Vanity transformed; memories intact

Hi friends! Today I have a dramatic transformation to share which involved an exciting challenge. A very sweet client asked me to refinish her Grandmother's vanity; a piece which she had enjoyed playing on as a little girl and hoped her daughters and future generations would enjoy as well. She chose the color and fabric for the seat, and left me to it. But I wanted to give this piece a little something extra. 



I have been asked from time to time how I feel about painting antiques and even challenged by some that it takes away the value. But, I sincerely believe that you can maintain the integrity and character of antiques even when transforming them through simple decisions such as color, where to distress, and hardware. My client wanted this piece done in a very simple black and distressed. Because of it's age I chose to use the color Graphite, by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, because of it's rich matte finish. It's a truly vintage looking 'black', though it is not a true, deep, black-hole of black, as we see in brands of more modern colors. And then I distressed it along the edges and corners, (the first spots a piece would naturally wear), and then around some of the beautiful details to bring them out a bit.

Love how the original hardware is brilliantly showcased now.

I wanted to do something special for this client that would be symbolic of all of her memories of this vanity as it was before the transformation. I cut a strip of the original seat fabric and created a little floret which I placed in a frame, (painted in Graphite just as the vanity), and backed by the new fabric she chose for the seat.

It was such an honor to be entrusted with such a special piece and I hope that it brings many more years of joy to those that use it.

The low-down:

-wiped piece clean with a damp cloth

-painted 3 coats plus touch ups of Graphite, (stirring the can frequently to keep the hue consistent)

-distressed using a medium grit sanding block and 220 grit sandpaper. I learned very quickly to move right into distressing rather than the clear waxing for this particular color; a color this dark does not enjoy being distressed. When you distress a dark color, you'll see the sanding dust settle in the areas you've distressed and will appear gray. In order to return back to your true color, wipe off the loose dust, then apply wax.

-Used a wax brush to apply clear wax, (brush the wax on in a circular motion followed by back and forth, then immediately wipe smooth with a cloth)

-buffed immediately after applying the wax, then again after 24hours

Thanks for stopping by!


This post was originally featured under Chelsea's Garage, now affectionately known as StyleMutt.