I think every time one of these giant pieces enters my studio I can almost hear the angels singing. I swear it. In my painting career I have had the privilege of transforming several of these gentle giants, but this one is extra special for a couple of reasons:

1. It belongs to one of the sweetest couples I know and I am truly honored to be trusted with their treasure.

2. It was such a mess with all of it’s white paint splatters and chipping veneer, so the prep work was intense, but that made the end result all the more rewarding.

I know there are those who look on these types of pieces as useless, victorian era, gaudy, yucky…….but seriously, in my opinion you can’t find a better statement piece that not only commands the room it resides in but also offers multiple storage and usage options. Painting these types of pieces brings them into the modern era and gives them a fresh and new aesthetic that surprisingly crosses multiple decorating styles. The detail on these pieces can’t be beat, and truly shines with a coat of paint. I also love painting the insides a bright and eye catching color so that it is always a pleasure to open the door. {wink}

Meet Berchelea.




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  1. Brave undertaking. Beautiful results…oh, the details! But, how do YOU come up w/their names??? Very curious!

    • Barb Blair

      Thank you Jenny! I totally sent you an email with a very long explanation of my crazy names! :} I hope you enjoy that! hah!! xo

  2. this is one of my favorite ever pieces you have done. love her.

    • Barb Blair

      Thank you so much Sarah! xo

  3. what paints did you use? Love the pink glow that’s coming through-is that from sanding or a color beneath? really nice work.

    • Barb Blair

      chris, Thank you! I used a gray latex paint then sanded and distressed and used a brown stain on top. I think the glow you are seeing comes from the stain ….and it really stands out on the distressed wood parts.

    • Barb Blair

      Lindsey, Thank you so much my friend! Aren’t those flowers amaze?! I borrowed them from my friend lily {} for the shoot :} xo

  4. Victoria Sandberg

    Sarah, I was about to say the same thing! This is an amazing transformation!

    • Barb Blair

      Victoria, Thank you! I am so glad you like it! xo

  5. Ollie

    I like the subtle vibe coming off from the grey, toning down all the details of the piece. And then BAM orange inside, fabulous!!

    • Barb Blair

      Ollie, Thank you so much! I feel like when a piece has a subtle color scheme you gotta add some pop somewhere!! xo

  6. The legs on this buffet looks very similar to your mom’s table! That table that I did recently has a buffet VERY SIMILAR to this that I plan on working on as well! My goodness you did such a great job. It’s so pretty Barb!!!

    • Barb Blair

      Susan, You are right! They do……and the table you just finished looks like it could be my mom’s table twin! You did a great job on it!

      Thank you! xo

      • Susan @ Retro Restyling

        Thank you so much sista! If you read my post on it I explained how terribly scared I was to screw it up! LOL Thanks for your help as usual. 😉

  7. Georgette

    Hi, this looks beautiful. I just garbage picked one just like it and want to paint it. What sheen of paint do you use? Also, do you prime first? And after you paint you also added a coat of brown paint?

    • Barb Blair

      Hey Georgette,
      Thank you! I always use a satin finish paint in my pieces except when I use Benjamin Moore Aura paint, and then I go down to an eggshell. This piece is a satin finish latex paint, and I do not prime any of the furniture I do unless it will be used as a dining room table, sink fixture, or is a piece that has a pre existing slick surface. If I do prime i match the primer to the paint so that I do not have white showing through my paint finish when I distress. When I was finished painting I actually added a brown stain over the entire piece to give it some depth/age and create a nice smooth finish!

      Hope that helps! Also, I just published my first book where I go through 25 of my techniques step by step, and discuss all of my favorite tools and materials!…..if you are interested, you can purchase it here:

      All the best!

  8. Nicolette

    I just stumbled across your site today, so let me first say you’re so talented and you can see your real passion in it!

    I just began my first ever furniture make over last night on my mother’s old college dresser she bought then as an antique. It has chipping veneer on the top that is pretty bad, and little bumps and bruises along the edges. Thought I like all of the wear and tare, it gives it life. How do you go about prepping for that?

    • Barb Blair


      Thank you so much for writing, and for your kind words about my work :} I do love what I do so much, and I am glad that it shows and is appreciated by others.

      Congrats on starting your first piece of furniture! How exciting! With chipping veneer and bumps and bruises…..{granted that the chipping veneer is not missing in huge chunks}… can just fill in the chipped spots with wood filler and sand and seal before painting. The reason I say to seal the wood filler with a coat of water based poly is because the wood filler will accept the paint differently than the wood will, so you want to even out your surface. You will want to make sure any loose veneer is glued back down {use wood glue, and set something heavy on it for 24 hours or use clamps if the space allows for clamps.} before painting as well.

      I wrote a book about my techniques, tools, and finishes, and I think it would be super helpful for you in your furniture ventures. You can order it on my website here: or through my publisher here:

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Nicolette

        Oh you apply the poly before painting and the paint sticks without a problem?? Do you apply anything once you’re finish to seal it?

        • Barb Blair

          Nicolette, you need to apply some poly to even out your surface and make the wood filler less porous. I always apply either a stain or poly finish on top of the paint job as well. Does that make sense? The poly underneath acts as a filler.

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