I am loving the look of raw wood lately. It is classic and goes with everything. I see more and more of it popping up in catalogs, decorating magazines, and Pinterest. It is a classic country look that style setting retailers have restyled to fit their brand.
Have you been in a Restoration Hardware store since they re-branded a few years ago? Going into the store is like stepping into a dark Film Noir set, but with lots of raw wood and silver mixed in for masculine appeal. Not the look I am after, but when I look past the branding and see something that truly inspires me – like a perfectly designed table, I take note!
I would never want the whole “manufactured perfection” of any style setting retailer – as it is someone else’s style. I don’t want Shake n’ Bake perfection – I want to create a home that is perfect only for me and my family’s life + style.
Taking a few bits and pieces that inspire me from retail style and putting my own stamp on them is what takes the “manufactured perfection” out of the equation.
After being inspired by a raw wood table the brand sells, I stripped my kitchen table recently. I do not like to strip furniture, it is much easier to paint, but to get the look I am after – furniture stripping is required. Having had success with the table along with the little voice in my head that kept telling me “Just Do It” has me in the process of stripping another hand-me down piece. I have improved upon my method and have a few furniture finishing tips to share with you.
Do you remember the post I did on creating your own furniture by combining two non-matching pieces?
I have used these two pieces in many different ways, but they have been in my kitchen like this for awhile. I love the glass fronted cabinet, but not the aged stain that has taken on an orange hue over the years.
I never painted it, because even though I love painted furniture, I also think there needs to be a mix of finishes to create a nice flow and appeal to the decor. Too much of one thing ends up looking like a furniture showroom.
Since I liked the burled design in the wood on the cabinet – it is the piece I chose to stay wood tone.
Recently I pinned the photo below along with many others of pieces with raw or natural wood finishes. They helped make my decision to – go for it! Why have inspiration boards if we are never going to take action and make the inspiration happen to make our style + life the way we envision?
Photo: Country Living
It can always be re-stained or repainted if I don’t like how it comes out, right?
I am not entirely finished with the cabinet, but I will show you how the process is going.
I know why I didn’t do a lot of furniture stripping in the past –it is smelly, messy and you need to be careful as the stripper is a powerful chemical. Since I still had some left from the brand I used for my kitchen table stripping project, I used it. If I am going to strip furniture again, I would look for a product that is more natural and not as harmful to humans and the environment. If anyone knows of a good brand, please share in the comments.
I took the cabinet out to my garage and placed it on a plastic shower curtain liner I bought at the dollar store. I opened the garage doors wide so there was plenty of ventilation and went to work.
- Wood Stain and Finish Stripper
- Eye protection – clear goggles
- Rubber gloves – thick ones or double up thin pairs.
- Scouring pad or steel wool
- Bucket of water
- Old paint brush
- Mineral Spirits
- Drop cloth or shower curtain
Make sure to wear eye protection, rubber gloves, long sleeves and pants. If the stripper touches your skin – it burns!
I used a rag and an old paint brush to apply the stripper to the cabinet. I let it do its work which took about 15 minutes. I then dipped a piece of steel wool into a bucket of water and scrubbed it over the wood until I removed all the stripper along with the stain/varnish gunk. I had to clean out the steel wool pad a few times in the bucket of water while I worked.
I did the drawers first and then worked on the cabinet. After finishing the process, I wiped everything down with mineral spirits to remove any stripper residue.
I brought the cabinet back inside to work on a few detailed areas that still had some stain on them. I put some foil down to protect the top of the sideboard the cabinet is on.
I brushed on a tiny bit of wood stripper, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then scrubbed it off with a wet SOS pad. I rinsed it off with a damp rag and let dry.
I am very excited about how it came out. I may add a coat of paste wax to bring out the patina of the wood. *To see some tips about how to care for an unfinished piece, check my post here.
As I mentioned earlier – stripping furniture is a messy job – the inside of the cabinet took a beating from the stripper. One step forward for this project and one step back. Nothing a sanding block and a fresh coat of paint can’t fix.
Back out to the garage again for the cabinet to get more clean-up and polish.
I will show you the completed AFTER soon. I am also giving the sideboard a little bit of a makeover, too. It won’t be its first.
Have you ever stripped a piece of furniture. Any tips to make the process less messy or easier?