I am a bit of a furniture junkie! I love buying old pieces with good bones and refinishing them into something that is sold for a lot of money at design stores. When I lived in Chicago, the two things that stopped me from pursuing this hobby more was, 1) living on a third story walk-up condo, and 2) a full-time job which never left enough time to go on scavenger hunts for potential pieces to refinish.
In Raleigh however, I have more space and a bit more time. So more often than not – much to my husband’s chagrin – a dingy, scuffed-up, strange, piece of furniture shows up in a corner of the home and hangs out there until I get the right vibes on exactly what to do with it. Driving a mini van also makes it easy to bring whatever I find home.
My most recent experiment is the whitish vintage vanity you see in the picture above, I purchased it for $35 from my usual go-to place, and with my nephew Eshaan’s help, I cleaned it and tightened all the loose bits to make sure it was sturdy and usable. I’d tell you from where I bought it but then I’d have to kill you.
I knew I wanted to paint it the instant I saw it in the store. It took a little while though to figure out exactly where to put it in the house which then determined the paint color. I usually use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but being lazy about where to find it in Raleigh, I decided to go with Amy Howard paints sold at Ace Hardware, which also have the no sanding and priming philosophy. After the fact, I found a vendor for Annie Sloan paints at Cheshire Cat Antiques in Cameron Village if anyone else in the area is interested.
For the color inspiration, I used the room rug which has a lot of faded blues and reds. I felt that Amy Howard’s Vintage Affliction would be a versatile color to paint the vanity. I am constantly moving furniture around the house, so I didn’t want a color that would forever trap this vanity in just one room.
Yesterday I finally found the right time to dedicate a couple of hours to the painting process. It’s all very basic – pull apart, wipe down, first coat, wait till dry, second coat, wait till dry, wax on, screw back the hardware. Voila!
Overall, I am happy with how it turned out. Very recently in a design store near me, I saw a similar vanity selling for $150. Needless to say, I feel very accomplished. Right now, the finished product sits in the kids’ playroom and holds little things that Asha is trying to hide from Arjun.
Here is the Before and After picture again:
I love the feeling I get from giving something old and broken a new beautiful life. Creating a unique piece is not as hard as everyone thinks and clearly much cheaper than the store. If anything, the whole process seems very meditative (as long as you do this while the kids are at school that is). I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on refinishing old furniture. Not all my experiments have always turned out perfectly, and still I remain a fan!
In conclusion, a note also on the experience of using Amy Howard paints: The coverage is good and like promised, it doesn’t require sanding and priming. However, I realized after I purchased it that it is still latex based. My first and go to choice from now on will always be Annie Sloan which has a smaller color selection, but is truly very natural and safe.