The piece I am most proud of

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I searched for two years for a Sheraton/Federal style sideboard that would add an eclectic mix to my formal cherry dining room. I thought it might mix things up just enough that the dining room and living room would become a bit more casual and therefore be used more often. I finally found the piece I wanted driving up 495 after a summer trip to the beach on my old iPhone. I could hardly contain myself. It was about ten miles from me and I arranged to meet the lady to look at it the following day. It was ugly and beautiful – torn to pieces with such promise I could imagine that it would become exactly what I wanted it to be.

Despite the huge flaws – peeling veneers, cabinets that wouldn’t latch, a broken drawer rail, filthy faded blue velvet in the silverware drawer, among other cosmetic repairs that had to take place prior to painting it, I negotiated with her until we settled on a fair price. I drove it home. I drove like the wind and couldn’t wait to get started.


I pulled it out into the yard and began sanding it and washing it with TSP which is some seriously strong stuff. I broke apart the old drawers and glued the dovetails back together.


Working with the silverware drawer was trickier than I thought and I had to pick my brother’s brain about how to carefully break it apart and rebuild it. The velvet in the bottom of the old drawer was very dirty and the thought of putting my silverware on top of it gave me the heebie jeebies – even though I tried to focus on the thought of preservation, I still couldn’t do it. My husband suggested hunter green velvet which I tracked down at the fabric store and glued in place. You’ll get a glimpse of the finished image soon…


It took about three coats of Zinser primer because the red of the original stain kept bleeding through. My good buddy, Larry, who is the founder of Custom Hope Chests of Virginia, suggested I continue coating it with layers of primer and eventually it would be enough to cover it. Finally, it was ready for its first coat of color. I used a flat paint in ‘Faux’, which is a nice shade of cream.


Each time I added a coat of paint, I sanded the entire sideboard with either 220 grit fine sandpaper or steel wool to make sure there were no ridges, bumps, dust, or peeling paint. For a pop of color inside, since my husband suggested hunter green for the drawer liner, I chose an olive green to paint the inside of the cabinets.
As soon as I felt like the paint had adhered and I arrived at the right color and texture, I sanded edges to rough it up using an electric sander and 100 grit rough sandpaper. I worked in a water based stain with a literally hand rubbed finish. I rubbed the entire sideboard with stain like it was being lotioned up and gradually removed parts of the color to settle in the gentle grains of the paint.
The project took me about a week in the blistering summer heat. I’d paint a coat of something and head inside to some cool air before I’d venture out for another step. I am beside myself with how it came out. Anyone who stops by has to see it and I always open the silverware drawer to show off the smooth velvet lining.
Once I got everything put back in place, I realized that the mirror above the sideboard no longer went with the room and had to be replaced; that is a post for another day.


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