Enhanced Natural Timber Furniture

Update: Check out how my timber furniture looks in my refreshed farmhouse style master bedroom here.

Before I began my master bedroom revamp I knew I wanted some rustic timber to keep the space warm and grounded, however finding the right pieces to ‘restore’ rather than ‘refurb’ is easier said than done.

We all know how easy and effective slapping a fresh coat of paint on a piece of furniture can be – not only does it completely transform the feel of an item though it can also hide a myriad of sins. So, when you’re planning on paring-back rather than packing-on, a little more care (and/or blind faith!) may be required.

With that in mind I set about sourcing some second-hand timber pieces which would eventually become my bedside tables and finally found these on eBay.

Deco Dresser ($60)

Kauri Pine Cupboard ($50)

Because my bed doesn’t sit centrally on the wall I wanted two pieces with mis-matched proportions to play off the asymmetry. I also needed plenty of storage.

Remember my inspiration board.

I knew I was dreaming when I included that apothecary style cabinet (lower right) though thought I could somehow transform my crappy old deco dresser into something with a similar feel so I got to work.

First I removed the mirror and handles then stripped back the old varnish using my secret weapon; commercial grade graffiti remover. Seriously, this stuff is awesome! You just pour a layer on, leave it for five minutes then remove it with some soapy water and steel wool. It’s soooo much easier and faster than using a conventional paint stripper.

Okay, so admittedly I get mine from a friend in the industry though I’m sure it’s available somewhere for domestic use (sorry I can’t help more).

I next gave the dresser a light all over sand then stained it dark using a combination of walnut and black. I was careful to get the stain into all the imperfections in the timber to create the look of an aged patina. To finish I sealed it with three coats of danish oil then added some library pulls.

The pulls were originally shiny polished brass so I coated them with some old gold Rub ‘n’ Buff to create a tarnished look. I thought it may not stick given how smooth the surface was though it hasn’t budged. For something different, rather than label each pull with a numerical digit I used french written numbers (un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit) which I simply printed off my computer onto regular copy paper. I then stained the paper with a diluted coffee mixture to give the labels an aged appearance.

My original plan with the kauri pine cupboard was to keep it as is though the blonde timber looked too unbalanced against the walnut of the dresser so I decided to stain it dark too which was fast and easy because it was already so bone-dry no stripping or sanding was needed. I simply mixed up some walnut and black timber stain then gave it three good coats. There were heaps of gouges and grooves in the soft timber from years of love (or neglect!) so, as with the dresser, I was careful to let the dark stain penetrate all the imperfections to create an aged-looking, time-worn patina.

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This and That

Firstly, thanks so much to everyone who sent me concerned comments and emails due to my little hiatus over the past few days. You guys are just too sweet :-) I assure you all I’m perfectly fine, just trying to kick a ‘would-rather-be-in-bed’ bug.

Anyways, on a different note, this weekend spells ONE YEAR since this day…

I can’t believe how fast time has flown.

We’re not doing anything much. Just a mystery overnight road trip in our time honoured tradition – we’ve always loved just jumping in the car not knowing where we might end up (even though it has meant a few nights spent in dodgy service station motels eating pretzels and giant choc chip cookies for dinner, but hey, I love those memories!).

And thirdly, for something completely unrelated, just thought I’d share some pics Luke took tonight of some cheeky cockatoos munching on wattle seeds in our front yard.

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

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New Sofas Equals More Changes

We were out window shopping the other day (I swear, I wasn’t going to actually buy anything) when we spotted some sofas on sale. There were two two-seaters in premium waxed leather (mmm, that’s the vintage-looking kind – love) on floor-stock clearance for $1800 (for both!). In top grade leather they are normally over $2000 each!

This is them though our leather is more vintagey.

We have always wanted to up-grade our fabric living room sofas to traditional leather though couldn’t quite justify spending as much on them as a small car so when we saw this deal it turned our heads.

Because our living room is so tiny most of the sofas we’ve liked in the past have been way too big though these were just right. Luke was convinced it was meant to be; that some divine light had guided us to the store that day. I however had one very finicky reservation; I wasn’t 100% keen on the double rolled back. I know, weird and fussy right?

Soooo, after lots of umming and arring, impatient looks from the staff and my eventual realisation the double back would inevitably be covered with a pile of pillows anyway, we headed to the register and made them ours!

Of course, new sofas means (exciting!) new changes for the living room too.

Don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with the room before though the sofas were really compact and kinda uncomfy and I was over cleaning up dirty dog paw prints.

“What? Who me? But look how sweet and innocent I am”.

With the new dark sofas the black coffee table will probably be replaced with something earthy and rustic and maybe a bit outside the box.

It will need to be square or round though so I might have to be a bit patient (oh poo!).

And with more brown in the room some of the timber furniture will probably go white. Like my dining table legs and/or chairs perhaps.

And I have plans for oodles of linen grainsack style pillows too.

Now, just to make it all happen!

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Distressed White Cabinet

Remember this little cabinet from my bedroom reveal?

I reckon this early 1900’s cupboard was originally some kind of kitchen dry store or food safe though I picked it up for $60 off eBay knowing it would be a perfect new house for all our shoes.

This was the simplest of makeovers. I really wanted to retain the chippy, shabby appeal of the finish and although it might look fine as is in the before pic it was actually kinda dirty and cruddy. All I did to enhance its charm was give it a thorough once-over with the palm sander. Easy! I didn’t even bother sealing it. The old paint was worn and flaky so it distressed beautifully.

To finish I simply attached a couple of new el-cheapo tear drop handles from the hardware store.

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Chalky Washed Armoire

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments about my bedroom revamp.

One of the most mentioned and asked about items was the armoire. Well, ‘armoire’ is perhaps a tad too fancy, it’s just a plain free-standing robe really.

It was funny to read all the different comments eluding to its colour. Most of you thought it was a shade of blue, others blackey-grey and one of my friends who saw it in person was convinced it was actually green! Well, one of those is kinda right. I used a black base and a french grey wash so technically I guess it’s a shade of grey.

I picked this robe up for $90 off eBay. It was basically brand new and perfectly sized for the little nook in my bedroom. It was just a tad too “piney”.

Remember my inspiration board…

Even though the armoire I included was charcoal I ummed and ahhed for ages about what colour to finish my robe in. I eventually decided to stick with black to play off the white bedding and cream walls and add some depth and drama. So, after two coats of acrylic black and one acrylic seal coat I popped the robe in my bedroom…and hated it! It looked far too crisp and contemporary for the soft, relaxed feel I was going for.

Enter plan B. I carted the robe back outside and sanded it down hard all over, paying extra attention to the edges, then popped it inside again…arghh, still not right!

Plan C. Stuff taking it back outside again! I diluted some french grey acrylic paint with water (about 50/50) and working in sections – yes, right there on my bedroom carpet (I did put an old towel down) – used a cloth to wipe it on paying special attention to any nooks and crevices. I then wiped it back off again with a damp rag in the direction of the grain.

And it worked! After three or four coats I achieved the level of lovely soft chalkiness I was after (oh, and a very fashionable french grey palm too – mental note, wear gloves next time).

I had never attempted a faux finish like this before and kinda just made it up as I went along though it was super easy and the result is awesome (if I do say so myself :-) so I highly recommend just giving it a go!

To finish I simply added some new antique brass hardware and hey presto…

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