Bench GATSBY – Part 1 – Introduction

My First Project

Where to start? Well, I work at Stockbridge, a neighbourhood in rainy Edinburgh, UK, which abounds in charity shops full of pre-owned furniture. Every time I pass by a piece of old furniture displayed in the shop’s window bay I think ‘that could be repainted in green or gold‘ or ‘that could be redesigned to something more interesting…‘ etc. One day I understood that I can actually do it myself. The idea is not new but who said that every hobby has to be unique?

I sub-titled this post ‘My First Project‘ as, even having 20+ years of experience in interior design and a number of completed DIY projects, I had never worked with old furniture before. So I made a decision and sourced some pre-owned pieces locally. I didn’t spend financially a lot to be honest so the specimens may not seem very sophisticated but I thought it is good enough for a start. Let’s see what one can get out of the lumber. These are the console table and the shoe bench below. Believe or not but both pieces are made of solid wood. The console is all solid mahogany, probably from the Edwardian era from the beginning of the 20th century. Sometimes this kind of table is called ‘Demi Lune (crescent)‘. I was not able to place in time the shoe bench, it might be Art Deco from1920/30s but….might not as well. I decided to make the bench my first project and assigned to it the working name Gatsby as the design reminds me of the glamour of Art Deco era.

I never do any kind of design for my DYI projects. The reason for that is that I spend enough time in front of a computer during my office days so all my private designs happen in my imagination or in a real 1:1 scale. But this time I decided to create at least some visuals to check what the possibilities are. What I did, I photographed the bench and photoshopped the pictures to a few colour options. There were a few more done but I’m only showing the three visuals below. I will write soon a post about how to quickly vizualize your object in Photoshop and in Gimp – a free alternative to Photoshop. My choice fell on the black-pink version.

I had the upholstery fabric already bought when I started the visuals so it is real. It is black denim with a printed floral pattern. It was pretty easy to wrap the seat with the fabric using a stapler.

Now, a couple of dirty actions are to be executed before the paint is applied. I patched a few scuffs with a timber filler and sanded out to smoothness. Next, I’m going to use a liquid sanding method to prepare all the surfaces for paint finish. I have read some contradicting opinions about this kind of products so it is time to get my own experience. I have purchased Polycell Liquid Sanding from an online store. Will try this product and report later about the results. My life would be a hell of a lot easier if it worked out. I belong to the army of DIY-ers who hate sanding.

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