Monday, November 5, 2012

From Roadside to Center Stage

Another successful makeover...and this one almost didn’t happen!  Let me explain. ;)  My husband and I had decided to take the kids for a relaxing Sunday afternoon drive when we drove by this dresser at the end of a driveway with a “free” sign leaning against it.  I glanced over at my hubby who knew, without a single word from me, that he should probably turn around so I could look at it.  I quickly tossed the suggestion aside thinking there was absolutely no way we’d be able to get it home in the van, so we carried on our way.  Long story short, we ended up coming back to look at it, dropped one of the van seats down and just barely managed to squeeze this beast in for the ride home.

After getting it home and having a chance to inspect it a bit more, I knew the center door would have to go.  It had been badly damaged with the hinges ripped out and was beyond repair.  Rather than replace the door, I chose to fill the existing holes and leave the center drawers visible.   After that, it was sanded down and primed.  Wow, what a difference just a coat of primer can make!

When it came time to paint, I was tempted to go with color.  My first thought was actually light PINK!  I could easily image it in a little girls nursery.  Knowing that this piece would be listed for sale once finished though, I thought it would be best to stick to a neutral color.  ;)  I chose to paint the top a rich dark espresso and the base in a linen cream.  Because the top is such a dark color, it needed to sit for a few weeks to allow the paint to cure.  To finish it, I applied a glossy protective clear coat.

With the center door removed, I wanted to add some visual interest to the simple center drawers.  I think the addition of the numbers works perfectly!

I’m always excited to see the dovetail drawer construction!

              Love the detail along the edge....

              ....and that glossy top!

I liked the shape of the original hardware and it was still in great shape, so I chose to reuse it.  To update it, I sprayed it in an Oil Rubbed Bronze paint.  

I’m happy with this makeover and look forward to seeing it in its new home.  This piece has now been listed and is available in my shop.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Frumpy to French Country

I love the way this sofa table turned out.  LOVE it!  This particular table was part of a package deal of furniture I bought a few weeks ago.   When I first saw it, I knew I wanted to paint the bottom and stain the top.  I find a two tone finish on furniture so rich and warm.  

(Click the pics for a closer peek)

The lovely brass "hinges" were only decorative and I managed to pop them off easily with a screwdriver!

I started sanding off the finish along the top and quickly realized that it was not real wood, but a manufactured wood product.  Staining that wasn’t going to work.  My next thought was to just paint the top a warm rich brown instead. 

Oh looked terrible.  I wasn’t sure if it was the paint (it was a new color I was trying), the dated oval top or the combination of both, but I hated it!  I removed the top and set it aside so I could start on the base of the table.  

After a couple coats of primer,  I sprayed on a few coats of a soft creamy white.  Oops...I forgot to take pictures at this point.  It has to be one of my favorite creams.  It’s not a bright white, but it’s not overly yellow either! 
Back to the top.  I decided to go back to my original plan of staining the top and purchased a premade laminated pine panel to replace the oval. 

These pine panels are a bit rough in areas and they’re certainly a little more rustic with the knots, but I didn’t mind and thought it would add a little more character to the table.  

I found the panel to be a little longer than I wanted, so with my circular saw, I just trimmed off one side.  After some sanding and a coat of pre-stain wood conditioner, I started to apply a couple coats of chestnut colored stain.  I was a bit nervous as pine is a soft wood and stain can end up looking blotching and messy.  By applying the wood conditioner first, it helps to raise the grain in the wood which helps it to absorb the stain more evenly.  It was starting to look exactly as I’d originally envisioned.  Yay!

After the stain had set, I lightly distressed all the edges of the table base and applied a few clear coats to the entire table.  I think the soft cream color of the paint and the warm stained wood top complement each other quite well.

Not only will this table fit perfectly behind a couch to hold a lamp and a favorite book, but it could also be used in a front entrance to drop your keys and mail on the way in, or even in a guest room as a table/desk.  

This table is now available for purchase in my shop!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Abandoned Beauty

I’m always surprised at some of the things that are abandoned at the end of someone’s driveway!   Of course, I admit I do feel a little excitement every time I see that “free” sign perched on an item! 

My parents came across this beautiful little desk and decided to rescue it not knowing if it was actually a project I’d want to take on or not.  Of course I did!  I fell in love with those adorable little drawer pulls immediately!  

(Click on any of the pics for a closer peek)

The desk had certainly been through a lot.  The veneer along the sides was chipped and peeling, the original finish was definitely worn in areas, the desk surface looked like it had become someone’s sketch pad and some of the hardware was even on upside down!

My first thought was to paint the entire thing.  I was a little hesitant though wondering if the desk surface could be rescued and refreshed.  I decided to take a chance stripping it down knowing that if it turned out to be a mess, I could just paint over it.  While using paint stripper certainly isn’t high on my list of fun activities (it’s messy and time consuming!), I’m so glad I took the chance.   After a few hours of scrapping and sanding it down, I was thrilled to see an “almost” perfect top.  I restained it with a rich chestnut stain and followed that with 4 coats of polyurethane for a gorgeous glossy finish.  

Once that was finished, I taped off the top and started working on the bottom and drawers.  I had already glued and clamped the loose veneer, but still had a lot of work to do filling in the remaining damage with wood filler!  Once I had it primed and sanded smooth, I sprayed on a few coats of a beautiful creamy white satin paint followed by a few coats of polyacrylic.  I always use a water based non-yellowing polyacrylic over my white or light colored pieces.

Ahhhhh....look at that gorgeous shiny reflection!



All the drawers are dovetailed which I just adore!  It's just that extra bit of character that so many new pieces nowadays don't seem to have.

Because I loved the original hardware, I chose to reuse it.  After a 2 hour soak in a salt and vinegar hot water bath, I scrubbed them to remove the years of built up dirt and grime.  Unfortunately one of the pulls was broken with the actual handle missing, so I chose to replace the hardware on the upper drawers with some beautiful vintage glass drawer pulls I had on hand.  Switching from a 2-hole drawer pull to a single one isn’t difficult – just a little more work.  I filled the existing holes with putty, let them dry, sanded them smooth and added a second coat of putty.  Putty/wood filler has a tendency to “settle” while it’s drying, so I find it always need that second coat.  Once the second layer was dry, I sanded it again and then primed and painted over it.  With some quick measurements, it was quick and easy to drill a new hole for the single drawer pull.

I am very happy with the way this piece worked out and I’ve already had a lot of interest in it.  I hope it will work well in its new home!

Thanks for popping by!

Monday, September 3, 2012

THE China Cabinet

The china cabinet.  THE china cabinet.  THE EVIL china cabinet!  Where do I begin.  When I first got this piece, I actually thought it would be a fairly quick project.  I loved the look of the detail along the top of the hutch and couldn't wait to get started.  Unfortunately, it took a lot longer than I had anticipated.


I started off by removing the front doors and all the hardware.  After sanding it down, I applied a coat of primer.  I already had a few other pieces in my garage I was also working on, so the front deck became another “work space”. 

Like the grey buffet I recently finished, I chose to leave the interior of the lower cabinet it was in excellent condition. 

While the main part of the buffet was simple to paint, the doors decided to give me some grief.  I had sanded, primed painted and had just started to apply the clear coat when I realized that the doors were developing some yellowy spots!  It seems that the old original finish was working its way through the primer and paint!  I always use an oil based stain blocking primer to prevent this, but I guess my coverage wasn't adequate enough (serves me right for painting at night in a poorly lit garage) and that darn finish was going to prove it!  I needed to basically start over from step one and sand, prime and paint AGAIN before I could add the clear coat.

This particular piece was custom painted for a friend and she had requested a bright white, but asked if  could replace the glass with chicken wire.  Because I had replaced a previous cabinet glass door with wire with no issues, I thought this would also be a simple job.  It was not.  After I had painted the entire interior, I went to add the wire.   

Because the  upper cabinet was fairly narrow, I had to squeeze my upper body into it at the oddest angles along with my somewhat bulky nail gun.  I’m sure I could have just slapped the wire up and nailed it in place, but being a bit of a perfectionist wanting it to look nice I wanted to make sure all the edges were tucked into the existing groove where the glass panels had originally been.  The wire wasn’t being overly cooperative though and the sharp edges were scratching away at the brand new paint!  I lost track of the number of hours it took to complete as well as the number of times I stormed out of the garage ready to call it quits!  I can’t even begin to express how happy I was to finally get it finished...with only two holes to patch after the staples decided to go THROUGH the wood and out the front of the cabinet!

After repainting most of the interior, the entire piece got a glossy clear coat.   

I felt the original hardware worked with the piece and only needed to be updated with some Oil Rubbed Bronze paint.  

Now I would like to say once the clear coats were finished it was all smoothing sailing from there.  It was not.  When I got the cabinet, one of the glass shelves had unfortunately been broken in transit.  I was a little concerned about what a new one would cost, but was pleased to find out it was going to be less than $30.  I measured the existing shelf and ordered a new one.  After I’d completed the cabinet, I grabbed the new glass shelf, put one end in the cabinet and then...freaked out.  The front opening was TOO SMALL to put the new shelf through!  I tried it at every angle possible and even called my hubby into the garage hoping he could figure out a way I hadn’t yet thought of.  No luck.  AGH!  When I took the shelf out originally, I had already removed the side glass panels and just slid it though there  Of course, with the chicken wire now stapled in place, that was no longer an option!  By this point I was so ready to cry.  My ONLY option was to attempt to pry out the staples on the back panel.  Because it was made of that pressboard-type material, I really hoped it wouldn't be damaged too badly.

Using a hammer, a TINY screw driver and some needle nose pliers, I finally managed to pry out enough staples to allow me to pull back the bottom of the panel just enough to slide the shelf in. 

I slid the shelf in and went to pick it up to put it on the first shelf support.  Oh oh – why was the glass shelf scraping the sides of the cabinet?  I grabbed my tape measure, measured it again....and realized it was ½” TOO LONG!!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????  I grabbed my paperwork and realized I’d somehow given the glass company the WRONG measurements!!!!  I had to run back into town to get the glass “trimmed”.  Fortunately it was a quick fix, but I’m sure they were laughing at me after I left!

After may hours of work and a lot of frustration, here is the finished cabinet!  

This had to be one of the toughest pieces I’ve done, but now that it's finished I can say I am really happy with the way it turned out and I hope it’ll work out well in its new home.

Thanks for popping by!