Saturday, September 15, 2012

No good, I've known too many Spainards! Meet Inigo

I've been busy lately.  As are we all, but, in between packing the house for a move, school starting and trying to finish a few projects before we get to the new house, well, I've been busy!  And now it's time for the backstory...

I first met Inigo at the old Cribari Winery here in town.  The company my dad works for had been contracted by the company that owns the land (which we are partners in, along with my parents, brother and several others) to demolish the entire place.  Basically, everything went, from the doors to the dirt.  Holding tanks were scrapped, amazing old wood doors found new homes, handmade wrought iron knobs & pulls are still languishing in the garage, gorgeous old photos and signage from the winery grace the homes of several stakeholders.  There was just soooo much stuff to get through - it took almost 2 years. 

I came away with one thing. 
His name is Inigo, and he has been guarding my china and crystal for almost 10 years now.  He used to sit in the office of some winery big-wig, holding files and soaking up the dirt, grime, grease and wine he was subjected to on a daily basis.  He was banged into, had his doors slammed, and sweaty cups left on him.  But the WINE.  The wine made it all worth while I suppose.  At least, that's what I tell myself when I think about it.

He is one-of-a-kind.  Literally.  Nobody who has seen him has ever seen a thing like him.  His hinges are custom hand-made just for him, and appear to be forged iron - those doors are never coming off their hinges!  He has 30, yes 30 hand-carved rosette panels.  Each panel is bordered by special vertical slats that slide to the side - for what purpose, I'm not sure, since I certainly couldn't get anything to come out, just to move.  The interior shelf is pine.  The cabinet pulls look to be cast iron.  His top appears to be a panel of some sort, possibly reclaimed, since the wood doesn't match the rest of the piece.  His bottom apron is battered and rough, and he's never felt the sweet kiss of sandpaper.  And he is MINE.

So, poor Inigo was destined for the junk heap, or so I thought.  Somebody else had their beady little eye on MY Inigo, and I lived each day in dread, waiting to hear that I had lost him to a bigger wig than I.  Suffice it to say, I won.  Obviously.

Inigo was schlepped from house to house to house, always carefully storing my china and providing a handy flat surface for my husband to crapify (yes, it is a word.  Because I say so).  I've been toying with the idea of updating his look for quite some time, but nothing ever seemed good enough for my Inigo.  I wanted to keep some of his gorgeous wood, while highlighting those 30 amazing hand-carved floral panels. 

So, I started cleaning him up to ensure that, at the very least, I'd have a clean surface to start with for whatever we decided.  My go-to is Simple Green.  I have to say, I despise the scent, but it sure does get the job done, and it doesn't leave a residue like some other cleaners.  The first photo shows the bottle of SG, along with the old cloth diaper I was using - NARSHTY!  I think my shoulder hurt more from scrubbing this bad boy down than it ever has after sanding a piece!

Here we are, all cleaned up and ready for a wardrobe update.  You can see where I was able to clean down to the bare wood, and where I was only able to get down to the original linseed oil finish.  I'm pretty sure that someone just got lazy with the linseed back in the day, because the other side is pretty much identical on the bottom.  But it was no matter, since I had decided to paint those gorgeous panels anyway.  I also discovered that, in addition to the top being salvaged pine, some of the rosettes are oak, some are pine, and some are fir.  All of the panel dividers appear to be fashioned of clear maple, and the bottom apron is also pine, which leads me to believe that this was more than my usual salvage - it was a truly unique piece lovingly crafted from available resources. 

Doesn't this storage space just make you swoon?!
Inigo wanted to showcase his long lean lines and highlight his carved assets.  We agreed that his carvings should be painted an amazing shade of blue/green, and that we would stain the exposed wood with a yummy dark walnut shade to unify all of his woods.

I chose a gorgeous shade of peacock teal for the panels, which I used as the base for my DIY chalk paint.  Of course, I got 80% done with the panels when my husband came home and freaked the shrek out.  He's just a leeeeeeetle scared to death of colors other than navy, brown, tan and red.  So, we had an interesting argument discussion about it, during which I insisted that I was not done yet, and that the final product would be better than an awesomesauce sundae with fudge topping.

I have to admit that the unadulterated blue is a bit shocking when you aren't expecting it.  Especially against the freshly stained wood.  (Left is plain blue, right is waxed blue.  BEEEEG DEEFRENCE!)

Like a good DIY baby, I scoured blogland for clear, coherent instructions on furniture wax.  What to get, how to get it, how to use it, another way to use it, how much you need, etc. etc.  Miss Mustard Seed delivered, as always.  Her video tutorial Wax 101 gave me the confidence I needed to attack this behemoth of intricate carving.  She was even nice enough to answer my question about tinting clear wax dark if you are unable or unwilling to drop bucks on a big tin of the real dark wax. 

After I left my tin of Minwax Clear Paste Wax in the garage for an hour or so (it's only 100+ in there these days), I scooped out what I thought was enough for Inigo, and, as suggested, mixed in some Burnt Umber craft paint until I got the color I wanted.  Of course, it looked like doggy diarrhea and smelled like I imagine a meth lab smells like, but it was perfect!

I used an old paintbrush from the dollar store to apply the wax and really work it into the nooks & crannies of the carvings.  It took me about an hour to go over 90% of the piece with the dark wax.  I did run out before I could finish the second door, but that gave me an opportunity to show you the difference between Freak-The-Shrek-Out peacock teal and One-Layer-of -Dark-Wax peacock teal above. 

*I apologize for the poor quality of photos.  Garage lighting and cellphone cameras leave a smidge to be desired!  My regular camera has been misplaced in the move, so you all have to suffer along with me.

Here is the final project, finally installed in the new house!  I've resorted to stashing all of the mans' crap in there along with games, table linens and my recipe books for now, since I've got such a big kitchen to keep my dishes in!


Hand-carved with love.  Not so much love during waxing though.

Supply List:
  • Simple Green
  • Unsanded Grout
  • 1 quart Valspar oops paint in a duck-egg blue color
  • Minwax stain in Dark Walnut
  • Minwax Clear Paste Finishing Wax
  • Burnt Umber acrylic craft paint
  • Old cloth diapers - very useful for wiping away the odd drip or screw-up when dampened with diluted SG
  • Frog Tape in varying widths
  • Assorted brushes (I used both foam and nylon bristle)
  • Sanding block or paper in 220 grit
What have you been working on lately?  Anything making you swoon?
Post a Comment