Family Heirloom Updated for Generations to Come

Once in a while, a piece of furniture comes into our workshop that is truly an honor to work on.  This particularly large hutch was definitely one of those as it defines the importance of family and preserving memories.

This gigantic hutch was handmade by our customer’s great-grandfather, grandfather, and father.  It is a piece of this family’s history as it has a consistent presence in childhood memories and even in the background of countless family photographs through generations.  We found it stored neatly in a locker where it was waiting for both a new family home it could fit into (did I mention it’s HUGE), and a little bit of updating to fit into a modern home.

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This was such a fun, quirky piece to work on with lots of decisions along the way to make sure it’s character was preserved while the finish was updated to fit into it’s new home.  For instance, we found a ruler built into the top of the upper doors (it must have been just the right size to fill a gap).  Of course, we made sure to preserve this bit of historical character and not paint over it.

 

We also understand that the scallops along the front were traced using a handy dandy coffee can so they were also kept intact.  The mirror along the back had warped over time and provided for a curved, fun-house appearance, so the decision was made to replace that with an updated shiplap.  And, while my first inclination was to sand off all of the drippy shellac layers and fill and sand smooth all of the dents and divots…I needed to stand down and go with the character of the piece to preserve those bits of history.  Ultimately, I hope we balanced preservation with modern utility.

 

This turned out to be like working on two large pieces of furniture at once. For the hutch top, the large, curvy “fun-house” mirror needed to be removed first and the space updated with shiplap.

 

 

Then, doors were removed, crown molding was installed, and a few areas tightened up.  Unfortunately, the hinges had been shellacked over at some point in the past, so they were incredibly difficult to remove intact.  We went hinge shopping! A bit of Midnight Blue paint started to pull the top together nicely.

We worked on the doors, drawers and hardware separately. The owners decided to keep the original hardware for historical integrity and simply update the look with paint, so the hardware was cleaned and painted with Fusion’s Vintage Gold Metallic.

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Next, we see the process for prepping and finishing this piece.

1) After washing thoroughly with TSP Alternative,

2) the shiny shellacked surface was lightly scuff-sanded to provide some tooth for the paint to adhere and then cleaned again to remove sanding dust. After that,

3) two coats of Midnight Blue were applied using microfiber roller and Staalmeester brush.  After 3 weeks cure time for the paint to evaporate all water residue,

4) two coats of polyurethane (FUSION Patina Gel Stain and Top Coat) were applied.

This is an example from the cabinet doors; the whole process was applied to the entire piece.

Now onto the bottom half!

One side had originally been built-in to adjoining cabinetry or a wall, so it wasn’t finished on the end.  This is a good view of the plywood sheets the piece was largely constructed from. Patching, painting, and building out the trim to match as well as possible came next.

SFO and Gel Stain were applied to the top to get the best possible color and finish.  Keep in mind, this top is made from a sheet of rough plywood, so trying to update the look without losing the character and charm of the homemade piece was a challenge.

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A piece this large shifts and adjusts under it’s own weight each time it is moved.  While this may have been level at one time, by this time, the plywood bottom wasn’t even or finished off in a way that I would want dragging across my wood floors.  We added adjustable metal feet to help level it and protect the floors in its new home.

Once we flipped it back up, finished up paint and started reassembling, it really came together nicely!

 

Just a few odds and ends like adding magnetic latches to the bouncy lower doors and this piece was ready to be delivered!  And that’s where it gets scary! Anyone who lives in the Northeast understands the state of the roads by the end of winter after a season of plows and salt has opened gaping potholes all along the roadways.  We double-triple wrapped, strapped and tied these pieces in our enclosed trailer and crossed our fingers for the entire 45 minute drive!

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BEFORE

Here she is in her permanent home!

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AFTER!

This wall looks like it was made for this piece of furniture; and the customer’s color choices are spot on for the interior of this home!  Thank You so much, Stacy, for trusting us with updating your family heirloom for the next generation!

Revive. Refresh. Restore. Lakeside Restoration.

 

All of the FUSION products used to transform this piece are available (along with personal instruction!) at both our brick and mortar locations and our online store.

Lakeside Restoration 1476 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY 14618

Vintage Matters 7060 Ridge Road Sodus, NY 14551

Online store:  Online Shop Link

Please leave us comments, read our other blog posts, share our blog and be sure to Like our Facebook page so we can continue to bring you these stories about our furniture revival adventures!

Executive Desk Makeover

It’s A Hot Mess….

“We’re not bringing that home…the leg is broken off!” … “it’s too heavy….too big…” … “it’s ugly”…

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These are actual words that were spoken as we stopped to retrieve this sad desk.  There were also others that will not be repeated here…

All were quite true, except for the part about not bringing it home.  It desperately needed to come home with us!

The very first thing we did was use Bondo, epoxy adhesive and some creative carving to reattach the broken leg.  Since it’s a weight-bearing part, glue or putty would not have been strong enough, and there were also a few chunks missing which required re-creating the profile by carving into the dried Bondo surface. After carving, sanding and painting, it is hard to tell unless you know which leg it is and look very closely!

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img_2787Decor trends go through phases; faux-painted furniture was all the rage in the 1960’s, and you can find lots of pieces painted from that time frame in mustard or avocado with this faux wood grained antiquing finish.img_2783

  Say what you will about them, I credit these sometimes heinous finishes for protecting lots of beautiful wood for decades!  Paint doesn’t harm wood furniture; in fact, it can preserve it nicely as you will see on this particular desk.

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This desk had one potentially fatal issue; Mildew or mold infestation can be a serious and sometimes unfixable  problem with older furniture stored in damp places.  No one wants strange odors lingering in their furniture and they certainly do not want spore contamination to spread from furniture to the items stored in it.  Fortunately, the paint on this desk actually protected the wood from mold/mildew that had started growing on the painted surface; the mildew had not infiltrated the interior, and once the paint was chemically stripped, the wood beneath was beautiful and free of any mold infection.  A light wash inside and out of the entire piece with an anti-mildew agent ensured any sneaky spores wouldn’t take hold elsewhere.  Probably unnecessary in this case but better safe than sorry. (Using a mask and gloves is important anytime mildew issues are addressed).

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As you can see here, we started sanding off the painted finish to get a peek at what was underneath before deciding to use a mild chemical stripper on the rest of it.

 

 

 I don’t know about you, but I was THRILLED by what I found underneath this corner – look at that wood!!!  Sanding can take a LONG time, and can be physically demanding both on the person sanding and the veneer (as was the case here).  Chemically stripping off old paint can be an easy – but messy – first step with just minimal sanding required after to even out the finish.

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We did find a few cigarette burns in the surface (another sign of past trends) that were gently sanded out; creative wood stain application camouflaged the remaining scars.  A couple of coats of polyurethane on top, and this desk is well-protected for another few decades!

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Did I mention in previous posts that I’m a sucker for Fusion’s Midnight Blue paint? Well, here’s more evidence!

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While moving this desk into our spare bedroom/home office, we realized how the leg was initially broken off….this heavy desk is huge and required some creative angling to make it through the undersized doorways in our older home!  But it was SO worth it, and she will not be moving again unless we do!

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All of the products used to refinish this desk are available at our shops, Vintage Matters at 7060 Ridge Road Sodus, NY and Lakeside Restoration 1476 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY  – or enjoy at our online store at https://lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com/

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things; Missing Veneer, Broken Handles, Mysteriously Absent Trim

This project is True to our Mantra:

Revive. Refresh. Restore.

BEFORE

This duo was on it’s last stop before the trash heap, so despite having no room … they came home with me.   After further inspection, most of the parts were contained in the drawers, and the interior was in great shape!  Bonus!!

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Transformation

Whenever someone suggests that simply slapping paint on wood shouldn’t take too much skill or time…. I recall how every clamp in my shop was doing double duty for weeks splicing these dressers back together.  And did you ever notice how a dresser seems to triple in size once you remove the drawers?  Then comes the washing (inside and out) dewaxing (yes, that is an invented word), and lightly sanding wood filler and years of blemishes.  Each drawer interior then gets cleaned and sealed, often with hemp oil for an invisible finish that freshens up the interior wood to look like new.

 

Midnight Blue to the Rescue

One of my all-time favorite FUSION Mineral Paint colors, Midnight Blue is the perfect Little Black Dress for just about any piece of furniture.  To obtain a smooth finish, I used a microfiber roller and a handmade Staalmeester Ultimate One brush for the Perfect Finish! I highly recommend the Staalmeester Ultimate brushes; with the caveat that you may never be able to go back to using a ‘common’ brush.

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Tip Top

I’m partial to the look of real wood on the top of my dresser, so after piecing veneer back into place (the ultimate puzzle!) and patching some spots on the tops, I used the subtle opacity of FUSION’s new Double Espresso Gel Stain to camouflage the repairs while providing a durable wood finish.  This product is great – especially for a piece that may not take well to sanding off the old finish to raw wood due to the veneer’s fragility.

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AFTER

 

Capturing the true color is challenging in my space, I’ll keep trying to get a good glamour shot – but the After is definitely an improvement, even with substandard lighting.  Along the way there was a brief trip to Rochester’s ReHouse Architectural Salvage to secure a single matching handle to replace a missing piece….that place is a life saver!!!

All of the products and tools used on this project are available for purchase (along with how-to instructions) at our shops on Monroe Ave in Brighton and Ridge Road in Sodus as well as at our online store;

https://lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com/

What projects have you painted in Midnight Blue?  We would Love to see them – share them below!!

Beachy FUN!

Maybe it’s because it’s been a LONG winter in Upstate NY; or perhaps it’s because our family just returned from visiting the beach in Florida; maybe it even has something to do with the obsession I have had with painting furniture either black or white or black or off-white…But I felt the need for some Cheesy Fun Furniture!imageI busted out of my rut by jumping into some FUSION Midnight Blue (OK, not so different from Coal Black, but it’s a start!) and a little reverse stencil staining on top of this great (heavy) oak side table.

I started by cutting the shape of an anchor out of contact paper and placing it on the previous finish.  Then, I used a darker stain to cover the surface.  Once dried, I peeled off the contact paper and gently sanded to bring the surface level.

That was fun!

I tried a similar technique on the whale and waves after painting the table legs….you guessed it – Little Whale Blue from the Tones for Tots FUSION line.  However I preferred not to bring the tabletop much darker and it wasn’t a strong image, so I ended up covering that with a traditional stencil and washing it with Homestead House’s Driftwood stain & finishing oil. I think it’s just Cute!

But that’s not all…then I went totally off the wall and made this:

Yes, that is FUSION’s Coral stenciled with a picture of coral in metallic brushed steel.  It’s just so bright and FUN – you can’t help but smile when you look at it!

Ahhh, so that has been my beachy, nautical adventure in painting this week.  I hope it also brings smiles to many other faces!  What fun color or technique do you want to try on a piece but haven’t because you convince yourself it’s too silly?  I say Go For It – it’s just paint and wood – what real harm can it do? …and it might just turn out Beautiful!