Despite what some may think, I don’t paint everything.
Most of the furniture pieces I buy are in need of some help. They’re tired, worn, spotted with water rings, sporting chipped & bubbled veneer and have seen better days. Because of that, I don’t feel the slightest hesitation about painting them.
Some pieces, though, are just perfect as is. Such was the case with this oak desk…
The wood and finish were in beautiful condition and the vintage glass knobs were perfect. We did have to add some new stops to the drawers to keep them from sliding all the way to the back of the desk, but that was a quick fix.
Usually, I feel that painting a piece brings out the details, but the graining of the wood made the details, like the cubbies and carved embellishments, really shine.
So, the only thing I did beyond adding drawer stops was tie a tag on it…
…and it sold.
I have quite a history with this second piece…an upholstered chair. You see, upholstery is something I do, but it’s not my favorite thing. I have to be in the mood for it and I have to really talk myself into it. I love the result and I hate paying someone else to do it, but I will let a chair sit and sit and sit until I finally make myself do it.
This poor chair waited for at least a year, maybe close to two…
I bought this pair of pink French chairs from a used furniture store quite a while ago. I was pretty inspired and stripped and finished one of them within a few weeks. (You can see the tutorial on stripping the chair HERE and the reveal HERE.) The other one pestered me when I walked by, but I just didn’t have the desire to work on it. So, it waited. It was moved from one room to the other and finally to the basement where its petitions wouldn’t bother me so much. I even sold its twin and still, it waited.
I finally made myself finish it for Lucketts…
…and wouldn’t you know? It was one of the last pieces I worked on! It sat like this in my workshop for weeks!
Cari stripped it down for me and even cut out all of the fabric, using the pink fabric as templates. She also painted the frame in MMSMP Linen to cover the 1960’s green-ish wash. I distressed it and then she finished it with a coat of Hemp Oil. All of the fabric was neatly folded in labeled bags, just waiting for a date with me and the staple gun.
I upholstered the chair in an antique European hemp sheet. Those have become my very favorite for upholstery. I used to use drop cloth fabric a lot, but it really couldn’t stand up to the stretching when upholstering a piece. I can’t tell you how many times I would be pulling something tight and it would just tear in my hands. I’d have to pull the entire piece off, remove the staples and start again. The upside is that drop cloths are cheap, so it’s a trade-off. The hemp sheets are tough, very durable, and the color is a little off-white, so I have found them to be very forgiving in a house with two boys. (Most of them even come pre-stained, since they are antique!)
I feel like my upholstery skills keep improving, although, I still need to work on straight lines when I’m making the cushions.
I’ve gotten to the point, though, where crooked seams and wonky piping make me smile. When I look at it, it says, “I made this.” I didn’t buy it from a store. I made it.
The little imperfections have my name written all over them.
And there’s a certain satisfaction in that.