Friday, January 23, 2015

Painting Furniture vs OMG don't paint it, You are ruining it forever, timber lovers


I do like timber, honesty I do, but I also want my house to look light and bright and fresh. Dark heavy old pieces of dated furniture just don't work for me (and for my clients) so yes I paint over timber and it even may be walnut that I paint and I truly love walnut.

But ...here's the thing: I get a little upset when people comment on social media and write to me saying that I am ruining a beautiful old piece of furniture by painting it. If you have a painted furniture business you will definitely have heard this before also. It riles me at times and other times I think that people just don't understand.  So I thought I'd take the time to explain (and sorry if this comes out as a bit of a rant)

I buy old pieces of furniture relatively cheaply that other people pass over. The pieces almost always need repairs or have some other issue that means they need painting or a complete overhaul. I usually spend between $40-120 on my pieces but sometimes if I really love a piece I'll spend up to $400: by no means am I painting valuable antiques. 

So when people have a problem with how I'm treating furniture, I think "why don't you complain to the people who let their furniture get to the sorry state that I bought it in, in the first place." (or about some proper travesty - war, rape, famine, large scale pollution, murder etc that occurs in our world). At least my painted furniture is going to a new home and will be treasured. I am good at what I do and have so many happy clients who treat my painted furniture as something very special in their homes so I am making NO APOLOGIES about what I do. 

(And thanks to all of you who do love what I do xx)

whew...I'm off to do some deep breathing and meditation now. 

Much love and let's all just be kind to one another on social media.  Have a lovely weekend. 
Fiona xx

Sharing at Miss Mustard Seed

36 comments:

  1. I hear it too. Sometimes I bring back a piece that has amazing wood, but like you I buy "junk" and give it new life. Don't apologize it's all right. :)

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    1. Sometimes the negative comments are just too tiresome!

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  3. Haha, I agree! I followed a post on a piece that one lady bought and everyone posted underneath, you better not paint it.. I hope this isn't getting painted! I was just annoyed that others think they have the right to stake claim on what is done to a piece of furniture that isn't even theirs! haha. Silly madness. I LOVE your painted furniture and the important thing is giving it new life and saving it from the dump. Great post and so needed! xo Jen

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    1. thank you so much Jennifer. I agree - it would be different if i was sneaking into their houses at night and painting their furniture :)

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  4. I read a post on another blog that chronicled the journey of one of the pieces she had painted. They held onto it because of sentimental value. Apparently, it was a rather old piece that had been relegated to a back room because it was rather ugly. Finally someone inherited it who decided it needed to be brought out of hibernation. She had the piece painted a gorgeous shade of blue/green and brought the hardware back to life. The result is the piece now has a place of honor and prominence in her home. It truly is gorgeous. The moral for me is this: I'd rather have a piece brought back to life with paint than keep it hidden in a back room just because it might be old or have sentimental value.

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    1. I so agree Jeannie, much better to paint and love , than to keep it original and relegate to the shed or under the house.

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  5. Considering that a lot these pieces have been rescued from being discarded in the dump, ignore what people say. The results are beautiful.

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  6. Absolutely agree with everyone. Good rant Fiona! Ha ha. (Hope the meditation is going well).

    I have inherited a sideboard which was in our family home when we bought it in 1961. It must've been beautiful, but I wouldn't know. My parents decided to modernise it so took the top off it - you know the bit with the exquisite carving, shelves and mirror - and chopped it up as fuel for the stove. Mum eventually decided to sand it back to lighten the varnish. She'd never used power tools before, but used Dad's drill, which a sanding disc, (Dad was at work), so now it has gouged areas and lots of little (deep) swirls all over it. As the top had been so ornate, the base is really pretty ordinary, uncomplicated, and, of course shows damage. The stain isn't great either. But lo and behold!!! When I mentioned I was going to paint it!!!!!! Geez Marie! "You aren't going to paint THAT!!!??" Yes, actually I am.

    Let's be honest, even if it was a fabulous piece of timber furniture..... IT'S ONLY PAINT!!! It can come back off..... unlike chopping up the thing for fuel for the stove!...... deep breath...... end of supportive rant. :) Chuckle.

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    1. Hilarious Elisabeth! your story is so funny. I agree it's only paint and people should have their homes and furniture how they want it.
      fiona xx

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  7. You do wonderful work and save pieces that would have been destroyed. I like some pieces painted and some restored so it is a matter of like and dislike. If they do not like seeing things being painted then they should pass over your blog! You keep doing what you are doing!!

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    1. Thanks Rose – yes there’s a lot of things that I don’t like that other people do and my philosophy is be kind or don’t comment. Not everything is going to suit every one. And while I don’t expect every one to love what I do, I don’t like it when people are so rude when expressing their opinion.
      Thanks so much, have a good week
      Fiona

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  8. When I get an idea for a painted piece in my head OR if I can't afford a really nice antique piece and decide to get something I can spruce up for a price I can afford I always look for pieces that are in such shape that they won't be insulted if I paint them. They are happy to be pretty again and I'm happy to have them. I LOVE natural wood too. My father built furniture and I have some of his pieces that I will never paint. Like the cobblers bench that every single child, grandchild, and now great grandchild has cut their teeth on. The bench that has been used as a coffee table for years and has the scratches of little cars and the stain from the flower pot that over flowed and glue that oozed out when I had to glue the drawer runners back on underneath, because someone pulled the drawer out and sat on it while it was open. Every scar tells a story and I like it that way. Whoever inherits it might not feel the same way, but if they are family they will probably not paint it either. LOL

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    1. Hi Sandra
      Your furniture sounds wonderful and how lovely to have such treasures from your father. I have a few pieces that my grandfather made my grandmother as a wedding present that I wouldn’t sell either.
      Cheers Fiona

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  9. Aw, Fiona....You and your creations are adored by so many. It's a bummer there's always a small faction that just has to be naysayers. And by the way, you wrote a very well worded rant! You go girl! :)

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    1. Thanks Robin -i don't like ranting but you know sometimes enough is enough. thanks for your support always
      Fiona xx

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  10. Dearest Fiona,
    I couldn't agree with you more. What gives complete strangers the right to comment on one's life and endeavours, especially when you're salvaging something that's been wrecked and turning it into a thing of beauty?
    It's not as if you're vandalising museum-quality, top-level antiques worth squillions. You're saving something that's been unloved
    and turning it into lovable and usable. Awful truth is, to quote the old saying, "empty vessels make the most noise". Most of them
    wouldn't know a good antique piece from a hole in the ground. Or a Maple wardrobe.
    I'm with you, babe.
    Roseanna D.

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    1. Thanks Roseanna, much appreciated. I think it’s hard to tell sometimes how much work these pieces need. Saying that even if it was in perfect condition I may just paint it anyway as people don’t want the dark furniture in their houses anymore. It may take me a year to sell a piece left in shiny timber but painted things sell in a matter of hours.

      Hope you are well and surviving this rain
      Fiona x

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  11. Love your work Fiona. Just remember you'll never please all the people all the time, and that's o.k ;)

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  12. Hi Fiona
    I agree with what you are saying. You turn something old and unloved into a piece of stunning beauty. I see your beautiful pieces and almost gasp at their beauty after you have transformed them. Wish I knew where to find the exquisite pieces of furniture that you manage to find.
    I admit, furniture restoration has become a bit of an addiction for me since I first discovered your website and your beautiful transformations a year ago. It inspired me to give it a go (thank you). My first project was my dark stained wooden chipped and worn bedroom furniture although structurally in still in good condition it was....boring and tired. So I searched around on the net and discovered ASCP. I really wanted to paint it white, but i was concerned that the suite was that bali type wood/stain and I was nervous about the stain coming through the white so I painted in graphite ascp and waxed with dark wax OMG - I love this stuff! and now looks really special. Then I had the bug.....what's next?.... I was almost desperate to transform something else. I had some farmhouse Eureka dining furniture (8 seater table and buffet) which I bought several years ago and had grown tired of it and had considered going out and buying new furniture. Really felt it made the room seem dark and dingy. With a few coats of Blake & Taylor paint, (Hampton and French Linen) I absolutely love it and I really don't care if it's not everybody's cup of tea.
    My daughter found a grotty green 1950s dresser and I added mouldings and repainted and my daughter loves it. I am really proud of this piece, because it was quite frankly ugly and fit for the dump. It wasn't even solid wood but some sort of layered find board. Now I reckon it's a piece of beauty. And the list goes on, bookcases, vases, lamps, my granddaughters bedroom suite, I am so addicted that I actually made wooden trays so I could paint them for xmas presents.
    Sorry, I've gone off the trail here but guess what I want to say is that somebody's trash can be someone's treasure and the beauty of your furniture speaks for itself.

    Cheers
    Jenny C

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    1. Thanks Jenny – yes painting is so addictive and I think that because we have spent time on a piece and have touched every part of it we treasure it a little more. Your pieces sound lovely
      Thanks Fiona

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  13. Well said Fiona,
    How true that so many feel the need to judge the tings we do that are different .

    Lets keep the Peace and the Love
    pat

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    1. I should just let slide Patricia but I want people to understand that I'm not ruining anything - well maybe they still think that but a lot of people prefer it after I've finished and that's enough for me.
      cheers Fiona

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  14. Olá Fiona,

    Sou apaixonada pelo seu trabalho. Também faço trabalho parecido com o seu e realmente as pessoas fazem esse comentário. Realmente reciclar a peça, dar a ela aparência nova e renovada resulta uma peça de mobiliário inovadora, que agrada a tantas pessoas.

    Sou sua defendora e defensora desse estilo, claro, limpo, suave e iluminado.

    Prabéns!

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    1. thank you so much Celia, that is very kind of you.

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  15. Two thumbs up on this post Fiona!!!! I agree with you. People need to love what is in their homes. If dark wood furniture doesn't make them feel happy then paint it. It's not you or I or any other finisher, painter, faux artist is slapping cheap paint on a 17th century buffet deux corps from a French monastery. I have seen one of those too. It was at a French antiques store named Jacques in historic Charleston, South Carolina. Guess what? It was painted. So there is the really laughable part of this whole to paint | not to paint necessary dilemma- even true antiques started out with paint. Boom! There they have it. On another note, let the nay-sayers say their thing. All it does is push your social posts up in the feeds and generate attention to you. There is no such thing as bad advertisement. ;-)

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! (Sorry if you have trouble commenting, I'm trying to sort it out)