Tuesday, February 23, 2010

News That Nearly Had Me In Tears

This cabinet, which was once in my grandfather's wood shop, is a key element in the Home Office Redesign. But I had a nagging feeling, remembering this post from Sarah at the Thrifty Decor Chick.


So off I went to Home Depot and bought a lead test kit. Yes, just as I had started to suspect, this cabinet had been painted with lead paint. I really wanted to cry. And then the debate in my head began. Do I get rid of it a fast as possible or do I find a way to remove the paint safely? My first reaction was to dispose of the piece quickly, but the thought of doing this made me even more upset.


This cabinet has history. I have some wonderful memories hanging out in the shop with my grandfather, dad and brothers, watching some beautiful things being made. My grandfather died many years ago, so these memories are precious. How can I just throw away an item that connects me back to those times?


I went around the house today and was surprised at how many wooden candlestick holders and bowls, which were made in the woodshop, are placed here and there around my home. The pieces are really quite beautiful.





After thinking about it for a couple days, making calls and researching ways to deal with lead paint I was referred to Houck's Process Stripping Center. This is an EPA approved stripping center located here in Portland. My friend and fellow designer, Dianne of simplydesign, helped me look into this. She has experience dealing with the issue of lead paint, as her previous home was built in the early 1900's. Here is the advice we received.

Steven, an architect, wrote, "I think she has two choices":

1. Strip the paint off herself or have it done at a place like Houck’s. This is where I took my doors.

2. Paint over the existing paint. Simply painting would encapsulate it. Not sure she would need to seal it first? However, I would recommend a good primer that would ensure her new coat of paint sticks properly.

Another architect Allen wrote:

"If she chooses to paint over it a sealing oil-based primer would be a good idea. I would recommend stripping if possible - the finish will be much better if the old paint is removed, and she can avoid sanding which is not a good idea with lead paint. I don't know any places that strip other than the one Steven mentioned. If she wants to do it herself it's not difficult, just time consuming. They sell everything she'll need at Home Depot, and she can call Metro to find out where to get rid of the stripped paint."

I can bet this is not the first time I've dealt with a piece of furniture with lead paint on it. This is simply the only time I've been aware of it. I think back to several pieces I've refinished, without a single thought as to whether or not the original paint was lead. As a result I've probably had more exposure than is wise...so this time around I'm leaving this job to the pros and calling Houck's!

32 comments :

  1. Sad!! It's such an awesome piece. It'll be a shame to have to change it's aesthetic but better to be safe than sorry.

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  2. I feel for you - It is a beautiful piece and I can see why it means so much to you. I love knowing you have so much of your Grandfather's beautiful things in your home. When it comes to lead paint you can't take chances - anxious to see what Houck's has to say.

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  3. You also can clear coat it with a oil based sealer , in a matte or satin finish as well .

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  4. Unless someone is sanding and inhaling the paint or chewing on the paint it doesn't really pose a health issue .

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  5. I'm glad you're going to save it, rather than toss it. All the wood pieces you highlighted in the post are just stunning. You obviously have a very talented family!

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  6. I really feel for you on this one! I have two pieces of old things in my apartment - an old medical dresser and a cocktail tray. They are both old and chipping with paint and I just have this GUT feeling, like you did, that they have lead paint. I am going to go get that pen today.

    But I wonder what I'll do if/when I find out they do have lead paint. We don't hvae any children (yet) so that makes me more apt to keep them? But I need to research what happens if you keep them in a room I guess.

    I'm sorry to hear about yours!

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  7. I am a big believer in making pieces that have meaning work in your space one way or another. I love that you are trying your best to salvage this and it sounds like you have more than one option. Keep us posted! Marija

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  8. Thats sad, but in away you educate a lot of us again. whose not so aware of lead paint from furniture.
    (Thanks to grandpa's cabinet)

    Cant wait for the transformation!

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  9. Heartbreaking!Thanks goodness you have options. I was thinking on the same lines as Just Beachy. A clear coat with a matte or satin finish to still capture the era gone by of the piece. It is just stunning weathered and faded unlike the memories of your grandpa's tender hands that made such lovley pieces.

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  10. Did i mention I'm fr. Philippines, growing up my mom had alot of wooden stuff like salad bowl, fruitbowl and such, I always notice those pieces evrytime you had a post. I keep wondering where you get it? Sometimes i keep looking at pottery barn but theirs nothing like that.:> Well i guess it can be dizzy shopping around and go back empty handed.:)

    It is indeed bueautiful pieces and yet meaningful!

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  11. Oh no! So sorry, Janell! I'm glad you are keeping it though. Good luck!!! The chalk board wall and ledge shelves look awesome!!! I love the tiny frame you painted gold with your special number:)

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  12. Oh, Janell! It's good you thought of it and were able to test it at home! I would go the professional route as well, given the meaning of the piece and because you want to make sure you not only dispose of it properly but that you {and your family} are not exposed to anything that comes off it. I guess this is something to definitely think about, especially if we find those old pieces that would look just perfect in our homes.

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  13. We were told to use a clear coat- oil base product over ours and it would be fine.

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  14. Oh no, I would cry too at such upsetting news. I'm glad you are leaving this one to the pros, they will no doubt do a great job for you.

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  15. looking forward to seeing the end result!

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  16. Well I am glad to know that there is a solution!
    www.peppermintbliss.com

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  17. That would have never even occurred to me! It's a good thing that you thought of it, but I know it has to be frustrating too, especially because it has so much meaning. I think I would go the professional route too.

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  18. The great news is it can be salvaged and doesn't need to be tossed! What beatiful pieces of woodwork you have and w/ a great connection to it. It is def. some fab woodwork.

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  19. I am so glad you are not getting rid of it. That piece is more than a piece of furniture. It is a bit sad the old finish has to be removed but health first patina second. Kathysue

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  20. I'm glad this isn't a death sentence for the cabinet! Just another colorful chapter in its long history in your family...

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  21. Oh no how frustrating! I would do what I could to save this beauty. How wonderful you have other loved items of his through out your home, love the wonderful memories!

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  22. So glad you chose to keep it and strip it. It is beautiful piece and worth the effort in memories.

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  23. I too have never thought about this...and I just repainted an old white dresser! I wonder....

    I think going through the process of having this piece professionally redone makes a lot of sense for you: it has a ton of sentimental value, and you really can't put a price on that.

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  24. It's ok!! You don't want the lead, trust me (my good friend Katherine's little was gnawing on this antique chest that they were using as a sofa table = Lots of hospital visits!). The good news is that the lovely piece (and its sentimental value) is not going anywhere - it is just getting a new, fresh (and make it distressed) coat of paint. And yes, leave it to the pros!

    With young ones I have several kits that I haven been using to test toys. One train track went out the door!

    Take a deep breath - it will all be good, Janell. And your home office will be beautiful, healthy and happy!

    Cyber hug, xx Mon

    http://www.splendidwillow.com

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  25. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about the lead paint! But I'm glad you're taking it to the professionals ~ better safe than sorry! It really is a lovely piece ~ can't wait to see it after you've done your magic with it :)

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  26. Boo. Do you want me to have a word with that lead paint for you?

    Kelly

    p.s. Those wood pieces are STUNNING. Just beautiful.

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  27. what a bummer. that is such a beautiful piece...hopefully the work you do to it will ensure that it will be around for many more years, and will remain a family heirloom.
    i cannot get over all of the beautiful pieces that your grandfather made! they are just beautiful! i took a woodworking class in college, and we spent several week working on a lathe, and it was SO difficult. every time i see turned bowls or vases or candlesticks, i know what skill must have gone into making it!

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  28. It would be a crying shame to get rid of this special piece. I'm glad you found pros who can work on it for you. Then you can add your special touches, and then the piece will have a little bit more history. . . another layer of love.

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  29. I'm really surprised that just painting it would solve the lead problem. Interestng to know. I'm like you--I've probably been exposed and didn't even know it. Glad you're getting to keep this special piece!

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  30. Love your cabinet, and so much family history! And the wood pieces are beautiful!

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  31. I am glad you found a solution. I love all the things in your home made in your grandpa's workshop. Creativity and talent runs in your family.
    Paula Grace ~

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  32. I am starting to get pretty angry at the fear mongering going on about lead paint.

    Of course, lead paint can lead to health issues if you have small kids or pets that you think will chew on the furniture a lot. But the health issues are easily preventable -- either encapsulate the lead paint with a fresh coat of non-lead paint or strip it down and paint fresh. It's not anymore difficult than refreshing any other painted surface.

    Some crazy b*tch at the Wallstreet Journal is blogging about her brownstone remodel. She got rid of 5 stunning antique fireplaces that immediately devalued her brownstone by $50,000 because she was hoodwinked into terror about the lead paint. Instead of spending a little bit of money, oh, painting OVER it for a few hundred dollars, she got rid of important pieces of history. Ridiculous. It's all ridiculous.

    Learn about preventing lead poisoning from actual experienced home restorers and contractors, not people who can profit over your fear. Or, hey, the EPA has been providing a brochure for years and years now. Educate yourself: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadpdfe.pdf

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