Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Fair Lady: Turning a Plain-Jane Country Table Into a Stunning French Beauty

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)I thought it might be fun to walk through the steps that turning a found piece into treasure involve for me.

Country Cottage French is one of my favorite "Shades of Shabby". I have a lot of fun transforming ugly ducklings into, as-pretty-as I can make them, items offering more versatility for use than in their original as/found state.

I started with a nice, sturdy antique/vintage half-moon table with good lines. I was immediately taken with the details on the legs - and the curvy, feminine shape. Still it wasn't a table that worked everywhere or that lended itself to many uses.

After basecoating it with a very neutral sage, it looked like the above photo. Ok, but lacking strong eye-appeal. Truth: This table was a wall flower. My husband notched the back of the table in order to create a great backsplash to the table. (He's soooo handy!) Instantly the table has more significance and possibilities for it's use began to expand.

The backsplash is painted in a matching sage green
and I think you might agree, it's much better, but...

Alas, although the sage green is nice, all of the wonderful details of the intricate carving just fade away. These details scream for antiquing. Antiquing glazes are available for retail, but I mix my own because I can't tell what colors are in those cans. For this piece, I mix a tapioca brown with a grey blue and I lavish it on, wipe it away, leaving much of the glaze in the recessed areas and softly shading the rest of the surfaces.
What a difference! Now those details show! But still....
I add a handpainted floral spray on the backdrop, and two matching floral motifs on the apron. The designs are lovely and practical because they don't interfere with using the surfaces. Not quite satisfied because the design stands out as new against the antiqued background, I first antique the designs, then as a finishing touch, I thin and darken my antiquing glaze, dip an old tooth brush in it and add delicate splattering over the entire table, designs, legs, surfaces, all of it.

Note: If you don't click on any of the other photos to enlarge, DO click on the above ones to see the details of the spattering. It is this spattering that brings all of it together.

Not quite finished, I distress the paint by lightly sanding to allow the wood to peek through. Then I seal it all with a matte sealer. The LAST STEP, I delicately accent all of the edges with 18 K gold. I'm sorry the gold doesn't show so well, but it really does add elegance.

Now I feel the table offers so much more potential for decor and versatile use than before. It could serve as a small vanity in a bath, as a credenza for a small entrance or as an accent table anywhere. After it cured, I thought it was ready to list on eBay - and so I did! Y'all x your fingers for it. You can peek at the rest of the photos here.

1 comment:

Vintage Arts by Gloria said...

Absolutely beautiful table........and one of a kind! I know the work it takes to make a masterpiece from a cute, but 'needs a little something' piece of furniture, and you do it perfectly! I'm sure someone learned some valuable techniques from this! Gloria