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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

To Remove or Not to Remove

It's now an accepted fact among antique aficionados that refinishing a piece can greatly diminish its market value.

Long gone are the days of stripping off old paint to get down to bare wood and then laying on a nice new coat of varnish. Instead, terms such as "original surface" or "original paint" or "attic surface" now carry a lot of cachet.

Knowing all of that, I recently faced a dilemma over what to do with a little finial that likely came off an antique curtain rod. As you see in the photo, on one part of the finial is a smear of white paint, which probably got there when someone painted the wall behind the curtain rod.

For better or worse, I decided to leave the smear of paint because removing it would probably do more harm to the underlying original finish than leaving things as they are. Maybe the smear will be unacceptable to some potential buyers, maybe not.

But at least they know it's "original finish" on the finial and not cosmetically cleaned up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Some Outstanding Recognition

As you probably know, I use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® for my LeFinials projects. The recent article on my work posted on the blog of the Portland design shop The Purple Pear caught the attention of the folks at Annie Sloan Unfolded. They're the American distribution network for the well-known, Britain-based Annie Sloan company.

Apparently the Annie Sloan people visited this blog and also did a tweet regarding my LeFinials Etsy shop, which I'm just getting launched.

My sincere appreciation goes to Phyllis and Amanda at The Purple Pear and to the people at Annie Sloan Unfolded for giving me a sensational boost to my new little business!

Monday, June 16, 2014

An Antique Pink Flame Finial

This unusual antique finial is 10 inches tall and one of a group of five I was able to locate and purchase. I've refurbished them in elegant, decorative colors and attached each one to its own handmade base, adding another two inches in height.

From the moment I first spotted the finials, I found the striking due to their height, shape and carved details. I've used a similar treatment on all five. The finials and bases are all painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® and treated with her dark and clear waxes to maintain the vintage appeal while keeping the finish quite understated.

This particular finial, as an example, is painted in Annie Sloan's Antoinette pink, while the base has an undercoat of Duck Egg Blue, covered with Old White, which is distressed to enable the blue to come through at key points of wear.

This one is available for $45 on my LeFinials Etsy Shop. As I mention in the description: "The overall effect is elegant and understated ~ a perfect touch of compelling colors for a shelf or table-top arrangement. Keep in mind that this finial is a foot tall and worthy of thoughtful display."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wow! LeFinials is Featured

I'm very honored to be featured on The Purple Pear's blog in a post highlighting a cabinet I refurbished using Annie Sloan's paints. Over the years, I've relied on The Purple Pear for literally all of my Annie Sloan paints, waxes and brushes  . . . .

. . . Plus some really excellent design books on interior styles and painting methods . . . .

. . . Plus excellent tips ~ based on real-world experience ~ from proprietor Phyllis deVries on color choices and techniques. Both my wife Christine and I adore Phyllis and her shop on NE Glisan Street in Portland.

Here's the link to the blog post relating to my work: Refurbishing a Radio Cabinet. And here's the link to The Purple Pear's website: The Purple Pear.

My sincere gratitude to Phyllis for giving me such great publicity!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

One of My Refurbished Cabinets

Here's an antique radio cabinet I recently refurbished. It's available at The Purple Pear in Portland.

I enjoyed working on this piece, which involved Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®, specifically Duck Egg Blue and Old White, plus Annie Sloan's clear and dark waxes to achieve the mildly aged patina.

Top photo shows the cabinet on display, while this one shows detail of the aged gold embellishment on the front of the cabinet.

Monday, June 9, 2014

French Blue Flame Finial

This flame-style finial is painted an aged blue, with a pinkish base, offering distinctly French appeal. It's 10 inches tall, on a 2-inch base, elegant and understated. Price $45.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Unusual Circular Shape Finial

This 6-inch tall finial on a 2-inch base has an unusual shape, fitting perhaps on the end of a curtain rod. It has its original paint, which is chipped in places and there some damage toward the very top of the finial. The base in in pink and green, and is aged appropriately. Price $27.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Inspiration: Faded Grandeur

I've been pleased during the past couple of decades to see a growing appreciation for furnishings marked by age. Beauties such as this pink door in Havana add faded grandeur to our surroundings. Yes, there's a hint ~ sometimes more than a hint ~ of melancholia in the cracked and peeling paint, but the effect can be unquestionably pleasing. This is the effect I work to preserve in my finials and refurbished furniture pieces.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Inspiration: A Genius at Patina

I study patinas and am especially intrigued with the aging that occurs on old, ornate pieces ~ from the worn-off paints to deep verdigris on metals. It's no wonder I was artistically stunned when I recently discovered the finishes created by French artist and decorator Elise Valdorcia, who now lives in Provence.

From reading about Elise, I know she creates some of the forms herself using cartapesta, a particular form of papier-mache. She also uses polychrome, gold leaf, paper, wax, linen, glass and plaster. Beyond that, all I know is that her artwork on furniture and furnishings is impeccable.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rare Victorian Trimwork Finial

This marvelously aged finial has its original white, very weathered paint. It sits on a pink and cream-washed base for a dash of color. This finial is Sold.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Large Victorian Fence Finial

This Victorian-era finial is from an exterior fence post. It's large and substantial, at about a foot tall. I've attached its own 8-inch-square handmade base painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® deep olive. Both the finial and base are finished with her clear wax for a deepened patina. The antique finial still has its heavily weathered, cracked original white paint that emphasizes its age and endurance. This is a rare architectural element that makes an impressive display item for a shelf or table-top display. Available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ornate Finial with Weather-worn White Paint

This is the mate to another rare finial, showing extensive weathering like its peer. The base is a yellow and gold combination. This finial is Sold.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Small White Clock Finial

This finial likely was part of a tallcase clock's ornamentation. It is five inches tall and has a 2-inch base in a moderately deep shade of pink. The finial has its original white paint, chipped here and there from years of display. Price $22.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

An "Aged" Jelly Cupboard

I experimented with various "aging" techniques on this jelly cupboard, eventually achieving a warm, weathered look on a pinkish background. People have commented favorably on the results, giving the piece the patina of an antique while the color is more shabby-contemporary. I used Annie Sloan's Antoinette pink and a blend of her clear and dark waxes. This piece is Sold.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Small, Ornate White Finial

At only 4 inches tall, this little finial still offers an ornate and elaborate design. Its original white paint is chipped here and there, and the olive green stand shows a hint of distressing. Price $22.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Repainted Finial with Red Base

This 5-inch finial is repainted with a blue wash over its original chipped white surface. It sits on a handmade base 3.5 inches square in a bold red. Price $26.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Inspiration: A Rare Palette

Sometimes years of weather exposure and man's neglect can result in subtle shades of faded paint that are extraordinarily compelling. It would've been a rare artist who would intentionally create the palette that's displayed by this wall, window, and ledge in Rome.