Tate Remade Furniture Finds a Home

Last week I finally nailed down a date to go to my sweet client’s home to photograph the five pieces of my work in her living area. Three of these classic beauties were custom jobs, and the other two pieces made their way from my studio to this space.

On my drive over to the home, I was meditating on how honored I feel that my hands could create something to adorn the living space of this precious family. I realized the chairs I upholstered would be a place for them to sit and visit with friends and family -creating a space for conversations and rest. The cedar chest would be the perfect place for weary feet at the end of a long day or to place a cup of coffee to begin a new one. I’m passionate about the atmosphere in a home being peaceful, and the fact that my work gets to help create that makes me happy. Here’s a little glimpse into this special place. 

If you’ve followed me for a while you may remember my post on these Classical Upholstered Armchairs. I finished these a year ago this month, so it was fun to get to visit them again!

This cedar chest was salvaged from the side of the road -it was headed to the landfill. Dean and I saved it just in time. I took it back to my studio, gave it a good scrubbing, a little paint and glaze, and I refinished the top. I love having a chest function as a coffee table because it’s the perfect spot to tuck away blankets, books, games, or even your kids toys!

The woodgrain on the cedar is stunning in General Finishes Brown Mahogany Gel Stain.

This home’s community is surrounded by water. The nautical scenes outside this large picture window tie in perfectly with the waves of blue in this fabric.

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From this vantage point you will find one of my favorite pieces to date, the Bench Restorationfrom last year. This piece had a STUNNING before and after transformation. It was fun to see it as stately and beautiful as ever in this classic space.

Though the lighting in this space proved a challenge for my amateur-photographer self, all of the natural sun beams dance around this room, filling it with beautiful light, making all of the art and furniture shine!

Again, one of my all time favorite pieces is this bench!

The kindness and genuine positivity I’ve encountered working with the kind souls who live in this space has been a gift to me during my time as an entrepreneur in Annapolis. My clients have believed in and supported my business; which is a gift that goes far beyond support -a gift which has taught me I do have something to offer to the creative world.

The newest addition to this space is that adorable antique white chair in the corner of the room.

I held on to the last bit of scrap fabric from the larger upholstery job. I knew that eventually I would stumble across a chair that would need a simple cover and I would have just enough. Turns out, this chair was destined to be paired in this beautiful space.

I’ll have to do a quick little before and after post on the sweet white chair for another day.

That’s all for this story; or a least for now! Lately I’ve been exploring the idea of expanding my business in the future to incorporate more design work. I’m excited to be stoking those dreams as I continue to push forward in building my business. Thank you for following along, I hope this post inspired you to use what you have, or what you find, to create a more beautiful and peaceful home for yourself, your family, and your friends!

-Beth

Antique Rocking Chair Restoration

Friends,

Can I say it’s been a minute since I wrote a blog? I wish I could show you what my life has looked like the last three months; (the sped up version, of course)  in summary, it’s consisted of a lot of traveling, being with my incredible family, and creating beautiful things along the way. It’s been full of life and wonder -highs and lows alike. It was full of scenery that took my breath away and late nights working in my studio when I wanted to just give up. I want to tell you a little more about it, and share a special before and after of a piece I sold last month.

April brought many good things. One of which was a stretch of my faith. I’ve had so many challenges this year -realities which constantly got in my face, forcing me to question goodness and who I am. To work through these challenges I’ve had to anchor myself in the truth I know in my heart. I had to go back to the experiences that have shaped who I am and do simple things like spend time in prayer, intentionally be more loving and giving, and actually believe that God is  God and he knows his plans for me. There were times when I was so certain and strong in my faith that I never thought I would forget these truths… but man when real life comes knocking and you have to choose how to respond, it’s easy to want to freak out and try to fix everything yourself -especially if you’re as controlling as I am.

It was on my worst day that I really turned my attention back to the basics of my faith, and from there I felt the control in my mind and heart diminish and the peace that comes from faith flood in; I remembered that some things are best left up to God. Moving forward, some incredible stuff shifted in my life and I can’t help but say PRAISE to all of it. God is good, and I’m learning to incorporate my belief in His power being greater than my own feeble strength over and over again into my daily life, even when I don’t understand it or have the answers to earth’s troubles. GLORY. Okay, preaching over.

I’m excited to be where I am and I’m also pumped to show you this transformation of a favorite piece of mine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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I found this antique rocking chair at Crumpton, that incredibly crazy/fun auction I’ve mentioned in the past. The thing about this chair is absolutely no one in the whole place wanted it… including myself. But as the auctioneer questioned the bidders on who wanted it, something changed in me and I knew it was mine. So up went my number and she came home with me…

…where she stayed unfinished for 7 months. Sometimes I just have to wait for time and inspiration to strike at the same moment -which can take a while!

I knew that this piece was lovely underneath the rusted nails, dry rot, and creatures who had made their home in it’s curves and folds of material. Let’s be real… this was disgusting.

Disgusting or not, it was ALL mine, and she rocked -both literally and figuratively. On the side of the chair just at the perfect arms length is a peg which allows the chair to stay still or gently rock. Perfect for a reading nook or a lazy afternoon with a glass of iced tea and a good conversation with a friend. I could imagine it, I just had to get it there.

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I’m glad I went with my spirit, because this chair is one of my favorite pieces to date!

My oh my did she clean up. I did my usual clean and strip. Then I sanded and cleaned again. I repaired cracks and filled holes and had just enough fabric to create the most beautiful farmhouse rocker I could imagine.

I love the design. The craftsmanship was remarkable and has truly stood the test of time. I painted with my favorite General Finishes milk paint in Lamp Black.

I sealed with furniture wax since trying to poly this piece would have been a bit of a nightmare. I rebuilt the cushion and upholstered the chair from the bones up. I messed up mid cushion, took the entire thing apart, and started again… these things are never easy.

I had this piece at my studio for just a couple days before it sold. The new friend who bought it has placed it in her adorable bungalow in Eastport. She loves it as much as I do which is the only reason I could say goodbye. I love when my pieces make my clients light up, it’s so rewarding and serves as a constant reminder that my work makes people’s homes beautiful places of peace and rest… and I can definitely live with that.

I have some funny stories and great pieces of furniture up my sleeve for the future, but for now I’m just trying to catch my breath after returning from a two week trip home to Texas. My heart is full from time with my family (a wedding, graduation, and multiple birthdays) and my body has gained at least 5 solid lbs. of taco (no regrets).

Wherever this rainy May day finds you, I hope you leave a little more inspired to look into your heart to have faith for the mountains up ahead, and to not pass up on the moments or things that look broken and beyond repair… because let’s be real -those are the true treasures and things worth living for!

-Beth

Eastport Navy Blues Buffet

More or less, the story of this piece goes something like this:

I’m covered in dust and debris, high messy bun, ventilation mask, goggles tight enough to leave an imprint on my forehead for days. Then my phone rings. I turn off my sander, take my suction-cup safety goggles off, and answer a call from my sweet client-turned friend.

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This said friend has a dog-walking business in the Annapolis area, and has been my gem-finding-curbside-furniture-picking eyes on multiple occasions. She told me that if I could drop what I was doing, she had stubbled across a beautiful buffet on the road in Eastport while she was walking her furry companion, which she couldn’t pass by without letting me know it was there.

So I dropped my gear, grabbed my old trusty Volvo, and headed to Eastport to retrieve this treasure.

What I didn’t know, is that it was just over 6 feet long, weighed twice as much as me, and would barely fit in my car (the hatchback had to be bunjee corded down to close). After asking a random neighbor to help us heave it into the car, I managed to get it across town without killing myself. I did, however lose my pride while doing it. I pulled into my studio parking lot with all my car windows and sunroof rolled down to create enough space for the large drawers to fit (the doors wouldn’t shut otherwise). I looked like a freak show, but I got the prize!

Then the real work began. I sanded down the top of the piece, took off the broken doors, repaired the drawers and frame, cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned. It’s funny how “painting” is actually just a fraction of the work it takes to make something new again!

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I debated between a nice gray color and this rich navy blue. Considering the population around me, I went with the classic navy blue and brass combo that is well loved in Maryland.

The door above was locked, jammed and damaged. Since I didn’t want to spend the time salvaging it, I decided the two corner cabinets would be a perfect host for my favorite beverage: WINE. Cheers to that idea!

This is my go-to navy paint, Coastal Blue by General Finishes, and the gray in the drawers and wine storage cabinets is Seagull Gray by the same company. They make incredible paints!

Broken drawers and doors were fixed and all the hardware was changed.

The storage on this piece in swoon worthy and will be PERFECT for entertaining friends and family.

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What’s funny is that this piece sold before I could even finish it! It’s solid wood, and ready for a new life in a new home!

I’m grateful all of the original wood casters are still in good shape!

In the end, I find myself with another piece of furniture saved from a burn pile or landfill. I personally loved the wine storage idea in the corner cabinets, but I would like to hear what you would have come up with if it was yours to design?!

Thanks for following along my crazy adventures,

Bethany

Glazed Gray Dresser

Lately I’ve noticed how many of my pieces have refinished wood on them. Like… 95% of them. So, I dug through some folders and found this painted piece to share with you. I’ll link to the products I used and give you any tips I can think of if you’re interested in creating a similar look. Sadly, there are no before photos of this piece, but just picture a traditional red-ish brown stained wood dresser and you can envision it before!

This two-toned design was achieved by using General Finishes Queenstown Gray milk paint, GF High Performance Top Coat, a their Pitch Black Glaze.

I know so many paints promise you don’t have to prep before you use them… but I’ve found this not to be the case if you want something to be durable and last. I lightly sand, clean, and prime all of my painted pieces… so I would naturally encourage you to do the same!

Once the piece is painted and sealed with one layer of the clear top coat, I apply the glaze with a craft foam brush and then I use these blue shop towels to wipe off the glaze. Practice makes perfect, as it’s easy to get too much or too little, so keep trying until you get it right. If you are working with the glaze and don’t like the way it looks, simply apply more and try again. Don’t attempt to apply all the glaze at once, but work in sections so it doesn’t dry!

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My last tip is to step away and let things dry, if you’re anything like me you will want to keep wiping and adjusting the glaze. If you glazed the piece a little too heavy, you can lightly buff the glaze with these pads, and knock some of it down.

Finally, I seal with two more clear coats to protect that beautiful finish!

I hope these nuggets of knowledge are helpful to anyone interested in painting their own furniture!

-Beth

Having a Good Ole Maritime!

My blog title may be cheesy, but this post will knock your classy socks off.

I believe I finished this piece just after Thanksgiving. I’m grateful to have made friends with a designer and she had a vision for a rich, navy blue dresser to sit in her client’s grand entryway. They had scored this beautiful dresser somewhere on the interweb.

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I was so eager to finish the piece that these are the only before pictures I have! If you’ve read my blogs for a while you know that this is not the first time I’ve done this. Alas, I just can’t help it. I can tell you that it did have some veneer damage on the sides and top, but overall, the piece was in great shape.

The design inspiration?

My emerald green dresser… except not emerald green (by the way, this emerald green dresser rocks and no one is taking a chance on it! Where are my spunky, colorful home owners at?!)

Anyway. My client said she LOVED the emerald green piece but was set on navy. Annapolis and Maryland in general has created in me a love for navy as well. Not only is Annapolis where the historic Naval Academy has existed since 1845, whose colors boast a rich Navy Blue, but this colonial city is also the said sailing capital of the USA… so it’s basically like a nautical dream land over here.

Needless to say. We went to my favorite navy paint: General Finishes Coastal Blue Milk Paint for the frame and Java Gel Stain for the top and drawer faces. Check out that gorgeous original painting by local artist, Amy Littlepage.

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Quick tip: when you’re looking for a piece of beautiful old furniture and have a hard time creating a new vision because it feels so far gone, try to look past the scars and to the curves of the piece. Stop looking at the stains, or broken edges, or cracked veneer… those things can be fixed. Look at the “bones” and the shape… that’s where the potential is!

This piece had beautiful “bones” and the perfect amount of soft curves. The hardware chosen was GORGEOUSNESS, just check out these casters.

I find great satisfaction when the brass antique key holes clean up…. it’s the little things, okay?

The brass pulls are from the same source as the casters. Highly recommend if you’re looking for quality hardware.

And finally, this photo was sent to me after this beauty finally made it home! I LOVE when my clients send me photos of their new treasures in their homes. I also love when people take the time to find meaningful pieces to fill their spaces. In a world of quick results and impulsiveness, it’s nice to take a step back, slow down, restore and create.

Thanks for reading, friends. Have a wonderful weekend!

Bethany