Saturday, September 21, 2013

Painted Lady's Vanity/Desk

Trying to organize pictures on my phone and small digital camera I found several projects photographed during various stages of completion.  One of my favorites is this desk/vanity which was painted in a custom color for Scott's Antique Market.

    I found this at an estate sale, in good shape structurally but dated by the original dark finish.  I was fascinated with the curved drawers, especially the top-most drawers because they were kind of pooched out, or puckered, sort of like a kiss.

I didn't know what I wanted to do with her so she languished in my living room waiting until I had some sort of epiphany or my daughter staged an intervention.  Let me just tell you that I'm jealous of people with garages and basements.  I have no place to work except outside on my patio, at the mercy of the elements.

I haul whatever I'm working on in and out daily, using little fuzzy sliders inside and "walking" it once outside on the concrete.

This Spring, a friend and I decided to share a booth at Scott's Antique Market.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Scott's please believe me when I say it's a big deal.  I'd already chosen what to take but I kept looking at this desk.  Still no epiphany but I knew I wanted to take her to Scott's in five days.

When I paint furniture I almost never sand, even when painting over dark stained woods like mahogany or cherry.  Instead, I start with a stain blocker, found at my local Home Depot.

When people find out I paint furniture they want to know what type of paint I use, even going so far as to name some of them:  Latex, Annie Sloan, or milk paint?

Uh... all of the above.

But I've never had anyone ask about a primer stain blocker.  And whenever I do an off-white distressed finish that's ALL I use.  But that's for another post.  :-)

My artist friend Christy Smith introduced me to this product.
I've mentioned her before HERE ...

... although, back then, it was called Aqua-Loc.

I start by painting upside down so as to not miss any spots.

The first coat is the stain blocker, followed by a thinned down second coat, if needed.  I did that here because there was a little "pink" bleed-through in places.

I decided to lightly sand the top because there were some marks
and I wanted to stain it.

  The "body" of the vanity was painted with a mixture of Annie Sloan Paris Grey, Blue Tints-All (a universal tint),  and Benjamin Moore's Buxton Blue, a latex I had a sample of.

For the drawer fronts I used what was left over from the above mixture,
and added a little Benjamin Moore's Ice Cube (another sample).

I stained the top but wasn't happy with the outcome.  I re-sanded and stained again.  Then added another two coats of stain, using a fine steel wool between applications. 

I used a thinned down hand-rubbed poly for the final finish.
The top's not completely dry here but you can get an idea of how she'll look.

I waxed the vanity itself with a mix of Fiddes & Sons' Clear Wax with a hint of Annie Sloan Dark.  A good buffing imparted the right amount of shine.  I cleaned and reused the original hardware.

I'm amazed at how she turned out.
Not really grey...  nor blue...  with a lighter silvery blue-grey for the drawer fronts. 

She really is one of my favorites.
Maybe because I didn't over think the process, just dove in and let it happen.
Here you can see the back while unloading at Scott's.

I wish my pictures were better quality, but since blogging wasn't yet a consideration,
these were taken just for me.

I'm curious ...
Have you ever started something without a clue as to which direction to go in?
Then once you began it seemingly took on a life of its own?
Evolving into exactly what it seemed destined to be?
I'd love for you to share your experiences.

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by...

P.S.  The lady who purchased this has other items she'd like me to paint.  Seems my procrastination paid off (this time anyway).


  1. Looks great! I did the exact same desk this summer and it's in the shop now - all white with silver handles.

  2. White and silver sounds lovely! Wish I could see it.. I'm always fascinated by the same piece rendered differently. Glad you stopped by and hope you will again, Maureen.