When to Paint and When to Restore? The piece that started Reclaim Dames!
by Sharon McKinley
I ask myself these questions every time I get a piece of antique furniture. If it is in pristine condition, like this corner cupboard that my maternal grandmother gave me and because it has sentimental value, I would never dream of painting it (even though I think it would look super cute painted).
There is also a story behind this cabinet. It was sitting in a shed for years with layers and layers of old paint. My grandmother lovingly scraped and removed all the paint and turned it into a beautiful piece of furniture that she later gave me when I bought my first house. No way could I paint it.
If a piece is in so-so condition, I access the value of the piece if it were restored versus the value of the piece repurposed. This piece was my paternal grandmother’s. For years, it sat in my parents' garage. My mother finally gave it to me and said I could do whatever I wanted with it! So I had some great ideas.
This piece was probably the bottom to an antique secretary that looked like this back in the day ...
until my grandmother got the crazy idea of cutting off the top! Thus, it ruined the piece as an antique and was no longer worth anything so I figured it would be okay to paint it. I painted it a high gloss black, painstakingly painted the keyholes with silver paint, and added silver handles. It totally changed the look.
I love the way it turned out. What antique pieces have you painted?
p.s. - the transformation of this dresser is how Reclaim Dames got its start!