Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Should I Paint It?

I love this little three drawer cabinet.  It's only 18" tall x 12" wide, sturdy enough to use as a stool, very heavy, and perfect for storing office supplies and my jewelry making tools.  My mother's friend gave it to me a couple of years ago, but I never got the story about where it originally came from.  I want to lighten it up with a fresh coat of paint, but then I started feeling guilty about covering up the beautiful old wood.  Would you paint it, or leave it alone?


The three cast iron pulls are marked Pat. May 6, 1873 on the back.  

It looks like someone already refinished it at some point.  I never noticed the dripping varnish until I saw this picture.  Might be time for new reading glasses.

Remnants of green paint on the bottom and sides.  I sure wish it had its original paint.

Someone sure built this to last!
To paint, or not to paint?  
 

45 comments:

  1. I'm afraid I couldn't put paint on this...it has wonderful wood patina. Some treasures just want to be naked....

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  2. I love it as is, but if you don't then you should change it
    :)

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  3. That's a tough one -- I too feel the 'guilt' sometimes but then again I love to paint things...

    Clearly I am no help here. :-)

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  4. To paint or not to paint that is the question! Hmmmm personally I love the old wood patina and would leave it as is except give it a good clean and then wax it to a beautiful shine. BUT that's me you should follow what you think is right for you.

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  5. I hate to follow the crowd, but, I think I might leave it "as is."

    xoxo
    Kathleen

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  6. I would probably leave as it is. But then I am not the one that will be using it. I know - I am of no help either. :D

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  7. Here is how I decide what to do in these situations. First I think about what room its going in, and decide whether or not the current wood type will "match" or go with the rest of the furnishings in that room, if not I paint it. But you also have to take into consideration on whether or not you will keep it for your own personal use which usually means for me "forever", or will give it away or sell it. If I think I will keep it and it doesnt match my other pieces, I usually paint it. If I am going to gift it or sell it I would keep it as is. Hope this helps :)

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  8. Wow so much good advice. I love this piece and think I would clean it first and see how it looks. Then if I'm not happy with it, paint it.

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  9. I probably wouldn't paint it either! I love the way it looks...reminds me a the cedar chest end table that I have. I'm having a BIG giveaway! Hope you can stop by soon! It's something you would like! heehee! ♥

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  10. I'm a wood lover and an old lover. Looks perfect to me.

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  11. Ah, that is the question. My first inclination, if it were mine, I'd paint it distressed white. I envision something really chippy, kind of the whitewash look, weathered, gray peeking throug but that's my style :)

    xxoo
    Marsha

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  12. I happen to love the patina on that wonderful piece. If it were mine, I definitely would not paint it. Great find!

    Danielle

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  13. It has so much character already...it's a tough one!
    I thought I'd let you know I've nominated you for the "Tell Me About Yourself" award :-)
    You can find out more about it here: http://emilysummers-designer.blogspot.com/2011/11/tell-me-about-yourself-award.html

    Emily
    emilysummers-designer.blogspot.com

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  14. Another vote here for 'no paint', even though I think it would beautiful, if you decide to do something with it, refinished a darker shade. It is so cute, and you certainly were lucky to be the receipient!

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  15. i'm toying with the same idea with my own three-drawer file cabinet. the wood is gorgeous..but i so want to paint it! i will see what YOU do and make my decision then! :)

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  16. I'm not a fan of painting everything. I like the patina of items, so I give it a good cleaning, let it dry, then hand polish to bring out that wood tone. Try it first...you may like it! Love ya!

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  17. It is beautiful the way it is but I have to agree with Marsha. I definitely would not paint the pulls though.

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  18. I guess if you absolutely cannot use it in your home as it is, then paint it but it's so lovely as is that if at all possible, I'd keep it this way.

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  19. I say enjoy it and use it as is for awhile. It has a certain charm with those original handles etc. You can always add paint.....some day.

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  20. Please do not paint this - thanks Mary

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  21. Please don't paint it until you find out the value of it. If it had previously been painted with milk paint, the current stain may not decrease the value. You can get on the Cowan's website and get their email address, upload a picture and email it to them for a free estimate. Their auction house is located in Cincinnati. Have a Blessed day.

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  22. Several years ago I finally decided to take ownership of my folks wooden bed frame bought in the early 60's when we first moved to Calif. In the 70's the bedframe was retired and sat in the garage or outside for years, tarnish peeling and losing all of it's appeal. I knew I was going to paint it white with a little distress added to it. My husband and I brought out the sandpaper and sander and to our surprise a gorgeous grain appeared before our eyes. The maple grain on the wood was like art in itself. Painting it white seemed like a disservice to the bed frame. Once it was varnished it became a beautiful beautiful piece. I love it! See what's underneath all that varnish. It might be a pleasant surprise. Sorry for the babbling.
    Lisa

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  23. Hmmm...tough call, what if you left the drawers "as is" and painted and really distressed the rest? Just a thought :) Good luck, Laurel

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  24. I seem to be outnumbered, but...PAINT!!! It will be gorgeous and the pretty hardware will show up more.

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  25. I have to go with the majority, Betsy. I suggest sanding it a bit and re-varnishing. I personally like the old paint coming through, it adds character to the piece.
    Whatever you decide don't touch that hardware, it's awesome!

    Those were my two cents,
    Irma

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  26. I would leave it as is. If you painted it, it would lose its vintage look.

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  27. I love the warm glow of the natural wood. I like a mix of painted and pure in my home. I vote to leave it as is. It's a really lovely piece and how nice you were given it.
    Lynn

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  28. If I wil be in your shoes, I wouldn't totally repaint the drawer. I'd rather do restoration. I love its natural wood color.

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  29. I'm with you, I don't know what I'd do either, but I can't wait to see what you decide! Sandi

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  30. I'm going to go against the grain and say paint it. It's already been refinished a little, so you're not devaluing it by painting. I have a 9-drawer piece like this, and it was COMPltelY redone by some moron. Even to the point of putting new and non-matching PLASTIC handles on some drawers. Of course, I only paid $50 and that is probably a fair price for a non-original piece.

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  31. Normally I would say paint it, but, I'm growing to love old wood, and this has beautiful patina to it.

    I'd vote leave it.
    What a beautiful treasure whatever you do with it.

    blessings
    barb

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  32. I use paint only if the piece I'm working on will be improved with paint. I'm afraid that your cute little cabinet will lose much of its charm if you paint it. It looks like most of us love it just the way it is.

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  33. Ooooh... hard question this morning.

    I love the metal drawer pulls.

    So much I see you doing with the frame on them.

    I don't have an answer.

    I am sure you will make it breathtaking with whatever magic you put into it.

    *hugs*

    mo

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  34. I'm with the majority here. It's an amazing piece; the wood is lovely. Paint will hide that charm. Can you find some other way to brighten up your space? I understand the pull to paint it and get a bright new look, but the chest is just perfect as it is.

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  35. I'm just blogwalking and stop here. Also, you has a great blog. Dont forget to visit me back. Thankyou.

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  36. A big decision but if it were mine, I would hate to see it lose character if it was painted. Maybe you don't care because you want to keep it. Do what makes you happy. Did I help? Smile!!! It is a great piece.

    XO, Jeanne

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  37. It's your decision so go with your gut! I'm not sure I would paint this old piece though!

    Thanks for linking your interesting post to Potpourri Friday!

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  38. Lots of good suggestions! I have to admit I'm a painter if it doesn't devalue the piece, but this is lovely just the way it is. Very warm looking.

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  39. It's not doing much for me as is, so I would say paint. Maybe leave some unpainted, but paint most of it.
    -Stefanie
    2ndChanceCreations.etsy.com

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  40. It is a beautiful piece...I say paint it!

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  41. What a hard decision you face. I,too, am going against the general consenses. I say paint it. It would be so beautiful shabby chic. Paint can always be removed later. What a beautiful blog you have. Love visiting.

    Diana

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  42. Here's a different take all together:

    Build a simple wood box COVER to slip it inside. Maybe put it on feet, too. Paint the cover box and slip your lovely little piece inside it. You will have the charm of the old wood, and you can paint the new wood any color you like! It might even benefit from being raised on feet..

    -Revi

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  43. The wood looks fantastic, that would be a hard call. I always struggle with painting wood, but have slowly started to think about doing some pieces I have. Happy VTT

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  44. We have a philosophy, here at the cottage, about painting old pieces. If the piece IS NOT extremely valuable, we consider painting it, without reservation. If the appearance could be improved, because the piece requires a number of noticeable repairs, we paint it. If we have ANY reservations, we leave it as is...or at least until we are comfortable painting the piece. ;)

    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Thursday, Betsy.

    Blessings,
    Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage
    http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

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