Tuesday, May 21, 2013


                  On my journey to document my do-it-yourself projects; I am sharing Akbar, my first foray into the world of furniture makeovers. The desire to re-do furniture was not some light-bulb inspired moment, but a love for the global market look and the constraints of achieving this décor in my home within a limited budget.

                  For two years I had this idea in my head and a strong desire to do it in my heart. But the fear of ruining a perfectly functional piece of furniture and of not knowing if it would turn out as I imagined it held me back. But the longing to transform it was bigger and constant. I had to mentally get over the hurdle that if I ruined it….so what! It was just a piece of furniture. I also had to prepare myself for a laborious undertaking that would take longer to complete than my other previous smaller simpler projects. Once I got over these mental stumbles, my vision for Akbar was clear. 


Akbar: doors closeup
             This piece was originally a large mission-style cabinet with a solid base and a hutch part that housed the television with small side cabinets for storing CD’s and DVD’s (We’ve all seen one of those or owned them too...). My first move was to separate the hutch part from the base. I took the top roof plank of the hutch and attached it as a top to the base just to give the now free standing cabinet a finished look. 

Akbar: side view
                  Then began the labor intensive part sanding the whole piece by hand as I had then not yet begun the use of electric tools (three cheers for electric tools!). Executing the hand painted design on the front, sides and top of the cabinet was the most interesting, fun, and rewarding part of the project. Fellow Bangaloreans might recognize the elephants from Cauvery shopping bags. The other patterns are from the internet and some pattern books that I own. These patterns I tweaked to suit the space and also to make it easier to paint some of the details. Overall, my design objective was to achieve a majestic, royal, and impressive piece like the original Akbar. To achieve the old antiqued look, I used a tinted sealer with a rag cloth and  wiped down the whole piece rubbing it into the grooves and corners.            
               The finished product just visually lightened the whole look and the room in turn. I am happy with the way it turned out. Though my critical eye sees a lot of things that could have been done better, most who have seen it love it and say it’s their favorite piece from amongst all my work.

               As I completed Akbar; I learnt that if there’s something you cannot go long without thinking about, then it’s almost a call out from within yourself and you need to answer it. I’ve learned that anyone can create. I’ve heard people tell me that they don’t have the patience or that they could never do it, or wish they had a creative bone in them. Well, I believe anyone can do it. Even I, who had done decorating projects, or have been so called crafty and creative for most of my life, had a hesitancy and fear of taking on the daunting task of furniture makeovers. But once I got started, I am hooked. I realized that not only could I do it, I could do it well. So, if there’s something you have never tried or something you have always wanted to try, the perfect time is now. Try something new, and see what magic you can create.

Happy creating!

I look forward to reading your comments. If you would like more information on achieving this look or help with getting started on one of your own, please contact me. 

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