Updating Brown Furniture

A cheap way to have quality furniture

I have long thought that its is such a shame to discard old solid wood furniture. Older furniture is usually made of superior materials & built to last far longer than the mass produced or kit furniture that is around to buy for the masses today.

Teak furniture from the 70’s (such as G-Plan etc) seems to be going through a revival at the moment with some pieces fetching amazing amounts at auction.

Personally, being the age I am, I’ve lived with this style as a child & I much prefer the Edwardian style, especially if there is a hint of Art Nouveau, my favourite style.

I had been looking for a wardrobe for our guest bedroom for months at our local action house. The ones that I had seen were either too big or more than I was prepared to pay by getting into a bidding war.

Last month, I saw one I quite liked. I didn’t buy it at the time, another story, but as it didn’t sell on the day, the auction house had it up on their on-line auction the following week. I put in a bid & got it for the minimum, £16!

My Purchase

I was really pleased to win the lot for just the minimum reserve even though my top bid was higher. It’s not too pretty up close. Some one at some time has put a coat of a coloured varnish on it & there are dark drips all over. The drawer at the bottom was falling apart, the handles on the drawer are broken, it was filthy dirty & as with wardrobes of this age, there is no rail inside, just a series of hooks


The image from the on-line auction

The image from the on-line auction

Inside, not pretty..

Inside, not pretty..

The Clean

The 1st thing I did was to take the wardrobe apart into it’s 3 sections, the pelmet, the main section & the drawer unit & vacuum. All the crevices, the nooks & crannies. There were years of dust. Next, I washed everything with a solution of soda crystals to break up the years worth of grease & grim. I couldn’t believe the colour of the water from just the door & drawer fronts.

The drawer section is hiding behind

The drawer section is hiding behind

Next I needed to remove the handles from the drawers as one was broken. They were very old & rusted screws. No screw driver of mine was thin enough to get into the head of the screw, I sprayed them with WD40 & left for about an hour to try & break the rust. They still wouldn’t budge. Luckily, I managed to get a blade under the edge of the screw head & lift slightly so I was then able to use pliers to unscrew them.

So I now had 4 bits having taken the drawer from the lower section. The bottom of the drawer was in a sad state. even though it was made of wood & not board like many drawer bottoms in cheap modern furniture, it was sagging & not fitting into the groves of the sides & front. Out comes the cordless screwdriver my lovely bother bought me for Christmas 2 years ago & I knock all the panels into place with brute force & screw together. They aren’t moving now!

The Paint

Previously when I have painted furniture, I have used the water based Rust-Oleum. A few months back, I was making an on-line purchase from Wilko & noticed they had their own brand of furniture paint. It was the colour that I was after so bought it. It was only now I came to use it that I read the instructions & realised it was oil based. Oh what to do? I had never used an oil based paint for furniture before. I read the reviews & thought I’d go with it.

It was called English Sage, which looked like a pale green, the reviews stated that it was more mint than sage, but as I like both colours, I thought I’d go with it as the rest of the reviews were complimentary.

I agree with the reviews, it is more mint & in some light, even duck egg. But at £14.00 for 750ml, it appears to be really good value as it covers in one coat. When I have used chalk based paints on dark wood before, at least 2 coats are required. On the bits I have painted so far, I will have to touch up a few bits here & there that I missed due to me not paying enough attention, but overall, the coverage is good. I took the advice & used a small foam roller. Unlike when you use with a water based paint, you don’t get air bubbles that leave a pitted surface, it looks like that initially, but then flattens out. The finish is supposed to be satin, but is nearer to a gloss at the moment.

Looking so much better already

Looking so much better already

Painting the edges around the mirror takes time

Painting the edges around the mirror takes time


At this point, I can see exactly how I want this wardrobe to look like.

I love the bevelled edges to the mirrors. The centre section has the appearance of a tulip.

I have ordered a rail to go into the wardrobe, some new handles for the drawer & another pot of paint in case I need it. I also have some pretty wall paper that I intend to line the drawer with along with the back panel of the doors & the bottom of the wardrobe. I need to let this dry over night & a second coat of paint will be needed on the bottom section of the centre panel, but it’s coming together.

Looking much better

Looking much better

Decisions

I had previously thought that I would paint the scrolls in a pale grey, now I’m not so sure. Should I leave all in one colour, or highlight the details? Something to ponder over whilst the paint dries.

I did try to highlight the finer details, but decided against it, it just didn’t look right.

Once all the paint was really dry & had hardened off (about 5 days) it was time to move it upstairs. That was easier said than done. Taking up the pelmet & the drawer action was easy, the main body was hellish though. It weighed so much! After much cursing, pulled muscles, a knock here & there, Hubby & I did manage to get it into position.

I’m pleased with the result

IMG_6483.JPG
IMG_6487.JPG