Danish Style 60’s Chest Goes For The Gold…

I recently acquired this chest,  Danish style,  with clean, simple lines

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Heavy. Solid. Clean.  Square.  Modern.    Not what I’m used to.   The owner, passing it  on to me, said she thought I could make something out of it….

See the sideboard behind it?  That’s more my style, when I’m creating decorative paint finishes –  pretty details to draw out…   this piece reminded me of a TV from the  Jetson’s  cartoon I watched as a kid….

I decided to gold leaf it.  When I look through design magazines it never fails – I can almost always find a gilded finish on something.   I favor silver finishes,  so for that reason I chose gold,   change things up a bit, right?

I cleaned the piece and basecoated with Reclaim Licorice, a primer/base/sealer from Caromal Colours.

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I applied a gilding size,  and when it was set applied the gold schabin leaf

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When I use leaf I always apply in a broken method.  I don’t have the patience or steady enough hand to lay leaf squares in a grid,  so this works better for me, and I love the look you can achieve from it

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Always messy, no sense cleaning up until its all done.  These legs are bothering me – I’m not quite sure, at this point, what I’ll do with them –

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When  I got the front leafed, I sat back and stared at the results…  it was pretty, but THERE.  I knew I wasn’t going like the WHOLE piece leafed, it was going to be too much.   Maybe because in my eye it would STILL be a big, modern looking square shape , just gold now instead of wood.

I got out a stencil  –  Gabriel’s Gate, by Wallover Stencils.  The plan was to create an allover stencil in black, and then take the top black – a textured plaster hide –

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Starting the stencil –

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Stencil done,  top drying…

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I bladed the texture black plaster through cheesecloth then pulled to reveal the design,   I have a you tube video showing how to achieve this finish , you can find it here

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Usually I’ll do this  and then paint it metallic and stain it,  but here I wanted a jet black top – the chest came with a custom cut slab of glass for the top,  so the black texture underneath would be eye catching…

When the top dried, I used an acryllic satin wax tinted with black mica, and bladed that over the top to finish it off.    I  sprinkled a tiny bit of fine gold glitter powder over it, to add just a mere shimmer

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When I moved it to the showroom I still wasn’t right with it…. loved the top, loved the front, but the rest was too gold and gleeny…. and the legs were bugging me.    I wanted them to just  fade away.   Painting black wasn’t an option – too basic….

Instead I used a custom mixed black wax to seal the sides and legs, changing the gold leaf  to a blackened bronze, and left the drawer fronts to be the focal point.  Hard to photo, you can still tell that the whole piece is leafed,  just parts of it are blackened, which go well with the black top and black stencil –

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To finish it off, I added various sizes of clear swarovski crystals to the stenciled elements

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It is for sale,  I just have to figure out WHERE to hang the price tag from!

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Not paint, but sometimes it’s nice to change things up.    Now on to the next project!

If you’re local to Metro Detroit,  stop by and check us out

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9 responses to “Danish Style 60’s Chest Goes For The Gold…

  1. Wow! That is amazing! I usually am pained when someone paints perfectly good MCM furniture, but I am in the ‘paint it’ camp on this one. Great transformation!

  2. You and your imagination are amazing Patty!!

  3. That is amazing! Fantastic renovation!

  4. Patty, I’ve been lurking on your site for a while and love all of your work but this one takes the cake. You may remember that post the 60s, design trends transitioned from sleek Danish modern to the Mediterranean craze of the 70s. This credenza is like a melding of the two styles of design. The gold and stencil pattern have an Italian feel. Really amazing!

    I only tried (silver) leafing one time. As I recall, I silver leafed my piece, decopaged over that and then used a brown glaze to antique it but the leaf really wanted to resist anything put on it and I was worried my poly top coat wouldn’t stick (it did but the glaze wanted to pull off when I brushed it on). Anyway, it all turned out but some time later I saw the piece at the home of the person I gave it to and there was knob (that I leafed, glazed and polyed) and the use of the knob caused it all to wear off down to the base coat. My question is: have you experienced trouble with anything added on top of a leafed finished wearing off? It was after I did it that it made sense that metal would not make the best surface for stuff to stick to. I’d like to try doing a project like that again but want to last so wondered if you have any insight.

    Anyway, what an outstanding piece. I’ll bet it got tons of comments before selling (i know it sold!). Hope your blog software alerts to new comments so you see this.

    susano outside of Grand Rapids

    • Hi Susan, thanks for the praise with this piece – no its still for sale, still waiting to give the sale to the local food bank! its a large piece, gets alot of looks but i think for some its too big for their space.

      as far as doing anything anything over the leaf – i’ve not had a problem with applying Toner (caromal colors brand) over leaf, it is typically what I use because it antiques the leaf nicely, regardless of silver, gold or copper. once the toner dries i most always use the wipe on poly over it, simply because it’s easy. i do know when i’ve used tinted waxes over it, it will feel wierd…. like you know its not completely hardened…. it sounds like you did the knob in the correct order, so i should ask – what did you base your surface with? if you merely applied the sizing OVER the knob or over furniture,and proceeded with the rest of the application, then there lies your problem – you want to apply things like gilding and foils etc over a sealed surface. i always use Reclaim paint, or Caromal’s smooth basecoat, BEFORE i apply size or leaf. does that make sense?

  5. Thanks for responding, Patty. I did not prime my piece first. It was a wooden lamp that had been painted (box shaped). I sanded it and applied the size. Never thought of priming it. After leafing I directly applied the decopage, then antiqued it. Now that I think of it (this was years ago), I may have applied stain (water based) directly and just wiped off. Then I brushed on the poly and it kind of dragged the stain/antiquing with it. My thinking was that while glue (Modpoge or whatever) stuck to the leaf okay, maybe stain didn’t want to. I will definitely prime first if I try it in the future, though.

    BTW, the lamp was a kids lamp from Target. Blue square base with a square fabric shade. I bought a book of fairy takes and copied pages at Kinkos (adjusting the illustrations to the size I wanted). I put those on the base and shade (antiquing both) and it was gorgeous and unique. It was a baby shower gift.

    As for your credenza, I can’t believe it hasn’t sold! It needs a vignette, I guess, so people can visualize it in a room. I can, easily, but I love outside the box and eclectic design. It needs a couple of fancy chairs like this: https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/seating/bergere-chairs/french-vintage-pair-of-louis-xv-bergere-chairs/id-f_771498/ with a brass and glass coffee table along these lines: https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/tables/coffee-tables-cocktail-tables/french-maison-jansen-brass-glass-coffee-table/id-f_731473/ and cool lamps on the credenza like these: https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/lighting/table-lamps/pair-of-hand-blown-mid-century-murano-glass-lamps/id-f_785475/ all on top of a white flokati rug! Top it off with some turquoise throw pillows to accentuate the lamps like these: https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/more-furniture-collectibles/pillows-throws/pair-of-19th-century-gold-appliqued-turquoise-velvet-pillows/id-f_565834/

    Hahaha, see where your creation took my mind?! I swear I did not search 1stdibs for my examples, either. They all just came up in quick Google image searches. Crazy. All high end which is how your credenza looks. It’s stuff like that that people have a hard time imagining.

    Anyway, Patty, you are amazing. I love everything you do. If I lived in Detroit I’d be begging for a job in your store just to hang out and experiment with you.

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