This has happened to me a few times before and always ends up as the same sad story. I see a piece and have a specific “look” that I am striving for. In my haste to create that look, I don’t listen to the actual piece. The French Vanity is a case in point. I had the idea of a shiny top and a bottom finished in layers with Annie Sloan Florence as the final finish.
Mistake Number One. Always do the top first and use it as a starting point. I sanded down the top and it had a great honey tone to it. The honey color didn’t play well with Florence. I decided to put a coat of stain on that had a redder tone to complement the paint color. Wrong! Always play off the wood tone and take it from there.
Mistake Number Two. If it looks great – leave it. I put on the initial coat of Louis Blue as a base coat and it looked great. It fit the piece. However, I had it in my mind that I was going for Florence and so… on it went right over the perfect blue! It didn’t look nearly as good.
Mistake Number Three. If it doesn’t work, forget it. I wasn’t happy with Florence so I decided to add a wash and wax to see if I could salvage it. I spent hours trying to force it to look “right”. I really should have repainted it from the beginning.
I need to remember to go with the piece and not force it.
Here it is yesterday – opposite to what I had envisioned. I really didn’t like the red/green combo!
Here it is today. It’s looking great now and I am really pleased. However, it’s taken a ton more work and a day longer than it should have. The good news is that by trying different colors and stains, I’ve hit upon a great combo. A lighter blue over the Florence that creates a rather aged or shabby look but is paired with a shiny, more elegant top.
Much better! More calming and pleasing to the eye.
I hope to finish it today and post the before and after tomorrow!
Much better. And what makes you great at what you do is that you recognized that the colors weren’t working and kept working until you got it right! I’ve painted and listed several pieces and then gone back and made changes just because they didn’t feel right. You have to follow your gut!
Can’t wait to see it tomorrow! It’s looking fantastic!! I also find that if something doesn’t seem to be working, to sit on it a few days. It doesn’t usually look any better 3 days later, but my patience is calmed and I’ve become less emotional about it and can really look at the piece to see how to make it better.
ps… I see you changed your picture 🙂 Both are gorgeous.
Thank god! It’s not just me! I thought I was the only one that seemed to always make things difficult! Thanks for sharing your mistakes.
Wow, love the softer color! This is going to turn out gorgeous! I can’t wait to see it finished! With the soft curved lines of this piece, the lighter soft color is much more suited to it. Good job!
Oh thank heavens you are human after all! Ha ha. For a while there I thought we’d have to buy you a cape! 🙂 Suzanne, I am utterly encouraged when I know, being a newby in this world of furniture refinishing, when I’m making my mistakes, on some rare occasions, I’ll be making my mistakes along with the best of them! Thanks so much for sharing this!
The desk is just beautiful. I have some Louis Blue in stock….. just looking for a likely candidate. Hmm……
Have a great night, Liz. 🙂
Gorgeous – love the color. I would love to have a vanity like that.
I think it’s absolutely beautiful, in color, in design, in the lovely French appeal of the piece. This will be a heart breaker to sell, it would look lovely in your house
I have done what you first did and tried to salvage it and guess what I had to start over. Even though it was annoying and time consumming I am still glad that I took the time to get it right. It looks great now!
cassie @ primitive & proper
i think we have all learned lessons like this before! gorgeous piece!
It looks fantastic now, and I like the mesh doors. Who made this, do you know?
My goodness thank you so much for this post! I worked all day on a metal cabinet that I SWORE should have been painted Duck Egg when really it just need a fresh coat of white. I was so mad at myself for not listening to the piece and super frustrated I wasted tons of time. Glad you salvaged yours. It’s going to be beautiful! Coco
Oh, Coco. This vanity has almost been the death of me. Taken SO long and honestly, I still need to put the last coat of wax on but was too tired and posted the pics anyway. Long week!
Love it……the lighter color is beautiful! What color did you use to lighten it. Also like that you painted the grills and inside.
Agreed! Nice Job!
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Much better now Suzanne. Oh girl do I know what you’re talking about! These pieces do speak to us and I’ve learned it’s always better to get the hell out of the way and just listen. Can’t wait to see the reveal!
It looks great,you really are good at what you do to pieces of furniture. I would say you have a gift.
Thank you, Marlene.
I think you made the best decision on the color change. I agree that sometimes you invision a piece going one direction and the piece wants to of another. Been there done that. As alawys you are making it work and come to a sparkling new life.
Yes, I certainly have changed my mind many times on this one. I totally messed it up by staining the top before the paint. I should have known better! I think I hit on the right combo (finally)…
It’s beautiful, and I appreciate your tips. Sometimes you have to go with the flow!