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