Saturday, August 22, 2015

Warm Industrial- Inspired Vintage Desk

Before getting married, I had a very eclectic approach to design. If I attempted to give the style a name, it would be some some hybridized concept like "eclectic-vintage-global-glam," a trail of adjectives that leave you blinking and thinking "Wait. What the what?" Then I married this blue-eyed Virginian who loved all things sleek and modern. Sheesh. How does that work?  Over time, however, we've come to realize that our mutual favorite style, while still eclectic, fits more into the category of New Traditional, with the occasional industrial twist.

This design style certainly inspired my most recent Furniture Makeover project. A vintage typewriter desk revitalized with a good scrubbing, a fresh coat of paint, and a new design. Here's what it looked like once we purchased it:

Good bones, am I right? My favorite feature (other than the hidden typewriter drawer) was the marble drawer pulls. They really set this piece apart. I couldn't wait to get at them with a scrub rag and some warm soapy water.

Here's what I used: 
-soapy water
- painter's tape
-sanding blocks (200-1000 grit)
-mineral spirits
-Annie Sloan Chalkpaint in Graphite and Paris Grey
-Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax
-paint brushes
- paper towels

Voila! Like most of my Furniture Makeovers, the process of painting this behemoth desk was simple. I simply gave it a good cleaning and sanding in any damaged areas. Once the piece was wiped clean of any grit and grime, I taped off my desktop design. I decided to go for a feedsack stripe design, to augment this warm industrial theme.

The body is painted in two coats of Annie Sloan Graphite, while the stripe design is both Graphite and Paris Grey. After the paint dried, I heavily distressed the piece using sanding blocks, hammer and nails, and even a small chain. (Yes, I slapped a chain on the desk. Yes, it made me feel a little mean. But whatever-- it turned out pretty! Yes, I know it's an inanimate object.) Finally, I applied a topcoat of Soft Clear Wax and thoroughly buffed for a high sheen.

I am so pleased with how it turned out. The white marble drawer pulls cleaned up perfectly and truly set this piece over the top. While cleaning the piece, I found its manufacturer's label inside one of the drawers. Believe it or not, this desk is also a little piece of Maryland history. It was made in Baltimore by Lucas Brothers--once one of the nation's oldest office supply and furniture distributors. I like to imagine that this desk belonged to some mid-century teacher... but who knows.

The desk will be placed  for sale in Repurposed & Refined's downtown Frederick brick + mortar. So, if you're in totally in love with it, you're more than welcome to stop by their shop at see it in person. Or, if you can't wait, you can always message me here or on Instagram for more information.

Ahhh. I wish I could just keep it! But if I kept every project, I would definitely show up on that show Hoarders someday.  Want more furniture makeovers, here are a few more I've done recently! Also, if you're in the Frederick area this weekend, head over to Sweet Clover Barn. The ladies of Repurposed & Refined have a booth there, and Cassie of Primitive & Proper-- whose projects and home tours you know I love--has stocked the place full of vintage goodness.

Happy weekend!

Project shared at Nifty Thrifty Things link party.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Oh, August...

Do you hate August? Or do you love this final summer month? I know, I know. Technically, September is the final summer month since autumn doesn't officially begin until September 23rd. But I can't help it... as soon as I flip that calendar page and see all those "-ber" months, my mind instantly fast-forwards to boots, scarves, hot cider, and falling leaves.

But I ask again, do you like August? I used to despise this month-- too hot, too muggy, too sticky. However, as most of you know, I've been making it my personal mission to love each summer day as it comes, to relish the heat and warmth and birdsong. It all goes by too soon, you know? It passes by to be replaced with snow drifts, cold toes, and bare branches.

Even though we have been experiencing some unexpected cooler weather (translation: low 80's instead of high 90's), summer certainly lingers here. Heat oppresses the outlying fields, crackling the grass and drying the creeks. So much gold-white sunlight and washed-out blue sky, tinting our vision with this summeresque hue. Like some heavy-handed camera filter. By day, white butterflies flit among the flowers-- dried hydrangeas, prolific marigolds, blasted rosebushes. The butterflies are like a sudden, whispered secret: there, startling your senses, and then gone. By night, fireflies pulse in the trees, rendering the woods something magical and unknown.

As much as I love autumn, I don't want to think yet of faded leaves, pumpkin grins, or the first film of frost coating the ground. Not while the sun still warms my shoulders, not while ice cubes still chink and melt in my glass, not while each day still bleeds into the next, so full of sunlight.

Today, I just want to lie down, fade into the yellowing grass. The blades itching the backs of my knees and elbows. I would spread my hand, fingers wide and grasping. The sun would warm my palm. Feeling its touch, my fist would close, as if gathering the light. As if I could just grasp this day, this summer, and hold onto it forever.

Freedom and youth only last so long.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Camping at Gambrill State Park

Last weekend, Mark and I welcomed August by camping overnight at Gambrill State Park, just a short distance from Frederick, Maryland. As we drove the short ten minutes from home to park, I couldn't believe that a place so quiet, serene, and woodsy existed just a tiny drive away. Abruptly, the suburban sprawl ends, you pass the last grocery store, and then you find yourself winding up a mountain road. Outside, the temperature cools as the mountain breezes begin to blow. Next thing you know, you've arrived in this nugget of wilderness just off the beaten path.

Deciding to camp overnight was a somewhat spontaneous decision. We both felt the need to "get away" but didn't have the time (or the funds) to go gallivanting off for the weekend. When Mark suggested camping, I thought "Hey why not? Smores sound pretty nice!"

One of our favorite trail-running and hiking haunts is Gambrill Mountain. On a whim, we checked to see if the area had a campground and, sure enough, it did. We scrounged our spare change for the site fee and packed our camping gear in the back of Mark's truck. Off we went!

There's something truly wonderful about camping, about going unplugged and unconnected. No electricity, television, cell-phones, iPads, laptops, or carhorns. Nothing to distract or stress you. Our only worry was keeping Solo away from the firewood pile. Apparently, pitbulls like to "help" by breaking and chewing all the firewood sticks. Re-positioning the little guy's leash solved that problem, much to his dismay.

We settled on the site's picnic table for a simple campfire meal. Around us, the woods sparkled with the pulse and hum of fireflies. I think that simple light captivated me as much as any Netflix show. I don't know that I've ever seen something so beautiful in its simplicity. "I could just sit and watch this all night," I remarked, mesmerized.

Our night was simple: frisbee, cards, dinner, and of course smores. We settled to sleep in our little tent and awoke the next morning to birdsong. You can't really go wrong with that, now can you?

Gambrill State Park
8602 Gambrill Park Rd.
Middletown, MD

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Old World Style Dresser

Hello everyone. It's been a while since I've written for the blog. My days have been super  busy lately with painting, writing, and adventuring with the hubs and the pup. Unfortunately, this good-kind-of-busy left me with little time to sit down and actually jot down some blog posts. Rest assured though-- I'm still out there crafting and writing. If you ever wonder what's become of us, give us a follow on Instagram @ampnabi for proof that we're still alive.

A recent Craigslist find had me whipping out my paintbrushes and paint cans for a quick furniture makeover. Last week, I spotted this old dresser for sale. I immediately knew that I wanted it, so a quick email chat ensued and I headed to the owner's home to pick it up. She informed me that the rickety old (and I mean old) dresser actually had belonged to her great-grandfather. She hated to part with it, but just truly didn't have any use for it. So, home it came with me!

My favorite thing about it? It still had all its hardware. So often I find beautiful pieces with beautiful hardware... just not all of it. When I saw that this dresser still possessed its knobs, I was super excited. Already, a vision was unfolding of what it be with a little elbow grease and a lot of chalkpaint.

Here's a glimpse of the "before"...

Beautiful, am I right?

I knew I wanted this antique piece to have an Old-World style. The words dark wax, dark wax, dark wax kept repeating like a mantra in my mind. But what color?

I kept it simple and went with colors I already owned: Old Violet (from our kitchen renovation) and Paris Grey (from my bedroom dresser makeover). The end result was awesome--even better than I anticipated--and surprisingly not that difficult.

Materials used:
Annie Sloan Chalkpaint- Old Violet
Annie Sloan Chalkpaint- Paris Grey
Annie Sloan Soft Dark Wax
mineral spirits
paper towels
paint brushes
old rags (for buffing and waxing)

Because the dresser was pretty scratched up, I had to give it a pretty thorough sanding. Now, typically. with Annie Sloan products you don't have to sand or prep the piece. That general rule is still very true. The sanding step served only to create a smooth surface. Over the years, the dresser had sustained some dings, nicks, and scratches. I simply wanted a smooth surface on top.

After sanding the dresser top, I cleaned and dusted the entire piece. Now it was finally ready to begin layering my paint. First, a base coat of Old Violet and then a top coat of Paris Grey. To get the peek-through of dusky-blue, I utilized a wet-rag distressing technique, simply rubbing away the still damp grey chalkpaint. Then,  I distressed the entire dresser using a high-grit sandpaper. A final coat of Dark Wax served as the topcoat-- and gave the piece its "Old World" patina.

And viola!

I have to say-- I'm thrilled with the way it turned out. True to the power of chalkpaint, this dresser went from shabby and neglected to stylish and unique in just two days.

Have a chalkpaint or furniture DIY you want to share? Link in the comments below!

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