For Sale

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! 

Meet “The Hammond”

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…

Before: In good, solid shape, but needed some work.

Before: In good, solid shape, but needed some work.

Don't normally find such detailed mirrors on utilitarian, farmhouse dressers.

Don’t normally find such detailed mirrors on utilitarian, farmhouse dressers.

…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:

Perfect balance between chippy and distressing.

Perfect balance between chippy and distressing.

On some pieces, neutrals still make a bold impression!

A view of the side slats

A view of the side slats

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 scroll posts are so beautiful

The scroll posts are so beautiful

The Hammond

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.

The light gray really shows off these details

The light gray really shows off these details

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.

More beautiful detailing on the vanity mirror

More beautiful detailing on the vanity mirror

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.

New aqua ceramic knobs really pop

New aqua ceramic knobs really pop

The refinished top still shows its age and character

The refinished top still shows its age and character

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.

-Pelham

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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:

Before

Before

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?

Well…

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.

-Pelham

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

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Meet “The Lars”

Once upon a time there was a sad little coffee table that hailed from the countryside.  It was truly a country-riffic little table.  He looked just like this:

The Lars

He had such cute, little, turned legs and a rack looking thingy on his topside.  With more turned spindles.  He found his way to our shop when someone (presumably from the countryside) brought him with them when they moved to an urban den.  But I guess they decided that poor little Lars didn’t fit into their new, city-slicker lifestyle so they abandoned him on our doorstep in a dumpster in the alley across the way.

Well guess what?  That little Lars sure did clean up nicely!

The Lars The Lars
Poor guy.  All he needed was a little savvy advice on how to fit into his new city-slicker life.  So we helped him out.  We painted him in a rich, bold, blue that is somewhere between royal and navy.  We then gave him some new, crisp, white feet.  Isn’t he dashing, now?  The Lars

After painting him, we carefully distressed him, ever so slightly, around his edges and on his turned legs.  After all, he’s of a distinct and mature age and we wanted him to look like it.  He’s ready for a close up:

The Lars The Lars

The Lars is very happy with his new look and he’s ready to share his happiness with a new, loving family.

Dimensions:

35 3/8″ L

18″ D

18″ H

Please message us (you can find our info above under the “Contact Us” tab) for more information and price/shipping options.

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The Chelsea

Is she French?  Is she British?  Well, she’s a little bit of both!

I found this beautiful, French provincial, chest on chest, tallboy dresser sulking in the corner of the basement at the local Goodwill.  She had a broken drawer and a chewed up leg.  And massive amounts of over-spray from a really poor paint job…no idea what someone was thinking.

Before

Before

After making all of the necessary repairs, I painted a couple coats of black as the base.  Easy parts done.  Next, I had to lay out the Union Jack and tape it off.  Getting straight lines with tape, over details and drawer edges, etc, is not easy.  But I knew this beforehand and, in small part, is why I decided to heavily distress the Union Jack.

After taping, I painted the turquoise parts first. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Florence from an old sample I had laying around the workshop.  Let me just say…I LOVE the way Florence looks when cross-hatched over black.  It took a lot of willpower for me to put a 2nd coat on in order to get the right look for the Union Jack.  I think it’s inevitable that I will be doing an entire piece, sometime soon, in Florence dry-brushed and cross-hatched over a base of black.

Anywho, enough about that.  Without any further blabbering, I present to you “The Chelsea!”

The ChelseaThe Chelsea The Chelsea

As you can see, I wrapped the broad stripes around the sides.  I also wrapped it up on to the top.  I think it looks fantastic and I love the way that it breaks up all of the black on those expansive, flat surfaces.

The Chelsea

I struggled a bit with what to do for the hardware.  When it comes to reproduction French provincial furniture, the hardware is usually all extremely similar, with the majority all being the very common, low-swooping (like a half-smile), single bar with the leafy blooms on each end (how is that for a very precise wikipedia-esque description?).  There are a few, less common, types that I absolutely love and my very favorite are probably the ones that came with this dresser:

The Chelsea

I love the fullness of this pull.  Rather than having a single, skinny bar stretching across between the two leafy blooms, these pulls have that extra bit of detailing above below the bar.  Some people might notice here that I installed the hardware “upside down”… let’s call it artistic license, mmk?  I happen to like the way these pulls look “upside down.”  It’s a simple way to make the pulls standout (I think), and if someone is, like, totally OCD, it’s very easy to flip them back the other way.

Back to those struggles though…as you can see, these pulls are brass.  I’m a big fan of antique brass (if you couldn’t tell in this post,) especially when contrasting with bold, saturated colors.  The problem with this hardware, though, was that someone had previously painted right over it, and then distressed (perhaps it naturally did this over time) the paint so that all of the high points exposed the brass.  Now, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and bust out the toothbrush and toothpicks to polish and strip finishes off of ornate pieces…I just didn’t feel like doing that after the hassle of painting the Union Jack.  So that left me with few options…obviously, new hardware was not an option…so that left me with rub n’buff or a good ole can of spray paint (my trusty Rustoleum oil rubbed bronze was patiently awaiting me on the shelf).  Right as I was about to shake, rattle, and rol…er, I mean…spray, I remembered that ASCP is great for painting metal, too!  My first thought was to just paint them completely in Florence, so as to just sort of blend in to the design.  And I’m sure that would have been beautiful…but I was still clinging to my love of brass.  So I whipped out my craft brushes and paint, sat down with a full glass of the good stuff, put on some relaxing Radiohead, and settled in for an hour or two of tedious work.  And you know what?  I loved every minute of it!  Doesn’t the brass and Florence combination stand out wonderfully?

The Chelsea The Chelsea The Chelsea

I have always wanted to paint the Union Jack on a dresser, especially after I saw this beautiful twist on it while browsing around on pinterest…

pinkunionjack

Isn’t that beautiful?  I love it.  And I love the way my own Union Jack dresser turned out.  Here’s one last look at “The Chelsea.”

The Chelsea

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Meet “The Colonel”

Hey everyone!  Don’t you just love June?  The sun is shining, the trees have sprouted all their new leaves, the leaves are GREEEN (yes, that’s with three E’s…for emphasis, ya know?), Colorado is on fire again (it is so sad…the level 2 drought conditions have made things really dire), street festivals have returned (yay!), and the days are suuuper long!  I love the long days because it means I get more done in the workshop…I get more done in the workshop because the daylight lasts longer and since there is no electricity in the workshop, my working days are cut very short during the winter.

So, who loves yellow?  My mother does.  I grew up in a yellow house.  We had yellow rose bushes in the yard.  The living room had yellow walls, yellow couches, yellow accent pillows, and yellow in the rug…all different shades, of course.  The kitchen was yellow, the dining room was yellow, hell…even the dishes were yellow.  The lady just loves yellow.  Well, I have had yellow paint in my arsenal for quite a while now; I just haven’t had a piece that yearned for yellow!  That all changed yesterday when I stumbled across this wonderful reproduction ice chest cabinet made by White Clad…

Before

Before

…one look at that baby and I just knew…it would be perfect in yellow!  It is obvious that I wasted no time in getting this beautiful cabinet prepped and ready for paint.  In fact, as soon as I unloaded it from the car, I immediately had my sandpaper in hand and began scuffing it up.  A few coats of yellow milk paint, some heavy distressing, some clear and dark waxes, and less than 36 hours of time and it has been completely transformed!

After

After

When I sent this picture to my mother, her very first comment was, “That reminds me of the harvest gold color that was very popular in the 70s.”  Her comment reminded me of this awesome french provincial tallboy I picked the other day that had fantastic 70s drawer liners in it with the exact shade of harvest gold she was talking about! photo(81)

This is the drawer liner side by side with the top of The Colonel.  See what I mean?  How awesome is that?  I think I may have to paint that tallboy with this color now!  We’ll see 🙂

Here are some more detail shots of The Colonel:

A look at the distressed side panel.  So much depth and character in this paint!

A look at the distressed side panel. So much depth and character in this paint!

Close up on the brass name plate.  I liked the patina of the brass with this color so no polishing.

Close up on the brass name plate. I liked the patina of the brass with this color so no polishing.

I love the lustre the wax gives

I love the lustre the wax gives

The Colonel

Close up of aging and distressing on the top

Close up of aging and distressing on the top

Lots of storage inside!

Lots of storage inside!

I have always loved these vintage ice box reproductions.  They have so much character and charm.  And I think this harvest gold color makes it so much more charming!

The dimensions of this table make it suitable for use as either a nightstand in the bedroom or as an end table next to your favorite sofa or recliner.  It would also make a great plant stand in a foyer or colorful dining room.

Width: 23 inches

Depth: 17.75 inches

Height: 24 inches

The Colonel is for sale.  Please email me for details and price.  Thanks for reading Urban DEN!

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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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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:

Show-stopper.

Jaw-dropper.

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 @ pelhamhebertdesigns@gmail.com 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.

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