Entry cabinet/console/buffet makeover...

Occasionally I will buy something at an auction for resale I THINK I won't need to do anything to! Example...this nifty "primitive" cabinet/console/buffet...

It could be used for many things...hence the cabinet-slash-console-slash-buffet.

It would make a darling entry table. Or a tv console. Or even a small dining buffet.

The wood is really rustic and rough...nifty iron hardware.

But alas, no one shared my vision and it sat in my space at 410 Vintage for MONTHS!

Last week I did a little reset...technical word in the world of retail for "move stuff around." Since this little cabinet/console/buffet had been hanging out for quite some time I decided to bring it home and give it a little facelift.

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Darker gel stain on the top and a grey/blue chalk paint and distress on the base.

I think it is darling and HOPEFULLY someone else will agree! 

Another example of how easy it is to change things up a bit with just a little effort!

Another Drexel Accolade addition to the family....

It has actually been in the garage for months...but when I needed a large piece in my space at 410 Vintage Market and dug it out,I couldn't bring myself to turn loose.

A Drexel Accolade dry bar/server. The top actually flips open.

It isn't the first piece I bought for resale that wormed it's way into my heart...no secret that I love mid century pieces.

But this Drexel Accolade bar is more of the "Hollywood Regency" style. Identical to this little Drexel side table I painted with a high gloss lacquer and love in my den....

There is a good chance I will paint it if I decide to keep it...for now I have shined up the brass hardware and will leave it at that.

Over the years I have snagged some amazing bargains at auctions and on Craigslist...a little DIY magic and they are stunning additions to any home!

This Drexel coffee table....

My growing collection of mid century dressers...

This one is Matt's...I just don't have any more room!

My never ending collection of side tables!

I started collecting Lane Acclaim tables years ago...I think between the kids and I we are up to 10! That doesn't include the 2 walnut Lane coffee tables and the end table I just refinished for Katie and Matt!

Chairs...

Odd little bookcases are always fun!

If you walked through my home you might think I lean more towards the "traditional" side of home decor at a glance...but all these pieces have blended in to created a cohesive "eclectic" style. This "style" of home decor allows me to infuse pieces I love without worrying too much about whether I am breaking a "decorating rule" for a specific style!

So...back to the amazing Drexel Accolade console/bar...

In my opinion, there is too much "wood tone" in this space...I absolutely love the wood grain on this piece but there has to be a good balance...it just doesn't feel "balanced."

So there is a good chance that IF it stays, it will get painted. Again, that is a big "if." I think I have had no less than 5 different buffets and hutches in this space at one time or another and I always end up moving them out and moving the table back against the wall...as I mentioned before my toes tend to find anything out of place, and since the dining table has been against the wall for the better part of 19 years, it may not work well in the middle of the dining room where it REALLY belongs!

We'll see...that is one of the beauties of learning to DIY furniture...you can buy it cheap, paint, upholstery or refinish it and promptly move it out if it doesn't suit your needs. Without the guilt of having to live with something you hate because you paid a fortune for!!!!

OR it can find a permanent home where it can shine for another lifetime!

Gel stain tutorial on table makeovers...

I did it again...dove head straight into a project without taking a "before" picture. But at least this time I got an "inbetween" picture!

These little tables were simple makeovers. I picked up the side table at an auction a few weeks ago. Got it for a few dollars because, well, it was nasty, the color is pretty putrid AND the top had come unglued.

No biggy for me. I glued and clamped the top, then I sanded off the old finish on it. Yes, you heard me right, I sanded it. Two reason...first, I got glue on the top when I repaired it and stain will not adhere to glue. Second, it is solid wood and I knew I couldn't do a lot of damage to it. Light sanding...220 grit! Just enough to remove the old finish and glue residue.

I got the drop leaf table from my neighbors. I told you I am the dumping ground for neighborhood furniture...it just "appears." Again, the top is solid so I gave it a light sanding.

I knew I wanted to paint both tables but as always I have to have my fix of stained wood. So I used gel stain on both tops. 

Gel stain is SUPER easy to apply IF you use the right technique and product. As I have said before the ONLY gel stain I will use is General Finishes. It is not a brand the big box improvement stores carry so I usually order mine on Amazon. I have tried other gel stains and have not been happy with the results. The General Finishes brand never disappoints. I have used both the Java and Brown Mahogany colors.

I am going to share how I gel stain...it is a super easy application process and perfect for real wood or even that cheapo fake stuff you find on the ends of cabinets. Since it goes on fairly translucent, the wood grain (real or fake) will show through.

I have used this process on cabinets, tables, dresser tops and drawer fronts....some I have stripped down to bare wood, others I simply applied it over the existing finish.  It is a great process to use on any project where you want "stain" but know you might not get a good result by completely stripping the piece and applying penetrating stain!

First step for ANY makeover (after repairs of course)...give the piece a good cleaning. In this case, since both tops were solid wood, I also gave them a good sanding. Sanding is NOT necessary but you want to make sure that any old finish is stable and somewhat smooth. So if your old finish is flaking or a bit rough, sand it smooth with 220 grit paper.

You will need....

The gel stain...again, I ONLY use General Finishes. A quart will cost you around $30+ but it seriously goes a loooong way!!! If you just have a small project, get a pint. I have found that it doesn't store well.

The gel stain top coat...in this case I used the GF Poly wipe-on top coat. But I have used a spray on Polyurethane and Polycrylic and they work just as well. 

Disposable rubber gloves. I always have those on hand. Just the cheap latex gloves you buy in a box so you can toss when finished.

Old athletic socks. Again, I keep a stash on hand. Any time I find old socks at thrift stores or garage sales I buy them. They are perfect for applying any type of stain or finish and I can toss them when I am finished.

That's it...a relatively short list of supplies!

The trick to applying gel stain is to remember it is suppose to be somewhat "translucent." Put on a rubber glove, then an old sock over the glove...dip you finger tips into the gel stain and wipe the gel stain on the piece with the grain. The first coat will look like crud so don't try to get perfect solid coverage! Just wipe it on LIGHTLY WITH THE GRAIN....do not "glob" it or apply it thick...it is NOT paint. I usually wipe it on, then use the clean side of the sock to give it one final wipe WITH THE GRAIN...working edge to edge. 

THE FIRST COAT WILL LOOK LIKE CRUD!!!! I can not stress this enough...you are better to go light than to try to make the first coat look decent. It is not going to! If you can't see the grain through the coat of stain, it is WAY to thick.

Now, let that dry over night. Then do it again. New glove, new sock. Wipe on a second LIGHT COAT! The second coat will look a tad better, but not great. THAT IS OKAY. Keep it light and translucent! 

Let the second coat dry over night. Then with a new glove and sock, apply the third coat. NOW it should look good. The stain should allow the grain to show through!

If you feel like you have messed up....too thick, too streaky, just don't like it...you can still wash this stain off with mineral spirits if you haven't applied a top coat! 

Let the third coat dry overnight. If you are happy with the look, apply your top coat. Again, I used the GF gel wipe on poly on these tables...super easy to apply. Rubber glove, sock, wipe on. As simple as it sounds. You may want to apply 2-3 coats of the finish...especially on tops or cabinets that get a lot of use...just make sure you wipe it down with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between coats. You will get a nice smooth finish that way!

Presto, bingo! This really is an easy application IF you don't overthink it and try to get a decent looking finish on the first and second coat...if you do, you will put the gel stain on too thick and I promise you won't be happy with it! My neighbor, Tammy, tried this process on a little side table...and sure enough she put the stain on too thick...it did not turn out well! Each coat should be light and "translucent." 

After I let the top coat dry well for a few days, I painted the rest with chalk paint...a light distressing with 220 grit sand paper and sealed with a spray on polyurethane. Again, sometimes I use polyurethane, sometimes polycrylic. I find that the urethane tends to "yellow" and give the piece a bit of an aged look...which is kind of what I was going for here. The polycrylic is a true clear coat and won't alter the color of the paint or yellow with time.

(As you can see the sun was very bright the day I tried to get decent pictures of these two tables...trust me that was the ONLY day this past week that it wasn't dreary, raining or cold as crud. I even had to cover my hostas this week to protect them from a freeze...and they are predicting another freeze this weekend...grrr!)

My recipe for chalk paint is 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris, 3 tablespoons of water, mix well then add two cups of flat latex paint. I usually paint two thin coats, then sand and seal.

Cute as a bugs ear and ready for another generation of use!

This week I decided I am getting too old and tired to paint my own house. I actually hired someone to paint my living room, kitchen and den! Ten years ago I would never have paid someone to do something like that! 

But just the process of getting ready to paint creates a mess and is exhausting!

This, my friends, is the reality of home improvement...normally we bloggers only share the beautifully styled and perfect "after." Truth is, most projects make a mess!

I'm a pretty clean person...or so I thought until I moved things that haven't been moved in years...yuck! 

I'm painting my living areas the same color I used in the master bedroom and guest room....SW Nuance. I'm a little nervous about painting these rooms a different color...I told you, change is hard for me. But I have lived with this color in those two rooms and I THINK I will like it! The painter will be here around 10 so there is no turning back now!

Hopefully the weather will take a turn for the better and I can finish and share a few fun projects I have waiting in the wings next week!

Until then....

Eastlake chair makeover!

Years ago, the "wood purist" in me would never have painted an antique anything!

But slowly I have evolved and my snobbishness has taken a back seat to reality...some "antique" pieces have little use in today's world of decor trends. The rich color and grain of walnut, the depth and beauty of rosewood, the vibrate color and delicate grain of mahogany...zip, zilch, nada.

The day will come when those who followed the decor trends of today will glare at their painted furniture and shiplap walls and growl...it happens. NOTHING is timeless. Honey oak cabinets were timeless...8x8 tile floors were timeless...white appliances were timeless. 

The fact is decor trends come and go and we realize that which we thought was timeless, really isn't.

(There are still some who cherish antique pieces...and of course, as always, do a lot of research and make sure the piece you want to paint is not a valuable antique "as is!")

I have no doubt that this piece I slathered in chalk paint and covered in buffalo check fabric will catch the eye of someone looking for a great side chair...but it will someday be stripped down and refinished...exposing the amazing walnut grain and delicate incised carvings. Someday...but not today.

That was my original plan. Strip the old finish to expose the beautiful walnut grain and intricate carvings, reconstruct, seal with oil and reupholster in a fabric worthy of an antique walnut Eastlake piece.

Knowing all that hard work would garner little favor with my "target market," this chair sat in my garage for YEARS. Seriously, I'm not sure when I bought it but I can't remember a time when it wasn't lurking in the back of my garage.

(If you are a "purist" or antique lover, turn away NOW!)

Some would look at this and think EEEWWWWW!

Yes, it was pretty "eeewwwy." And yes, this is pretty much the shape it was in when I bought it. I think I remember removing the original rotted fabric and a few thousand upholstery nails and I did start stripping it using this process. But I eventually shoved it into a corner of the garage where it languished until I got over my snobbiness. 

I constructed a new seat out of plywood...not even close to the original but then again furniture no longer sits in the parlor only to be used by tea sipping adults. 

The richness and beauty of oiled walnut has fallen out of favor for the "farmhouse" chalk paint and distressed everything!

New foam padding and batting...the old horse hair of yesteryear just doesn't cut it these days. (Thank God...that stuff is nasty!)

The crushed velvet or needlepoint fabric that would have originally ordained this piece was a no-go. I went with the trendy buffalo check that I suspect will be as popular as chevron was a few short years ago!

A bazillion metal upholstery nails...no way Jose! Hot glued gimp is the way to go!

Don't get me wrong, I think it is as cute as a bug's ear! I have no doubt someone will LOVE it! It would be a precious side chair or even a dining chair paired with a farmhouse table that are all the rage!

And as always, it is Litty and Mr. Jinx approved....

As much as I would like to think of myself as a "purist" I can certainly appreciate the desire to fill our homes with pieces we love or suit our desire for "going with the flow" without breaking the bank! 

C'est la vie.

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The breakfast nook table and chairs makeover

When Matt decided to buy his first home (details here), I knew my love for "making old new again" would come in handy!

I love the dresser and chest I found and refinished!

He was able to use the farmhouse trestle table I featured here

And of course this "cute as a bug's ear" vintage chair makeover!

But he didn't have a table that would fit in his breakfast nook...a relatively small space in his kitchen.

I knew it needed to be a round table since the space is only about 9x9.

I found this round oak table at a flea market...a tad dated in it's original condition but I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

Normally these oak tables are around 48" in diameter but this one was only 32" so it is the perfect size...just not the perfect finish.

I honestly didn't want to strip and restain the top so I decided to go with gel stain...again, I ONLY use the General Finishes brand. It really is the best!

Rather than go with my usual Java color, I decided to go with the Brown Mahogany.

As I have said in other tutorials, the first coat is a bit stressful....

...you really question whether this stuff is going to work. 

Patience...wipe on a coat with an old athletic sock...let it dry overnight...then wipe on a second coat, then a third....

I promise, by the third coat you will see the results you want. Then just seal it with the General Finishes wipe on top coat. 

Sunlight streaming through the windows is awesome in the morning...not so much for photographing furniture...but hopefully you get the idea....

After staining the top, I chalk painted and distressed the table base. I picked up a couple of oak chairs at an auction and chalked painted and distressed them as well...then recovered the seats with some leftover fabric from my club chair makeover!

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Perfect fit for this small space.

One tip...this little table came with a leaf...while this space really isn't big enough to expand the table, it is always smart to refinish table inserts just in case want to use them in the future! 

Also, just a reminder that I do not seal my chalk paint with wax...I use polyacrylic. Someday this whole "distress" thing will go out of style and he will want to paint this furniture...wax would have to be stripped before he could repaint the piece!

Next week I hope to share Matt's first big project...painting the brick fireplace. If you are debating whether to tackle yours, you really want to see what a little bit of paint can do...impressive!

So tune in for the big reveal.

The miracle chairs...

Even after years of proving I can turn just about any "trash" into a little "treasure," I think Brian still raises an eyebrow from time to time.

Such was the case with these chairs....

We went to a farm auction and these chairs had been tossed into an old barn, only to see the light of day when the auctioneer dug them out and sold them...to me!

What would possess me? They were literally caked with nastiness and two were in pieces. But I saw the potential (and of course the old mud dauber nests and spiders and bugs!). 

Rarely will I take a hose to a piece of wood furniture...but I had no choice. Even then I had to scrub them with a strong detergent and steel wool.

Then I pulled nails, scraped old glue, cut out broken spindles and removed splintered veneer.

Then I had to clamp and glue everything back together. One chair was missing a side apron so I cut a new one and secured it in place with glue and my Kreg jig! 

My original plan was to prime and paint them. They still had a few rough spots and I knew I wouldn't get a pristine finish I would be happy with so I decided to do a chalk paint and distress finish on them! Always a good choice for a piece that has a few "boo-boos!" 

I think the boo-boos and the distressed finish give the chairs "aged character." After recovering the seats on the two Duncan Phyfe style chairs and making a new seat for the other, I think they turned out pretty sweet.

My plan is to stage them with this trestle table I will be taking into 410 Vintage this week, just in time for the holidays! 

Just in time for Brian and me to take our annual trek to Colorado! I can't wait...two days of fly fishing, several days of sight-seeing and maybe even a day of gambling in Central City! The forecast shows the temps in the 50s and 60s so I will be packing my coat and Uggs! One thing is for sure, I always come home recharged and ready to enjoy my favorite season

I made a few changes to my fall decorating this year...one being these little pumpkins...

I added a few silk sunflowers, a fall garland, fall picks and deer antlers (yes, my kids killed them....ick!).

Not sure I am loving this little vignette but I have a few more months to make changes and additions!

 

Change is a coming...again

As much as I like to think everything stays the same around here...things do change!

Change came when Brian and I combined households. One of the many additions when he took up residence was his very large and very brown leather couch....

I featured the club chair makeover here

BB (before Brian) I had a light and bright couch....this couch went to the den....

(My daughter now has this living room...the couch, the leather chair and the rug!)

...after I gave away the hulking "mustard" couch! 

The simple yellow couch went to my daughter's so for now the big brown couch has moved to the den  ....

...to make room for the NEW couch I ordered two months ago...

...and as you can see, it has still not arrived.

There was a time when I probably would have ordered off the floor because I was too impatient to wait. But wait I have...and waited and waited and waited. Fortunately, it is due to be delivered today.

The biggest problem I have right now is the "matchy matchy" of the big brown leather couch and big brown leather chair in the den...

....so the new couch may go to the den and the big brown leather couch may go back to the living room. 

Who knows...all I know is I am grateful for furniture movers and Brian's strong back and endless patience!

One disadvantage (or advantage, depending on your perspective) to going to auctions and having a resell outlet is the never ending supply of relatively affordable furniture. This Duncan Phyfe table was a fixture in my dining room for 15 years....

Then I found this really nifty antique table and shared how I refinished it here....

Then I found a really nifty trestle table and shared it's little makeover here....

I held onto this table for a time only because I thought I might follow the "farmhouse fad" and try to infuse a little in my dining area. But truth is, it always seemed a tad big...and honestly, it just isn't "my style." 

A few weeks ago I snagged this cute little antique draw leaf table at an auction....

Not sure I am in love with it, but it suits the need for a smaller table nested against the wall and it can be expanded once a year for Thanksgiving dinner. 

So, change is coming...when the couch gets here. It has been over two months since I ordered it so I hope I still LOVE it when it is delivered. Couches are one of those things I really need to love...because they are big and they are expensive and for me they are the anchor for the room. Rugs, pillows, tables and wall decor can easily be changed out to completely change the feel of a room...couches, not so much! 

Oak trestle table makeover...

I bought a table at an auction this past weekend that may be difficult for me to sell...

Hang with me...I know it didn't look like a winner when I brought it home, but the vision was there.

The reason it may be difficult to turn loose of is because I have been contemplating giving my dining room a little "farmhouse" flare.

Again, that is not "my style." But if I can infuse a little bit of the current craze into my decor without a lot of expense and time (like I did here with my bed), I am willing to give it a shot.

For 17 years, my dining room has basically been a "walk through"...from the living area, to the kitchen, to the den....we always use the bar for meals. The table (that got a makeover here) is pushed against the wall for 364 days out of the year and only comes out for Thanksgiving dinner. With the inserts added it easily seats 6-8 with the addition of a few chairs and a bench

But the antique trestle table fits right into my "I think I might" plan. It is the perfect size and style, just needs a little face lift.

The first draw back is it is oak. Again, NOT my favorite wood, but honestly oak is a great "farmhouse" wood to work with.

Second, I like my toes...they aren't the greatest toes, but they always seem to find anything that is out of place...vacuum cleaners, chairs, tables, an animal...whatever is NOT suppose to be there, the toes will find it. One of the reasons I am super careful moving furniture around.

The fact that there has not been a table in the middle of this room for 17 years may pose a problem for my toes.

To complete my vision, I would need the perfect chairs...not a huge deal because I see awesome chairs all the time at auctions. I may have to find a buffet for the wall...had one a few years ago and I kind of liked having a place for a little "fluff." And then there is the whole window, wall, rug, trim detail thing...hum. 

Regardless of what I do in my own home, I know the table needs a little love and attention. So that was the project this week...give this little table a makeover as if it were going into my own home. Then if I decide to actually move forward with my vision for the dining room, I have the table...if not, someone else will get a beautiful antique dining table!

I easily stripped the top using this process...not a lot of finish left on this old beauty but it did have dark "water rings." 

Several months ago a very wise reader commented on another table project and suggested using oxalic acid on water rings. I have never tried it and always just "embraced" the imperfections on antique pieces since nothing I tried worked well. But I did order the acid and had it on hand.

WOW!!!! Just wow. Worked like a charm. I made a paste with the acid crystals and water, dabbed it on the ring, and within 30 minutes, gone! I was a little miffed at first because it "bleached" the wood, but I scrubbed it with my 1/2 and 1/2 mixture and that disappeared as well!

I stained the top and applied three coats of tung oil finish...my favorite! I painted the base with homemade chalk paint, distressed a bit and sealed with polycrylic.

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Just beautiful....for now I am going to take my daughter's advise...set it in place and mull it over. Maybe see how many times my toes find it!!!! No harm in letting it hang out for the time being (except for maybe a few toes!)

Right now my den is in disarray and I am trying to decide what I want to do. I gave my couch to my daughter so now I have no choice but to buy a new couch...part of the "den makeover" plan that started several years ago (remember, if you can't "see" it, get rid of what is there and live with a blank slate for a time) Since the reveal, the club chair has been reupholstered and moved to the living room to make room for Brian's big leather chair. The coffee table is laying on Mitchell's bed because we needed more room for Cleo and our grandpuppy, Zoey, to wrestle! There is a new rug...

The jury is still out on it...doesn't seem to be wearing well and not real comfy...hum. I like the look, just not sure I like THIS rug!

So taking on a dining room makeover just isn't on my priority list right now. I know if I am ever going to do it, I should probably hang onto this table since they cost a pretty penny new. But I also know that if I take the plunge I will have a sizable project on my hands...and my hands are pretty full right now.

Maybe it can just hang out for the time being! Never know when a bug attack!

Until next week....

Eastlake chair makeover....

A few weeks ago I questioned the need to paint an antique....seriously, is it a cardinal sin?

Most "purists" would never take a paint brush to a walnut chair or mahogany dresser...I get it...I was one of them. 

But sometimes I have to bite the bullet and go with the flow! 

I bought two Eastlake chairs at an auction a few months ago. Naturally, I neglected to take good "before" pictures because, again, I am a bad blogger.

One had arms, usually referred to as the "caption's chair"...you can get a peek of it next to the old couch (finished the couch last week...hope to share soon!) 

The other does not have arms. It has been at 410 Vintage since I bought them. 

I decided to give the caption's chair a little makeover, knowing that a true "antique purist" would stroke. But my general rule is...if changes will enhance the piece and give it another life, go for it! Keep in mind, I always do as much research as I can to make sure I am not slathering paint on a valuable piece. Eastlake pieces have some value, but right now the market in their original condition are pretty slim in our area. (Now MCM pieces...that's another story!) 

These two old chairs didn't have much of a life as they were, so...

I chalkpainted the frame....

....distressed it a tad to highlight the Eastlake detailing, applied a clear coat, reupholstered the seat and back with drop cloth and added a little graphic from The Graphic's Fairy for a touch of whimsey!

The seat of the chair was in pretty good shape, but the back needed new upholstery weaving and padding. And as with most old chairs the arms needed to be glued and clamped. No biggy, but again, ALWAYS make needed repairs before investing your time and money on paint and upholstery!

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It sold the day I took it in.

I've decided to give the other chair a makeover as well....fortunately warmer weather is just around the corner!

 

Waterfall armoire makeover....

This week's project is a classic example of "OMG, can I really paint an antique!!!???"

This is a pretty little vintage waterfall armoire I picked up at an estate auction a few weeks ago. It wasn't in terrible shape, but it really didn't have a lot going for it aesthetically...kind of plan and boring!

It did have some really pretty bakelite hardware, which is classic on waterfall pieces. The problem was the condition of the hardware. One was completely missing the bakelite, and the other three were broken and chipped....pretty much unsalvagable! 

The "design" on the top drawer was not a true inlay...and the general construction was pretty simplistic. I did a little research online to make sure it wasn't something of great value! Sometimes, when there are no makers marks, you just have to make a judgment call on the value as a "restored antique." 

In the end, I decided to give the piece a little KTSP treatment and give it a new life. Hopefully it will make a perfect little dresser/storage cabinet for someone! 

I removed all the hardware, taped and papered the drawers and insides and sprayed it down with Kilz. Since one of the pulls was toast, I puttied the holes so I could add a single pull. After sanding it smooth and wiping it down with tack cloth, it was time to paint.

Unfortunately, it is that time of the year when temperatures don't always cooperate. So I had to haul everything into my dining room and use a brush and roller instead of spray paint. 

No biggy IF you do it properly...make sure you use a quality brush, a 4" foam roller and add Floetrol to your latex paint! (Penetrol for oil based) The additive will give your paint a longer dry time and more time to "level," eliminating brush and roller marks. 

I found a pretty blue and tried it on the drawers..ummmm...no. Too babyish. So I mixed a little black in some green and came up with a greyish-green I kind of liked.

I removed the broken bakelite from the pulls and sprayed them with metal primer then sprayed them with gold paint. Kind of pretty!

All in all, it turned out kind of cute. While it was a nice "vintage" piece, I think the paint and new hardware gave it a nice little "update" and a chance at a new and useful life....

If you are certain a piece is not a valuable antique, don't be afraid to give it a little face lift! 

As I mentioned last week, I have been working on reupholstering the club chair and ottoman in the living room. Unfortunately I had to order a little more fabric so HOPEFULLY I can finish it up this week and share next week! 

Until then....