A dresser makeover and a few changes to an "heirloom"

As I mentioned here I am no longer doing the whole “resale/flea market” thing. I am still working on a few projects here and there because it is what I love to do!

This piece is one I bought eons ago and has sat in my garage waiting on inspiration and time.

I bought it and the matching chest of drawers at a barn auction. Yes, it had been sitting in a barn…yes, I could tell it had been infested with mice at one time. No, I was not expecting to find two mouse carcasses while cleaning it. GAG!!!!

The ONLY way I have found to rid old furniture of old furniture smells (mice, cigarettes, moth balls, etc) is to first scrub with ammonia and then vinegar (do not do them at the same time!). Sometimes I will spray the inside of the piece with diluted vinegar and just let it dry. If that doesn’t do it, then I suggest you prime and paint the inside of the drawers. Fortunately, the heavy duty cleaning on this piece worked and I did not have to paint the drawers!

The top and drawer fronts are cherry veneer. The veneer was in pretty good shape and really just needed to be stripped and oiled…I used THIS process to strip the old finish. Tried and true! I know I link to this tutorial a lot, but it works!

After stripping the veneers, I applied three coats of tung oil finish and chalk painted and distressed the cabinet!

The hardware was in pretty good condition…just icky. So I primed them with metal primer and painted them with flat black paint.

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AGAIN, another example of how a very few dollars and some elbow grease can turn the ickiest piece into something pretty awesome!

While I had the “farmhouse white” chalk paint mixed up I decided to give some old frames a little makeover.

When I visited my uncle this summer he gave me two old framed portraits of my great-great grandmother and my great-great-great grandmother.

They do tend to be on the “goulish” side…but I NEVER turn down family heirlooms. When he offered me THIS china cabinet….

…I knew it wasn’t “my style” but as I said, heirlooms trump everything. So I made a few changes to make it a little more appealing…I removed the red paper on the back, added glass shelves and cabinet lighting. Then I filled it with the great’s and grand’s china…it is what it is…and heirloom piece filled with heirlooms.

I decided I might be able to make the portraits a little less “goulish” by painting the frames…they were just so “heavy and dark.”

I hung them in the GUEST ROOM….

Meh…not swooning over them but again, they are family heirlooms. (I think they need to be closer together!)


Another VW van dresser makeover.

I love this little project. I featured my first HERE. When I found another “waterfall” chest of drawers I decided to do another…they are just too much fun.

This little makeover takes a bit of patience…mainly because you have to “layer” the different paints. Each “layer” needs time to cure before you tape it for the next “layer.”

The first thing I had to do was remove all the hardware, putty the holes I would not be using, prime, sand and tack. Then it was just a matter of drawing and taping my design…

The “base layer” is white lacquer…from there I painted the teal, then the light grey “glass”…then all the outlining and detailing.

In the end you have a precious little chest!

I used some black and white I had on hand and bought a sample pot of the teal. Between the primer and paint, I probably spent less than $10.

The only “major” purchases were the VW decal (purchased HERE) and the two handles that make the windshield wipers…less than $20. (I had the round knobs in my hardware stash but you can buy them for next to nothing) All in this little project cost me the price of the dresser and less than $30 in materials.

I made a few “design changes” and truth be told I like the first one I did better….but nothing you will notice on a passing train…so I let it slide! It did affect the placement of the VW decal so I ended up having to “cut” it between two drawers…boo!

Again, one of my favorite projects and since I am no longer having to work at keeping “inventory” for a booth, I have more time to be creative and have fun!













dining room makeover...

For years my “dining room” has been little more than a pass-thru from the kitchen and living room into the den.

A few months ago I refinished a little table that is my current love…

You can see the evolution of my dining tables here. The criteria for a table is that it is compact but can expand to seat 8-10 people the one time a year we need a big table…basically Thanksgiving.

This new table fits the bill but try as I might, I could not find chairs I was really happy with. I knew what I wanted but I couldn’t find them in my normal “thrifty” way…I tried these “mid century” style chairs…

No way Jose’….super ick.

So I bit the bullet and ordered chairs from an actual retail store.

Whoa! Who knew dining chairs could be so stinking expensive!

Other than a revolving door of tables and chairs and a few changes to the art work and a new light fixture…and maybe the addition of ANOTHER buffet, the space never got a full-fledged “makeover.”

It has never really been styled as a “dining room.” Truth is, I have a bar we use regularly so other than our holiday gatherings, this space gets very little use.

I don’t really have an actual dining ROOM…it is more like a dining “space.” And again, it has always just been a thoroughfare from the kitchen to the den. So why bother styling it…

Because it is a very prominent space in my house that has been horribly neglected so it was time it got a little time and attention.

First, the table…I love the little mahogany trestle table. Maybe not specifically the style…or specifically the color…but just the whole of the sum. Don’t know how to explain it any better than that…it’s just pretty and small but easily expands.

The buffet. I love this piece…it only took me a year to figure out what to do with it, but now I love it….the style, the color, the size.

These two pieces alone are as different as night and day…one VERY traditional and antiquey looking and one very mid-century. That pretty much sums up my entire home decor…”eclectic.”

I changed up the buffet vignette a bit…just simplified it a tad…you can see HERE how I turned a candle stick into a lamp.

So, on to the rug.

What a nightmare. I THOUGHT I wanted to use this little space to infuse some serious color into my home.

Hum….not really loving it to be honest.

The first….

Wow…now that was some color.

ALL the pictures on Pinterest show rectangular rugs with rectangular table and round rugs with round tables….but because this space is a bit smallish and because we walk through this space A LOT, I tried a round rug…

Meh….

I LIKE the look of a round rug…but again, not sure I am digging all the color…even though I THOUGHT I wanted to infuse color into this space.

So I took the first one back and picked up another rectangular one with color, but a lighter background…

Hum again…

I LOVE this little scatter rug but alas it doesn’t come any bigger…curses.

I just love the colors and the amazing textures! But it did make me rethink my “color plan.”

This plain ole’ blue one….

I like the simplicity…I like the style…I like the quality. Nothing earth shattering and obviously I gave up on the idea of infusing color by putting down a “wild and crazy” rug. Oh well…I never professed to be a designer.

The wall decor. For a few decades I really liked the look of the two frames I had on this wall. They have “transitioned” over the years…first they went from the “dark and dank” to a chalk painted frame and new matting…then I changed up the matting and added botanical prints. So often I get so use to a certain look that it is difficult for me to see anything different…such was the case with these prints. I loved the pop of red of the matting and I adored the botanical prints. Unfortunately it was obvious two was not going to work…and one just looked so dinky.

Brian and I found these totally awesome mirrors.

IMO they look pretty awesome…not terribly expensive so when I tire of them I won’t feel too bad. But it took me 19 years to get rid of the two large frames so I doubt these go anywhere any time soon!

Fortunately, I LOVE the table, the buffet and the light fixture. Rugs and artwork are an easy change out if I find something I like better.

For now I will keep the little bench off to the side. It is perfect for when I expand the table and need a little extra seating.

I am excited to decorate this space for the holidays!

The only other thing I MIGHT add are curtains on the two flanking windows…or maybe shutters. Who knows…they have had blinds for 19 years…what’s the rush!

This is where I will admit I am like 90% of you out there… I just want Emily Henderson or Candice Olson or Joanna Gaines to swoop in and just do it all! I am always amazed that they can do in one hour what it has taken me 19 years to do!

I have avoided the whole “farmhouse decor” look only because I think it is a fad that will pass in short order…but this dining room gives me a little taste of the “farmhouse look” without going all out. Just a pinch and a dab that can easily and inexpensively be changed out when the time comes.

Making a lamp out of a candle stick...

Next week I hope to share my entire dining room makeover…just waiting on a rug and the chairs I ordered.

This week I want to share one tiny element.

In my quest to make a few improvements to my dining room I decided to change up the buffet vignette…specifically get rid of the floral arrangement and style it a bit differently.

(You can check out the buffet makeover HERE! )

So off to Home Goods and At Home I went. One element I wanted to add to the buffet was a tall lamp but I couldn’t find the one I had in my mind. I found some candle sticks I liked…only problem was I didn’t really like the tallest one as a candle stick…but when I stuck this little lamp shape on it I decided I kinda liked the look of it as a lamp…

Hum?

I THOUGHT the candle stick was ceramic or resin…I also thought it was hollow. So I THOUGHT I could drill a hole in the top and a hole in the base with a masonry bit, thread in some lamp cord, add a little socket and presto-bingo…a lamp.

What is the old saying about “best laid plans.”

Yeah…well…some things just don’t work out the way we THINK they should…this, my friends, is more the norm in DIY. Things often don’t go as planned….

So the first thing I discovered was that it is wood…not a biggy.

I can just drill a hole from the top to my bottom hole with one of my really long drill bits…right? Wrong. Because the drill hit metal…turns out the candle stick is actually made up of three different sections…with screws AND glue between each. Impossible to take apart so I ended up cutting the sections with my chop saw.

Fortunately it was a tad easier to drill through the individual sections than to drill through the entire tall candle stick.

Whew…that was a booger…but after that was all said and done, it was time to “repurpose” the whole thing into a lamp.

To make anything into a lamp, you will need a socket and a lamp cord…fortunately you can buy both of these things at Lowe’s.

To use the little top socket, I just removed the little screw on the side of the base…

… and drilled a hole in the top of the candle stick big enough for the base of the socket to sit in (1/2”).

To thread the new electrical cord through the stick, I threaded a thin wire (floral wiring works well) through the stick sections. Then I wrapped the thin wire around the end of the new electrical cord and pulled the wire back through.

Once the new electrical wiring was threaded through each section, I easily attached it to the new socket, set the socket into the 1/2” hole I drilled on the top section and hot glued it in.

Then to reconnect the three sections, I applied wood glue and a dab of hot glue just to hold it all together while the wood glue set up.

Presto-bingo…a lamp made out of a candle stick.

I like it.

Unfortunately I don’t think the existing art work will work with the candlestick/lamp…curses. For now I think I will just leave it be.

I took a few sprigs of the greenery from the old floral arrangement and stuck them in a little ironstone creamer…one of my little birdies…a stack of old books I had stashed away.

Trying to keep it simple for now but really looking forward to having a buffet to decorate for the holidays!

I THINK I will like the new rug and chairs I ordered…we will see. I already have one rug in the garage ready to go back to “At Home”…didn’t like it. My plan was to go with a tad more color but this rug has me second guessing that decision.

I am also contemplating curtains…I’ve had blinds for 20 years…we’ll see…one thing at a time.

It is coming along…


A simple "before" and "after"....

A simple and inexpensive makeover.

Before….

After….

A little homemade chalk paint….5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris and 3 tablespoons of water, mixed well. Add 2 cups of latex paint. Two coats…a little distressing…sealed with polycrylic.

The hardware wasn’t anything special…I primed it with metal primer and hit it with some blue spray paint I had on hand…could have been black, teal, white…whatever…not sure I am loving the navy but it would be easy to change it!

Simple, inexpensive…but oh so much better!

Remember, LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!!! YOU CAN DO IT!

My happy place....

This month has been crazy busy. I started painting the older buildings at my apartment complex…the weather hasn’t been very cooperative so only 1/2 is done. I have had to tear out and replace rotted flooring in an older unit and I have had a few vacancies which is always a lot of work. My daughter graduated from college week before last and everyone came home (I shared that here) and my grandson graduated from high school this past weekend.

Crazy busy!!!

One thing I am eternally grateful for is my yard…it is my happy place and I am so glad I got all the mulch down and the planting done before life got too hectic.

One of my favorite ways to unwind is sit in my backyard and just breathe….

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Not much changes in the front and side yard but since my neighbors murdered their trees, my swing pergola in the front gets too much sun in the afternoon to really enjoy….

…but again, visitors may not see your backyard but they will see the front…so keep it pretty! (I shared the construction of the window planters HERE)

I do have a few moles causing a bit of stress….HERE I talk about what I have learned about moles and how I deal with them (it ain’t pretty!)

But since I now plant all my “tender annuals” in pots, they really do little but annoy me. Truth is they are nature’s little tillers for flower beds and if they didn’t run through the yard to get to the flower beds, I probably wouldn’t give them a second thought.

I am grateful I have the ability to do the work I do…but I am even more grateful I have a place I can go to recharge….

Another new dining room table and the greatest Mother's Day gift....

ANOTHER dining room table…obviously I have a soft spot for chairs and tables. When I saw this pathetic trestle table at a barn auction a few weeks ago, I just knew she had some serious potential….

The top was in pieces and the finish was crud…but oh the potential. And it wasn’t until I got her home that I discovered her little hidden secret…

She has this super nifty fold out “leaf.”

Just too fricking cool!

In spite of the fact that I have been up to my earballs in work at the apartments, I couldn’t wait to start working on her. The first thing I did was strip all the old finish…HERE is the process I used. This is a tried and true process that makes quick work of a daunting task!

After all the old finish was stripped off I had to glue and clamp the table top back together….

I always make my repairs AFTER I strip but before paint or finish…and I always make sure I make all the necessary repairs. No sense in making it pretty if it is just going to fall apart…glue and clamps!!!

The top was solid (vs. veneers) so the pieces were a tad warped…no biggy…I clamped it as well as I could and then I sanded the joints smooth…starting with the finer grit (220) and working my way down to a rougher grit (150) and then back up to a finer grit, before applying a tung oil finish.

Tung oil finish is my “go to” finish for many reasons…it is super easy to apply, it is super durable and it is super easy to reapply when the finish gets scratched or begins to dull!

So, when all was said and done, this little table will now take her place in the dining room….at least for the time being….it is no secret I swap out tables on a regular bases….here are just a few I have featured over the years…

A Duncan Phyfe….I gave it a little makeover HERE before selling it….

An antique trestle I featured here

An oak farmhouse table featured here…..

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The most recent…an antique draw leaf table…

All these tables have one thing in common…they are relatively “compact” but can be expanded to handle Thanksgiving dinner. Basically once a year I need a large table…and these all fit the bill.

The newest little trestle table is compact, expands, and beautiful!

So get ready for a few pictures…..

I just LOVE the new light fixture from Wayfair I featured here….

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I love how it can easily be expanded. No more having to find a place to store leaves or hauling them out for one dinner…just slide open the top and fold out the insert…simple (especially after a little WD40)

One huge problem….I REALLY dislike the Duncan Phyfe chairs with it…they just don’t look right…and sadly I know exactly what chairs I want for it and I have had them and sold them a few times over. The good news is I will eventually find what I want….

Until then I bought this little piano bench at the same auction. Again, pretty cruddy…

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…but I stripped and oiled the top, scrubbed up the brass feeties and painted the base with my new favorite blue…the same one I used on the buffet (here)

Meh….not really “swooning” over it, but it will serve the purpose for now…until I can find the chairs I want or another pathetic little table catches my eye. I wouldn’t take bets on which happens first!

THE GREATEST MOTHER’S DAY GIFT

This year I received the absolute best Mother’s Day gift!!! Another college graduate.

My youngest daughter, Katie, graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Bio-Engineering.

She is beautiful, smart, and talented…and I could not be prouder.

She, as well as her brother Matt (Masters 2015), are fourth generation Arkansas graduates….my great grandmother graduated in 1920, my grandfather graduated in 1943, and I graduated in 1987.

Brian and I are now 5/5….five kids, five college graduates. And the fact that all five were here for Katie’s big day, which happen to be Mother’s Day weekend, made my day extra special!

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Vintage car handle hardware...

I am trying desperately these days to be a bit more “creative” and get out of my “everything white” funk.

I saw a really cute idea on Pinterest….vintage car handles as hardware. Naturally I jumped on Ebay and began searching for vintage car handles. I looked back at my Ebay history…I ordered them in JANUARY!!! Didn’t have anything in the works, just thought is was a cute idea.

Did I save the link to the “inspiration?” Um, no. Did I have a plan in mind as to how to attach them to a drawer front.? Um, no. Did I have a table to even attach them to? Um, no.

Just thought it was a super cute idea.

The first thing I had to do was figure out how to attach the handles to a drawer front…the hole in the backside is not threaded. My original plan was to find a bolt that fit snuggly in the handle hole, then just use JBWeld…love that stuff. The problem with that is it would make it darn near impossible to remove the handles in the future. Not MY problem, but as I have said before, I want buyers to be able to makeover the piece again in the future.

Thought maybe I could JB Weld a light fixture bolt (threaded on both ends) into the handle, then just add a nut and washer…hum….that could work and still allow for removal in the future.

While I was at Lowes scouting bolts one of the nice associates showed me this nifty brass insert thingy….

Because brass is “soft” you can screw this little plug into the hole (using a flat screwdriver), then get a bolt that will fit the inside of the plug…in this case a 5/16 hex bolt. I slipped a washer onto the bolt so that it would sit snuggly against the back of the drawer.

Problem 1 solved.

Problem 2 is finding the perfect little table…fortunately I found a cute little solid wood side table at a garage sale for a few bucks….

Problem 3….as you may have noticed, the handles have a 1” “bump” on the backside which would make it impossible for them to sit flush on the drawer front.

I removed the little wood handles on the drawer fronts and puttied the little holes.

I took a 1 3/8” paddle bit (I couldn’t find my 1 1/4”) and made a hole in the front of the drawer front deep enough for the handle to sit flush. Then I used a 5/16” drill bit to make a hole in the center of that hole for the bolt.

TIP: To make sure you don’t drill your large hole all the way through the drawer front, wrap a piece of blue/masking tape on the paddle bit to indicate the depth you need to drill. (Not pictured)

Now I was able to set the car door handle flush on the front of the drawer and run the bolt (with washer) through the backside and into the little brass plug.

Since I knew the bolt may “loosen” and there is only one bolt holding the hardware in place, I added a dab of construction mastic (liquid nail will do) to the hole just to give the handle some stability.

Before applying the hardware, I primed, sanded, tacked and painted the table a high gloss red (See HERE why I can no longer call it my KSTP process.) The insides of the drawers were a tad cruddy so I primed those as well and painted them black…not necessary but kinda cute!

I found some “L” shaped metal floor trim and decided to add it to the front corners of the little table….installed the new door handle hardware….and presto bingo….

Too stinking cute!!!!

And now that I have figured out all the logistics to turning vintage car handles into hardware, grab a few and have some fun!!!

I have a few of these door handles left…now I just need to find another little table or small dresser!!!!

Craftsman dresser....

I have said it before…”Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Unfortunately, not every one likes to be “imitated”…or “copied.”

But I have to wonder…why do others post projects on blogs or Pinterest if not to give inspiration…inspire others to “imitate” their creativity.

I have NO problem with others “imitating” my creativity…imitate away! This entire blog is here to inspire you to make your home more beautiful. And if you are looking for inspiration for projects you intend to sell, help yourself….there are A LOT of people out there who couldn’t paint a piece of furniture or hammer a nail if their life depended on it. They need your abilities and creativity and if I can inspire you to create for others…yay me!

I try desperately to give credit where credit is due…if something “inspires” me I try to link back to the site. Unfortunately, I am the world’s worst at seeing something I like, “drag and dropping” the photo into my “inspiration folder” and not actually saving the link. I really do try to go back and find where the photo might be posted, but I can’t always find it! Same with recipes. I’ll see one I like, print it off and then I can’t find the original recipe.

Fortunately, this time I not only have a picture of the inspiration, I also have the link….HERE! (This dude has some mad woodworking skills and his dresser got some heavy duty reconstruction.)

The minute I saw this little dresser/changing table I knew I had to do one.

Fortunately I found a dresser that had perfect wood detailing on each drawer that allowed me to paint the “silver handles” rather than add new detailing. I also didn’t do any “reconstruction” on the piece other than adding bracing and wheels.

You can buy these wheels at Lowes…they just screw on!

Unfortunately, this is where I have to admit AGAIN what a bad blogger I am because I failed AGAIN to take a “before” picture. Suffice it to say, it was just a plain ole’ fake wood grain dresser…perfect for a little makeover!

Other than the wheels, the only other thing added was the “Craftsman” decal…believe it or not you can buy them on Ebay…HERE.

I found a red gloss spray paint that is a perfect match for the “Craftsman red”….the black on the drawer fronts is black lacquer…and of course the silver is just “stainless” paint. I primed the entire piece with primer, sanded well and wiped it down with tack cloth…then paint (KSTP).

Just too stinking cute!

Feel free to be “inspired” and copy away!

Drexel Accolade Makeover...

An entire year…A YEAR!!!! That is how long this Drexel buffet has sat in my dining room in it’s original state because I couldn’t pick a stinking paint color. I may be able to paint and refinish and upholstery…but picking a paint color or fabric is TORTURE!!!!

I LOVE the white lacquer finish on this little side table….

….and I love how the bright brass hardware just POPS on the white lacquer but I really wanted to do something different.

But I could NOT make up my mind. I did a lot of research and most of the painted Accolade pieces are white or black…and honestly I did not want to do black.

Hum….

I found a paint color I am madly in love with!!!! It is actually a Krylon “chalky paint” and I have used it on several pieces and I just LOVE the color…Krylon’s Anvil Gray. While it has “gray” in the name it really is a true deep, rich navy. And it sprays on beautifully!

There was one problem with this paint for this project…it is super flat…like most “chalk” paints. I desperately wanted a “high gloss” finish so I tested a few clear coats over the paint to see if I could find a good gloss. I tried a new product (at least to me), Krylon Triple-thick Crystal Clear Glaze. It SAYS it is a “glass-like coating” and “superior high-gloss finish” and it is as good as advertised.

The finish is super high gloss and exceptionally durable…I am VERY pleased.

So…

I changed up the art in the dining room over a year ago and I still love it. I still love the red fabric I used on the chairs. I love the draw leaf table. If you search “buffet” or “dining room table” on this site you will see few last long around here….but truthfully, I think I am finally loving the “look” of my dining room…so these pieces may actually make it a tad longer.

Again, no secret to cleaning brass….lots of brass cleaner, SOS pads, and elbow grease…but worth every bit of the work!

I have already stocked it with my holiday and seasonal dishes. Pretty with a purpose…my favorite. But as I said, buffets don’t last long around here so we’ll see how it fairs.

I think I have mentioned before that I DO NOT have a green thumb when it comes to indoor plants….so some of you may be shocked by the massive peace lily.

A little side story…we went to an auction…they were selling the plants (yes, they sell EVERYTHING!) Nobody would bid on this big ole’ monster so then they threw in a monster pothos plant…I’m talking HUGE!!!! My youngest daughter has been sprouting “cuttings” for her apartment so I knew she would love the pothos…so I ended up buying them both for ONE DOLLAR!!! No kidding….a dollar for two huge plants. She didn’t want the peace lily so I stuck it in my dining room and other than dump my leftover night time water in it every morning, I pretty much ignore it.

And you know what…it THRIVES. It is growing, it is healthy and it is constantly blooming. Go figure!

Now I want to share a little issue I am having with my beloved Kilz…I had this issue sometime back when I was using white lacquer…so honestly I attributed it to the paint since lacquer tends to be a “hot” finish.

But I had the same issue this time, and I was using plain ole’ spray paint.

I call it “alligatoring.”

I cleaned the pieces, sprayed on the Kilz, sanded smooth, then wiped it down with tack cloth. When I sprayed on the paint, it “alligatored.” Curses!!!

I thought MAYBE the tack cloth left a weird residue, so I sanded the spots smooth after they dried well, reapplied Kilz, sanded and then just wiped it down well with a rag…another coat of paint…same problem, just in different areas. The entire piece alligatored randomly. WTF!!! Temperature…nope…humidity…maybe. But I had the same problem when I painted on a drier day. So who the heck knows. Like I said, I had this problem sometime back on another project.

The Kilz is what is actually crackling…not just the paint. I contacted Kilz and they swear they didn’t mess with the formula and were as stumped as I was.

My solution….well I had to sand the entire piece down, paying close attention to the areas that “alligatored.” After everything was smooth and clean again, I used Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer, let it dry well, sanded, and tacked. Sprayed on the paint and presto-bingo…perfect.

Kilz was kind enough to send me a replacement can of primer. Yippee…somehow I guess that is suppose to make up for two days of grief and cursing.

So now my “KSTP” process will become “BSTP” …eck…not really a good acronym…but I hesitate to use Kilz if it really is the only common denominator in this little disaster. Since no other factors seemed to affect the out come, I can only assume it is the culprit.

Who knows…but from now on I can’t say that Kilz is the be-all end-all of primers when painting furniture.

Sorry guys!