The Right to Refinement ~ An Antiqued Nightstand Reveal

I am excited  to share the reveal of this little nightstand
with you all today.  Layers and layers of chalk paint add such
an antiqued richness to the piece that it’s hard to believe that this little swan was ever an ugly duckling…

Here’s this sweet nightstand in its original paint color ~ okay but a little drab.

Directions continued…

In the  first post Antiquing with Chalk Paint I shared all the chalk paints I had used up to ASCP French Linen.

After letting that layer dry and rubbing some of it back off so that
it was more of a lowlight or accent I rubbed on some watered down
Liquitex Burnt Umber.
I worked the burnt umber around all the appliqués’ curves and into places where I thought the nightstand could use some definition.
I was trying for a dirt stained look that you’d find on a centuries old piece ~ like the dirt got into a furniture piece’s crevices.

Here’s where I switched and looked to another post of friend Cindy’s* to use this really great product:
The last paint to put on carefully using just my forefinger was some
Amoco Rub ‘n Buff ~ gold
lightly over all the raised portions of the appliqués.
It’s inevitable that you’ll get gilding in the wrong spot so keep a
damp cloth nearby to carefully rub off any mishaps.

I tried both silver and gold as I wasn’t sure which I liked better.
I even took a mini survey on my Instagram and several people
said they liked the silver better.

Once the burnt umber was rubbed on the silver just didn’t look
right to me so I went with the gold. I was trying for an Old World European French look and I don’t think silvering on furniture started happening until around the Art Deco era of the 1920’s to 1940’s. 

This was really fun! Anyway, I did feel a bit like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz as it tends to get all over you very quickly if you forget and rub your nose or scratch an itch on your arm. Just the tiniest bit of gilding or silvering goes a long way ~ very economical!

(You can see where I nicked the top front edge of the nightstand with silver
when I was trying both out and I didn’t see it in time before it dried…)

The last thing to do after the gilding dries (wait 24 hours) is to rub it to a shine then add either a clear rub-on furniture wax or a polyurethane finish to protect all that wonderful chalk paint goodness.

Here’s how  it turned out!  I am loving this little nightstand now with its new blue look!  I had never worked with chalk paints before and I can tell you that they go on very smoothly and there isn’t any chalky feel to the furniture once dry.
Part of what I really liked about working with this type of paint was that when you are wiping back the paint to reveal underneath layers the paint is on there enough that you have to rub a bit but
not too hard.

Chalk paint creates the most lovely soft matte finish…

All of the chalk paints I used and the Liquitex Basics Burnt Umber.  The final paint was Amoco’s Rub ‘n Buff in gold, then a final coat of clear furniture wax to protect the paint.

*My inspiration was a Louis XV buffet Cindy Blackenburg of the blog and online shop Edith and Evelyn created for her home.
I loved all those multiple layers of blues and greys that she created
on her formerly 1950’s brown dresser!

Pretty blooms glow in the late afternoon sunlight.
I am loving how this dresser turned out and it inspired me to look
for a poem or two…
‘No one need suffer, therefore, who cannot emulate a neighbor’s costly appointments. The privilege of extravagance belongs to the few, but the right to refinement is a legacy to us all.’
with Lina of Sew Historically.

Hence today’s title… 😉

This little nightstand with its charming layered blue look certainly adds a certain refinement to our Prairie Home and I was in turn inspired to do some cleaning and create an early fall vignette.

A small painted tobacco basket I found at Hobby Lobby paired with a few faux rose stems ~ which had the loveliest bit of peach blush-coloring to their leaves ~ aded to the roses and peonies I put out earlier this summer…

To these I added in just a few small off-white hydrangeas
and beautiful blue larkspur stems to complement the blue
hues in the nightstand. What do you think of these two together?
All in all a pretty fun photo shoot and project! 

Let me know how you liked this project!
*Thank you!*

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Loving this little swan now,

Antiquing Furniture with Chalk Paint

Chalk paint  is a type of paint I have been wanting to try out on a piece of furniture for a couple of years now and I think I’ve found the perfect piece to transform…
When I was little my father would paint thrift store dressers and stain and build shelving for each of us kids for our bedrooms
each time we made a military move.
He would also paint pieces and shelving for he and my mother
to house all of their paperback and travel books
which were many.

Every time  a piece was refashioned with paint it was an amazing and exciting process to see how a sweet piece of furniture that was not so exciting to start could become loved again just with a little elbow grease and a bit of paint…

Last year  I found this little nightstand at Hobby Lobby and loved all of of its wooden appliques and the “shield” on its little cabinet door.  The small footprint it has is a perfect size for extra storage in our little Prairie Home on wheels and has that French and Old World elegance I so love.
I needed a free standing piece of furniture in our living room and this nightstand is tall and has a good size cabinet underneath and a small drawer ~ a good place to store some of my decorating
things and I am able to decorate the top seasonally.

After checking out some bloggy friends’ posts on how much
they really like working with chalk paints I thought I’d give
this tall nightstand a new look for fall…

One of the nightstand’s fall 2017 tableau dressed with a French linen towel and our little maiden.
Now I’ve kinda come to enjoy black a bit more as a color on furniture but my heart really loves furniture with a lighter color.

From a post from last fall talking about English candy boxes.

 So I thought I’d try to make this simple piece look a little more
Old World European French ~ more in my color pallet.
This little nightstand was the perfect piece for me to get
my hands dirty with chalk paint!

This first chalk paint is Annie Sloan’s Aubusson Blue ~ a really beautiful rich French blue!

After reading  a post by blogging friend Cindy Blackenburg of the gorgeous blog Edith and Evelyn on creating her
Louis XV French Buffet out of an old 1950’s dresser just by
layering different chalk paints  ~ I was itching to
try her techniques!!!

You start with choosing your paint colors by figuring out what base color you want to show through the most then layer complementary
colors as highlights and lowlights.
These are done in a series of washes and dry brushings to create
the final look.

Here are the paints I used:

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ~ Aubusson Blue B906032

ASCP ~ Provence (another lighter blue) B909074

American Decor by DecoArt ~ Yesteryear ADC27
*close match to ASCP Parisian Grey

FolkArt Home Decor chalk paint ~ Sage 6351
*couldn’t find ASCP Duck Egg blue so this was a
close match to a photograph.

ASCP ~ French Linen B903051

Liquitex Acrylic Basics ~ Burnt Umber

Here I’ve pretty much used Cindy’s recipe of Annie Sloan chalk
paints but swapped out a couple of colors with close matches to save a little money and also when I couldn’t find the right color.

The original paint job was flaking off badly every time I cleaned this little nightstand so I don’t feel
badly giving this sweet piece of furniture a makeover.  🙂
This is just the beginning and after adding all of the layers
up to French Linen for highlights ~ here is what this little
formerly dark cabinet looks like now:

I am really happy with the overall look but may wash over some more with Aubusson Blue a bit in places to bring that color
out more.
The original black is coming through in places and gives a
nice additional depth to this little nightstand also
which I really like!

The Burnt Umber will go on for shadowing next and then
I am going to try a little
Rub ‘n Buff Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf by Amaco and
see which looks better on this piece as the final paint layer before adding a clear wax coating to protect this nightstand’s
new look.

Check back  soon to see how this little nightstand
finishes up! 

Update ~ Here is the final reveal of how
the nightstand turned out. 

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A bientôt, 🙂

Painting and Slipcovering Furniture for an Updated Look

I love  the look of painted furniture and several years ago
I finally got around to painting four of our six French style
dining room chairs plus our coffee table a lovely soft white.
I’m thinking of working soon on refinishing a little black cabinet
here soon so…
Today I thought we’d talk a little about redoing furniture
to give a tired piece of furniture a brand new look!

In the background, you can see one of the unpainted stained caned chairs to the right of our little china cabinet with flowers in a French style tin.  The other I kept up in our bedroom next to my French style Drexel desk.  🙂
Painting furniture  is pretty easy to do with the right tools
and really all it takes is some sandpaper, a paint brush, your favorite can of paint and a little elbow grease!
I know I’ve shared about repainting furniture here before but
each time I talk about it it’s from a little bit of
a different angle.

Here you can see lots of bits of sanded wood along the chair’s seat top ~ I really enjoy sanding
as it’s something really relaxing to do!

Here’s what you do

Grab some 60-100 grit sandpaper and using a small palm sander or a sanding block sand down all the areas to be painted on your furniture piece ~ this removes the previous wax, varnish or polyurethane finish and will work down through to and remove
the stain, too.
Be gentle when working around any carved detailing as it’s
really easy to smooth it off.
{Ask me how I know this… ;)}

The nice thing about using just sandpaper and NOT using a
chemical remover to take off existing varnish is that there is nothing that has to be thrown away at a special waste site as
may have to be done with some removers.

Afterwards wipe your chair with a clean damp rag to
remove all the sanding dust.
Lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper a second time if
you want your piece to feel really smooth once it’s finished.

Perfect paint

Most woodworkers paint “with the grain” but sometimes this is
hard to do around carved details so be forgiving with yourself
if around details your paint looks a bit swirly.
A nice wax finish after your paint dries gently rubbed into and around these carved details will buff out any of this
“ugly part” that happens while painting plus really make these details really pop.
On these chairs I painted two light coats of paint and lightly sanded with 220 grit sandpaper in between the two coats of paint.
After the second coat dried I sanded back to reveal a little
of the original wood and leftover stain giving them a
Shabby Chic look then finished them with a clear wax finish.

Recently I was reading how Cindy of Edith and Evelyn Vintage
added several layers to create a beautifully painted
pink French table.
She used several layers of different chalk paints then sanded back
between coats and lastly waxed this sweet table to give it its museum quality look.
Check out the link above to see more of her lovely pink table and how she created this look plus to visit her lovely website.

The top of the table was going back to its original 1980’s look… Definitely an ugly phase for this poor table!  Love the way
the legs turned out but eventually that washed off, too.  🙁
For the  coffee table I used a wash of white paint with the paint cut down 1/3 with water.
After sanding off the original poly finish and sanding back to the light pine stain the table had that 1990’s white in the grain look
I was trying to achieve.
Above is the first incarnation of this table before I worked
on it a second time.
I made the mistake of NOT waxing it with a clear coat so when
I’d go and clean it the paint would wash off ~ hence why it’s
important to add some kind of wax or polyurethane to seal in
the color and look you’ve created.

Same table with more white repainted on it and lightly sanded over the detailing. 

This coffee table has had three lives so far and I don’t see why

it can’t have another once it gets here to Texas!
I love its size and it’s perfect for putting your feet on and for
serving and with some TLC and a new paint job
it’ll be loved again.

Making slipcovers  for your furniture has the wonderful benefit of creating a totally different look while not changing the actual furniture’s underlying design and fabric.
Slipcovers are great in that they can easily be whipped off
when in need of washing, they update furniture without making
permanent changes which sometimes we are torn about doing
when using paint or recovering a piece, and they can be
created in any number of ways to suit one’s taste.

Last year I shared How to Make a Slipcover in three parts
 here, here and the reveal here.  Slipcovers can be very trendy
and help to update our homes to whatever style
we currently like.

One of two sofa slipcovers made to give our living room a totally different look.  Here’s a better look at the refinished coffee table with its second paint job.

Ruffles and pleats change the entire look of a slipcover such as in these sofa slipcovers I made several years ago out of drop cloths.
Here below you can see the original settee opposite and how both
sofas were covered in floral fabrics.

Adding or not adding piping around the slipcover’s edges
adds another layer to the look.

Here I’ve done both:
The slipcover on the couch has piping trim added to the back of the sofa upper seat {not seen but on its backside} as well as piping along the seat bottom and arms for added
definition and durability.

On the seat covers I did not add piping as I thought it would clash
with the piping already on the underneath fabric, just visible along
the front of the seat edges.

Sorry for the dark photo!  I was just learning how to use our Canon camera when I took this photograph.

On trend

On the  easy chair above I used piping along the chair’s matelasse back pillow edging like the original cover had.
Piping creates a really clean and contemporary look that works
well with all furniture styles making a piece always look
up-to-date and fashionable.

Piping also has the added benefit of stabilizing fabric seams making
a chair’s seams really durable ~ good on furniture which get
a lot of use.

If you’d like to put piping on your next recovering or pillow project read how to make piping or welting here.

Next time  you look to paint or recover a former favorite chair remember these paint and slipcovering tips. Redoing a piece of furniture to suit your current tastes and how your home looks now is a fun to-do project and really makes that once tired piece of furniture a favorite once again.

Recycling at its finest ~ always a good thing.

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Snickerdoodle Create Make Bake ~ Shoppe No. 5
Inspire Me Monday ~ Create with Joy
Style Showcase ~ Shabbyfufu
Totally Terrific Tuesday ~ Savvy Apron
Inspire Me Tuesday ~ A Stroll Thru Life
Waste Not Wednesday ~ Fairies and Fauna
Friday Features ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!
Keep In Touch ~ Let’s Add Sprinkles
Talk of the Town ~ My Repurposed Life
*Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Courtney’s beautiful book is out this week!
Stop by to check it out then order yours.
Sew It Cook It Craft It ~ Sew Historically
Friday at the Fire Station ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Saturday Sparks ~ Pieced Pastimes
Edge of the Week ~ Shelby on the Edge

This post was featured at
Keep In Touch #33 ~ Let’s Add Sprinkles!!!
Thank you, Katie! 

Happy decorating,



Fall Furniture Re-do

My Fall furniture re-do
last year was working on my dining room chairs.
I had thought about refinishing them for several years
having grown tired of them being brown.
They were quite pretty as they were, but
I was tired of them,
so I knocked out four in one weekend!

First, sanding with 60 grit sandpaper.
I know ~ really, really rough.

It took off the varnish really fast and I was careful
not to knock down any of the carvings.
As pieces of sandpaper wore down on the legs and seat, I would use the still good parts folded
to get into the grooves of the chair carvings and around the little flower parts.

On the caning, I just lightly sanded the fronts and backsides. The caning was already worn from 
years of use, so I was pretty sure it would take the paint really easily. It did.


When you refinish your furniture, you may want to go over your piece with a much finer grain sandpaper after the first coarse sanding to close your wood grain before painting.

I just did a light dry-brushing of the paint so some of the grain and original dark stain would show through.

didn’t do that as my hands gave out… But, I am pretty happy with the results! Now these chairs have a kind of chalk paint-feel to them which I really like.

Really loving how they turned out! 

I just dry-brushed the white paint onto the chair lightly going over the carved parts.

Now, this fall to finish the other two.

Here are the chairs in our dining room at one of my teas this past winter (a mini preview of Christmas-time!!!)

Happy decorating and redoing around your home!
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Blessings to you,