Tag Archives: Refurbish

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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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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Teal of a Deal

Hers.

When life gives you a free table, you pick a wild color to paint it because, well, why not?  But let me start at the beginning.

This guy was posted online for free so we quickly snatched him up even though we had no idea where to put him.  Yes, he had been through some tough love over the years but I saw past the battle scars and knew an exciting second life was in store for him.

Table_Before2   Table_Before1

The table had great lines and would be the perfect candidate to experiment with a new spray paint color.  So, what color did we decide to go with?  Drum roll please…

Teal!

More, specifically, Krylon’s Catalina Mist found at Michael’s.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go teal or mint green and this color was a perfect combination of the two.

Table_During1

I breeze through the steps to spray painting furniture below but if you want a more detailed step-by-step, see our furniture painting guide here.

First, I sanded the table down a little.  The top had a few water stains and marks that I wanted to even out.  Then I put the staff to work… err… asked the hubby for his “painting expertise.”

Next, a little prime action.

Table_During2

It doesn’t need to be a solid coat- just enough to cover the wood to help the final paint color adhere better.

Table_During3

Then, on with the light teal!  Here you can see the table after the first coat.  We ultimately sprayed two coats.

Table_During4

Next, a little distressing to accentuate the lines and detailed legs and add some character.  Catalina Mist is my new favorite teal color!  It’s the perfect medium teal tone- not too light or dark.  I love the mint colored furniture trend but always worry it will make the piece look more fit for a nursery than for our baby-free house so this was a great compromise.

His.

Here’s my question? Exactly how many shades of teal are there? Julie made me go to a craft store (it should be a felony to drag your husband to those black holes of boredom and useless, low-quality junk) to pick it out because apparently Home Depot’s selection just wasn’t fru-fru enough, and all I can say is at least she wasn’t trying to pick a fabric for a pillow or something.

DO or DIY | Teal Table Makeover DO or DIY | Teal Table Makeover DO or DIY | Teal Table Makeover

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Tales of a CraigsList Addict

Hers.

I’ve been on a mad hunt for the last few months for the perfect dining room chairs.  I was torn between buying something ready-to-go from a home furnishing store and finding a used hidden treasure.  I found a few chair candidates at various stores but there were two main problems- 1) each chair was over $100 each and 2) I really wanted to customize the chairs with a fun print but there just weren’t any stores that provided this option in a cost-effective manner.  So thus began my weeks-long search on CraigsList, scouring for the perfect chair.

I sifted through hundreds of listings, many at 2 am to Chris’ dismay.  I had a very specific chair in mind- wooden back, interesting design (no plain ole ladder backs for me), and a really awful fabric seat that was dying to be recovered.  It turned out to be quite the challenge to find 4 matching chairs that fit these criteria.  But, one late night after quite a few elbow nudges from Chris (indicating I should give up), I finally found them.  The design was just what I was looking for.  The wood was an outdated stain, which helped ease my worry about painting over the wood.  And the fabric seats were as awful as I had dreamed (it makes the “before” pictures that much better).  I excitedly shook Chris awake to tell him of my big accomplishment.  After only receiving a muttered response and not much else, I decided that was my go ahead.  The next afternoon, Chris and I were on our way to buy the chairs.

I was a little nervous about the purchase because I could tell Chris thought these chairs were the definition of hideous.  I reassured him (and myself) over and over again that they had potential.  He just had to wait and he’d see.

I found an awesome geometric print from Joann’s Fabric that would instantly modernize the chairs and settled on a light gray color for painting the chair, which complements our dark gray dining room.

We spent our Saturday painting the chairs, to which I learned never paint against the grain of the wood if you want a clean look (oops, live and learn I guess).  While the chairs dried, we took to recovering the seats.  Chris perfected folding corners and I worked on conquering my fear of staple guns (a fear that stemmed from Final Destination 3… not a joke).

Less than a day later (much of which was thanks to the extreme Dallas summer heat which sped up the paint drying process), we were done!  They turned out great and are my new home obsession.  I’m officially addicted to finding chairs on CraigsList to refurbish, whether Chris likes it or not.

His.

I’m really happy with these chairs for two reasons: 1) we finally have something in the dining room, and 2) I don’t have to listen to Julie complain about needing something in the dining room.

I also get to sleep at night. I kid you not, I was waking up in the middle of the night to find Julie wide awake next to me, scouring the internet for… chairs. I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure that’s not normal on any level. Oh, and then she’d complain about being tired all the time… nooooo, really?

So last week I got a call at work from Julie that went something like this:

Julie: “Don’t forget, we’re going to look at those chairs tonight.”

Me: “Wait… what chairs?”

Julie: “I told you. The chairs I found on CraigsList!”

Me: “You never told me about any chairs on Craigslist.”

Julie: “Yes I did! Remember? Last night… When you were asleep.”

As if my opinion mattered, we went over to look at some chairs. I could see that Julie loved them and saw potential, but for some reason all I could think of when I looked at those chairs was the Bundy house. So after biting my tongue and forking over my emergency gas money, we were on our way home with a new project, as if we really needed another one.

First and foremost, we had to paint them because they were hideous. Julie picked out a light gray color, we sanded  the sheen off, and we started painting. It was about 105* out, so by the time you finished your second brush stroke, your first one was dry. This meant that any drips or uneven spots were almost impossible to fix in time, so getting things to look good was quite the task. I realized the next day that Julie didn’t know you had to paint with the grain… I swear, sometimes I want to sign her up for Cub Scouts.

Not only were they in desperate need of a paint job, but even I can admit that they needed to be recovered. If it matches your grandparents sunroom furniture, it’s probably not a bad idea to invest in a little fabric. Julie has an irrational fear of staple guns, so the recovering was left to me… or so I thought, as Julie quickly discovered the satisfying “CLANK” that comes with stapling. At this point my job was to fold the fabric over the corners while Julie yelled “hurry, I want to staple!” Disconcerting, to say the least.

This whole experience taught me that I should hide my extra cash from my wife and save up for a paint sprayer. Fortunately, though, I had the foresight to install a dimmer in the dining room, so with the proper lighting these chairs really look great. And for the first time since we moved in, we finished a project in one sitting without going to Home Depot.

Details.

Fabric: Joann Fabric, on sale for $12.00/yard, 2 yards needed

Chairs: CraigsList find, $125 for all four chairs

Paint: Home Depot, Behr, Burnished Clay, $14 for a quart

Total Project Cost: $163 which about equals one chair from Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn.  Beat that!

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