When I spotted this dresser and vanity at a yard sale, I knew that a set like this did not come along very often. I was surprised that no one had snatched it up before me, since I did not arrive at this particular yard sale until around noon. I suppose that I had a bit a good luck that day. Of course, I rarely miss a weekend of yard sales, so I guess I am bound to come across something spectacular once in a while.
The woman and daughter that I bought the dresser and vanity from were still attached to them. The mother told me that she bought this set for her daughter forty years ago and when she got them, they were really old. I estimate that this set is from the 1930s or 40s.
The original paint was beautiful and I left it like this for several weeks at the shop. I had one customer tell me that I should never paint over the original paint because it was a gorgeous work of art. While I agreed with him that it was, I also told him that the veneer was severely damaged and it needed to be repaired and repainted. Since no one purchased the set in its current state, I started the many repairs and got to work on creating a new work of art.
Since there were several small pieces of veneer cracked or missing, I used Crawford's spackling paste and a putty knife to fill the cracks on the top and sides of the vanity. I waited for the paste dry and harden and then I sanded it flat before painting.
Before I start working on a piece of furniture, I have to visualize it completed in my head. I pictured this set in soft aqua, with gold gilding accents. Achieving the perfect color was the challenging part for me. I mixed several different shades of blue which were either too grey or too blue until I finally found the perfect hue: Three parts Old White and Two parts Provence Chalk Paint.
I painted Old White over all the scrolling details. Because this set is so old, I wanted to antique it, but I did not want to lose the blue by covering it with dark wax. Instead, I mixed Graphite Chalk Paint with water and created a wash which I applied over the blue and white to age them.
Can you believe how incredible this vanity mirror is? I never saw the mirror attached to the vanity until the whole project was finished.
The mirror even has beveled edges and it is so old that it shows the lovely antique, age spots.
Look at those curves!
Since this vanity is so elaborate, I wanted to keep the fabric simple. I chose a classic, aqua ticking stripe for the vanity bench.
The completed set!
I did not get a good picture of the dresser before Mr. Rubbish carried in all the drawers from our storage unit at Loot. It was a tight squeeze to get the drawers back in, so I just photographed them separately.
I wish I could have got a picture of the top of the dresser. The veneer required so many patches before I could paint it, but I finally got it all smoothed out.
I painted the dresser and vanity on a hot day and I am not sure if it was the heat or the kind of paint underneath that caused the paint to crackle in places. I used a blow dryer to help the Chalk Paint crackle more as it dried.
The crackle and Graphite wash helped me achieve the antique finish I was trying for.
The original hardware is as detailed as the pieces of furniture they came on. They had such a gorgeous dark patina that I struggled with whether I should cover them up with paint. Once I put the dark hardware on the newly painted furniture, though, I knew they had to be painted to create a cohesive look. I gave the hardware the same treatment as the vanity and dresser by first painting them with the custom blue Chalk Paint followed by the graphite wash and a finishing touch of gold, gilding wax.
I applied the gold, gilding wax with a fine artist brush after I waxed the furniture with Annie Sloan clear wax.
This is the lovely, carved piece attached to the top of the dresser. Don't you love how the gilding wax catches the light?
The final finish is antiqued, crackled and gilded to perfection.
This post is linked to the parties on my sidebar.