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Pimp My Furniture: Campaign Nightstands

It’s been quiet around here blog-wise, but we’ve been super busy lately. In addition to having some house guests last week, I have a brand new nephew to dote on!

Designing Dawn Barrett-2

Designing Dawn Barrett-1
Barrett Richard Freudenburg was born on June 2, 2014 and he’s such a little sweetie. Dania and Barrett are both doing great! Vera loves him already, and it’s making me excited for her sister to make an appearance in a couple more months. Well, that and the fact that I’m starting to get more and more uncomfortable with every passing week. You know. That pregnancy thing.

But, back to the topic at hand!

I’m just going to come out and say that this is probably one of my favorite furniture makeover projects to date. I’m just smitten with the campaign style of furniture and feel so lucky that I now own two beautiful pieces!

I found these two ugly little campaign chests buried in my favorite antique store over a year ago for (get this!) $14 a piece!! I KNOW!! So of course I snatched them right up, and they’ve been hanging out in my garage since then. My nesting instinct has gotten a tad out of control and I was motivated to get the garage organized again, so I decided it was the perfect time to give these little guys some love.

Designing Dawn Campaign Nightstands-7

Aside from being mismatched and not in the greatest shape as far as the finish goes, they were filthy. But all that is cosmetic. Structure wise, these babies are in amazing shape, and further inspection led me to realize that they are genuine mid-century Henredon campaign chests.

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Complete with excellent construction and real brass hardware to boot. Just look at those dovetail joints!

Campaign Nightstands1 Designing Dawn

The state of the brass, however… ehhh, not so great.

Campaign Nightstands5 Designing Dawn

Ick. But we’ll come back to that later. For now, let’s look at the chests themselves.

As mentioned, I started with two mismatched little chests. Upon further research, I’ve learned that the marbled green and brown finish  on each (called a tortoise finish) is a staple of the brand/style for that time, and can actually be a rare find in good condition. These were not in good condition (both had large chips and were pretty scratched up all over), which was fine by me, because personally the tortoise-shell texture was not tripping my trigger, nor was the color. So I felt zero guilt in painting over it. Also, I LOVED the brass hardware and wanted that aspect to really stand out, instead of fading into the piece like it was when I found them.

So I opted to fill in the chips and scratches with wood filler, sand down the pieces so the paint would grip well, prime them, and paint them to be a matching set.

Campaign Nightstands2 Designing Dawn

Campaign Nightstands3 Designing Dawn

These photos look white/gray (taken with my iPhone in my garage), but the color I chose was actually a soft aqua called La Fonda Mirage (5003-5B) by Valspar and the chests now have a lovely blue tone to them, which sets off the brass so beautifully.

Valspar - La Fonda Mirage

And, yes, this image was in my head as soon as I read the paint swatch, and may or may not have influenced my decision (read: definitely did influence my decision):

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One little test pot in satin was all it took for both these babies. And I LOVE it. The warm brass accents pop off the cool blue color so perfectly. I seriously can’t tell you how happy I am with these night stands now. I followed up the paint job with three coats of semi-gloss poly. The hub and I both have an ever-present water bottle on our nightstand (gotta stay hydrated), and I didn’t want any moisture or anything else leaving unsightly rings on my pretty new paint job. So far, the semi-gloss has been great and very durable/wipe-able.

Campaign Nightstands4 Designing Dawn

As for the hardware, you can see in the photo above that it’s looking much more presentable. I debated how much to clean it up, but in the end decided to just give it a good scrubbing with warm water, vinegar, and dish soap. Worked like a charm. I could have gone with Brasso or another product/technique to really get it shining like new, but honestly, I like a little bit of patina on it. Just not the greasy kind that comes off when you touch it. :) I think the finished result is a perfect mix of brass color with a hint of imperfection that shows the piece’s true age.

Designing Dawn Campaign Nightstands-2

Designing Dawn Campaign Nightstands-4

Here they are all tucked into their new home next to our bed. They look more aqua in here, right? I swear in real life they are definitely bluish. Actually these kind of crappy night time iPhone photos give a more realistic idea of the color than my nicey-nice camera does. Go figure. Don’t mind the un-styled (sloppy? real life??) bed, or my robe hanging there. Sigh.

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Oh, and can I just take a minute to talk about how much extra storage I feel like I’ve gained? One of our biggest challenges in our home is clothes storage. We’re slow to purge clothing (Brett with T-shirts which seem to multiply exponentially with every basketball camp, school trip, sporting event, etc. and me with, well, everything.) and we’ve been living with some of our clothes hidden away in the guest room dresser for years. Since we’re now expecting again and using the extra dressers in both girls’ rooms, we’ve been struggling to find somewhere to keep extra clothes. Because the bedroom floor wasn’t cutting it. The night stands may look little, but the drawers are big, deep and sturdy. I fit ALL my t-shirts into one drawer with room to spare. It’s a wardrobe miracle.

Plus we haven’t had actual matching night stands since I moved the teeny mirrored ones to the guest room forever ago, so it’s nice to feel like grownups with real furniture for a change. The only problem is that now I’m itching to revamp the whole bedroom. It’s just starting to feel a little hodge-podge in there to me decor-wise, although I think there’s some good foundation pieces to work off of. I’m dreaming of bright white or light gray walls, maybe with an inky blue accent wall thrown in for drama, finally getting the trim painted out to white, spraying the bed frame to a warm brass (switching it out for the cleaner-lined guest bed?), hunting down a new rug, and all that jazz. You know, because I can’t just be happy to have awesome night stands. Haha.

Then&Now Campaign Chests

Well anyway, all that will definitely have to wait till after the baby comes. I still have to finish the nursery, so that’s priority one at 9 weeks out! Hope you’re having a great week friends!

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