Some of you will know I find comfort in upcycling. There is something deeply satisfying about taking a piece of furniture which is destined for landfill and giving it the kiss of life. I confess, I am actually a bit hooked. If I am not at my keyboard you will usually find me with a piece of sandpaper or a brush in my hand or browsing some selling site for another outcast. It all began with a moldy old towel rail. It then progressed to some crusty old garden furniture. Then Mr Smith started to get seriously concerned when he could see me eyeing up furniture around the house – with a glint in my eye.
So a week or so ago I hear a shout from the shed “do you want to have a go at painting this”. My little paint brush pricked its ears up. Did someone say paint? Off I go to discover a long forgotten cupboard. Oh I remember this. It was relegated to the shed after there was no more room inside the house. It had been through a couple of generations of our families, so we couldn’t throw it away. Instead it became the paint store for a wee while. But the time had now come. Surplus to requirements a decision had to be made. I smiled, crooked my little paint brush and said – “Come to mummy”….
Okay I accept it was going to be a challenge. It was a bit fusty, as we say in these parts. Someone had also taken a very liberal coat (a whole tin I expect) of gloss paint to the inside. And the outside had this rather thick toffee like coating of varnish or something. But that’s all superficial. A good bath, some serious exfoliation and a new suit would make all the difference.
Until now, my chalk paint projects have taken two days at the most. Courtesy of Frenchic! I refer you back to the towel rail story. It’s so delicious to work with, you simply don’t want to put the lid back on the tin. So here I am, faced with a pretty basic cupboard and a challenge to rejuvenate it. Optimistic, I set about stripping it back.
But the more I looked, the more I thought something wasn’t quite right. My memories of this cupboard were of a solid piece, mostly oak, which had graced a bedroom only two decades ago. Yet in reality the only solid wood was the top, frame and drawer fronts. Almost everything else was tinny plywood. The lumpy handles were discarded at the outset, but I was sure this once had a lovely drop handle on it. Was my memory so warped I had seen something way more valuable? It had gone to another family member I thought, before coming back to us. Had they really done this to a beautiful cupboard.
Mr Smith then mentioned something which triggered a memory. Cabriolet legs! Now even I know this cabinet has never even seen shapely legs, let alone wore them. The realisation began to dawn. This was not our cabinet. And here it was, sat in my workshop in its undies (that’s undercoat), awaiting a makeover. Okay, I thought, you need to talk, because I have absolutely no idea who you are.
And talk she did. Because of her I learnt how to use a drill, fit handles and rehang doors. Her restoration even had me hogging the orbital sander. She never let me give up. I admit, my love affair with upcycling did wane a little after day three, but I realised this poor abandoned creature was needing some TLC. Six days later (yes six long days) and her makeover is complete. She is now sitting in my workshop, all clean and fresh, booted and suited. Oozing confidence, she is a new woman – inside and out.
And did we ever discover anything more about this imposter? Actually, no. If only wood could talk. Imagine the tales she would, one day, tell of how a mistaken identity would save her from the scrap heap and give her a whole new life…