hand painted bed

After a long search, we found an antique French bed for the old country cottage.

bed-process

The frame is a couple of hundred years old. It had some surface damage but we didn’t mind as we planned to paint it.

bed-process

I used chalk paint, which is essential to replicate the long tradition of European hand painted furniture, and can be thickened to impasto, thinned to a wash, distressed and waxed to produce a beautiful surface. Unlike the chairs and other refinishing projects, it took an amazing amount of work to get this bed finished. There were some trouble spots that I fixed with some knotting, and by using some of the “old white” chalk paint mixed into the beeswax finish. The process of painting and distressing was like making a textured painting. Such a pleasure. At the end, the beeswax buffs to a gentle gleam.

bed & bag © elisa rathje 2011

I’m so pleased with the way the antique white has a serenity that overcomes the austerity of the original wood. Somehow it manages to combine ornament with minimalism in a way that fits so well in the old cottage.

© elisa rathje 2011

We’re very much in love with it. It’s been years since we’ve had a bed with a proper headboard, I adore it for sitting in bed and reading, writing, having a morning cup of tea. This furniture was built with tremendous strength and elegance years ago and it’s wonderful to have a piece with a long history. Now I’d like to sew some bedlinens for it, a whole cloth quilt perhaps, and knit us a throw.

© elisa rathje 2011

I was so lucky to receive a pot cupboard as a gift from my sweetheart. I may never get out of bed again.

© elisa rathje 2011

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