Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bureau tutorial

I have finished this antique bureau I fell in love with at an antique store.  Each piece I do,  I learn a lesson.  This time the lesson is to leave antique hardware as is! Don't try to "clean it up"!

The hardware when I bought the piece was quite dark.  Similar in color to the mahogany veneer on the bureau.  The bureau is not solid mahogany.  I thought the hardware was "dirty" but as it turns out it was brass hardware that had "aged or oxidized" over time. 

When I cleaned up the brass with brass cleaner it did work well and restored the hardware to it's original yellowish gold shiny brass.  The problem is it looked too new to go on the old bureau and the yellowish color did not look good at all with the Annie Sloan chalk paint in "Paris Grey."

So, as much as I did not want to, I painted the hardware.  It looks good and fits well with the piece but I would have preferred the way it was originally.  That is ok, lesson learned!

love the little flower basket hardware-I have never seen hardware like this.  They don't make things like they used to!
The bureau also had cracked veneer.  I repaired this with wood filler and a pliable putty knitfe.  It was missing a piece of decorative molding as well.  I could not find the exact same molding but did purchase a piece that would work at Home Depot.  I don't mind at all that the piece is not "perfect" or matched in every way. I think that adds to the charm sometimes.  Restoring is not an EXACT science is it?

Not sure yet if this one is a keeper. I think I will sell it! It was a LOT of work but it is a pretty piece and for the most part fun to work on!  
I gave the piece two coats of "Paris Grey" and then gave it a coat of clear wax.  The second coat of wax I mixed with some "Aubusson Blue".  It gave the piece some dimension and the color has a bit of a blue cast and i think the tinted wax gives the piece a little dimension. 

I then added some pure white paint (Behr) and highlighted all the details and the hardware.  That was a little too bright white so I decided to do a sparse color wash with the grey. i mixed a little of the "Paris Grey" with some water and lightly went over parts of the hardware. 

Not sure yet if this one is a keeper. I think I may sell it! It was a LOT of work but it is a pretty piece and for the most part fun to work on!


  1. Love the details on the is piece. I'm sure it will sell quickly if you decide you want to sell it. ;)

  2. Love the legs and the drawers inside. I think the painted hardware looks really good. Thanks for that advice though because I never would have known!

  3. Thank you Ann. Yes, I am happy with it and always good to learn while doing a project!