In fact, that is the question I must ask myself every single time I fall immediately in love with a vintage piece of furniture and have to decide if it's coming back to my shop in The Fiddleback Shack van. If you've seen me around town in the van you can expect most of the time I'm dreaming up my next reimagine project.
I grew up with real wood furniture. Solid beauties that my parents picked up at auction for the most part. So, I have an incredible appreciation for natural wood in all its glory. There are many pieces I just simply will not paint. I have several pieces in my own home that I purchased thinking I might paint them..but then chose not to paint them in the end.
What goes into my decision making? When I'm looking for good reimagine candidates I am looking for quality build, beautiful lines..and damage. The damage can come in the form of burns, holes, chips, missing veneer etc. The repairs required typically render the piece a perfect candidate for paint. My goal is to restore the piece to its full function and to work with the lines to enhance it with colour and finish. It gives the piece a new life and also ensures it is one-of-a-kind to be appreciated by its owner for many years to come. Without reimagining, the pieces are often considered dated and undesireable. Not every piece is reimagined because of damage though. I must admit some are simply not 'in style' but with some paint and finish they suddenly become much desired transitional feature pieces.
Milk paint is all natural and a perfect product for painting wood furniture. It is a very thin paint that works with and enhances the grain of wood so, in fact, the essence of the piece shines through. Reimagined pieces are ideal to add to rooms that are 'wood heavy' so that they not only add character but allow one's eyes to fully appreciate natural wood pieces as well as the lines of professionally painted and finished pieces because the contrast is completely complementary.
Milk paint finishes are not just for wood furniture! I recently completed a kitchen where the old, but solid, orange 80s oak got a new lease on life and a perfectly good high quality and functioning kitchen did not end up at the recycle centre or, worse yet, the dump. And with so few original choices out there in terms of ready made cabinet finishes, wouldn't you love to choose your unique finish?
Of course there is also an element of emotion and inspiration that pushes me into a decision to paint or not to paint - most reimagined candidates 'speak' to me right away. I can see them in their full glory finally ready to be appreciated again so sometimes it is as simple as that.