My grandmother had a vanity with an attached mirror and a little stool. It was well made of indeterminate solid wood, finished in dark to medium brown, with tongue and groove drawers and a bit of spooling detail down the front. I inherited the vanity 23 years ago. It was well over 60 years old, and not in perfect condition. I thought of turning it into a very traditional vanity with a cloth skirt, glass top etc. which would have worked well in our previous home as we had the perfect spot and decor to suit, but I never got around to it.
Then we downsized, and the vanity ended up like so many of our "can't bear to get rid of this" pieces in the basement of our cottage. This past fall I brought 'her' (funny how we sexify inanimate objects....my grandmother once had a car she called 'Betsy') home to our small upstairs hall, hoping to use her as a desk. She was minus the mirror as I had detached it many years earlier and it now resides in our small master bath at the cottage. But the original finish of Gramma's vanity was not doing it for me or the space.
A few of my decorator friends were painting furniture and had talked of spraying instead of painting with a brush to get a smoother finish. Soooo back she went to the cottage, this time to the garage with a new sprayer in tow, to await her eventual transformation. I proceeded to cover surrounding surfaces in drop cloths then went to work prepping the original finish....sanding, cleaning and priming.
When I'm working on a project, I'm sometimes all about the reveal as opposed to the process. In this case though, I knew I had to get the spray to the perfect consistency. I'm NOT mechanically inclined...I really like doing things by hand...so I practiced...and then practiced some more.
Then I started to spray....it was awesome how the transformation was almost immediate as much of the surface was covered, albeit lightly in the new colour. I was getting excited....my grandmother, if alive, would have felt 'discombobulated' (her favourite word)...she would NEVER have thought, let alone attempted to tamper with a perfectly good piece of furniture.
As I was spraying layer after layer I was starting to fall in love with the colour. She was morphing from a vanity to a desk before my eyes. I was imagining this new and improved 'desk' in her eventual new home, with the new lamp that I had bought ...accompanied by a funky chair that I hope to purchase to complete the ensemble. I kept spraying.
Now, does it really matter that the garage floor, the trailer hitch, a few hand tools and a snowmobile licence plate are all speckled in blue paint? I think not.
When I brought her home, I just knew that I couldn't attach the original knobs. I wanted to dress her up with jewlery...so I bought Murano Glass knobs with a cobalt blue centre....they are perfect.
Here she is.....
......isn't she pretty and much more useful now as a desk than she was hibernating in the cottage basement.
Moral to this story....do not be intimidated to transform a piece of furniture by painting or altering it's original function. The value of the piece is what YOU make it.