Before & After

A Learning Experience

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I have a new piece of furniture! The little stool was a great first project, but I thoroughly enjoy moving up and graduating to more complex projects.

A little back story on this chair:  A few years ago when my Ex and I had moved into this charming little house on the East Side, we discovered this white chair that was left behind.  The structure of the chair was, for the most part, sound, but it had been carelessly painted white.  Like a lost puppy, we kept it.  When my Ex and I split, I kept the chair.  I always had it in my heart that I would give this chair some TLC.  Several years later, it got just that.

Eager to get started on this project, I applied stripper to the chair, chomping at the bit to peel off the layer of unwanted paint.  I let it sit and when I went to scrape, I was more than disappointed.  I wanted that somewhat weird satisfaction of peeling paint; similar to pulling glue off your fingers when you were a kid.  (Is this weird or are you coming with me?) Needless to say that only thing that came off was the stripper. (insert inappropriate joke, go ahead and get it out of your system)

Learning Experience #1: When stripper is applied to paint that has been applied over stain: it turns into a gel and doesn’t actual get you anywhere but frustrated.

After this discovery, I quickly felt myself getting sick.  I was hit with a strong wave of seasonal allergies, which landed myself in bed for a week.  Ahthankyooou, Rag Weed.  This brings us to….

Learning Experience #2: Don’t work on projects when you are not feeling 100%.  You will end up doing more damage than good and therefore make more work for yourself.

After recovering from being Sneezy’s lost cousin, Snotty, I got back to work.  I trucked my sander and my chair off to a friends house to whip this stripper/paint/stain layered mess into submission.  After hours of using my power sander (YAY!) the job was done.  I then applied some wood filler to cracks in the seat to get it back to an even and smooth surface.

I’ve always wanted a teal or turquoise piece of furniture.  I was fortunate to locate a color I really liked, appropriately named “Smoked Turquoise.”  Once a few coats were dried, I applied stain to the entire piece.  I have never used stain before, admittedly I was nervous, but it turned out very easy to work with.  I lathered on the stain, let it sit, and then buffed it off.  Applying the stain over the latex paint gives a subtle aged feel without making it look forced.

This piece was a little more labor intensive than the previous, but I must say I found it valuable.  I worked with new mediums and gained a few new techniques.

Learning Experience #3: Take better before pictures!  (I did take more “In the Process” Pictures, but I wish you could have seen a better before picture!)

Needless to say, I believe I have fallen in love with refinishing furniture.  In love.  I cannot believe how satisfying it feels to convert an ordinary piece of furniture into something special.

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Before & After

A New Passion: Before & After

IMG_0001 IMG_0006In my past blogs, I have always talked about the women that have inspired me.  This particular post is more of an ode to the creative men that have influenced me .  My father and his father have always had a knack for skilled carpentry.  My Dad can look at the skeleton of a farm house and turn it into something really special.  His father, obviously taught him.  My Grandfather gave me a taste of woodworking at a young age.  I have fond memories of building toys, painting nutcrackers, birdhouses, and wooden signs with him.  I remember sitting up on a stool at his workbench in his basement workshop listening to stories about World War II and how he first met my Grandmother while Bing Crosby was playing in the background. When I came home for Christmas one year, my Papa showed me pictures of these refinished dressers, rocking chairs, and chests that he had picked up at the junk yard.   He would breath life into the old tattered pieces of furniture.  They would glow when he was done with them! I told him over and over again how much I wanted to learn how to do what he did.  A few years later,  my Grandfather died of leukemia.  His passing was very difficult for me as I was closer to him than most.  It is my biggest regret that I lost the opportunity to learn his techniques, not for passing on the trade, but the bonding experience.  I’ve since begged boyfriends, exes, and guy friends to teach me how to do it, but no one has ever really taken the time.  Fatigued with desperation, I finally picked up a book appropriately named Furniture Makeovers by Barb Blair. I have just completed my first furniture makeover.  I found a simple, easy one for a first time: a good ol’ Goodwill stool.  I learned how to strip, prime, paint, and finish.  My Grandfather was a traditionalist when it came to refurbishing wooden pieces, I decided to go a different route.  I know he might not approve of my bold colors, but I know he would definitely be proud of the quality of the work.