Burlwood Side Table Beauty

It’s always a bit daunting, and somewhat exciting, to work with a material that you have never worked with before. Enter this darling, round, burlwood side table. It belongs to a client who is good buddies with my sister in-law.  Her sweet little table had been handed down to her decades earlier by her mother and it had years of pretty heavy use. Here is where it began.

Well loved for sure, but also in need of a revival. I began by stripping the old stain off of the entire table. Because burlwood does NOT have any sort of directional grain, I did not want to take sand paper to it and disrupt the swirly-whirly authentic look. Let the stripping, scraping and scrubbing begin……oh my!

She certainly cleaned up pretty nice, but you can see the difference in wood tones of the sections of burlwood used to make the table. That, and its a veneer layer of burlwood. My sweet client wanted to enhance the look of the table and dress it up a bit. So we talked color (stain, paint and detailing) and I got busy. I stained the top and base in a Dark Walnut, painted the curvy legs in a Parisian Grey and pulled out the details and balled feet with Antique Gold Rub n’ Buff.

I added a layer of dark wax to the painted legs and buffed it well.  The finishing touch would be a couple of coats of wipe on poly to the stained top. I was thinking this would be a done deal within the next 24 hours. NOT!! It felt like running a half marathon, and just when you think you’ve only got one mile left to run, you find out you actually have 2.5!!! (True story) UGH! Forever, I have used Minwax wipe on poly. I’m a huge fan and it has always been a big success for me. So on went coat #1 and something odd started happening, it wasnt drying evenly and it was looking blotchy. Okay, that’s weird! So I wait about 6 hours thinking it might balance out when completely dry and I could ever so gently sand and apply coat #2………ummmm, nope, that didn’t work either. Now I’m gripping….what to do??? I had no choice but to gently sand down/off the Poly which also took off some of the stain. POOP!! So I had to keep going with a gentle sand and steel wool with odorless mineral spirits to remove as much stain as possible and maintain an even look. And there I was, back at square one. So I restained and moved on researching what top coat would be a better option on this piece. I ended up using 2 coats of Minwax Tung Oil. You wipe it on, wait 5 minutes and buff it off. Great for thirsty wood. And the finished result, beautiful.

Completely Classic Hutch

I stumbled on this piece a couple of weeks ago. Though it looked NOTHING like this when my husband brought it home for me, the price was right and I knew I could revive it somehow.  So this is where it began, not so pretty……

The upper cabinet doors were almost impossible to reopen once you had closed them and one of them was missing the pane of glass. Initially I thought I would take the inserts out all together and replace that with some chicken wire. But when I saw the piece in person, the era of this hutch does not lend itself to the farmhouse feel. That, and I still had the issue of the doors sticking shut….super bad. Plan B, remove the doors altogether, Dremel off the metal pieces that keep the doors shut, fill all the holes, sand…..and she’s ready for primer and paint.

Because this piece was finished in very vintage, dated, cherry type of stain, I knew I’d be dealing with a lot of bleed through if using a lighter paint color. Save yourself the headache, after cleaning, prime the old stain really well. Even if you are using a high end, expensive chalk paint. I’ve heard sad stories from friends and many clients who spent lots of time, money and elbow grease trying to paint a piece (multiple times) only to have lots of bleed through. I will say, if you are using a dark shade, this typically will not be a problem. Case in point, I painted the exterior of this piece in a DIY chalk paint, graphite color. No primer needed, I just applied 2 coats of paint. The upper portion I wanted to do in Alabaster white. 2 coats of primer sealed the deal and then I applied 2 coats of paint.

No distressing on this lovely lady. I was aiming for clean and classic. I used a hand rubbed poly on the entire thing and applied 2 coats the the shelving area for added durability. 

The original hardware was lovely, so I gave it a good dose of Rub n’ Buff and it gives such a pop of elegance.

I love the graphite color and was excited to bring it back into the mix (haven’t used that shade in a while). It’s a stellar combination of super dark charcoal’ish/grey/black. And seriously, I love this thing without the doors and the detail at the top stands out even more. 

She’s a keeper

Stately, Serpentine front, Navy dresser/buffet

It’s official, I have a soft spot for vintage, serpentine pieces. You can imagine how giddy I was when I came across this jewel. The finish on the wood stain was bad, there was no hardware to speak of, other than the locking skeleton key and the bottom drawer would not close very well. But she was a diamond in the rough, with that delicious curvy front, original caster wheels and 3 locking drawers. Potential was just a paint brush away. This is what I started with…..

Not too bad in a picture, but up close and personal the finish was not pretty. I knew instantly that I wanted to go Navy. It’s so ‘Hot’ right now and truly, it has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s also way more neutral than one might think. Ive rehabbed several pieces in Benjamin Moore-Hale Navy, but I was dying to try Sherwin Williams-Naval. It’s slightly deeper in tone. After a good cleaning and light sanding I mixed up some DIY chalk paint using Calcium Carbonate. It’s my ‘go to’ mix every time. Dissolves really well in water and does not clump up or become gritty when mixed thoroughly into latex paint. I applied 2 coats of the ‘Naval’ paint in no time.

I purchased all new hardware from Hobby Lobby. However, because the hardware of the drawer pulls are flat and the drawers are curved, I asked handy hubby to help me bend them slightly so as to allow them to sit a bit more flush against the drawer. Well, bad news……it completely broke. Literally, what feels and looks to be metal hardware is actually made out of some type of composite material and it snapped like a tree branch. Back to the drawing board. I kept the knobs for the narrow top drawers and began scouring Amazon for some drawer pulls with a vintage appeal and found some that only came in packs of 10. Two days later those arrive. Again, my sweet hubby attempts to bend the pulls ever so slightly. And what happened you ask? It snapped, just like the Hobby Lobby ones…..UGH! The packaging even stated that the material is ‘metal’……umm….ok…..but no they aren’t. Praise God I only needed 6 pulls, so I just went with it. The edges do not sit quite flush against the drawer, and you know what?….they look awesome.

I buffed all of the hardware with gold ‘Rub n Buff’, my favorite stuff ever. After painting this piece, I lovingly distressed it. The areas that I distressed I lightly touched with the gold Rub n Buff, such a sweet accent to the deep navy.

The body of the piece was given a good coat of clear wax and buffed to a pretty vintage finish. I applied 2 coats of a wipe on Polyurethane to the top surface for added durability. The navy and gold look so super sharp together, very stately and timeless. The super double bonus prize……it sold in less than 48 hours. 

The new owner of this jewel just bought her first home. Hope she enjoys it for years to come.

Simple & Elegant Creamy White Buffet

After completing the rehab on my previous piece, it sold almost immediately. This was a double blessing, as I received a call from a sweet young woman wanting me to find/resource a buffet for her since the Drexel piece was no longer available. She came over for a visit and to look through some of my portfolio of past rehabbed pieces and decided to move forward. My client, darling 25 yr old professional, had just moved into her very own condo and was looking for something to be multifunctional for years to come. For now, this will serve as her entertainment center for her flat screen. Within 24 hours of that meeting I was picking up this gem.

Excellent bones, smooth operating drawers and cabinet doors, very sturdy piece, all original hardware, locking skeleton key for the cabinets and unique with it 8 lovely legs. The stain on the top was quite damaged with water marks and what not. Additionally, I could tell that the age of the stain was likely going to produce a great amount of ‘bleed through’. After a good wipe down I gave it a good once over with some sand paper and cleaned it well with tack cloth. Let the priming begin.

One coat of primer seemed to be sufficient. Moving right along, I lightly sanded the primer and cleaned the piece again. My sweet client knew she wanted white, so I went with my all time favorite with, Alabaster. It’s a Sherwin Williams color that I have always had mixed in Behr premium. I’m a HUGE fan of Behr paints, and sadly, they are not giving me a little kicker bonus to say that. It’s just the truth. 

When the first coat dried I could see the bleed through beginning. Because I always apply two coats of paint, I wasn’t worried. However, after the second coat there were a few areas still faintly showing some bleed through so on went a third coat. Creamy and beautiful was the end result. I allowed the paint to cure really well and then elegantly distressed the buffet with 150 grit sand paper. The body of the piece was given a coat of clear wax but the top needed more durability than anything wax has to offer. Anytime I recreate a piece that has a possible activity surface (table top, dresser, end table, buffet….etc), my ‘go to finish’ is Minwax wipe on polyurethane. It’s a charm to use, still allows a hand applied finish and you can record multiple times after each coat dries. For me, and my pieces, three coats is the magic number. That way I know it has sufficient durability to withstand a lot of use. 

The original hardware was rejuvenated with some antique gold Rub n Buff. LOVE that stuff. And it added the perfect pop of gold against the creamy white. My darling client and her boyfriend pick it up yesterday, I think she was over the moon.

It certainly turned out so elegant. 

Pristine Drexel Buffet in French Linen

Suffice it to say, we have been crazy busy. Like most everyone during this time of year, somehow there doesnt seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I would like to.  Half way through working on this lovely piece, I was also completely redoing our teenage daughters bedroom (that post to come) moving our younger teenage son into our daughters old room (and redoing it), planning, prepping, baking/cooking and creating a huge Thanksgiving feast for our local extended family and attempting to tackle some smaller projects around the house. Does this strike a chord in any of you? I thought it might, so we are moving on. 

I was tickled when I found this piece. Not only was it in great overall condition, but none of the veneer needed repaired and all of the drawers/doors operate very smoothly.

I knew right away that I wanted to keep this buffet very  classic. So I opted for a French Linen DIY chalk paint on the body of the piece and the trim received a delicate coat of Alabaster White. 

I very gently distressed, as a nod to its vintage appeal, and buffed all the hardware with Rub n Buff in antique gold. 

The top of the buffet was given 2 coats of a wipe on Polyurethane for added durability and the body was coated with clear wax.

The overall finish is so super elegant and absolutely timeless.

She’s available for sale. 

Serpentine front Buffet

Our kiddos just started school and I feel like I am still playing ‘catch up’ on so many different projects. We traveled as a family to Grand Cayman for vacation and literally arrived home just before school began. It was a great recharge for all of us and the snorkeling there is like no other.  Back in the real world, and the kids are going many directions. The house is a bit too quiet now and it’s a sad reminder for me as to just how quickly this time goes.  We have 2 very grown children, already out of the house, a senior in college, a junior in high school and an 8th grader. But I’ve been here before……you blink and it feels like it’s over. My sentimental message….cherish every minute. 

Moving on, after getting my ducks in a row around the house, laundry going, school supplies purchased, I was finally able to get started on this gem.  Beautiful lines on the piece, with its gentle serpentine front, but the finish and sad floral motif left a lot to be desired. Here’s where she started. 

I knew with a little effort she would be shining in no time. So I got busy, cleaning, sanding, cleaning….maybe a bit  more sanding and cleaned it well with a tack cloth…..UGH!!!! The veneer on the top was looking a bit temperamental so I could not sand the floral too much. On goes the paint. I thought a bright, creamy Alabaster White would look smart and refreshing. So I gave it 2 coats of DIY chalk paint (3 on the top). Then some light distressing just on the edges to enhance the authentic scrapes and marks that are obviously on the original wood. On top of that went a good solid coat of dark wax for protection. 

I resuscitate the original hardware with some antique gold Rubb n’ Buff …..it’s the bomb. And hardware looks magnificent. 

She is waiting patiently for someone to purchase her. Wish a had a spare wall in my own home that she could reside. Elegantly farm, french chic.


Antique Farmhouse Cupboard

Crazy story, really. While on the hunt for a piece of furniture to rehab, I came across this lovely lady. She definately needed some work, but I was up for the challenge (and I can usually talk handy hubby into breaking out the power tools). The gal we bought this from acquired it from an antiques dealer in Upstate New York. She was moving to Hawaii and literally depleting all of her belongings that would not fit into her compact car, which was being shipped on a boat for her.  When we went to go look at it, it was in several pieces. And only because the top separates from the base and all of the doors have old school/primitive ‘lift off’ hinges. Coolest thing ever.

Given the size of the piece and the nature of the work needed, I could see where others would shy away.  The sweet gals mother was encouraging her to break it down into wood pieces and scrap it (I about lost my breath). She said she would rather burn it in the back yard than put it in the garbage, as she spent a small fortune on it initially. At this stage, her house was sold and she was leaving the country 48 hrs later. Enter stage left, my hubby and I there to take a peak. After looking and chatting a bit, thinking we might be able to make things work, the nice gal literally shares her story (about her mom and then saying she’d rather burn it), so she makes us an offer that we could not refuse.  It was an easy decision, so we loaded it all up, in 2 vehicles, and brought our baby home. Ahhhhh, I was so excited.  The details on this piece are fantastic. And, true to its almost primitive age, the small scale chicken wire on the upper cabinet doors is literally sandwiched in between the pieces of wood that make up each door. Very cool…..I’ve never seen that before. I couldn’t wait to get busy.

If you look closely, the upper cabinet area had a huge hole cut out of it.  Before it came to us, it was being used an entertainment area. The cutout was for a television. Handy hubby to the rescue here. After digging through some scrap wood, my husband was able to piece together a replacement for the cutout area. And he totally mimicked the board and batten type design inside. He also cut new wood for the shelving, as the old shelves were terribly warped. After cleaning, lightly sanding and cleaning again, it was time to paint. The exterior received 2 coats of DIY chalk paint in Alabaster White and the upper interior area was painted in a grey/blue called Winterwood by Benjamin Moore. Some light distressing and a solid coat of dark wax was applied to the exterior. The interior shelves all received 2 coats of wipe on Poly for durability.  The end result is truly lovely. 

The huge hole is gone and she can resume life as a wonderful antique, farmhouse cupboard.  In a large kitchen, dining room, it could hold linens and quilts or I could totally see this in a quaint store front (hmmmmm, if only I had a store). 


Just waiting for her new home. I hope somebody falls in love with this like I did.