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Reader's Revamp Jun/Jul '24

French flair for my sideboard

French flair for my sideboard

“The greatest satisfaction, for me, is giving furniture new life with a coat of paint. I also adore beautiful fabrics; they can bring major change to a space. “ Dinette Venter.

Dinette Venter is our winner of this issue’s Reader’s Revamp prize. She wins a gift voucher of N$ 632 from Ferreiras Garden Centre, Windhoek.

Dinette describes herself as sentimental and likes decor that tells a story. A mother of three, she teaches at a private school.
“My love for DIY started when I, as a little girl, was influenced by my mother and her mother whose hands could create the most fabulous things. My Grandma Dina was the first person to start a millinery in SA and made the most beautiful hats and arrangements with ostrich feathers. My mother Cecile taught us to wrap a gift beautifully, together with a handmade card, because your effort makes someone feel special."

Before and after of the make-over:

The story unfolds...
Sometimes, family members pass on older furniture to youngsters to "start setting up your house", but Dinette soon learned to have furniture nicely reupholstered or painted to give it new life.

"At first it is scary to paint beautiful wooden furniture, but personally I think that dark-wood furniture makes a room feel heavy, depending of course on the other decor elements and the wall colour. We all bought the dark brown leather sets at some point, which are so practical, but now I long for lighter leather or fabric, for a more sophisticated look." she added.

Have you taken classes in art or are you self-taught?
I learnt art from several teachers, who taught about drawing, painting, dimensions, shading, etc. As for the DIY: during my training as an occupational therapist we were exposed to various crafts, such as weaving, macramé, woodwork and pottery, being activities used during the treatment of patients. During my work at an Alcohol & Drug rehab patients made leather products under my guidance.

These days, there are so many ideas and step-by-step advice for almost any DIY project available on Pinterest – what a bonus!

What inspired you to tackle the sideboard project and what was your aim?
I bought this buffet years ago in SA and then had to have it secretly transported to Windhoek on a cattle lorry behind my husband’s back... The buffet’s detail took my breath away and all the beautiful Pinterest photos inspired me to do away with the dark hue and also paint the small table's legs and also some chairs. The cushions of the chairs, too, were redone in lighter fabric. I was so absolutely crazy about the "French look", that it was the beginning of many other home projects.

How did you prepare the wood and buffet and what paint did you use?
First wash any surface with sugar soap to remove any oil or dirt.

The advantage of chalk paint is that it can literally be painted on any surface, from wood to fabric. However, it must be sealed with the right sealant, otherwise it will scratch and eventually the paint will come off.

Sometimes it is very wise to first consult local paint fundis or chalk paint's experts who can give handy advice on how to prepare surfaces and which sealers to use for which surfaces.

After the Revamp

Did you apply any particular technique?
Chalk paint needs to be thinned, depending on the effect you want. Then I paint with a soft brush and usually also use a soft cloth. Detail is obtained by sanding certain corners or engravings with sandpaper to achieve a weathered, vintage look.

What advice would you give to people who would also like to repaint their furniture?
My advice? Just Do It… do not hesitate. Start with a small project to get the grip of the paint technique and the look you want. Google step by step and ask others for help if you are unsure.

Last but not least: Enjoy it and afterwards you’ll feel proud of your end product.

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