Pretty in Pi….Orchid!

As everyone probably already knows, Pantone’s color of the year for 2014 is Orchid.  Orchid is a deep pink color with lavender and violet undertones.  It’s really a gorgeous color…but I was skeptical of it being the color of the year.  At first.  It is one of those colors that commands a room if used in large quantity, and thus I never thought it would be a good color for a larger piece of furniture.

But I had this wonderful mid-century vanity chest in storage and thought, “why not?”  Why not, indeed.  After seeing the finished product, I would gladly redecorate the bedroom or the guest bedroom around this lovely dresser!

Without further ado, meet “The Hibiscus!”

The Hibiscus

Clean, simple, elegant!

The top of this dresser had a gorgeous grain pattern that I refused to cover up with paint, even though it had a few burn marks and water rings that had gone too deep to fix.  A medium walnut stain complemented the orchid beautifully as well as drew out the most interesting grain patterns.The Hibiscus

And look at those stunning, over-sized, crystal knobs!  I’ve been wanting to use those on a piece for a long time now and this seemed to be the most perfect piece for them!  Here’s a closer look:

The Hibiscus

 

 

Even though Orchid has plenty of depth already, I decided to add some dark antiquing wax to add a warmer tone and more depth.  I love how the wax settles in all the brush strokes, imperfections, and routed detailing.  For the raised details and the harp posts on the mirror, I added a little antique white paint:The Hibiscus The Hibiscus The Hibiscus

 

As you can see, the Hibiscus has been lightly distressed, especially over the accent paint.  This dresser is over 60 years old and I still wanted that character and history to show through.

And here’s one last look.  The sun was reflecting off of the sheen from the hand-buffed wax finish and really made the orchid POP!

 
The Hibiscus

 

And, of course, look at those gorgeous legs and the original wood casters!

 

If you love this piece, she is up for sale over in the Etsy shop!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

S’il vous plaît répondre à la Lumiere et l’Elysée

Or, in English: Please meet The Lumiere and The Elyse!

They are very French.  Very Parisian boudoir.  Very French chic.  Very French country chic.  Very French Provincial.

You get the point!

When I acquired these pieces, they had that very drab and very dated creme yellow enamel finish thing going on (see below).  It HAD to go. Good thing they found their way to my workshop…seeing as re-imagining old, drab, dated pieces is what I do.

Before

Before

Now, if you’ve been following Urban DEN for a while, you know, or have figured it out, that I don’t really do neutral.  I mean, I do neutral sometimesAs with everything I do, I let the piece tell me what it wants…what color, what finish, what overall aesthetic.  I don’t really go in with a plan; as I’m prepping and cleaning a piece, I let my hands and my intuition do the talking and go from there.  Sometimes that “vibe” I get from the piece matches the idea I formulated in my head the minute I brought the piece back to the workshop, but more often than not, it doesn’t.  Well, with this set, the idea in my head was the exact “vibe” I tuned into while prepping these beautiful, majestic pieces.

That vibe was Paris Gray and French Linen.  And GILDING!

The Lumiere & The Elyse

 

Look at all that GILDING!  These two pieces had such beautiful French Provincial detailing…the swooping aprons, the scrolled feet, the curvy insets…all just begging to be gilded with luscious gold leaf.  I hand-laid gold leaf over every bit of it, too.  Hours upon hours upon hours of meticulous, steady-handed gilding and burnishing.  And it was worth every minute of it.  The gold leaf gilding is just stunning!  It’s amazing how much better real gold leaf looks compared to gold tinted gilding waxes.  It’s so gold and imperfect and authentic.

Look how the gold leaf pops on the details.

Look how the gold leaf pops on the details.

Another close look at the gold leafing.

Another close look at the gold leafing.

 

Doesn’t the Paris Gray and French Linen look wonderful together?  In addition to the authenticity of hand-laid gold leaf gilding, I also used antiquing dust and waxes to age the piece and add that age-worn depth to the paint finish.  It mimics years and years and years of dirt and grime settling into the brush strokes and nooks and crannies…all the places that a quick dusting and wipe down would have missed.  You can see it very clearly below:

 

Look at the wonderful curves of the nightstand!

Look at the wonderful curves of the nightstand!

 

As you can see, the nightstand and chest-on-chest aren’t an exact pair.  They are both classic French Provincial style but the nightstand has more Bombay influences mixed in.  With the gorgeous new Paris Gray & French Linen two-tone finish, though, they are a perfect match!

Classic and timeless French country look that would be beautiful in your home for years and years:

13 drawers...lots of storage!

13 drawers…lots of storage!

A stunning set!

A stunning set!

 

What do you think?  Do you love it?  I know that I do!  I may not do neutral very often, but when I do, and it comes out looking like this, I get very, very tempted to do more and more neutral finishes!  If done right, even neutral beauties can be absolute show-stoppers.

These beauties are offered for sale as a set.  You can find them over in the Etsy shop.  Thanks for stopping by!

The Janis & Joplin

Chairs.  We use them everyday.  And, for the most part, we don’t even notice them unless they hurt our backsides.  Am I right?  I know I’ve never spent much time thinking about or looking at the few chairs I have in my house.  I have no dining room or table, so I only have 4 chairs in my house…2 folding chairs that I pull out if I have more dinner guests than can fit on the couch, a hideously upholstered antique wing-back chair that I’ve yet to get around to updating, and, my favorite, a tufted leather executive armchair that I bought at the flea market for $1!!!

Clearly, chairs barely register on my radar.  In fact, when I’m out picking and finding great vintage furniture to redesign for Urban DEN, I rarely (read: never) come home with chairs.  So, when a client came to me and asked if I would re-do these two 60s era chairs for her, I eagerly jumped at the chance!  Her vision was neutral paint with that bold Urban DEN pop of color in the upholstery…but mid-project she reluctantly needed to abandon the project and was gracious enough to let me keep the chairs. 

I wasn’t really vibing with the white she had picked out, and I was so focused on other projects that I was unable to nail down a clear vision for them…so I set them aside for a while.  Finally, as I was painting some photo frames for the first market, inspiration hit!  My vision was similar to the client’s original vision…but in reverse!  I opted to use a bold, vibrant green on the chairs, and paired it with a neutral white, black, and gray ikat fabric for the seats.  Marvelous!

The Janis & Joplin

Great upholstery!

Great upholstery!

The Janis & Joplin

What do you think?  I had these at the last market and many people commented on how much they loved them!  And what about that fabulous yellow lacquer table?  I stripped the top and did the color-blocking with a light stain before sealing with my favorite wipe-on polyurethane.  I think it looks so great paired with the chairs.  Someone at the last market, though, already had some chairs at home they thought it would look great with and it went home with them.

The chairs, for now, are still available.  They’ll be going up in the Etsy shop next week if I don’t sell them at Sunday’s market.  If you’re interested in them before then, send me an email! 

A Custom Coloradan

Hello everyone! I sure have missed regularly blogging these past few months. Between work, getting new pieces prepared for the summer market season, life, and vacation, I just haven’t had much time to dedicate to the Urban DEN blog.

I’m thinking about creating a post to share with you some of the wonderful 27 state epic motorcycle tour that I took in June but first I have lots and lots of new furniture to share!

Before leaving town for that epic trip, I had a very important custom order deadline that I was extremely excited for. One of my best clients wanted to give an Urban DEN creation to a family member as a birthday gift…and they wanted it to be in the style of The Coloradan!  I absolutely love these dressers and haven’t done one since another client asked for a beach-themed version.  This client, though, wanted something more like the first but in a low and long version, rather than a taller chest.  As soon as I found the perfect dresser, I set to work immediately.  Using their list of favorite Colorado places, I came up with this:

The Coloradan II

It just so happens that the client’s favorite Colorado place is also MY favorite Colorado place.  Steamboat Springs!  I think Steamboat looks awesome as the focal point of this dresser.

I love how the wood just shows through the distressed white.

I love how the wood just shows through the distressed white.

The client was absolutely in love with the way it turned out and it made for one fantastic birthday present.  They wanted to get the chairs to go with it, but they had no space.  I must say, the chairs do go perfectly with it…

The Coloradan II

I’ll be showing the chairs off in another post; they began as a custom order for another client and then the client decided to go in a different direction and I decided to go BOLD with them!  Anyways…

If you are interested in owning your own customized version of this beautiful dresser, please email me.  I can make these dressers with any places/words that you would like (that means it doesn’t have to be Colorado specific!) and in any color combination! 

A Royal Blue Empire

Raise your hand if you love American Empire style furniture.  ::RAISES HAND::

I absolutely love and cherish this style of furniture.  It can range from very utilitarian farmhouse-esque dressers, to fancy eagle-claw footed, beautifully veneered, heirloom quality sideboards and dressers.  It’s been my experience that the more utilitarian pieces are easier to come by…which is fine by me because I happen to prefer the farmhouse chic look…but every once in a while I come across a very unique and more fanciful Empire dresser…

This one…I found this one at a flea market, of all places.  It was just sitting there, all dusty, at the back of this little old lady’s booth.  The mirror was just casually laid across the top, rather than attached upright, showing off it’s beauty…no doubt because the lady was missing the bolts.  It looked frumpy.  And really heavy.  Which is probably why it was still available 3 hours after the market opened (I was late that day!).  As you can imagine, I jumped all over it…that is, I negotiated like an expert and got it for an even better deal than it already was.

Sadly, in my immense excitement to help this classic piece become a modern masterpiece, I totally forgot to snap some before pictures.  You can get an idea of what it looked like before, though, because I totally wasn’t about to paint over the beautiful veneered drawer fronts.

A stunning vanity chest.

A stunning vanity chest.

Just stunning! Right?!?

If you look closely, you can see that this piece wasn’t in the greatest of shape before I bought it.  It appeared to have been exposed to a good bit of water at some point and the veneer was chipped off in many places and cracking/bubbling in others.  After gluing down what I could, I simply left the rest as is and unfilled because I love the way milk paint settles into the recesses and distresses easily off the edges.  Gives it more character!

I used Miss Mustard Seed’s line of milk paint for this piece and, instead of making a custom color like I normally do, I stuck with one of her recipes: flow blue.  I used the same color on The Appolonia last summer and hadn’t used it since, but I knew this was the perfect piece for it.  I just love the way that this more royal-ish blue color complements and contrasts with the red tones of the natural wood.

Flow Blue and the red hues of the wood really complement each other.

Flow Blue and the red hues of the wood really complement each other.

Look at those gorgeous red-hued veneers!

Look at those gorgeous red-hued veneers!

And check out those knobs!  These are NOT glass reproductions picked up at Anthropologie or Hobby Lobby…nope, these are the real deal and are original to the 100+ year old dresser!  They are absolutely gorgeous…

These crystal knobs are original to the piece!

These crystal knobs are original to the piece!

Everything about this dresser is just breathtaking…even the ornate cheval posts for the mirror…

The mirror posts are so beautifully detailed.

The mirror posts are so beautifully detailed.

A close-up look at the detailed post.

A close-up look at the detailed post.

And the beautiful legs…

Beautiful legs

Beautiful legs

A profile of the classic Empire shaped posts

A profile of the classic Empire shaped posts

And look at all that wonderful chippyness!  This is one of the things I love most about milk paint…you really never know how much is going to chip away and give that authentic looking chipped paint appearance.  The empire posts and the top really chipped and chipped and chipped!

The beautifully chippy top.

The beautifully chippy top.

Just look at all of the chipping!

Just look at all of the chipping!

 

I’m in love.  So in love.  This is a piece I wouldn’t mind completely redesigning my bedroom around.  But as luck would have it for its wonderful future owner, I don’t have the time or space to do so, haha.  Therefore, it’s up for sale in my Etsy shop!  And for a limited time, I’m offering 10% off everything in the shop so go check it out.

 

Evolving…and Marketing!

Whoa, holy neglecting the blog for months, Batman!  I didn’t realize it had been so long since I posted over here.  I’ve been meaning to for weeks.  Truth is, there is a LOT going on with Urban DEN right now that is all extremely exciting, extremely terrifying, extremely time-consuming, extremely stressful, and extremely worth it!

When I started this little business a couple of years ago, it was nothing more than a stress-relieving creative outlet that brought in a little extra cash.  I had no idea how successful it would be, and frankly, successful wasn’t the goal.  I never imagined that I would fall in love, so much, with redesigning, upcycling, and modernizing antique furniture that had seen better days.  I also never imagined the immensely positive response to my unique take on color and whimsy that I have received.  Because of that, I never imagined Urban DEN, or, RPhD: Renewals by Pelham Hebert Designs, as it was called back then,  could ever be more than just a little hobby based out of my garage.

Oh, how time changes everything.  For many reasons, I have decided to explore options for opening up an actual brick and mortar store front somewhere in central Denver.  While a store-front is at least 6 months down the road, the decision made me rethink my business strategy and marketing for this upcoming summer.  While I used to be content just selling out of my garage, online and via word-of-mouth, I decided that that would not suffice this summer if I plan to open an actual store before next summer.  Nope.  It was time I start looking for ways to increase exposure.

And that is why I haven’t updated the blog in a while…I had to prepare for this summer’s open-air market season.  The first market I would be selling at was the Horseshoe Craft & Flea Market’s Spring Market, which was this past Saturday.  Due to winter vacations and the really spotty weather we enjoy during the Spring-time in Denver (it snowed 6+ inches the day after the market…thankfully it didn’t happen on market day), time-management became a huge nightmare for me.  Also, my inexperience with preparing for something like this resulted in a last-minute rush that I rarely allow myself to fall into.

I started my preparations by getting organized.  First, I created a “Make-list,” a “Take-list,” and a “Logistics/Price list.” These were the lists of everything I wanted and needed to have in my booth at the market to present a complete image of my brand and to capture as many potential customers as possible, as well as a list detailing everything I needed to do to ensure a smooth day at the market.  The “Make-list” listed everything that I wished to create and bring to the market.  I prioritized the list by listing the must-haves at the top and included the “only-if-I-have-time” items at the bottom.  The “Take-list” listed every item that I needed to bring with in order to have a great booth: canopy, rug, glass-cleaner (for cleaning mirrors), rags, price-tags, business cards, etc.  And the “Logistics/Price list” listed everything I needed to do prior to the market…things like creating a new business card, securing my special events sales tax license, and creating a spread sheet for pricing everything I would have for sale.

Of course, my “Make List” ended up shooting for the stars (I always do this…I have big dreams!) and as the market approached I realized I was going to have to seriously cut back…both for space reasons at the booth, as well as time-restraints.  I still managed to have an overflowing and beautiful booth, but the  overachieving “Make List” stressed me out and caused me to essentially work non-stop at the last minute getting everything completed.  You live and you learn.  And what I learned was that I’m nearly spot on with estimating the amount of time it takes to complete my larger projects…but the smaller projects??  Wayyyy underestimated the time required.  But that’s where experience comes in…next time I know.

Overall, the market ended up being a great success.  I sold a few of my large pieces and a lot of the small pieces and most importantly, I handed out my business cards and met a lot of awesome people.  The exposure was my biggest goal with the market and I believe I achieved that.  I’ve already taken 2 custom orders from connections made at the market and I hope to receive more in the coming weeks.

Instead of boring you more with all of my musing and ranting, here are some photos of my booth from the market and some close ups on some of the items I had for sale:

Such a vibrant collection!

Such a vibrant collection!

Market booth

Love these little side tables!

Love these little side tables!

Beautiful chippy red antique wash basin

Beautiful chippy red antique wash basin

I just love that little wash basin!  It was very popular amongst the market visitors, too.  On top of the basin is a great picture frame painted in ASCP Antibes Green…we had a few of them and sold all but one.  The cute little jug is a ceramic milk jug that we painted as well…it was one of the first things to sell!

Pink Lacquered mirror

Pink Lacquered mirror

This mirror was a huge hit all day.  It sold early on but stayed in the booth with a “SOLD” tag on it and many lamented the fact that it was no longer available.

In the reflection of the mirror is our wonderful safari themed parlor table, “The Seregenti.”  I’ll be making a post for that in the next week or so showing off the transformation.  The other table is a cute little Duncan Phyfe style coffee table that still had it’s original glass insert.  I painted it in two different colors and stenciled “LOVE” on the top so that people could put photos of what they LOVE most underneath the glass and have a wonderful conversation piece.  It also sold pretty quickly to this wonderful and cute elderly couple!

Look at our awesome little business card holder!

Look at our awesome little business card holder!

Look at that stunning top!  Like I said, more on that later.  But look at the awesome little card stand that I made out of beetle-kill pine…I just love the blue that the pine beetle leaves in the wood after killing the trees.

Our pair of vibrant green chairs, The Janis and The Joplin.

Our pair of vibrant green chairs, The Janis and The Joplin.

And, I did decide to bring one neutral piece to the market…to show that I do neutral as well…just far less often!  (P.S. I will have a handful of more neutral pieces at the Summer Horseshoe Market in July…not because I want to bring more neutral pieces, but because I have a fabulous dining set and French Provincial dresser set that are begging me to paint them in tones of gray and white)  Here is the beautiful gray dresser I brought to the market:

Meet "The Rainier"

Meet “The Rainier”

Isn’t she stunning?  She’s still available!  She’ll be up in Etsy shop soon.

Come back soon, as I’ll be doing my best to post some of the new pieces we made for the market over the next week!

A Voyage to the Sea!

So it is no secret that I live in Colorado and LOVE winter…okay, maybe it isn’t winter that I love, rather, it is the winter sports that I have fallen so much in love with.  Skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, snowball fights, ice skating, etc just thrill me to the bone…not chill me to the bone like many of my friends and family from back home assume.  You see, I, like many of my fellow Colorado neighbors, am not a Colorado native.  Nope.  I moved here 5 years ago from the sunny, humid, tropical island of Key Colony Beach in the Florida Keys.  It’s a place that most people consider “paradise!”  In many ways, I suppose it is.  But for this mountain lover, the only thing I usually miss about back home, is my family.  And then one day, while staring at this dresser, I suddenly longed (it’s been a pretty cold winter here in Colorado!) to be sitting on the beach staring off into the brilliant green and blue waters that surround the Keys.  It was pretty strange because, although I spent 25 years of my life practically growing up IN the ocean, I rarely ever miss it.  And thus, I took it as a sign and found my inspiration for renewing and re-designing The Atlantis!

The Atlantis

Sadly, in the wake of my shocking revelation, I completely forgot to take a “Before” picture!  I guess I was just extremely eager to bring my unexpected vision to life.  Anyways…don’t you just love it?  The beautiful sea-green color is so much like the waters inshore of the great coral reef in the Florida Keys and the deeper blue accents are like the waters further offshore from the reef.  I guess it should be no surprise that my mom, who spends most of her days staring at these waters from her patio, really, really loves this piece!

The Atlantis

The distressing on this piece is ever so slight and I really love the way the paint seems to have just been weathered away by salt air and wind.  And the original brass cheval mirror pins look so luscious next to these saturated colors…just wonderful!

The Atlantis

The original brass hardware has the same effect against the white accents.  Just look at those beautiful pulls and knobs!

I used some antiquing wax and cross-hatch techniques to give an aged and sandy look to the white inserts:The Atlantis

The colors, just like those of the ocean waters that inspired The Atlantis, change with different lighting…going from bright and vibrant colors in the first photo to the more subdued and calm colors in the photo above.  I just love that.

And here is one last look:The Atlantis
The sun really brought out her brilliant colors…and made things a little tricky for me when photographing…but it was totally worth the extra effort.

I hope you love The Atlantis as much as I do!  Thanks for stopping by.

If you are interested in owning this beauty, she’s up for sale in the Etsy shop.

Va Va Va Vanity!

One of my favorite movies is “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything -Julie Newmar.”  It’s a campy cult classic starring 3 silver-screen veterans, Patrick Swayze (RIP), Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo, who are cast as glamorous drag queens from New York City embarking on a cross-country journey in an old beat-up Cadillac convertible in order to participate in a Miss USA style drag pageant.

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  It’s hilarious, colorful, campy, as well as being very moving, inspirational, and touching.  Anyways, the reason I brought this up is because of the opening scene.  In the opening scene Patrick Swayze sits in front of an antique vanity while putting his face and body on, and we watch through the mirror of the vanity as he undergoes his transformation.  And, I have always loved that vanity!  So, when I came across this old vanity, I just had to have it!

Before

Before

Sadly, it had seen better days.  It was dinged and scuffed up pretty bad, had water marks all over the tops, and the tole painting on the details of the front was peeling off.  There was just no way to save the original finish or to restore it without spending a fortune.  BUT…it was in perfect shape for a wonderful shabby chic finish…so that’s what it got…  Meet The Alexandria!

After

After

The Alexandria

I painted her in a lovely aqua green-blue shade that allowed her lovely details to steal the show.  I also added just a little bit of white highlighting on the posts and legs to draw attention to the less loud detailing.  And, of course, it can’t be shabby chic without lots of distressing…so I beat her up pretty good and rubbed her bare in all the places a heavily used vanity might show wear and tear over the years.

Rather than paint the table tops, I opted to refinish them in a honey colored stain to show off the beautiful wood grain…something the previous finish actually hid…

The AlexandriaThe contrast of the reddish toned stain with the aqua green-blue paint is stunning!  And look at all the character the distressing gave the piece.

To finish her I used a heavy-handed dark waxing technique to mimic dirt and dust settling into all of the nooks and crannies and brush strokes in the paint.  I just love the wax the wax shows off all of that wonderful routed detailing on the drawers that the tole painting once highlighted.

The AlexandriaLike all of my work, I sealed and protected The Alexandria with a couple coats of a durable and water-resistant furniture wax that give the piece a bit of a satin-sheen and then I replaced the ho-hum hardware with some that are just a little bit more playful and deserving of this beautiful vanity:The Alexandria
I just love that purple ceramic knob on the top!  The middle knobs are a pretty light blue glass and the bottom knobs are a white ceramic with oranges, reds, blues, and purples painted on.

I chose to photograph this piece in the middle of the day under the bright sunlight because I wanted the knobs and the paint to really pop!  I also wanted bright lighting to illuminate all the wonderful depth and character the paint has.  It worked…and all of the pictures turned out beautifully until I tried to take a picture from the opposite angle…

No chihuahuas were harmed in the photoshoot.

No chihuahuas were harmed in the photoshoot.

I don’t know if it was the angle the sun was at, or if it was the adorable chihuahua stealing the show, but for some reason I just couldn’t get the correct color to show up in this photo.  But little Boston is too distracting to notice anyway, amirite?  He’s giving fierce model face…just like the drag queens in To Wong Foo!

And so we’ve come full circle…

The Alexandria is up in the Etsy shop now and is ready for her new home.  She’s perfectly imperfect, perfectly beautiful, perfectly shabby chic, and she would be a perfect addition to any fabulous woman’s room, or the room of a fabulous little princess, or she’s even fit for a fabulous and fierce drag queen like Miss Vida Boheme herself!

 

 

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The Dedicated House

Happy 2014!

What do you mean I’m a couple of weeks late?  I don’t know what it is about the holidays, I always seem to lose track of time.  Maybe it’s the egg nog, or maybe the absinthe, or maybe ol’ Jack Frost sends me into a Van Gogh-like state where I lock myself in my house with my artwork and wine and don’t re-emerge until sunshine and warmth return.  Truth be told, it was a little of all three…with a lot of family and holiday fun sprinkled in.

I did find time to finish a few pieces and get a few others very close to finished.  Today, I’ll share with you one of my most favoritest (it’s a new word!) pieces I’ve ever done.  Ever.  This may sound like hyperbole, especially when you consider that I mention how much I love every piece of furniture I transform, but this time I really, really, really mean it!  You may be asking, “what’s so special about this piece that you have yet to tell us about Pelham?”  One. Simple. One-word. Answer.  PURPLE!

Purple purple purple purple purple PURPLE PURPLE PURPLE PURPLE!  I never realized what a fun and weird word that is until I typed it out a million times just now.  I guess that is fitting because I personally think the color purple is super fun and awesome.  It’s my favorite color; purple is both masculine and feminine, it’s rich (after all, it IS the color of royalty!), and it’s extremely versatile.  I have wanted to paint a piece of furniture in purple for the longest time…I just never came across a piece that asked for it.

And then I found this beautiful, though beat up, antique dresser:

Before

Before

I just loved all of the carved details and those ornate pulls.  I’m not sure why this piece asked for purple…but I got the sense that this piece was formerly used in an old New Orleans brothel…with a fancy mirror above it and silk scarves draped all over it.  Only, it was purple.  Or at least it was in my vision.  And so I got started on it…

Once again, I wanted to use milk paint.  But none of my milk paint is purple, nor did I know where to find any purple milk paint.  Not to worry, though, as milk paint is very easy to mix colors and create new custom colors with.  I’ve done this before for pieces like The Hammond and had great success, but I was nervous about purple.  Purple seems pretty simple to mix…just combine blue and red pigment…but being the huge purple fan that I am, I’m quite picky about different shades of purple and I had a very particular vision in mind for this dresser.  So, rather than mix up a purple and paint the entire dresser in order to judge the shade (it is much harder to gauge the final color by looking at milk paint in the cup than it is with chalk and latex style paints), I used a few old broken drawers I had lying around in the workshop.  Took me 3 tries to perfect the ‘recipe.’  This is what I came up with, meet The Quartermain:

The Quartermain The Quartermain

Isn’t it lovely?  I think this shade of purple is both cool and warm, light and smokey, rich and subtle.

The Quartermain

A close up look at the distressing and detailing

A close up look at the distressing and detailing

I used antique white to highlight some of the details and lightly distressed the edges to invoke the age of the dresser.  While I loved the original, ornate drop-pulls, I didn’t care too much for the knobs on the upper drawers and replaced them.  Nothing says New Orleans brothel or Bohemian boudoir quite like cut-glass!  And because I wanted this piece to look as if it had been in the brothel or boudoir for decades, surrounded by cigarette smoke and kerosene lamps, I used a heavy-handed dark wax technique to mimic years of smoke exposure (without the bad smell!).  I think the effect is just wonderful.

And for one more final picture:The Quartermain

What do you think?  Let me know by leaving a comment!  I always appreciate hearing people’s opinions.

*I have been using this dresser in my own house for 2 months now.  I’ve not been able to bring myself to sell it.  However, I don’t really have the space to keep it…so it is now up for sale in the Etsy shop.

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Better After

Seeing Red

A couple of months ago I was approached by a prospective client inquiring about incorporating red in a dresser makeover for their recently re-designed master bedroom.  They were big fans of the ultra-chippy, shabby look and were envisioning a white chippy dresser with red drawer fronts.  As with every custom order, I always start by consulting with the client, looking at the space the piece will be in, and create an idea board, of sorts, for them.  While pulling inspiration photos for them, I kept thinking of how I had always wanted to do a very chippy, barn-red piece and found some great inspiration photos of similar dressers to present to the client.  They loved the idea of a solid red piece!

Well, fast forward a month or so and the prospective client decided to go in an entirely different direction.  Womp, womp.  No big deal…things like that happen.  So, my red paint got shelved and I was quickly lost in other projects/vacation/etc.  That is, until I found this beautiful secretary desk:

Before of the inside

Before of the inside

Before

Before

Love it!  Love the serpentine drawer fronts.  Love the eagle’s claw feet.  Love the brass, batwing pulls.  Love the skeleton keyholes.  Love the mini-cabinet, mini-drawers, and hidden compartments inside the drop-down.  Love, love, love!

This piece had it all…great lines and design, a classic look, a great dark stain, just the right amount of wear and lovingly aged.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect piece for the chippy, barn-red treatment I’ve been eagerly wanting to do.  And thus, The Huntsman came to be!

Perfectly shabby and beautifully red!

Perfectly shabby and beautifully red!

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!  To achieve this look, I used Miss Mustard Seed’s Tricycle milk paint, let it chip and fall away, distressed it where I wanted to give it a more time-worn look, and then sealed it with hemp oil and an antiquing wax to add a little more depth to the paint.  I fall more and more in love with milk paint each and every time I use it!  (But that’s a post for another day.)  Here’s the secretary with the top closed: The Hunstman The Huntsman The Huntsman The Huntsman

When I brought the desk home it had quite a few scratches and gouges on the face of the drop-lid.  I was about to fill them in and sand them down when I thought better of it.  Why not keep them?  They would fit perfectly with the well-loved, ultra-chippy, shabby look that I was going for.  And so they stayed.  And a big part of me thinks the piece would look incomplete without them.  Check out this wonderful chippy goodness!

The Huntsman

And the wonderful eagle claw feetThe Huntsman

And lastly, this desk’s original brass hardware fits perfectly with the new looks!The Huntsman The Huntsman

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the ultra chippy and shabby look?  What about RED…do you like red?  Let me know what you think!

This cute little secretary is available for sale in my Etsy shop!

 

 

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