Making the Old New Again
Berlin, OH - Events of Wednesday, September 7 to Sunday, September 18, 2016
It's been a while since we have posted an update. The reason is Paul has been quite busy with a project to refinish a play kitchen set for Lydia. The kitchen set is one Paul made for Lora for Christmas back when she was three years old.
When Lora outgrew the kitchen set, we gave it to Margery's college roommate, Marilyn, who had a daughter who was a couple of years younger than Lora. Margery and Marilyn have kept in touch over the years. In fact, she lives in Ohio about an hour and a half away from Scenic Hills, and we have met her for lunch quite a few times over the years when we were at Scenic Hills. A couple of years ago when Marilyn heard we had a granddaughter on the way, she mentioned she still had the old kitchen set stored in her basement and asked if we'd like to have it back for Lydia.
Lydia will only be about 2½ this coming Christmas, which is a little younger than Lora was when Paul made the kitchen set. However, Lora thinks Lydia will be ready for the kitchen set soon, so we decided to give it to her this year for Christmas.
The week after Labor Day, we went to Marilyn's house for lunch and we brought the kitchen set back to Scenic Hills. We knew it would be a challenge doing the refinishing outside in the open and protecting the set from the weather without the benefit of a workshop or shed, but we wanted to try to get it done while we were in Ohio. That way we could take it to Lora and J. Michael's house and keep it under wraps until Christmas so we wouldn't have to take it all the way to Florida and then have to cart it all the way back at Christmas time.
As you can see from the photo above, Paul originally painted the kitchen set avocado, which was fashionable back then, but which is very dated now. In the meantime, the kitchen set had been repainted white, but it was in need of repainting again. Therefore, the first thing Paul did was to take off the doors and trim pieces and start to sand down the finish to smooth it up a bit and to give the new paint more "bite."
Paul was planning to paint the kitchen set metallic silver to simulate stainless steel. The paint Paul bought said it was fast drying, which is usually a good thing, but fast-drying paint combined with the breeze outside meant the paint dried MUCH too fast, especially for a metallic paint. The color was extremely blotchy, and the surface showed every brush mark. Paul stopped after painting one side of each piece to see what the paint would look like after it dried hoping it would look better. As he feared, it actually looked worse, so he had no choice but to remove the silver paint.
When Paul started scraping off the silver paint, he was dismayed to find he was also scraping off much of the old white paint as well. Since the white wasn't adhering well to the original avocado paint, Paul made the difficult decision to also scrape off all the loose white paint. Suddenly, a relatively easy repainting job became a major refinishing job. It took three days to get down to the original finish.
Fortunately, the original white paint on the inside was in pretty good shape. It had yellowed quite a bit, but it was well-adhered. As soon as the outside was scraped and sanded, Paul scuffed up the inside surfaces for good adhesion and repainted them white.
Since Paul ruled out silver for the outside because of the difficulty in achieving a uniform metallic color, we consulted with Lora on a new color and ended up deciding on black for the appliances and tan for the sink cabinet to simulate wood.
After completing the inside and outside, all that remained was to paint the smaller parts - the knobs for the stove, the door handles, the trim on the stove and the faucet for the sink. When the paint on all the smaller parts had dried, Paul assembled everything.
Paul wrapped the kitchen set in a plastic tarp and stored it under the front overhang of the 5th wheel to wait for our next trip to Pittsburgh.