As I’m a SAHM I need to make sure that I decorate our home as inexpensively as possible. So I buy old furniture to paint and upholster, along with doing as much diy myself as I can.
One of my purchases was a kidney shaped dressing table. I’d love one like these of course….
…..but the budget will never allow for that. Originally I’d bought it for my eldest daughter’s bedroom and had planned something like this….
….but it’s nearly Christmas and we have guests coming, so it’s necessary to provide a dressing table in the spare rooms. As we only have the one the kidney dressing table has been sequestered for the English country bedroom, so I’ve been searching for inspiration.
It’s a very modern design, so something like below would have been closest to it’s current form. However that wouldn’t sit well in the bedroom’s style.
So I was left with the options of a traditional dressing table with a fabric skirt. My search pulled up the following options; the first being these, with smocked tops. They look striking, but I’m not convinced that I’d manage this with my basic sewing skills.
Another option is a valence like top, which would work with the drawer in the design. You could lift up the valence and access the drawer.
Alternatively is this more structured top.
In terms of the drawer I could do as below and include the structure of the furniture as part of design.
These aren’t kidney dressing tables, but if you don’t want frou-frou then I’m sure these cleaner lines could be accommodated within the kidney shape.
In fact, this decorator has done that with a hall table and I think it looks fantastic.
These designs have more unusual elements, kind of similar to my upholstery post.
However the style I liked the most are these gathered skirts. They can be very feminine and traditional, but the plain off-white ones can accommodate very stylish to clean, country decor.
This wardrobe was a 30€ bargain at my local brocante. You can see from the before photos below that it was a well made piece of furniture. With its interior lined with fabric, intricate carved details, it’s draw lined side cupboard and brass fittings – I fell in love with it.
The wood was worn in places though, some of the trim had been knocked off and it was very dark in the little bedroom I planned to make its home. I decided to paint it with chalk paint and highlight the ornate carvings. I’m not going to bore you with the application of chalk paint – it’s not new and there are lots of how tos on Pinterest that are excellent quality. Instead I thought I’d focus on how to highlight the trim.
FYI – normally I’d remove all the hardware, but this was impossible with this scenario, so this has affected the way I’ve dealt with the piece.
Remove all the drawers
I spray painted the shelf like drawers entirely with gold paint. I then spray painted the interior of the other drawers. prior to painting them with chalk paint.
Paint with chalk paint
I know you will probably know all about chalk paint, but I love to use it as when it, inevitably, gets knocked and some comes off it doesn’t leave ugly, chip holes.
I put on about two to three thick coats. I needed the extra layer to cover the dark stain. Thank God the old stain didn’t bleed into the paint like when I up cycled this secrátaire.
Sand with very fine sand paper
I find doing small, circular motions the best to sand. It’s not a glass like finish, but it is smooth to the touch.
Start with the Flower
You can see my paint here, which is acrylic paint. You notice I have two shades of the pink and green along with white…
Start with the paler pink and paint the roses, not forgetting the underneath of the flowers…
I needed a couple of coats, but there’s minimal drying time. Take a flat artists brush and put some coral pink on there, then start to dab it in the gap between the bud and its exterior petals. Add some within the centre of the bud and underneath and at the edges of the petals.Keep blending to have darker and lighter pinks.You’ll notice I used darker in the crevices on the bud’s petals.
As that’s drying move onto the leaves.
You can see my different shades of green with the white below. Start with the darker shade in the crevices, then start to add a little of the lighter green to give it some dimension, then start to add more lighter shades on the tips and high points of the leaves, as if sunlight is catching it there.
Paint the ribbon with the coral colour, without adding any lighter paint.
Go over the coral and exterior trim with gold paint.
Start to highlight areas of the relief in gold as below. Just after this was dry I went round with my flat brush again and painted the chalk paint over the top to clean up the edges.
Wax the painted finish
Complete the entire wardrobe with chalk paint, highlighting the relief and adding gold to any other details you want to. When this is done wax the exterior of the wardrobe with transparent wax. Then you may want to take some dark wax and give it an aged feel.
Add gold to any interior areas you want to
As I had some interior areas that I felt could do with some extra highlight I painted these gold too.
Use acrylic varnish on the inside
The interior of the wardrobe is going to have a lot more wear on it, so you may want to varnish this with water based, transparent varnish. You can even use this on the exterior instead of wax if you wanted to.
This is what the wardrobe looks like when completed…
It reminds me of the one in Beauty and the Beast….,
(I don’t know whether that’s a good thing). It goes beautifully with the secrétaire in the corner. I’ve got a dressing table and some chairs to finish then I’ll post an update.
For a long time now I’ve been thinking about changing the door on the spare room, but we have so much to do before Christmas that the cost was prohibitive. That and the fact that I don’t know how to hang a door myself. I’m willing to give most things a go, but sometimes when you have a long list of jobs to do another skill to learn can just be too much.
Then, as I started to put together the very room that the door was needed, we came across a bit of a hitch. The wardrobe that we’d brought with us from the house we rented when we first arrived in France seemed to have warped. There was much to admire about this wardrobe, and I knew I could use lots of it’s parts for projects around the house. So a new wardrobe was bought and I set about repurposing what we had.
Back to the door. The rose detailed side panels on the wardrobe were perfect as central panels on the door. However they were a bit narrow, so I decided to add some corner moldings and some half rounds to finish it off.
This is a photo of my planning out where everything would go. The gold finger plate is one I already had; it was the only one I’ve managed to find with a space for the key hole.
You can see below that I’d changed the lock on the door as there was never a working key there. You can see the mechanism that you just change over. The man at my local quincaillerie checked that it was an exact match for me; so now there’s a working lock and key.
I glued and nailed the central panel, wood moldings and half rounds in place. Then I painted it all white before screwing the finger plate in place.
I already had this beautiful cut glass door knob. I’m so pleased with the results. I only spent 11€ on this, however I obviously had the finger plate and door knob as well as the wooden fixtures that I’d already bought.
The door hardware came from eBay; I just put in “ancienne poignée de porte” and “plaques dés doigtés” for the finger plates.
Here it is before….
….and here it is hung back in place.
As you can see the original stain on the wood panel has bled a little, so I’ll be adding another coat of sealant primer and then finishing the paint work again. I was just so excited to have a door more in keeping with the room that I thought I’d share now.
I’d love to hear what you think and what items you’ve repurposed around your home. It would be great if you hit the subscribe button for future projects and leave a comment in the box.
You may have noticed that I jump around a lot in my decorating; enthusiasm and circumstances result in my haphazard approach. Unfortunately there are no big ‘reveal’ moments from me. Just an ongoing saga of the decoration of an ancient home. But I love it.
It’s also necessary for me to, once again, apologise for my posting absence. I’ve been finishing curtains, decorating rooms, struggling with local artisans and being an, albeit rather squiffy, hostess. As the much awaited guests needed something a little more than the bare minimum than I’d been providing I’d felt a change of decoration and a new focus on the guest room was in order.
This is what it looked like before…..
Now, I’m a pink person – but……..Also it’s a little somber.
The first thing I started to do was make these curtains. In fact that was all I was originally going to do. They’re double width and pool at the bottom giving them a sumptuous feel in an otherwise Edwardian country bedroom.
I edged the curtains in this scalloped lace and the voiles compliment them. They were originally in the dining room, but were so perfect for the lace edging I moved them.
Here’s a closer look at those Art Nouveau plates that I’ve hung between the curtains…
I have so many little nik naks that I’ve bought from French brocantes over the years, just waiting for the right place to go, that I don’t always know where I’m going to put what. However the green in the plates, along with the design, seemed to fit perfectly. In fact, although you’d think the bed dominated the decor design, it was actually these plates. Once they were in situ other things naturally followed. Like these Art Nouveau prints…
Perfect fit, no?
From there I took this old, French country style iron chandelier…
…with its adorable bows. I might add some clip on light shades, I don’t know yet. I’m going to do a stencil freeze around the room and it may be too much. We’ll see.
As I said, I’d only intended to sew curtains. However I suddenly wondered to myself if I could paint over the wallpaper. It was very thick, typical of the type used in old houses. Often when the walls are old and the plaster weaker thick, textured wallpaper is used to ensure it goes on, stays on and covers the imperfections in the wall. As a result its thickness means you can paint it as the paper is strong enough not to be damaged by the moisture. If you live in an old house and are afraid of taking off structurally sound but unattractive wallpaper because of what you may find underneath this can be a good option.
Here’s a wider look of the same corner of the room….
…the lighter paint makes such a difference doesn’t it?
You can see that I’ve moved the secrétaire that I had here (here’s the original how to). The coverlets on the bed are only a temporary, summer set. I’ve bought some high quality, white cotton for when my guests return at New Year.
Here’s the other side of the room…
In the corner is this dressing table…
As I added pictures and the light to the room it took on a definitive theme of Edwardian country; it wasn’t by design, it just fell into place like that. Isn’t it lovely when that happens? All of a sudden in the middle of a room project you realise “Oh, so this is who you’re going to be!”
As a result I don’t know whether this dressing table will stay here. I have a beautiful Edwardian one in my own bedroom that I love, but I just feel that it will be perfect in this room. Take a look and tell me what you think.
I need to redo the paintwork on this cream one, you can see in the pictures below how the wood was cracked by a falling wardrobe (!). My plan is to decorate the next spare room in a French country style, so it might be transported there. We’ll see what I end up with!
As you can see I’ve styled the dressing table top. I didn’t want it to feel barren and soulless when my friends arrived. I’ll do a post later on preparing rooms for guests (my husband thinks I’m crazy, but it may give you a few ideas).
Here’s a lovely panel detail on the armour wardrobe that I picked up in another brocante adventure. I bought it prior to our move here, it was in the house we rented when we first arrived. However the parts of the dismantled wardrobe have been leaning against a wall. When we went to refit it it wouldn’t slot into place correctly. We’re unsure if it’s warped or if we need to keep playing around with it (I’m using the word ‘we’ lightly).
I may end up putting a curtain on the armoire, or even salvaging parts to use in other projects and buying a new one.
Do you remember how I said that I was going to stencil, well here’s the start of that part of the project…
I started above the door here. I think it will look really nice. It may not end up being so close together though as it’s tall and may not work round the beams well as a result. Consequently I may space the design between the beams, leaving appropriate gaps. I’ll paint over the additional stencil if need be.
I ordered the stencil from Royal Design Stencils in the US and my husband brought it back from one of his work trips there.
I’ll post a final picture when it’s all done; in fact I might have a post on ‘finally, completely finished rooms’. In the meantime I’d love to know what you think.