I met the owner of this piece while she was clearing out their family-run business of 90-plus years to make way for their retirement plans. The iconic Grüne Baum (Green Tree) Inn has served meals and offered accommodation for countless years. Filled with remnants of the past and furniture that no longer had a home, a few gems survived the process. This pine chest of drawers provided a solid backdrop to a new life in a new home with a new role.
As with all pieces I started by cleaning it using soap and water, then sanded it to remove any remaining stains to create a clean, smooth surface. Because of the porous quality of pine and its inclination towards bleeding, especially around the knots, I treated the whole piece to a blocking layer (Yellow Chair’s Isoliergrund). It also helped to remove odour remnants carried from its previous role.
Although given a free hand to determine its new look, a couple of ideas shone through. It should incorporate dark tones and have a more antique/vintage look. To achieve the antique look, I used a dark water-based stain by Clou over the top and two drawers. I then sanded this down to remove some of the blotchiness and allow more of the golden undertones to come through. To protect the surface and bring a gorgeous sheen to it, I used Gilboy’s Antique Gold wax I buffed using an Oli Natura white polishing pad used for massaging oil into wood. Because the outcome is so striking, I am interested in applying this technique to future projects.
For the body, feet, and remaining drawers, I decided on Homestead House’s Milk Paint in Coal Black. My aim was to achieve a rustic look with some distressed edges and an aged patina. After one coat, I then treated the surface to a dose of Hemp Oil by Fusion that I also wet sanded. Although this fed the wood, the dull sheen was not the look I wanted. Therefore, I chose wax as the final coating. I added a small amount of Black pigment to the wax to achieve a deeper tone and sheen.
After tightening up loose screws on the drawer slides, waxing the drawers, and refitting the feet, the final touch was to replace the old wooden knobs with new bronze patina metal hanging rings. These touches are crucial to creating the final image. To be honest, I was not sure if this rather plain piece would transform well, and yet, the result is very pleasing. The hardest part was staining the top and achieving this more aged look, but the effort has paid off.