I purchased this antique cabinet from a young couple just starting out. They had just bought their first home and were desperate to brand it as their own. They had just returned from IKEA and were dying to get this out so they could put together the new pieces they had decided were more “them”. It belonged to his grandmother and I asked them several times if they were sure this was something they wanted to part with. “Oh yes” over and over… while a part of my heart was sad, the rest of it was excited about what I could do with this incredible piece of history.
Isn’t she just beautiful?!
I had her for sale as-is for a while with no takers. I know with a bit of paint she’ll be treasured in a new family. Those relief pieces are just so stunning and reminded me of jewelry- the perfect accessories for an evening of dining and fun!
I knew exactly which color I wanted to use as soon as I saw it- van Gogh Fossil Paint in Carter a deep teal blue/green. The burl-ing of the wood couldn’t be hidden by paint though- it is so beautiful it has to be highlighted and accentuated.
The finish was old and the varnish was crackled and “alligatored”. When this happens you can sand it all off or go with it. It depends on the style of the piece… for this- I LOVED the look and embraced it.
I only wanted accents of color. Skin can be sexy and this girl needs to show it off!
Do you see how the accents are starting to stand out? Did you even notice that inlay in the original photo?
After I started this piece while deciding how to handle the relief, I won a drawing for Modern Masters paint from the blog Just Paint It! Whoo hoo!! The MM link takes you to their blog where you can be inspired and wowed too!
I had some options and after SO much thought (decisions like this aren’t always my strong suit), I chose 4 colors. One of them was Champagne, an opaque metallic that reminds me of a light and very creamy gold. I thought this would be a beautiful compliment to the depth of the Carter.
I knew that opaque or not, there was no way full coverage would be achieved with such a light color over such a dark wood so I decided to base coat the relief pieces with the closest fossil paint color to Champagne (its Cashmere if you’re wondering).
Are you starting to see it take shape?
In the meantime, I set out to work on the “skin” to make it as rich as possible. You can see it best in the photo of the drawer front below. It had some clouding in some places and needed a refreshing of sorts. I decide sandpaper was probably the only way to do it right. No power anything on this one- this could only be done by hand.
I started with 100 grit, then moved to 220, then finished it off with 500. No, the 500 wasn’t necessary… but if you felt it, you’d know it was SO worth it.
After all the painted parts were dry, I added two coats of MM Champagne.
Wowie, right? Went over the Carter for the second coat to cover my over “spray” with the metallic, took the door to the glass shop for glass, installed it when it came back and then decided how to seal it all.
There are so many sealant options today. It’s so great to have choices! I knew I needed something that would nourish this poor neglected girl. I also knew that the oak trim was kind of distracting from the beauty of the burl. So I decided to combine some waxes. I used van Gogh French Caffeine wax on the oak trim. It toned it down and made it fall a bit more into the background while nourishing and feeding” it for a gorgeous subtle glow.
On the rest of the piece I chose to use Daddy Van’s. I chose two of their styles because I knew this girl needed some love. On the top part of the body and the painted parts, I used their unscented version. Daddy Vans’ also has an orange oil version. It is truly the perfect choice for neglected wood because the addition of orange oil helps clean the wood too. Wax seals the paint, stops the distressing process, and (if it’s solvent free) nourishes the wood like a long drink of water on the hottest day of Summer.
Want me to prove it? Check these photos out:
The longer I let it sit, the more the water marks and abuse disappeared. Don’t you love a good before and after? Me too!
I couldn’t leave her like this though, so I fixed her up for both sides to match and cleaned the glass. I know you won’t even believe it was the same cabinet… well maybe you will.
Here she is all ready to go:
What do you think? Will someone be honored to bring her home to the family? She’s really quite stunning!