Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Art of Furniture Makeovers

Having understood the negative environmental impact of tossing away timeworn possessions and buying first-hand ones, I’m always happy to encourage recycling/up-cycling of redundant objects and furniture. By embracing styles such as eclectic and mid-century modern, it gives us an opportunity to weave vintages treasures and flea market finds into our homes with the upside being a personal and one-of-a-kind style. But sometimes things are a bit more complicated than just buying and incorporating it into one’s decor….there is considerable amount of elbow-grease involved to restore and refurbish a piece. This can be intimidating for people like me who do not have the DIY bone in them. But for folks like Deepika Dhoolypala, words like salvage, DIY, elbow grease, paint, scrub and the make-do ideology are very much a part of her lexicon. 
A lady after my own heart, bright hues and patterns happily find their way into Deepika's home decor. Love this chair that Deepika has upholstered in a Suzani -ish fabic!
A multi-talented lady with a background in the IT sector, Deepika claims to be a "typical Hyderabadi at heart". Currently based in Phoenix (AZ), she can be found in her painting gear, either busy painting walls, furniture or having her hands full with upholstering a chair (that is when she is not busy raising her two beautiful daughters). With a number of successful DIY projects to her credit, she has recently taken on selected commercial projects for a few clients. Today we look at the incredible transformations this lovely lady has been able to accomplish with creativity, paint and a considerable amount of sweat. 
Deepika worked her magic on this hutch that adorns her dining room! 
TECD: Hello and welcome to TECD Deepika! When were you bitten by the DIY bug and what is it about DIY that propels you to take on such adventurous projects?
Deepika : “Happy to be featured here on TECD Sruthi! I have always been creative and I have to give it to my husband for encouraging me and going along with me. DIY is a tedious process, sometimes more expensive than going out and simply picking a piece for your home and sometimes a lot of tears because a project fails and then all your hard work goes down the drain. But there is immense joy and contentment in creating something with my own hands. I love everything vintage and there is hardly anything in my home that is new except for our current dining table set and mattresses.”
Ikat style wallpaper used to line the back of the hutch elevates it to a whole new level!
TECD : What are the best sources to look for the DIY furniture pieces?
Deepika: “I have found a lot of gems on Craigslist and at thrift stores. Your local Swip Swap meets on FB are a rage now. Be Patient, You might not find anything for weeks or months and then suddenly a cool piece will pop up, simply grab it! Antique Stores are more expensive and if it’s an antique piece, I’d hesitate to paint it.”
Now that's what I call "bold use of color"! That electric blue sure makes a statement, don't you think? 
TECD : What kind of paints do you work with?
Deepika: “I use various kinds of paint depending on the piece I want to paint . I have used chalk paint for the blue dress , Milk paint for a few clients , Latex , Oil , Porch paint ( water based alkyd) . For my current project, I am looking at lacquer (which has the similar sheen to cars ) . I also use paper (decoupage) and Fabric.” 
A secretary's desk updated with a lick of paint. makes for a perfect fit for this home-office space!
TECD: I’d like for you to share your fool-proof tips and tricks for my readers who would like to take on projects such as these?
Deepika :
  • “Start Small and Look for a solid piece of furniture with good lines and bones and if you intend to paint it , stay away from laminate. Just because the paint will peel if you don’t use the right products ).
  • Look beyond the current state - As long as the damage is not structural and a can of paint can fix it, make it work.
  • Another great option , for people who are skeptical about Vintage furniture , is the unfinished pine furniture from Ikea like the RAST , TARVA lines . You can work wonders with it and they are not very expensive.
  • If you are buying vintage from Craigslist or swip swap , do not FORGET to ask questions like - Does the piece come from a pet free home ? and Does it come from a smoke free home?.( Personally, I would rather buy a piece from a seller who has pets and I keep away from the second , as it's very very hard to get rid of the smoke smell ).
  • If you intend to purchase something like a dresser/armoire go see it in person. Also inquire from the seller if they would drop off  the furniture at your home for a small fee.
  • Haggle and Bargain - Sellers sometimes ask 3 times more than what the piece deserves . There is nothing wrong in asking. You are going to put a lot of sweat into it.
  • After getting the piece of home, leave it in your garage/ patio and spray it well with a vinegar, water mixture or mild bleach and clean it thoroughly, let it dry and then get it inside.
  • Prepping the furniture before painting is the most important thing for a good professional finish. Use a liquid deglosser/sander and sand paper to sand it. If there is paint already on it, then use a paint stripper to strip it to the bare wood and then paint it. Use a good quality primer. Now you could go ahead and Paint and then use a protective finish.
  • There are various methods to paint. Always use good quality products, especially paint brushes and paint.
  • Chalk paint and Milk paint are non toxic and great options to use when you have children around. It also gives you the freedom to work indoors unlike oil paint/Spray Paint that require lots of ventilation and outdoor work spaces."
  • A few more DIY projects from Deepika's portfolio
To contact Deepika for custom furniture makeovers, head over to her blog “Saffron and Daisies”, FB Page or simply shoot her a mail at  Thank you Deepika for sharing your wonderful projects with us and we wish you all the very best in your creative journey!

As for you my favorite peeps, I hope you're inspired to take on your very own DIY project this weekend! Wishing you a wonderful Thursday!

Image Copyright/Credit: “Saffron and Daisies”


  1. That is actually a very resourceful list. I am so not DIY either, wish I had the time and skill for it but this is encouraging..might try my hand at something small!
    Enjoyed learning about you Deepika!


  2. Inspiring, thanks for sharing them all Deepika!! I loved that secretary desk especially, swoon!
    I have bought some chalk paint, Annie Sloan, and gotta gotta try them out.


Thank you for visiting The East Coast Desi. I'd love to hear from you.