Thursday, August 28, 2014

An armoire gets a new lease on life

When I decided to remodel the great room, I knew that even though we could've bought new everything, we didn't need to.  We already bought a new couch and loveseat, an area rug and installed new flooring.  I had to repurpose what we already had and since our armoires and tables all had classic lines, I decided to jump into chalk paint world.

I had big plans for the smaller armoire in the cave like landing just above our stairs.  Here's what she looked like before...


The honey colored stain had oranged up over the years and it was time to go.  Chalk paint allows you to not have to prep the surface with stripping or sanding so all I had to do was slap on a few coats of paint.  I used Annie Sloan Pure White for the outside and shelves and for the inside, I used the Paris Grey.


That backboard was made of thin luan, which meant unless I wanted to tear it off and keep the back open and have things drop behind the thing, I'd need to paint it.  Well, I wanted a driftwood slat look to the back but I couldn't use anything like even thin wood because the thickness and eventual weight would put too much stress on the flimsy board.

My solution?

Balsa wood.


Balsa wood is incredibly light and incredibly fragile.  It's typically used for model airplanes or other hobbies.  I know the Mr thought I was nuts for doing this but I assured him it would be all good.  I got some Annie Sloan clear wax and waxed each slat before applying any paint.  When the wax was dry, I carefully buffed it and then measured where that particular piece was going to go.  I'd mark it and then paint about 1" further out from the measurement line.  I started with the Paris Grey.


Now...here is where one of the great mysteries of life comes in.  All of the friggin' pics I took of the process have vanished.  I have gone through every folder of nine different memory cards and nothing.  I'm 99% sure I took pics of this but you're going to have to bear with me as I describe the rest of this process.

After painting the slat grey, I waxed the slat, waited for it to dry and made a white wash solution in a plastic cup with one tablespoon of pure white and three tablespoons of water.  I brushed on the white wash, let it set up for about one minute then used a paper towel to lightly wipe the watered down paint off of the slat.  When I got it aged to a look I liked, I would clear wax the slat and repeat the process.

When it was time to line up the slats, I used wood glue on the back to make a squiggly line up and down the back and applied it to the luan backer board.  I will say this was the most irritating part of the process because the balsa wood wanted to pop away from the luan at the ends.  So I had to either stand there for about five minutes holding the ends or find something like pints and quarts of paint to lean up against them as they dried.

Even though my measuring was precise, there were still very small gaps on the left side, so I used a piece of trim we were using for another process to score a straight line and glue the balsa trim vertically on either side to give a finished look.


One of my favorite details of this project aside from the slats on the back was something the Mr was vehemently against.  I told him I wanted to use old vintage keyhole escutcheons around the knobs for some character.  He wrinkled his nose and said he didn't know.  I said tell me if he thought it was a bad idea and he said it was a bad idea.  The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted them, found some on Etsy that I loved and at the time I mentioned it, there were four.  When I defied the Mr's protests, only two were left so I snagged them.  They were a little worse for wear with paint on the edges and a bit of rust overtaking the brass...


But nothing a little sanding, spray paint and glaze in my colors couldn't fix.


They are my second favorite detail and the Mr agrees he was wrong and really loves the way they look.


 I'll reiterate that...the Mr said he was wrong.  He hasn't questioned my design vision since then.  HA!

I also spray painted the hinges so it all looked cohesive and distressed the armoire to give it a more vintage look.


Since this one isn't near a heat source, I decided to use the clear wax on it to seal the whole thing.

Then it was time to decorate it with some fresh flowers, antiques from Napa and other vintage hunts.


To say I love it is an understatement.

It was, at times, a pain in my rump but so worth it and it's one of a kind.  No one else has this and every time I look at it, I smile.  I know we'll enjoy this for many more years to come and it probably cost about $100 between the paint, wood and hardware.  Not bad considering we paid $900 for it originally and I plan to get the same amount of time out of it in its second life as I did the first one.

I love seeing a vision come to life!

Linked up with:  Blesser House, The Shabby Nest, Tater Tots and Jello,  Thrifty Decor Chick, The Heathered Nest, Yesterfood, Sand and Sisal, Home Stories A to Z, Crafty Blog Stalker, Mabey She Made It,
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19 comments:

  1. I love it. I am not ashamed to admit that I was wrong and it did come out perfect. You did an amazing job and should be proud of yourself. The balsa wood slats give it such a finished and classic look too. What an awesome piece of furniture it is now!

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    1. Hee hee...you RARELY audibly disagree with me on stuff like that but I knew for what I wanted it to look like those 'keyhole plates' were just the touch I wanted. ;-) I'm just glad it finally got done. I know between the hot and rainy/humid weather, the furniture painting got delayed longer than I would've liked. Well, that and it sucking my soul at one point. HA! But all worth it now!

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  2. It looks great, so it was worth the wait. I know it was making you crazy in the process, but if you don't have to touch it for another 20 years it's well worth it.

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    1. Exactly!! I couldn't believe the amount of color change in the stain on that one given it's nowhere near direct light but you can see the lines from the shelves on the luan. Hopefully I'll never have to touch these again! LOL

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  3. You are SO creative. I wish I had a few of these bones in my body. Looks fabulous!

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    1. Thanks girlie! I think most of it stems from me just being cheap! LOL I'm willing to put in the work, I just wish that initial motivation stuck with me the whole time. ;-)

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  4. Very impressive. You have a career option in sprucing up antiques should you ever choose.

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    1. Thanks! I do that on "smalls" at my Etsy shop. I tried to branch into mirrors and such but that didn't end well. Thank God for insurance with FedEx!

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  5. That piece looks gorgeous! You seriously should consider a career doing this. I know a lot of people who would pay top dollar to have such a beautiful, unique piece of furniture!

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    1. Thanks so much! If I had the space, I would love to do that. Unfortunately we don't and the Mr has been without a garage for over 2 months. I think he's at the end of his patience rope. ;-)

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  6. Whew. Wore me out just reading about all the work. But so worth it. It's beautiful!

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    1. I know it sounds like a lot of work (and it was) but thankfully nothing went so awry that I'd never do it again if I had the opportunity. Just not for a little while. ;-)

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  7. VERY pretty!!! I really like the frame on the bottom shelf and how all the decorations really tie the colors in so nicely. This reminds me of something that could be in a nautical beach house with whispy sheer curtains wafting in the breeze. Love it, love it, love it!!

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    1. Thanks mama! Did you peek at our sliding glass door? White wispy curtains...check. ;-)

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  8. I never would've thought to use balsa wood. What a great idea!

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  9. Oh my goodness!!! That's just gorgeous! I love your eye for detail! Thanks for linking with Twirl and Take a Bow! xo

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  10. Oh my gosh! Incredible transformation! I love love love it! Thanks for linking it for me to see!

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