Monday, March 29, 2010

Paint Stripping Saga Continued…

As promised here is an update on the paint removal Odyssey begun in a previous post.

Though it may not look it you’re seeing the product of hours of work and an additional two quarts of paint remover, as I’m yet again out of the stuff I think the time has come to face facts and begin buying it in gallon size! You can see I’ve started on the beadboard interior, which appears to have been painted every color of the rainbow at least once. It takes a good five rounds of application and scrapping to get to the wood and that’s before you get down to attacking all those little grooves and beads.

Helping some friends move into a new apartment last weekend I noticed a pressed tin ceiling in the kitchen they’re thinking of stripping down to the metal. Not only is the surface heavily covered and intricately detailed it’s also completely overhead! Just imagining the sea of sweat and paint remover the job would entail sends shivers down my spine. Then again it would look really great when finished…as long as I don’t have to help!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Serious Shabby Chic

Looking something like the setting for a modern day Charles Dickens novel, the drawing room of Crowsley Park in Oxfordshire, England as it appeared in a 1980’s edition of World of Interiors, is a wildly organic yet honest interpretation of the English shabby chic aesthetic.

This grand mansion, once in a state of near ruin, was let to a pair of architects free of charge on the condition they prevent further dilapidation. While the structure was stabilized and made habitable no cosmetic alterations were made; as evidenced by the un-patched nail holes in the eighteenth century paneling where previous layers of decoration were stripped away. The result is a raw yet imposing space that appears to have been filled over time with a mix of random vintage furnishings and found objects. A cozy wingchair, an old tufted sofa, and a textural wicker piece find themselves clustered around the grand marble mantle while a simple 1960’s paper lantern hangs from the incredible ceiling. Stacks of firewood, books, dried flowers, baskets, driftwood, and other seemingly random objects accessorize the room as an elegant pair of antique portraits flank the fireplace.

Though the space might seem wild and chaotic it certainly gives the sense of a well-used and well-loved room. I credit this hauntingly romantic image as the source of my habit of incorporating found objects into my own interiors. Out walking I often pick up twigs, moss, flowers, driftwood, shells, sea glass, or pebbles that catch my eye. You may have noticed many of the aforementioned elements in a previous post where I filled a hurricane glass with shells, seed pods, and sea glass, as well as utilizing a piece of driftwood and a few hydrangea blooms dried from last summer’s garden.
Photos by James Wedge

Monday, March 22, 2010

So Much For Instant Gratification

After the success of my first paint removal attempt on an old oak mirror frame I have turned my attention to the decades of dirty paint on our old beadboard cabinet.

I headed back to the hardware store to purchased what will amuse anyone who has ever attempted a larger paint removal project such as this…I came home with a mere two pints of paint remover. I’m embarrassed to admit I somehow thought I would be able to remove 30 layers and a hundred years worth of paint with two little pints of paint remover!

If that isn’t bad enough I seem to have also underestimated the amount of time and effort this project would take! In my defense my only previous paint removal experience took less than half a pint of paint remover, less than two hours, and resulted in an instantly beautiful oak frame. This time around after nine hours and two pints of paint remover I barely have the two bottom doors clean! It would also seem the small scale of my first project must have kept me from coming into contact with the paint remover because this time I seem incapable of not splattering myself with the flesh burning slim.

I now consider myself fully cured of my brief addiction to paint scrapping, yet something tells me I have untold hours of this pastime to look forward to before this, the final paint removal project of my career, is finished! I’ll be sure to let you know how this one turns out.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Instant Gratification

I really love the mottled antique patina of the glass on this over-mantle mirror removed from an old Victorian shown here with an antique pair of carved Chinese door panels and three Chinese porcelain figures.

I was however less than enthusiastic for the high gloss black paint finish on the frame when I purchased it. Looking to lighten the piece up I decided bare wood would the best finish for framing such a heavily aged piece of glass. My love of old distressed finishes had until now kept me from ever attempting a paint removal project, but the inappropriate finish on this piece seemed a good opportunity for a first. I was surprised at how quickly the paint practically peeled itself away from the original varnished oak underneath.

It was instant gratification stripping off the black paint to reveal the warm golden oak underneath. Now I really love the way the aged wood frames the old beveled glass on this simple architectural artifact.

The soft aged patina of the piece looks especially beautiful at night in the glow of the unusual gilded metal Spanish candelabra.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Summer in 'Sconset

Perhaps you could tell from the sailboats, shells, and driftwood of a previous post that this long cold snowy winter has had me thinking ahead to summer and looking longingly back through photos of last summer on Nantucket.

I can’t imagine a better spot to spend a lazy summer day than this time forgotten island off the coast of cape cod, and there’s no prettier corner of the island than the quaint village of Siasconset on the islands eastern shore.

Known locally as ‘Sconset, this charming collection of weathered shingle cottages, many encrusted with trellises of climbing roses, seems frozen in time amid blooming masses of powder blue hydrangea. Several of these simple seaside cottages feature beautiful wooden signs carved and gilded with names ranging from the whimsical to the mysterious to the romantic.

Yet for all its charm it’s one of those old weathered Adirondack chairs in the sun and salty air that I long for the most!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beadboard Cabinet Arrangment

As promised in a previous post here are some shots of the old cabinet as arranged when not in use as a photography backdrop. The generously sized shelves are the perfect depth to hold some of our large collection of heavy art books. The beautiful hand-carved wooden chest breaks up the rhythm of the bindings and adds texture to the arrangement.

The middle shelf is backed with a row of old English creamware soup bowls behind a row of hand painted Italian art pottery. Another lovely example of old Italian pottery are the wonderful pair of nautical seashell candlesticks. The nautical theme is continued with a pair of Murano glass dolphin candlesticks from Venice flanking a glass hurricane shade loaded with seashells picked up on various travels. The symmetrical arrangement is finished off with an unusual pair of wire and glass vases, and a Royal Copenhagen china sugar bowl paired opposite a hand painted Dutch china jar.

The large top shelf makes a perfect perch for this dreamy abstract painting of sailboats on the water, and an art glass collection including a one-of-a-kind hand blown free form vase decorated with swirling trails of glass pulled when the piece was in its molten form. The collection also includes two charming little art glass pitchers in light green and olive green crackle, an unusual emerald green pedestal piece, a beautiful deep amethyst vase that is actually a decanter with the stopper removed, and the finishing touch a pretty blue glass ball float resting behind a piece of gnarled driftwood picked up on the beach.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Old Beadboard Cabinet

Visitors to our online emporium Knickerbocker Antiques and Vintage are often curious about the French blue beadboard background where many of our photos are shot. These images were taken on the shelves of a homemade antique cabinet from the rectory of an old church that we acquired some years ago.

This simple sturdy piece was constructed in two halves and originally had a drop down desk on the bottom half long ago removed, although two small side shelves can still be found inside. My favorite aspect of this piece is the slightly off-kilter molding along the top lending a charming homemade quality like the kind of built-in you might see in an old country farmhouse. The beadboard interior and the many layers of old paint further the image of an old built-in, so wherever you place the cabinet it seems it’s always been there. The piece has been placed on an angle to fill an otherwise awkward nook between the kitchen and dining area while simultaneously camouflaging the refrigerator from the rest of the room. Placed opposite the desk the area makes for an ideal transition between the kitchen and dining area. In an apartment where space is at a premium you’re forced to consider each and every element and exactly how it will fit and function. Of course when not being utilized as a photographic backdrop the cabinet is always in use so be sure to visit again soon to see the cabinet fully arranged.
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