Bureau Cameo By Sklan
Furniture Painting

You had me at “she loves writing”

“Mum” entrusted this vintage bureau to the Artisan Bothy, to makeover for her little girl.

The bureau is a period style piece with a “Cameo by Sklan” mark inside the drawer. Now some of you will know I love a bit of research. It is fab to be able to hand a piece over, with a little more about its provenance. It took some digging but I was able to establish this dates back to around 1960. So almost an antique in the style of an even older antique – if that makes sense.

When “Mum” lifted the garage door, I drew breath. This is gorgeous. I actually felt guilty about what was to come. Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?

Now I love old cabinets and the likes. I lovingly waxed and nourished pieces long before painting became the latest way to update furniture. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can also imagine the possibilities for a piece which you just know won’t be loved in its current state. She had a few knocks. She even had a slightly wobbly foot. All fixable of course, but this had been bought with a definite purpose in mind. And there was only one way this was going to be accepted into the home..

And so the story began to unfold

A story about a little girl’s love of writing (how could I not take this on). How she creates little characters (we have so much in common). And so the plan was, this would become her proper “grown up” desk. Somewhere which is hers, where she can create, write stories, keep a diary. A fairy tale picture was forming and I was in.

The family had just bought a period home. A house with heaps of character – albeit they were having to work hard to rediscover some of its best features. Big high ceiling rooms and a little girl who was needing to fall in love with her new bedroom. Yes, of course, character demands furniture which fits. But it just needs a modern twist, something which excites a young person too. So let’s talk style and colours..

Pink? A pink bureau! Another deep breath.

It’s okay, I’ve got this

So we loaded her up (the bureau that is, not Mum) and brought her home. A slow burner I would use her to fill in as there was no rush.

The colour was a bespoke blend of Frenchic mineral chalk paint. Lazy range is a lush, self levelling paint with inbuilt wax. Love Letter is a mid tone pink. A bit too strong for this bureau. So I let it down with a cream to soften the shade.

I also did a little blending on the drawers. Taking the bespoke blend and lightening it further with a white. Taking two shades of the same tone (lighter and darker) is a subtle way to accentuate the curves. You can do it with completely different colours too, for a bold, way out look.

A bit of ferreting about inside and I discovered the bureau filing sections came out. Perfect! Now I could paint inside, but keep the wooden sections original. The contrast was just stunning.

And with a bit of elbow grease, the handles came up a treat too.

She may be a bureau to you

She stayed with me for several weeks, while her home was being knocked about. We became buddies. Sometimes I would just go in the workshop to give her a little more wax and buffing. I even found myself adding a little stencil work – like she has a secret tattoo. So when the time came to take this pretty painted bureau home, I was kind of sad to see her go.

There are some furniture makeovers which will bring about a really special customer relationship. This is one of them. When I think about it, I had shared this family’s plans for their new home. I had trodden the boards and even seen the space where this bureau was going to live. Mum shared with me stories of her daughters’ interests, her decor plans, and her own excitement about buying fitting pieces for a period home.

So when I delivered the bureau back to her, it was quite an emotional moment. A “Thank you” beyond all thank yous. And indeed, this had been a very special commission. Not least because it gave me a whole new confidence surrounding re-purposing older furniture. Furniture with a history. I could easily have said no. But that was never going to happen.

Because she had me at “she loves writing”.

If you would like to see your bureau painted by The Artisan Bothy, why notcall me

The Artisan Bothy
Breathing new life into your tired furniture throughout Moray, Grampian, Highlands and Scotland