before and after

I found this little goodie for 120 chf. It had been marked down 100chf just that morning. It is hard to tell you with words how massive these old pieces of furniture are. It weighs A LOT! the wood is thick and solid. There are 4 locking drawers, 5 locking upper cabinets and 4 locking lower cabinets.


It had a strange splattery orangey slightly tacky “mess” of something on the finish. It does not show up in these photos, and in fact the wood inlays etc. really had me feeling guilty about painting it. However I knew that I was not going for a “swiss challet” interior look and hoped that I could make this storage treasue a cute match for the table I also bought at the local thrift shop on a different visit. I struggled to clean off the gunk, but every time I painted a coat of white, the orange came through. I read somewhere that if the finish comes through that you should coat it with a clear finish and try again. I coated it with a polyurathane product I purchased here and tried again- it helped but did not completely solve the problem. In the end the random bleed-through added a little age and character to the piece.


I can’t wait to get it filled up and looking perfect.

DSC_3958From the beginning I knew that I wanted the top of the table and the top of the hutch to match with a beautiful wood finish. This required a lot of work stripping and sanding. We had some trial-and-error set-backs with using different stains and finishes here in Switzerland. We were first sold and eco friendly product, and people we tried to be environmentally friendly; we re-sanded, we re-stained, and tried again and it just never looked good. It was streaky and had some strange absorption problems. I abandon the Eco friendly approach and sought out a “normal” chemically enhanced version- It worked great! Our home was turned into a workshop for the large part of 3 weeks.The last 3 days were the most chaotic. Proof of the mess below.


Coco spend long mornings in here pajamas. She miraculously entertained herself with a game of sorry with her stuffed animals ~ guess we were all feeling creative!


Once again we used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. We ordered 2 small containers of “old white” and still have some left, even after 6 chairs, a big hutch and a table base. Not bad. The only downsides to the product are cost and availability. I had to pay a large shipping cost on top of a cost of about 40chf per can! It was worth it for sure- I hate all the stripping and sanding. And so do my Swiss neighbors (I heard about their complaining when the apartment management paid me a visit… try and be clam, try not to say anything bad about them…).

Spartacus and I make a great team. For projects like this there is an unspoken understanding that he will handle the wood staining and the hardware and I will do the painting. I love paint, I love paint brushes, love the smell, (some people complain about ASCP- I find it to be boring and orderless… nothing like spray paint:) I love the colors and the layers and at the end I love the distressing. In my last post I referred to Blue Egg Brown Nest for tutorials on using the ASCP. I don’t think I have anything to add regarding the painting, waxing, and distressing process. Although I will say that I did not tape over any glass or keyholes. Because the paint is like chalk or plaster once dry, I used a razorblade and cleaned the glass easily and quickly after. Can you imagine taping off all these corners and rounded panes? I hand-painted around the keyholes so that the inlay-ed wood and locks remained original (I loved that little detail).


Spartacus is supplying us with the valuable tip for the project:

When you remove hardware- number it in a way that you can put it back together EXACTlY like it was. ESPECIALLY when working with handmade antique furniture. We learned this the hard way. It’s a little hard to explain but each piece is fitted in slightly different- each door had to fit EXACTLY like it was in order to shut and to lock. Each hinge is carved out slightly differently and sits ever so slightly deeper or more shallow onto the wood. It was like a watching a lone contestant on survivor try and solve a puzzle. 18 hinges later the hutch was finished!


This project will eventually be for sale but I hope to enjoy it for a while first! Send lots of great comments! Is it looking a little french country?