Boho(bohemian) style is a mixture of colour, pattern and furniture eras. It is bold, eclectic and vintage looking. Tribal style, on the other hand, uses earth tones and is inspired by native cultures, using their patterns and artifacts in decor items. Both styles are popular today and both have connections to the 1960’s and earlier eras.
I wanted to try stenciling paint on stained wood and this little table seemed like the perfect project. It is oak, probably from the 1970’s and it had a glossy poly finish. I stripped the top and stained it with dark walnut to make it a bit darker. Then I applied a large wall stencil with white chalk paint.
One of the nice things about large stencils is that they give you the repeat pattern outline on all 4 sides so that it is easy to match up the pattern accurately. I used a stencil brush and was careful to off-load most of the paint. Taping down the stencil and off-loading are the key to getting clean lines.
I painted the base in matte black and added some white paint to the small handle so that it mimics the stencil. I like the look of black with dark wood and this seems an appropriate combination for the mid-century lines of the table and the tribal look.
Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t say that the stencil is a tribal pattern but it resembles one.
I see it as a boho/tribal look because of the mix of colours and styles.
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Furniture produced after the Second World War shows a definite shift from darker heavier woods and colours to those that are light, less bulky and even whimsical. Heywood Wakefield is credited with bringing this shift in American tastes by introducing a line of blonde furniture that became very popular in the 1950’s. There is a definite revival of interest in this furniture because it is retro looking and it is very well-made. You can read about this revival here.
Blonde furniture was usually birch or maple with a golden or pale stain. The set that I bought is blonde mahogany which was achieved by bleaching the wood before staining it. It is made by Gibbard, a well-known manufacturer of fine furniture in Canada. It came with a frameless mirror but that look is too dated for most people.
It is mahogany veneer over solid wood. The original owner had kept a glass top on both pieces and they were in near perfect condition. The brass knobs are distinctive and original.
I refinished the tops and painted the bodies in Pure White with a bit of French Linen mixed in. It is still white but has a grey tone. Pure White has no pigment and needs many coats; by adding some colour to it, you get a lot better coverage. Because the wood had been bleached originally, it would not take a dark stain so I opted for a chestnut colour which was close to the original but richer in tone.
I cleaned the beautiful brass knobs then added some gilding paste to make them brighter. It makes a great desk or could still be used as a dressing table in a bedroom.
It definitely has a glam look to it.
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