Evening Plum Delight//a true labour of love

By Door Thirty Four in Orpington, Kent, GB

I pounced on this sideboard as soon as I saw it in the shop - and then I left it. For months. Maybe even over a year. I just couldn't face all the hard graft. And then a gorgeous sunny day came and I decided it was time. I quickly wished that I'd left it in the garage because it was tough. It needed soooo much more repair work than I initially thought and it was actually in a really bad way. The broken drawers handles had even been fixed into place with bathroom sealant!

With pieces such as this, I like to take them apart as much as possible to make it easier to work with and get a nice finish ; the doors, the top two planks, the huge mirror at the back, all the broken little bits in the drawers. By the time I had stripped it down, including all the pieces that needed repairing, there were 23 bits. Twenty three bits. I counted them three times, all the way down to the tiny piece of trim from a corner of the mirror. Needless to say that cleaning and sanding it all took a long time but it was a great surprise to find such beautiful wood grain under the filty top planks. I decided to keep these natural and brought them back to life with some layers of Briwax. That was the easy bit!

Spread all about the workshop I primed each bit and then started with the evening plum. I had been eyeing this colour up for months and finally took the plunge and ordered some. As soon as I saw it on the sideboard I knew it was a wonderful choice - not purple and not pink - it is rich and elegant and I was totally in love. It took a few coats but I didn't mind. Seeing it go from extreme shabby to crisp and sleek was awesome. And it was even a joy to put it all back together again. Whilst it's tricky work sometimes, taking things apart and making repairs, I just love finding the original maker's marks, pencil calcuations, marks & mistakes. Signatures and names. Such joy.

My mum was shocked. She had loved this piece when I first found it and she couldn't believe the change. It was all I could do to tear her away from stroking the smooth wooden top! Whilst I found it quite difficult to photograph in the grey cloudy light, it was a literal overnight success. I listed it for sale one evening and woke up the next morning to find that it had been snapped up. I am very proud of this piece. It doesn't matter that people don't see all the painstaking work that is often involved. The sweat and tears, the sore hands, the indecisions and worries. But they do see a beautiful piece of furniture. I strongly believe that the unseen effort and labour, together with all the countless minutes and hours, does actually show through in the piece. All the love you pour into your work is clearly evident in the finish. And it is worth it.  


Project Category

Upcycling Merit CategoriesThe Show Must Go On

Products Used

  • General Finishes 'evening plum' milk paint
  • General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in satin
  • Blackfriars Problem Solving Primer
  • Briwax natural clear wax

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