Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Distressed Vanity

I've had distressed decor on the brain as of late.  Not only do distressed pieces create instant drama and romance in any room, but they are also very accessible to the decorating novice and extremely easy on the wallet.  Today's subject is a gorgeous vanity given to me by my mother to do as I please.  She purchased it years ago at a local antique shop.  It had been in her room, filled with her jewelry and keepsakes.  I love the style of this piece and I particularly dig the deep drawers and unique storage spaces on top of the item.

My initial plan was to simply sand and seal the item using clear polyurethane.  Upon trying out this method I was disappointed to see a thin, milky film forming on the surface as I brushed on the poly coat.  I asked a furniture expert (my dad) what could cause such a film and discovered that the air temperature could have affected the seal.  I had started this project in my backyard last fall when the air was just becoming crisp and chilly.  By exposing the poly coat to cold air, it did not properly dry.  Good to know! 

My dad's advice was to re-sand the item and start over.  But because I'm really into distressing right now, I decided to move forward with this project as a distressed piece.  And I wanted a pronounced Shabby Chic look.  I used an antique cream paint color I had on hand and applied one full coat of paint.  After that coat dried I used a smaller brush to go over areas that I felt needed more paint.  The idea here is to take your time and remember that you will be going over the finished item with sand paper.  This is also the type of project with an outcome that is based solely on how you want the piece to look.  I wanted this item to look as though it had aged gracefully.  After the second round of brush strokes, I was satisfied.

I used my electric, hand-held sander to go over the paint and only after I was sure the item was completely dry - usually 2 hours.   I used the sander almost as I do my paint brush; moving along the grain of the wood and paying particularly close attention to the edges and corners, which is where the item will see the most wear and tear.  Once I was satisfied with the look of the piece, I went over the entire item with a dry, soft cloth to rid the piece of any dust or debris.  I applied one coat of a clear polyurethane which produced a clean surface and shiny appearance that will both protect the vanity as well as give the item a pretty sheen.   The vanity was completed with two knobs purchased at Hobby Lobby on clearance. 

I purposely left the two panels underneath each drawer unpainted.  I like the color of the wood here.

I love the romantic look of the vanity and plan on using the piece in my guest room.  Topped with soft flowers and delicate keepsakes, I look forward to having this gorgeous (and Happy) hand-me-down in my home for years to come. 

1 comment:

Rose Mandarino said...

wow-looks great, now I want it back. Love, Mom