Tag Archives: Antique

Furniture Flip Friday: Feeling Blue

Hers.

After refurbishing a slew of dressers, we were desperate for a change.  It was then that we found this old, solid wood desk for a great price.  Bingo.  If anything was going to cure our dresser monotony, this would be it.

It had dovetail drawers (always a bonus) and was in great shape.  We started cleaning it out and, much to our surprise, found old papers stuffed behind the drawers.  Ironically enough, there were a list of addresses from Tennessee, a few were even from the small town Chris’ maternal family was originally from- such a small world!

As much as I love my standard antique white color scheme with oil-rubbed bronze hardware, I knew this desk needed some spice.  And what’s spicier than blue drawers (besides those jalapeno poppers that still haunt my taste buds…).

Painting just the drawers blue gave the desk a cute pop of color without looking too over the top.  The best part was, this ended up being the cheapest design decision I’ve made to-date.  I found the perfect shade of light blue sitting in the oops paint pile at Lowe’s.  I knew I only needed a little (I’ve actually used this paint for drawers on two different desks now and still have some remaining) so the little sample jar was perfect.  It’s an Olympus satin paint and, unfortunately, I can’t tell you the name because it was a custom mix and mixed, apparently, incorrectly.  And, yes, you’re reading the lid correctly; it was a grand total of FIFTY CENTS!  After Chris got over the initial shock, a long bout of gloating started as apparently it was thanks to his “good influence rubbing off on me.”  Ha!

DO or DIY | Desk Transformation

It ended up being the perfect color for this though!  For simplicity sake, we sprayed the whole desk (except the drawers and top) antique white and then I used a brush to paint the drawers blue.

I lightly distressed all the edges of the desk and drawers because, well, let’s be honest, I have an addiction to my sander.  It also helped give the desk that cute shabby, vintage look.

Voilah. Blue drawers.

DO or DIY | Desk Transformation

We decided to go with a stained top for this piece so we stripped the original stain and applied Minwax’s Special Walnut stain.

The hardware got a spray of oil-rubbed bronze paint to finish it off.

My favorite part of this desk, obviously, was the blue drawers but the paneling on each side of the desk was a close second.  I’m not going to lie- this was a hard piece to give up, even though we already have a desk and not one I’m going to let go of anytime soon (see pics of our current desk here).  Chris had to talk me out of keeping this new desk once… or twice… okay, maybe 10 times.  It ended up going to a woman decorating her new office space.  I swear the woman was Sarah Jessica Parker’s doppleganger so at least I can take comfort in the fact that Carrie would be proud (Chris + all men out there: that’s a Sex in the City reference).

Transformation Breakdown:

  • Base Paint: Antique white
  • Drawer Paint: A custom pale blue color
  • Top Stain: Minwax, special walnut
  • Hardware: Oil-rubbed bronze

After.

As a reminder of where we started, here’s the before again.

DO or DIY | Desk Transformation

And after…

  

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Furniture Flip Friday: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Table

His.

Sometimes waking up early on a Saturday pays off. For example, a few weeks ago I was awoken at the ungodly hour of 10am and was unable to fall back asleep, so I decided to peruse Craigslist, particularly the free section, when… huzzah! Free coffee table! If you’ve ever tried to nab something for free on Craigslist, you know you have to act fast. So I immediately e-mailed the person and asked if it was still available. Well, my “early rise” had paid off as I was the first one to contact them, but I had to be able to get there within 30 minutes. I quickly threw clothes at Julie and dragged her out of bed screaming, “no time to explain, get in the car!” In retrospect she probably thought the zombies had finally come and it was time to bug out. No matter, we had a coffee table to race to!

Well, we got there and picked up the table just in time to beat the rain. It was covered in dust and wasn’t particularly pretty but it was solid wood and it was free, so we weren’t really going to complain. Once we got home and got it cleaned up, we found out it was made by Lane, a rather reputable wood furniture company.

So here she is, in all her 80’s glory:

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

So it really wasn’t half bad. I mean, it wasn’t really half good, either, but we had something we could work with. We decided to do our typical antique white finish with a stained top. The wood had a really rich grain but definitely needed a fresh stain.

The first thing I did was paint the legs and bottom shelf white. Simple enough, but thinking back on it I probably should have stripped the top first because I got some old stain gunk on the fresh paint job and had to do a lot of touch-ups. Oh well, live and learn, right?

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

So once the paint was cured, I stripped and sanded the top, similar to how I redid our front door (read more here). Some of the old stain and poly was really on there, so it ended up being pretty time consuming:

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

Finally, the top was ready for stain. We went with Minwax Special Walnut because a) we already had it and b) it’s a rich color that isn’t so dark it hides the grain.

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

After a good coat of stain and about four coats of polyurethane (the more coats you use, the more even it will turn out), we had a coffee table looking so good that… you guessed it, Julie wanted to keep it! It turns out, though, that it was a pretty easy argument to win, since our current coffee table was built by my grandfather and will never be replaced. Oh, and the thought of a 100% profit piece had Julie seeing dollar signs and new shoes.

Transformation Breakdown:

  • Base Paint: Antique White
  • Top Stain: Minwax Special Walnut

After.

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

Quite the difference!  Now, for more after pictures.

DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb DO or DIY: Farmhouse Coffee Table Refurb

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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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Introducing…. Furniture Flip Friday

Hers.

You may have noticed that we’ve been slowing down on room reveals lately. And not because we’ve run out of ideas but, unfortunately, we’re reaching the point of running out of rooms. Now what am I going to do with all this time? Finally learn how to cook? HA!

Hm, I could go through and start repainting rooms over and over again for a fresh, new look but that seems to instantly turn Chris into a grumpy old man.

So, my newest plan has been attempting to convince Chris that we need a new house to re-do… but that hasn’t been going too well either.

Well, finally we found a new venture we’re pretty well-suited for and keeps Chris’ grumbling to a minimum (still looking for that one thing that eliminates it completely… oh yeah, steak and potatoes). It’s something involving paint. Something involving transformations. While this could potentially describe the good ole days where I forced my brothers to sit still for a manicure while the babysitter wasn’t looking (what’s a girl to do without sisters??), that’s not it either. Our latest venture is (drumroll please): refinishing furniture!

There’s such a thrill in finding pieces just waiting for a new face lift, giving it an exciting new life. And thus begins our newest category of posts that we’re shooting for featuring every (or most) Fridays. Soo…

Welcome to Furniture Flip Fridays! I do love a good alliterative line!

First up was this small three drawer dresser we found. It was solid oak, had great drawer hardware, and was just begging for a fresh new look.

Chris (as usual) had his doubts. I have to be honest, so did I. I was nervous this piece was too simple and generic… almost like if IKEA built solid wood furniture, it would likely be this guy.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

But, we got him for a good deal and I thought he’d be a good candidate for a new look I was wanting to try out . We’ve primarily been refinishing pieces in antique white and I was ready to visit the dark side.

I decided to go with a satin black paint for a traditional yet elegant look.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

While Chloe our cat held the dresser hostage as her new jungle gym, I realized I was at a crossroads: to distress or not to distress. I was tempted to keep it as-is but worried it was still too… well… blah. It was still looking really generic and only a step up from IKEA at this point.

I decided to go for it and busted out the sander.

In the meantime, I’m sure you noticed the glistening hardware in the last picture. I’ve been refinishing most of the furniture hardware in an oil rubbed bronze, but I knew that wouldn’t pop off the black so, instead, I decided to refinish the hardware to its natural brass finish.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

In the above picture, on the right, you’ll see what the dresser hardware originally looked like. The handle on the left is what it looked like after being polished. I always use Brasso to refinish brass hardware (especially after this fiasco of first trying to figure out what product to use… tip: don’t ever use vinegar).

Chris had a pretty good idea of using a toothbrush to get in the small crevices. While a great idea in theory, it was taking too long. An old rag or paper towel, some elbow grease, and a lot of patience are really all you need.

I have to say, distressed black and shiny brass hardware may be my new favorite combination.

And it turned out so well, Chris has been rendered speechless or perhaps just distracted by that shiny hardware…

Transformation Breakdown:

  • Paint: Rust-o-leum black satin
  • Hardware: Refinished with Brasso to natural brass finish

After.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

And as a reminder of how this piece started…

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

Much better! And he went to a great home – someone bought him to be used in their entryway (and, yes, all my pieces are gender-ized… this one happens to be a short, stocky male). Who knew this hum-drum oak dresser could turn into the statement piece for an entry? Amazing what a little paint will do!

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We Have An Arch Nemesis

Hers.

And it’s name is: our pantry door.  Chris and I are coming to find that we have bad door luck.  I don’t know what kind of bad door karma we picked up over the years… perhaps from my younger self slamming too many of them in teenage angst or Chris graffiti-ing his college dorm door with Irish drinking phases (he argues that his dorm was getting demolished after that semester anyway so why not pay tribute to our home land of paleness and potatoes).  Whatever it was, the door species has an enemy number one and it is us.

If you remember, our epic battle with doors began with our patio door.  After a year of living with a chewed up door from the previous owner’s dog, we finally bought a new door to replace it.  Turns out, the door didn’t fit.  A father-in-law, many colorful exclamations, and a full weekend later, the matter was finally resolved.  Read more in our post about it here.

Well, the evil door realm went dormant for a few years but, alas, it returned… with a vengeance.

But, let me start at the beginning.

You may remember our pantry renovation where we turned this disorganized, non-functional mess…

img_1857

Into this super functional, beautiful being (read more on the transformation here).

after8

We decided to replace the old pantry door with a new one that matched the rest of the new doors we’ve been installing throughout the house.

All done, right?  Wrong.  So very very wrong.

His.

I. (expletive deleted). Hate. Doors. I mean, I really hate them. We live in North Texas, a region notorious for unstable soil. What this means for us is, no matter how much care I put into expertly fitting our doors to within exact tolerances, the foundation will eventually shift one way or another and the door either won’t close or won’t stay closed. The pantry door, however,was another story. It had it out for me.

Julie was convinced we needed a door that matched all the other interior doors we were installing in the house. The pantry opening was 20″ and the smallest door I could find (without custom ordering something for like a million dollars or whatever) was 24.” “No worries,” I foolishly thought, “I’ll just cut 2″ off each side.” I was in for a bit of a surprise.

As I began cutting into the door I learned something very disheartening: doors are now such low-quality crap that they’re hollow. As in, there’s nothing between the side you open and the side you close. It’s just air. Now, I’m all about cutting costs, building efficiently, and conserving materials, but when my door is barely as sturdy as the box it came in, it tends toward the ridiculous. I’m kind of scared to knock.

Look at this junk:

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

So what did I do? Well,I had three options: order a custom door (I’d have to take out a second mortgage), buy a second door and try to figure something else out (I already wasted money on this one, why would I buy another useless cardboard box?), or do what I do best and pinch my pennies until a solution falls out. So, I took the one solid piece of the door (i.e. the outer frame, which is probably only there so you can mount hinges) and hammered it back in to make my own custom-sized door.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

After a little glue, wood filler, and frustration, I had my own custom door. Is this the most ghetto thing I’ve ever done? Yes. Did it work? Mostly. It was still a tight squeeze so I had to sand it down in a few places.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Once I got it mounted and installed the knob, I had a door that was about 80% functional and, most importantly, looked good closed. For now.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

As it turns out, the thin frame I reinstalled wasn’t quite up to the job of being, what I now realize, the most frequently operated door in the house, not to mention the fact it had a spice rack bolted to the back. Eventually the screws for the hinge managed to work themselves loose and a few had even ripped themselves out. So, effectively, the door fell off. Oops.

Hers.

Well, that didn’t go exactly as planned.  It wasn’t all lost though.  I took this as an opportunity to sneak in more “shabbiness” to our home (shh don’t tell Chris- he thinks shabby translates to junk, ha).  Besides, I had been dreaming of an old rustic-looking pantry door anyway.  None of that standard builder grade stuff here!

Come join me in my drool-fest over these fantasticly shabby doors:

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Houzz via Pinterest

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Two Maisons

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Down to Earth Style

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Cottage Living

So, here’s the part where I tell you I found the perfect shabby contender for our pantry door, right?  Right.  Here you go.  Just look at her.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

She was p-e-r-f-e-c-t.  And the best part?  I found her at a local architectural salvage place so, of course, she cost next to nothing for me to claim her.  Like $1o nothing.  Done and done.  Right?

Wrong.

Sooomeone (*ahem Chris) had to rain on my parade with the ole “I bet it’s lead paint” line.  Sigh, how I hate when the hubby proves me wrong.  Lead paint… pantry…. food… it doesn’t make for the best combo.  And now we mourn.  Goodbye old, poison-infused door.  

Sooo we were nowhere closer to keeping Chloe the cat out of turning our pantry into her personal jungle gym aka finding a pantry door.

To cheer me up, Chris drove us over to a second architectural salvage shop.  I kid you not, I sorted through the door section (which is made up of 400 or so doors) a full three times before I finally gave up and admitted they didn’t have anything that would fit the bill.  Not only that, but this place was significantly more expensive, like $60-100 per door more expensive.  I may be a little naive but isn’t paying $100 for an old beat-up door a little ridiculous, even for me?

As I made my way to the exit (moping and dragging my feet in disappointment of course), I saw an excited Chris galloping towards me.  I figured he found some old tools or, worse, the expensive set of gas logs he’s tried to talk me into for the last seven visits (what’s wrong with good ole firewood??).  But, instead, he claims to have found the perfect door… in the shutter room.  Whaa?

We rounded the corner to find piles upon piles of old house shutters stacked against each other.  It’s like the TJ Maxx of shutters in there.  Ugh, and I hate sorting.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

I decided to forfeit one clean finger to gingerly push each shutter from the other, one by one until I finally found the perfect candidate.

BOOM.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Helloooo new door.  What was most funny about this find was that finding a door for our oddly shaped pantry opening (20″ wide) had been a nightmare.  Door manufacturers apparently didn’t go that skinny.  This shutter was the perfect width!  All we had to do was trim it down a little on the bottom, which was solid wood so we wouldn’t have the problem we had with the last door which was hollow.  Also, it had all that intricate molding that made those old shabby doors look dull in comparison.  I was even sold on the black paint.  Glossy black doors ARE all the rage now, afterall.  Why not jump on that bandwagon already?

It was originally listed for $60 but, because it was a lone soldier- all the other matching shutters were either gone or didn’t make it to the store, the store discounted it down to $30 for us.  Why, yes, we will pay an additional $20 for a few extra years on our life aka a lead paint-free door.

At this point, I was on a roll.  As we walked up to the counter to pay, we passed by the door accessories room (this salvage shop is so magical).  The heavens parted and there was my antique door plate and antique crystal knob that would complete the look of our pantry door.  Mama needs some bling, mk?

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

A $5 door plate, $7 knob, and $30 door later, we were all set.  There was no stopping us now!

His.

Alright, so we had to scrap the original door idea and were back to square one. By now Julie had decided that she really wanted an antique door, and since door dimensions weren’t really standardized until later in the 20th century, I figured that might not be a bad route to take. If nothing else, older doors are probably solid wood and can be cut to size without any, um, issues. So it was off to the “architectural salvage warehouse,” i.e. overpriced junkyard.

Our first stop was in a part of town that’s… well, it was in the hood. Like, I was surprised no one pulled smash n’ grab for my car radio. Anyway, they had just about every door ever installed in Dallas before 1950, so there was plenty to choose from. One common factor, though, was that they all had the tell-tale signs of lead paint. I don’t possess the equipment, facilities, or expertise to properly remove and dispose of lead paint, and since my health insurance provider and I would prefer to avoid permanent nervous system damage I told Julie there was no way we were getting any of those doors. Sorry ’bout your bad luck…

Now, at this point Julie and I were getting into a fairly expressive argument over how I wanted her to be miserable the rest of her life by choosing my nervous system over her door, and an employee came over to see what all the fuss was about. Julie explained how much she loved toxic doors and I explained how much I love not dying, and the woman did her best to quell my fears. “Oh, you have nothing to worry about,” she said reassuringly, “I’ve been around this stuff for two whole years and I’m fine!” At that moment we both noticed that her hair probably hadn’t been washed since 1997 and she spoke through what can only be described as “meth teeth”… and we began looking for the exit.

Anyway, Julie has already told a mostly accurate story of how we found our actual door, so I’ll skip forward to what we ended up doing with it. It was in pretty sad shape when we got it and definitely needed to be cleaned up and painted, but overall the wood was in good condition except at the very bottom (this is a shot of the back side, which was never painted since it faced the side of a house in its former life as a shutter):

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Once we got it cleaned up and scraped off any stray splinters, we painted it an oil-based flat black. I really hate working with oil-based paint, but they really do lay down the best finishes.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

True to form, Julie’s original color choice didn’t last long, and a day later she decided it looked too much like a chalkboard. So I went out to buy some gloss black.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Once it was painted, I had to cut it down to size. Remember the bit at the bottom I said was in sad shape? Well, as luck would have it, that’s exactly how much I needed to chop off!

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

The final challenge was finding a latch. We were able to re-use the hinges from the old door, but the molding and accents on the door made it just impossible enough to fit a traditional latch that we were once again scratching our heads. My brilliant solution? A ball catch, typically seen mounted on the frame of a door that presses closed. This basically made our knob a dummy knob, which meant it could be mounted anywhere we wanted.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

After.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

His.

“It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is, none. None more black.”

Pop quiz- what movie is this from?

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Filed under Kitchen

I Love Lamp.

Hers.

I am officially in mourning.

I have been dutifully waiting for my favorite show “Picker Sisters” to make its comeback… and waiting… and waiting…  It’s been so long that Chris has informed me that it’s most likely cancelled and we should probably delete it from our DVR’s list of shows to record.  Noooooooooooo.

So, I’d like to dedicate this post to the untimely demise of “Picker Sisters”- your time with us was so short, but oh so sweet.  We’ll never forget you…

For those of you who weren’t immediately addicted to the show… or even aware… it was a show where two women traveled the country finding antique items (or, as most people would see it, junk) to transform into functional pieces of home decor.  My favorite transformations were when they turned a car’s fender into an upholstered chair and the irrigation pipe they turned into a light.  See below for pics.

PickerSisterEpisodeP10   Picker-Sisters-vintage-antiques

I decided to channel my fellow picker sisters and find something of my own to turn from junk to treasure.  Hm, but what to choose…

Well, we needed another lamp in the living room and I knew creating a lamp was going to be easier than upholstering a chair so it was settled.  Plus, it helped that I’ve been lusting after the surveyor’s tripod floor lamp at Restoration Hardware.  Why oh why Restoration Hardware do you tease me with such beautiful products that I can’t even begin to imagine affording?  *sigh

RH

Source: Restoration Hardware, $1395

For those of you who are more of the shopper type than the transformer type, here are a few other, more affordable options.

RugsUSA

Source: Rugs USA, $416

Amazon

Source: Amazon, $379

Pottery Barn

Source: Pottery Barn, $349

WM

Source: World Market, $119

I was actually tempted to give up on my junk transformation quest when I found the World Market option but I knew the sisters wouldn’t approve.  It at least gave me a price limit to stick to.  The World Market version was $119 for the tripod and another $20 for the shade so if I could make this thing for under $139, my mission would be deemed successful.

When you live in a big city and need to find a random item, you turn to the ultimate urban picking source: CraigsList.  Usually it takes me awhile when I’m looking for something really specific but I must have some good karma stored up because I immediately stumbled across this…

Lamp_Before1

Do my eyes deceive me?!  Telescope tripod?  Vintage?  Cool lamp stand?  SOLD!

Especially since, when checking eBay the antique tripods I found were in the $170-$250 range like this guy.  No thanks.

eBay Tripod

I immediately contacted the seller and set up a time to go look at it.  As we pulled into their neighborhood, Chris mentioned the area looked familiar.  Then we pulled up to the house and looked at each other, both realizing the same thing.

We had been here before.

We had bought from these people before.

Yes, we had fallen off the edge of the CraigsList map.

So what did we do?  Got out of the car, rang the doorbell, and pretended we were strangers… I don’t think the sellers had the same realization we did.  Maybe we’ll clue them in the third time.

Anyway, I offered $60.  He hesitated until I told him of my noble cause- giving this tripod an exciting second life.  Boom.  Done.

Now I just needed Chris to make this thing functional for me!

His.

I love space. And no, not the “space” they talk about on HGTV. I mean outer space, the space that you literally have to strap yourself on top of a couple hundred tons of explosives and blow yourself off the face of the planet at 23 times the speed of sound to get to, the space that is so massive that the human brain isn’t actually capable of accurately comprehending its size. I got hooked on astronomy in Boy Scouts and have loved stargazing ever since. Every night I look up and admire the beauty of the night sky, and I even get texts from NASA letting me know when I can see the space station fly by.

Hers.

Yup, turns out I married super-nerd.  He sets his alarm for 4 am so he can get a glimpse of this thing for a few seconds.  And then he can’t seem to understand why I have no desire to get up with him and watch a small bright ball of light cross the sky.  It looks just like an airplane people!  Trust me, uninterrupted sleep is the better option here.

His.

So, when Julie told me we were getting a telescope stand, I got really excited.

Well, it turns out that we weren’t going to be using it for any space-related activities. No, Julie wanted to make it a lamp. Whatever, at least I’d get to wire something.

I’ve never made a lamp before, but my sister used to make them all the time as a hobby, so I knew they could be made out of just about anything that can stand on its own. I also remembered her saying that Home Depot has pretty much everything you’ll need, so that’s where we began. It turns out we only needed two things, the socket and the cord:

Lamp_Parts3 Lamp_Parts2

So, now all I had to do was figure out a way to lampify this tripod by attaching said socket and cord. I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to accomplish this, but I was 100% sure how a lamp works, so I at least had a starting point: mounting the socket. Fortunately lamp parts are fairly universal so all I had to to was figure out how to secure a piece of lamp all-thread to the top, which basically just means I had to drill a hole in the top. Simple enough, right?

Well, first I had to modify the tripod a bit. It had a little nub on the top where the telescope itself would actually mount, but it stuck up maybe an inch or so. I really didn’t want to bore through that much metal, so I strapped the whole thing to a saw horse and took a sawzall to it (I wrapped it in a towel so the wood wouldn’t get scratched):

Lamp_During1

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Lamp_During4

Next, I took my Dremel and ground down the rough surface left by the saw:

Lamp_During5

Lamp_During6

Next, I had to drill out a hole for the all-thread. All the metal on this thing is brass, so it was pretty soft and easy to drill through. I started with a relatively small hole to make sure I had it centered before stepping it up to a larger bit that was just slightly smaller than the diameter or the all-thread.
Lamp_During13

Lamp_During14

Lamp_During15

Finally, I was ready to start assembling it as a lamp, starting with the all-thread.

Lamp_During17

Lamp_During18

Lamp_During19

Lamp_During20

The brass was soft enough that the steel all-thread basically tapped its own threads, but just to be safe I ran a small bead of high-strength glue around the base to make sure it stays snug.

Lamp_During21

Now it was time to wire everything up, which basically just means running the wires through and not reversing the polarity of the socket.

Lamp_During22

Lamp_During23

Lamp_During24

And finally, the moment of truth: let there be light!

Lamp_During25

Poof. Nothing. But how could this be? I had all new components and everything was wired correctly. Clearly, I needed to consult the experts:

Lamp_During26

Of course! How could I have made such an elementary mistake?

\sigma = \frac{2 \pi^5 R^4}{15 h^3 c^2 N_{\rm A}^4} = \frac{32 \pi^5 h R^4 R_{\infty}^4}{15 A_{\rm r}({\rm e})^4 M_{\rm u}^4 c^6 \alpha^8}

Just kidding, the derivation of the Stefan-Boltzmann constant has nothing to do with burnt out bulbs.

Lamp_During27

So, now I had a functioning lamp. Oh, but the shade was warped so I stole Julie’s hair dryer and used it as the world’s worst heat gun.

Lamp_During28

Hers. After.

Well, I’m glad to be the first home improvement/DIY blog that features a scientific equation… Enough math.  Let’s get to the good stuff.  I love how this lamp turned out and it only cost $91 total.  Here’s the breakdown:

DO or DIY | How to Create a Tripod Floor Lamp  Lamp_After8

DO or DIY | How to Create a Tripod Floor Lamp

Such a great fit in our living room!  I love how it instantly warms up the space and goes really well with our table lamp.  And I can’t get over the $1300 price savings.  I mean, the sales tax on the Restoration Hardware lamp is even more than what ours cost total to make!

Lamp Comparison

What junk have you guys been transforming into treasures lately?  Has anyone else delved into the lamp-creation process?  I was surprised by how easy it was!  It has me thinking… what else can I lamp-ify?

How to Make a Telescope Lamp

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Filed under Easy DIY Projects