Swedish function meets Japanese beauty

Swedish function meets Japanese beauty

こんにちは - Kon'nichiwa

Hello! And welcome back to Squirrel's Nest.  I know I am still getting my feet wet in the blogging world, but I have to say that I am really enjoying sharing my world with you.

As you may know from my previous posts, I moved into a house a year ago that I did not have enough in my squirrel stash to decorate all the rooms.  And I had exactly one year to get it all done, as we were hosting a family reunion. In the normal recourse of decorating a new house, the furnishings and decor come gradually.  You have the time to find the perfect piece.  You have time to save the money to get the things you want.  Not in this case. We were on a time constraint and limited budget.  I needed to make the furnishings we already had work.  But let me tell you, I really enjoy taking something and making it better for little or no money.  There is an extreme sense of satisfaction in looking a room and saying "I did this".  I'm sure that a lot of you feel this way, too.

Picture of me in Okinawa in my first kimono.


So being the fact that I have a bit of Japanese décor from living in Okinawa, I decided that I would make one of my guest bedrooms have a Japanese theme.  


I just didn't have any Japanese furniture. However, I DID have some Ikea furniture just waiting to be refurnished!

I've had this poor set of Ikea dressers and nightstands for years - in fact this is their sixth time of being moved!  I've never tried refinishing furniture, so if it didn't work out, I didn't feel like it would be too much of a loss. 

Being that I am new to trying my hand at refinishing, I know that there are processes, techniques and products that I probably should have used, but I'm learning. Regardless, I took the image that I had in my head to Home Depot and ran with it.  I knew I wanted the body red, with an antique, distressed look and the top to be a solid ebony color.

I chose Varathane stains as I had some experience with them, they are easy to use and they had the colors I was looking for. 

After lightly sanding down the dresser and the drawers and removing the hardware, I was ready to start.  I was so nervous!  The first two applications of the Barn Red stain was very bright (I guess I thought barns were a little more weathered).  I guess that's my job!  On the left is the first application - definitely needs a second coat.  If I had had a dark stain on the wood first, I may have left it at one coat to let the dark to show through. However, as you see on the right, the second coat did have a lacquer finish that I liked and thought that it brought an Oriental feel to my project. 

I stained the top of the dresser with the ebony stain.  This gave it a richer feel and broke up all that red.  When all was dried overnight, I used a sanding block to distress the corners and even the face of the body and the drawers.  Let me say at this point, I really thought I screwed up! Some places peeled away more than I wanted them to and left the light wood showing.  To fix this, I dipped a rag in the ebony stain and rubbed it into all the distressed areas.  I liked that a lot!

At this point, I like what is going on, but I still wasn't getting a Japanese vibe.  It still needed something.  It needed some gold.  It needed some cherry blossoms!  

Michael's sells a Plaid FolkArt® Cherry Branch Laser Stencil.  It was perfect for what I wanted.  It only had one stencil, but by turning it over and stenciling it backwards, I could add more visual interest.  

I started with just the Metallic Glaze in Renaissance Brown, thinking that I didn't want it too bright - more of an antique feel.  It looked great, depending on which angle you looked at it, but other angles it just seemed to disappear.  So I added some highlights of acrylic gold.  

Now for the finishing touches!  I still didn't want a glaring gold, so I went with Rustoleum's Champagne Mist to paint my existing hardware.  I looked for new hardware, but it is expensive and I thought what I had worked.  Lastly, after the sanding and rubbing in additional dark stain, I felt like the finish was a little dull.  I don't need the protection, shine or the additional work of a poly coat, so I opted for a rejuvenating oil.  It was perfect for the look I was going for - an heirloom Japanese piece (okay, I know it doesn't look like that, but humor me).

I'll soon be posting the full Japanese room, showing the decor and some of the other DIY projects I did.  Check back soon!

Please pin and share!  I need your help!

 ありがとうございました  Arigatōgozaimashita (Thank you!)



Driftwood as Planters

Driftwood as Planters