Saturday, October 6, 2012

Painted Piano

First let me preface this post with, never paint a piano with out a professional helping you.

I was asked by a friend, (whom is a piano tuner and technician) to paint a piano he had acquired and was tuning and working on. An upright grand piano that was a blonde color and just well... not so pretty.

I was excited because I knew this wouldn't just be a perfectly tuned piano (due to his skill) but also be a stunning addition to their home.

So here it is: 


Second step to distressing and doing this technique is to paint the whole thing a dark brown and have the PROFESSIONAL remove all the keys and take care of the insides and delicate pieces.

So proud of the final outcome.. it is stunning. Our friends love it and it was really a super fun project.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Story of Big Bertha

I have alluded to Big Bertha.. but now is the time for the real story.

I was with the family one day and we saw a 'garage sale" sign. (This is how most of my Spotted Hen stories begin.)

It's my job, find old things, paint them, re-purpose them, and make them PRETTY. It is just that, sometimes the furniture starts out, REALLY ugly.

I walked into an old detached garage look around and didn't see anything that I could work with. Joey and the kids were in the van waving for me to hurry. As I headed back to them I noticed Bertha. Bertha was the built-in cabinet in their garage. It was spray painted, broken and filthy. It had been attached to the wall and housing old rusty tools and paint cans. I walked over to the owner and said, "how much for this" pointing towards the monstrosity. The owner was an older lady who thought I MUST have meant the tools. I corrected her and said, "NO, the WHOLE thing, the shelves, all of it?"  She gave me a fair price, so I called Joey over to look at it.

"You are crazy." That is all Joey could muster. 

I purchased Bertha for the potential of what she COULD be, and left to get our trailer and a strong neighbor to help haul her out.

For several weeks it was set up outside on my porch and I would sit in a lawn chair staring at it, often with a Corona in my hand, hoping for wisdom. It was one of these days that I was staring at it (as if it were going to talk to me) that a friend of mine came to pick up a different piece of furniture I had redone for her. She gasped when she laid eyes on Bertha and she bought it on the spot. Even in the shape it was in, she saw what I saw.

This is what it looked like:

Yep, she loved it.

Just like I did.

Now, I couldn't really take a photo of the ODOR, but believe me. It was terrible. My partner in crime (my husband) decided the only way we could really take care of that was to pressure wash it. There was no amount of Clorox wipes that could take care of the grime, oil and mess on this.. we needed the big guns.

I never have sanded, stripped and worked so hard on a surface before. Eventually the top was removed, each board taken apart and run through a planer. We removed the top doors, added glass so she could display her china, and refinished the original harware. 

This project wasn't without it's folly. Before we were done with Bertha, she sent both myself and my neighbor (who did some carpentry work on it) to the doctor, (he went to the ER), and we both needed tetanus shots. Good times. Nothing like having to paint with the arm that wasn't sore from the tetanus shot. note to self: wear thicker soled shoes when dealing with rusty nails.

In the end, Bertha was that project that proved to me that I am really doing something I love.. I love to make ugly things pretty.

And this is how she turned out:

It was worth it in the end. My friend and I had SO much fun just knowing we saw something, no one else did and I made it come to life. It has been the hardest yet most rewarding, refinishing job I have ever done.

Stay tuned more posts coming!