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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sandcastle Chifferobe

I was out on one of my "gathering" expeditions when I came across this antique chifferobe. It was a "hot mess"! The legs were beat up and practically falling off, the top was peeling, the bottom was warped and cracked, the mirrors had more age spots than Father Time, and it had two drawers that were completely eaten away by an anonymous small creature. BUT... What a perfect project piece for someone in need of functional space. I knew immediately what I wanted to do with this great find. Here in Alabama a lot of people have beach or lake homes and if they don't, they decorate to get the feel of being at one. So, project "Sandcastle Chifferobe" got underway.

Here is a before picture with the two remaining drawers removed.

Here is a picture snapped after removing the doors, the top and bottom, and gluing the legs and sides. 
With bungee cords holding things good and tight, we play the waiting game.

This project had a lot of small jobs to be done: Cut two pieces of new flooring for the bottom; New knobs for the cabinet doors; Painting the whole cabinet with Annie Sloan's Old Ochre Chalk Paint; Hand painting the sandcastle and beach on the cabinet door; Hand painting (not stenciling) the wording on the outside of the wardrobe door; Paint the inside of the wardrobe door with chalkboard paint, and hand paint the decorative embellishments on the chalkboard; Cut and install the molding to wrap around the bottom of the cabinet; Find the perfect basket for the space to replace eaten drawers and put a bow on it. Whew!!! Now here are some pictures of "Sandcastle Chifferobe"

Shot of me working on the inside of the wardrobe door.

While I wait for the wardrobe door to dry...
See the new top, and the bottom molding that now surrounds the old legs. 
Take a look at the mirrored cabinet door and the basket set in the bottom. 

After attaching the wardrobe door.

It's all in the details. The mirrored cabinet door up close. 
A sandcastle should be made of nothing but sand... and a coat of paint of course!

The mirrored outside of the wardrobe door.

A  burlap basket with rope handles to hold your seashore treasures, (or toys, magazines etc...)
replaces the two drawers eaten to satisfy something's munchies.

Shot of the finished project in front of a window with the wrong lighting. Sorry!

 Another shot, this time in the studio with too much white in the mirror's background. Sorry again! LOL!

And finally, the inside of the cabinet. The wardrobe door is a chalkboard for special messages. A vintage slip hangs from the wardrobe bar to show that it functions wonderfully for it's intended purpose.

For me the hardest part about a project like this is all the waiting. But so simple. Well...What do you think?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

AutumnAire Creative Workshop 7-1-2014

Here at the Autumn Aire Studio, we've been very busy getting ready for our online store to open. We have also been having our Tuesday workshops, where anyone can bring a project that they want to learn how to complete. So far, I have been teaching how to paint scenes with acrylic paints, how to paint their own design choice on a particular project piece, how to work with the tools and what steps to take when repairing or repurposing furniture projects, and offering advice and tips from my own years of experience. Meeting new people and helping them with their project has been fun for me. Everyone is doing great and having fun! They are helping each other with their projects. I always tell people who think they could never do anything like paint a scene on a window for example, that anyone, once they know the tricks, can do anything they want, and with a little practice, it becomes easy. Sometimes they just need a little help and that's where I come in. They are amazed, and the words "is that it? OMG!" have come so many times that it's funny. They say that no one will believe that they painted this or that they now can do that. So once in a while we'll get some video footage so they can show others that they are the ones actually doing the work. This past Tuesday was one of those video days. Take a peek.

Next time you think you really want to learn how to do something... Do it!!! Get out there and find someone close to you and get the help you need. You'll be glad you did, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to create what's in your dreams and on your wish list!

We look forward to comments and questions, so let us know what you think.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gator House

I had passed by this house and property that sat next to the interstate a billion times. It was a three story house, and from the highway you could see one of the two big ponds that sat next to it. The house looked huge and very rustic and I could only imagine what the inside was like. But in all of my imagination I would never have imagined what I saw when I finally got to see this house up close! The contractor for the new owners was also the volunteer fire chief for the area and a personal friend. We got the heads up that they had scheduled to burn the house down and told that if we wanted to salvage anything from the property we could but we had to leave the firemen a safe way to get to all three floors. Early Saturday morning, (the week before the burn) we met our friend out at the property. When we arrived this is what we saw.

After we parked our trucks, (we took both of them because we didn't know what we would find) I grabbed my camera and of course took pictures. While we visited a minute with our friend, I was looking at the very nearby pond. And this is what I saw!!!!!!

This pond is barely fifty feet from the side of the house! An alligator!! How did it get here? And I'm pretty sure I saw another one too. What in the world!! Did they put them there on purpose? Oh the questions we bounced around. So now this house is forever dubbed "Gator House" for future reference.

We cautiously headed inside to see what we could possibly save from this big old place. We went to the back side (closest to the interstate) and looked into what appeared to be a separate apartment. What we saw was a total wreck! Everything including the drywall torn to pieces. It was like a small studio type apartment with one larger sized room, a small bathroom and a small kitchen area. I climbed around through all the debris, found some old barn-wood picture frames, louvered closet doors and several solid wood cabinet doors, all of which I would come back to claim. We went into the "main" part of the house and THIS is what we saw...

I turned to look around and saw the walls behind me...

I can not tell you how excited I was. A salvager's dream come true!!! Heart Pine!!! TRUE HEART PINE!!!!!!! It was everywhere! And in this house where there wasn't Heart Pine, there was CEDAR PLANKS, tons of them. The upstairs had a couple of bedrooms with the ceilings covered in cedar planks. The outside on the upper deck area had entire walls covered in cedar planks! But downstairs where I worked all day, everything was Heart Pine!! The trim around the doors and windows, heart pine. The exposed beams, Heart Pine. The walls lined with HEART PINE!!! Then there was beveled glass cabinet doors, a hood cover for the stove that was no longer there, 7 foot tall pantry doors, and the ceiling in the hallway going out to the covered patio... guess what ... ALL HEART PINE!!! I still can't believe my great fortune that day. Needless to say the camera got forgotten and the tearing out got to happening. But with no doors on the house, and a particularly nasty set of vertical blinds flapping in the wind and making noises, I kept watch for an alligator that might want to get in out of the sun. There were a lot of wasps, but we came prepared with plenty of spray and they didn't (couldn't) detour my mission. I wanted so, so badly to get some of the floor joists which were also heart pine, but that would have made an unsafe situation for the firemen. After a long hot day and with both trucks completely full we ended our salvage expedition, but for a full week, every night, I would think about how to get some of those joists. After all don't firemen have ladders? I didn't get any of them but in my dreams I couldn't quite let go.

The day of the burn I didn't go. I just couldn't watch them burn perfectly good TRUE HEART PINE! What a huge waste of something that you just can't get anymore. But you will be able to see some of the video footage now at a great website devoted to anything and everything involving home planning, building, remodeling and the education of the processes.

I have many plans for projects for everything we salvaged from "Gator House", and you will be able to see them from time to time for sale in my soon-to-open online store