You can call me crazy or maybe infatuated, but I can’t resist a beautifully crafted piece of furniture. I’m especially drawn to pieces that have been left unloved or so loved that they need help. I call it passion, a true love in seeing restoration come to those who need it most – even people. When this antique dressing table set came up in an ad on my screen, I knew I had to give it some lovin’.
What struck me the most was the story behind it. I met with the two daughters who were cleaning out their mother’s estate. This set had been hers and she cherished it so. It broke their heart to part with it, but neither had the interest or the space to keep it and a few other pieces. I also purchased a desk too that I’ll show at a later time. I knew when I loaded the piece and they had tears in their eyes, I had to do something.
So, for Donna and her daughters, I’m going to give this antique dressing table set my all and try to revive the beautiful style it once had. It’s solid as a rock, the caning in the seat is intact, and all hardware is present.
However, the mirror is mottled (adds character and charm), and the top is damaged and stained. I knew it would be a long shot to get that top to look new again, but I was gonna try!
I broke out my sander and had at it. However, after getting halfway across, the realization set in that the top couldn’t be saved. The stains were much too deep and there were more stains yet to be revealed.
As a result, that leaves me with the option to paint. It’s all good as I have a vision to the end result if things didn’t go as planned.
You see, Donna lived in simple country home out in the middle of our Ohio farmland. I wanted to give this dressing table a restored look that gave a nod to her life. I hear she pulled her kids through a window as their small home went up in flames. Wow.
To begin, I used CitriStrip to take off the grime and chippy stain on the caned seat.
While the stripping gel worked its charm, I apply a coat of Kilz stain blocking primer. These brushes are by far my favorite for their ability to hold enough in the brush to prevent over-dipping, and no brush strokes, which is key for a base coat.
Next, while the primer cured I went back to the caned seat with stripping gel. An old tooth brush helped me removed the build-up and get the caning ready for new stain.
Then, I brush on an antique white paint for the cabinet. Meanwhile, I also paint the mirror harp and seat. It is perfect for achieving excellent coverage on highly decorated carvings or turned parts.
While the paint was curing, I did a cleaning to the old hardware. The faux brass finish had long since worn off. It is time for a refresh with an Antique Brass Spray Paint.
Last, I apply a clear wax to all the surfaces.
Time to show you what this antique dressing table set looks like now. I’m so pleased with the outcome.
Now this lovely beauty is ready for many more years. I just had to leave those turned legs, caning and mirror in the natural state. However, I did touch them up with a Hickory Gel Stain. The parched wood soaked it right up.
I love how the mirror is still telling the story of days gone by. I like it when those features can remain. It’s kinda like how God uses our past trials to line our futures with feeling for those that may be facing the same circumstances.
My kids and I had fun diving into my vintage wallpaper sample stash to pick out paper that would compliment the prairie feel I was after. Those are the kinds of touches that make a restored piece have a new story.
Did I inspire you today? I sure hope so. My goal is to share my techniques and experiences so you can see past the obvious to the potential.
If you would like to own this antique dressing table set, you can find it available in my online shop. We do ship to your door and offer a discount to those that sign up for my newsletter. (details below)
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