The French Cottage Armoire
When I look at knotty pine, I think of the great outdoors. Most of the time we see knotty pine in rustic homes like cabins and and maybe small cottages. I also see knotty pine used mainly in smaller pieces of furniture, rocking chairs and wall boards. I don't often see this material in larger furniture pieces though. And although I love it for certain uses, unless you are using it to furnish a rustic cabin or you have a rustic farmhouse style home, a large rustic knotty pine piece of furniture wouldn't coordinate with most other decor styles.
Why am I talking so much about knotty pine? I found this armoire at a garage sale in a nearby neighborhood and knew it would make a great furniture transformation because of it's size, character and clean lines.
One of the armoire's best assets is that it is real wood. I've said it many times before, but I like to refurbish furniture that is real wood that has been neglected or worn, as opposed to prefabricated materials. I will buy pieces that have some scratches or damage that I know I can repair. I find myself wondering sometimes what in the world people do to their furniture to have huge chunks or deep scrapes on their surfaces. The great part for me when refurbishing the pieces with some damage is that those are the pieces I can see the most transformation and it is good for my soul! :)
This armoire was a nice size and I liked the already cottage feel in the design. The hardware was a little understated due to the size of the piece, and the backing had been damaged when the previous owners cut holes in it to connect cords to outlets. The other aspect of repair was due to the uneven doors, which we knew we would either need to move the hinges or be able to adjust it once we put the new backing on by shifting it to alignment as we attached the new backing.
It wasn't until I got it home that I realized more holes had been cut in the top of the armoire, leaving 3 large holes across the top. Rather than replace the top of the armoire, I simply cut a trim board and covered the holes on the interior of the piece. The trim piece looks like it has always been there and I think you could even attach some hooks across the top to use for hanging items, depending on your use of the armoire.
My design plans involved sanding down and filling in any damaged places, painting the armoire cream, and replacing the hardware with something more substantial to add some interest and bring out more of the cottage look.
After I sanded down and filled holes and sanded some more, I spray painted a light coat of Dark Walnut from Rustoleum. It's a good idea to use a dark paint for a base coat on a lighter color wood, if your plan is to distress the furniture; which is to rub off edges of paint on the corners. If you didn't use a dark base coat, the wood underneath, once you distressed it, would be too light to even notice. The base coat is a little trick I've learned over the years and it works every time. **Although be careful to use a lighter sanding grit like 150-220 when sanding the edges to distress, so that you don't also take off the dark base coat that you applied. Here is a picture of our armoire after we applied the dark base coat. Notice that you don't have to cover the entire piece completely but apply full coverage on the edges.
After the spray paint on the base coat dried, I chalk painted the armoire in a creamy white. When using white paints, it does take more coats for full coverage. I achieved the look I wanted after 4 coats of white chalk paint. I made my own chalk paint using a base latex paint from Shermin Williams in Summer White. If you would like to try my DIY Chalk Paint recipe, you can find it here or on our home page in the Project Gallery menu bar.
I sanded the edges lightly with 220 grit sand paper to achieve the distressed, French Cottage look. I used Annie Sloan clear wax over the painted surface. You will wipe it on and let it dry for 20-30 minutes and then buff it to give it a nice satin sheen. The clear furniture wax is an important step to chalk painting and gives your piece of furniture a finished look as well as protects the paint.
I added rustic metal hardware that I picked up for 50% off at Hobby Lobby. Here is a look at the finished exterior of the armoire. You will see from the pictures that this piece is at our shop for resale.
The last thing we did to refurbish our armoire, was to take the damaged
(hole-y) backing off and replace it with a cottage bead board. We painted the cottage bead board a light gray to give it some interest and highlight the detail.
I love this piece so much better now and I believe it will coordinate with lots of different styles of decor. I can picture this armoire being used as a linen closet, a wardrobe, or as a hutch in a dining room or kitchen. There are so many possibilities for its purpose and I would love to know who buys it and what they use it for; although that isn't typical when I sell something in the shop, to know who buys it.
One of the best things about buying furniture used, is that you can make it fit into your style decor with a little bit of effort and imagination. The refurbished furniture is not only customized to your taste and style, but you can save a lot of money too!
I hope you enjoyed this before and after look at our French Cottage Armoire! This week we are off to Walt Disney World & Universal Studios to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and our kiddos birthdays. Our son will celebrate his 21st birthday soon and our daughter just turned 16 a few weeks ago. I don't know about you, but I often find myself wondering, "Where does the time go?" I'm so thankful for you my friends and my family who support me in what I do every day! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I will be back next week to share more of my DIY adventures!
Until next time....
**This is not a sponsored or affiliated post and all thoughts are mine based on my experiences and products I use.