Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Before And After: Massive Mint Dresser

Well hello!!

I have a beautiful, beautiful piece of furniture to show you today :-)

It is a huge dresser and not a style I come across all that often around here, and definitely not something that I would normally be drawn to in it's natural state. But phwoar...it does come up a bit special when it's painted!! ;-)

I'll show you first, then bang on a bit about it, if you're interested ;-)

You might wonder why I'd normally not be drawn to this style of furniture? Or not. But I'll tell you anyway. 
You see, its laminate veneer. Or fake wood. Faux timber. Whatever you like to call it...it was going to be a challenge for me. I've never painted laminate veneer before.
But I have taken on challenges before, and this one turned out better than I could have hoped!! To the uninitiated, the challenge with laminate veneer is getting paint to stick to it and stay stuck so it doesn't scratch off.

Wanna hear the story?

Ok, I'll take that as a yes ;-)

So I was asked by a neighbour if I was interested in some furniture they had. Well yes, I was. 
When I first saw it all, I thought wow...that would look so fantastic painted! Then I got closer and saw it was laminate veneer...bummer. I loved it, but I didn't love it that much. 
I had ages ago given myself a rule about real timber furniture only. I'm not really sure why!

Anyway, they were having a garage sale and I said I would wait and see what they had left after that and if I missed out...well too bad.
Obviously I didn't miss out. I bought this dresser plus the three matching bedsides.
(You'll see the bedsides soon)
I did two of the bedsides first. They are done differently to this and if you follow me on instagram, you would've already seen one :-) The third bedside has a side base board that is crumbly and it isn't really sale worthy, so that has been my practice one!

I did quite a bit of research before I started, both on the interweb and chatting to one of my go-to people at Mitre 10. Plus in the back of my mind I had my own experience of getting paint to stick with metal primer.

What to do, what to do??

I knew I had the practice bedside to get it right on, but if it took me three goes to get it right...it was going to cost me a lot more than I wanted to pay!
So I went with the most expensive option...go figure...and what was recommended by my mitre 10 man...laminate primer. Kinda makes sense, doesn't it? A product specifically designed to get paint to stick to a laminate surface. But even still...nobody else had used it on the blogs I looked at and so I was a little dubious.
But they don't often steer me wrong at Mitre 10 (thanks BJ!), and this one worked like a charm :-)

And it only needs one coat, bonus! Most primers I've used need at least two coats.

Then I just painted like usual, lightly distressed like usual and waxed like usual. Easy!
I don't know what I was so scared of!

I also used dark wax immediately after waxing for a different look. Dark wax takes away the 'freshly painted' look, which really suits this one.
It has cured really quickly (I definitely let the primer cure before painting the colour on) as did the colour and now just waiting for the wax to cure.
I know that it's not going to scratch off in a hurry, as the distressing step took me the same amount of effort that it usually does on solid timber furniture. It didn't distress easily!

This one was sold in it's 'before' state, so it's new owner and I discussed it's re-design before I got started. It was so fantastic to have a practice one to do for us both to see how it was going to turn out. I could see how technically it worked and she could see design/colour wise how it would look. It all worked out perfectly, I'd say and I can't wait to see photo's of it in it's new home! It is going to live in an office that is currently being renovated and will be a statement piece as well as provide awesome storage ;-)

What do you think? Is this your style?

Courts xx

Friday, 4 April 2014

Before And After: Cedar Side Table

My client picked this gorgeous cedar table up recently and found it a spot out on their verandah in the morning sunshine where she and her husband like to sit and have a coffee before they start their day.
It was gorgeous as is, but has come up even more so, now that it's been 'extroverted' ;-)

And the brief I got from my client?

'Do whatever you want, Courts!!' I used to love when clients said that to me when I was hairdressing and I gotta say...I love it now too! ;-)
It doesn't mean that I go all crazy and cover a piece in rainbow colours or anything...it means I'll choose colours and the design that suits my client, the piece and the room...or in this case the verandah where it will live. That gives me my boundaries and then I go crazy within those boundaries!

The only time those words 'do whatever you want' scare me (and did a little when hairdressing, too) was if I'd only just met the client. It takes a little while to get to know a person and their style, likes and dis-likes when it comes to interiors. Or hair for that matter. 
I am definitely an observer of things in general and usually like to visit a client in their home so I can see other rooms and how they're styled/furnished etc. It helps enormously in re-designing a piece that's going to live there.

Sometimes I know straight away what I want to suggest, and sometimes - especially if their style is vastly different from my own - it takes a while for it to come to me. Which is what I'm currently experiencing on a future project, but I know it'll come to me eventually :-)

Anyhoo...I guess you want to see what I did with the cedar table?

Well wonder no more, my friends!

I used a greenish grey for the main colour, and on the rails underneath and the back piece I used the same colour but in double strength, if not triple. Sorry, I can't remember!!
The two colours are subtle, yet...not! If that makes sense?! They blend...but don't quite.
And the heavy distressing...well, that's just where I'm at, at the moment. And it just suits this style of table perfectly in my opinion. 
It didn't need to be modernized, although the colour is definitely a modern one. On trend, if you will. But a modern geometric design wouldn't have worked. 

Ok, some technical stuff -

*DIY chalk paint.
*Heavily sanded to distress and show some of that beautiful cedar back through again.
* Sealed with a new-to-me product - Sceneys Old Fashioned Weatherproof Oil - which is a linseed oil based product and is perfect for furniture that will be outdoors. Plus look at the shine it gave!!

It could perhaps double as a mirror? ;-)

Another one done and dusted and many more in my immediate future...I literally cannot get into the shed for furniture!
Speaking of the shed, I can almost, almost call it 'mine'!! Tony has given up trying to claim it back and has gone out and found himself a space to rent that he'll use to store his plumbing supplies. I'm a little excited and am already dreaming up how I can rearrange the storage and make it functional as well as look a little nicer. ;-)
It is going to be a mammoth task when the time comes to clean it out, but still...I'm looking forward to it!!
It might even lose it's shed title and be referred to as 'the studio' ;-)

Courts xx

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

How-To Fix A Missing Piece From A Stained Table Top

I have a bit of a technical post for you today, so if you're not into the technicalities of fixing antique timber furniture...just have a quick scroll down and look at the gorgeous end result and then you can move onto the next awesome blogger's post in your feed! It's ok...I don't mind ;-)

Late last year I was asked if I would restore the top of an antique wine table that also had a small piece missing. I was a little nervous, having not attempted to fix something like that before, but I said 'yes' and was lucky to have an awesome client who helped me with how to do it! (She is/was a painter and told me how she would go about it, she didn't have time to so was happy for me to have a go!)

As well as to replace the missing piece, I had to refinish the top as it had lots of wear and tear, white rings and the like. Gotta use coasters for your coffee/tea people...its the only way to stop those white rings appearing. :-)

This is the table top after I'd sanded a bit, but before I filled that hole.

My initial concern was how I was going to get that same rounded shape, or lip the table top has with whatever product I used, and could I find something that would actually stay in there and not just fall out.
Then when I started researching products at Mitre 10 - resin was at the top of the list - I was told that resin could not be stained, but could be sanded just like timber. So now I had a new dilemma. I'd found a product that could stick and be sanded into the shape I wanted, but it was gonna stick out like a sore thumb because it was going to be white.

Luckily, my client suggested using pure pigment to tint the resin. And it worked like a charm!!

I used Knead It by Selleys and some pure pigment which I got from the local art supplies store for $4. I had to pick from about 4 or 5 shades of brown, so I just went with my instinct.
I grated the pigment into a plastic container, then broke off the Knead It and while I was 'kneading it'...I added some grated pigment in until I was happy with the colour.
With Knead It, you get about two minutes to play with it before it starts to go off, so I had to move fairly quickly.
I pressed it into the space and tried to mold it into shape as best as I could, then left it to dry.
The next day I sanded it with my mouse sander, (it was as hard as a rock!) then by hand to blend it into the real timber I then cleaned, dried and stained the whole table top.
Then all that was left to do was seal it, which I did with teak oil in a few coats to blend with the base of the table, which didn't need any refinishing done.

I was really happy with how it worked out and my client was happy, so win/win! It took me a while to find the fixed section to show her when she picked the table up! :-)

Hopefully I'll get to do something like this again down the track ;-)
And I'm hoping this was easy enough for you to understand, should you need to do this yourself one day.

Ask away if you have any questions?

I'm off to put girls to bed, then into the shed! Hope you're having a killer week!!

Courts xx

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Before And After: Retro Bedside


I have an awesome before and after to show you today!
It's one of those 'hard-to-believe-its-the-same-piece kind of re-designs. My favorite!!

It's only small, as far as furniture goes. But it sure packs a punch!!

Wanna see??

Here's what it looked like when I bought it...

And here it is now!!!

Big difference, huh?!

When I first showed my mum this one, she asked if I was going to put a handle/knob back on.
It really doesn't need one though as the drawer hangs down and it can be opened from there.
Adding a knob would make it too busy ;-)

Want details?? Keep reading!!

How I did it-:

*removed the handle and filled the holes with wood putty.
*sanded off the paint until it was nice and smooth.
*marked out my design on the drawer front with tape.
*painted each triangle individually, making sure to wait for it to dry completely before taping the next one. If you don't let it dry completely, the tape can peel some of the paint back off and it has to be re-done. Really...who has time for that?!
*removed the legs, which of course I had checked first to see if that was possible. ;-)
*replaced the legs with refinished vintage legs I already had.
*Once the paint had cured, I sealed it all with beeswax.

You may remember a similar re-design I did last year on this...

Well this beauty has just sold via a beautiful store in Brunswick East, Melbourne - Five Boroughs.
This is my first piece to go into a Melbourne store and I feel really blessed and grateful for the chance to get my 'work' down there and into a broader marketplace.
For those reading this living elsewhere...Melbourne is a 3 1/2 hour drive away from where I live, so it is a challenge to get my things there. Luckily I have a personal courier, Fiona who is at my beck and call for my furniture delivery needs. I'm kidding of course...but huge thanks to Fi for getting this one down to the city for me :-))

New beginnings and exciting times!!

Be back soon ;-)

Courts xx

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Before And After: Waterfall Dresser

You know how it is when you've been doing a job or work or something for a little while...a creative something I mean, and each thing you create is different than all the others you've ever done? 
Sure there may be some similarities between them all, but they are each unique and you love each one because it holds a little piece of you in it. 
Sounds a little crazy, but when you are doing something creative and you are passionate about your work...you pour a little of yourself into each piece you create. It can't be helped. 
I remember some hair cuts I did in the past that I loved with a passion, and when that happy client walked out, I secretly wished I would bump into them again in the next few days just so I could see my 'work' before it grew out. HAHA!! True story ;-)

Anyway, the point of all this is that a few of those creative works get a little more of you in them than the rest. Who knows why...they just do.
Its almost like playing favorites. Luckily furniture doesn't have feelings. I'd hate for any of them to feel left out ;-)

Well let me introduce you to one of those favorite pieces...

And before I started...

A little during...

And check out the drawer liners! This one was from a newspaper printed in 1950, the same year this piece was made!

This is probably my new favorite colour.

It's almost neon and it is A H M A Y Z I N G  in person!! And looks so good from a distance as well as up close.
Its hard to capture how good this colour is in a photo on a computer or phone/ipad screen.
But I love it.
And I'm not quite ready just yet to reveal what it is.Sorry ;-)

This piece is now safely installed back at its home and it was hard to see it go, I must say!
It really looked so good at mine ;-))

Some quick deets -

*DIY chalk paint
* Heavily sanded (obviously!) with mouse and orbital sanders. (high grit on the orbital)
*Beeswax to seal
*All original hardware. Beautiful!

It came up so beautifully smooth and just the right amount of sheen, curtesy of the beeswax.

Do you love it as much as I? Would you have a neon-ish yellow dresser at yours?
I personally think each room should have a couple of statement pieces ;-)

Courts xx

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Before And After: Antique China Cabinet

Hi again!!

This beautiful cabinet was just picked up today by it's owner, who inherited it (lucky duck!), and here I am blogging about it already...go me!!

I was tested out a couple of times with this one (paint technicalities) but it all worked out in the end and I think it looks particularly stunning ;-)

What do you think?

I used DIY chalk paint for this although I did sand and prime the top first to cover some marks that were there. They were stubborn but I got there in the end!
I used my mouse sander to distress and just let the paint wear off where it wanted to, I didn't force it at all to keep it as natural as possible.
I sealed it with good old beeswax, which I sat in the sun to melt it a little and it goes on sooo much easier! ;-)

Just in case you're interested...this is the concistency I love my chalk paint, below. Nice and thick - however you need to add water regularly to keep it like this, especially on a hot day! It'll turn way too thick very quickly if you don't put cool water in regularly. 

Just like thick yoghurt/custard/cream! 

And the all important and always glamorous shed photo...aka the 'Before' photo...

On a complete side note, for any other furniture upcyclers that have seen the Ikea beeswax and wondered what it was like...I think they have some awesome furniture and affordable and modern designs, but I will be sticking to buying any 'product' I need for my work from the brands I know and have used previously.
It was fun to try though!

I have and will have more to show you in the coming weeks, you can barely get in the shed here at the moment for all the furniture in there...luckily I love to work just outside the shed and the weather has been perfect lately to do just that! :-)

See you soon!!

Courts xx

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Before And After: Raw Pine Wardrobe

Wow...I just realized that it has been a little over 2 months since I last posted here!
Where has that time gone?!
Can we just put it down to an un-planned blogging break? Pretty please?

I used to think that being a hairdresser in December was as busy as you could get, but now I know that perhaps it is working mums/dads of school aged children that can have that title. It was a crazy, busy end to the first year of having a child at school and having custom furniture pieces to finish as well as all the other things that go along with everyday life and preparing for Christmas.

In January, it was so lovely to NOT have to stick to a routine. The girls and I had a couple of weeks at my parents in almost winter-like weather. Our plans of day trips to the beach had to be scrapped, but we still enjoyed ourselves - there are some awesome op shops where they live ;-) My girls are now seasoned op shoppers, that's for sure!

Anyway...onto the furniture!!

This wardrobe is brand new - which I don't get to do all that often - and came to me like this...

Please excuse the mess of copper pipes in the background!

This is a custom piece that I did for a client who was remodelling their daughters bedroom. You may remember seeing these colours before here on extrovert. :-)
We decided to keep a little bit of timber showing and to utilize the bright colour on the interior, so you'll only see it when the wardrobe door is open. (If their daughter is anything like mine, the wardrobe door will pretty much be open all the time ;-)) We left the back and sides of the interior as you won't see it anyway once there are clothes in there.

The knobs will possibly be replaced in the future but we ran out of time to source new ones before Christmas! I do kinda like it as is though!

Some technical info for anyone interested in painting raw pine or just in how I did it -

I primed the whole piece using my favorite - cover stain by zinsser. It takes a little getting used to painting this product when you have only been using plain old water based paint or chalk paint, but it always does exactly what it says it will do. It covers stains or covers so that no unseen stains (or tannins) will come through your fresh paint. Can't ask for more than that!!
The top part (I never know what its called!!) of the robe and the knobs were stained in a golden oak then sealed with wipe-on poly. The rest was sealed with beeswax, which is my go-to sealer. I love that it's natural. Or more natural than polyurethane.

So there it is - my last big re-design of 2013!!

There is definitely more to come!! I have other pieces finished, some in the works and some about to get started! My shed is packed to capacity at the moment!
Luckily Tony doesn't read this so he won't know that I've called 'his' shed 'mine'. Lets just keep that between us, shall we? ;-)

I hope your year so far has been relaxing and peaceful and you are geared up for a productive and creative year like I am! Lets do it!!

Courts xx

PS. I do hang out on Instagram a lot, so you can follow me there (@apprenticeextrovert) to see what I'm up to as it happens ;-) But I will be back here soon...I promise!
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