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Going from tragic to rustic

I have an amazing and supportive collection of friends.  When I started this whole endeavor every on of them was on-board offering to help or just cheer.  I will always be grateful.

However, I know that when a friend calls and says “I just found a great piece for you!” it can lead to awesome finds or frightening “what am I gonna do with that?!” moments.  (I’ll share my “umm, did you want to keep this bag of marijuana that was in the drawer?” story for another time)

So when my buddy Donaco called I was cautiously enthusiastic.  I headed over to his friend’s house and was confronted with this:

running around without it’s drawers

It’s awesome, right?  No doubt about it.  But there is “charmingly distressed” and “the paint falls off when you look at this thing.”  This dresser fell into the latter category.

And it had drawers – they were just in pieces… a pile….to the left…..

BUT it’s awesome (see above) AND it was 100% free so who could argue?

First up.  Sanding.

Isn’t it odd how some of the paint can’t stay on for the car ride home but the rest of it requires a nuclear device to remove?

Next.  Drawer repair.  Yes, that’s my entire clamp collection on one drawer.  The veneer was either missing or peeling and I discovered that the “neat little pile” lacked two drawer bottoms.

I’d decided I wanted this piece to have a rustic barn red finish.  So after a coat of primer I got to work.  Except I forgot that when you buy red paint you want to prime with grey paint in order to get the red to be the color the paint chip shows.  Oops.  So my first few coats were not as rustic as I’d hoped but rather a kind of a festive fuchsia – not the vibe I was going for.  But, fear not, in just one, two, FOUR MORE COATS I got to my deep barn red.

Then I sanded for that distressed look.

Except sanding just took off the last two layers of red paint and I ended up back at festive fuchsia.

My apologies – at this point I quit taking pictures because I was really busy, focused embarrassed….and out of paint.

But happily I discovered that when I added my favorite antiquing glaze all the paint went back to that perfect Barn Red.

You can see the difference in this photo

So with a little more rubbing, and a good coat of wax I ended up with this:

I realize I took something that was already shabby, fixed it up and then made it shabby again but such is the nature of my imagination.

Thanks for looking


Linked up over at the terrific:

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

12 responses »

  1. Learned something new! Thx for the red paint/gray primer tip.

  2. I didn’t know either about the red paint…you’ve saved me a fuschia moment…thanks! I too grew up in Ohio…about 2 hours north of you! Glad that you have ventured into the craft world =)

  3. Excellent red tips, thanks! Your piece caught my eye because I just saw an amazing beat up red piece at the local greenhouse for sale that I wanted BAD! (too big to fit in my truck; I think I cried all the way home) Your piece reminded me I can just make my own. 🙂 Fab colour!


  4. Looks great! You did a fantastic job!

  5. Pingback: Preparations Continue « cheltenhamroad

  6. David,
    Great job, I am glad to see a piece of furniture with color! Fabulous! I would love for you to come over to my website an share your project. It is easy to do! Just upload a few photos and tell about your project! Put your blog URL at the bottom of the submission, and then once approved your link to your blog will become live!

    Great job! Come over and share!

    And, about time we got a guy in the mix!


  7. Love the way the dresser turned out. thanks for the grey primer tip. Most everything I get gets painted some shade of white but love the barn red distressed look. May have to try it.

  8. What is your “favorite antiquing glaze?”

    • I’m terribly sorry it took me so long to respond to your question. I use(d) Valspar Antiquing Glaze from Lowes. It seemed a little expensive to me but the small bottle has lasted a very long time as you don’t need much for any application.

  9. And I’m late coming to your blog….hope you’re still at it tho. You are hilarious, and GOOD at this as well.


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