Dickey's Decor

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Divine Find

This summer I got a text from one of my co-workers that read, "Vanity and a bunch of junk sitting on the corner of Yadda Yadda Yadda. Just thought you might be interested".  It just so happened that Mr.Dickey had a softball game that very day a few blocks from this location. I figured if it was there when we went to his game it was meant to be.
We were running late (of course) and I figured it would be long gone by the time we showed up. We dropped Mr.Dickey off and me and the kids started driving around in search of this vanity. I was about ready to throw in the towel when Drexler spotted it...my co-worker apparently doesn't know his addresses. We pulled up to the curb and sitting in a ray of light was this:

Not only was the vanity there, but also an awesome mirror and stool that matched the vanity. This baby was solid and I instantly fell in love. Drexler and his buddy Baily helped me take out the drawers and load the mirror and stool in the truck, but the vanity was a bit too heavy for them. As if on cue the neighbor walked by and offered to help me load it. (A side note on our truck. It is a regular sized Dodge Ram. Mr.Dickey loves it and so do I, but it is very hard for me to get in and out of it with my 5 foot 2 inch body.) We made it to the game and unloaded this beauty into the abyss garage where it sat until the end of January. I wanted to work on this piece, but I just couldn't figure out what to do with it. I waited for inspiration to hit me. The inspiration was my need to get my car in the garage after a cold spell.

The top was in bad shape.

I stripped it using a gel stripper. I loved the color of the wood once I stripped it and decided to keep it ala natural. I figured out pretty quickly that the top was solid mahogany, but the drawers were a veneer of some kind. This is when I decided to paint them using my own chalk paint concoction. I was happy and sad to find out this "secret concoction" was featured in this month's edition of This Old House. Yep, my secret is very public now.

I figured I had a lovely creamy off-white in my garage paint store, but I came up empty handed. I armed myself with a 25% off coupon for Sherwin Williams and headed to run a few errands. One was a stop at my local salvage store. I was loading up on candy (Hershey bars with almonds for .25!) when I saw they had recently gotten in a shipment of paint from you guessed it Sherwin William's. The very first can I picked up was a lovely cream color and it was $1. This was sent from heaven just for me.

My next mission was to find two more knobs for the vanity. Superstar Bloggers from Young House Love were signing their new book at Rejuvenation Hardware and giving a lecture so this was the best place to start my search. After listening to them (they are super cute) I searched through boxes of wooden knobs. I found two that were sort of matching, but nothing as lovely as the ones already on it. The guy working even asked me if I wanted to sell the rest of the knobs as they were that awesome. After an extensive search, and too much time with Portland Hipsters, I jaunted over to another architectural salvage store Hippo Hardware and found nothing.

I finally began to paint in the late afternoon. For the first time ever it became clear my chalk paint was going to fail me. The veneer (or something) began to leach through the first coat of paint. The next day I had to break down and prime the entire thing. Guess what? Something leached through AGAIN. My vision of this piece fell apart. I tried another coat of paint in one area and it still leached a bit. I finally adjusted my vision and painted in a light grey, Sherwin William's Jubilee.

I top coated it with Annie Sloan dark wax. All but two of the handles are original.

 I struggled with what to cover the stool in. I had a lovely vintage grey and floral print, but it was a cotton and may not have worn well. I almost put a light rose brocade, but the color looked to tan next to the wood. I finally settled on this vintage chenille from a bed cover I had on hand. I LOVE this cover, but unfortunately someone spilled some nail polish on it. I can imagine back in the 50s a teenage girl getting in some trouble for that one. I decided to cut it and use it in my projects. This section was from the bottom.

I am in love with this piece and wish I had room to keep it. It actually makes me think when I get back into my master bedroom I may use a vanity for my make-up application. I decided to keep the mirror that goes with this piece. I can't bear to part with that piece of "trash".


  1. What an incredible freebie to find. Looks like luck was with you all the way on this makeover (except for the bleed through)!

  2. Leah, what a beautiful transformation. I've also had that "bleed thru" problem & I have a trick that works for me every time. If you give it a coat of Flat Varnish it blocks the bleed. Mahogany is notorious for this so I'm always very cautious when I'm painting this type of wood. I don't want to waste the paint, so if it's Mahogany or a red stain, I'll start with the flat varnish. I also wanted to mention, you might want to submit this to Roadkill Rescue. I bet they'd feature you. Good luck, Dee from My Painted Stuff.

  3. What a gorgeous piece - WOW - I'd give anything to have that.
    The bleed through is called Tannin - and the only thing that will work ( or in my humble opinion anyway ) is a coat of Shellac to seal everything up -
    I've had it even come through with primer - so now just stick with the Shellac -

  4. Lovely piece, such a lucky find. Just for note: as Annie Sloan says: When the stain bleeds through the paint, simply stop painting, apply one or two coats of Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac, let it dry and continue painting. I have had to do this many times and it works like a charm.

  5. What an awesome find! You did a beautiful job giving it new life. I can't believe it was there waiting for you. It was meant to be. Visiting from Roadkill Rescue.

  6. This is beautiful...im glad to know im not the only one that loves a good roadside jewel! Beautiful job! Keep it!