French Country Candlestick Makeover
My boys often groan when we pull into one thrift store’s parking lot. Truthfully, I try to meander through with as few little people in tow as possible. I mean, I see their point; stinky, dirty, unloved garbage, and Mom is shopping in there?!? But I tell them, “I’m treasure hunting, something in there could be a very economical piece paired with a little love and creativity to become something amazing.”
On one of my thrift store adventures last fall, I picked up two candlesticks that were in good condition, but needed some love. I could tell by the shape and the intricate carvings that they had the bones to become a quintessential French Country piece, with a tiny bit of elbow grease and a little creative love. I am still very short on time these days, with an active baby who requires virtually no naps during the day. So when I was craving a creative paint outlet last week, and something I knew I could complete relatively quickly, I dug these out of my cupboard.
My son thought I should title this post “Ugly to Awesome” and while I agree with him, I didn’t want ugly to be the first word my readers saw. I am very pleased with the makeover, and equally as pleased with the price. However, I thought introducing them as French Country Candlesticks may be a better description of my actual project.
For a room refresh, grand candlesticks can always make a big impact. But these candlesticks were dark, drab and heavy. Not to mention, busy, there were a lot of different colors going on there. So I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to make a dramatic change. I painted a couple of layers of Old White and had to work a bit to get in all the nooks and crannies. This photo is after just one sloppy coat.
After the second coat dried overnight, I was ready for the real transformation by using the dry brush technique. The dry brush technique is actually very easy, but one must have patience because it does take time. I recommend using a chip brush, the uneven bristles make for a nice random smattering when the paint goes on. All you do is barely, and I mean barely, dab the end of your brush in your paint, and paint it on a paper towel. Then, after most of your paint is off your brush, you lightly go back and forth, creating light and random strokes on the thing your painting. You can do this over and over for my coverage, or stop after the first application. I love dry brushing with several colors, alluding to the French, aged look.
A thrifted item is a great thing to try it out on. If it turns out amazing, you’ll have a great piece. And if not, you learned something and you can chuck with a disposable price tag.
I kept the color scheme simple this time. Old White was the base. My first coat of dry brush was with Old Ochre, which is a beigish off-white. It gave subtle dimension. Then I took French Linen (which is a perfect greige) and dry brushed a couple coats over the top. I simply love the dramatic makeover, and it was just the cost-effective refresh the old pump organ needed this spring.
Since we don’t have a fireplace, the antique pump organ has become my seasonal mantle so to speak. I enjoy changing it out, refreshing the living room. As you can see, I’m grasping for spring. Oh, we still have a ton of snow, but thank goodness it’s March and we also have a lot of bright sun. Somehow, I feel like the sun gives me permission to wish for spring on the inside…
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Your post gave me a little laugh. Many years ago when my boys were little, I too, heard the groan of, “Oh! no not a another junk store!” OR…from my younger son,” when I am a dad, I am going to be a nice dad and NEVER go to the Goodwill or a JoAnne’s”. I am chuckling now as I write this….thank you for the memory!!!
I’m so delighted it brought up such a funny memory! The place my boys hate even more than that one thrift store is JoAnns. They are usually very well behaved, but I don’t know, something happens every time I bring them through the doors of JoAnns and they become one of THOSE kids that are out of control. And that’s the only place! So, I do not take them there anymore. I guess they won that one. 🙂
Since I wrote the first comment, I’ve had a birthday!!! My younger son bought me a Target gift card…he said, “I was going to get you a JoAnn’s gift card but I couldn’t get my legs to walk in there to get it…my body wouldn’t allow me!!!…..lolololo…they get older but they love to still challenge!!!
Thank you for coming back and relaying that conversation. That is HILARIOUS! I was seriously laughing. My dad and brother both say they have PTSD from fabric stores, whatever. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your stroll through Target. 🙂
Ugly to Awesome is right! Ha ha! Can you believe the old finish was all the rage at one time? Oy!
I’m so happy we have some sunshine again. The downside is I’m looking at the ceiling and walls knowing it’s time to paint again but I’m not quite sure how to tackle the ceiling. There’s no way I can do it on my own.This is about the time I wish I had a whole flock of teen boys to put to work. Ha ha.
This post will be featured on my blog today for Thursday Favorite Things. It’s awesome!
The finish, I know! It often makes me wonder what we are going to shake our heads at in 10 years as far as style that we think is so great now. Kinda funny.
If my boys were older, I would lend them to you to paint. I’m sure I’ll have them trained in a few years, but I’m quite sure you wouldn’t be fully satisfied with the “help” now.
And thank you so incredibly much for the feature, Olivia! That means so much to me!
So cute- they turned out great. Thanks for linking up at FNF
Courtney, thank you so very much. I adore your blog and your style so very much. Thank you for the feature!
What a transformation! I think ugly to awesome describes them very well! I don’t think I would have been smart enough to buy them as they were kind of hideous before. Now they’re so
“au courant”! Nice job!
Thank you so much Naomi! The funny thing is, my husband later confessed as he was reading my blog, he thought they started awesome and I made them ugly. Haha! I guess his style was 10 years ago. I enjoy the current look much better!
Hi there, came to you via French Country Cottage blog. These are amazing ? I really need to start looking at junk in a different light. I paint old furniture but would have walked past these. Well done you!?
Helen, thank you so much! I think finding the treasure in the junk takes practice, just as fixing up furniture. I bet you have it in you and will be looking at the candlestick aisle differently now. Happy creating!