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Hand-me-downs and Heirloom Pieces

(Taken from my own personal blog I started a few years ago but was never able to publish)

I am lucky to have several hand-me-down furniture from my hubby’s family.  Believe me, it wasn’t easy sorting, editing and fighting with hubby’s sentimental nature over which stuff to retain and which ones to let go of.  Since I’ve started studying interior design years ago, I have sort of develop an eye for what’s valuable and what is junk.  Since I particularly love the flea market find concept, aka “shabby chic”, it was pretty exciting for me to discover some really good finds from his family’s old stuff. I was pleasantly surprised to find some heirloom quality furniture and accessories crammed in their old QC apartment just gathering dust.

When we moved in to our first apartment after getting married, we had to seriously decide which ones we will be bringing with us.  We were left to deal with all of his family’s stuff because both his sisters live in the US and his father passed away before hubby and I even met.  Some stuff were carefully packed and stored (more on that later!) but our biggest problem was keeping the bigger furniture pieces.  We have a very small apartment then but I wasn’t willing to let go of this particular piece.

China Cab top

China Cab bottom

It doesn’t look much when I first saw it, but the fact that the hand-carved wood is narra, I knew I have something here.  The color/varnish is typical narra wood, too reddish for my taste.  But I love the hand-carved part and I know that this is such a classic piece.  To answer our storage problem, I had the china cabinet sent to my lola’s house for their use.  It stayed there for 3 years until our house was getting built.  After we moved in our home, I had our contractor’s painter stay for a couple more weeks to help me out in refurbishing most of the old furniture.  The photo shown above is the original varnish.  I had the varnish stripped by the painter.

I always knew what I wanted to do with this cabinet.  I researched online and borrowed a book from our architect on how to refurbish old furniture.  I particularly liked the french vintage look– soft pastels and antique white in distressed, worn out look.  It took us two weeks to strip the old varnish, do a few trial and error before everything got finalized.  Here’s the final outcome :

I had the inner shelves painted in Olive Green to add some contrast.  I spent 3 days making this piece look vintage by scrubbing the paint and adding some brown-ish tint to add to that antique look.  Then finally finished it off with some topcoat to protect the paint.  I only used water-based paint and topcoat as recommended by most online D-I-Y sites.  I complained for several days because of muscle pain from scrubbing but the final outcome is all worth it (i think)!

Most of the China displayed there comes from hubby’s grandmother’s collection plus a complete china set we got as a wedding gift.  You cannot believe how ecstatic I was when I got that China set!  My taste is not really very mainstream for my age but I really, truly adore buying and receiving lovely pieces for our home.

What do you think? 😉


Posted in: Blog, How-to's, Interior Design

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