Custom work: Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover
So we were commissioned once.
This time – what a surprise! – for a shabby chic furniture makeover, or more precisely for a re-makeover of a previously painted writing bureau to transform it into a stunning piece with a mirror and brass ornaments.
The lady has bought a tall chalk painted writing bureau. She did it online, so the common problem occurred after delivery – the item was not as described. In other words it was terrible done, without any care about details and quality.
The lady asked as to redo restoration works in our way. Her requirement was: firstly, to hit a Versailles style of Louis XVI and secondly, to fit the writing slope with a mirror and exterior with brass ornaments and new handles (all brassware provided by the customer).
She also asked us to paint the piece thoroughly inside and outside, she did not wanted any piece of wood to be left unpainted.
Obviously – we took the challenge.
1. The Bureau
When we picked up the bureau it turned out, that complaints of our customer didn’t came without a reason.
It was painted carelessly, without any clear cut-off lines and any care about concealed parts i.e. bottoms of drawers.
Also, the surface wasn’t prepared before painting in any way; you could see the texture of a veneer underneath. Besides – the new inlay on writing slope was badly glued and was covering the old leather one underneath.
Last but not least: putting your nose inside the drawers or bookcase you could smell all the bad habits of previous owners.
It seemed to be clear that shabby chic furniture makeover was a must.
2. The Colours
While working on any type of project the communication with a customer is crucial.
As the piece would find a place in a room of the customer’s daughter, that was her to make decision on the colours. We emailed her a mock-up with a detailed colour proposition.
After short discussion we agreed for a mix of Annie Sloan’s ‘Louis Blue’ & ‘Paris Grey’ for the exterior and a mix of ‘Duck Egg Blue’ & ‘Old White’ for interior. All this with additional elements painted pure ‘Old White’.
To avoid any disappointments later, we prepared and posted by old-fashioned mail painted on paper colour palettes with various proportions for above mixes. The final decision was as follow:
– exterior: ‘Louis Blue’ & ‘Paris Grey’ (3:1)
– interior: ‘Duck Egg Blue’ & ‘Old White’ (1:3)
3. The Preparation.
Before painting we have taken hard path of preparation.
Basically what we did was to strip whole body to the bare wood. We removed both paint and varnish underneath, all this to make possible for smoothing the veneer.
In the same time we were working on fitting the mirror into the writing slope. Unfortunately – we didn’t take picture of this phase, you can see just the final effect.
4. Brass ornaments
We were provided with two vintage brass ribbons and seven vintage style ‘two-hole’ handles.
We attached the ribbons under two arches at the top of bookcase. This task was easy: fit two elements under two arches. The problem occurred with the handles.
If you, by any chance, are not a careful reader I owe you an explanation: the piece were originally fitted with eight handles, and we had only seven. One the four drawers were to be left with only one handle instead of two.
We came up with the solution after browsing our treasure chest with a collection of various handles we had found on our way. We split the remaining single handle in two and after adding brass pull-rings we made two single hole handles.
5. Quality and attention to detail.
While working on any shabby chic furniture makeover project we always try to pay maximum attention to detail.
That’s why we cleaned and polished all brassware, including locks, cabinet’s latch and small handles at inner drawers; also we painted gold escutcheons (previously covered with dark patina).
For supports’ inlay we replaced old red felt with Quality ‘Duck Egg Blue’ coloured velvet.
We have used also brass nut inserts for joining of bookcase and bottom part – the effect is much more pleasing then with previously rough holes.
Moreover – we accomplished a task of covering the bureau in paint thoroughly in and out. The only part we left unpainted were drawers’ slides – small rails for drawers to rest on.
6. Final effect.
The whole body in total was protected with acrylic satin varnish. Please have a look at pictures below.
So – this is how we do a shabby chic furniture makeover. I hope you will find this article useful in any restoration works of yours.
Do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions, and – if you liked this article – please leave a comment.