I have been influenced by paintings I have seen in books, and in museums, not because they defined success but because they suggested possibilities - Eleanor Blair
Jodha was a project that took longer to
get started on than to complete. That’s because I had to find a suitable
cabinet with the right dimensions for the intended space and a piece which would then be reinvent-able
into an ethnic representation of India or the Mediterranean. I usually look for
pieces with good ‘bones’ as I know that the final look be it global, modern,
contemporary, or transitional can be achieved through cosmetic finishes.
After months of diligent tracking on craigslist, I finally bought this piece. I was so excited to finally have my visual within completion. Though this piece had no color, it did have some finish on it and so I did a light sanding of it and since it has fairly large surfaces, I used a palm sander for this process. I did not use a wood filler to patch any holes or dents. I wanted the final piece to have some wear and tear visible (you’ll see why later).
This piece was a floor-sitting cabinet. To make it look like a piece of furniture I added feet to the cabinet and to add the feet I had to build a frame for the feet to be attached onto and for the cabinet to sit on. I used heavy compressed wood cut to the size of the cabinet bottom, used wood glue to hold it in place and nails for tighter seamed edges.
Now that all the prep work was done…the
piece was ready for some paint. I chose ‘teal zeal’ paint and primer-in-one interior
satin enamel for this. Don’t hesitate to paint a new or vintage piece…every
furniture in a room can’t be brown. I rolled on the paint using a roller
brush, letting it completely dry between coats and this piece needed 3-4 coats.
When painting furniture do paint the backs and tops of the piece and drawers
even if they are not visible or will be facing the wall…..it just makes it look
Again this piece too had no knobs and pulls and so holes in the doors and drawers had to be drilled for them. For embellishment I used stencils and a pouncer brush to complete the design on the doors and drawers. My thinking in keeping the stencil and painting details to a minimum was to let the color speak for itself. I did not want to weigh the room with both a bright color and heavy detailed painting work. Also the room this piece is used in has a lot of patterns and colors in it. I needed this piece’s simplicity to ground all the other choices in the room and still stand tall.
I then used Martha Stewart’s Specialty Finish Metallic paint in Cast Bronze for the antiquing process. Using a rag cloth I rubbed this bronze paint into the edges, corners and nooks, and all the dents and scratches I could find. This antiquing process darkens all the imperfections and details of the furniture making it seem as if it has been used for ages.
I bought knobs and spray painted them bronze which brought out their details too. In hindsight, I might have liked to have used pulls for the doors instead of knobs but that is an easy fix if I want to make that change. Simply screwed the knobs in the pre-drilled holes and Jodha was done! I love how this turned out. And I use it to keep my sarees and Indian wear, stoles and shawls, jewelry, and other such goodies all interspersed with sandalwood pouches….it’s my very own sandalwood box.
One of the big things of relevance in this project is ‘color’. I love color …especially deep rich colors and I am not afraid to use it. Bold bright colors are not just for kids’ rooms. They can be used in a restrained manner but with major pop to achieve decidedly adult rooms. If you are apprehensive to go bold in your design and décor choices, try starting small. Then it’s not such a big or permanent commitment. How about a bright color on just one piece of furniture to brighten up the whole room, or painting just one feature wall a bold contrasting color, or simply, start really small with brightly colored and patterned accessories like cushions, vases, and lamp bases.
Give color a go!