Friday, March 9, 2012

This Coffee Table Will Be the End of Me

This may be the piece of furniture I've spent the longest time and most effort on....




A year ago I bought a coffee table on eBay that was described as a "French Provincial parquetry topped coffee table". I won it for around $30 and was SO EXCITED to have scored such a bargain.

That is, until I picked it up and saw that it was actually a Chinese style and had layers of thick reddish lacquer on it.  My before photo is not big enough to share. I saved the photo from eBay and it's about 2 cm by 2cm so won't show up.  

I have literally spent a fortune in paint stripper to no avail and finally used the belt sander on it to remove the lacquer. It took about an hour of sanding to cut through the mess. 


 


However what was meant to be parquetry was actually only 0.5mm thick veneer laid on plywood.  Can you believe it?  I tried to rescue the parquetry look but in some spots I'd actually sanded through it. Easy enough to do when your sanding through 5mm of lacquer to get to less than 1mm of parquetry. In the end I decided to paint the top as the table has a lovely shape but wasn't looking any good with the plywood showing through. 


See the plywood peaking through on the far left hand corner and the right hand bottom corner in the photo above.  and the centre of the photo below.


I then painted it all stark white and loved it.  (no photo).  But then I thought it would look good antiqued as it would show the carving details.  So I painted the table in a limed white and glazed it.  I have finished it now but really thinking I preferred with without the antiquing glaze but not sure I can be bothered at this stage to repaint. What do you all think?






I'm probably not the best at antiquing - I can't find the actual "antique glaze medium" that the USA bloggers talk about and I've looked everywhere.  So I made my own glaze using burnt umber acrylic paint and I just think it makes the table look dirty.  I'm much more of a clean white lines person....

I'm not selling this as I really like the shape of it and our currently coffee table was given to us by neighbours and is a bit country cottage for my liking.

So what to do??




I'd really appreciate any comments - good or bad.  If you know how to glaze furniture please give me some hints on where I'm going wrong. I've got a few eBooks (Christa/Mike's one, Perfectly Imperfect etc and haven't been able to learn anything from them - they are great books but I haven't seemed to be able to emulate their work...)

and here's that end of the loungeroom with the country style coffee table (this is now for sale, going very cheap)







cheers
Fiona


10 comments:

  1. is it for you or to sell? if for you then paint it back how you want it. if it's to sell, sell it like this- it looks better than you think! it looks great! but if it is for you then you should have it how you want it- does that make sensE?

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    1. thanks Cassie - yes it's for me to keep (at this stage, you know how it is!). I think i might live with it like this for a while and then decide. I can't face painting it again especially as I've already top coated it. I'll see what I think in about a month.....
      have a lovely weekend
      cheers Fiona

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    2. I'm new to your page and I like your, i'm experimenting with paint now too, but I'm not sure the antique look suits this coffee table..or it could be just the room where you took the pics, the retro furniture doesnt go with the table, the distressed look might be better in white.. than the antique look, but one thing I'd change if you use this room to take pics and sell furniture..Get rid of that hideous old rug! If you used a sisal rug your pics would look a lot better.. Also some of your projects and for sale items are taken in bad / fading light and it doesn't do your lovely painted furniture justice, as an ebay powerseller you must have very good light and never use a flash - u probably know that.. now back to admiring your work.. cheers Lucy

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  2. I think it looks lovely the way it is. The antiquing gives it a bit more dimension by bringing out the details in the carving. In turn, it adds more texture to the room.

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    1. Thanks Amy, I'm slowly getting used to it. I think I'm being a bit critical of my antiquing technique and seeing all the tiny detail rather than the overall effect. You know how it can be when you've done something yourself...
      cheers Fiona

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  3. I think the table itself looks great -- glazing and all. However, I'm wondering if the reason you aren't satisfied with it is because it doesn't seem to fit the room. By this I mean, your couch appears to be a natural linen color -- not white, yet not quite khaki colored, either. The two chairs at the end of the picture appear to be khaki, which compliment the couch. Then you have a dark trunk/cube between the two chairs and a green lamp. All of this really goes well together, but the coffee table seems a little too white (even with the glazing) to really seem like it fits in. Pictures on a computer screen can do strange things, though, so maybe the table fits in just fine. From what I can tell, though, it stands out just a little too much. I thinking you did a great job on the table so if, in real life, it doesn't seem to white, then I would leave it as it is. If not, I would darken it up a bit with a different paint color -- something more natural or neutral, like the color of the sofa.

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    1. Thanks - i love your detailed comment. thanks for taking the time. I think in real life the table isn't much lighter than the couch - both are a limed white colour which is like a bone colour). what doesn't show up in the photos is my white painted concrete floors and at the the other end of the room are off white built in cupboards. the best representation of the colour is the one which is off the flourish applique on the side of the table.
      I think i'll leave the antiquing glazer as it is as (rather than remove it)it does add dimension.
      cheers fiona

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  4. Hi Fiona,
    I am in NZ an dhave the same trouble as you finding an antiquing medium I am happy with. I always have that same feeling that it looks "dirty". I use a waterbased poly with burnt umber in it and find it dries really quickly so I get left with streaks. I have tried watering it down but I still get the same trouble at times. If you find a better method please let us "southern hemispher girls" know! By the way, I do like your table - it's the look I am always trying to get, so maybe it is just an "eye of the beholder" thing! :)

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  5. I think it looks wonderful, and just the way antiquing is supposed to look.

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  6. Oh my goodness, This is exactly what i'm looking for!!!!

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I appreciate your comments and love to hear what you think. If you don't have an account to comment and want to ask a question either send me an email on lilyfieldlife@bigpond.com or find me on facebook. I was getting way too much spam so had to turn Anon comments off. Thanks!