From Ugly to Cute – Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover

Custom work: Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover

20141202_shabby-chic-furniture-makeover_banner

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror (Before Restoration) Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror (Before Restoration) Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror (Before Restoration)

 

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)

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

 

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

 

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

 

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

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.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

 

6. Final effect.

The whole body in total was protected with acrylic satin varnish. Please have a look at pictures below.

Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror Shabby Chic Furniture Makeover, Bureau with Mirror

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.

9 COMMENTS

  1. AP, owner of the cabinet

    Kat and Kris were an absolute pleasure to collaborate with, and are as highly creative in their design as they are perfectionist, detail-oriented and meticulous in their work. We would highly recommend touchthewood, and are delighted with the finished product. Five stars!

    Reply
  2. Danielle

    I am a big fan of your work! This is stunning and I LOVE it. Your attention to detail is so important when painting furniture. Gorgeous, gorgeous makeover! x

    Reply
    1. Kat - Touch the Wood Post author

      Thank you Danielle! That`s really nice to hear a specially from you.

      Reply
  3. vera

    Beautifull. Sucha a quality work.
    Im painting a dresser with a roller , ASCP, but i cant get na even coat. It seems that you oainy also with a roller ?
    Can you tell me which quality ?
    Thansks a lot.
    Vera

    Reply
  4. Heather

    How lovely to see such good workmanship. You don’t often see attention to detail these days!
    A while ago I tried using Annie Sloan Chalk paint on my bureau. Sadly the wood in the drawers swelled up, so I sanded it off.
    Now I’m painting it in Farrow & Ball’s lovely new colour Inchyra Blue (eggshell) and so far it looks great.I plan to paint the interior of the bureau too but haven’t touched inside the drawers yet though and wonder if you would please offer some advice! .

    Reply
  5. Drashti A

    Hello

    I have been a silent reader of all your blogs and tutorials again and again and must add, your taste in color combination is excellent in each and every piece in your gallery I have seen so far.

    Recently moved into a 1930’s Victorian property and the previous owner left a writing bureau in medium to OK condition. Initially I thought to get rid of it but my mom wanted to keep it for some storage and asked to re-paint it, as the veneer is not is good condition, at that point I started googling to what can been done to this unloved piece .
    Google straight away lead me to your blog in very first search not sure if it was pintrest I guess and eventually to your website and I was amazed to see how beautiful this bureau can be if I put in some extra effort to it. I am not aspiring too high quality & perfection like yours as this is my very first attempt to furniture makeover but want to give my best try at this.

    So I started to reach every bits and pieces of articles I found on internet to compare and ended in your tutorial to follow as I love the way you give attention to every details and explain them in steps.

    I have some questions filling on the edges of the writing area (near the key hole) as this edges are little broken it is not worst but this needs to filled before proceeding .
    Any advice of how to apply the wood filler on edges to perfection would be great. I can share some pictures if you are ok with it to have look.

    Many thanks
    Drashti A

    Reply
    1. Kat & Kris Post author

      Hi Drashti.
      Thank you for visiting our website.

      I must say that for Victorian’s era bureau medium to OK condition is a mint condition.
      The filler we use is two-component Ronseal Wood Filler, it dries up quickly and is very easy to sand. You can use it to rebuilding edges also.

      If you need more specific advice – the photos will help.
      Kind regards
      Kris

      PS: congrats on moving houses 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.