Saturday, February 7, 2015

Time to buy new furniture? Maybe not

I may or may not troll the alleyways of my neighborhood searching for occasional tables, dressers, chairs that folks have chunked to the curb thinking they were ready for the dump....actually I do....frequently.

I also may or may not have a basement full of said furniture (and abandoned solid wood doors)....actually I do....a lot of them.

I'll admit it, I can't stand the thought of a perfectly solid piece of REAL wood furniture, doors or windows filled with wavy glass sitting in a landfill.  It drives me nuts!  The down side to my little obsession - I mean hobby - is actually cleaning it all up and refinishing it.

The beauty of reviving cast off furniture is varied and sundry.  You get a solidly built piece of furniture for free.  And you get to customize it to suit your style/taste.  A person can easily spend upwards of $1,000 on a solidly built NEW dresser for the bedroom.  But grabbing one off the curb, cleaning it up, tightening any loose bits and painting it costs a bit of work (getting if off the curb) and about $50 in supplies (between the paint and any hardware such as new knobs).

From the mid 1960's to the mid 1990's furniture makers loved to embellish drawer fronts like the one below.  I'm not a fan of embellish drawer fronts.  I think they look cheap and dated.  However, once painted....they actually add texture and interest to a piece as you'll see later in this blog.....stay with me....the results are pretty amazing.

A lot of people would run screaming into the streets if they thought they had to paint furniture.....I used to be one of them.  Painting walls is a breeze, but painting furniture can be a nightmare.  So many nooks and crannies to sand, prime and paint.  If the paint doesn't adhere like it should, you get nicks, scuffs and even areas where the paint falls off completely.  Ugh.  Personally, I hate sanding little areas and I hate priming.

That's why I was pretty stoked to learn of chalk paint.  Anyone who has ever read any of my blogs knows I loathe chalkboard paint on anything anytime anywhere.  I'm not talking about chalkboard paint.  I'm talking about chalk paint.  There's a huge difference.

The effect that chalk paint has is subtle and smooth as chalk once finished.  It has a matte finish that is reminiscent of fine antique french furniture.  If you like a more glossy look, you can go over the painted piece with a wax made specifically for chalk paint which will not only give you a slight gloss but will also protect your finish for years to come.

The greatest thing about chalk paint is the absolute absence of priming or sanding....wonderful.  I recommend that you clean the piece super well and sand off any gunk that has gotten stuck to the surface or any deep gashes in the wood but little nicks, scratches or other small imperfections don't need to be bothered with at all because this paint is self leveling meaning it will sink into those scratches and nicks and make it all nice and smooth.  No wood putty or filler needed.

Want to see what the entire dresser looked like?

Don't go crazy on buying your paint brush for this job.  A $4 synthetic paintbrush from the big box store will work great.

First remove all the hardware, give it a good cleaning,  go over the areas that need to be sanded and fill in any deep gashes.  Once you've done that, go to town with the paint.

While the manufacturer will tell you that one coat is all you'll honestly need at least 2.  Sanding between coats is really not necessary.....except on the top.  I can't stand seeing any brush strokes or feel little bumps when I rub the top so I lightly sanded between my first and second coat - just on the top.  Once it was smooth to the feel, I applied my second coat.  I didn't worry about the sides or drawer fronts as once the piece is in place, you won't be rubbing all over the sides/front.

The last step is to apply the finishing wax.  This gives the piece a smooth velvety feel, darkens the paint just a hair, adds depth to the finish and protects the piece from wear and tear.  You can use a poly finish if you so choose.  However, be advised that poly will yellow over time and won't actually protect the finish as well as the wax.

Now for the reveal.......wait for it......

So there you have it!  You have just saved yourself a bunch of cash!!  
Enjoy your space.

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