color blocked.

Usually when I mention to co-workers or acquaintances that I buy furniture on craigslist and fix it up, they make a pained face and mention serial killers.  As if it is somehow a horrible prospect to them that I would actually go to stranger’s homes on a regular basis.

The reality (for me at least) is that 99.9% of the people I have met via craigslist have been super nice, friendly folks.  Maybe it is because we’re talking vintage and antique furniture here.  Probably not a lot of wackos out there selling grandma’s old dresser (knock on wood, literally).

None the less, I practice ‘safe craigslisting’.  I always have someone with me when I go to purchase an item, either Mr. Q or my neighbor nnK in a pinch.  I also always make sure that someone else is around when I am having a buyer over to see a piece that I have finished.

Sometimes we just really enjoy the people we meet via craigslist, and the seller of this mid-century dresser was one of those people.  He was scrupulously honest about the condition of the dresser.  He had the dresser pulled out of the garage and ready to go when we got to his house, which was immaculately maintained, by the way.  He and Mr. Q had a great time quoting old ’80’s movies.  We also learned some interesting stuff about his neighborhood off McKnight Road in St. Paul that was originally developed for employees of 3M, or as those who remember it from back in the day, ‘the mining’.

It was really just a pleasant way to spend a part of the evening, and as a bonus I got to come home with this.

color block mid century beforeFun, right?

How many of you out there are mid-century fans?

I’ll admit, I’m not really a fan in so far as I will probably never do mid-century in my own home.  That being said, I love the look in other people’s homes.

I took some inspiration from pinterest and tried some color blocking on this one.   I was going to use my standby fave color, aqua, but then I saw a dresser painted in grey, yellow and white and decided to venture a bit outside my normal color comfort zone.  And I LOVE it!

color blocking close up

I revamped this with a mishmash of products.  The grey is an ‘oops’ paint from Home Depot.  It was $2.  I mixed it with plaster of paris and water to create my own chalk paint.  I wanted a deep, rich grey and this one was perfect.  The yellow is a Behr sample.  I could have used the MMSMP in Mustard Seed Yellow because they are very close to the same color.  In fact, I could have done this entire piece in MMSMP using Trophy for the grey and Linen for the white.  However, I definitely didn’t want this one to get chippy, so I opted for homemade chalk paint for the yellow as well, and Annie Sloan’s Old White for the top two drawers.

color blocking on an angle

I used 3 different waxes on this one too.  Never let it be said that I am not detail oriented, and possibly a bit picky about my results.  The grey is waxed in a custom mix of dark Briwax and clear paste wax (the cheap stuff, SC Johnson).  The dark wax gave a little more depth to the grey and reduced the blue tint a bit.  The yellow is waxed in clear SC Johnson.  For the white however, I have found that you have to pull out the big guns to avoid yellowing your whites, and that is Miss Mustard Seed’s clear furniture wax.  Not a bit of yellowing with that one.

I had considered staging this one with some fab mid-century stuff borrowed from some friends, Mike and Meg.  They have the most fabulous ranch home that is completely decked out in classic mid-century modern.  Even all of their poolside patio furniture is collector quality mid-century.  But in the end, I was too impatient.  I wanted to catch the light in the photo cottage while I had it, so I staged it very simply with some of my own stuff.

color blocking staging

The water color was drawn by my grandfather.  I have a pair of his watercolors, and they are on the list of stuff I’ll never part with.  The book, Welcoming Home:  Creating a House that Says Hello, was written by a friend, Michaela Mahady.  Her husband, John, and Mr. Q are coffee shop buddies.  Michaela is an architect at SALA and does gorgeous work.  She and John also do beautiful stained glass work through their Pegasus Studio.

But, I digress.  The color blocked mid-century modern dresser was a fun departure from my usual style and I really enjoyed the process.  And it looks great in my photo cottage, don’t you think?

color blocked title

So, mid-century, are you in or out?  Grey, yellow and white?  You love it, or it’s not your cup of tea?

26 thoughts on “color blocked.

  1. Great color choices. I lose interest in certain finishes pretty quickly and since my style of decorating does not lend itself to “chippy,” I got over that one quickly. Not that I don’t appreciate the look and admire it in pictures, I just won’t be using it myself. So I really like painted pieces that show some originality and in colors that are current. You hit the mark on this one.


    1. Thanks! There seem to be a lot of great fabrics out there in grey and yellow these days, so I thought this color combo would be sure to work well for someone!


  2. This was a wonderful use of colors….all of them mesh beautifully together. Since this is the kind of furniture I grew up with (less the beautful colors of course), I’m more partial to the Grandma and Grandpa stuff from the early 1900’s. But, I bet this was fun to paint and was “outside” your usual, so well worth it. Looks great – someone will love it for their home for sure!


  3. For me it’s a win not because I am into mid century – but you nailed this one. I just finished a family room using these colors except the yellow wa of a marigold to mustard yellow. I think it’s an interesting mix white, yellow and gray. And very current.
    Would be a great buffet or tv console.


  4. This one reminds me of a dresser mom and dad had. I like the way it turned out but it wouldn’t be for me. The colors go together really nice.


  5. It sure does look good in your photo cottage. I’ve covered painted grey chairs from the 1930s with modern grey, deep yellow and white Waverly fabric. They sold fast.

    I like your Grandfather’s painting. It is hard to see the details, but I like the shapes.

    I wouldn’t worry about Craigslist shopping if you are going with your husband to buy furniture. I know from selling on eBay that stereo equipment and cars can bring some strange people out of the woodwork. I know two people that were murdered selling cars that they advertised in the Chicago Tribune. One lived in Chicago, but one was here in tiny Richmond. That is a sad statement about America, isn’t it? When the price is over 1,000.00, things can get very dangerous.


    1. I should post a better picture of my grandfather’s watercolors some time. I have a pair of them, and I also have another oil painting that he did. The oil is very primitive and quite different from the watercolors. Not really me, but I keep it for sentimental reasons of course.


      1. I’ve got a Rubbermaid container in storage filled with things handmade from my family members. A rug my grandfather made, a shirt my grandmother crocheted, etc., these are the things most valued. Your grandfather’s art is really special because he put his heart into it.


      2. Might make a fun blog post for both of us … the stuff we hang on to for sentimental reasons. I have a little baby dress that my grandmother crocheted for my mom when she was born. And of course a few other things.


  6. I’m with you – I probably wouldn’t do it in my own home, but I do love the look and you have really created something fabulous with this! The colors are outstanding!


    1. Thanks Anya! It was fun to try something different. I have a little mid-century nightstand in the works now, hopefully I’ll get it done soon and be able to share it on the blog.


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