Okay, so you know that whole post I made last week…you know, the one about “I don’t do neutrals,” welllllllll that’s not technically true. I guess I should have said something like, “I don’t usually do neutrals.”
As I have mentioned before, the creative process, for me, is very organic. I can plan and plan and plan before I actually paint a piece…but as soon as I get my hands on the furniture and start focusing on it… cleaning it, sanding it, touching it…the furniture begins speaking to me and my plans are soon tossed out. In short, I let the furniture tell me how it wants to “dress” so-to-speak.
And this one…
…said she wanted to wear a classic and sophisticated gray. Why? Well, The Hammond wanted to be painted in a neutral tone in order to let her stunning vanity mirror make the bold statement. I mean, it’s not everyday I come across a century-old, utilitarian, farmhouse dresser with such an ornate vanity mirror. Usually, if I find the dresser and it still has the original vanity mirror, the mirror is just as utilitarian and undecorated as the dresser. So I was absolutely thrilled to find this lovely piece. And she wanted me to create a custom blended dark gray and to use a lighter gray to highlight her beautiful features.
So, I obliged. And here is what she looks like now:
On some pieces, neutrals still make a bold impression!
Don’t you just love the slatted sides on these old dressers? I know I do.
Just like with the last piece, I used milk paint on this dresser. I love how milk paint can be manipulated to create the perfectly distressed and aged finish so that a piece can look like it was painted many, many years ago. As well as giving a beautiful “chippy” look to furniture, milk paint can also be distressed using a wet rag (as opposed to sand paper). I like to use the wet rag method when I’m layering colors. If you use sandpaper, you can unwittingly sand right through both colors and end up with the wood showing through…and if that happens, you won’t end up with something like this:
The scrolled posts and the rest of the vanity mirror were distressed using the wet rag method. For the appliques and raised detailing, I used a sanding sponge because I did want some of the wood to show through as well.
Those details really pop! In addition to layering the paint and distressing back to the wood finish in some areas, I also used a heavy glazing application to really add depth and shadow to all of the little grooves and crevices. This effect really makes raised details stand out.
And lastly, the top of this dresser was pretty beat up when I bought it. But that’s okay…because I like the character it adds. Each piece has a story…and if you try and fix it up to the point where it looks “perfect,” then you effectively erase that story. The Hammond would never go for that…she loves showing off her herstory.
In conclusion, I don’t always use bold, saturated colors. Every once in a while I dabble in the realm of neutrals. Never whites (though I never say never)…but gray is such a wonderful and versatile color (and popular color, as this dresser sold the day I posted it to craigslist). I know there are more than a few pieces currently waiting in The Hoard that are dying to ‘dress’ in gray. And I’ll gladly oblige them when their time comes.