One of my favourite elements of any project is choosing the hardware and finish options. These are the finishing details which add character and flair to the piece, but which must be carefully selected so as not to distract from the essential form – no one wants to add chaps to a squirrel. This process often involves looking at the context in which the project will sit, and making decisions based on what would complement that context, and what combination of elements would work together to present a harmonious piece of furniture.
When we first moved in to our house (nearly) four years ago, the hall felt pretty dingy, in part thanks to the rather drab magnolia paint job we’d inherited, and also because the only natural light comes from a small pane in the front door, which spends much of the year shaded by two large lime trees in the front garden. When it came to decorating the hall (part of the great magnolia-eradication campaign which continues to this day) we wanted a colour scheme that would brighten the hall and make it an inviting space. After painting many test panels on the walls, we settled on a vibrant Mediterranean-style yellow. The yellow was then complemented with copper accents on a mirror frame and lampshade.
I knew from the start that the boot bench would have a milk painted exterior, and oiled interior. I’m not a big fan of unpainted pine, and this combination provides a more pleasing exterior, while allowing the pale yellow of the interior to pop a little, which will add the appearance of a light piece of furniture. But what colour of milk paint? I collected offcuts of the shelves and casework so that I would have material for test painting that was consistent with the boot bench. After scouring the colour charts for General Finishes and Old Fashioned Milk Paint, we identified a number of possible contenders which were duly ordered and sample panels prepared. After the addition of a top coat of Osmo, the sample boards were then lined up in the hall to judge in situ. The winner was Basil Green by Old Fashioned Milk Paint, although we were both tempted by the (very bold) choice of Persimmon by General Finishes.
So, with the finish selected, it was on to the hardware. The shelves will be pinned through the dados, partly to ensure longevity, and also as a means of subtle decoration. I have always used cut nails by Tremont Nail (available from Tools for Woking Wood), and their rosehead nails hold like the dickens, and are very nice to look at. I’ve been interested in using the “Roman” nails by Rivierre (and available from Dictum) since Chris first wrote about them, and this looked like a good opportunity. The gently faceted head of the Rivierre nails is very attractive, and the black finish means that they will be understated but visible against the milk paint.
The boot bench has a single drawer in the top right corner, and the final hardware choice was for drawer pull. Any excuse to order hardware from Horton Brasses is welcome, so I browsed their catalogue for suitable pulls and ordered three options, all in the “light antique” finish. After trying the three pieces against the drawer front, we settled in the Mackintosh pull, which adds a nice visual detail without being too showy. The light antique finish works also nicely against the darker milk paint.
With the details selected, I now need to finish fitting the back and making the drawer before cleaning up the casework. There is still plenty to do on this build, but at this rate it will be finished before Christmas.