Simple "before and afters"...

Some of the simplest "befores" turn out to be my favorite "afters."

Which explains why I often don't have decent "before" pictures...I think "oh, that's no biggy" and dive right in to giving them a simple little makeover. Then they turn out so stinking cute I wonder why I didn't take time to take "before" pictures.

They are a reminder of why do this blog...to show you how easy it is to take a simple, boring, out-dated, dark piece of furniture and turn it into something you will want in your home rather than in your yard at the next garage sale!

We DIYers live for those hidden treasures...pieces of furniture that people want to get rid of... they drop them at their local thrift store or sell them for pennies in garage sales or just set them out on the curb...we take them home, clean them up and work a little DIY magic. 

The worst...you live with the ugly, dark furniture because you can't afford to replace it!

I get it...you paid a small fortune for your "matchy-matchy" bedroom furniture so you can't bring yourself to get rid of it.

I've shared "makeovers" hundreds of time...too many times to link ALL the pieces I have "upcycled" over the years. But I would bet money you still have a few pieces lurking around your house that serve a purpose or are "family heirlooms" or you paid too much to get rid of it...so you just live with it.

Don't fret...take the plunge...buy some primer and some paint AND CHANGE IT!

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!

This shelf was your typical Target cheapo...dark finish...no I did not take a picture of it "before." Honestly, I think it was a piece someone left at the apartments so I loaded it up and brought it home.

I removed the back panels...primed and painted the frame and shelves with one of my "sample" pots of white (KSTP). I painted the back panels with a sample pot of teal and then reattached them.

Super simple and too stinking cute!

This little bedside table came with a set I bought at an auction. Someone bought the dresser, chest and bed but didn't want this little table.

Meh....

Simple makeover! I removed the drawer and simply brightened it up with some Restorafinish. I primed the cabinet, sand, tack and white gloss paint. It was missing a knob so I ordered two new ones...

....again, SUPER SIMPLE and so stinking cute!

This old oak dresser...the finish and the little applique' really dated the piece.

I popped off the appliques using a chisel...lift carefully...chances are they are applied with a little bit of glue and a few tiny nails.

... sanded the old glue, stained the top with gel stain (no need to strip the old finish) and chalked painted the rest of it....distressed and sealed the whole thing with poly...

Too stinking cute!

Simple...simple...simple! 

Nothing earth shattering on any of the pieces...just super simple little makeovers that updated the pieces and gave them new life! 

Walk around your house...what simple little piece can you haul out to the garage and work a little "DIY magic." Trust me...if you don't like it when you are done, you won't get any less for it at a garage sale! 

And another campaign dresser makeover...

I shared the "before" of this Dixie campaign dresser here....

A very desirable piece that I knew needed the perfect makeover.

I spent hours cleaning the brass hardware. One of the little doodad brackets was missing so I had to order two on Etsy....they didn't match the original hardware exactly but as my Daddy use to say "You'll never notice it on a passing train!"

A few minor repairs but all in all, it was in outstanding condition for a 50+ year old piece!

A KTSP treatment...kilz, sand, tack cloth and a high gloss oil based paint!

Gorgeous!

This was a tough one to let go! I took it to 410 Vintage at around 3:00 Tuesday afternoon and they texted me at 5:00 that it was sold....I'm so glad someone else loved it as much as I did!

These vintage pieces can be brought back to life with a little elbow grease...if you can find one, don't let the grungy old finish and dingy hardware deter you! You won't be disappointed!

 

 

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!

Another campaign dresser makeover!

If I find one, I'm gonna buy it! A campaign dresser!

This one isn't a "vintage" campaign dresser...probably an imitation but sweet all the same! Well...it wasn't when I bought it....

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Structurally it was in great shape but the finish was definitely lacking. A little KSTP (Kilz, sand, tack and paint...high gloss white lacquer), scrubbed up the brass hardware, and presto....

Again, this one wasn't a REAL vintage campaign dresser...but that didn't stop someone from buying it 1 hour after taking it to 410 Vintage.

This, my friends, is a REAL campaign dresser!!

I have already scrubbed up the brass hardware (no tricks there...Brasso, Brillo and A LOT of elbow grease.) I had to order a few replacement hardware pieces...holy cow those little brass doo-dads are expensive (found them on Etsy.) I sprayed on Kilz and sanded it down. Now I just need to apply a few coats of white lacquer...I can't wait! I will make sure I share it when it is done because I know it will be beautiful!

PORCH MINI-MAKEOVER....

Now that Matt has settled into his new house, we have started on a few little projects that make his home a little bit more...well..."him." (If you search "Matt's house" on this site you can will see several of the projects we have worked on!)

The back yard was a total disaster...lots of trees and years of neglect. I wish we had been smart enough to take before and after pictures of the side yard we have been working on. We added a few flower beds, raked up a truck load of rocks and brought in four truck loads of dirt and mulch. We seeded with fescue. I know it will probably burn up this summer but he was so excited to see the little guys sprouting! We dug up some of my neighbor's lirope and transplanted it in his new flower bed....repurposed the stones that were originally used as a "pad" to make a stepping stone path....a new little Japanese maple. I think it will all be wonderful when he is finished. My yard is an oasis...I have remind him it took 19 years of hard work to get it that way!

The back patio was a tad on the blah side. I did remember to snap a few pictures with my Iphone before we added just a few little touches.

We changed out the flush mount "boob" light for a pendant light...seriously, who puts a dinky flush mount light on a vaulted ceiling?

Threw down a pretty striped rug and added a potted palm and hanging basket. Nothing earth shatter but just a few simple touches to dress the space a bit!

He still needs to change out the seat cushions and eventually I would like to add a baker's rack or build a potting bench...maybe add some kind of wall decor on the wall! We could paint the wood railing but he is determined to eventually add a large deck off the patio so no sense in putting out the effort for the time being!

A few little touches here and there can add personality and style to a space.

It takes time to make a house your home... 

Just ANOTHER mid century dresser!

I can't help myself...when I see one, I just gotta have it!!!

A mid century bedroom set...Fashion Trend by Johnson Carper. I couldn't find a maker's mark anywhere on the set so I googled "mid century dresser" and found a picture of one like it!

(Look at the curves on this lady!)

I ended up having to buy the entire set at an auction...dresser, chest of drawers and full size bed frame. I sold the chest to off set the cost of the dresser...which is the piece I really wanted! I have a full size bed in  Mitchell's room so I might use the bed frame in there.

I decided not to strip and oil the drawers...they really are in excellent condition....I wiped them down with Restor-a-finish just to clean and brighten a bit. I painted the "box" (KSTP...high gloss white) only because the top was laminate... I did that with Matt's dresser and I love how it turned out!

My original plan was to put the new dresser in the guest room until I get this one back from Katie in a year or so...

But then I got to thinking...why would I hide a beautiful piece like this in a guest room? 

So I took the dresser out of my room and put it in the guest room and put the new one in my room!

LOVE!!!

The only other thing I have added to my "proper" guest room is this little rattan table (bought two and sold one) and the magazine rack from the living room. 

Again, you will not find AFFORDABLE new furniture that is built as well and with woods like walnut, teak, rosewood and mahogany! There is a reason vintage and antique furniture have managed to survive decades of use!

When I walk around my house and look at some of the beautiful vintage pieces I have collected I am amazed at just how little I have paid for them. Keep in mind MOST were in much need of a little care and attention but if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work, you can create a home filled with beautiful pieces too! 

That is why I have this blog...to show you just how easy it can be!!!

Stop drooling and start doing!!!

Cherry tv cabinet makeover....

I've said it before...I am a bad blogger and mediocre photographer at best.

Bad because I often get in such a hurry to start a project I completely forget to take a "before" picture. Mediocre photographer because...well, my photos speak for themselves.

As is the case of this Queen Anne Cherry tv cabinet. Hello 1998! 

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No, I did not take a "before" picture. So I did a little google search and found a cabinet that was SIMILAR to the one I acquired from my neighbor. Color and style are the same, but mine does not have a drawer. 

We have all seen this furniture style...many of us still have it in our homes! I had similar bedroom furniture...not the Queen Anne style, but heavy and dark. I painted my bedroom furniture a few years ago and honestly I don't give it a second thought these days!! In other words, update the outdated and you may stop feeling the need to spend thousands on new!

There are several problems with this tv cabinet. First, who still uses these cabinets for housing tvs? Most of us have transitioned to flat screens...I finally pitched my last hold out a few years ago. 

Second...it is dark and "heavy" looking. Not really the in thing right now.

But they are still good solid pieces that have use and purpose. Maybe not for their original intent, but who couldn't use more storage! 

It is super simple to give these pieces a little update. I know most will not want this piece for a tv cabinet but everyone is looking for storage pieces for crafts, linens or even clothing. Honestly, it could be used in a kitchen for pantry space or a bathroom for towels and such!

Again, it just needs a little facelift.

I removed the back...super simple since they are usually just stapled on.

I added a new shelf then primed the inside of the cabinet with Kilz, sanded, tacked and spray painted it with white paint (KTSP!)

I used bead board to make a new back to add a little "interest." I used THIS process to "stain" it. Normally I would use an accent color but this time I used the same latex paint I mixed up as chalk paint for the exterior.

Making your own chalk paint is super simple...thoroughly mix 3 tablespoons of water and 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris and then add 2 cups of FLAT latex paint. You can use satin or eggshell paint but I have found that the flat tends to "chalk" better when you sand.

Sand and seal! Again I never use wax on chalk paint...usually polyurethane or polycrylic. If you want the added character that you get with dark wax, try applying a dark "glaze" before you seal. Personally, I think you get the same affect without having to use wax. I have even used stain as a "glaze"...this mirror being a good example.

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Finally, I added simple knobs.

Sealing the piece with poly makes it super simple to repaint when the "distressed" craze ends...and trust me it will eventually! 

Some of us remember when this dark "cherry" look was all the rage...

Another mid century dresser...

I love vintage mid century furniture! Love it. The style is my absolute favorite to refinish and as I have said before, I try to infuse as many pieces as I can into each room. Beautiful wood...clean lines...sturdy as the day it was built!

These are just a few of the dressers and chests I have refinished over the years...

Here....

Here....

Thank goodness my kids have inherited my passion for this style of furniture...because when I found this awesome dresser and matching chest on Craigslist, Matt had no problem taking them off my hands (AFTER I had worked a little makeover magic on them!)

As you can see I couldn't wait to start stripping the old finish before I remembered to get the camera.  And the finish on this sucker...it was a booger! Usually my 1/2 and 1/2 mixture melts old finish right off! I dang near had to blast this stuff off...I finally had to break out the heavy duty stripper and break my cardinal rule against sanding veneer (DO NOT attempt to sand veneer unless you have some serious experience.)

The top is laminate so I decided to paint the cabinet and refinish the drawers and legs....

Stripped and oiled the drawer fronts and legs...KSTP the cabinet and tops...drum roll....

I usually add a piece of protective glass on painted dressers...just to be on the safe side!

I love these pieces...and they are perfect for Matt's new home. He is using the dresser in his master bedroom and the chest in his guest room! Because these pieces were so well built, they will last another life-time!

I have several projects in Matt's house to share! He has already started "projecting" and I try to sneak in and take pictures when I can! So stay tuned for a cute little breakfast table makeover and his updated brick fireplace.

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What's my "style"....

As I have said time and again (and evident by my Home Tour) my "style" is very eclectic. What exactly does that mean?

It means I like what I like and because my home is not all "farmhouse" or "traditional" or "mid century" I can pretty much find a place for any piece I fall in love with. 

As I mentioned in my last post my son Matt is buying his first home so I have been on the hunt for pieces that can be transformed and used in his house. Taylor, my daughter-in-law, asked me what Matt's decor style is...hum...not sure I ever asked him. Fortunately, like me, he likes what he likes and doesn't restrict himself to a specific style. He loves the mid century Lane Acclaim tables, but he also loves the farmhouse table I refinished several months ago! I promised him that if it didn't sell, he could have it for his dining area. I have picked up a few chairs and a round oak pedestal table for his breakfast nook. I'll share them when I get their "facelift" done! 

In the meantime I want to share this nifty dresser. Seriously horrid in it's original condition, but I could see the potential. 

Solid wood and very well built...and unique!

I think it could be an awesome piece in his bedroom, along with this little dresser, but I'm not sure I have convinced him it is worthy....but then again, he hasn't seen it finished! 

I absolutely LOVE this piece, especially the old rusty hardware. Matt asked if I could put cup pulls on it like the little dresser, but honestly, this hardware too cool... so unique and amazing. I cleaned them up and reattached them...rust and all! I just think they are awesome!

I chalk painted and distressed the cabinet and gel stained the top. The drawer fronts are latex paint. 

As I said before, if he still doesn't love it, someone else will! 

That is the great thing about being "eclectic"...to each his own! 

I blame it all on "Fixer Upper" ...

As I mentioned here, Matt is buying a house so I have been on the hunt for inexpensive pieces he will need. I often remind my children that it took decades for me to accumulate the pieces I have in my own home...so patience!

But I find myself being terribly impatient when it comes to someone else's house. I blame it on "Fixer Upper." A couple walks into their home after 1 hour and it is perfectly decorated and styled and staged...certainly I can do that in 2 months.

HA!!!! 

Maybe if he had an endless budget...but he doesn't so I have to focus on the essentials with a few "froo-froos" thrown in for good measure.

Saturday I scored a "free" sectional couch. It will be an awesome piece if an upholstery cleaner can get all the nastiness and dog hair off of it...for now it is in the storage shed along with patio furniture, garden tools, kitchen stuff I have picked up and of course his "college day" collection.

I do have a garage full of "projects" and a few of those pieces will work beautifully in his new house...IF it will ever stop raining and I can get them all repaired and painted!!! For now it is just a collection of "junk" that is stressing my OCD tendencies.

Actually I pulled a lot of it out into the driveway Monday, went for supplies, and got home just in time to drag it all back into the garage before it got soaked. Curses. 

I worked Monday and Tuesday building and repairing and cleaning...making wood tops, gluing busted drawers, puttying splintered veneer and misplaced hardware holes. All the stuff you can do when it is raining and you can't drag everything out and start assembly line painting.

One piece is a neat little three drawer chest I scored while emptying out one of my apartments....

It certainly had it's issues. Laminate top, busted drawers, splintered veneer, and an AWEFUL finish! 

Number one rule...if it is broke fix it PROPERLY! No sense in "making it pretty" if the veneer is going to continue to peel or the drawers don't function.

I removed all the "loose" veneer, puttied and sanded. I repaired all the drawers. And because I think this would make an awesome bedside table in Matt's new house, I replaced the top with a stained wood top....

I chalk painted and distressed the cabinet with one of the sample pots I bought when I was looking for a wall color for my bedroom. I kilzed and painted the drawer fronts with another sample! Nothing goes to waste!

And of course new hardware.

Again, I think it would make an awesome bedside table but I have a few other little projects up my sleeve Matt may like better. Nice thing about having a room in a vintage market...if he doesn't love it, someone else will! 

Mirror, mirror, on the wall....

I gave up trying to come up with clever blog titles a loooong time ago, but I just couldn't resist!

Mirrors are the simplest way to add wall decor, light and depth to a room. In other words, if you have a small dark room, hang a mirror!

My master bedroom is a pretty large room and it gets tons of natural light but I am in the process of making a few changes. I have a really awesome antique mirror hanging out in my garage that may fit into the plan.

I use mirrors in just about every room of my house....

The living room (featured here)....

The den...

My home office....

And this fun little mirror hanging in a small corner of my room...

The change? Well, I am finally getting around to buying new chairs for my master bedroom. I originally intended to reupholster the chairs I have...

But as you can see, they are very large...and they are "matchy-matchy" which is something I am moving away from. Truth be told, I just don't like them any more!

While I was hunting for a new couch for the living room, I looked at a few chairs that might work in this space.

First, let me explain "this space." When the kids were younger, I added the den so we would have two living spaces. When they got a bit older (and louder), I added a large master suite with this awesome sitting area so we would have someplace to escape to.

Of course, now the kids are gone and we have this amazing sitting area in our bedroom and two living spaces. Um, no, we don't need all this space. Truthfully, we rarely use the sitting area in the master bedroom these days...but my oldest daughter really wants these two large club chairs...and well, it's just time to make a change!

So the hunt for the perfect chairs commenced.....

Two caught my eye, so this week I went back to the store and ordered them both....

This one is a leather recliner. A little bit of information about myself...I DO NOT do recliners. First, they are usually very bulky and unsightly. Second, I have an unfortunate history with recliners...hence, they seem to set off a form of PTSD. I don't really want to share, but suffice it to say, I swore there would never be a recliner in my home.

But I kind of like this one...it is very different from your typical barcalounger recliner and I really didn't find it the least bit offensive. It has a USB port and Brian thinks it is super comfy, so this will be "his" chair.

My chair is actually a "feed me a grape" kinda thing....

Perfect for those nights when my back won't let me lay in bed any longer or cold winter afternoons when I just want to curl up with a blanket and a good book!

I really didn't need an ottoman since Brian will have the recliner but I wanted to be able to stretch out.  This one fits the bill...and it is super comfy!

Which brings me to the mirror in the garage (see, I eventually get around to my point!) 

Months ago I bought a MCM dresser with a mirror. It had obviously been exposed to heat from a fire because the finish had a little bit of "bubbling" and it was covered in soot. I took off the mirror, cleaned up the dresser and sold it. 

These days dressers WITH mirrors just aren't the "in thing" so I kept the mirror and gave it a little makeover with the intent to sell it. The finish was damaged...and of course it was pretty "dark and dank."

I chalk painted it with an off-white paint and distressed it a bit. But I really didn't like the look of it...it just seemed too "white."

So I decided to give it a little "glaze" treatment with some stain. I wiped on pecan stain and then wiped it off. It gave the finish a nice "aged" look. After glazing the entire frame of the mirror, I sealed it with polycrylic and reattached the little medallions.

The mirror is "not my style" (again, whatever the heck that is! Eclectic?) and of course I will have to hang it higher...right now I just stuck it up where the old picture was to see if I MIGHT like it there...don't know. Truth is, I will have to wait until the new chairs are in place.

But my whole rambling point is this...you don't have to live with "dark and dank." Mirror frames can easily be painted. Even if the frame isn't quite "your style" a little paint can go a long way to making a simple cast off mirror a nice statement piece for your room! And trust me, if you have priced mirrors lately, you might want to rethink that thrift store gold framed mirror or that old dresser mirror!

Whether you paint it a bright, solid color or give it a little "aged look" treatment, mirrors are easy to change to fit any decor!

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