The Empire Strikes Back

Sometimes things are just meant to be, and it’s such a great feeling.

A few months ago, my heart almost stopped when I saw this piece on Craigslist. I LOVE empire style pieces, and this one just had so much character. However, my garage and workshop were filled to the brim and I was in the middle of a buying moratorium, so I shed a silent tear and tried to move on.

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A day later, I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. I decided to at least write the seller so she could tell me that it was sold and I could forget about it. She wrote back and told me that unfortunately someone would be picking it up that weekend. With a bit of a heavy heart, I told her to let me know if that fell through because I was just the tiniest bit obsessed with this piece.

Lo and behold, another day went by, and the lovely seller wrote me to tell me that my finger crossing had worked and the other buyer fell through! I couldn’t believe my luck. This piece had been in her family since the early 80s when her parents bought it in upstate New York and her mother had refinished it. She very sweetly told me she knew it would be in good hands with me and couldn’t wait to see what I did with it. I’ve bought and sold a lot of things on Craigslist, but this was one of my favorite transactions yet. Lots of warm fuzzies.

From the moment I saw this piece, I knew it needed to be white. While it looked heavy and a little dated in its current state, I knew that with the “right” white, it could definitely pass for modern farmhouse. I decided to use Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Farmhouse White, a deliciously perfect, creamy white. I knew with the current finish I would be taking a bit of a gamble since it was so shiny and had orange undertones, but I figured it was worth a shot. I didn’t mind if it ended up being a little chippy, and there’s just something about the creamy finish of milk paint that can’t be beat. Unfortunately, that didn’t work so well. The tannins in the current finish were just too dang strong for the milk paint and I had tons of yellow bleed through, despite many coats of shellac. I was starting to feel discouraged, because I really wanted that non-opaque richness that milk paint provides, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen. After several coats of the Miss Mustard Seed, I switched to General Finishes Milk Paint (which, if you’ve read my other posts you know is not actually milk paint) in Antique White. Much to my delight, it only took one coat to seal in the tannins, but that one coat was not so thick that it made for an opaque finish. A lot of the creaminess from the Miss Mustard Seed still came through. After a bit of distressing, I sealed the entire piece in Miss Mustard Seed White Wax and papered the drawers.

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As I mentioned before, some things are meant to be. A week or so after I posted this piece for sale, I was contacted by someone who wanted to come look at it. I was excited to send it off to a good home, but when she came to look at it, she decided that it was too small for what she needed and she wasn’t a big fan of some of the details. I was a little bummed, but figured it wasn’t meant to be and was then contacted by someone else soon after. The next day, the LOVLIEST couple came to look at it, and they fell in love with it the same way I did. Not only that, but it turns out that we have a lot in common and they live only a few blocks away from us! So in addition to this piece going to a sweet new home, my husband and I also made some new friends – and what could be better than that? I love a happy ending, and this one just couldn’t be happier. ā¤

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