January 31, 2014

Why I Want to Paint The Buffet & 5 Things I Learned in January

This picture of the buffet in the previous post caused a bit of stir. Can I explain why I want to paint this piece?  

In above picture, the buffet somehow managed to look gorgeous with its mahogany glory. But in reality, it looks more like this...

It has nicks and scrapes all over the piece. And the varnish is really worn out. It just doesn't look great as is, which is hard to tell from yesterday's pictures. That explains why I only paid $75 for it. Keeping its original finish is not an option. 

So, I need to either paint it or refinish it with stain. I've done enough refinishing work, and I know this one is going to be a challenge with all the details, which are also falling apart. If I ever want to refinish this with stain, I probably need to have it professionally stripped.

There's something I want you to know about me: I am a big fan of antique and vintage furniture. I enjoy the history behind antique pieces and I respect the craftsmanship.

That helps me be very careful when I choose a piece to paint. I think some furniture pieces are okay to paint, while others should never be painted. For example, I will never, ever think of painting any of my favorite antique pieces, such as...

my Chinese plant stand, which is over 100 years old. It has all these cherry blossom details, which I love. It has a repair mark on one of the legs, and the finish is not perfect. But, there is something very special about this piece. I would never put my paint brush on it, ever

I would also never paint this antique commode in our guest bedroom from 1820s. This also has some damages (no wonder, it's almost 200 years old!), but I love the craftsmanship I see in this piece. Beautiful burled wood, all these intricate details that are very representative of the era.

I'm not done decorating here, but this is how it looks like today.

I also have a very old rustic chest of drawers in our master bedroom, which is probably over a 100 years old. That is also a very special piece to me regardless of its imperfections, and I'm currently working on restoring it.

But, I can't deny that I enjoy painting furniture too, especially now that I am getting my hands on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. But that's only when I come across the right piece that I think will shine with a coat of paint.

And if I ever try to paint a furniture piece that's gorgeous, precious, and shouldn't be painted, Steve would be the first person to stop me. My mother-in-law taught him how to appreciate and restore antique furniture, and Steve and I both enjoy antiques. Did I tell you what awesome husband and mother-in-law I have? 

This doesn't mean that I've set my mind on painting the buffet. I think it all comes down to which suits my personal style best, painted or stained, and also what kind of feeling/mood I want to create in this room. You got me really thinking, friends. And I LOVE it! I will have to sleep on it and let you know when I decide. Well, it might take a while... because you know, I'm indecisive like that. 
Now moving onto the next topic: 5 Things I learned in January.

Last month, I linked up to Emily at chatting at the sky for "what we learned in December" and it was so much fun. I know Emily is not doing a linky this month, but I couldn't help but write down my five from this month. 

Here are 5 things I learned in January in no particular order: 

1) I really enjoy hosting a party even when my house looks like a construction zone. 
People who come over to your house don't care whether or not your house is perfect. It's more important to start living when life is not perfect (because life will never be perfect!) instead of trying to make things perfect. A big lesson learned.

2) I love becoming part of the blogger community.  
My blogger friend Stephen Andrew, and my blog mentor, Janet at The Gardener's Cottage, make me feel I am part of the blogger community. I really enjoy getting to know fellow bloggers, and establish friendships with them. Thank you, bloggers, for being so amazing!

image via so much sunshine

3) Comments from readers are what keep me writing. 
It's a lot of work to write a decent blog post, but reading a kind comment from you makes me want to write another post. I read and appreciate every single comment you have left on this blog - Thank you!

4) Every time my 2-year-old gets sick (this time, a stomach virus), he ends up getting an ear infection as well (this time, a double ear infection). 
That means, he is usually sick for over a week. Poor little guy. And he would be fussy all week long. Poor mommy.

5) Taking a good care of myself is not a luxury, but it's a necessity. 
When you look good, you feel good. Even taking a shower daily makes a big difference on our mood. It's really important to do something special just for yourself, no matter how small it is. That little kindness towards yourself gives you a break you need on a dreary day.

Emily wrote 10 things she learned in January from her trip to Uganda, Africa as part of her Compassion blogger ministry. Would you hop over there to take a look? You won't regret reading this.
10 Things I Learned in January: Uganda Edition by Emily Freeman

What did you learn in January? I'd love to hear about it.

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. I love my painted furniture and I'm sticking to my (spray paint) guns :)
    But all the stuff I paint is pretty much worthless. I think if you see something sad and lonely in an antique store or family storage unit that you'd want to use if it were painted, then it's just fine to paint. I caused a family controversy when I painted chairs I had been given. They were from the late 1800s and I painted them lacquered lavender. I stand by it. I think the beauty of antiques is that they live on. Whatever has to be done to a piece for it to live on and not be replaced with something new, I say is a good call.
    That being said it's not that I dislike stained furniture. I like it very much. But if I had to label my interior design I would call it something vulgar like "cocaine granny". I love a trippy, disco take on traditional.
    I enjoyed your 5 things very much. And thank you! I totally agree, blogging is so much more fun when you feel a part of the community. Even though I often am intimidated to post my random things when there is so much incredibly high quality content out there like your blog!
    My 5 things for January:
    1. After finishing my taxes yesterday I am ashamed beyond belief in myself for just how much money I let slip through my fingers last year. Time to tighten the purse strings. Or burn the purse, maybe.
    2. I need to blog more from my computer than my phone. It's way easier from my phone, but lower quality.
    3. I'm thankful for my tight, honest family. A good friend's family (who is almost like my own) unraveled over the course of a few days from years of lies. I was shocked and it's a terrible thing to see.
    4. I owe baby's breath an apology. For years I have rolled my eyes at it. I still dislike it with roses, but all on its own I like it very much.
    5. Always keep backup backup ingredients for a snowstorm. I burned through one round of my freezer last weekend in the snowstorm and wished I had more. This goes for dry goods like flour and wet goods like vodka. Apparently everyone knows my house is where you want to be in a storm.

    1. To paint or not to paint really is up to your personal style. That being said, if we paint a piece of furniture just because it's trendy now, we might regret that decision later. I think learning and developing your own personal style is a journey, and I think I am still refining my own style. Are you going to share your lavender chairs on your blog? I'd love to see them :)
      Thanks for sharing your 5! I really enjoy reading them. #3 made me smile. #4 - yes, I don't like them with roses either, but when I adorned a white pine garland with some baby's breath for Christmas, it was perfect.

    2. Haha maybe, probably not. I would have to do some work to them to make them photo ready. But I agree with you. And you have fabulous style. I am always in awe of people who can make minimal look warm and inviting.

  2. After reading this post i am totally convinced that whether you decide to paint or not it will look fantastic!

    1. Thank you!!! I hope you come back and see what I decide to do with the buffet. ox

  3. thanks yuko for the sweet mention. i understand your decision to paint and i support it.
    what i learned this month is that i want to get caught in a snowstorm with stephen andrew.

    1. Oh no, Janet, I haven't quite decided yet! Without your and others' comments, I wouldn't have even thought of refinishing the buffet, so it's a great thing. I really have to re-envision the room and know how I want the room to be, so that I can make the right decision in the end :) And now everyone knows Stephen Andrew has the best stocked pantry in Cleveland.


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