Paint Gives New Life
Karen Parr-Moody

Some GasLamp dealers refurbish furniture so it can breathe new life in the land of the stylish. They take it there by using special paints and specific techniques. And for shoppers who want to do the same, GasLamp sells a wide array of old-fashioned Milk Paint products that are VOC-free and low in odor (photo, right).

Produced by The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company, these products were developed in 1974 with the intent of creating a paint with a look that was authentic enough to paint reproduction furniture. Since then, the paint has appealed to those who want to restore antique furniture, make reproductions or simply create a unique interior design look.

GasLamp sells the Milk Paint and its ancillary products for people who want to get crafty with furniture. As a bonus, this Milk Paint formula happens to be a "green" paint because its ingredients are all-natural and won't harm the environment. So using the paint to give old furniture new life truly fits in with the mantra of today's décor: reclaim, reuse, repurpose and re-imagine.

In addition to selling the paint, GasLamp works with a number of creative dealers who take items that may not look so stylish — say, a set of oval frames like those seen in the photo at left — and paint them in pretty shades so that it seems their finishes have aged gracefully over the decades (frames, $14 each; Booth B-303). Such items  possess a shabby chic, Old World aesthetic that reminds one of one-of-a-kind finds discovered at a Paris flea market.

The night stands in the photo, right, are a wonderful example of such up-cycling ($199; Booth B-104). They are Art Deco pieces belonging to a category coined "Waterfall"; such furniture was inexpensive to purchase during the 1930s and included rolled front edges and other details that remain desirable to this day. They would have originally come in a brown stain with some degree of inlaid marquetry work around the handles, which were typically made of Bakelite.

But in modern times, many people enjoy refinishing Waterfall pieces with paint to give them new life, particularly when the original wood has become worn. What is nice about these night stands is that they have gorgeous carved feet with details that the paint brings out because it is strategically buffed away here and there.  

This green table with pull-outs is done with a different approach than that used with the picture frames or night stands (photo, left; $119; Booth B-104). Those items are improved through distressing; such items that include appliqués or cutouts have patterns that show up better through the distressing. However, this Queen Anne style table, with its gracefully curved legs and smooth surface, is equally up-cycled with a glossy coat of moss green. It looks thoroughly modern.

Painted furniture brings a unique look to home décor. The look fits in with so many styles — shabby chic, French country, cottage chic or coastal living — and is also a way to find value in pieces that have seen better days. And that's an end result that is in no way shabby.

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