Year-end is the perfect time to review the projects you’ve completed throughout the year. Doing so, you’re able to see trends in your projects and determine which ones you’d like to do more of and the future direction of where you could go. So here’s my 2020 Year in Review, the paints and finishes I used used most, and the direction I think 2021 will take me.
Looking back at the past year allows me to see which paint and stain techniques I’ve used most, the types of furniture pieces I’ve leaned toward, and which most appeal to myself and to you.
It’s allowed me to narrow down my preferred paint products over the years and perfect my technique with them. And I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to provide you with all of this wisdom in a 29-page ebook that I recently completed for you:
From 2014 to 2016, I did a lot of experimenting with color, layering paints and glazes, and different brands.
By 2017, I was much more conservative. After 3 years of refinishing, I was able to narrow down the paint products to to a short list. I also began using more stains and even introduced my custom naturally-aged wood finish.
2018 was a bumpy road. A car accident limited my ability to refinish for several months. But it was actually a blessing in disguise and I believe God’s way of telling me it was time for something new. I renewed my real estate license and started working with my brother in commercial real estate. It turned out to be a perfect fit for me because I do 90% of the marketing for the firm. I’ve been able to incorporate all of my marketing, copywriting, graphic design, website, and sales skills and I absolutely love it!
So while there’s been less time to refinish furniture furniture, by 2018 I had perfected the use of paints and stains and was able to work on higher quality pieces. I opted for neutral colors and practical, durable finishes with using topcoats, enamel paints, and stains.
2019 and 2020 was more of the same, but as I look back at the pieces refinished in 2020, I see I created fewer solid paint finishes and enjoyed layering stains and glazes more.
Let’s take a look. Click on the image to see the full makeover of that piece.
This pair of mid-century end tables was originally a dark stain. My parents were painting their bedroom and decided they wanted a lighter wood. There are about 5 different products making up these “wood” end tables; so when sanded back, I had to use paint to make the legs, trim, and top match the natural wood of the sides and drawer fronts. I can now have the formula to imitate the look of real wood with paint.
Tables are my favorite to refinish. They seem to take on the biggest transformation which is the most rewarding. I did a few them in in 2020. And I had to continue with my signature refinishing technique of a naturally-aged table.
This whitewashed table was created using water-based white and gray stains and the the chairs were a combination of paint & stain. The same layering was used on this console table…
This console table went from a dark expresso to a modern wash. Layering on white and gray stains combined with a bit of the remaining brown stain peeking through, created a custom layered wash finish.
And here’s a similar console table but with water-down blue paint and whitewash. I was needing a little color.
At the request of a close family friend, I took this solid oak coffee table into the 21st century with a gray stained top and antique white base using milk paint and enamel. The matte black handles pulled the modern look all together.
Customers seemed to like the two-tone stained-painted finish, so I used it again on this antique claw-foot dining table.
With so many students working from home this past year, desks were big in 2020. This one just needed a refresh with some antique white milk paint and water-based clear topcoat to bring it back to it’s durable, high-end finish.
Navy blue continued to be and will continue to be one of my favorite colors for furniture. It’s classic and a neutral that goes beyond black and white. This simple dresser was taken up a notch with the gold hardware. A classic combination.
Glaze Over Paint
It was toward the second half of the year, that I used glazes even more frequently than I have in the past. Every time I added the layer of glaze, it seemed to take the design from ordinary to extraordinary. From basic to high-end. The black glaze took this desk from a flat blue to a one-of-a-kind high-end piece that I can see being past on to the next generation.
This 75-inch sideboard was painted a similar navy blue to the desk above. But this time, I needed to work with some imperfections in the soft pine wood; so I created the look of a worn pair of denim jeans and washed this one with a white glaze. Love how the glaze effect resembles the white threads you find in denim jeans.
I did a similar denim finish on this one, but went with a muted lavender which I absolutely love and plan to use more of in 2021. Click the image to see the denim top.
Finally, what was a tall, rustic, dark wood Ethan Allen chest of drawers, is now a custom gray, lightly layered with a black glaze for dimension.
Moving Into 2021
I’ve already had several customers ask me to refinish pieces for them when the weather clears in the Spring. And I’m happy to create the custom pieces they would love for their home.
As for the pieces I hope to find to refinish… more dining tables so I can create the naturally-aged finish. I hope to find a few painted buffets/sideboards that will be showcase pieces in someone’s dining room. Also on my list are a few dressers with spindle legs so I can paint them antique white and leave the decorative legs and drawer fronts natural wood. Did you see the sample of my favorite I’ve posted to my Facebook page? Love.
What Are Your Favorites?
I would love to bring you more of the finishes YOU love in 2021. Reply in the comments and let me know the finish and colors you prefer. After all, I refinish furniture for you as much as for my own creative outlet. I’d love to hear from you.