Monthly Archives: September 2013

Furniture Flip Friday: The Dresser I Barely Saved

Hers.

You may remember that our last Furniture Flip Friday post told the unfortunate tale of the parting of my beloved dresser (read more here).  Well, Chris owed me and it didn’t take long for me to collect.

Introduce what almost became another sales victim.  Yes, yes, it looked very generic and honestly, pretty ugly.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

The key is seeing past all the outdated stain and hardware and finding pieces with good lines.  I mean, look at the detail in the feet and, while the shell applique is atrocious, I knew it’d make for great detailing once painted.  It was a great find at only $35 too, especially for a solid wood piece!

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

But I knew this dresser was a keeper when it spoke to me.  Yes, I had myself a dresser that could communicate.  Don’t believe me?  Psh, well non-believers, don’t you worry.  I have proof.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

Such profound words that appeared on the inside of one of the drawers.  Was it a question, a declaration, or just a weird come-on?  Well, we may never know but you better believe I was “feelin it” as a keeper for my house.  Sorry Chris, this one’s staying.

Still having a hard time seeing the potential?  Chris definitely was so let’s walk through the transformation.

First we (err… Chris) sprayed the base (drawers out) with primer then two coats of an antique white color.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

Then the drawers.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

Here’s a trick for you.  To help keep the drawers upright, we place one brick against the underside of the drawer and another one on the back inside of the drawer.  Fancy, I know.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

Next up, hardware.  17 in all, phew.  We chose to spray oil-rubbed bronze which would pop against the antique white.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

Finally, we decided to paint the top a flat black for a cute contrast (2 coats).  After the black dried, we painted three coats of polyurethane to seal it.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

It came out even better than I thought.  I knew I was going to have a hard time letting go of this one.  So what did Chris do?  List it for sale of course.  I decided to give it two days then secretly take the sales post down.  Can you guess what happened?  We were contacted by someone interested in buying it immediately.  Boo.

And then I did a bad thing…  I fibbed a little.  I told the potential buyer that it just sold.  I mean, it was sort-of true.  I just didn’t mention that I had sold it to myself…

Eep, Chris was going to kill me.  So I took the obvious next course of action.  I went on a desperate search for an identical dresser.

Apparently I had stocked up on some good furniture karma because I found this guy for sale.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Makeover

Now for a side by side.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation  DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Makeover

Pretty close eh?  I got it for only $5 more – still solid wood and a name brand piece, just slightly shorter.  The buyer was interested so I just needed to break the news to Chris that we had 2 days to finish the piece and oops, we were keeping the other one.  Love you honey!

Transformation Breakdown:

  • Base Paint: Antique white
  • Top Paint: Flat black
  • Hardware: Oil-rubbed bronze

After.

The dresser I saved…

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Makeover

The detailing on the feet and shell applique may be my favorite part.  I love how they were really enhanced by the paint and distressing.  Before, they seemed to get lost, blending in with the rest of the piece due to it all being the same stain color.

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Makeover

And now for the substitute dresser…  Now if only I could always get away with this tactic…

DO or DIY | Tall Dresser Transformation

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Four Trips Around the World

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Hers.

What’s black, white, and chic all over?  That would be my new globe!  Before I go much further, I need to issue a warning to my former geography teacher: if you happen to stumble upon this post, please skip it.  Some funny business may be about to happen to an old globe.  No globes were necessarily hurt in the process, just altered… slightly…

But let me start at the beginning.

Now that we’re slowing down on full-on room makeovers, I’ve been more focused on accessorizing.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by finding things that both fit our decor, fill the space needed, but also don’t just look like I raided all the shelves of Home Goods for a generic look.  Don’t get me wrong- I love me some Home Goods but it’s hard to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces in a box store.  That’s why I’ve been trying to outfit our home with both the new and old to give it that truly lived-in, home-y feel.

To help fill the “old” criteria, I’ve been loving the non-traditional look of black and white globes lately.  It transforms a classic school room item into chic looking decor.

I especially loved the idea of a chalkboard globe, especially with chalkboard’s newfound popularity.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Pinterest

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Domayne 

I found these two retail options- one from Z Gallerie (non-chalkboard) and the other from Anthropologie (made of soapstone for a chalk option).

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Z Gallerie, $79.95

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Anthropologie, $368 

Hmm… a little pricey for a non-functional globe who’s only purpose is making a corner of my room prettier (former geography teacher- are you still reading? Seriously, skip this post).

I figured this would be the perfect candidate for our next DIY.

I know some people have refinished globes and used them as a message board instead, but I actually like the look of all the continents on there so I decided to stay that route (see geography teach, I’m a half truest so not all is lost!).

I was pretty on-board with a chalkboard option… until our 3 year-old nephew was scheduled for a visit and we dashed around the house child-proofing as best we could.  In the midst of our impromptu safety check, I came to the realization that a chalkboard globe was doomed for being erased if ever in reach of anyone under the age of 13 (or with my luck, the cat would think it was her new friend and lick it clean) and the thought of redrawing all seven continents again sounded like a nightmare.  No thanks.  The more permanent, the better.

His.

I’m not much of a geography expert. In fact, unless they make a car or beer I like, I probably can’t find it on a map… which basically means I can only find Germany and Ireland. So when Julie announced she wanted a globe, I figured it would at least be a learning opportunity, so the search began.

Around the same time, my mom knew we were always on the lookout for cool antiques and was offering a few items she had picked up from my grandparents’ house, one of which was, rather conveniently, a globe. Apparently my great-grandfather was a teacher, and she had picked up the globe he had in his classroom. It was about at simple as you could get- it was round, resembled the planet earth, and had a stand that did little more than hold its axis on a tilt and allow it to spin… sort of- but it was all we were really looking for. I got my mom’s blessing to paint it, and now we had a project.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

First of all, since we were going to paint it, we needed a way to redraw the continents after we painted over them. Granted, this thing was so old it still listed Prussia and the USSR as countries, but the continents have only moved a negligible distance since the 50s and Julie only wanted to trace the continents, so it was good enough. I’m so bad at drawing that I can’t even trace, so that part was left to Julie. I just had to spray it.

Since we were going to paint the stand differently than the globe, I had to find a way to hold it up to paint it. My solution? Cut apart and bend up a coat hangar and hang it from a tree in the backyard:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Pretty cool, huh? I wanted to do a scaled-down version of the solar system, but a) our entire neighborhood isn’t big enough and b) I have yet to find globes for the other seven planets. Bummer.

Anyway, once I got it strung up, I sprayed it with a coat of primer:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Now that I turned the Earth into the Moon, it was time for a few coats of black paint. We went with a basic flat black and since we weren’t convinced this would work out in the first place, we just used the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart.

Julie wasn’t particularly fond of me using her curtain rod to dry my globe:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Once it was dry, we just had to paint the continents back on! As I stated before, I can’t even trace, so that task fell to Julie as well.

Hers.

You know what’s more fun than tracing a full globe once?  Doing it twice.

Okay, so this was the more cumbersome point of the project but I just turned on Brother vs Brother on HGTV to distract me from the mundane task (anyone else watching that show and wishing they just filmed another series of Design Star instead?).

While you may already know they sell carbon transfer paper, did you know they sell white transfer paper?  This really saved the day on this project.  The regular carbon paper transfer would’ve gotten lost on the black paint so this did just the trick.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

I taped the tracing paper I had originally traced the continents onto on top of the white transfer paper then taped that to the globe.  Be sure you have it taped in a few places so it doesn’t slip while you’re tracing it.  I found it helpful to trace each continent on its own tracing paper sheet then trace them on the globe one by one.  I also left myself guides when I ran out of sheet (i.e. Turkey goes here, or match up Spain here, etc).

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Use a ball-point pen (color doesn’t matter) to trace the image.  Push hard on the pen so as you need to go through two layers- the tracing paper and the white transfer paper- but don’t push so hard that it tears the sheet.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Getting up close and personal with the world even taught me a few things in the process:

  • I forgot how close Russia and Alaska were to each other.  I mean, I know Palin can supposedly see Russia from her house but, really, she probably can!
  • Greenland is massive.  I mean seriously, that country practically took up it’s own transfer sheet.

Here’s an example of what the transfer looks like on the globe after tracing it.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Now to make it more permanent.  The best tool for tracing these thin continent lines was a white Sharpie paint pen.  I used the oil-based paint version with a fine point, found at art supply stores.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Yay for tracing the world for a third time!  Seriously, time to enter me into a geography bee (hopefully they use a 1950s map).  Be sure to shake the paint pen and press the tip down a few times to test it before going to town on the globe.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

The paint was showing up a little thin on the first coat so I went over it a second time.  Yup, you counted right… I ended up drawing the world a total of four times.  Good thing a Brother vs Brother marathon was on… although, I’m seriously annoyed by that show.  For anyone else who watched it, was I the only one annoyed that the girl who worked her butt off despite having the flu didn’t even make it to the final two?  Also, how ridiculous was it that they wasted air time having the teams compete to see which house they would work on each week?  No one cares- just give them their assignment and let them start working.  Sorry, rant over.

With the fourth coat, we were done!  Finally!

For those of you wanting to recreate this project, here’s our list of materials:

  • Flat black spray paint (the cheap kind from Walmart will do): $1
  • Tracing paper (found at any art supply store): $3
  • White transfer paper (found at any art supply store): $3 (with 40% coupon at JoAnn’s)
  • White Sharpie pen, fine point (found at any art supply store): $3
  • Old globe: ours was free
  • Total cost: $10

Not too bad for $10 huh?  You can find cheap globes at flea markets and thrift stores so even if your awesome in-laws don’t have a spare one on-hand to let you experiment with, you can still do this project on the cheap.

After.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

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Baby Makers

Hers.

Once upon a time, Chris sold my beloved bedroom dresser out from under me.  This is the tale of his betrayal.

His.

OK, I’ll be the first to admit it: Julie really does have an eye for design. She sees potential in things that most people would think is just junk (myself included) and I can honestly say she’s usually right. If only she had felt the same way about my classic Audi:

4000s

Anyway, I kind of started to think she was losing her touch when she said she had found a new candidate for our furniture projects:

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

I had learned to trust her assessment, but this was pushing it. Just looking at it was like warping back to 1981, but I decided to trust her anyway. So off we went.

When we arrived at the seller’s house, all I can really say it that it looked better in the pictures- and that’s saying a lot. This was just about the ugliest piece of furniture I’d ever seen in person, complete with freaky little lion’s head drawer pulls. I mean, what the…?

So once again I decided I should just trust Julie, and I forked over some cash. If nothing else, it was solid wood and was so heavy that the seller had to recruit her son to help me carry it, so I knew it was a quality piece… albeit ugly as sin. I should also mention that my truck was in the shop and I hadn’t measured the rental car they gave me, but it was just a rental, so we just started cramming it in there. If it fits, it ships, right?

Once we got it home, the real work began. We decided we would paint the body white but stain the top. I was feeling lazy and decided the stain job on the top was decent enough, so I just masked it off and started sanding everything else.

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

All those weird curves and corners really chewed up the sandpaper, plus there was enough furniture polish on the thing to make the surface frictional coefficient effectively zero.

Anyway, once we scraped off all the layers of polish, it was time for the primer. We typically use rattlecan primer because it’s easier to apply, but after this project I went out and bought a respirator mask because the fumes were making me sick.

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

I should also mention that we pulled all the hardware off and painted it “oil rubbed bronze.”

Finally, it was time to paint. We used to use rattlecans for everything which is decent enough for small jobs like nightstands or small tables, but we discovered that it’s really difficult to spray evenly across large surface areas. Eventually, we wised up and bought a paint sprayer on Craigslist- and it was the best $40 I ever spent. Now we just have Home Depot match a gallon of latex paint to whatever color we like and can spray multiple pieces to an exact match for a fraction of the cost, and without killing any brain cells.

Two coats later, I had a dresser:

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

Julie is also obsessed with drawer liner:

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

Depending on how often you creep on our pictures, you may or may not see that this is in our bedroom. Or was. While I’ll happily admit that the final product looked great, it still wasn’t something I was absolutely in love with. After debating it for a few months, Julie finally agreed to let it go for the right price. Low and behold, we eventually got a full price offer, and a young pregnant couple took it off our hands to use as a changing table, which was the first in a very long line of pregnant people we ended up selling furniture to, which was a really weird trend to end up in.

Oh, and Julie is still whining that I sold it.

Hers.

Traitor.

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

 

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