Have you ever looked at a piece with great bones, only to find rippled or missing veneer and decided it’s not salvageable? This is a common problem that often lands otherwise beautiful furniture in the landfill, but it doesn’t have to! Repairing veneer damage on a solid piece is entirely possible with a little bit of prep work, a few tools, and some elbow grease.
These great dressers provide good examples of repairable veneer damage that almost left them both homeless.
Wood veneer is quite common on vintage furniture; but what is it? Wood veneer is a thin slice of real wood – often from a rare or otherwise expensive cut of wood with striking grain or coloration. This is applied over a strong base of a solid, often less attractive species of wood that creates the structure of the furniture. The wood veneer basically dresses up the structural bones of your furniture.
Below, you can see wood veneer that has been damaged over the years from moisture which has loosened it from it’s base and caused warping or rippling in the delicate wood covering. But all is not lost! There are some beautiful, salvageable veneers on these dressers and the bones are healthy and solid!
Sometimes, a slightly lifted veneer layer can be re-adhered to the base with wood glue and a syringe; however this damage was beyond repair, so it needed to be removed: remember, there is a solid wood base under that thin damaged layer, so removing veneer will not harm the structural integrity of the furniture.
Since it is thin, wood veneer can be carefully scored with a razor to remove only the damaged portion (above). Next, a putty knife can be used to gently separate and lift the damaged wood from the base (below).
You definitely want to use gloves and safety glasses for this step to prevent splinters!
The area is then leveled up with wood filler and sanded smooth.
Once it’s smooth, the surface is ready for a finish coat. I have not found a filler that takes stain well, so I plan on painting the patched areas.
We decided Fusion’s Midnight Blue was a good choice for these dressers as it would show off the wood and vintage handles well. The exposed wood was cleaned with TSP Alternative and Mineral Spirits before being rejuvenated with Hemp Oil.
And there you have it – salvaging gorgeous pieces by simply investing some time to remove and repair damaged veneer!
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All of the refinishing products, many of the furniture pieces and other items you see here can be purchased through our Online Store
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This dresser is a great example of how Fusion stains can be used to rejuvenate a finish without stripping. This is the Prep stage of this dresser; it was washed and lightly scuff-sanded. The top, however, had some pretty deep scratches.
For initial blending in of the coloration, we used one coat of Golden Pine Stain & Finishing Oil to soften some of the deeper discoloring.
Next: Double Espresso Gel Stain & Top Coat to the Rescue – first coat is still wet in the photo below.
This is basically a pigmented polyurethane, so it can go directly over an existing finish without sanding or stripping. The pigmentation provides some opacity to obscure flaws and scratches like the ones we started with. The more coats of this product applied, the more opaque the finish becomes. I like to try and find the balance that allows for correction of the old finish while still showing through some of the original wood grain.
I prefer to apply this product with a wide foam brush, but it can be applied with a roller or bristle brush. It’s very important to practice with it and find your preference!
Looking better after the the second coat! Long, even strokes are key to an even finish.
Did you notice that along the way the body of the dresser got a nice coat of Sacred Sage?
And here it is after the second coat is dry. Gel Stain & Topcoat has a matte finish once dried – this also helps to de-emphasize flaws in the surface so it’s a more forgiving finish.
If you look close, you can still see a few of the deeper scratches under the finish, but it is such an improvement over the original condition – and all without sanding.
Additionally, since this is an all-in-one stain and topcoat, it does not require an additional step to seal.
So, we spruced up the top, updated the color ….. And now, to do something about those blah knobs! Woah! These new knobs are anything but blah!
Kristin’s Kreations handpainted these one-of-a-kind knobs to jazz up our dresser with some personality! There is So much detail in each one!!
These beautiful knobs are just what this plain dresser needed! Thanks Kristin!!
If you are enjoying our instructional blogs, please leave a comment and/or like our blog posts!
All of the refinishing products, many of the furniture pieces and other items you see here can be purchased through our Online Store
Thanks for visiting and supporting us!
I’d been itching to use Fusion’s White Stain & Finishing Oil as a Liming finish, and when I came across this previously stripped antique yellow pine dresser, I knew I had found the perfect piece! The previous owners had it professionally “dipped” to strip off the existing paint with every intention of refinishing it. That’s a familiar prelude for many of us! After years of sitting and moving from residence to residence, they finally needed it out of the way. By then, it was quite musty, battered, and generally “rough”. A liming finish would seal and protect it, but also highlight it’s character rather than try to mask it.
The overall construction was fantastic, but definitely “rustic”.
Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil (SFO) is a penetrating oil stain that soaks into the grain, in addition to an oil-based topcoat to seal and protect. Stain and Sealing in One step!
To use SFO on raw wood, I simply brushed it on, let it penetrate the wood for a few minutes, and then wiped back the excess. Below you can see the process and half of the drawer wiped back with one coat. I decided this was still too yellow, so I simply waited a day for it to dry, and then applied a second coat – brush on/wipe off.
Below, you can see the difference one coat makes on the drawer front and the dresser top.
Now for that musty smell…every single interior surface got a generous shellacking! Shellac is the only surefire way to seal smells away from your belongings. The important part about sealing musty dressers is to brush or spray shellac on the underside, interior, exterior of each drawer (every side but the front) in order to completely trap odors away. The interior body of the dresser should also be sprayed or brushed because it can also trap smells.
Here is the finished piece after it’s second coat. It was That Simple! One step Stain & Finishing Oil and a bit of shellac! It was a great way to update and bring out some of the details while preserving the character of this piece.
Fusion’s Stain & Finishing Oil comes in a variety of stains to highlight and show off your wood grain. SFO Colors
I often hear folks who paint furniture to sell lament painting things white. “customers want everything painted white,” they say, “white furniture is what sells”, “we’re so sick and tired of painting things white!”. The redundancy is squelching creativity for some folks.
Oh, if only there was a pop of color…..
So, can you imagine how Excited I was at the request to combine FUSION’s Cranberry and CUREiously Pink to create a custom RASPBERRY color for a shapely but dull buffet?
The approximate mix was about 3 parts Cranberry to 1 part CUREiously Pink. The pink was actually surprisingly robust!
Prep = Cleaning and Repairs
I’ve had this piece sitting in the shop for several months and never noticed this awful repair attempt until I took it apart to wash it. Someone attempted to glue this piece of trim back on. However, it looks like they tried doing it without clamping it as it was glued BELOW it’s target. Luckily, they also used inappropriate glue for the job, so it was easy to dislodge with a razor blade, clean, and attach properly.
I have talked in previous posts about washing thoroughly with TSP Alternative before painting. FUSION’s TSP alternative degreases without requiring rinsing and is biodegradable. Many other cleaners are toxic (to you and the environment) and need to be rinsed, so this is the product I recommend. In addition to degreasing, older pieces may also need dewaxing with mineral spirits. A thick, scratchable layer of paste furniture wax isn’t the only sign that there is still waxy residue; years and layers of Pledge-type “furniture polish” products tend to build up over time and leave a thin, silicone-like layer on furniture that acts as a resist to paint. Think about how often your grandmother or great-grandmother polished her furniture.
This piece was washed until the wash water ran clean. And then, I put some paint on part of it just to see how resistant the remaining surface was. As I suspected, there was waxy residue on it. This “fisheye” look as the paint pulls back from the surface is an indication that your surface needs to be cleaned with mineral spirits.
Enter Mineral Spirits!
One look at my rag and you can see the additional grime that was trapped within layers of waxy residue. Odorless mineral spirits dissolves the wax and releases the rest of the grunge. NOW we’re ready to paint!!
I decided to paint a quick base coat of Cranberry as a transition color since I had only mixed up a single pint of the custom raspberry color to match the customer’s color swatch and didn’t want to run out if the coverage wasn’t solid. Turns out, the coverage was pretty great!
After drying for a couple of days, it was time for the black glaze. I love using FUSION’s Clear Glaze since it can be mixed with any color paint to get the exact glaze shade you want. I just mixed a little bit of Coal Black in and was ready to apply!
Glazing with black tinted glaze deepens the paint color just a little and leaves nice definition in the crevice details. Here are two drawers, one with and one without glaze for comparison. You simply apply, and then wipe back the glaze until you have the desired effect. It stays wet for a long time so you can work with it more easily.
This is how the whole piece looks, freshly glazed. We also cleaned and oiled the hardware with hemp oil to maintain and enhance the original aged patina.
A little more tweaking, a few internal repairs (door latches) and…..
Warm vs. cool lighting makes quite a difference for this color.
Either way, it POPS!!!
All of the products to complete a project like this are available at our Online Shop
If you are looking for CUREiously Pink, it’s coming back for a limited release!!! Our order will be in next week so feel free to order through our online store and it will be sent as soon as it come in!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Here she is in her permanent home!
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 1833 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY 14618
Vintage Matters 7060 Ridge Road Sodus, NY 14551
Online store: Online Shop Link
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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”…
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!
Decor 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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
Did I mention in previous posts that I’m a sucker for Fusion’s Midnight Blue paint? Well, here’s more evidence!
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!
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 1833 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY – or enjoy at our online store at https://lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com/
This is one of my favorite styles of furniture to work with; well made, lots of storage, easy to repair and open to any style of finish from traditional to rustic. These pieces of furniture can be used in just about every room in the house too. A server in the dining room, entryway storage, bathroom vanity, and of course, for clothing or winter blanket storage in a bedroom.
This particular dresser is Enormous (50 inches wide!). It had definitely seen better days. Although the wood veneer was beautifully grained, there were lots of scratches, a few gouges, several spillage or burn marks, and a few other hard-use scars that would require complete stripping and thorough sanding to bring back to beautiful wood – with no guarantees that all that work would save the deepest of the stained areas. Not to mention, sanding something this size is an outdoor job; but not during the winter in Upstate NY.
With the level of discoloration on the top, I opted to use FUSION’s Double Espresso Gel Stain, which is a nearly opaque, tinted polyurethane. It leaves a nice, durable wood finish while blending in some of the color variations. While it isn’t necessary to sand before applying, I hand-sanded as many of the stains out of the top as I could for a more uniform final finish.
Homestead House Milkpaint carries a line of historic colors that look fantastic on antique pieces. The finish can also be very rustic and chippy, which gives an authentic modern farmhouse look without having to deal with furniture originally painted with dangerous, lead-based paint. I love blues, and have been wanting to try Rideau Blue on a large piece! Keep in mind, authentic milk-paint must be in powdered form. If it comes pre-mixed as a liquid then it is not actual milkpaint and contains all sorts of other fillers that are not part of historic, authentic milkpaint; this is often referred to as “simulated” milkpaint – and it won’t perform nearly as well as the real deal from Homestead House or Miss Mustard Seed.
One of the fun things about using milkpaint without adding a binder, is that it will perform uniquely and chip where it wants to in a natural, authentic way. It can also be used as a more solid finish by adding an acrylic bonding agent, however I like to see how it’s going to go on it’s own first.
After it dries, a light sanding reveals where the paint would like to stay and where it would like to randomly chip off. Application of a little FUSION hemp oil brings out the true depth of milkpaint color and enhances the chipped areas beautifully!If you haven’t yet tried painting with milkpaint, it’s a must-try! It is capable of such a variety of finishes; a solid stain on raw wood, a solid rustic finish using binder, and a chippy farmhouse look – it’s so much fun! Lakeside Restoration and Vintage Matters will be offering milkpaint workshops in February, so keep an eye out on the events page on Facebook for your chance to play www.lakesiderestoration.net
After a thorough cleaning, the drawer interiors were in pretty nice shape for the age of this piece. I opted to re-hydrate them and polish the interior finish using FUSION’s new Lavender scented furniture wax. Not only does this wax brighten up and seal the wood, but it also smells incredible!!!
All of the products used to refinish this dresser are available at our shops, Vintage Matters at 7060 Ridge Road Sodus, NY and Lakeside Restoration 1833 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY – or at our online store at https://lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com/
Revive. Refresh. Restore. Lakeside Restoration.
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Painting a Farmhouse Cupboard
It sounded simple enough; paint a farmhouse cupboard to be used as home office storage. After searching far and wide for the perfectly sized and shaped piece, the customer picked up this awesome antique pantry cupboard at another local shop and brought it to us for refinishing to coordinate with her beautifully appointed modern farmhouse. It turned out to be much more than simple painting and is one of the more interesting and satisfying pieces we’ve done!
As you can see, there’s quite a bit of history worn on this cupboard along with some water damage on the lower portion, to the point that the door became warped and kicked out at the bottom. Repair need noted. You can also see the gouges in the side that was previously built-in but would now be exposed on a free standing cabinet. Repair noted.
There were also nail points poking through the side and a slew of general cosmetic needs requiring replacing fasteners, patching and sanding. Most significant, however, was the fact that this massive cupboard would not sit flat. In fact, it rocked so much on it’s uneven base that we promptly laid it flat on it’s back for our own safety. Another charm of a formerly built-in piece; it was previously nailed to the floor and to surrounding walls/cabinets, so a flat bottom was not a priority for it’s original use. Safely sitting level in a freestanding position was now the new priority for it’s next life. Major repair noted. Otherwise, we were in awe of how well-built this cupboard really was!
We added large, square wood blocks to the bottom corners set back enough that they wouldn’t protrude and be obvious add-ons. To those, we secured adjustable feet for leveling once in place at it’s new home. The first and most important repair done and now we could set it up for other repairs and painting! Oh, but first choosing the paint color…
Milkpaint or Fusion Paint?
So, if you check out the Instagram page, SimpleDecorWithAmy, you will see how beautifully appointed this customer’s home is and how intentional her color choices are. So of course, we planned on a custom color mix! What I hadn’t planned for, is that the perfect color would be a mix of a Homestead House milkpaint color (Cartier) and a Fusion Mineral Paint color (Brook)! Can they even be mixed??!! Time to research and experiment! Turns out the answer is YES, these water-based paints can be mixed, and the finish turns out to be a glorious hybrid with the best qualities of both!
We started with a wash of Algonquin milkpaint since the piece was practically raw wood in spots, it soaked in beautifully, creating a color block that toned down the red to a more neutral brown and will never chip because it is incorporated into the wood.
Then, we mixed up a batch of Homestead’s Cartier milkpaint and introduced just the right amount of Fusion’s Brook. You can see how much more opaque the finish becomes with this step.True to it’s milkpaint roots, this color mix also distressed beautifully and chipped where we had strategically pre-applied a light wax before painting.
After making and adding a wood latch to pull the warped door in further, it was time to seal the exterior with hemp oil and paint the shelves with durable Fusion Raw Silk to create a clean and inviting space for storage.
The final photos from the customer’s Instagram are of this cupboard in it’s new home and beautifully styled to show off how well it fits into it’s new space. I especially adore the winter decor photo! Such a transformation from where we started! This customer could clearly see this aged piece for it’s potential in her beautiful home. Cheers to new life!
Revive. Refresh. Restore. Lakeside Restoration.
All Homestead House and FUSION products used to update this Farmhouse Cupboard can be found at our shops; Lakeside Restoration in Rochester, NY and Vintage Matters in Sodus, NY. www.lakesiderestoration.net They can also be purchased at our online store www.lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com
This project is True to our Mantra:
Revive. Refresh. Restore.
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!!
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 the space it occupies 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.
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.
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;
What projects have you painted in Midnight Blue? We would Love to see them – share them below!!
Oh how I have been in search of a buffet to paint!!
I finally found this set in an online auction and was pretty excited about the possibilities. The tricky thing about an online auction is you rarely have the opportunity to see the pieces live and “kick the tires”…it’s all reliant on photos.
In this case the photos didn’t really show the whole picture, and it’s even difficult to see in the photos I have posted here. The wood veneer on the china cabinet is, in fact, more gorgeous than these photos reveal. And I mean in a “holy cow no one should ever put paint on that beautiful wood” kind of way.
The buffet had, however been quite battered, including chipped veneer, poorly applied ancient shellac, and structural cracks. Perfect for Paint!!!
Luckily I was able to find a home for the china cabinet with someone who was as in love with the wood as I was and planned on sprucing up only the interior with some color. Whew!
First step after washing and scuff sanding was to remove the doors, drawers and hardware. After that it was on with stripping the old finish off the scratched and stained top to see what condition the wood was underneath.
A few coats of Citristrip later and it looked pretty good with the exception of some character-building dings and a single light burn mark from a hot dish. That helped to make the decision for a dark stain on top to blend in the burn. Here’s how it looked after two applications of Minwax Jacobean stain and a several thin layers of Polycrylic Matte for a topcoat.
For the body, I started with a good cleaning with TSP, light sanding and scrub with some odorless mineral spirits to remove any residual wax. A few repairs here and there (and everywhere…) – including repairing the top finish after some precariously stacked boards in the overstuffed garage were accidentally knocked onto the curing finish…yes, a variety of words were said.
A base coat of FUSION Concealer helped to solidify coverage for the first coat of FUSION Raw Silk. It only took two coats of Raw Silk to get great coverage overall. I used a microfiber roller on the flat spots and my go-to angled 2 inch flat brush for the rest. I was EXHAUSTED after working the flat brush into all of those curves on the legs…and I still missed a bunch of spots. This strategy was Not going to work.
I had a set of Staalmeester brushes I have been wanting to try out, but frankly didn’t anticipate being wowed by any cutting edge paintbrush advances…I mean, it’s just a paintbrush, right?
Folks have been buzzing about how great the pointed sash brush is for getting into nooks and crannies, so I decided to give it a try since it couldn’t get worse than what I did with the flat brush!
H-O-L-Y C-O-W was I totally Wowed!!!!
The #18 pointed sash brush at the very bottom if the picture became my new favorite tool. It slid effortlessly into all of those nooks, held tons of paint, and laid down a smooth, even layer of paint in half the time it took me to attempt the base coat.
I will Never paint curves again without it!!!
After that valuable lesson, I have lightly distressed and partially antiqued this piece. I also reassembled the buffet and painted a few coats of concealer inside the cabinets and Chocolate inside the badly beaten drawers. Here’s a peek at the progress so far…
There is much more finishing work to be done – MORE TO COME!!!
I picked this up from a college student moving out of her apartment – she bought this with plans to paint it but it never even made it into her apartment! This sweet compact secretary sat in her breezeway collecting mail and dust and now her lease was up and she needed to move on.
I really liked the texture of the wood on this piece and wanted to make sure it was accentuated. FUSION Homestead Blue has such great coverage that one thin coat was all I needed so it didn’t flatten out the grain. While you could see the wood texture close up, the color was a bit too uniform for what I was trying to do, so I used FUSION’s antiquing glaze with a little extra Chocolate paint mixed in to darken it up. Finally, I added a tiny bit of strategic distressing so it didn’t look too new and further accentuated some areas with a bit of black wax. While I didn’t need to use wax for sealing because FUSION has a built-in topcoat, I wanted some extra depth. I LOVE how easy this wax is to use and how forgiving the black wax is.
The interior was papered with some illegible script and a few of the organizers were painted inside with Soapstone to add some interest.
With the new finish, the original hardware really stands out and makes more of a statement than before.
This dresser project has been many many many months long. She has actually been completed for some time now, but I hadn’t gotten around to taking her “After” pictures until just recently.
Here is where she started; A room full of project furniture…of course. Try to ignore the rest and focus on the tall, yellowish French Provincial dresser to the right of center.
She was so very tired looking but was a quality, solid wood piece and very well constructed. The whole set of provincial bedroom furniture came from the original owners so there were no loose joints or missing pieces to contend with.
I like natural wood accents on my painted furniture projects, so the first step was easy – strip the top and see what was under there! The sweet cherry wood under that factory paint finish was then stained and sealed. I painted the body of the dresser creamy white (FUSION Mineral Paint Casement) and struggled a bit with what to do with the details. Paint a darker cream to highlight the features? A deeply contrasting color? Leave it all white (my significant other liked that idea). How to make it fit into the cottage…
A little taste of Before and After.
If you look closely, one of the updated provincial headboards is to the right of the dresser (painted in the same Little Whale blue) – but that will be for another blog post – and once the other bed is finished!
What are your thoughts about the hardware color? Would you have chosen a softer or bolder accent color to go with the style of the lakeside cottage?
Rethink the piece. Revive the parts. Restore the function.
All products used to complete this project can be purchased at our Online Store https://lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com/
or our brick and mortar locations;
Vintage Matters 7060 Ridge Road, Sodus, NY OR Lakeside Restoration 1833 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY.
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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!I 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.
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!
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!
After working on several of these provincial pieces, I find I really love the lines of these legs. I lament the size and shape of our dining area as it just won’t accommodate this set. Here is a photo of how battered and beaten these legs were and how nicely they cleaned up after a bit of scrubbing, filling, sanding and painting (& sanding & painting: repeat…). This table has 6 gorgeous legs .
In addition to her battle scars, the overall color of this set was also frightening. The yellowed, worn, faux finish with chipped gold trim was not exactly appetizing.I was initially planning on lightly sanding and re-painting the whole thing. I’m not sure what made me curious to experiment on the table leaf…perhaps it was the factory marking on the bottom of it indicating “Cherry” in barely legible scrawl.
Could this tabletop possibly be cherry wood hidden under a thick, impenetrable layer of paint and wax and what can only be described as funk? Only one way to find out…Citristrip on the leaf.
And This is what I discovered!
Not exactly blemish-free, but too beautiful to be covered in a faux-wood paint finish.
So, this is what I did.
Yes, that’s my living room with multiple furniture refinishing projects in various stages of incompleteness in the middle of it. Before judging me, please understand…It’s Winter in Western NY. The unheated 1-car garage is filled with pending project furniture and averages about 15 degrees. The yard alternates between deep snow and semi-frozen mud this time of year, so there was no place to sand the table top. Thank goodness Citristrip can be used indoors because the goopy, gloppy mess ended up getting stripped in my living room. Who can wait for Spring when you know there’s painted cherry wood yearning to be free?
So if you look carefully in this photo of my progress preconditioning the wood in preparation for staining, you will see that I am totally busted. Citristrip and mineral spirits only got me so far and I needed to sand the table top to address a few particularly difficult areas. Yes, I power-sanded in my living room. In my defense, it was midnight and it didn’t seem to make that much of a mess. Until the morning sun shone brightly through those big windows, illuminating the thick layer of dust everywhere. I quickly regretted my nocturnal activity. And I cleaned. A lot. Please folks, Don’t do this at home in the house.
But it does look pretty good, doesn’t it?
The next morning, in addition to realizing how silly it is to sand in the living room, I also noted that after conditioning, the wood was less than perfect. Nothing that a few layers of stain couldn’t manage, but it was clear I would have to go with a darker shade than I originally planned. This became especially relevant when the edges took the stain much differently than the top. It took some creativity, but I was able to make it work.
With the time needed to dry between layers of stain and polycrylic on the top, I was able to patch, sand and paint the base and 6 chairs. A few of the chairs needed gluing and general tightening up, but this is a great set of quality furniture and it is SOLID. The seat covering is pretty new, in great shape and professionally done, so I decided to leave it in place. Better for the next owner to select something specifically suited to their taste than to mine. (Although I do have a bolt of gorgeous blue-patterned upholstery I purchased just for these seats – before I realized they wouldn’t fit in my space…). Oh well…
Since I was obviously working indoors, I chose a paint with no fumes or VOCs. Fusion Mineral Paint is the most eco-friendly paint I have found. It is pure acrylic, sticks to just about anything, and doesn’t require a topcoat for tough-as-nails durability. By the way – I despise waxing furniture, so not requiring a topcoat is a Huge plus for me. The color I chose for this set is Champlain, an off-white neutral in a creamy tone. I sanded between coats for extra smoothness and ended up using a quick swipe of wipe-on poly just to make sure it would be easy to clean in the future – it is a dining table after all – and I know what my tables endure so I expect no less from anyone else.
I wish I had a better space to properly stage this in, but it really is a gorgeous set that I think speaks for itself despite the lack of staging. What colors would you have chosen? How would you stage this set?
Welcome to the blog detailing my adventures in furniture repair and refinishing. While I have a little formal training in furniture refinishing and repair, I have many more years of experience dragging home hopeless-looking “projects” (often from the side of the road on trash-day) and experimenting on them to improve their utility and aesthetics. Between free finds, garage sales and estate sales, I have furnished many homes along the way and learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t.
Along the way, our family has been affected by some significant, life-changing events, we’ve purchased a workshop, and rented a retail space. The blog posts that follow focus on one of two area – restoring and rehabbing furniture, or restoring and rehabbing our space for the furniture business. Feel free to skip over the business stuff if you just want to see furniture and vice-versa. Just keep scrolling, there’s lots to see here!
I have photographed the progress of a few projects to share, however I also get too impatient at times, so all I have to show is the finished project. The photo of the desk above, for instance. I kick myself for not having any “before” photos of the names and other graffiti carved through the finish and into the thin desktop and drawer-front veneer.
The woman I purchased this from told me this had belonged to her grandmother and that her cousin, Joy, had inscribed her name in the top many years ago. This beauty had definitely seen some hard use over the years, but after some stripping, careful sanding, staining, and lots of protective sealer, she turned out nicely. Its one of my favorite pieces. My daughter decided she wanted it for her room, and after all the work she witnessed going into it, I’m sure she won’t be inscribing it with graffiti … ever!
Don’t you love learning the stories behind how a piece of furniture earned it’s character?
Imagine orange velour. Not bright, cheery, fun orange… I mean stained, dirty, aged orange velour. That is exactly what I had scored with this dining set.
In fact, even the table finish had a bit of an orange hue that developed with its age.
And it gets better – if you look closely, you can see the dated diamond pattern in the table top.
The look on my spouse’s face clearly questioned what (perhaps if) I was thinking.
What I was thinking is that this was a solid wood dining set with two captain chairs and I was getting it for a ridiculously low price as an estate sale leftover. I needed furniture to practice on so low cost was key. What’s the worst that could happen?
First up – what to do about the caning.
Most of the caning was in perfect shape, except for a small hole in one chair back. After researching, I had no desire to to repair the caning – not necessarily because it looked difficult (it does) rather because I decided I didn’t love the look of caned chair backs. Besides, they leave those little annoying patterns on your back if you sit in them for a while…
No question I would be recovering the seats, so I also decided to pad and upholster the cane. After painting the chairs, of course.
Paint & Stain
Since farmhouse tables seem to be the trend, I went with painting the chairs and table base a creamy white. I’m not a fan of the distressed look, so after cleaning with TSP substitute, sanding and priming, I painted with a solid white.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo, but my first attempt at upholstering the chairs with the gorgeous cream linen (bought on sale) looked very nice. In fact, too nice – it made the chairs look way too formal for the farmhouse style I was going for. So, I went back to the fabric store and picked a different fabric. After batting and upholstering the chair backs and cushions, here is how they came out on the second try.
I really wanted to have the stained wood table-top look, however, remember the criss-cross diamond pattern? Yuck. While I had never used a gel-stain (which is effectively a tinted polyurethane that sits on top of the existing finish) this seemed like a good time to try it. Using a large, wide brush, I applied several layers of deep brown in one direction across the width of the table. This darkened enough to hide the criss-cross while making a texture that resembled the depth of wood grain.
On this project, I learned a few things along the way about how much space it takes to comfortably refinish a table and all of those chairs (answer: more than I have in my home/garage). I also became pretty proficient with a pneumatic stapler by the end of the project. Overall it was a great learning experience and confidence-builder for me and this dining set will get a new life now that it has been updated.