Her name is Ruth and she loves her church and to play music. I didn’t know her personally, but those at her estate sale told beautiful stories. She was liked by many and well known in her community. Sadly when Ruth passed, she had no living relatives and her belongings were awarded to the State. I was fortunate to visit her estate and was emotionally touched by seeing her life through the home she left behind. With no surviving family, who would continue the memory of Ruth? Estate sale refinishing is a wonderful way to carry memories forward and honor those lives that have left their belongings behind.
Memories Live On through design!
Sitting in the far corner of a room stood a small unassuming crate, covered in newspaper stacks. It didn’t look like much, but for some reason, it drew my eye. I uncovered it and noticed it was a crate with three little drawers. It was quite unique looking. Ruth didn’t throw away much and this little beauty looked like it had been around for a long time.
My first thought was “that’s a cute little storage crate.” But as I kept looking at it, my feelings grew stronger. I knew I needed to have that piece and I would instead refinish it in honor of Ruth’s life so someone else could enjoy it for years to come. That’s why I love Estate Sale refinishing! It’s a chance for us as artists to help memories live on through design for the next generation. We have the ability to connect different people’s lives by joining refinished pieces from one life and sharing with another. This is how Ruth’s Crate was born.
The transformation of Ruth’s Crate
Ruth’s Crate deserved an uplifting color palette and a cheery overall feeling to celebrate her life. Soft colors and natural elements like birds and trees were the perfect recipe. I started with a general idea of how I wanted the piece to feel but not exactly how it was to look. I’ve learned over the years that even when you do map out exactly what your design is, along the way there is usually something that changes the final outcome for the better! Every design has its own personality and can take time to emerge so patience in the process is always key!
Over a month, the personality and design of Ruth’s Crate took shape. The process, while not overly complicated, did take time to fully mature as sometimes you must wait for the vision to come to you rather than forcing a drawing from paper onto the actual piece. Ruth’s Crate soon blossomed! Our journey together followed this path…
1. Sand down the top coat on the wood surface to a dull sheen. Remove all dust.
2. Wipe with wood cleaning solution to remove all dirt & grime. Let dry.
3. Paint a base coat of Old World Finishing Paint™ (OWFP) tint base.
4. Mix custom baby blue color of OWFP and apply 2 coats.
5. Sand and rub back OWFP, with some spots all the way through base coat to the actual wood. Use both a wet rag & sand paper for a natural, varied look.
6. Use a Birch tree, bird and leaf stencil on drawer faces only. Carefully line up the stencil so it looks to seamlessly continue the design across the face of the crate.
NOTE: Take your time on the stencil. Apply in sections and let each dry before moving on so there are no smudges! And if you missed it, check out our Sensibly Stenciled Hindsight article for more pointers.
7. Apply a glaze of browns & a little shimmer to all surfaces of the crate, including the stencil designs. Wipe with cheese cloth and let dry.
8. As a final coat, wax the entire crate and buff with a drill brush & plastic bag for a soft feel and high sheen.
The rewards of Estate Sale refinishing
Ruth’s Crate is done and beautiful! My hope is that Ruth would have enjoyed this crate in her home when she was alive and is honored that someone else will enjoy it now moving forward. Ruth had many pet birds that she adored so the special touch of a pretty bird adorning the design will help her memory live on with the piece. At nluv Studio, we strive to add memories and special treasures to the designs in what we call wrapit nluv. Estate Sale refinishing is just another way to celebrate the memories and lives of those no longer with us and carry forward a piece of the past for others to enjoy!
Have you been to an Estate Sale lately? Consider going and finding a piece that speaks to you! Refinish a piece from the past and help breathe new life into it. Memories are what life is all about! Happy Estate Sale refinishing!