Gary Hardman
Gary Hardman
  • Tutorial Team
  • Springboro, OH

Update a 100 Year Old Lady

4 Materials
3 Days

So I get a knock on my door. My neighbor said she’s cleaning her garage, was dragging an old vanity out to the curb and thought of me. Did “I want it“ was the question. Free! Old vanity!! Are you kidding!!! So another rescue from the curb.
update a 100 year old lady
The vanity had great detail which you couldn’t see because of the ugly black paint job. It also did not have a mirror or knobs. I already had a bench In my treasure room. After scouring the local junk and antique malls, I found mirror and knobs that were from the same era. So the question was, how was I going to tie all these pieces together.
The first job was to clean the piece and sand the top. Once sanded I stained the top mahogany.

update a 100 year old lady
Step 2. In the above picture you can see the details on the vanity drawer were both raised and machined into the piece. I had experimented with trying to paint this detail but found it easier to spray paint the whole area first and then fill in with your primary color around them. To bring the bling, my spray paint was a metallic gold. I used a Serenity Blue to compliment the gold.
update a 100 year old lady
Step 3. I decided to add more jewelry, so I taped the top and added a gold necklace around it. I also painted the mirror gold.
update a 100 year old lady
Step 4. I next started to work on the bench by painting the detail gold and the bench blue. I added a French Document material to the seat. I decided this Lady deserved high
heels, so yep, gold shoes. Once finished a coat of finishing wax was applied to the chalk painted areas.
update a 100 year old lady
We now have a Grand Lady dressed in her finery for another 100 years.
update a 100 year old lady
While the vanity, bench and mirror were not an exact match, the paint pulled them all together.
update a 100 year old lady
You can now see the detail on the vanity.

update a 100 year old lady
With a little work this vanity is now a statement piece for any boudoir.
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Jaye
    on Apr 29, 2018

    This is stunning. Absolutely beautiful! I love upcycling. Could you provide the dimensions of the pieces? Seems that the piece was in good shape meaning no repairs were needed. Was the back of the vanity glued or nailed? How much time did you spend on this project? Love it, love it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Gary Hardman
      on Apr 29, 2018

      Thanks Jaye,

      The vanity was 42” wide 52” high with mirror and 17” deep. It was nailed in the back and with the exception of some small veneer breaks it was in good, sturdy condition. The veneer spots I sanded down and filled with Durham’s water putty. I spent about three days painting/waxing the different pieces. Spray painting the detail gold saved lots of time and aggravation. So the rest was just coloring in the lines.

  • Baba
    on Apr 30, 2018

    OMGOSH!!!! How stunning is that!! I absolutely love it!! What a beautiful color combo!! It looks like it should be in a romantic movie!!

    where did you find the fabric for the stool?? I love that to!!

  • Sharon
    on May 16, 2018

    I have a few old pieces of furniture what I am wonderingis if I paint them instead of trying to keep them in natural state do they there value. ?

    • Neva Dew
      on May 16, 2018

      I agree with Gary that condition is everything. I think most consider painting a good condition piece will decrease its value. I say if you're going to use itself for yourself do what makes you happy.

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