Frog Green School Desk Turned Napoleonic Prince

OK, I'm laughing at my title.  However it's the truth!!  A few months back while perusing the local Goodwill I came across a school desk and chair.  I instantly fell in love with the bones of the pieces, but definitely not the color.  They were painted in a bright frog green semi-gloss paint.  The paint hadn't been put on in the most careful manner so there were drips and globs and it was a mess.  It sat in my "I will get to it pile" for a very long time.  The hubby loved the chair because it was nice and solid and he could sit on it and chat with me or watch Hunter play with his friends from the garage.  He was a bit sad when I told him I was refurbishing it for someone.

I got an email from a nice woman asking if I had any desks that I could redo for her 5 year old Son.  I was thrilled when she liked the frog green desk because it meant I could put it on my 'has to get done ASAP' list!  We exchanged a few emails back and forth and determined what Icould do to the desk to make it right for her Son and his room.  We decided on Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue with dark wax and the top stained dark.  I couldn't wait to get started, but unfortunately I had several projects in front of the desk so it had to wait a few weeks.

Last week it was finally time to get working on the desk.  I couldn't wait to get rid of that green paint and give this desk the personality and character is deserved.

Here's the desk before.

This is exactly what the chair looked like when I brought it home.  My blurry iPhone picture doesn't show the details as well as I'd like.

The desk was all green including the top, but the day I got it home I decided to sand the top down and see what was underneath.  What was underneath was more paint and it was caked on.  I knew at some point this one would need to be stripped.

Once I got started working on the desk I realized it could all be disassembled.  This was great news, but at the same time I was nervous.  I'm great with taking things apart and not so great with putting them back together.  I made sure I paid good attention as I took it apart :-)

The top came off the frame and the shelf came off in two pieces.  This made a tricky job a lot easier.  I had wondered how I would paint inside the shelf and get the underneath of the top.  Perfect solution!!

I stripped the top twice and then sanded it down, but no matter how much I sanded there was paint and wood fill embedded in this desk.  I was going for the old desk look so I just went with it.

I painted the frame, the shelf and the chair in two coats of Napoleonic blue and topped them with a coat of clear and dark wax.  The top of the desk I stained with Kona and Dark Walnut.  I gave the desk top 5 coats of stain hoping it would get darker, but it wouldn't go any darker no matter what I did.  I then topped it with 3 coats of dark wax, letting it dry in between coats.

I didn't get a lot progress shots while I was working on the desk.  I was working on a dresser and a table at the same time so I was going back and forth between all three.  There was too much going on to get lots of pictures.

When all the paint and wax was on the desk and chair I realized they needed something else.  I gave them a light distressing to bring out the character and show the age.  The piece looked flat without this step.  The funny part about this is the froggy green paint showed through a bit, but with the dark wax on top it looked fantastic!  It was almost like I meant to have that color on there.

Here you can see the shelf and how it came apart in 2 pieces.  They're still drying in this picture.

This is the chair (still drying on the seat) and how it looked after 2 coats of paint.  It just didn't have the character I was hoping for at this point.  It looked flat and boring.

Frame of the desk with 2 coats of paint and clear wax.  

This is with some light distressing by hand with some sand paper and no dark wax.

There's that froggy green, but now it doesn't look so bad.  This is before the dark wax which made it all come together!

Here it is all done and dressed up for some pictures and YES I got it all put back together!  YIPPEE FOR ME!!  

I think it looks fantastic now.  No more froggy green desk with drippy semi-gloss paint.  Now this desk has personality, character and is perfect for a little boy.

Sometimes a piece just needs some distressing to make it look it's age.  This was one of those pieces.  I love how the froggy green is popping out, but is toned down and aged with the dark wax.  Napoleonic Blue with dark wax is one of my favorite combinations.  The depth of the color is breathtaking!  

Here's the top that was covered in froggy green paint and many more layers of paint in different colors.  It's now stained and waxed and it looks amazing.

The chair that was looking so boring just painted blue, now has some distressing and dark wax and now looks perfect!    The shapes and details pop now.

I wanted the chair to look like it had been well-loved and moved around a lot.  Now the other layers of paint and some wood show through which definitely make it look like a well-loved chair  

Love this chair now!

Here's the happy little boy with his new desk.  For me this makes it all worthwhile!  The smile on his face and knowing he will be enjoying this desk for many years to come are the best reward!

I love what I do and the people I meet along the way.  Knowing something I worked hard on and put my heart and soul into is well-loved by it's new owners makes me smile from ear to ear! 

This was a great transformation.  I love seeing a piece of furniture in it's 'ugly' state and being able to see past the ugliness to what it could be.  It's truly my passion and it's what I dream about at night.  When I go to bed I can't wait to wake up in the morning and get started on the next piece and see how it transforms.

I'm working on another post for next week.  It's another great dresser transformation, but this time it's a 60's wood dresser with incredible lines.  It turned out just the way I had envisioned and I can't wait to show you how beautiful it is now.  

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!



Primitive and Proper

Making The Most Of A Broken Mirror

A few weeks back I went to an estate sale.  It was one of those dream sales where I got lots of great things at a good price.  I even went back a few days after the sale and was able to buy some more gems and an even better price!  I picked up 5 old mirrors and had plans for all of them.  There was one I fell in love with and couldn't wait to put it on my mantle.  I've been wanting to change things up on my mantle for awhile, but I hadn't found the right mirror.  I got really busy and put the mirror aside, then one day I had a few minutes and decided to work on the mirror.  I cleaned it up really well then turned it over to repair it.  I'm not sure what came over me, but the next thing I knew I was re-nailing the old nails that were falling out on the back.  I thought I was being very careful, but when I turned the mirror back over it was cracked in half!  DUH! Mirrors are fragile and you don't hammer on the back of them. I have to admit I got tears in my eyes.  I couldn't believe I had been so careless and made such a silly mistake.  I carefully took the two pieces of old mirror out (notice now I decided to be careful) and I was left with a blah frame.  I put it aside for a few weeks then when I had some extra time between projects one week I went with Plan B.

The week I went to the estate sale my friend was here visiting from Canada.  I took her to New York City and we had a great time shopping.  While we were in the city we went to Papyrus and they had the best wrapping paper.  The paper was sold in sheets and they had so many fabulous designs.  My favorites were the papers with maps printed on them.  I bought a few different sheets of paper and had a some ideas on how I would use them, but I never thought I would use them in the frame of a broken mirror!  However, that was exactly what I planned on doing.

The paper I decided to use for my frame was a map of Paris.  I've had a love affair with Paris since I was a child so this paper was perfect for my frame project.  I gave the frame and wood backing a quick coat of Annie Sloan Old White then a coat of clear wax.  I used some spray adhesive to attach the map to the wood backing and when it was dry I did something that made me very nervous...I put some dark wax over the whole thing, even the map.  I was afraid the wax would seep into the paper and make a huge mess, but it didn't!  It did exactly what I wanted and gave it an aged feel.  I attached a painted fleur de lis I already had right above the map and then the new and improved frame was ready to hang above the mantle.

Here's the finished project.  I don't have any before pictures...sorry!  The frame more yellow than it is now and the wood backing was a dark wood.  I apologize for the lighting, but the living room doesn't get a lot of natural light.

I'm really happy I was able to make the most of a broken mirror.  What's the saying, when life gives you lemons make lemonade?  Well I think I made some lemonade for sure!

I had to take a picture of my new baby....well not really a baby, but my new coaster wagon!  I bought this at an estate sale and had never heard of a coaster wagon before that.  I did some research and learned that kids would ride these down hills then use the little wooden brake on the side to stop.  WOW, things have really changed!  The Hubby and I laughed when we thought of kids riding them down a hill with no helmet.  How did anyone survive?  (insert sarcasm here)

I'm hoping someone knows something about Hudson Coaster Wagons because I haven't found another one like it online.  I love it and I'm not selling it, but I love researching the vintage finds I buy.  The history fascinates me so if you have any information please email me or comment on the blog.

We let Hunter sit in the wagon (on flat ground) for a minute while I took some pictures.  He was ready to give it a try, but we decided to put it in front of the fireplace instead. 

I have another post I'm working on for this week.  It was a fun project I did for a client's Son.  I can't wait to share it with you!

Enjoy your day and thank you for reading!


Creamy Yellow Empire Dressers

In July I redid a dresser I'd found at a tag sale.  I wrote post on it and then one of my readers messaged me to say this style of dresser was called Empire Creamy Butter Yellow Dresser.  I love it when I learn something new about furniture!  I'm not the best at knowing all the names of the styles so this was a huge help.  I love Empire style furniture and yet I don't own a single piece!  I came across two Empire style pieces on one of the local Facebook tag sale sites I follow.  The Hubby, Hunter and I went to pick up the first one and when I saw it I was thrilled.  Even nicer in person!  The nice lady who was selling them let us make two trips since we couldn't fit both pieces in my small SUV.....bonus!

After I got home and realized I had accumulated quite a few dressers I knew it was time to part with some.  I posted on my favorite Facebook tag sale sites that I had a lot of dressers available for custom work and within a week they were all spoken for.  One person fell in love with the two empire dressers asked me to refurbish them for her master bedroom.  She came over, had a look at them and then decided she wanted the same Cream paint and finish I had used on the Creamy Butter Yellow Dresser.  She had wanted to purchase the dresser when I had it listed, but didn't get to it in time.  It was nice that she knew exactly what she wanted.

Here are the dressers before.

I just love the shape.  All the curves!  They definitely needed some TLC.

The shorter dresser had me fooled!  I thought for sure it was tiger oak.  I took removed some paint from the front and it was just faux painted to look like tiger oak.

I'm laughing as I look at this picture.  This is an average day at my house.  Drawers and dressers sitting in the sun!

Since it was already determined the dresser was going to be painted cream it was easy to get to work.  I did my usual pull out all the drawers and clean everything and that's when I realized this was going to be a bit more work than I had bargained for.  Just due to the age of the piece the drawers, and I mean all 10, needed to be glued and clamped.  Some needed a bit more repair work so that took me awhile.  I enjoy fixing these old pieces, but it takes me a little longer.

I decided to shellac both dressers inside and out.  Reason being if I didn't the stain would bleed through the paint.  I've mentioned before about certain stains that were used in the 30's and 40's bleed through paint.  I learned the hard way and now I just know to shellac the whole piece.  It's actually one of my favorite parts.  The shellac goes on really quickly, dries fast and smells good.  Then the whole piece is sealed and fresh.  If the piece has any smells it also helps to block those as well.

I started with the tops this time.  I wanted to do extra coats on the top of each dresser.  What I've been doing when I paint a dresser top is in between coats I take 600-800 grit sandpaper and in a circular motion I sand the paint to make it very smooth and compressed.  I like how it looks and feels after all the painting and wax are done.  It does take a bit more time, but the end product is worth the extra work.

Here are few pictures of what the drawers looks like after they've had a coat of shellac and a light sanding.

After 3 coats of paint on the top, and 2 coats on the base I was ready for the wax.  One clear coat of wax and one dark.  The top actually has an extra coat of dark wax.  I wanted to make sure the texture came through and it needed a bit of extra wax.  I let the wax sit for 24 hours to cure then I buffed and  added on the third coat.  It wasn't a full third coat, but here and there it needed a bit more wax to add some definition.

I didn't get a lot of progress pictures during the waxing process.  I find when I'm waxing it's hard to stop and take pictures a long the way.

Here they are....and WOW what a difference!!!

I had originally picked out different hardware for these dressers.  However, when it came time to put the hardware on I realized they weren't working.  I was thrilled when I realized I had these knobs sitting in my bin from Hobby Lobby.  They're perfect!!  They're a dark grayish glass with a vintage feel and I think they're my favorite drawer hardware ever.  I need a trip to Hobby Lobby for more!

I'm in love with any dresser that has side slats like these!!  They give the piece so much character.

Aren't those knobs incredible?!

My favorite details on the tall dresser are the small drawers on the top....oh and I can't forget the key holes!

Will you just look at those curves?!

This just makes me smile from ear to ear.  These are the characteristics that set these antique pieces apart from new pieces....detailing, character and amazing craftsmanship!

This was a fun journey working on these old dressers.  I'm happy they have a new home and can enjoy another 80 years of life.  Old, vintage, antique furniture and home decor are my passions.  I should change my blog name to my obsession for decor.  I think and dream about furniture and home decor 24/7.  This is what I love doing and I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to give these dressers new life.  Every time a piece of furniture leaves for a new home I get a little sad, however I know they're going to a great home which does make me happy.  OK, now I sound a little crazy!!  I'm not talking about a puppy here just a piece of furniture!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this.  I love doing the blog, but I'm finding I have less and less time to write and edit pictures.  I'm determined to keep it going and have a few posts that I'm working on right now.  As long as there's furniture to write about and I can find the time I will write the blog.  So for the're stuck with me :-)

Have a wonderful week!!