Did anyone ever tell you that 1st impressions really do shape the way someone thinks/feels/forms opinions/sizes you up/judges you….etc? Of course, I try reaaaaaaalllly hard to not make snap judgments of people on 1st impressions alone, but well, furniture is a different story.
I pretty much go with my 1st impression on a piece of furniture. What it needs. Is it worth “redouxing”, do I even like it? Since I do a lot of contract work, sometimes I have to put my “1st impressions” voice aside and listen to what a client is asking. Sometimes they are asking me to turn an elephant into an elegant Giselle, and I gently steer them back to making the Elephant more elegant.
This time, I was stumped. This was a giant block of solid wood cabinet that has sat in my client’s entry for years. Sort of sticking out like the game from Sesame Street of “Which one doesn’t belong”.
The whole piece had a decidedly “California Mission” look to it. The rest of the home spoke Fancy French. This piece had big chunky bun legs, where everyone else was wearing elegant turned and carved legs.
1st, we tried stripping and trying a stain. A thorough stripping revealed that a good deal of this piece was held together by super strength Mexican Wood Glue. (It was made in Mexico, and for whatever reason, their wood glue is tough).
Staining was now out of the question, and many little gaps had to filled and sanded, filled and sanded, filled and sanded. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was. (sorry, been listening to Talking Heads recently and this piece really felt like it belonged in this song…..)
Next step, priming this thing thoroughly. All the little gaps I had sanded and filled would now fade to the background. The client already had several pieces in her front room that I had “Redone” over the year. It was tricky finding the right color combination that would “blend” and not make her entry/living room look like a circus with a lot of color going on in every corner. Under Pressure……(my mind goes to song lyrics by itself).
I tried a lovely neutral with a warm glaze, I tried dark brown with a warm glaze, I tried grey……
And finally, finally the skies cleared, the light bulbs all went on and it was decided upon…..CeCeCaldwell’s Seattle Mist, with my own mix of Tobacco Brown Glaze and a dark finishing wax, mixed with CeCe Cadlwell’s all natural wax.
The drawers are not embarrassed to be stand outs now….
Those big bun legs are now showing their stuff and standing proud!
Instead of camouflaging that big gap in her lid, the top is using it to show off how strong and beautiful she is! Like a finely weathered and aged piece of furniture with dignity.
No one will mistake this piece for a misfit any longer……
And any 1st impressions will be highly favorable ones.
I could not be happier with the finished product, and neither could my client.
(Plus, it had severely overstayed it’s welcome in my garage and I was very happy to see it go home)