During our visit / training session with Joanne Mudd of Muddaritaville she mentioned that it is sometimes difficult to decide on whether to paint a piece of furniture, refinish it, or just leave it as it is. In our experience we have found that that decision is based on quite a number of issues. The first being the overall condition of the piece and that type of finish that is on it. Most antique and vintage furniture have varnishes on them and if they are not already flaking off they are extremely environmentally unfriendly to strip. So to give an example we thought we would go through the story of our paint cabinet we did for the London store. One of the great benefits of using chalk paint is the no stripping, no sanding, no priming that you get with the van Gogh Chalk Paint Collection.

Lower Base of Paint Cabinet

Lower Base of Paint Cabinet

The cabinet we found is what is commonly referred to as a ‘married piece’. They are two entirely different pieces but when put together they compliment each other like the married couple my wife and I are. In this case I am represented by the strong, stout lower cabinet (see the picture to the right) and Bobbie would be the gorgorous detailed upper cabinet with the whimsical ‘van Gogh’ paint job on the inside. (see next picture below on the left) Unfortunately I cannot find the pictures I took of the cabinet before we started painting it but I do have some progressive pictures to show. Both pieces were in various states of disrepair.

Now with the lower base we also have some information which is quite interesting. It was made pre 1870 and we know that based on the intricate round mortise and dowel joinery that was used to put the drawers together. Also the wood on the sideof the lower cabinet is a single board of 20 inches in width. The drawer faces are also single widths of wood that are 14+ inches. The largest common with of board available today in a lumber yard would be 12 inch width but its nominal with is actually only 11-1/4 inches.

Upper cabinet installed with out doors

Upper cabinet installed with out doors

The upper cabinet is in 3 distinct sections. The middle section being approximately 3 inches wider than the two outside pieces. There are doors on each of the three sections but we are leaving the middle door off at this time. The shelves have a ‘saw tooth’ style rack which has long thin strips of wood which fit into the saw tooth rack on the inside of the cabinet and the shelves themselves are supported by these. I made only one modification and added a piece across the top to the cabinet to give solid support for displaying on top of the cabinet. There were also various structural repairs that had to be done but the cabinet is now very solid. There are intricate carvings at the top of the pilasters on the centre of the cabinet. At this time I will mention that the outside of the cabinet had been done with vGCP ‘Chalk’ colour paint and as I stated before the inside is vGCP ‘van Gogh’.

Cabinet with doors installed

Cabinet with doors installed

Now on each of the outside doors there is the same detail that is on the top of the pilasters. This gives the piece an amazing symmetry and with the doors fitted on the cabinet shows you what a gorgeous piece that it is. This is seen so dramatically in the picture to the right. Bobbie also wet distressed this piece to give it the time honoured wear marks that a piece of furniture of this vintage would have if it had been painted originally and been maintained throughout the years.

Paint cans and Wax in the new cabinet.

Paint cans and Wax in the new cabinet.

Extra shelves were also made and now most have been installed. The choice of the van Gogh for the inside was a great one. In the final picture to the left, see how the labels on the cans of paint and containers of wax match and reflect the amazing richness of the van Gogh colour. There are still a few shelves to install and Bobbie is on the hunt for just the right baskets to use on the lower shelf to put our spectacular van Gogh paint and wax brushes in.

We are ever so delighted that the cabinet turned out the way it did. It will one of the show pieces of our new store. An absolutely stunning addition and it truly reflects the passion my wife has for the work she does with the van Gogh Chalk Paint Collection.

Now just for a teaser a few of the future blogs will be: The Pillars of John, The story behind the Stan Portley’s signature colours, Bobbie’s Blue, Billowing Sails, Dragons Gray and Morgan’s Kitty. What we did with an old bed spring and some other odd parts. These are to name just a few. Till then this is:

John Robinson – Master Craftsman and Proprietor – Stan Portleys – Timeless and Unique