Some day back in December, right before Christmas while I was overloaded with the endless tasks of the season such as getting the house ready for the holidays, setting up the rooms for family members visiting from overseas, planning menus, shopping and much more – right when every second of the day matters and the to-do list gets longer by the minute – I decided it was about time I started working on the total remake of this piece of furniture. This well-crafted console in good condition was a hand-me-down and it had been sitting in my garage for about four months. It’s from Stanley Furniture and from what I see on their website, they have pretty good furniture and similar type of furniture sells for more than $1,000.
Although I had made up my mind that it would be perfect as a media center in the family room, I had been debating for a long time on the type of refinishing it needed. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to strip the paint and give the piece a natural look (just like this desk), or if it was a coat of paint that was going to revive it and make it look fresh and clean, in which case I was exploring the many options in terms of type of paint, color, varnish etc.
Only one thing was sure: I was not going to keep this console as it was. This is a before close up of the side drawers:
and another before close up of the front doors. Whoever thought that the palm trees on the doors were an element of beauty, had definitely a very different taste than me.
To come to a decision about the type of remake it needed, I eliminated one by one all the possible alternatives. First, I realized that I could not strip the paint: after performing a test on a small area, it was obvious that stripping would take forever, especially scrapping the detailed drawers, and I absolutely needed to have the console in place before Christmas ~ plus, a new stripping project after working on this one for weeks did not sound like fun. But even if I did have the time and the patience, the stripped part did not look very good. So if I was not going to strip it, I had to paint it. After examining the surface very carefully I realized that I would have to sand it first; the piece has more of a rustic finish with an uneven, rough, porous and “cracked” in many spots, surface. But sanding was going to be difficult and time consuming, too, and I wasn’t sure that I would end up getting the clean and polished look I like because of that textured surface. So if I could not sand it either, the only option left was to paint it without doing any prep work. There is only one type of paint that I know of that needs no prep work and that is chalk paint. Now, chalk paint gives a fake aged appearance, not necessarily a favorite style of mine. I’ve never used chalk paint before, simply because I am not a fan of the shabby chic look. I prefer the clean and fresh result of latex paint. But chalk paint was exactly what I needed at that point in time. I also had a hard time deciding on the color. After navigating through all the possibilities available – white, beige, blue, orange, green, I think I considered every single color – I concluded on black for two reasons: (i) it would take only one coat of paint to cover the entire console (ii) black is the color to go for a tv stand – and I’ll get back to that with more details.
All I really had to do was to remove the hardware, take out the drawers and paint! I didn’t even apply any painter’s tape; I was just very careful on the edges. The paint was dry in about an hour and I placed the hardware back in place. I did not distress it, as it should normally be done with chalk paint, because the cracks on the surface left a few uncovered spots and that added already more than enough of a distressed look. I did some research related to the finishing wax that is usually applied on chalk paint. Wax is difficult to apply and one has to be very careful in order to get a good result. And it needs to be re-applied every so often. So, I decided to skip that step. Having gone with this option, we know that we have to be cautious about what is placed on the console as the surface is not sealed. Something just as simple as a wet glass will leave a water ring.
Nevertheless, almost three months later, I am satisfied with the result. Caring for it requires no more than dusting with a cloth and a little furniture spray. By the time the color starts wearing off (if it ever does) I will be ready for a change. And even if chalk paint is not a favorite style for my home, this remake ended up to be perfect for the family room that has a more relaxed feel.
And I have nine additional drawers for storage – the middle doors hide three more drawers.
Some of the drawers even have dividers and that helps to keep everything neat and organized.
On this photo you can see better the type of rough surface of this furniture. As for the hardware, I used the same pulls that were already on the console as they’re a perfect match to the overall style. The drop pulls on the middle doors are broken but I will replace them only if I ever find identical ones.
One of the reasons I decided to paint the media console in black is because the tv, the modem, the router etc. are all black and they do not pop out as much as they would against a tv stand of any other color; it’s kind of a little camouflage for all these devices, everything sort of blends together. You will know what I mean – and you might agree – if you google a few images of media consoles ~ A television on black or dark furniture looks so much better than on a white or lighter color one.
Recently, I filled the wall space on the right side of the television with my grandmother’s Irene photo that I restored, a brass letter from Crate & Barrel that was on sale for about $5 because it had a little scratch, and an old but beautiful oil-paint mixing palette that my mom gave me (it’s an actual one she was using for her paintings!).
In the far right spot, I also added a brass hook, my new friend Louie, that I found at Anthropologie (surely on sale!) some time ago.