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A Nelson Matter Dresser Makeover

I picked up this dresser and mirror several months ago at an auction.

As you can see, it was a mess. The lovely crackled finish would have been nice to leave as is, excerpt there were places on the top, front and sides that had huge areas of damage. The top had cup rings, the front looked like a tire tread over the paint, and the side had business cards stuck to the surface!

After inspecting the inside when I got it home, I discovered this medallion in a drawer.

It belongs to The Nelson Matter Furniture Company, which had been established in 1844 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After a little research online, I discovered this company went out of business in about 1910. So, you can see that this is an old piece of furniture! And that would explain its sold wood, dovetailed construction, as well as the state of the mirror, which is quite cloudy. However, it certainly doesn’t deter from the beauty of the piece, but gives it more character in my opinion. I loved the bail pulls, even though it was missing one. I loved the keyholes, the swiveling mirror and gorgeous legs. I loved it at first sight, and waited through 4 hours of bidding to get it!

After giving it a quick clean-up with mineral spirits, I decided to paint this with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I used Graphite with dark wax, as well as Paris Grey with clear wax (the two-tone look is so hot right now). And while I had hoped to find a drawer pull to match the existing ones, my search came up empty-handed. So, I ordered 6 new solid brass rosette bail pulls, that were a close match.

And here she is…

I love painting dressers – especially old ones. They always please me to no end with their dramatic transformations! I hope this beauty finds a well-deserved new home!

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The Elmer’s Glue Technique

A friend of mine recently brought me this all-white armoire to paint for her toddler son’s bedroom. She wanted to make it more masculine.

At first, we contemplated an antique blue color, and were going to decoupage old Sports Illustrated’s pages on the doors. She’s going for a vintage football theme – so cool! Then while she was getting her daily dose of eye-candy at HomeGoods (wait, doesn’t everyone go to HomeGoods daily?) she spied this vintage looking cabinet.

She brought it to me, and said, “let’s do this to the armoire.” Okay I said, while thinking, “geeze louise how will I distress down the blue, without going past the black and showing the armoire’s original white color?”

So, I consulted a Facebook group of painting gals that I belong to, who are real pro’s. Most of them run retail shops, or furniture restoration businesses. I knew someone there could help me. And a great person, named Meghan Cobb did. You can check out her business page here.

She advised me to use Elmer’s Glue to get that lifted off, chippy edge look on the blue paint. You can use Elmer’s Glue to crackle paint, and there’s a lot of YouTube videos out there that can show you the basics. Here’s one I watched.

I wish I had taken step-by-step photos of this process, but its very messy and I didn’t have someone who could shoot photos for me. Stopping to wash my hands was impossible. You’ll understand in a minute.

So here’s how this project went down:

1) I painted almost 3 coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint in Graphite over the entire armoire. Then to give the grey color a deeper/blacker hue, I dark waxed the entire thing. I did not clear wax this piece.

2) Next I used Zinnser clear shellac to seal the graphite on the doors and drawer fronts, where I planned to do the glue/blue paint trick. Why this step? Because it allowed the blue to be lifted off without taking any of the black with it. We did not want to see any of the original white.

3) When the shellac dried, I thinned down some regular old white school glue. I used Elmer’s All Purpose glue. I just added water and mixed it to a thin consistency. Next I spread that on the doors and drawer-fronts, working on one at a time.

4) I did not let the glue dry at all. I immediately painted Annie Sloan’s Napoleonic Blue over the wet glue. Once it got tacky (in a couple of minutes), I used a paper towel to blot away the glue and paint around the edges. It worked perfectly and did not even begin to lift any of the black away.

5) To get some crackle, I pulled out my hair dryer and ran it over the wet blue concoction.

6) Once it was completely dried, I dark waxed over the entire surface again.

So here is how it turned out:

I hope she likes it!

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Graphite French Country Tables

I have someone interested in having a dining set painted in Graphite, the Annie Sloan chalk paint color that isn’t quite black, but a lovely charcoal color. The shade deepens to nearly black with layers of dark wax. I have been dying to try it out, and gave it a go with two french country tables I acquired recently.

These Bombay coffee table and end tables were in need of repair – both had damaged surfaces, but were otherwise in great, sturdy condition. (sorry, I forgot to take a photo of the coffee table in the BEFORE stage)

First, I sanded down the table tops to remove most of the damage and smooth out the surface. This convinced me that I really need to invest in an electric sander! Using sanding blocks and manually doing it was a you-know-what! And I was doing this in my garage, on a friggin 90 degree day, when the humidity was high enough to drown a duck in its own sweat! No fun.

Next, I painted each with a coat of ASCP in Old Ochre – a sort of antique white color. Then I painted the tops in Graphite. It went on a bit blueish. A very pretty color indeed! I made sure to paint in every direction – left to right, up and down – purposely giving it texture. After it dried, I began waxing it with several layers of dark wax. Each time it got a little darker – and more beautiful – because the wax settled into all of that texture. The color is spectacular – aged and beautiful! Then I clear waxed the legs. Next I distressed the edges of the tops and just a bit on the bottoms of the legs. I went over all distressed areas of the tops with another layer of dark wax. The bottom distressed areas got clear wax again, and I finished by putting just a tad bit of dark wax on select areas of the legs to age them a bit too.

Here’s the finished pieces:

Charlotte can’t resist a photo shoot!!

These pieces are for sale: http://leopardandblackinteriors.com/2012/04/items-for-sale.html