Did y’all think I’d forgotten all about my furniture before and after’s? I promise I haven’t… I was slammed before the holidays and neglected to get pictures of the pieces I worked on. BUT! I have finally caught back up on my pieces and photographing them and am excited to be able to feature some on the blog again.
This furniture piece was a perfect one to get the creative juices flowing again. A friend and client (I’d done a previous re-do for her on a family desk), sent me a little nightstand to refinish. In its original state, the nightstand was actually kind of cool. It had an very authentic chippy finish going on… but the chipping was a little out of control and since it was happening naturally, there was paint literally flaking off. Someone had painted it in its past and looked like they had attempted to glaze or wash the painted finish to make it look aged. Underneath the chipping finish, the nightstand was sturdy and had pretty curves and details. It also had great original hardware that we wanted to re-use. Our plan was to strip the top of the nightstand, refinish it in a walnut stain and paint the base using Maison Blanche’s Bayou Blue. Well… you know what they say about best-laid plans…
The very first thing I did was test the existing paint on the nightstand for the presence of lead paint. My good friend, Brittany, of Pretty Handy Girl fame, did a great post on Lead Paint… including a video tutorial on how to test for it. If you’re attempting to paint or refinish an old piece yourself… I highly recommend watching it… lead paint is no joke! I didn’t want to work with a lead paint finish, especially if I was going to be sanding and stripping it off the nightstand. Fortunately, the nightstand tested clean and we could proceed!
Stripping the old painted finish off the nightstand top proved to be pretty easy… the existing chippiness of the paint definitely helped that process along. The top of the nightstand was veneer… a good, thick veneer. But once the layers of paint had been peeled away, I realized that the top had been severely water damaged at some point in the past. There was no way I was sanding the water damage out of the top… which meant that simply staining the top of the nightstand was no longer an option.
Since we still wanted the contrast between the painted base and table top, my client and I decided to try using the darkest stain we would find… but it was to no avail. We were left with no other choice but to paint the top. I pull out Annie Sloan’s Coco… a dark brown color and used a couple of coats on the top of the nightstand. The paint was dark enough and strong enough to camouflage the water damage and once it dried thoroughly, I was able to glaze over the paint using Minwax Dark Walnut. While not a stained wood, the painted finish provides a contrast from the painted base, which is what we wanted to accomplish in refinishing it.
My client selected Maison Blanche’s Bayou Blue for the base. This was my first time using Maison Blanche paint… I’ve used Annie Sloan for hundreds of projects and LOVE it, but was excited when a local store started carrying the Maison Blanche paint. I’ll be honest… at first I wasn’t really a fan. Both colors I’ve used took a LOT of mixing to get the consistency right… at first they were both really runny. Not sure if that was the paint in general or just the 2 cans I had or if it was just me… I’m not exactly known for my patience. But once I got the consistency right, I loved the Bayou Blue color and with 2 coats, it made a huge difference to the base of the nightstand.
I finished the piece up with dark wax… to bring out all the nooks and crannies on the nightstand. It’s not a perfect piece… there are dings and chips in it… it’s a piece that has been around a long time and because of that, I didn’t want it to look shiny and new. I felt like I needed to embrace the age of the piece and adding the dark wax did just that.
I love this after… Bayou Blue is such a rich color and with a coat of a dark wax, it is really stands out! My client made the perfect color choice to transform the nightstand… and I had fun working with a new paint.
PS: If you keep up with me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have spotted my new oil painting (a thrift store find) in the pictures above! I scored big-time in my quest to add art to my home in 2013… the more I see it, the more I love it! Proof that original art doesn’t have to be an expensive addition to your decor.