Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The never-ending project

A couple of years ago our friends The Newlyweds were preparing to move and wanted to get rid of a few items. Knowing we had a beach house (at that time), they offered us a cool, old Victrola cabinet that could double as a night stand or side table. Although the olive green faux paint treatment was dreadful, the lines of the cabinet were beautiful, and we imagined a hundred different ways to re-do the generous gift.

In case you're wondering, this is what a Victrola cabinet looks like.

We decided to use the Victrola cabinet as a night stand in the master bedroom of our beach house. We had a bright, colorful daisy theme ("Crazy Daisy") in that room so we decided to paint the cabinet to match the bright pink, yellow, orange, blue, and lime green of the comforter, pillows, and curtains.

On a spring weekend at the beach house we started with the bright pink paint on the top of the cabinet, but soon discovered it wasn't going to cover that dreadful olive faux paint treatment.

The next weekend we came back with a can of primer, and Spouse & I gave the cabinet a coat to block out the previous color. After it dried we attempted the bright pink again, but it still wouldn't produce a nice even coverage. We got a little discouraged and left the cabinet in the garage for over a year.

In Jan of 2007 we were emptying the beach house of our belongings in preparation for the renters to move in, and moved the Victrola cabinet to our new house. As soon as we got settled into our new house we realized we weren't going to re-use the "Crazy Daisy" linens and color scheme, nor was the Victrola cabinet going to be used as a night stand. Instead it was going to be a stand for Spouse to place his work bag on in the living room when he came home in the evening.

So we applied more primer to cover the bright pink, and decided on a new color scheme. Since our living room is burgundy and gold, and our house is a Victorian reproduction, we thought the cabinet might look good with a black and gold 'crackle' look. We painted the entire cabinet black, applied a coat of the crackle medium, then painted the entire thing metallic gold, and waited for the magic to happen!

Ummm, no magic. Unfortunately, we learned after the fact that the crackle medium does not work with metallic paints. So instead of having metallic gold with lots of black crackling through, we simply had a bright metallic gold Victrola cabinet, worthy of a prominent place in Liberace's home.

On another weekend we decided to try again using a non-metallic paint as the top coat. So we applied another coat of the crackle medium on top of the metallic gold, then painted the entire thing with non-metallic burgundy. The desired effect would be burgundy with gold crackling through.

Well, it sorta worked, in some places. We followed the directions to the letter, but only some parts of the cabinet crackled, and the veins were very thin. From 10 feet away it just looked like we did a very bad job trying to paint it solid burgundy.

Unhappy with the results and feeling a bit deflated, Spouse decided to try his hand at embellishing the semi-unsuccessful crackle. He dabbed some of the gold paint onto the cabinet with a brush, in an attempt to have "more gold showing". Random metallic gold blotches adorned the cabinet in a most unflattering way. It looked as if the goose that laid the golden egg had flown over and dropped its golden shit on the cabinet!

The next day I took another brush and lightly brushed more burgundy paint over the gold shit blotches. At least it looked better than it did the day before, and decent enough to sit in our living room for the next 8 months or so.

Two weekends ago I borrowed my neighbor's hand-held belt sander and went to town on the Victrola cabinet. I wasn't trying to sand it down to the bare wood, but rather, to get rid of the multiple layers of paint and crackle medium. Remember, 1st we painted it pink, then primed it, then painted it pink again, then primed it again, then painted it black, then applied crackle medium, then painted it gold, then applied crackle medium again, then painted it burgundy, then the gold goose shit, then the burgundy to cover the gold goose shit. That's 10 coats.

This passed weekend I used a hand scraper to get more of the layers of paint and crackle medium off, and then used sand paper to smooth out all the remainder. Then next day I painted the entire thing with 2 coats of matte black (no sheen) and declared "That's it - no more!" (Really, 12 coats should be enough, shouldn't it?)

Fortunately Spouse & I love the way it turned out. The solid, matte black really allows the graceful lines of the Victrola cabinet to show without competing against a 2-tone crackle finish. I'd post a photo of the finished project, but our digital camera is broken.

The very last step is to put on the new door pulls this evening. Finally, an end to the never-ending project!

Crush du Jour: Gabriel Soto


cb said...

You know... that was a shitload of work for, well... for THAT.

Jeff said...

Wow. Nice basket! Er... I mean cabinet!

Holy dying Moses, though, that WAS a lot of work!


David Dust said...

Mr. Soto needs his OWN cabinet for whatever it is he's carrying in his pants! Wow!

Wait, what was this post about again?...a record player or something?? Sorry, I got distracted.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that the Newlyweds didn't paint it the dreadful green color, but they got it for free and it came that way. picture of the finished project.

Oh and since eveyone else said it, nice package on your crush du jour.

Mark in DE said...

cb, Jeff: You're right, it was a LOT of work. Honestly, if I'd have known from the beginning how much, I likely wouldn't have done it.

Michael: Good point - the Newlyweds were not responsible for that dreadful olive faux paint treatment. There's no photo because our digital camera is broken. I'll try to get a friend to take a pic and send it to me to post.