One of the things I love about the work of Kim Klassen is the elegant way she works with what I guess is referred to as “shabby chic” – where furniture is worn and used and rough around the edges but still provides an understated background for her work.
Its an aesthetic that is new to me, and slowly I am collecting props in my personal style that fit into that concept. The one thing I really wanted though, was a chair.
Except the native wood in NZ tends to have a distinct orange/yellow cast when finished, which I personally do not find attractive. Plus they are quite expensive as they tend to be hardwood, and good wooden furniture, whatever the age, is sought after, and priced accordingly.
Still I kept my eyes open, and noticed a fancy place that embraces the Nordic styling, but they had a broken chair on special. I thought the price was too expensive, given it was broken, but went back a few weeks later to see if it was still there, and was prepared to haggle the price.
Lo and behold, a black chair in the same style, broken in a better place (high up on the back support) and was the price I was prepared to pay, so it came home with me.
Pinterest was my friend with finding techniques for distressing furniture. What I ended up doing was sanding down to bare wood in the places I wanted it (edges and where natural wear would be) and then sanding back as much as the black as I could.
This was A LOT OF SANDING – and it was all done by hand. I probably went through 6-8 sheets of sandpaper. Its had roughly 3 coats of paint applied, and sanded back after each one..
I tried the vaseline technique and found it a waste of time, so just stuck with doing it the hard way with elbow grease and sandpaper 🙂 I wanted some black in there for interest and texture but overpainted with the white.
Because it ended up quite distressed, its a pretty rough job for my first go, but I’m not too bothered about it, the idea was that it looked used and worn around the edges. Certainly a good learning experience. Not sure that I will involve myself in another one, but I have my chair, which is supposed to be oak, but I think there is some pine in there – all told I spent around $50 plus many hours of sanding and mucking around to get it sorted.
This is the first photo featuring my special chair! Have you upcycled some furniture? Got some tips to share?