Hot summer days are meant for iced tea, shady nooks and good books. Yet, when work calls it’s best to tackle it head on.
Stripping furniture is one of those jobs that is never very easy and one is usually surprised at what is found when it is finished. My last project provided surprises from beginning to end.
Discovered in the corner of a yard filled mostly with debris, the dark wood drop-leaf table had stains, water marks and a few scars covering its entirety. Yet, it still had a certain style and grace. Another orphan adopted and taken home to the Redeux furniture health spa.
Having turned legs and elegantly shaped oval top this piece promised to be a classic colonial-styled side table and its trapezoid-shaped candle drawer was an unexpected detail. So, after a week or so of studying its lines and figuring each step of the makeover out came my scrapers, can of stripper and safety gear. First leg – done. Second leg nothing happened. Hmm, more stripper applied. Nothing. What the heck! Please, don’t let it be. Yes, polyurethane - sometimes under the old varnish, mostly over it. 90 degrees and I’m trying to scrap off plastic. A quick run to the paint store to get the “heavy duty plastic coating remover” and I was ready to finish the job before the sun set. Ten sunsets later the table was just getting its cleansing bath to rid it of remnants of heavy-duty plastic remover – most often referred to as polyurethane stripper.
Many steps and much time later, this classic beauty is now ready for a new home. Life lesson: when faced with refinishing a really good piece of furniture don’t be a PolyAnna - use shellac or varnish, please! Otherwise, 40 or 50 years later some grown man will shed bitter tears when trying to revive your little beauty.
Also just finished is a nice little country pine chest that is perfect for a small guest room or as an occasional piece. We have, also, a honey toned mirror with brass corner decorations that would go nicely with this piece.
A Nichols and Stone side chair with a gilt painting was a rare find. Black with gold accents and a charming country village scene painted on the back, this chair is a great accent piece or guest room addition.Honestly, each piece that makes its way to Redeux has its own story. Having a real love for vintage American-made furniture, I search for interesting, quality furniture every time I leave the house. Often, pieces turn up in the most unlikely of places.
As for how I started Redeux, partly the reason was that I wanted to do something that, to me, mattered. But wanting to do something and actually doing it is something else. I talked to many people about the practical aspects of starting something like Redeux (see my first blog entry, Getting It). But, the main inspiration for starting Redeux came from Joan, the owner of an antique / gift shop, Country Treasures, in Pound Ridge, NY. A quiet, lovely woman, Joan started her shop at the same age that I thought of starting Redeux. Joan said it was never too late to make a dream come true. She was right.
I’m fortunate to know Joan as a friend and much more. The Redhead knows her as, Mom.
Charles Shackleton and Miranda Thomas are a husband and wife team that make incredible furniture and pottery in Vermont. Using natural materials, their hand made products are truly heirloom quality. We’re fortunate to own several of their pieces and will treasure them always, as will generations after us. Both Charles and Miranda are wonderful people that truly put their heart and spirit into each piece they design and build. Check their website and, if possible, support these fine craftspeople by buying hand crafted American made furniture.
New pieces arrive weekly, so stop by and see them from start to finish.
Tea, iced or hot is always on!
Best wishes and hope to see you all soon.