Yesterday was a beautiful day with low humidity and it wasn’t too hot.  The baby was taking a nap, and my older son was at a play date (Thank You M.A.!). Things were lining up for it to be a perfect hour to work on one of my many furniture painting tasks.  I didn’t have the paint to finish the Chippendale headboard, so I thought I’d primer the Chippendale chair.

Be forewarned: this is not a blog post about how easy it is to paint furniture!  I am not a DIY queen, or princess, or duchess even.  But I can usually hold my own.  I’ve read so many blogs and magazines and talked to so many people about how anyone can paint furniture.    You all know that I’ve got a list of furniture that I want to paint (hello campaign dresser!)  Painting can really transform a piece.  I felt pretty confident about giving this a try.  Putting primer on the headboard worked out, so why would this be any different?

I started by lightly sanding it and then wiping it down.


I had done a little research, and decided that, because of the caning, I should use the brush-on version of Zinsser’s Cover Stain Primer.  I had used the same stuff, but in spray form, for the headboard, and was pleased with the results.


Well, time to channel Cher, because “if I could turn back time…” I would have sprayed the darn chair.

The chair has a lot of nooks & crannies.  Not as many as an English muffin, but still – have you seen all those angles and detailing?!


One of the biggest problems I had was that, because the parts of the chair are cylindrical, I would paint one side, and then when I got to the other side, the paint had gotten all drippy-droppy on me.  It had kind of pooled on the other side without my knowing (or seeing) and when I got there, it was starting to dry.  It was thick, and trying to smooth it out didn’t work very well.

DSC_0682  DSC_0686 DSC_0684

I’m sure the answer to this is to go back and sand those areas and then re-primer.  Sigh.

Another problem was that the primer was so thick, that I was scared it would start to pool in the caning holes.  I did this part last, and it probably has the least amount of primer on it because by this point I was running out of steam, and I didn’t want to plug up the caning with paint.

I believe I was running out of steam towards the end because I think I repainted several areas of the chair twenty times.  The primer was the same color as the chair.  I couldn’t tell where the chair ended and the primer began.  I did read on the back of the can that you can get it tinted (I guess the hardware store guys do that – I haven’t seen it pre-tinted).

On the plus side, it did dry quickly.  I probably could have sanded those problem areas and put more primer on, but wouldn’t ya know it, nap time was over!

This task presented its challenges, but hopefully my mistakes can help someone else.  I’m not giving up.  I know there are answers to these problems.  But I also wanted to keep it real with you and share my painting foibles.

I’m open to any suggestions on how to proceed.  Should I use a spray for the color instead of brush?  Am I going to have a lot of brush lines showing?  Will sanding smooth out my drippy-droppy areas?  It’ll probably be another few days before I can continue the project, so I’ll be doing some research!

In the meantime, Fear Not The Paint!  … Just approach with more appreciation for the craft than I did!



When pursuing vintage, there always comes the time when the hunt is over and the clean up begins.  Sure, I find vintage items that are in great shape and are ready to go.  But, more often, I’ll find a piece that has thirty years worth of dust on it, and in need of having its dignity returned.  It’s usually not the most fun part.  It’s the part that requires some elbow grease.  Some patience.  But it can be exciting to see what is underneath the dirt and grime.  It gives me a sort of satisfaction to see something that someone else might have put to the curb – destined for the landfill, come back to life.

And sometimes I come across situations that I just don’t have the best answer for.  Lately that has been chrome.  How to clean it?  How to get rid of some of the oxidation and return it to shine?  How, how, how??!

Luckily, I have a terrific sister-in-law.  I wish she would clone herself into a miniature that I could carry around on my shoulder and ask her opinion on these things… because that’s pretty much what I do when I bombard her with emails “what do you think of this?” and “what about this?” and “who do you think made this?“.  She has a great eye, and is no stranger to pursuing her own vintage.  Of course she had the answer for me!  A baking soda paste.


Make a thick paste out of the baking soda and warm water.


Brush it on the chrome.  Let it dry (5-10 minutes).  And using a soft dry rag, rub it off.  This is the “elbow grease” part.  The baking soda paste acts as a soft scrub for the chrome.  It really was amazing to see the difference it made.  Small areas of oxidation were pretty much removed with this technique.

Here’s a Before & After:



Wow, right??!

And the best part is, the kids can play, too!  I gave the boys their own baking soda mixture and they “painted” their car.


So, you’re wondering, what amazing find did Kristen polish up?  Well… you’ll have to tune in tomorrow!



This weekend I picked up this fun Chinese Chippendale headboard.  The lines are amazing, but the paint on the rattan is in need of some attention.  So, I thought to myself, why not try to refinish this myself?  Usually I try to suggest ideas on how things could look refinished, but this project was just calling to me.  Maybe it’s just a way to procrastinate the housework that needs to be done…

Rattan Chippendale Headboard Before

Here is a photo of the headboard “before”.  Uneven paint.  Needs some ooomph.

Rattan Chippendale Headboard Closeup

With some sanding and Zinsser’s Cover Stain….

Headboard Makeover Materials 1

We get this:

Rattan Chippendale Headboard Primer

I know, you can’t really tell that anything changed in these photos… but it does look better with the primer!  I swear!

Sooooo…. My question to you is: what color?

I haven’t bought a color yet.  I was thinking white or black.  But maybe another color would be more fun.  What do you think?

If all goes well, it will be available in the Pursuing Vintage SHOP.  So pick a color you’d want!

(By the way – the headboard measures 59″ across.  So, I think its a queen size… unless you want a little extra room room on the sides, then it’s a full size.)