Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vintage Wood File Cabinet

I am in the midst of creating a design plan for my girls bedroom. Since my three year old moved into her big sisters room over a year ago, we've never done anything to make it "her" space, too. So, I am finally getting ready to re-decorate the bedroom so that they have a shared space to sleep in, play in, and get ready in the morning.

First plan of attack is to make their closet more functional. Daddy shares a closet with them which needs to change. And, with the constant opening and closing of closet doors, they are always breaking. I've never liked exposed closets, but at this stage in their young life, we just need to be rid of the closet doors and have everything a bit more accessible. The good thing about that, it will force us to keep the closet clean and orderly because I am totally neurotic and refuse to look at messy clothes draping out of drawers or falling off of hangers. 

So, a few weeks ago when I went to the Irvine Antique Market, I spotted an awesome 12-drawer, wood file cabinet. Immediately, I thought that this would be perfect in the girls exposed, door-less closet! 12 beautiful drawers for clothes, toys, and other odds and ends!

The only problem was the price and general condition. The ladies selling wanted well over $100 (which is waaay more than I like to pay for a piece that needs a lot of work) and the paint job on it was TERRIBLE! I mean, atrocious! I mean, it looked like a gigantic piece of blue poo!

I started perusing other things in their booth and another group of people started seriously examining the file cabinet. I was like, "HECK NO, THAT'S MINE!" That's how I know I really want something. When I get all possessive about it before I make a firm decision. 

We rolled it out to the truck where it BARELY fit between the wheel wells. But, when there is a will, there is a way!

I didn't have the endurance to tackle this project right away, so it sat in my driveway for about two weeks. But this week, with 80 degree temperatures, clear skies and a gorgeous view of the mountains from my front yard, it was perfect for an outdoor project!

I took all of the hardware off of the drawers with the help of my next door neighbor and stripped the paint off of them....and the hardware. 

Yep...each drawer had three pieces of hardware on it smothered in thick, goopy, blue latex paint. The patina on the original hardware was totally worth the effort of the stripping. (Oh..and I stripped the original screws too. Now that, my friends is plain madness!!!!)

Then, I sanded them all down to a smooth finish, added two coats of Dark Walnut stain and Annie Sloan Dark Wax.

Now...let's pause here for a moment! At this point, I have invested about 8+ hours, just on the drawers and pulls. I saw all 12 drawers sitting in a row on my driveway and thought, "Wow...those are really deep." I decided to measure the depth. At 28 inches deep, there is no way it is going to fit in the closet that is only 25 inches deep. 

So here is a piece of friendly advice from a nimrod such as myself. When you plan a refinishing project for a certain spot in your home, it's generally a good idea to make sure that the piece you are working on will in fact fit BEFORE you invest oodles of time. Because, had I know that this wouldn't fit prior to the stripping, staining, waxing, I would have just done a quick and easy two-tone paint job. 

At this point, the hard part was over and all that was left was painting the framework. 

Since this wasn't going in the girls room anymore, I went with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in classic Old White and a very heavy Dark Wax. 

And, this is how it turned out:

I spent a lot of time on this piece so you are just gonna have to suffer through all of the glorious pictures!

Don't those screws look great? Hardly any blue left on them and all that original worn patina still perfectly intact!

I lightly distressed the edges with a palm sander so that it would eat through the blue paint down to the original wood. But, you know me! I love some of the original color peeking through just to remind me of what it was!

The distressing and dark wax makes all of the little flaws pop!

I am bound and determined to find a place for this in my home, but in the meantime it's up for grabs at the shop!  

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to like us on facebook. My facebook followers all got the step by step progress of this particular project during the week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grandfather Clocks

This week has been clock week. I tackled one grandfather clock that I've had for over six months, and another that I've had for less than a week. 

The first one:

My mom and dad picked this clock last summer. It was in nice shape, so I opted to try and sell it "as-is." But it sat so I finally decided to slap some paint on it. 

I went with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Old Ochre and Duck Egg Blue. 

I even painted the face of the clock and distressed it so that some of the gold peeks through the duck egg.

I like that it can function as a cute little display cabinet as well as a clock. So practical.

The other clock:

A more traditional grandfather clock with weights that one of my friends dad's gave to me. I was told it is over 100 years old. I didn't feel too bad about painting it though, because the funky brown color was layers of dark brown paint. It was pretty gnarly.

We chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Paris Grey as the base color with some gold gilding to accent the details of the clock. I used this piece as an opportunity to show Sabrina and Maddie (two of our most awesome interns) how to do gilding. 

The gold leaf adds a bit of glam! 

The plain front on the bottom was ideal for a transfer.

So, there you have it. Two clocks in two days. Some image transfer, two tone paint work and gold gilding!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shabby Chic Meets Urban Vintage

In our first collaborative endeavor, artist, photographer and image transferer Michelle E. Black and I tackled a rusty old, brown painted, garage bound metal cabinet.

I call it urban vintage meets shabby chic!

Months ago, Michelle and I were perusing my furniture pickins' in the storage unit behind the store. I was working my way through piles of furniture to find this cabinet because it was screaming for an image transfer treatment. We talked about it, looked at pictures and then procrastinated waited for the New Year to take on some new projects.

We started by painting the interior and exterior with Provence. Old White was dry brushed over the entire framework as well as the two doors. We added some Annie Sloan Craquelier to the edges so it looks like it has pickled by the summer sun over time.

Once it was painted, Michelle took over with the image transfer.

She picked a surfboard motif for the front which compliments the colors of the cabinet.

Then, when the image was transferred, I lacquered the entire piece and hit it with a little bit of dark wax to richen the whites and show-off the craquelier effect.

Once it was done, I couldn't stop looking at it! I love the added flair to an otherwise bland piece of furniture.

And, in case you are can paint metal with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It went on can do the image transfers onto metal as well!

I wonder what we will do next.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

French Flair

"Where do you get all of your furniture?" Hands down, the most frequently asked question in the store! 

Garage sales, back alleys, roadside, thrift stores, occasionally a craigslist pick, customer donations...and once in awhile I will get an e-mail from a loyal blog follower offering up some pieces of furniture. 

Last week, my husband and I made an after hours trek to North Pasadena to pick up these cute little french inspired pieces from a sweet family who has been following the blog for sometime. 

I try to get my hands on this style of furniture anytime I can find it because, though it looks ridiculous in its original state, the transformation of these pieces is uncanny. 

I opted to paint the three of these so that they could be purchased as a set...though, they are sold separately. A few months ago, I painted in french style highboy as a custom job in Provence. I had so many people inquire about the price and admire the finished product, I decided to replicate the design. The dresser and nightstand got a treatment with two coats of Provence.

Original hardware was left as-is! 

And, then there was the desk. We experienced an Annie Sloan first with the desk!  When the second coat of paint was applied and nearly dry, it started to peel off in chunks (kind-of like the milk paint does). I've never seen ASCP do that. Granted, the surface of these pieces is laminate and plastic, but the beauty of chalk paint is that you can paint over any finish. We (actually, Sabrina did most of the work on this one) ended up having to sand off all of the paint, applied a thin coat of lacquer to the whole piece and used the lacquer as a base coat to paint the Pure White. That worked well. 

The finished result is a simple paint treatment that is very feminine.

Lesson learned: It's never a bad idea to rough up a plastic or laminate surface prior to painting...even when you are using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It only takes a few minutes and is worth saving the time and cost of extra paint that went into this piece! 

On a side note, we have updated the for sale page with over a dozen pieces of furniture! You can take a look at it to see what projects we've been working on for the past couple of weeks!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Knot Too Shabby Workshop

I love my workshop! It's about 200 square feet of awesome work is messy more often than it is neat. 

When I host painting classes, I always have someone ask me what we use everything for. So, I thought I would share about my "workshop essentials."

Clamps in every shape and size. There have been times when I've gotten to the store after my dad has spent a few hours here and there will be all manner of furniture lined up on the tables that have been glued and clamped. If its been a productive day, every single one will be in use!

I always keep a large container of Klean-strip on hand for stripping and staining wood. Plus, several cans of mineral spirits that I use to make wax glazes and wood stain in Dark Walnut and other rich colors. And, if I'm feeling in the mood to protect my skin, I have latex gloves on hand (ha ha..."on hand"...nice play on words). 

Wood glue and more wood glue! (And, some of Michelle Black's gel medium so I can do my own image transfers on furniture. Shhh....don't tell her I use it.)

Lots of latex junk paint for misc. painting projects that don't require chalk paint. A paint sprayer for big jobs, an electric mixer that we use to mix milk paint, lots of Rustoleum spray paint for small jobs and empty paint cans. Tons of empty paint cans. I never ditch them! 

A hair dryer...I use it to crackel paint, melt wax and fix up my hair...yeah right...I don't fix up my hair. 

Power tools! Drills, screwdrivers, electric sanders (I have a square one and a rotary one), hot glue gun, pneumatic staple gun and lots of screws! 

Mostenbergers Latex Remover. It is awesome to deep clean paint brushes and we use it to clean up paint off the wood floors when they start to get overly splattered. 

And, buckets for water. We use warm water and sanding blocks to distress and these come in handy daily! 

There you have it. My must-haves! Why is it so hard to keep workshops picked up and organized!? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A New Year

Happy New Year!

I don't know about you, but my New Year has had a bit of a bumpy start. I start every new year with this grand feeling of a clean slate...a fresh start...amazing goals and aspirations...I feel like anything is possible. That feeling is what drives and motivates me. But, it doesn't take much to get me down. Like, the fact that the heater at home went out, the pool and spa heater went kapoot and the computer is on the fritz (which means I can only update my blog while at the store). Plus, some upcoming event planning isn't running as smoothly as I had hoped and the constant clutter in the shop as a result of this huge photography related project gives me the jitters. And, my husband was down for a few days with the flu which meant doing my best to chorale the kids out of the house so he could rest.

So, I'm trying to pull myself out of this funk that I've been in for the past week and regain my motivation! 

How do you stay focused and motivated when life throws curve balls?

I decided that I needed to pull myself off the couch yesterday afternoon and I got the girls out of the house, rolled up my paint pants, threw on a pair of sneakers and told my 5-year old she was going to learn how to ride her two-wheeler. So, before dinner I was running up and down the block pushing the bike while the little one was trying to keep up on her tricycle. I had a chorus of "DON'T LET GO," and "MOMMY, WAIT FOR ME" trailing down the street...over and over and over. We had so much fun and getting my heart pumping from the activity did wonders to my overall spirit! 

I also had a great break from the normal routine last Sunday. My friend, Michelle Black and I headed down to Orange County to scope out the Irvine Antique Market. We are slated to sell there in March, but we wanted to get a feel for the venue before we committed. 

The view was breathtaking! 

The antique market wasn't half bad either! It was no Rose Bowl, but I kind-of liked that about it. The overall atmosphere was so much more relaxed than the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

We made some friends with these cute ladies who specialize in antique military memorabilia! That Civil War Era hat was $100. I didn't buy it.

I did buy this awesome (and very solid and heavy) wood chest of drawers. It has exactly twelve drawers...just the right number to paint Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint colors on each drawer. 

Michelle B. went home with these amazing lockers. I was totally jealous. That's the problem with shopping with people who are into the same type of end up fighting for the same things. :) 

I stood over this cable spool table that came with benches made out of egg baskets for about ten minutes...going back and forth between buying or not buying. I ended up not getting it but thought it was a fabulous piece made out of 100% re-purposed materials. 

When we left the house, I told Michelle, "I'm not planning on buying anything." Well... you know how that goes. Thanks to Eddie there who lent us his manly muscles and some straps, we managed to squeeze everything into the truck (You should visit Eddie's space at the Rose Bowl this B14). 

We had so much fun together and are definitely going to be selling down there in March. Michelle, my friend Mike and I will be getting one big space. Michelle will be selling her Image Transfer pieces, I will liquidate some of the furniture that has been sitting in the store for a long time and Mike will be bringing some of his awesome antiques from his booth in Orange.

If it goes well, we might may make a habit of it. We'll see! 

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