I spend a lot of my time putting furniture back together…..not, as you would think, painting furniture. Painting furniture is the easy bit, it can take a lot of time (especially with lighter colours) but overall it is the quick part of the job. The most time consuming and challenging part is fixing the breaks, hiding the flaws and trying to overcome the years of abuse and neglect a lot of the furniture I buy receives. I am of the opinion that a lot of people actually don’t know how to look after wood furniture. People yell at you for painting furniture and criticize you for destroying history but they never get angry at the person or people who caused all the damage to it in the first place. When a piece of vintage (not antique) furniture ends up in my shed it has already been neglected by other people, they can only see the flaws and just want it gone. I see past the flaws and see what it could be. And, yes, that usually means paint. It has no value to anyone if someone cannot fall in love with it, lets be honest, very few of my before’s are love worthy. My favourite part of what I do is when I hand over the furniture to it’s new owner and they gush over it and inevitably tell me it is going to a loving home….you see they love it and that is always my intention. In doing all my work I am really finding homes for neglected and unloved furniture that people have given up on. I don’t mind being criticized for painting furniture, to be honest I don’t really care what they think, because at the end of the day I see what I am doing in a different light to them and they can have their opinion and I can have mine. I come in at almost the end of the story for the furniture I transform and in doing what I do I hope that I can give them one more chapter.
The piece of furniture I have to show you today was definitely neglected. It is not the worst I have seen, but it shows its scars in a greater way. This Before looks way better than it actually was.
When I bought it the wood top had split at its seams….there were huge gaps between each length of wood. The owner tried to “convince” me it was designed this way but I knew otherwise. I could see the dowels that had given up on holding it together. It was sad really. It also had a huge chunk out of the back on one leg and the drawers were a bit wonky and didn’t sit or slide right anymore. It had a mirror at one stage as it still had the supports at the back and I wonder what details the mirror would have had, what it would have been like it in all its former glory. Finally, the sad excuses for hardware did this dresser no justice! The poor thing needed a little (let’s be honest! a lot of) work.
So I went to work trying to repair it and I have to say it wasn’t easy. As you know I love to be able to restore some of the wood, especially wood tops but this one was a challenge. We used wood glue and my huge furniture clamps to pull those gaps closed but even after all our hard work (my hubby helped clamping this one, that is how tough this was) one would not close completely. I did think about painting it then. But, I chose to use a high quality wood filler to fill in the gap instead. Now this isn’t the best fix, ideally it would have been great to get nice tight joins, but the damage was too far gone. To hide all the stains I chose to stain the wood with my favourite dark stain Black Japan and I have to say even though it is not perfect the top is smooth and one piece again and you can still revel in all that grain. When it came to painting the body and the drawers I really wanted to highlight the details on this dresser, it really had so much going for it and that is what made me buy it in the first place. I decided to paint it two tone with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Ironstone and Schloss……the final finishing touch were these Milk White Cut Glass Knobs.
I am still amazed that regardless of how beaten up and bruised wood can get that it still can come up looking so beautiful (after a little hard work of course).
She’s not perfect, she still shows her age and scars remain of her previous life but I think now she is ready to be loved again….there is life in this old girl yet. What do you think?
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Compensation for this post was made by D.Lawless Hardware but all opinions expressed here are my own.