Month: May 2013

The Preakness

To begin with, we want to welcome and thank everyone who has found our blog via the Minwax facebook page.  The Bruno has been well received and we are grateful for that.  We are currently working on a blog post discussing the various uses of wood medium to construct furniture and were hoping to have if finished in time for all of the Minwax fans to be able to read it.  Basically the post will be discussing solid wood, veneers, MDF, and laminate coverings.  From how to identify and some basic information on how to refinish and/or paint.  So stay tuned!

Now, onto the latest Renewal.  This beautiful antique dresser is constructed of 100% wood products with veneer facing.  The veneer was nothing spectacular, though, and the previous owners had tried to refinish the piece…and failed.  Miserably.  This piece was destined for my workshop and my paintbrush.  The “before” picture is more like the “before the paint but after all the sanding and prep work”….sorry, I guess I got a little too excited to start on this one.

Here she is:

She has been painted using two shades of green milk paint.  The basecoat is a deep hunter green.  The hunter green can be seen through the distressing and on the detailing pieces on the front.  The topcoat is a lovely shade of grass green.  This green is absolutely stunning in person and is very versatile in design.  The paint is sealed and enriched with a great furniture wax that is hand-buffed to a beautiful lustre.

The insides of the drawers were originally unfinished wood.  Unfinished wood is subject to staining from oils as well as absorbing odors.  In order to protect this antique from further deterioration and odor, we used a dark jacobean stain to bring out the wood grain and complement the green and then sealed it all with 3 coats of polyurethane.

The original hardware has been refinished in oil-rubbed bronze and we added 4 glass knobs to the top drawers to give a little more sparkle and update the look a bit.

This dresser is 42 inches in length, 21 inches deep, and 34 inches high.  We can add era-appropriate wooden casters which will add more height, for a small fee.

This beautiful dresser has moved on to a new and loving home.  Thanks, Anna!

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Miss Mustard Seed

Redoux Interiors
Silver Pennies

The Scoop

The Barnum – SOLD!!!

Greetings!  Happy Saturday.  Last Saturday was spent shopping and picking up some great new pieces of antique furniture to add to our inventory hoard.  I went a bit overboard and ended up buying too many dressers…there were just so many good deals!  If you are following RPhD here on the blog and not over on our facebook page you have probably not seen most of the new additions to our inventory.  Over on the facebook page you will find a album of our current inventory that is available for customization.  If you live near Denver and appreciate our work it is definitely worth checking out our inventory.

Now, on to the latest Renewal.  This antique desk found its way to our workshop last summer and other than missing some hardware and flaking varnish, it was actually in pretty decent shape.  Because of that, it was hard for me to figure out which direction I wanted to go with it.  Generally, I start each renewal with a plan.  It’s funny.  It’s funny because I can’t remember a single time that the plan came to fruition from start to end without the creative process intervening and seriously altering things.

The Barnum was no different.  When I pulled the desk out of the hoard and started cleaning and prepping it I had this vision of warm black with layered teal and green accents and polished brass hardware.  It was going to be a stunning, masculine piece that provided a rich warmth to it’s surrounding environment.  And then the orbital sander happened.

With every piece of furniture I work on, I make certain to strip and sand through any finish that may be hiding beautiful woodwork beneath.  This desk was solid wood and had a medium walnut hued stain all over.  I’ve worked with enough wood that I know certain stains can actually hide beautiful grain rather than accent it.  And so it was with the Barnum.  As I removed some of the stain I began to see part of an amazingly gorgeous veneer hidden beneath.  I immediately stopped sanding (sanding can scratch and ruin a lot of veneers) and switched over to my bottle of citristrip.  Stripping is extremely messy, but as you’ll see in the pictures of this desk, it is definitely worthwhile.

Once I had this beautiful veneer exposed, I knew it was time to reevaluate the initial plan.  The first thing on the list was researching the veneer.  Consulting some of my wood-working friends, Google, and the always handy wood identification catalog my grandfather gave me, I came to the best educated guess I could make: santos rosewood.  When wet it turned a deep orange-reddish color and was stunningly beautiful.  Definitely not something I was going to paint over, nor pair with black.

After some contemplation, I settled on this fun and cheerful design:



In the center of the ring just like a circus.

I want to keep it.  Really, I do.  I just can’t keep everything…and if I did keep every piece that I love…well, I would have a house full of furniture and I would sell nothing.  I truly love every single Renewal that I create.  A mentor of mine, someone who has been in the business for a looooong time, once told me something that I’m sure is pretty common advice: “Design spaces and items that YOU love.  When you do, you put love and energy into your work and THAT is what people fall in love with, the energy and passion you’ve embedded in it.  And if they don’t like it, screw ’em, you get to keep it for yourself!”

Because I put so much love into this desk, I know someone is going to come along and fall in love with it, too.

The Barnum is painted in Old Fashion Milk Paint “Federal Blue.”  The red detailing was ‘finger-painted’ on with latex paint.  The distressing and chipping is all the natural process of the drying milk paint.  In order to prevent more chipping paint, I have sealed the entire desk with 2 coats of hand-rubbed, satin finish polyurethane.  The original rosewood veneer that lay hidden for decades under it’s previous bland stain was left natural and its color deepened under the amber tones of the poly.

The dimensions are:

42 inches wide by 21.5 inches deep by 30 inches high.

Please email Pelham @ in order to set up an appointment to check this beauty out in person or with any questions you may have.  Thanks!

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Elizabeth and Co.

Furniture Feature Fridays

The Eire: An Emerald Beauty

I actually finished this table last week, yet I managed to forget to post it to the blog.  I finished a handful of other Renewals all around the same time and managed to post most of those…this one just slipped my mind.

I didn’t slip anyone else’s though, as I received many compliments on it and had a couple people interested in buying it.  Because I mostly sell off of Craigslist, I don’t “hold” furniture for anyone (have had far too many people call me and make appointments, even say “I’m on my way now,” and then never show up).  Therefore, the first one to show up with cash in hand gets to buy it.  Well the first person to show up was a wonderfully nice lady who was absolutely in love with this table and didn’t even try to haggle with the price like most people do.  She paid me full asking price, no questions asked.  I’m grateful for that!

Perhaps painting furniture green is a green money magnet!  Of course, most American money is like purple and blue and off-white these days, but still…

This lovely table is an antique, 1962, Heritage Furniture side table.  Heritage Furniture is the Heritage in Drexel-Heritage, famous North Carolina furniture company.  In 1957 Drexel Enterprises acquired the Heritage Furniture company and continued producing furniture under two separate named entities until they later dropped Heritage and combined the two into the well-known Drexel-Heritage furniture line.

It was in fantastic shape when I acquired it…it was just boring.  So I whipped up a batch of homemade chalk paint and went to work painting.  She took 5 coats!  Emerald is a lovely color and it is very labor intensive.  After the paint dried, I glazed the whole thing with a deep brown glaze and then finished it with two coats of AS soft wax in clear.

If only my house were bigger, this thing would still be sitting in my living room!

Hope everyone has been having a wonderful start to their week.

Changes, changes, changes (like the weather)…and a REVEAL!

It is springtime.  Trees are sprouting new leaves, flowers are blooming, weeds are overrunning my yard, weeds are growing in my sidewalks and driveway, weeds are everywhere!  But enough about the weeds; my point is, everything is changing…including the RPhD blog.  That’s right…so many changes heading our way.

To start with, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to extend this blog into an all-around nesting/home decor/DIY blog.  Owning a historic mansion that has been converted into an apartment building means that I have a never-ending list of home improvement projects.  I generally do all of the work on my own.

Many projects start out, I reckon, the same way everyone’s do, with a lot of trepidation.  I am always afraid that I’m going to uncover a monster of a clusterfreak or open a can of something I’m totally ill-equipped for.  But after countless days of talking myself into it, gathering all the supplies I will need (because driving to Home Depot fifteen thousand times a day is NOT fun), and researching the possible hiccups I will face along the way, I put on my work clothes and I set to work.  Then, after many headaches and google searches, I eventually finish the project, admire my work, and feel inspired to tackle the next big project.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

With every project I complete, I learn something new.  And one of the things I have learned is that there are a lot of DIY tutorials out in the blogosphere.  I have also learned that many of those tutorials proved worthless to me.  With that in mind, I have decided to bring my DIY skills, my passion for home improvement, my long lost love of writing, and my warped mind together in order to bring tutorials to my faithful readers and to the googlesphere. My hope is that these tutorials would prove useful to other people that think and operate like myself and, consequently, find many of the available DIY tutorials to be less than helpful.  Or they can just skim right past those particular posts and move on to the pretty pictures of furniture I post!

Like these pictures of The Vanderpump!

The Vanderpump is headed to the home of a very special client whom happens to love pink.  They saw a hot pink desk with heavy black glazing in another shop, snapped a picture, and came to me to see if I could replicate the look on this wonderful, little, roll-top desk.

Roll-tops are not the easiest pieces of furniture to Renew and breathe new life into…but they sure do make a statement and make it totally worthwhile!  I just love this desk.  Love it.  Now I want to find another one and make space in my apartment, which is already overflowing with more furniture than anyone could possibly need.  Oh well, maybe one day…like when I win the powerball and can move into a 20,000 sq foot house.

So, because we will be diversifying our posts here on the blog and expanding our content coverage, we will also be doing some re-branding.  We’re still trying to figure out exactly what that will look like, with a new name and all, and whether we want to keep the RPhD name under a larger umbrella, or just do away with it altogether.  Right now, we are leaning towards keeping the furniture business under the RPhD name and incorporating it into our DIY/nesting blog.

Stay tuned!

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The Bruno – SOLD!!!

Happy May!  How was your May day?  Lemme tell you, here in Denver, we rung May in with style…8+ inches of snow style.  Yeaaa, it was….splendid.  I love the snow, I really do.  Just not in May.  I’m not complaining though, as I would much rather have a spring snowstorm (as long as I don’t have to shovel sidewalks) than a day where you wake up, it’s raining, and the rain doesn’t stop until after you go to bed.  Had plenty of those days when I lived back East and I am NOT a fan of rain.  It just makes everything so wet and…blah.

But you know what is *not* blah?!?  This beautiful table.  Well it was blah…before my hands got to it anyways.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

Isn’t he stunning?  Normally I would refer to the furniture as ‘she,’ though in this case, I felt The Bruno had a warm, masculine feel due to that rich black base and the warmth of the stained wood top.

As you can see from the before photo, this table was pretty beat up when it came to the RPhD workshop.  Not only was it beat up, it was also finished in this very blah reddish stain that nearly hides the intricate checkerboard oak wood inlay on the top.  When it first came to us, the top was in pretty bad shape and at first glance I was thinking this was going to have to be a totally painted piece.  As I started working on stripping and sanding the top, I realized I was going to be able to save the veneer inlay and that’s when the vision came together.  I’ve always wanted to use multiple stains on a project and here was the perfect opportunity.

Using two custom-blended stains and six other colors, I laid out the tape and got to work.  I stained only the square inlays and left the other pieces natural so that they could take on the beautiful, gold-amber tones of the polyurethane topcoat. I could not be more pleased with the results.

For the base, I knew I wanted to pair the warmth and richness of the stained wood with black.  It’s a classic combination and has been very popular in design lately.  So I used black, grey, and charcoal and used a dry-brushed, layering technique to add dimension and character to the paint.  The result is this well-worn and muted look.  After all, the legs and lines of the table are so beautiful that if we used any other color and finish, the legs would totally distract from the top, and with such a beautiful and unique top, we definitely don’t want that.

As always, we protect and seal our furniture with durable and protective topcoat finishes.  The painted base of this table is finished with a high-quality, waterproof wax and the top has 3 smooth coats of a super-durable polyurethane finish.  While the polyurethane is very durable and 3 coats thick, it is always recommended to use coasters when placing glasses and mugs on furniture surfaces.

The Bruno is 38 inches in diameter and 16 inches high.

Please email Pelham at in order to set up an appointment to view this lovely table in person.  The Bruno is only available for pickup in the Denver area.  We do not currently ship (though we are exploring options so that our fans outside of Colorado can enjoy a Renewal by Pelham of their own).

This table was featured at:


Thanks Lindsey!

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