Tag Archives: furniture

Steamer trunk as art

Among the things I learned first-hand this year was how paint can transform a beat-up piece of furniture. I used liquid latex back in October to promote a dark dresser without personality into a shabby chic credenza for my office.

But I’m a kindergartener with finger paints compared to Rockford artist Theresa Rowinski who turned my very old steamer truck into a work of art.

I inherited the truck about 15 years ago from my grandfather who probably got it from his mother-in-law (my great-grandmother). In all likelihood, it transported one of my ancestor’s belongings from Europe to America in the hull of an ocean liner at some point more than 100 years ago.

I came late to the “paint fixes anything” show so it is my ex-husband who can be credited with painting the dirty, beat-up truck a pale yellow. He made it better but not much. It had good bones but wasn’t much to look at. Here’s how it looked recently in my spare bedroom:

Guest bedroom: After

See there? At the foot of the bed? It contained my scrapbooking supplies.

My Beloved hated the pale yellow and thought it deserved something better. So his Christmas gift to me was to have Rowinski repaint it, only this time, the trunk became the artist’s canvas. Her work is amazing. See what she did with it:

painted chest

I mean, it’s so beautiful I can’t bear to relegate it to the spare room anymore. I’m going to find a home in my master bedroom for it.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the top and front:

So often, I think of furniture for its functional value, but I love what paint — especially paint applied by a pro — can do for furniture’s aesthetics.



Super cool credenza brightens room (and the heart)

Paint is amazing stuff.

It covers a multitude of sins and the right colors transform a surface from beat up to practically new.

Remember this?


We found it on Craig’s List. It originally had a huge mirror with drawers on the side (yes, a mirror with drawers) which we rejected. Solid wood with nine drawers (there are three drawers hidden behind the middle cupboard), it had what I wanted despite all the dings and scratches and the gothic-looking hardware: Lots of storage space. Our offer of $100 was accepted.

The former owner was a chain smoker, so it stunk up the garage until I attacked it with a spray bottle of vinegar. Vinegar is as magical as paint! The smoke odor is gone.

I’m not expert so I won’t bore you with the details you can find elsewhere, but the remake required sandpaper, three colors of semi-gloss latex paint in three coats, three different brushes, paint tape, a can of gold metallic spray paint (for the hardware) and Minwax Paste Finishing Wax (because it doesn’t yellow like polyurethane can).

Cost of the paint and brushes? Roughly $80, but I had a Menard’s rebate so my cost was only $55.

painted credenza

The result coordinates with Pittsburgh Paint’s Yukon Gold walls in my office beautifully. Compared to industrial black and steel, it just makes me happy! The top is Bronze Eucalyptus and the body of the credenza is Milk Paint.

gold glaze close upIn addition to the Green Wave from Pittsburgh Paint on the drawers, I used a small bottle of gold accent paint and baby wipes to glaze the edges of the drawers and complement the shiny hardware. The trick here is brush over the whole surface and wipe most of it off; the glaze catches in the nooks and crannies and creates interest. The hardware is still a bit too pointy and dated for my taste, but the spray paint brightened them considerably.

I now have a huge open space above the credenza to fill with artwork which will be anchored with a copy of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss,” a beautiful painting heavy with yellows and oranges. Because I love the transformative effect of paint so much, I used Milk Paint on a set of beat-up picture frames I found at a garage sale. One of the frame needs new glass, so I’ll share that scene as soon as I accomplish that task.