Modernizing 1950s Bedroom Furniture

A client of mine inherited family furniture and decided to keep them for sentimental and practical reasons. They certainly were functional and of high quality, but their color was the snag: they were painted in a flamboyant 50′s yellow ornate with a garland of red and green flowers.

Giant 1950's Italianate headboard

Giant 1950′s Italianate headboard

One of the pieces was an extra long Italianate “bombe” chest, and the other a matching curvaceous headboard. To suit her new bachelor pad, my customer envisioned something more modern and sleek. Since she had picked a neutral palette for her apartment, we decided to go with a metallic color, “Nickel” from Modern Masters to make the furniture more lively and precious. In order to reach our final faux finish, I lightly sanded the pieces and primed them with an off white finish.

Headboard partly primed in grey

Headboard partly primed in grey

Extra long primed Bombe chest

Extra long primed Bombe chest

I rolled the metallic paint over this base coat and brushed it very delicately to create a “strie” finish. On the headboard, I brushed the paint horizontally to imitate the raw silk characteristics.

Headboard with horizontal "strie" finish

Headboard with horizontal “strie” finish

On the chest, I divided the top surface into three different squares that were framed by a dragging effect in a different direction.

Top of chest divided into 3 sections of framed  "strie" finish.

Top of chest divided into 3 sections of framed “strie” finish.

Detail of "strie" finish on the top

Detail of “strie” finish on the top

It brought a discreet and very sophisticated touch as it broke the monotony of a long surface top.  Because this “nickel” metallic shade is semi-opaque, the off white base coat was still visible underneath and contributed to lightening up the piece and giving it a fresher and cleaner look. The metallic paint is shinier under the light of the camera flash than in real life, where it looks quite subdued, as you can see on the pictures above.

Bombe chest modernized  with metallic "Strie" finish, in hazelnut color.

Bombe chest modernized with metallic “Strie” finish, in hazelnut color.

Faux finished chest in pale hazelnut "strie" color.

Faux finished chest in pale hazelnut “strie” color.

The sides of the chest were also faux painted with a “strie” done horizontally and framed, following the structure of this piece of furniture. Now these two elements are well integrated in a modern décor.

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