Endless are the possibilities for decorative or faux finishes. Textured, distressed, crackled, metalicized, are a few of the special effects available. Faux wood grain, faux animal skin, faux tortoise shell and faux marble finishes can all be applied to wood surfaces. The range of colors, color combinations, glazing and toning options is beyond calculation. Even the paints used can vary, a crackle finish made with milk (casein based) paint has a different look than a crackle with a modern paint.
So, what is the point of all this? Simply to say, if you have some idea of what you would like a piece of your furniture to look like, we can most likely help you. Since we are not a production shop, we don't have samples of say, the twelve decorative finishes we offer. There are many more than twelve decorative finishes we can accomplish successfully. However, since we deal primarily in old furniture made to feature the beauty of the wood, we don't get too many requests for a decorative wood finish. But we love it when we do because we enjoy the opportunity to express the artistic impulses that drive us. Please give us the opportunity to help you bring art into your home on the canvas of a piece of furniture.
To help you envision your own project, on this page we offer some samples of what we have done for others.
To the right we suggest two books if you would like more information on decorative finishes or would like to try your hand at it. McCloud's book is not specifically furniture but very good general information about decorative finishes.
These two pieces were brought in with the request that we do something with them that would bring more light and color into the room and make these pieces unique artistic additions.
We had numerous conversations going over various ideas and color combinations. Each step of the way the customer came in to check the progress. We got to the point the final clear coat was to be applied when the customer decided the look would not work.
We stripped both pieces. We tried a second idea. It looked awful. The third idea ended up being the winning solution. Good for you that you get to see the results of the experiments.
We added some light for sure, exaggerated by the lighting in the photo! The center panels were painted this creamy yellow which picked up a specific color from the room this would be going into. The frame was transformed into the pale green you see in the other photos. All the recesses of the grain were highlighted by a vibrant red, the same red as is used on the decorations. It had the effect of warming a very cool top.
Some will look at this and think it is gorgeous, others will scratch their heads and wonder what we all were thinking. The intention was to bring light and color into the room and to create a unique artistic statement. This did all that. All these colors, decorations and placements were outlined out front, but once they were executed, it just didn't work the way they hoped. Have you ever bought a gallon of paint based on a paint chip and discovered it wasn't at all what you wanted? This was like that on a much more expensive scale. And just like the paint supplier didn't give you your money back on that gallon but did charge you for the next gallon, so this customer had to swallow hard and pony up again.
Here are all the attempts with the cabinet. Losing on the left and below. Winning on the right (sans doors because we neglected to get that key photo). We kind of liked the outcome on the left, but the two below both looked nauseating, to be blunt. But that's our opinion. If you like them we will happily reproduce them for you.
We really do like this look as well. They definitely got the brightness and light they wanted in the room and were able to retain the natural interest of the patterns of the wood veneers the maker featured.
It isn't as unique as the original attempt, but it is certainly striking.
How did we do it? Magic wand, of course. We have to keep some secrets!
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No this doesn't show an indecisive customer. The customer was very decisive, these chairs were past hope and not worth the money it would take to finish stripping them, to repair them, to reweave them and to refinish them. The customer left them with us to dispose of. Instead, we decided we would have some fun! What could these chairs become? We imagined three new designs for the next century in the life of these chairs. Which do you like?
This is the standard six strand weave with a twist. All the diagonal strands are made black before weaving to create the interesting pattern here. The cane becomes amber after being exposed to the light for a while so this ends up looking black and gold, just like the black with gold accent on the chair frame.
To obtain the smooth satiny appearance of the black, all the pores, seams, cracks and age markings in the wood had to be filled. A black finish was then applied. The antique gold color was applied with a thinned gilding pase and a fine artist's brush, a steady hand and a lot of patience. A very refined and elegant look.
On this chair we wanted to feature the lines of the grain somewhat so did no filling. We used a buttermilk casein paint then filled in the lines with the bright red. Masking, in-painting the red, then an overall glaze finished the job.
We used a "Victoria Weave" for the seat of this chair, thinking that would better compliment the design we had chosen. When the cane was done ambering, the cane would be very similar in color to the chair.
This gaily painted mare surely did double duty, both conducting one young princess on rides through the villages and countryside surrounding her castle, as well as giving her an appreciation for beautiful things. The queen of this household had a clear vision of pinks and yellows we were able to apply to the wooden surface of this gentle mount.
If you can see through the red, the form of this table is one you have seen in dozens of homes. For someone who doesn't like to be ordinary, we think we accomplished a very noteworthy statement of uniqueness. These photographs are pre-digital and lack the detail we would wish for, but you should be able to see the distressing, some natural, some creative. The customer was delighted with the end result as we hope you would be if we successfully carried out your vision for dressing up a plain jane.
Now that you have seen what we have done for others, what can we do for you? CONTACTING AND FINDING US