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Painting old furniture

September 3rd and 4th

We were extraordinarily fortunate that we bought our Portuguese property in 2004  via a legal  personal repayment contract between the Dutch owner and ourselves. Up till now, we have managed to rent the house as a holiday let (June to August) and enjoy annual holidays here ourselves for 10 years. Ultimately,  the downside is the financial burden of paying a mortgage on two properties and  not enjoying  the full benefits of living here, only visiting!So we have moved to Portugal, August 2013. Properties in Portugal are still cheap particularly inland, central Portugal. The Algarve is expensive, overcrowded and a little spoilt by the tourist industry, whereas if you head for the silver coast, you will find the climate just as pleasant, less crowded and more reasonably priced. The Atlantic breezes/wind cool off the high temperatures on the silver coast here, whereas inland I would imagine that a swimming pool or nearby river beach would be essential to cool off.  Along with the house, studio and almost an acre of land, much of our existing furniture here in Portugal has been left by the original Dutch owner.  The furniture is either simple pine or a more sombre dark wood. Just before I left the UK, my hairdresser Trigg in Portishead told me about his new found interest in painting old furniture! We discussed this subject in length over a noisy hairdryer.  As if to confirm my growing  interest in ‘painting up old furniture,’ Ralf the estate agent here gave us a brochure advertising a new furniture outlet selling painted up furniture.                   That was it…I was determined to start painting up my old furniture and transform the house and studio!

My first project: Painting an old pine cupboard with white panels, into a smart pistachio green arts cupboard.   I used Ral colour in egg shell In pistachio green because it matches my kitchen units in the art studio.

  1. Clean up the old woodwork by sponging with damp cloth, removing any marks or uneven bits with light to medium sand paper. Note if you are a perfectionist (and I am not!) you could sand the whole unit if highly glossy, but my unit was only lightly glossed and fairly worn, so I did not sand it completely. Make sure the unit is dust free by cleaning with a clean brush. 2.  Place masking tape over handles and hinges or any areas you do not wish to paint. 3. Paint the unit evenly with a small roller. (This is by far the best applicator on wood) and the corners, undersides or difficult to get to bits with a medium paint brush  4. 1 or two coats is sufficient, judge by your own preference for a deep coverage or superficial coverage.  5. Allow 24 hours to dry. 6. Remove the masking tape. 7 Touch up any areas not covered with the paint with a fine paintbrush.

Top tips: Use  white spirits to clean hands and brushes, this paint is sticky! Wear some overalls, eggshell paint is hard to remove.  Paint your furniture on a plastic groundsheet or loads of newspaper.  Try and work outside if you can, its more enjoyable and less messy! Put some music on whilst you work! It’s therapeutic…I loved the results,  the cupboard is a useful storage space for our arts materials  and yet at the same time it looks smart, tones in with the kitchen units.



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