I grew up in a home filled with antiques. My mother loved to buy, sell, refinish, and collect them. There are two well-known rules that exist in a home that is decorated with antiques. One is never, ever put a cup with liquid down on a wood surface and two, never expect the drawers from your dresser to just open or close smoothly. It just ain't gonna happen. These are just two facts of life you live with.
I have vivid memories of my mom packing me and my little brother Eric into our red orange VW and driving into downtown San Diego at the crack of dawn to wait in line for an antiques auction. Being around six years old, I would walk around in awe at these huge warehouses filled with furniture. When the people would be let in, they would run frantically around and snatch tags off of things they wanted. Or they just planted themselves in front of a piece they were going to buy and their day was done. My mom would then have to figure out how to lug her spoils of the day home. I remember her wondering out loud how she was going to tell my Dad she spent $100 on that armoire, especially since we were on a one income, Pic 'N Save shopping limited budget. But Dad never seemed to mind because our home was filled with these treasures my mom would find. I remember playing out in the backyard while my mom was on her hands and knees stripping the stain off an old dresser, or sanding a chair or reupholstering a stool in our patio on warm summer days. She was always doing something to beautify our home. My mom still owns several things she bought when we lived in our little home in San Diego, so long long ago. She recently gave me a beautiful, mirrored buffet that I used to play Barbies on and that she stored her china in. It now proudly sits in my livingroom.
Now that I am married and am a mother myself, it seemed natural to decorate my own home with antiques and vintage furniture. I say vintage because I just can’t wrap my mind around precious wood that can’t be scratched or scuffed…that just doesn’t let the other inhabitants of the house live around it. So vintage suits me. I’ve long been a fan of Shabby Chic. Any kind of scuffed, worn, painted cottage or farmhouse furniture feels so wonderful and cozy to me. It just seemed natural to decorate my home this way.
Over the years I’ve discovered that being creative and artistic isn’t confined to a paintbrush and canvas. There are other ways I can express myself and my art. One of those ways is painting, restoring and distressing furniture. There are some pieces I've come across that were absolutely beautiful, but if the piece isn't going to function in my home the way it is, I am not afraid to paint it. I have boldly painted furniture turquoise, green, yellow, pink and of course, white. To me, it is the most fun to paint my furniture in different colors. I just counted twenty-two pieces in my home alone that I have worked on, from mirrors, shelves, dressers, and vanities to chairs. I just recently spent an entire week on painting a cream-colored chest of drawers and mirrored vanity for my daughter Maya's 3rd birthday. It came out beautiful. I'll have pictures to share soon.
It's a good feeling to clean up and sand a piece of furniture...and when the first coat of paint is done, you see how beautiful and refreshed it looks. Sure, this might sound like a chore to some. But to me, its relaxing. The bonus is I get really unique pieces of furniture in my home that no one else has.
And now its my children who are accustomed to seeing their mama pulling out various bits of furniture out in the backyard to work on while they are bouncing on the trampoline and playing on the swingset, all the while enjoying the warm afternoon sun.