Put It On a Silver Platter

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I picked up this really unique table/cabinet, and wanted to experiment with the silver leafing products I purchased a while back.  The cabinet was in good shape, and had unique hardware:

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The silver leaf turned out to be quite the challenge, as it is soon delicate, and sheds.  I had t use special gloves!

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The flat surfaces were not as hard…….

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After a stressful, graceful, and finessed process…. here is the final product:

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Apothecary, Quite Contrary!

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I finished this custom order for a client yesterday. It was for a very nice couple- the piece is the woman’s grandmother’s. They needed the piece to be updated so it would go with their home decor. I appreciated the fact that they wanted to keep this heirloom out so it could be seen, and continue to be a part of their lives.

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The piece was in great condition. It had some minor chips that I was able to fill. It had a very thick coat of poly on it, and I knew I had to sand it well and rough it up so the paint would adhere. Many times I paint the inside of the drawers as well because it gives the piece a wholesome finished look, but I noticed this piece had been done before and they left the wood inside the drawers natural. I felt it was best to keep it the same way. So like Magiver (remember that show?), I used trash bags to tape around the drawer, so the overspray would not get inside the drawers.

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This was a custom order, so the couple picked the color.  They chose Olympic Paint’s “Rum Raisin.”  It’s a nice bold color!

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The prep work was done, the piece was patched and sanded. The two decorative points in the front were chipped so I re-pointed them. With my spray gun I painted it and sealed it.  We left the original hardware on there: adorable porcelain knobs.  Finally this is what it looked like when it was all finished!

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Sleeping Soundly…. Finally!

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WOW, I didn’t think this bedroom set would EVER get done. There were so many problems, I went through two paint guns, and had to purchase another one just to finish the job! Although I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out. I had done some staging for a lovely couple who was moving to North Carolina. They had this 1940’s bedroom set that they weren’t taking with them, and we made arrangements to have it Renewed Reloved. The bedroom set was in wonderful condition, it has really been taken care of over the years.

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I love the original hardware on this set, and knew I was going to keep them untouched.  Ok, so begins the sh*t show.  I lightly sanded all the pieces so the paint would adhere nicely.  I used colors that I had left over from painting my own house.  I try not to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint if I can help it, no offense.  I used “Mesa Verde Tan” for the outside, and the drawers were down in “White Down,” both by Benjamin Moore.

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At first I painted the entire end table “White Down,” but I thought that it was just so boring, and didn’t do the set any justice.  However, I liked the dark original hardware against the off white. I loved the “Mesa Verde Tan” that I used for my master bedroom, and thought it looked really good against the off white.  So there you have it- a two tone set.  So I set up shop, ready to paint.  Little did I know that I would soon have a mental breakdown.

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Honestly, every time I tried to attempt to paint this set somethings went wrong.  Both my paint guns stopped working.  Finally the new Wagner one I purchased did the job.  It was a long battle, and a big under taking, but when all said and done I think it came out incredible (yes I am patting myself on the back, but shush).  Check out the finished product.  All of which can be seen and purchased at 23rd & Bird located inside the WinSmith Mill in Norwood, Ma.

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The Perfect Match

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I’ve been dying to share the finished product of my bedroom dresser, but I have been so busy with the house renovations I haven’t had a chance to finish it!  Well it is finally done, and I love the way it came out!  I had done an entire bedroom set for a customer, a long time ago, and in exchange for doing her daughters headboard and footboard, she offered me this dresser.  I absolutely loved it, and it was in good shape (aside from the cosmetics).  I’ve held on to it for a long time, because I wanted to make sure that whatever I did to it would be PERFECT, and I also knew that I wanted to keep it for myself (hehe).

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Best part?  I matched the detailing on the front to the end tables….well actually, the other way around: I came across the end tables that also happened to have the same design!! Trust me that was pure luck.

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Of course, the top’s veneer was chipped and peeling away.  So I decided to just take off all the veneer so it would have an even surface.

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It proved to be quite difficult, the veneer was stubborn in some places, but perseverance prevailed, and I was able to get it all off with out damage.  I sanded it down to give it a nice smooth surface so that it would be ready for paint!

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I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in “Old White,” which was the same color I used on the end tables.  I also used “Shabby Chic” to highlight the detailing on the front.  I distressed it a bit, waxed it, and it was like a brand new piece.

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The dresser has an incredible seining mirror, and the detail work from legs to the posts follow all the way through.  The mirror has aged over the year, but I think it gives it character, and I love the hardware used to fasten it to the dresser!

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Here are some shots of the legs and sides.

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At last, here are some more shots

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AND, just to brag a bit about how good of a match this turned out to be, here is the dresser’s detailing in the front and one of the end tables I am using as my bed side tables.

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Damn,  i’m good!  Haha!

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This part is connected to the…. other part, and that part is connected to… the other thing

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So yes, I have been picking up decorative elements for my house that have been recycled/up-cycled etc…. However, I was on the hunt for a TV stand that was very specific: it had to fit in between the two windows in my living room, was not too high, and above all had a good look to it.  I searched and searched, and to no avail I was defeated.  So I caved, and I ordered a media stand from Walmart.  I have to say the box weighed 3,000 pounds; I had to push it on the floor with all my weight behind it…. should I mention that I slipped a few times- not so gracefully either.  Anyway….  There is always that first excitement when you see the box like “oooo yippee it’s here!” and then you open the box:

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and you discover a trillion pieces and screws.  You try not to panic and try to stay enthusiastic, but you realize “shit, this is going to take a while….” Well I was up for the challenge.  First things first, organize the pieces:

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This was just a clip, trust me, there were a ton of pieces.  Labeled for the alphabet…. it went to “Q.”  Well as the piece came together I started to feel encouraged again, which was needed to cancel out the aggravation of using a skew driver.  I had developed a series of blisters… why I didn’t use a drill, I don’t know, but its too late now, so whatever!

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It didn’t take too long- maybe an hour and a half?  I was real happy with the outcome, and I think it will look really good with my “French Country” inspired family room.  It’s solid as a rock, I recommend it- GO WALMART!

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My handmade “Book Ends”

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I have been dying to share this post, but I obviously had to wait until work was completed!  Well I’ve had a dresser for a long time that I knew I wanted to use in my house, but just hadn’t gotten to it.  Well I figured being in my new place would be the perfect opportunity to do my bedroom with new pieces, but OLD Renewed Reloved pieces.  I had been on the hunt for end tables that met the following criteria:

1) Taller than wider

2) Antique

3) The legs needed to match the legs on the dresser

4) Drawers/Storage

5) Ornate hardware

After stalking Craigslist for weeks, and looking in antique stores I FOUND THEM! A pair to boot!  I managed to get them both for $50!

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 So I went and got the tables and was all excited.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I work on furniture all the time, but these end tables were a b*tch.  The veneer was peeling/chipping… I patched some of it with wood filler, but in some places it looked like sh*t, and I’m too much of a perfectionist to stand for that.  So, I do what all rational people do in a dilemma- make more work for myself.  I decided on the sides that had the worst peeling I would just chip off all the veneer.  At first it went smoothly:

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And then…. it got nasty, and I couldn’t quite get under the veneer to lift it with out denting the wood underneath.  So I experimented.  I knew that the veneer was held on with glue… I grabbed a damp facecloth and used my iron to heat up and steam the facecloth.  This helped loosen the glue, and made it easier to wedge my razor and putty knife under the veneer.

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A pretty genius idea if I do say so myself, and I should probably let you know that the face cloth I used was thrown out….

Next I sanded the sh*t out of them.  There were lots of dents, they were worn, so I really made sure to get a smooth surface.  On the middle drawers I discovered an ornate design. Of course the veneer was chipping, so I peeled it off.  I knew I wanted to preserve the pattern, so I took a pointed metal nail file and traced the shape.  I didn’t know what I would do with the design but I knew I wanted to keep it and incorporate it some how.

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 I sanded everything down, and they were ready for paint!  I used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in “Old White.”  I love the color because it is so versatile, and really highlights pieces.  I decided that I would use left over paint from one of my bedrooms to enhance the design on one of the drawers..

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I hand painted it with Benjamin Moore’s “Shabby Chic” that I used in one of my guest rooms.  They came out gorgeous, and believe it or not,  they matched the same pattern I have on my dresser (but you won’t see that until later <<wink wink>>).

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I had to do 3 coats of paint (shoot me now), because the wood was so dark and aged that it was bleeding through.  This is usual because Annie Sloan Chalk Paint covers pretty well, but sometimes it does happen.  This like weird yellow or sometimes pink stain comes through.  You need to apply another coat.  I distressed them, waxed them, buffed them, and polished the hardware…. here is the finish product…. DAMN they are gorgeous!

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Now wait until you see the dresser- it looks like a complete set!

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Behind, in front, can’t get around the candelabra!

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Ok, all my posts so far have been “tips and techniques” and “progress” posts, but let’s lighten it up with something funny.  I have been shopping around looking for an upholstered head board; online, in stores etc…. My mother and I headed to Jordans Furniture so I could buy a new mattress, and we figured while we were there that we might as well look for some bed frames.  I love walking through the showroom floor, everything looks so nice, and you can get some great decorating inspiration.  However, when we turned the corner, we both almost sh*t!

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We had come face to face with Liberace’s bedroom set.  It even had its very own candelabra.  I of course think this is hilarious, and wonder who would actually buy this set, aside form the man himself!  I didn’t just move on, I laid on it and felt like Cleopatra.  Liberace my man, you were on to something….

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Then again, he WAS the man and could do whatever he wanted.   If the bed wasn’t enough for you, perhaps you want to accessorize the room with full blow sparkly/glittered furniture.  Did I mention the price?  YIKES!

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I digress…. I did find something that I absolutely LOVED, and ordered it with my new mattress, I know I will sleep soundly!  I found a gorgeous upholstered headboard/footbard/frame studded with antiqued bronze/brass upholstery nails.

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Scruba-dub-dub, but NOT in a tub!

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For those of you who know me, know I am OCD, and I tend to go a bit overboard with cleaning, but when it comes to taking over some one else’s old home… I’m gonna strip that baby down!  From my last blog post, you saw that I had removed all the cabinet faces and doors.  Now that I packed them up into my trunk, and lugged them to my parents house, it was time to clean them!

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I set up a system on the kitchen table- I laid out the labeled cabinet and drawer faces on the kitchen table, a little at a time: there are 21 total faces that need to be cleaned….. yeah I KNOW- A LOT.

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I had gone down to the Home Depot to find some industrial grade cleaning supplies- Dawn was just NOT gonna cut it.  I bumped into this woman in the aisle, and we started making small talk about cleaning.  I told her I had a lot of grease to deal with, and she suggested “Zep..” I was intrigued- do tell me more!  I thanked her and started looking at all my options.  There are plenty of Zep cleaners, but I was looking for something serious- nuclear warfare style. I found Zep 505, grabbed some gloves, sponges, and stainless steel brushes… I’m not going to lie- I rushed home to get started, I was very excited (sick, I know).

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I cut down a huge black trash bag to cover the surface of the Butcher Block, and placed ONE face at a time on there.  I put the posit it at the top right of the butcher block to make sure it followed the damn cabinets everywhere.  At first I was spraying the faces, letting it sit for a second, and using the front and back of the sponge to clean it.  It just wasn’t cutting it.  I busted out the stainless steel brush and went to town.  I can’t even describe to you the amount of grease that I scraped off each face.  I scrubbed and scrubbed.  I rinsed each cabinet after and hand dried them.  Some of them I had to re-wash/scrub because there was still some residue.  I managed to get into every nook and cranny!  I dried them off, and replaced the post-its.  I started placing the dry clean faces on a drop cloth in my parents dining room.  Have I mentioned they are less than thrilled that I have turned their home into a temporary workshop?

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Look how beautiful they are, all clean and pretty!  I couldn’t stop there though…. I realized that I spent (in total) 5 1/2 hours cleaning the faces (front and back) of these cabinets and doors, but the cabinet frames were left untouched…. so I went back to my new house, took a look around and realized  I had my work cut out for me.

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Every single shelf had faux marble contact paper on it.  No surface had been left untouched!  I personally can’t stand it, so I started ripping it off, and it must have been there for a while, because it came off easily.  Unfortunately, when you remove the contact paper it leaves a sticky residue behind.  So gross.  I knew all the surfaces would have to be cleaned.  So I got my bucket of hot hot water (scalding actually), my gloves, and brushes, and started with the bottom cabinets.  I knew instantly two things: 1) This was going to take forever and 2) I couldn’t stop I HAD to finish (OCD)- it’s a double edged sword. I knew I would feel better once I finished, but it was going to take a while to get there.  I scrubbed inside the cabinets, drawers, and the outsides, and even the hinges and drawer tracks.  This time it was ME who left no surface untouched! TAKE THAT!

 Ok, so at this point I am 4 hours in, a little delirious, but still motivated.  Jammin’ to a mix of Dave Matthews Band and Elvis in the background, I reached the range and overhead microwave.  Now I gave them a good stern look, and realized this was going to be a nasty job.  I had the cleaners come in, and they did the top of the range, and it looked great, but they didn’t do the underside of the microwave, or the walls next to the range….

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Honestly, when I looked under the microwave and adjacent cabinets and walls I almost vomited.  The surface was ORANGE with grease.  GROSS, GROSS, GROSS.  The wall to the right, was COVERED with grease splatter.  I began to panic.  I sprayed the surface, soaked it with hot water, and waited.  I loosened the gunk up a bit with a scratch sponge, but re-applied the cleaner.  At this point I have probably taken off about 10 years of my life because I didn’t use a mask- though I did use gloves, so give me some credit….  I used the stainless steel brush- brush brush brush brush…. but still the grease remained.  So I resorted to a flat razor.  I LITERALLY scraped the grease from the underside of the cabinets and wall.

Good news it, I managed to get it all done; Bad news is: it took me a total of 5 hours to clean all the cabinets and walls.

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Make do with what you’ve got!

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This is going to be a quick one, because realistically there isn’t much to talk about!  Once I had taken off the old hardware from the kitchen cabinets I was left with these ugly brass handles:

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I had gone to both the Home Depot and Lowes to pick up some hardware, but none of them lined up with the holes that already existing in the cabinets.  I instantly felt defeated, because I was looking for an antique bronze look.  I went online to try and find some that would fit, but they would end up being quite expensive… little darn things are pricey!  Ok, so I re-grouped.  In the essence of saving money, I decided that I would give it a shot and spray them.

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I stopped in Home Depot and headed straight for the paint section.  I know that RUST-OLEUM is a good name brand, and was rummaging through them.  I did find the antiqued bronze color I was looking for.  I used “Flat Burnished Amber.” I should note here, that when spraying metal surfaces you’re best bet is using a spray that has a PAINT AND PRIMER IN ONE.  It adheres better.  If you don’t prime your pieces the paint will chip off (especially metal)…. so why buy a can of primer AND a can of spray paint when you can kill to two birds with one stone? Exactly.  Again I am going to reference my crazy cleaning- you know how I love to clean… I prepared the brass handles by using a brass cleaner.  I scrubbed them clean, rinsed and dried them.  They were ready for paint.  I laid out another trash bag on my parent’s butcher block and sprayed the back side first (I didn’t want to rest the painted hardware on the top surface).

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First coat came out pretty good, but knew for sure it needed another one.  At this point, my mother was going to kill me for spraying in the house, but I was past the point of no return.  I turned on the fans, opened the doors, and sprayed febreeze.  I gave the back side a second coat, let it dry and flipped them.  I repeated the process on the other side.

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The end product was better than I expected!  I really like the antique bronze look with a slight shimmer that the RUST-OLEUM gave the hardware.  I saved a good chunk of money by only spending $3.00 for a can of spray paint!  Now I don’t need to patch old holes, drill new ones, and buy new hardware.  Sometimes its just better to use what you have and up cycle them.  All twenty one brass handles came out pretty good if I do say so myself:

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