Dreams, Transformations, Reality

This mid-century console was sitting outside the consignment shop near our home this past spring.  It was just after sunrise when I spotted it on my way to open the shops for the day.  The moment I saw it, I knew I needed to have it, but the morning had dawned cloudy and thick gray clouds threatened to unleash some serious rain, the shop wouldn’t be opening for several hours, and our shops needed to be ready for business.  I turned into the parking lot, saw the amazing price of $100 tagged on the piece and stood watching the clouds gather overhead.  Decisions.

Always quick on my feet when a great piece of furniture can be had for a song, I hightailed it back home where hubby was still fast asleep. switched cars to my Jeep, wrote a check for 100 bucks, stuck it in an envelope with a quick note: “Saw this, want this, it’s going to rain, taking it.  Here’s my check for $100 but I would have given you $75.” And signed my name.

The whole five minutes back to the consignment shop, I’m praying this sucker will fit into the back of my Jeep.   I’m proud to say with outstanding leveraging ability, loud grunting sounds, careful thought, and removing its legs, the console was in the car safe and sound in about 10 minutes.  Phew.

Now, almost six months later, the piece still needed to be refinished, somehow.  I truly wanted to paint it — watching carefully the transformations that my sister-in-law posted on Facebook of pieces she’s painted.  I scoured apartmenttherapy.com for ideas. I read the awesome blog “Found This Painted That.” The more I saw and adored the less I felt that this piece should be painted, because I simple could not make a decision about it.  All my great ideas when it came down to doing them dissolved as I got to know this piece.  It’s just not meant to be painted, yet the top was in horrible shape, bubbled up, dry and cracked.  So, I abandoned all dreams of a creamy tangerine paint, and used Restor-A-Finish and Howard’s Feed & Wax.

I got to work on the piece and soon found out that the product is outstanding on pieces that are bruised and scratched, but for the bubbled top, no can do.  So, I got out the handy-dandy electric sander and got the top smooth as silk.  But, not without a couple blemishes and exposing some of the particle board underneath in one place — deep, heavy sigh of disappointment — it would have to do.

Another two coats of Restor-A-Finish and two more thick coats of Feed & Wax with half hour waits between buffing and coats, another hour of buffing, and the piece turned out okay.  Yes, just okay.  I had not transformed it how I’d hoped, not at all. Supreme disappointment.

But when in our living room, its humble presence defied the blemishes and we soon realized that in its imperfections was its amazing character. I dropped the tiny piece of glittered confetti that I found in one of its drawers back into it.  I didn’t wash away the crayon scribbles inside the drawer, either.  This piece had been bought shiny and new filled with promise when hubby and I were little kids, and had worked hard for the people who owned it.  It displayed pretty things, maybe housed a stereo turn table and shiny vinyl records in colorful album covers.  It bore the weight of rain and the heat of the sun, and now it stands in our living room, its scars and bruises healed but still there.

Kind of like our own lives — battle scars, blemishes, strength and integrity.

I told my buddies who were following along with the stages of its transformation that I would replace the top during the January Cure (apartmenttherapy.com) but now, no, I don’t think I’ll do anything but keep it waxed regularly, and let it be the work horse that it is, storing our special finds, cards, notebooks, puzzles and dumbbells.  Maybe even an album or two for posterity.

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