Repurposed Armoire Carvings

Repurposed Armoire Carvings

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These actually aren’t just repurposed armoire carving tops, I’ve also used some brackets from a dressing table.

Firstly the armoire top. I’d been wondering in my local brocante when I saw this amongst the furniture in the less, ahem, showy items (yep, the junky section). It’s dirty and my first thought was ‘20€, what a joke’. Off home I went. Then literally in the night it popped in my head. In fact, it was more an image of it above our bifold doors.

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I still think 20€ is a lot, but I’ve researched carvings like this to do the same job and they’re at least 130€. It doesn’t seem so bad in comparison does it?

So Monday morning I was there and home it came with me (with a light fitting for our soon to be kitchen, but I’ll tell you about that later). As I was driving home I remembered the arms to a mirror from a dressing table mirror that I’d kept. I was going to use it for a different project, but my plans have changed and I’d spotted them recently making me wonder what I’d now do with them.

I was thinking about the abrupt, dead end the carving would have when I removed the side struts. My initial thought was that I could match the three together. However when I put them in place it was evident this wouldn’t work as the straight sides where too big for ends of the carving.

Looking at them again I realised that if I joined them together they might make a nice heading to the other side of the bi fold doors.

I put the carving above the doors – too big; they hit the dado rail I’d put up in the room. My mind turned to the mirror struts, but then I remembered something else. When my family and I had moved here we bought an armoire for our rented property. Long story short (unlike this one) it broke. I kept lots of bits to use elsewhere, including the top. I sought it out in the garage and, with it’s intericate, traditional carvings, it was perfect for above the door in the dining room.

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So this is how we’re looking now. A large armoire top which is going in the hallway, mirror scrolls to be joined together and put above the bifold doors between the sitting room and dining room and another armoire top above the other side of those doors in the dining room.

The dining rooms colours of teal green and blush pink are being used in the doors too. I’m not going to show you a full picture of this yet, as there’s more work to be done in the dining room and the lights not good today. The next thing I’m working on in there is a possible stencilled ceiling.

Id rather gotten bored of finishing this room off, I’ve been waiting for someone to make a patters for a dolly light switch before I showed the whole room, this has ré-energised me.

It’s Worth It!

Refurbished Chandelier

I found this chandelier in a state at a local Brocante for 4€. I was so excited because, even though it was badly tarnished, the detail was exquisite. I had placed it in the passenger seat next to me in the car and was driving to pick up the girls when I glance over at a set of traffic lights to admire my special find. That’s when I noticed it, the parts where the light bulbs where held had the electrics burnt away.

My heart sank – would I have to throw this beautiful thing away?

My mind whirred – what could I do with it instead. It simply couldn’t end up in landfil! I considered removing the electrics completely, gluing tealights holders in their place and hanging it from a tree outside as a form of external, candle lighting for al fresco dining.

Then one day in the supermarket I saw what I realised were replacement light fittings. I bought one and asked my Pops, who lives here in France, could they be used to replace the destroyed ones?

My dad’s a star! After much tinkering he managed to attach it. We ordered more and the remainder were replaced to.

When we first moved here at Christmas I took it out and set to work cleaning it. An entire week later and an aching arm saw a gleaming, beautiful chandelier.

Halfway through the project I’d lost the will to live. My mother in law was over for Christmas and she’d sat with me as I’d scrubbed with brasso. At one point, about two thirds of the way through, I looked up and said “maybe I should just paint it white?” She’s from the rougher parts of London, but as a grammar school girl she sounds posh and is a cultured woman who is able to relate to everyone, irrelevant of class. At  this moment though it was like an Eliza Doolittle moment as she exclaimed “What after all that work!!!”

So I reconsidered.

After the job was finished I put the chandelier away with the view of putting it up as soon as possible, however other things have intervened. With the completion of the ceiling medallion I couldn’t resist putting them both up this weekend.

Unlike the light under the stairs, or in the laundry room or even our bedroom this was a trickier task and I had to call in my hubby to help after I did started as it was too heavy to do all on my own. Nevertheless when the bulbs where in and the candle cap shades where on I was so pleased with the result.

The hallway is starting to take shape.

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My Brocante Lamp Refurbished

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This is an old post from my previous site that I thought I’d share again in light of this.  I new it was brass, just by the sheer weight of it; so despite the too small, tobacco stained lampshade (kind of wishing I’d saved that for an upcycle, but we got rid of it when we moved from our temporary gîte) and the bizarre, carpet base it had was o be mine (cue evil laugh – bwah, hah, hah).petitnid blog wordpress brass lamp before

The first thing I did was buy a lampshade to replace the one it had. This cost 12€ from Centrakor and was a great size and shape for it, if a little plain. However I’d bought it without the lamp and when I got it home the fitting was way to big for the lamp’s bulb fitting. This often happens with older lamps, but I managed to find these lampshade reducers from Amazon to fix the problem.

As soon as I’d got it home I took a peek beneath the carpet and could see some plywood  being used for the base. It seems someone has broken the original base and knocked this together to salvage the lamp itself. As most of these lamps rest on a marble base I wondered if imitating something like this would be a good alternative. As I can’t afford a real marble base this means a paint job. I finally got round to doing something with it in today’s nap time.

I started off with the base and ripped off the carpet. Because I wanted an uneven surface to give it a stone like quality I didn’t bother removing all the carpet remnants and didn’t sand it either. I didn’t want to spray paint this one as although it’s my favourite nap time method due to the speed of it, it would be easy to get it on the brass which would be hard to remove. With chalk paint if that happens I don’t even need to use sandpaper. I’ve done something similar before and, because Iwanted to make sure the surface wasn’t damaged, I just lightly scraped it with my thumb nail on a slight patch. It didn’t damage anything, except for me nail that is.

The main reason I went for chalk paint though is because of its ability to thicken, allowing you to give depth and texture to the paint. Perfect for this project. I added two to three coats and left enough time between each to allow the surface to almost dry before adding another coat. I want to build up lots of dense, uneven layers.

In fact if you look at the first picture you’ll see that the person who added the wood didn’t sand or finish it, so there are lots of gaps. When I was painting I just took advantage of the thickness of the paint and filled these in.

To get the same effect you need to dab at the surface, leaving brush marks. The longer you leave the chalk paint the denser it becomes, so leave the lid off between each coat. You can see the pictures of these stages here…

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See how the texture has got progressively more dense? Of course the carpet remnants help too.

After this I wanted to give it an aged look to blend it with the Brinze itself and so I used a round headed brush to roughly dab on some Annie Sloan dark wax to seal and emphasise all this rough work. In some areas I used a little, others a lot…

 

You see how it gives that lovely aged, marble like effect?

I decided to use leftover trim I had from the curtain project. The silk flowers are some that had been attached to a dress I wore to a wedding. If I’ve decided not to wear a piece of clothing again I like to see what I can use it for or what I can salvage from it.

Whenever I’m thinking about adding trim to something I photograph different design ideas and then create a pic collage to get a good comparison to see what I like. Here’s the variety of trim I tried.

I felt the top and/or bottom designs reminded me of Easter Bonnets crossed wth St Patricks Day hats, so they were out. When I’d decided on my design, because I was laying the ribbon in the centre and therefore couldn’t use the edges as a guide, I had to mark a line. I just used chalk and a measuring tape. The ribbon is 5cm in width and the width of the shade was 29cm, so I measured 12cm and marked a line and placed the ribbon edge on that.

When I tried out the ribbon it seemed easier to make it fit one way that the other, it laid flatter. Maybe this is because velvet ribbon is weaved on the bias.

I know a lot of people use hot glue guns for this type of project, but I used one once and it seemed to come though and spoil the material and I’ve been put off from them ever since. What I used to stick the ribbon to the shade was heavy duty spray glue. I started by cutting the length of ribbon I wanted then, starting with the middle, sprayed about a 10cm length with glue spray before lining it up with the chalk marks. I repeated that process around the lamp.

With the kind of tapering shape at some stage you find that you can’t continue to line the ribbon with the chalk marks without it puckering up. As I reached the side of th example, Where I felt it would be less noticeable, I snipped half way down the ribbon so I could lay one half on top of the other. At first this looked a bit messy, but when the second, thinner ribbon was added I don’t you don’t notice it. However, with hindsight I probably should have measured and placed that as it’s  a bit wonky, ha!

 

When I attached the silk flowers, as they’d originally been a broach, I did so with the safety pin. If I thought of this when I was adding the broader ribbon I would have just placed that bit of excess material at the front and attached them there as it was kind of tricky to do on material that’s fit tightly against the drum.

Heres the finished lamp with the light on and off. What do you think?

 

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Vintage Wall Lights With No Electrical Outlet?

Vintage light no electric

Why not turn them into wall sconces?

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I’d bought these wall sconces for 2€ each at a brocante before we moved. There were lots of electrics for them in our rented home, but not here. The stones in our ancient home, as many are here, are incredibly thick so having the electrics fitted for them would be expensive and a lot of work (I dread to think what the walls would look like afterwards). So for some time I’d been wondering where they’d fit in the house, dismissing each place in turn.

Then I had a brainwave; I’d only be using them very occasionally, perhaps when we had meals with candlelight, so why not use them as such? This is what I did and, believe me, it takes less than two minutes to convert them, ten including drilling a whole in the wall.

Here are the steps in photos;

 

1. The light fitting with wire.

2. Take out the bulb if there is one.

3. Take of the light shade.

4. Unscrew the lightbulb fitting main.

5. Pull it until all the wire comes out.

6. Put everything back together (without the wire and bulb fitting).

Hang the sconces on the wall and put a tealights in the bottom – it should cover the hole and the glass protects the wall.

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Secretaire

 

Secretaire

So my secretarie is finally finished – it was a hard slog. Just in case you’d forgotten here was it before.

After I’d removed the hardware and started to clean it I had what should have been my first indicator that things were going to be difficult. I cleaned it with a spray cleaner and paper towels and as I did so the towels were covered in brown. That had never happened before, but I just carried on regardless.

The attractive thing about chalk paint is that you are meant to be able to use it without any prep whatsoever and most of the time that works. This time however as I painted I had ‘bleedthrough’; whatever was used to coat and protect the wood before was seeping through my paint. I didn’t take a picture at that stage as I thought if I kept painting it would eventually cover it; it’s chalk paint, right???!

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The stain kept coming through after two, very thick coats of paint. That’s when I started to duck, duck, go. The options where to sand through it or use and anti-stain primer. I decided to try sanding first. I realised though once I’d started that the details on the secretaire would make them difficult to sand to the extent I was having to to get rid of this treatment. So, on to the next…

I have functional French and can cope in most situations even if I’m not exactly smooth in my delivery. However it’s still hard communicating and understanding technical vocabulary, so I was relieved to get through the experience understanding what had been said to me.

After a coat of the kind of primer that stops stains they still peeped through, I was starting to get really worried. I realised that the design I’d wanted – the white exterior with pink interior that you can see on my research post – may have some serious difficulties. After a little more research I found lots of aged, green designs and figured I’d just work with the stains.

IMG_0808IMG_0809I had a can of moss green chalk paint and two coats of that went on and to my relief no stains! The interior had a faux leather writing area that couldn’t be removed, but after I’d used the primer on that too I could paint it with the moss green easily. However I wasn’t happy with the uniform colour and decided to try spray painting it gold – I’m so pleased with the results. Where the chalk paint creates a brush stroke the spray paint on top ends up with wonderful effect as some of the green peeps through. So pleased with it. I finished this area with two coats of clear varnish as previous uses of gold spray paint have taught me you must seal it to protect it from being gradually worn down.

I also use the gold spray paint on the sides of the drawers so there’s a flash of gold as you IMG_0792open them.

Then I hand painted roses on it with acrylic paints and stood back to admire my handy work. Even though the bleed through wasn’t showing the freshness of the paint was too bright, too new in the 19th century dining room. Particularly as, as you can see in the pictures, I removed all the carpeting and the original floor beneath is intact. So I decided to age it with some dark wax.

I’m not going to lecture you with a tutorial on this – its chalk paint, its been done a million times right?

I’m pleased with the result after all the mis-starts – whats do you think?

By the way, these photos are of my great, great grandmothers; cool huh?

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Up-cycling Old Furniture

Repurpose old furniture

 

When we move a dresser I’d bought as a stop gap from the Brocante broke. I suppose IIMG_0047 could fix it, but the kitchen here is so tiny and it didn’t go in the dining room, so I was struggling to find a suitable place for it. I was thinking of what to do in the hallway, particularly with this Formica top on the radiator, When i had the thought to use the top of the dresser with its carved detail there. As it had had some shelves this was a match made in heaven. No extra work was required, just taking of one am door replacing it with another.

Then I began to dress the room; this old mirror which I’d bought at a Brocante whilst we where in put last house, the replica candlestick phone seemed to go beautifully, some pictures of my great grandmothers in Victorian style frames and this replica Art Deco tealights holder.IMG_0630

On the other side of the room is this beautiful oak cupboard and I’ve finished it with these Mucha prints.

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It’s not perfect and needs decorating, but it’s starting to look like our home.

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20 Inspiring Secretary Desks

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Secrétaire desks
I just managed to get a secretary desk on the French website Le Bon Coin (like eBay, but no bidding). It only costs €20 and seems to be made of oak, there doesn’t seem to be any woodworm and it seems solid (except for a little gap between one of the drawer bases and the frame).

It has lovely details; here are some images below…

 

 

It obviously needs some work doing and I plan to paint. I’d also planned to cover the damaged leatherette interior, but as you can’t remove it this would be a bit hard. So I’ve turned to inspiration from Pinterest and these are my ideas.

Colour

 

 

 

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I love all of these colours, although the top left and right look like they have a bit more technique then a quick coat of paint to them. I don’t mind this normally, but I’m planning to do something a bit special with the carved central detail, and as we have so much to do in the house then I want the main paint colour to be a simple task.

The bottom right image is simple and effective and the shot of the interior is making me lean towards copying that.

Interior

 

 

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I love all of these interiors, but as I said above the pink against the ivory is lovely and would really suit my dining room where I’m going to put it. I do love that gold and purple though.

Writing area

 

 

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As I can’t remove the leatherette I’m going to have to look for other ways to deal with it. The picture on the left above is actually a stencil, and paint with a stencilled design could be a good option (maybe I can get that gold with the pink?!). The other option is to decoupage?

Details

 

 

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These gold highlighted details are both beautiful, I think that gold details on the ivory would work? The alternative is to do a pink exterior, with white details and a white interior?

Carved centre

 

 

The central, carved feature is crying out for a painted area, and I have actually handprinted roses on furniture before. The image on the left has the side panels painted too, and theres similar on mine. The greens not bad either. Mmmmm…maybe I’ll change my mind regarding the colour?

What do you think?