacrylic in satin. An overnight soaking in vinegar made the hardware shine and removed the years of nicotine build-up.

Here she is in all her glory. See the shine? 
Two tone campaign dresser by Dixie
 Sorry the pictures are so grainy. I am upgrading to a DSLR. It's in the mail. Can't wait!
Two Tone Campaign Dresser by Dixie

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

White Campaign Desk

Dixie Campaign Desk
 I found this great mid century Campaign desk by Dixie on Craigslist. It had seen better days, but was structurally good. It has those awesome faux bamboo legs, but they were really in rough shape. They looked like a cat had used them for a scratching post and needless to say, they needed lots of wood filler.

I primed with Zinsser and sprayed it with Benjamin Moore's Advance it Linen White. I love this white. It is not quite as stark as a pure white, but isn't too creamy either. Lastly, I applied 3 coats of Polycrylic. With Advance this last step isn't really necessary since this oil based paint with dry with a hard finish. I really just wanted the sheen the poly gives it.

I cleaned up the brass hardware by soaking it overnight in vinegar. The vinegar took most of the tarnish off. Whatever tarnish was left, I just left it that way. I think a little tarnish adds character. The corner metal pieces were not real brass, so I spray painted them gold to brighten them up.

Here's the new and improved Campaign desk. Doesn't it look great in white?

White Painted Campaign Desk

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Henry Link Armoire Question

Ok. I recently was lucky enough to buy (for cheap) a vintage Henry Link armoire. It needs a little refinishing, but it's in great shape. I love the asian inspired brass hardware! Anyway, here she is.
Henry Link asian armoire / wardrobe
Here's my dilemna....
It has burl wood on the cabinet and drawer insets and I think I should keep them exposed and not paint over them. I'm thinking of stripping and restaining them. But I'm having trouble deciding on the paint color.  I've narrowed the possibilities down to two.

1. Paint the cabinet part black and restain the drawer fronts just a tad bit darker like the one from Furnish Me Vintage below.
Vintage asian armoire from Furnish Me Vintage

2. Paint the cabinet an orangey-red and restain the burl wood in a dark walnut color. The color would be similar to the one below from the Silk Road Connection. The cabinet and drawer fronts would be similar in color to the hardware on this armoire.
Orange asian armoire from the Silk Road Connection
I am leaning towards one of them. I don't want to say yet because I first want your honest opinion. Which look should I go for? 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Industrial Metal Cabinet - Card Catalog Find

I have been looking for a card catalog for a long time. My preference has always been to find an old library card catalog like this one from Brooklyn Limestone.
Wood card catalog from Brooklyn Limestone
I still have yet to find one, but I did manage to score a metal industrial cabinet that does resemble a card catalog. 

It was in great shape structurally, but had more rust than I wanted. I sanded off most of the rust and gave it a thorough cleaning. Then I sprayed it with a rust inhibiting primer by Rustoleum in gray. 
Rustoleum Self Etching Primer

I really liked the way it sprayed. No matter what I did, the primer went on even. And best of all, it stops rust. 

After priming the cabinet, I glazed it with a walnut color glaze. What a difference the glaze made! It softened the gray and made it look like the original cabinet and gave it a smoother finish.

I wish I had a picture of the before.
Industrial Metal Cabinet / Card Catalog

Metal Cabinet labels

See how great it looks. I cleaned up the pulls. I left a little of the tarnish and rust to keep it looking vintage and added these cool labels.

Metal industrial cabinet

The really cool thing about this whole experience is that when I first brought this cabinet home, I discovered that I had bought the history of the cabinet too. Inside the drawers were newspaper clippings and other papers from the All Jersey Dairy Company! It was fun reading ads and magazine articles from the 1960s about dairy farming and the nutritional value of milk. 
All Jersey Dairy

Metal cabinet from All Jersey Dairy
Cool, huh?!