Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Green, Blue, Green

This post is essentially a photo dump. I finished five pieces of furniture today, making the most of the  last warm and sunny day until May (Just re-read that and shuddered hard). Goodbye summer, goodbye paint and poly that dries with the speed of light, goodbye long days with loads of work time, goodbye tag sales and flea markets, goodbye gardens bursting with flowers for staging, goodbye iced coffee, goodbye not having to wear seven layers while I work.

         I suppose we'll make it through this one like we have every other, though if last year's mild winter is any indication, we're gonna get walloped, three feet of standing snow and another nor'easter on the way style. I should pack up and move this entire business to San Diego, and straight away; Winter is no good for the furniture trade. So while I batten down the financial and emotional hatches, here's the very last harvest from the fruits of my summer labor.

           The little solid mahogany aesthetic movement table was in a revealing state when I found her in the second to last row of vendors at the Elephant's Trunk flea market this past Sunday. Revealing in that it was topless, that is (oo lala). Likely it had originally had a marble top, but it was long gone. I added a new board top, and painted the whole thing in a fun shade of sea glass green that I've named 'Green Sea'.

            The dresser came to me from Carl the Furniture Guy on Monday. It's a lovely early 20th century solid oak piece. I painted it in a custom mixed pale blue that I've named 'Orchard Beach Fog', and refinished the glorious top to play up the fine graining of the hundred year old wood.

           The mirror above the oak dresser is almost exactly the same age, c.1900. I purchased it on Saturday at the ReStore in Cromwell hoping to place it in my own home, but sadly I couldn't find a spot. Good luck for one of you though! It's beveled and beautiful and painted in a custom mixed stormy blue named "Cold Front".

            Last but not least is a vintage handmade solid cedar chest. It's always a tricky wording as some cedar chests are also maple, or mahogany and simply cedar lined. This one is a CEDAR CHEST, front to back and all the way through. It's gorgeously made, but the top of it is really the star of the show. I sanded the sickly yellowing surface off to reveal the spectacular wood below, stained, and re-sealed it. I painted the case in a soft custom green named 'Dying Sage' because after several solid frosts my sage is damn near dead and almost exactly this shade of green, lovely in a haunting sort of way that only October and November ever really capture.

       And with that I wish you all a lovely evening. It's going to be raining for a good part of the next three days, so I'm going to take a little time off to clean my poor house and workshop, and putz around. I'll be back with loads more at the front end of next week!

Gilt-y Pleasure

Oh it's so fun to go a bit over the top sometimes. I personally like fairly reserved, subdued furniture forms; farm tables, antique oak dressers with lots of straight lines, a big chunky hutch. This sweet vintage French Provincial desk is the polar opposite of all those things. It's charming and cheeky and curvy in every possible place. And I JUST LOVE IT.
        I refinished this piece custom for a client to go in her daughter's room. We went with Benjamin Moore's Rose Rococo for the case, and loads of gold detailing to amp the "wow" factor up even higher. I kept the original pulls but recolored them to match all the gilding. I had to do a ton of work on the surface, removing most of the damaged veneer from around the feet, and even replacing one foot. But as you can see, this desk is good as gold now. I refinished the veneer top and stained it dark, but painted the lip of the top in gold. I painted the insides of the drawers in a deeper shade of rose for a little pop of color when you open them.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Bachelor's Chest in Aqua

What, you may ask is a bachelor's chest, or possibly, WHY is it a bachelor's chest?? Glad you asked!

       Bachelor's chests are petite, shallow chests of drawers, generally with a built in writing surface or other thoughtful accoutrement. I've seen 18th century examples, though only English ones, so I'll have to ask my Antiques Dealer pals if they've ever handled an american first period one.

       As to the why, well these easily transportable highly function pieces were meant for the quarters of unmarried men. In their current, unmarried living conditions, out earning a living and setting up what would in the future be a (hopefully) lucrative career, but not yet settled to a stately and furnished home, this was the perfect piece. It provides storage and a writing surface, but takes up little space and can rather easily be schlepped from boarding house to boarding house, or wherever the young man's journey might take him.

        This is a second period bachelor's chest. Second period meaning not an early and rare antique of significant value from the late 18th or early 19th century, when we first see this form, but also not a recent reproduction. It is in fact near earning its own "antique" title, as it's likely about 80 years old, and anything over 100 can be formally called an antique by the discerning collector. I use the term 'antique' a little more loosely, because the only things I'm discerning about are whiskey and company.

         Carl the Furniture Guy brought this cutie to me, along with a group of five or six other pieces of furniture. Would you believe every single piece has already been spoken for? Hot diggity! This mahogany bachelor's chest is going to a local client of mine who just recently purchase a secretary of mine that's almost the same age. We used the secretary as a color inspiration, and kept the original lovely oval brass pulls. Now it's elegant, and demure and classic and on it's way to a loving home!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's the Little Things

The quickest mini post for four little items I refinished last week. I got all of them at the ReStore in Cromwell. It's nice sometimes to attack small, easily doable projects, practically instant gratification! I did all of these, and two mirror on Friday afternoon, from start to finish!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things

Ok ok OK. I know I owe you that painting tutorial video, and the blog post with photos of the small pieces I still have from Saturday's tag sale. But today I cleaned my workshop. Some of you have seen my workshop, so you can appreciate the Everestian mountain that was to climb. My day was crammed full of horrors; giant spiders that wanted to eat my soul and then regurgitate it to feed their hell spawn young, a semi decayed mouse body that I had to remove (which gave me a whole new appreciation for medical examiners, coroners, forensic teams, and anyone else who handles dead bodies), and to top it off I STEPPED ON A DEAD MOUSE, (this being a separate one from the decayed carcass previously mentioned) which my cat had very thoughtfully left outside on the driveway, and even more thoughtfully camouflaged with festive autumn leaves. It went crunch, but not a decent, community oriented crunch like a fresh Lay's sour cream and onion potato chip, it was a crunch/squish sound combo that will haunt me forever.

            Which is the loveliest way ever to start off this blog post about beautiful furniture. If you read my last post you know that on Saturday I spent a couple hours scrolling back through my projects of the last three years, mostly out of curiosity. And I like most of the pieces I create, custom or spec, but some, well some ever after years still make me very very proud. I always wonder about other artists, if they feel that way. If sometimes they take a step back and think, 'Oh my YES, this one's a triumph!'. It doesn't happen every time, nowhere near, but every once in a while...