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Friday, July 30, 2010

A Fixer Upper, Dorothy Style...

Classic Dorothy Draper Chest, via Tonic Home

If you haven't read Dorothy Draper's Decorating Is Fun: How to Be Your Own Decorator, I highly recommend it.  It is a guidebook for decorating, and although it was written in 1939, I find it quite useful for decorating today.  For example, Dorothy writes that the ceiling is an often neglected surface in a home- why not paint it a soothing sky blue!  

A prevailing theme throughout the book is that a beautiful home doesn't have to cost a fortune.  While there are certainly some projects for which Dorothy recommends hiring experts (like installing flooring), in order to save money, she advocates doing certain things yourself (like painting furniture or sewing slipcovers).  If Dorothy Draper is on board with DIY projects, then we certainly aren't going to stop now!


Having always loved the classic Dorothy Draper color scheme of black with gold accents, I thought I would use it on my most recent DIY project. 

I found this mirror for next to nothing in the back room of a thrift store, marked way way down.  In spite of its not-yellow-but-not-beige color, I loved the faux bamboo style.  However, it was missing a finial.  Bad color can easily be fixed, but a structural issue is a whole different animal and typically would deter me from purchasing.  But since it was just missing a finial, I knew I could find a way to replace it, either through eBay or maybe even a big box store like Lowe's.   

Lo and behold, Lowe's had a pair of finials that would do the trick, for less than $5.  They weren't exactly the same as the mirror's existing finial, so I removed it from the mirror.

I screwed the two new finials into the top of the mirror, and they worked just fine!  But that blah dated beigey color had to go...

Before painting, I taped off the mirror to keep it nice and clean.  I typically would remove a mirror from its frame before painting, but this mirror was quite heavy, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to perfectly install it back into its frame afterwards.  So a garbage bag and some 3M blue tape did the trick.  It is important to note that the inside corners of the frame can be reflected in the mirror, so you should take care to paint it completely and evenly.  If you get any paint on the mirror itself, a razor blade will remove it from the mirror. 

I painted the frame black.  I don't have any pictures of that process because it was so humid outside that my camera lense kept fogging up.  But glossy black it became.  Of course, after painting it black, the fabulous faux bamboo detailing on the frame became rather unnoticeable.  Enter the gold leaf paint!

I used the gold leaf paint to fill in all the crevices.  I love how it popped against the glossy black wood.

Black and gold, just what Miss Dorothy ordered!

I decided to hang it over the buffet in my dining room, since the faux bamboo would work with my brass pagoda lamps and foo dogs.

I hope Dorothy would approve!

Are you planning any DIY projects this weekend?  Tell us about them!

14 comments:

Kelly Green said...

love what you have done! KG

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

The mirror looks amazing! I'm crazy about how well it works with your blue Foos (BTW, those are some Happy Foos - my favorite!)

I'm trying to get the hubster motivated to help me get our baby's nursery set up, moving Big Sister into the guest room. We'll see... ;)

Betsy said...

That looks fabulous! I am thoroughly impressed.

Marisa said...

OMG I have that Dorothy Draper piece in a chest size, I have not gotten the nerve up to refinish it!

Joan said...

That is beautiful!!

Brianna said...

it looks great, love the black and gold together!!! I am leaving on vacation this week or I would be finishing up my china cabinet. It has been sitting with just one coat of primer on it for the last week, begging for me to finish it

traci zeller designs said...

Dorothy would totally approve!! It looks fantastic over your buffet!

EJR said...

i love it

Aesthetic Oiseau said...

LOVE!

Lalla said...

Wow - that mirror looks amazing! Fabulous job!

Julie said...

Love it! I love DIY posts, and this looks great!

Lindsey said...

fabulous... just fabulous!

Averill said...

Black lacquer with gold accents was a favorite of my grandmother -- in fact, her dining set was b&g.

Love your mirror -- very chic!

Roseanne said...

I love this book! Have had it for a long time, it is a good one.
So proud of you and Jenn. Keeping up with you through B!
Love reading you every morning!!
Roseanne

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