The Alchemy of Furniture...my humble beginnings!

I have finally decided to join the world of bloggers!

Through this blog, I'm hoping to spread the word about my Etsy shop,Furniture Alchemy, and share some of my thoughts and processes on furniture refurbishing. I've also started dabbling in some other areas of home decor and jewelry making, so Furniture Alchemy is slowly becoming "Everything I see that can be made over" Alchemy, but that title is a bit wordy, so I'll just stick with what I have for now.

For my very first post,I thought it fitting to start with the very first piece of furniture I made over, my old dining table.

Years ago, when I finally moved out of my college dorm and into my first apartment, I had absolutely no furniture, and even more common for a just starting out, struggling grad student, no money to buy furniture. So I relied on the generosity of my family to help me fill up my space with whatever they could bear to part with, and I ended up with my grandparents old dining table.
It was the first table they got when they were married, in 1954, and I loved it. Solid wood, with 50 years of wear, naturally distressed, complete with scratches and knife marks all over the surface.

As the years went by, I never wanted to part with it, so it followed me from apartment to apartment, through countless nights of writing research papers, providing a place to host my friends and family for dinner, and storage when space has run out. It even came with me in the uhaul as i trekked 900 miles from small town Mississippi to move here to Northern Virginia.
You all know the piece, everybody has one. That old piece of furniture that you know doesn't go with your decor anymore, but you can't bear to part with it.

So finally, after years of talking about it, last summer I decided it was time for me to try my hand at refurbishing it. I would go into stores like Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, WorldMarket, and Home Goods and constantly covet their furniture, so that was the look I decided to go for.

I started out sanding. And sanding. And more sanding. By hand of course, because is there any other way? Oh, I've heard that you can buy these machines that will assist you, but there's no fun in that. It totally takes away from the process.

After sanding for what seemed like days, I decided after many trips to Home Depot, to use a color of Behr paint called "Teal Zeal", and a lighter color stain for the top. Mind you i'd never painted or stained anything in my life, so I relied wholly on google and guesswork as to the process.

The paint turned out amazing. Light coats and heavy distressing, once I got the hang of it, I was loving the look. The stain,on the other hand, was awful. Not the kind of awful where it looked cool,but really, not good. Splotchy, streaked, and various shades of stain. So I got mad. And then decided that I could fix it,there must be a way. But google told me that the only way to undo a stain was to either paint over it, or completely strip the piece, and neither of those were options I wanted to deal with.

So I sanded. Again. I'm pretty sure I went through about 5packs of heavy duty sandpaper. And then, suddenly, I loved it! It reminded me of the top of an old Whisky barrel. Still a little discolored in areas,but it looked like it was supposed to be that way, not like I'd screwed up. So I made myself step away.

I stenciled a white bird on the backs of the chairs, in a last minute whim , and it was complete, and better than I imagined!

With all of that said, I decided this was something I could really get into. I loved the process of taking something and knowing that with a little work, I could make it look completely different and see a finished result,that I'd created.

Since then I've turned this into a part time business, working diligently after I get done teaching middle school and on my weekends, I have since learned so much, and am loving all of the new techniques that I continue to discover.
So far I've made around 11 sales, and done about 5 custom orders, so things are picking up, and I'm hoping to fins a bigger work space soon, so that I can handle more volume!

So, visit my etsy shop at www.FurnitureAlchemy.etsy.com or my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FurnitureAlchemy and help me spread the word!




THE custom order

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