The Apollonia: To Be or Not to Be…

Self-doubt.  Something every single artist experiences, almost on a daily basis…and for that matter, it is something that every human faces.  I can usually work through my self-doubt rather efficiently, but every once in a while my self-doubt begins to feel like a huge ACME anvil that Wily Coyote dropped on me.

This time, the ACME anvil looked a lot like this:



Not so bad, you say?  I agree.  This antique buffet is like a dream come true for us furniture flippers.  I mean, just look at those legs!  And the apron! And the beautiful routed detailing!  And those fantastic tear-drop-esque pulls on the drawers!  What’s not to love, right?  Well therein lied the self-doubt anvil.  No, I wasn’t feeling guilty about painting this piece…it was pretty bad in some places and would have required a LOT of work and money to restore to a wood finish.  I did, however, struggle with the direction I should take with such a beautiful and classic piece.

Self-doubt was puttin’ on the neon ritz: “NEUTRAL! NEUTRAL! NEUTRAL!” And that seemed like the smart choice, right?  Appeal to as many people as possible by pairing a classic piece with a classic color scheme.  So, time to get started!  Uhhhh, just a tiny little problem…I don’t really do neutral.  One of the reasons I started this business was because I absolutely love the energy and interest that a bold, colorful piece of vintage furniture brings into the home.  And thus, the huge ACME anvil…

Does this dilemma sound familiar to you?  I know quite a few business-oriented artists that have dealt with this struggle many times in their own form of creativity.  We are constantly striving for the balance between unique, bold, inspirational art and practical, marketable, appealing design.  The trick, is to not lose our individual eye…the creative and unique perspective that makes us the artist that we are.

So one day while I was pedaling hard into a fierce headwind and could hear nothing but the rush of air over my ears, I was lost in thoughts of self-doubt.  And as I kept pedaling, I reached the penultimate point of my route and suddenly the headwind broke.  Suddenly, all was quiet, and in that exact moment I achieved clarity on my dilemma: “Create what you love, create for yourself, and the rest will follow.”  What does that mean?


The Apollonia

It means: “I don’t do neutral!”  I’m BOLD, and I’m beautiful.  Just like The Apollonia!

Even before I overcame my self-doubt anvil, I already knew that I was going to strip and refinish the gorgeous, plank-wood, top of this antique buffet.  There’s just something about the warmth of a natural wood finish paired with the beauty and color of a painted finish…it brings the smiles, for sure.  And this buffet’s top did not disappoint.  The age of the wood created this dark staining/mottling effect that, when paired with Minwax’s Provincial stain, created this stunning almost leopard-like pattern…

The Apollonia

For the rest of the buffet I chose Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Flow Blue.  It’s no secret that I’ve been having an affair with blue lately…and this color is so rich and so bold that my affair isn’t ending anytime soon!  Just look at the depth in this finish:

The Apollonia

And those legs…my, oh my, those legs!

So much detail on the legs

So much detail on the legs

And four of them!

And four of them!

This buffet has plenty of storage space for your fine dishes and your fine silver.  Two spacious cabinets:The Apollonia

And two spacious drawers, the top one lined with felt for your fine silver:The Apollonia

Because this buffet has so many points of intrigue and interest, I used a few subtle, and not-so-subtle, techniques to draw the eye to them.

First is the use of white to highlight many of the recessed details and lines:

The Apollonia

Next, to highlight some of the more intricate, recessed and routed details, I used a lot of antiquing wax and allowed it to settle in the grooves:
The Apollonia

P.S. look at those fantastic, original pulls

And lastly, I loved the fluidity of the design on the two drawers…rolling from one right down to the other…so, I used a technique to streak and lighten the blue just on that area.  The effect is this subtle color shift that draws your attention straight to the design on the drawers.  In the picture below you can see the difference in the color side-by-side with the deeper blue that is on the door front:The Apollonia
What do you think?  Do you love it?  Let me know by commenting!

This beautiful buffet is for sale.  If you are interested, please email me for dimensions and price.


Oh, and do you love my little elephants?The Apollonia

Sharing at:

The Dedicated House
Silver Pennies


Miss Mustard Seed


    1. So glad you followed your heart and not give into the self doubt. Love the way you wrote this post because DIY is so cathartic and self reflective. It is absolutely beautiful!

  1. LOVE the bold color choice! Looks FABULOUS!!! Definitely pin worthy!!! Just hopped over from MMS and happy to be your newest follower! Would love to have you stop by for a visit! Blessings ~ Judy

    1. Oh-em-gee. I saw your buffet a while back and was in LOVE with it. I think I even pinned it to one of my inspiration boards on pinterest. One of my favorite aesthetics is bright, saturated, modern colors paired with the warmth and richness of stained wood. Your buffet does that so perfectly! I’ll be emailing you soon…I want to hear more about your experiences with the Real Milk Paint company.

    1. Thanks so much Gretchen! It’s true…I love bold colors. I used to put the bold colors on my walls…now I leave the walls neutral and use furniture to bring in pops of saturated color!

  2. This piece is gorgeous! Thanks so much for the MMS tips (this is Jessi from Vanilla Bean). I, too, am a very impatient person. I’ll definitely try waiting longer next time.

    I have a buffet similar to this that I did with chalk paint. I’m thinking of redoing it and using it as a bar. Thanks for the inspiration!


    1. Thanks for the compliment! These buffets make fantastic bars. One of my customers is using one of these antique buffets as their home bar. I look forward to seeing your newest pieces 🙂

  3. Found your work through The Dedicated House, Anything Blue Friday. Love how the top of that piece turned out, just beautiful. How does bright blue sell in your part of the country? I just finished a 1940’s Jacobean side board myself. See it on my blog.
    Small House / Big Sky Donna / White Oak Studio Designs / SW Michigan
    Hand-Painted Vintage Furniture Transformations
    Facebook: (for portfolio of chalk painted work)

    1. I’ve sold a few smaller, less expensive pieces in bright blue. This is the first large piece I’ve done in a bright blue that wasn’t a custom order. So, I’m not sure how well they sell here in CO. I’m happy with this buffet in my house right now so I’m in no rush to sell it 🙂 I love the buffet you did as well. I wish the original finish on the doors and drawers of this buffet were nice enough to leave unpainted.

  4. I was looking for a place to email you but didn’t find a link anywhere. However I was wondering if this beauty is still for sale!?

  5. Saw this on Better After. This is stunning! I love the fading colors and the depth you were really able to bring to this. Fantastic job! I’m glad you didn’t go with boring neutral.

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