We seem to be doing things out of season around here.
It’s almost the end of summer, and we’re finally breaking ground on our new backyard patio and pergola. In the front of the house, I’m working on giving the front porch a new look.
But it actually makes perfect sense to be working on these outdoor spaces now, on the cusp of fall.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year here in North Carolina. The weather is glorious and will remain so through late October or November. Comfortable temperatures, low humidity, no ugly yellow pollen coating everything, fewer mosquitos to swat. It’s really the perfect time to be outside.
So, I’ve been slowly getting the front porch ready for its fall debut. As you know, I love decorating the porch for the different seasons, and I’ve been moving towards adding some neutral furniture pieces that can work with any seasonal color scheme I throw at it.
My gray-and-white rug and my vintage metal bench, plus our gray shutters, led me to choose a gray, white and black color scheme.
When I found this old, battered buffet at a junk sale this summer, I knew it would look fabulous painted black. I had been searching for a piece like this to anchor the far end of the front porch, too.
Now, I know some people think it’s pure blasphemy to paint wood furniture, and there are certainly some pieces I would never paint. But this buffet wasn’t worthy of that kind of coddling or the effort that a wood restoration entails. The veneer was peeling from both ends, and one of the drawers was busted out in the back. The buffet was missing most of its hardware, and the surfaces were nicked and scratched.
But with a couple of coats of paint and beautiful new hardware, I knew it could be fabulous.
I used DecoArt’s Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Carbon, for this furniture makeover. Plus, I mixed a bit of Everlasting and Yesteryear (DecoArt’s white and gray) to do the detailing on the doors and cabinet drawers.
I’ve been afraid of painting furniture black before because I feared the finished piece would look flat or lack depth or interest.
But I don’t think you can say that about this buffet. I think it’s brimming with character and interest.
From the pinstriped doors and drawers…
… to the fabulous pewter and harlequin knobs from Charleston Knob Company.
Yes, I did add white highlights to this piece because that’s what the design dictated. (I like to listen to my furniture when I’m painting it. And podcasts, too. Have you heard Mystery Show? My new fave.)
But the black finish is anything but flat.
I used two light coats of black paint. I let the original stained finish show through in places, and I used a sanding block to add more light distressing in places, like the legs, grooves and around the edges of the drawers and doors. A light touch really is key. The 8-ounce jar of paint was more than enough for this buffet.
I’m a big fan of the rub-through look, which you see all the time at places like Pottery Barn. This technique, rubbing away a bit of the paint so the wood and stain shows through, really helps give black painted furniture depth.
Oh, and does anyone else do this when you’re painting furniture? I try to make things easy on myself, so I’ll turn furniture on its side, upside down and any which way I need, to get all the surfaces covered without having to work on my knees on the hard garage floor.
I wanted to show you another trick of mine, too, when I’m trying to add fine detailing like the pinstriping here. I do use a fine painter’s brush to get more control, but I’m still not steady enough to do it perfectly. So, I don’t even try. I’ll usually wet my brush, add the paint as neatly as I can, then follow up immediately with a wet cloth to wipe away my mistakes.
It’s never perfect, but it’s not meant to be, and using the wet rag also adds a little bit of distressing. I’ve found you can lightly sand away mistakes, too, with a medium or fine sanding block.
And can we talk about these knobs? As soon as I spotted these in the Charleston Knob Company catalog, I knew they would be perfect for this piece.
Harlequin is such a classic pattern, so it’s great for a vintage buffet. But I also think it has a lot of modern appeal, and I’m always trying for a mix of old and new. Plus, it matched my color scheme.
I also painted an old dresser mirror frame black to prop on top of the buffet. I’ve used this piece before in my porch decorating. It’s a great place to hang seasonal wreaths, because a southern gal can never have too many wreaths!
While these pieces didn’t go together and are actually made out of different types of wood, when painted the same color, they look like a cohesive set.
This buffet is pretty well protected from the elements on my covered front porch, but I did want to add a durable topcoat suitable for the outdoors.
You don’t want to use wax on a piece that’s going to be outside. Remember what happened to Icarus and his wax wings when he flew too close to the sun?
Instead, I used DecoArt Americana Soft Touch Varnish, which has a similar look and feel to a waxed and buffed finish. If this piece were going to be outside, unprotected, and not in a covered space like our porch, I likely would have chosen a different topcoat, made specifically for outdoor applications.
I’ll be back in a few weeks to show you the porch completely decorated for fall.
Until then, here are 10 simple ideas to get you in the mood for fall.
Amy this is o cute! I had a vanity just like this one years ago and my husband who hates antiques convinced me to get rid of it. I wish I still had it after seeing yours! The white accents are super fun! Stopping by to let you know you are being featured on Friday’s P3 Party post! Have a great week! Thanks for pinning!
I love this! The black and white is so stunning! Thanks for linking up to The Handmade Hangout! I’ll be featuring you on my blog today when the new linky goes live at 6pm ET. I hope you’ll stop by to see your feature and link up again!
Gorgeous makeover! I love the details-especially the knobs! Great tips too! Thank you so much for sharing at The Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop! PINNING for sure!
T'onna @ USS Crafty
I actually have a similar buffet. My father stained it and gave it to me years ago. I’m loving what you did with your buffet. I love the black chalky paint, and those knobs are perfect! I’m pinning this just in case I decide to paint my buffet one day. I’d love for you to stop by the Submarine Sunday Link Party to share this amazing furniture makeover! I hope to see you there!
Navy Wifey Peters @ The Submarine Sunday Link Party
Lou Lou Girls
Loving this! You are so talented. Thanks for sharing this at our party. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm, so we get to party with you again! Lou Lou Girls
This makeover is lovely. Your color choices are great. The work you’ve done certainly paid off for a beautiful transformation. Thanks for sharing on Snickerdoodle Sunday. Hope to see you there for this week’s party.
Meredith @ The Palette Muse
This buffet is stunning! And I love that you’re decorating your patio for fall. Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy the patio in the heat of summer. Your whole space looks beautiful!
It looks so charming!
And I love your fall decor ideas too 🙂
Coming from pin me link party.
I hope you’ll share your post with Idea Box:
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories
I’m in NC too and love that past couple of mornings have cooled off to walk the kids to school. I LOVE the fall weather and colors here, I’m ready for it. I also love black furniture and this buffet is stunning! Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup, pinning to our linkup board.
Cat @ Pocketful of Posies
This looks amazing on your patio! It looks amazing in general! We would love to have you stop by our party and share this tomorrow at Dream. Create. Inspire. Link! It goes live tomorrow at 7pm CST. I hope we’ll see you there!
Atta Girl Amy
Thanks so much. I’ll definitely link it up at the party.
This looks great, love the detailing as well. Still haven’t quite got the hang of painting on detail to furniture. Will have to try your wet rag tip, thank you!
Atta Girl Amy
Like I mentioned in the post, I don’t have a steady hand, so being able to “erase” with a rag and later with a sanding block is a lifesaver for me. If I want a really sharp line or pattern, I’ll use a stencil because I know I can’t freehand things straight. Some people have that talent, but not me. Good luck with your painting.
That turned out great! I especially love the details like the drawer pulls and the pinstriping. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time to make great use of your pretty outdoor space this fall – NC doesn’t get too cold for months (something I may be missing now that we’ve moved back home to Utah after 4 years in NC)
I am co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty link party this month and would love to have you stop by for a visit. The door is open through Monday night. http://alaynascreations.co/2015/08/21/home-matters-liny-party-51/
Atta Girl Amy
Yes, we are looking forward to many more months of outdoor time here in North Carolina. As you know, it can even be warm outside through December. It’s not until January/February that we really start getting the cold temperatures — and then those are nothing compared to what you have in Utah. Brr. But it’s such a beautiful place. I visited two years ago to go to Snap! and hope to return again next year for the conference and more sightseeing.
So jealous that you have room for storage on your porch! It looks great!
Atta Girl Amy
Thanks Kirby. I do love our big front porch. It’s more challenging to decorate — so much space to fill — but you know I’m a junk hoarder. So that’s usually not a problem. I’m loving having this piece on the porch, and I can’t wait to do it up for Halloween. Christmas will be nice, too, but this piece is really tailor made for Halloween.
I love upcycling things. Love how you did this piece. I love black furniture. Great job.
That turned out beautiful!. I like using the Americana Decor paint and I will definitely check out the Charleston Knob Co.
Where did you get the 2 lanterns? Thank you.
Atta Girl Amy
Hi Marisa: The two lanterns are similar to ones sold by Pottery Barn, but I got a set of 3 from a friend’s online shop, Farmhouse Decor, several years ago. . (My friend is no longer operating the shop, but some other ladies have taken it over. http://www.farmhousedecorshop.com/ If they don’t have them in stock now, they may be able to order them. The lanterns are made by a company called Park Hill. They’re a wholesaler, but lots of stores and online shops carry their merchandise. Hope you’re able to track some down at prices that are better than Pottery Barn’s.