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How to Restore an Antique Commode Chest

Tuesday, 24th June 2014 No Comments »

Many hobbyists enjoy restoring antique furniture. What’s not to love? It turns a forgotten old piece into a new addition to your home. Aside from that, it can prolong the life of your antique.

If you have an antique commode chest that needs restoring, here are three simple steps to make the old new again.

Antique Painted Three Drawer Commode

Step 1: Clean

Clean before you start any restoration project. Dust and dirt accumulated throughout the years of use or storage must be removed to get a clear idea of what the antique commode chest needs. Use a wash cloth, a sponge, and oil-based cleaner while making sure to cover all areas including the lower rails and veneers. It is only after cleaning that you can truly assess the type of maintenance your antique piece needs.

Step 2: Repair

Inspect your antique commode chest for areas that need repairing. This can be as simple as tightening screws or replacing handles. Often times the repairs may be more severe, especially when you are dealing with a piece that has not been well maintained.

Before replacing any broken parts, inspect your piece for labels or marks that would indicate its origin. If you’re not sure what to check, here’s a guide on how to determine the age of antique furniture. Unless you consider yourself the real handyman, you might need to consult a professional if you suspect your piece is worth some money.

Repairing areas of your antique furniture improves their structural integrity and helps you use them for many more years. Inspect your furniture and repair damaged areas on a regular basis.

Step 3: Refinish

Not all restoration projects need refinishing. Just in case your antiques commode chest needs it, make sure to remove the previous finish before applying a new one. Sanding is also an important step because it ensures that you start with a smooth area and the new finish will be applied perfectly. Refinishing is one of the most challenging and time consuming parts of the restoration process and sometimes needs professional help.

Take the challenge. Clean, repair and refinish antique furniture and restore it to its former elegance.

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How to Display Antique Books

Tuesday, 17th June 2014 No Comments »

Even in today’s modern and electronic age, books are still well-loved treasures – especially rare, old volumes. Generally the older the books are, the more valuable they become.

However, keeping old books in good shape can be a challenge. Old tomes deserve and require special attention as they are made from natural materials such as cloth and leather that are prone to deterioration. They are also vulnerable to degradation due to the elements such as exposure to light, water, and dust.

The good news is you don’t have to spend so much to preserve your old books. With proper care printed books can last for centuries. Here are some tips on the proper way to display your vintage collection and keep them in good shape for a longer time.

Set of 28 Antique American Leather Bound Law Books

Don’t Overcrowd Them

Old books don’t like to be crowded. Cramming books together will damage the covers and possibly crack the spines. You can use bookends that will keep the books in a vertical position as long as you make sure there is good air flow between them. Keep books of the same size together to prevent warping.

Tall Books Should Be Flat

Books 18 inches or higher should be displayed horizontally and on a flat surface. When stacking large books, avoid tall piles.

Use Glass Shelving

Glass shelves are better than wood shelves when it comes to displaying your antique books. Wood can transfer damaging acids to paper and bindings if it hasn’t been properly sealed with an epoxy finish.

Keep Them Away from Light

Light in general can damage old books. To keep antique books vibrant, display them in shelves away from direct sunlight and ultraviolet light. Put ultraviolet fillers on windows and fluorescent bulbs if needed.

Avoid Moisture

High humidity is another enemy of old books. Ideally, antique books need stable storage temperature, probably between 65 and 70 degrees F, with good air flow to hinder the growth of molds. Keeping them in the basement or attic generally isn’t a good idea.

Protect them from Fire and Water

It goes without saying that you should keep your antique collection away from fire and water threats. Check for any candles, fireplaces, and radiators nearby. Make sure you don’t put any beverages on the bookshelf as well.

Don’t be Afraid to Consult an Expert

If your antique books need repair, consult a professional before taking the task on to yourself. Avoid taping or gluing the pages together or treat leather covers with oil.

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How to Care for Antique Tapestries

Tuesday, 10th June 2014 No Comments »

Antique tapestries are valuable and timeless works of art that tell epic tales of long ago. They add warmth and color to any living space and can be extremely fragile and valuable. Some are even considered priceless.

If you want to add beauty to your home with these decorative wall hangings for the years to come, it’s important to handle them with great care.

c.1950 Vintage French Jean Lurçat Tapestry

Hanging your Tapestries

Most tapestries already come with a rod pocket or loops, allowing them to hang like a curtain. Others, however, in many cases they come unfinished and without a rod pocket. Consider asking for help from the tapestry company you got it from. They may custom fit your tapestry to make it suitable for hanging. A textile conservator can also help determine the best way of mounting it to the wall without compromising the appearance.

Cleaning your Antique Tapestry Properly

Remove all jewelry first before handling the tapestry. Jewelry may cause an irreparable tear. With a soft-bristled brush, dust the tapestry to remove any dust or debris. Be sure to do this gently as too much pressure could lead to tearing the fabric.

Vacuum the front and back of the tapestry with an upholstery attachment to remove debris from the textile’s fibers. Generally, you should vacuum your tapestry twice a year except in dusty homes or those with pets. In those cases the tapestry should be vacuumed twice a month.

If your tapestry becomes soiled, never attempt to blot it with water or with any cleaning agent. Tapestries, especially antique ones, are very fragile – even to water. To clean the stain, bring it to a textile conservator.

You should never attempt to repair an antique tapestry at home as it could cause irreversible damage that can decrease its value.

How to Store your Tapestry

For maximum preservation, maintain your tapestry in a temperature-controlled environment. It should be in a container with ventilation but not open to allow dirt and dust to settle in. To prevent threads from rubbing against each other, fold the tapestry with a piece of white tissue paper. Of course, don’t store it in a place with sharp edges to avoid damaging the thread.

These tips will keep your antique tapestries beautiful for generations to come.

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How to Antique an Outdoor Statue

Tuesday, 3rd June 2014 No Comments »

Aged-looking statues can give your outdoor landscape an established and elegant look. If you don’t have antique statues, don’t worry – you can give ordinary statues a weathered look. Here are some of the simplest ways you can do it yourself.

Using Black Emulsion Paint

Black emulsion paint brings out an aged and worn-out look to statues. This is done by coating the statue with a mixture of PVA glue and water. Once the statue is thoroughly coated, give it some time to dry. Mix a very small amount of black emulsion paint to water. A little goes a long way so the mixture should resemble dirty water. Coat the outdoor statue with this solution and let it dry again. To finish, use an old sponge sanding block to remove the cement from the statue’s high points.

Using Black Oxide

Black oxide is another effective agent in aging an outdoor statue. Black oxide is mixed with water and applied to the surfaces. This needs to be left overnight to allow the reaction to take place. The next day, dip the painted statue into a diluted acid solution. Use a sponge to remove the excess black oxide to give your statue an aged look. As a safety precaution, remember to use gloves when doing this process.

Encourage the Growth of Moss

Aside from staining, another effective way is to encourage the growth of moss. To accomplish this, wet your statue thoroughly and soak it overnight. You can also cover it with a mixture of yoghurt and water. To speed up the process, rub clumps of moss on it if you have some that is already growing in your garden.

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Interior Design Tips for Beginners: 8 Experts Weigh In

Thursday, 29th May 2014 1 Comment

Interior design can be challenging for any beginner. Between choosing the right style, using the right colors, and picking the right furniture, designing a room can be quite the undertaking. We asked some of the best interior design bloggers around what they thought the most common mistake beginners make when it comes to interior design. Here’s what they had to say:

Cassity Kmetzsch, Remodelaholic

Not knowing what they truly love and being patient enough to wait for it. So many times people want to just fill a space immediately, so, they spend a small fortune on items that they don’t love and or items that are poorly built, just to fill up the space. It is worth the wait to stop and study what inspiration images truly speak to you, what about the images make you happy, what colors lift your spirits? Break it down into a style and then slowly acquire the things that fit that style that you love over time. Taking that time, and studying what you love will also protect your budget and style from the inevitable time that your style evolves!

Diane Henkler, In My Own Style

The biggest mistake beginners make when it comes to interior design is thinking they have to get a room completed all at once. The once and done thinking will only have them realizing they like something better. It is smart to let the room evolve over time and only fill it with things you love and need.

Beth Hunter, Home Stories A to Z

Many beginners want to start redecorating by painting a room a new color. Although paint is a fantastic, inexpensive medium to completely change the look of a space, beginning with a paint color on the walls often makes the task of pulling a room together more difficult. Picking out fabrics and textiles first, allows the design process to flow much more smoothly.

Kelli, Lolly Jane

The most common mistake beginner make is thinking they have to buy new furniture to match the wall color or area rug or other colors in the space. A new coat of paint with new hardware can transform the look of the room without having to spend a lot of money.

Katie, Better Living Through Design

Beginners try to do too much too fast- a home that’s comfortable and interesting usually takes time to create. Some of the best interiors are layered with the owner’s past travels and keepsakes, and thus reflect upon their own personalities and interests.

Jessie Kok, Mix and Chic

When it comes to interior design, I find that many beginners purchase furnishings on a whim. To achieve a well-balanced room, you need to have a solid design plan before furnishing a space. Take into consideration the pieces you need and most importantly, the proportion and scale of each piece. If you are designing a spacious room, you should select larger pieces of furniture and accessories so the space doesn’t look too sparse or empty. If you are designing for a small space, you should pick smaller pieces of furniture (get a love seat instead of a four seat sofa, for example) to avoid cramping the room even further. If you are on a furniture shopping trip armed with a design plan (a well-planned room layout, room measurements and a color scheme), you are halfway to design success!

Tobi Fairley,

The most common mistake beginners make in interior design is selecting the paint color first for a room. I always select paint colors last, after I’ve decided what the fabrics and patterns in the room will be. Those decisions lead me to the paint color that will be best for the space.

Eleni Psyllaki, My Paradissi

When people start thinking about decorating their place it is only normal to get through dozens of inspiring photos and read tons of blog post and magazine articles on how to design their own place. That can be overwhelming and distracting. What works on some interiors or for some people doesn’t necessarily work in any other case. For example, one might be impressed by all the high end minimal interiors but his budget, home architecture or way of living wouldn’t possibly support that style. So, one must put down his needs, his everyday way of living and money that wants to spend on the project before gets lost in the vast world of online inspiration.


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