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.

A few MCM makeovers and a life decision...

Again, I am a baaaad blogger. I jump head-long into a project and fail to take “before” pictures.

Prime example…

No “before” picture. It was in similar condition to THIS dresser…reeeeally bad. But of course I have no proof of that. Just take my word for it…again.

The entire piece was originally the old “natural” finish with a lot of “wear and tear.” I primed and painted the six side drawers and cabinet and stripped and oiled the top and middle drawers.

I absolutely love the wood handle “hardware” and the super nifty black concave and brass hardware. I sprayed the little concave pieces with metal primer and black paint.

The top had some chipped veneer. I originally planned to paint the top so I could repair these areas, but I just can’t resist beautiful walnut…even veneer. So I did what I often do…I just let it be what it is…an older piece with a few blemishes. You can buy replacement strips of veneer…but I would rather have flawed original…just a personal preference!

I did take a before picture of this piece….

I love the brass hardware on these pieces…again, the way to tell if it is solid brass is to use a magnet. A magnet will not stick to solid brass. Important because in order to clean these pieces I have to really scrub them with steel wool. No secret to cleaning brass hardware…lots of Brasso, steel wool and elbow grease!

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Now…on to my “life decision.”

I have decided to stop doing the whole “auction/flea booth/resale” thing. I love doing what I do but doing it to “pay the rent” has become tiresome. I am just not enjoying it the way I use to.

So this past week I gave my notice at 410 Vintage and I went on a major “purgefest” in my garage (aka shop). I sold a lot of stuff on Facebook Marketplace, I donated a truck load to our local community thrift store and I took a truck load to the dumpster.

I have a friend who opened an awesome little consignment/flea market (Gathered Goods) so I took a few things to her to sell on consignment.

My garage has been a disaster for some time.

I painted the walls and cleaned all the shelving and cabinets!

I installed a Rubbermaid track system for large items….

…and we installed a nifty metal peg board system for all our tools. I knew where all my tools were but no one else could really figure out where anything was.

I even gave the door between the garage and laundry room a fresh coat of paint.

I am not “retiring” completely. I will still refinish and rehab pieces…I just won’t have to go looking for projects. If I find a project I want to work on, I can always take it to Darlene at Gathered Goods.

So fear not…I will always have a project to share here…and of course there are always my enlightened “muse” posts.

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!

Another MCM dresser makeover!

This is not a dresser…this is a chest of drawers. I think there is often confusion, and I am the world’s worst at referring to a chest of drawers as a dresser.

There is a difference!

But seriously who cares…lol!

Regardless of what you call it, it was A MESS! But oh the potential.

My very first love…MCM pieces. It would take a month of Sundays to link to all the MCM pieces I have refinished…just search MCM or mid century on this site. Truth be told I would have kept every one of them if I didn’t have a fear of being featured on Hoarders. So I find pieces I love, give them a good little makeover and am sincerely happy when someone else gives them a good home.

In spite of all it’s flaws, I loved this piece. It had the normal wear and tear, a seriously cruddy finish, a chipped wood handle (aren’t those wood handles AMAZING!!!!) and what I THOUGHT was some stains around the hardware on the top drawer…turns out it is a beautiful wood inlay. But you couldn’t really tell because the finish was so icky. (The missing knob was in the drawer…yipeee!)

Let’s be honest, we will all have a pretty worn finish after 60 years on this earth!

My first thought was to paint the wood handles an accent color so I could repair the chip. My daughter suggested I just strip them first. So glad I listened to her. I used this process to strip the drawer fronts, handles and legs…the old stain came off the wood handles and revealed a beautiful white wood (oak, teak? Couldn’t tell)….LOVE!!! I sanded the chip down…and you know what, I can live with it….it is obvious it isn’t the way it is suppose to be but HEY…this is a vintage piece and vintage pieces are going to have a few boo-boos!

The drawer fronts and base were stripped and oiled, the cabinet was given a KSTP treatment (Kilz, sand, tack and painted with white high gloss enamel)

(After I took the pictures, I saw the VERY fine over spray on the top drawer…curses…a little mineral spirits cleaned it right off!)

Personally, I love the high contrast of the wood handles and walnut veneer. The Lane Acclaim tables I collect have the same stark contrasting wood detailing when I refinish them…LOVE!

Often vintage pieces would have been stained and finished so all the differing woods and the entire piece had a “uniform” look and the grain detail was toned down a bit. I say LET IT SHINE BABY!!! If you are a “purist” and want vintage pieces to reflect their original state, you probably don’t want to use the processes I use to refinish pieces!

I am all for exposing the grain and the natural color of the wood.

And I am all for bringing the old pieces back to life!

MORE makeovers...

Surprisingly I have MORE makeovers to share. The weather has been fairly cold and dreary but we have had enough warm days here and there to get a little work done. I get kind of lazy during the winter months…when it is cold and dreary I like to curl up and read. When it is warmer, I NEED to be out working…either at the apartments or on projects.

This first dresser makeover is something you could pretty much do inside on a cold day.

The only thing I had to take it outside to do was distress and seal. But honestly you could do both inside.

I use latex paint for my chalk paint recipe (5 tbs. of Plaster of Paris, 3 tbs. of water, mixed well, then add 2 cups of flat latex paint) and that can used inside.

To do a “wet sand” you would use a sponge with a scrubby on one side…something like this…

After the second coat of chalk paint, before it has thoroughly dried, you would take your sponge, wet it (DAMP NOT DRIPPING!) and start “scrubbing” the areas you want to distress…kind of like dry sand distressing. Keep a bucket of water on hand to rinse the sponge periodically. Doing it like that cuts down on the “dust” created when you dry sand, so you can do it inside.

Then I just seal the entire piece by brushing on a polycrylic (or wax if that is your preference.)

Rather than spend the money on all new hardware, I painted the existing hardware. I use a spray primer and spray paint so that needs to be done outside…but truthfully, you could live with the existing hardware until warmer weather…or just replace it.

But all in all, you COULD do this entire project inside…and it is well worth the time when you consider how much better it looks!

This next piece pretty much had to be done outside on warmer days…I wanted a high gloss lacquer finish on the cabinet and that entails spraying. And I wanted to strip the old finish on the drawer fronts and that definitely has to be done outside.!

I removed and labeled each drawer…that is a MUST because the drawers need to go back into their original position…just mark the underside with a pencil.

I removed the old finish on the drawer fronts using THIS process! I know I refer back to this tutorial a lot, but it is the BEST way to remove old finish or paint…it works and on projects like this, it probably only took me about 30 minutes to remove the old finish on these drawer fronts. Once the old finish was removed, I applied three coats of tung oil finish, rubbing with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between each coat.

I sprayed the “cabinet” with Kilz, sanded and wiped with tack cloth, and then sprayed 3 LIGHT coats of white lacquer (KTSP).

As you can see from the “before” picture, it did not have legs…but it would have originally and there was even places on the underside to screw in the legs. I ordered new legs HERE and stained them to match the oiled drawer fronts.

Each is completely different and each required a different technique…but both were relatively simple and make a huge impact.

AGAIN, I am sharing how easy it is to do this because AGAIN…

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!



Modifying a Dillingham MCM dresser....

So often I buy mid century pieces fully intending to clean them up and sell them. But then, well, I don’t. Inevitably I fall in love with them or one of my kids does (just search mid century on this site…you will see)

Such was the case with this mid century walnut Dillingham dresser….

It did have a few boo-boos…a broken corner piece I was able to fix with a little wood glue…

A tiny bit of chipped veneer I decided to ignore…

And of course the finish was a little worn and tired looking and needed some freshening. First I tried a little Restor-a-finish….

You can kind of see the difference…the right side has been wiped down with Restor-a-finish.

It helped a tad but in the end I scrubbed it down with mineral spirits and steel wool and applied 2 coats of tung oil finish…brightened it right up and blended all the scratches and wear…after all it is a 50+ year old piece…it’s gonna have a few nicks and dings. But again, nothing terribly glaring.

Even though the issues were relatively minor, I hesitated to sell it. I considered painting the sides to disguise the biggest issue…the broken corner.

Enter my kid! Matt absolutely LOVED it and wanted it for an entertainment cabinet!

The dark walnut matches his vintage Lane tables perfectly and like me he has a real affinity for MCM pieces.

So I went to work modifying it for his needs..specifically he needs a place for his turn table.

(Side note…I get tickled at the newest generation of vinyl lovers. People my age remember how thrilled we were to get away from bulky old record players and vinyl records that scratched and skipped. Cassette tapes and walkmans and boom boxes…life changing! Now the younger generation have circled back around to “vinyl” and think they have discovered the greatest thing since sliced bread…HA!!! See, if you live long enough, it all comes back in style!)

So…how to modify this dresser without changing it too much.

I decided to make the bottom two drawers one deep drawer. That entailed removing the face front of the middle drawer and attaching it to the black face frame and bottom drawer…creating what appeared to be two separate drawers…but is actually just one deep drawer.

Confusing I know…let me see if I can show you what I mean in pictures.

First I had to cut the face frame in half to detach it from the cabinet.

Since it is a laminate material, I knew I needed to tape it first to keep it from “splintering.” ALWAYS tape laminate before you cut it and draw your cut mark on the tape!

I could have used a skill saw with a trim blade to make the cut. But I knew a skill saw wouldn’t work to cut the little shelf inside that separated the two drawer spaces. So, darn, I had to buy a new tool…I hate that when that happens! (NOT!)

I have a small Dremel that has similar functions but this little guy is pretty heavy duty…and it worked like a charm!

Next I used my Kreg jig and glue to attach 1x2 pieces of oak to both edges of the face frame. The drawer fronts and face frame only over lapped by about 1/8”…attaching the oak allowed me to secure the face frame to the drawer fronts with glue and screws.

We used a hole saw to cut a hole in the back of the cabinet to feed electric wires through.

That was pretty much all the modification this dresser needed to turn it into the perfect entertainment cabinet!

In the photos you get a peak of a few of the changes Matt has made to his house since he bought it a year ago…the painted fireplace I shared here and the new tile I haven’t shared yet.

I have promised for A YEAR to share a few of the projects he has completed on his house…he opened up the entry, painted his kitchen cabinets and installed glass cabinet doors, built open shelving in his kitchen and laid new tile in the entry and around the fireplace. He has even built a little storage shed! I am so proud of his “projecting” so while I was there taking pictures of his new entertainment cabinet, I snapped a few of his entry and kitchen and I PROMISE to share those next week.



The grey couch....

If you remember, I had a booger of a time with my living room couch purchase. I ended up purchasing the “Michael” by Younger Furniture.

A year later, I love it!

One of my biggest concerns was the fact that it is grey. I wasn’t sure at the time if I was really going to like having a “grey” couch. Not grey-grey, but grey enough that I was afraid it would be dull or too trendy…or just “too.”

I felt at the time I was breaking my cardinal rule of going “trendy” on a big ticket purchase.

Truth is, it is a chameleon…it pretty much changes with whatever I throw at it. When I first got it, I had my Christmas decor up…and it looked great.

After the holidays I threw my teal and floral pillows and a teal throw on it and it looked just as awesome. (No photo…wow I need to take more pictures!)

Fall…oranges, yellows, greens, browns…wasn’t sure it was going to cut it.

But it did!

I love that it can take any color I throw at it! After the holidays I am considering transitioning to another color pallet in the living room…maybe a navy blue or olivey green. Don’t know yet but I know that whatever I do, the couch will not be a factor!

(You can see the transformations of grandmother’s chair here, the Drexel coffee table here, the club chair and ottoman here, the round walnut table here, and the large mirror over the couch here. )

And it really did turn out to be quite comfy.

Which brings me to the point I have often made…on big ticket purchases, stay neutral. I love the deep green and vibrant blue velvet couches. Beautiful! And if you KNOW you will love that couch for years to come, I say go for it. But if you just aren’t certain or you know you will want to regularly change up the look of your decor, stay neutral on the “big ticket” items and let your pillows, accent chairs, rugs, wall decor, throws, etc dictate the decor. Those elements can be easily and relatively inexpensively changed to make a big impact on the feel and look of a room!


Just another little makeover....

You are probably asking yourself “WHY?”

Why would she even mess with something so hideous?

Because I knew I could make them pretty…that’s why!!!

Truthfully these pieces didn’t have a lot going for them…but what drew me to them was the really cool hardware and they are pretty sturdy. Ugly, but sturdy!

The hardware is obviously “reproduction”…made to look like the hardware of years gone by.

They aren’t REAL flush mount ring pulls, but they are real brass so I knew with a little scrubbing, they would shine right up!

The top…fake leather…ewww!

But it was in good shape!

The front of the cabinet and drawers were solid wood but the sides were particle board…and it had some minor “water issues.” Some of the particle board had started chipping and “bubbling.”

Rather than use wood filler I decided to add a little trim piece to the bottom. Glue and trim nails…simple!

The trim covered the chipped areas and beefed up the base a tad. The minor “bubbling” on the particle board sanded smooth.

The bottom of the drawers had that “fake print” thing going on but they were in great condition. Ugly, but solid and sturdy.

I decided to disguise the “cheaponess” with paint.

First I removed all the hardware and spend a few hours scrubbing it. Again, I have no deep dark secrets for easily removing years of tarnish on brass. SOS pad and brass cleaner…and a lot of elbow grease!

I Kilzed the entire dresser…even inside the drawers.

Sanded everything smooth.

Tack cloth…always!!!!

I painted the inside and sides of the drawers with a sample pot of latex navy blue paint. (I recommend priming and painting the inside of drawers if they are “cheapos” or if you can’t remove offensive smells with a good cleaning and vinegar!)

Again, I am kind of obsessed with the white lacquer finishes especially with bright brass hardware.

The repaired sides painted beautifully!

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Told you I could make them pretty!

Remember the MCM chest of drawers I featured here? I finally got the brass cone hardware from China…worth the wait!

A mid century chest of drawers makeover...the reveal!

When last we spoke, I shared a little “step by step” tutorial for repairing and prepping this “less-than-desirable” chest….

I can not stress enough the importance of “prep work” on any project. Again, if you don’t take the time to make repairs and properly prep (regardless of whether it is a dresser or a wall or a floor) all the “pretty” is going to be wasted.

(BTW, while cruising Pinterest I found this super awesome tutorial for repairing chipped corners with wood filler! Great suggestions!)

Make proper repairs, sand patches smooth, use the right tools and materials! Do the repairs and prep or you are wasting your time and resources making it pretty.

After all the patching and repairs, the next step is properly priming! (I had already stripped and oiled the drawers and set them aside!)

I primed the cabinet of the chest with Kilz. That is usually my go-to primer since it sands smooth and holds up well. Primer is a SUPER important step on most paint projects…unless you are chalk painting! Since this was a relatively small project I used the spray Kilz…one can.

TIP: I know a lot of paints SAY they are a “paint and primer” in one…I may eventually change my tune but I don’t believe them. I ALWAYS use a primer…always!

After the Kilz had dried well (usually overnight but several days is best), I sanded it smooth with 220 grit paper.

After sanding I checked all the areas I had repaired…there were a few little spots that needed additional putty and one I missed on the first go round…

…no biggy….I just filled them again, let it dry, sanded smooth, spritzed on a little more primer and then sanded it again after that had dried.

Tack cloth…it is an absolute necessity on any paint job. I see tutorials all the time that recommend wiping the piece with a damp cloth or even mineral spirits. Forget about it! USE TACK CLOTH! It will pick up the finest grains of whatever and will make a huge difference in the final look and feel of your paint job!

I’m kind of obsessed with white lacquer these days. i just love the high gloss finish. Spray paint is always a great option for smaller projects and you can find a multitude of colors and sheens! Just make sure you use a quality brand! You can also brush and/or roll alkyd (oil based) or latex (water based) paint. ALWAYS use an additive and use a high quality brush and 4” foam roller to apply the paint. Pay attention to the manufactures recommendation for temperature and application…it matters!

Regardless of whether you use a spray paint or lacquer, latex or oil, always apply 2-3 THIN coats, allowing dry time as recommended. Thinner is better. If you try to get a one coat finish, you will likely be disappointed and make a HUGE mess!

Spray, roll, and/or brush on the paint…a thin coat…let it properly dry, lightly sand the boogers AFTER it has properly dried with a fine grit paper (IF needed), tack and recoat. Regardless of whether you need to sand between coats, always use tack cloth before applying additional coats. I usually apply at least two coats and sometimes three.

Most paints do not need a top coat but if your piece will be getting a lot of use, I recommend a light coat of polycrylic. Polyurethane is some good stuff but it tends to “yellow” so polycrylic works great.

So…before….

…and the oh-so-better after….

You may have noticed one little missing element. The hardware! Why? Well because I didn’t pay attention when I ordered new brass cone knobs and they are coming from CHINA!!! So I should have them someday…maybe…who knows! The hard work is done…knobs are no biggy!

One of the patched areas after paint…

Dry time…IT MATTERS. I cringe when I watch DIY shows and they immediately stage all the pretty pieces they just painted. There is a huge difference between “dry to touch” and “dry to USE.” Truth is, paint and finishes need time to cure before you put all your pretties on it. You can move it in place, but give latex paint AT LEAST a week or two to cure and oil based paints a good 3-4 weeks. Otherwise you may find that your heavy lamp or knick-knacks will stick to the finish or leave a mark!

This is another dresser I finished up a few weeks ago. It didn’t have near the issues the first had, but the refinish process was the same…KSTP the cabinet and refinish the drawer fronts…presto-bingo…

Again, I know this sounds like a daunting and time consuming task…but if you take the time to do it right, you will have a piece that will last another lifetime and one you will be proud to use in your home!

Next week I hope to share my bathroom remodel. In the meantime, you can check out Cristina’s master bath…it will knock your socks off!

Until then….

A mid century chest of drawers makeover...Part one!

While my master bathroom remodel is still progressing (yea!) I finally found time to tackle an amazing mid century dresser I found!

This chest of drawers was pretty shady. Nasty finish, chipped veneers, busted veneers, mismatched hardware…just not something you really want in your home!

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It had many of the problems you may encounter with old pieces so it is the perfect project to share a little “step-by-step” tutorial on turning a trashed dresser into something you will want front and center in your home!

First, there was a busted drawer! (Which reminds me, ALWAYS number your drawers on the underside as you take them out!)

This is NOT a huge issue.

I can not stress enough the importance of making proper repairs to any piece before you start making it pretty. Glue and clamps people…NOT silicone, not screws, not nails…just plain ole’ wood clue and clamps.

This one really wasn’t too bad…there have been some I had to completely tear apart and rebuild!

One drawer was missing the wood slide like this one…

Kinda necessary if you want your drawer to not be all whomper jomped. Again, no biggy. You can buy slides online but I used some scrap 1/4” plywood and scrap trim to make one. Again, glue and clamps and good as new!

TIP: If you have a drawer with wood slides that seems to be difficult to pull out, try rubbing a wax candle on the wood slide. If you have a metal slide, make sure it isn’t bent…if it is, just take a pair of pliers and manipulate the metal.

Also, if you find the drawers to be a tad smelly, first wipe them down with ammonia and water, then spritz them with vinegar water and let them sit. Truthfully, I have found a few that smelled no matter how well I cleaned them….in that case I taped off the fronts and painted the interior and exterior of the drawer with Kilz and latex paint (here is an example!)…sometimes you have no choice!

Next up chipped and scratched veneer.

A lot of the older furniture is veneered. If it is chipped or scratched, take the time to remove any loose veneer and repair it with a little wood filler.

The first few coats don’t have to be pretty…you just want to make sure you fill all the boo-boos well. Don’t rush this process…it may take two or even three coats to get a smooth repair!

In this case it took two coats (sand between each coat) and a lot of sanding with a fine grit paper (220) to get a smooth repair, but in the end it will be worth all the effort!

I have found that after I prime and sand, I can often see how well the “patch” will look and can add more filler and do more sanding if needed. If it looks and feels rough after priming, it’s going to look bad with paint…so do a little more work on it after the primer if needed!

My plan originally was to strip and oil the top since it is a walnut veneer, but I did a number on it dragging it out of my truck…so repair and paint it is.

I would like to stress (again!) the importance of sanding and FEELING! You want it smooth to the touch. If you can feel it, you will see it when you paint it! So sand it smooth.

The veneer on the drawer fronts were in mint condition…the finish just looked old and “muddy.” I removed the mis-matched hardware and then stripped the old finish (using this process). It took me less than 30 minutes to strip all four drawers.

The two on the right have been stripped…the two on the left have not…as you can see, they weren’t THAT bad, but this quick step brightens the color and really allows the grain to shine.

On veneers it is important to use chemical stripping as opposed to sanding. Veneers can be very thin and if you sand through the veneer there is no salvaging it…you will have to putty and paint!

After stripping them I applied three coats of Formby’s tung oil finish. I love this stuff and it is my “go-to.” No stain, just a clear finish!

(It was pointed out to me by a kind reader that the original Lane Acclaim tables came with a “toned lacquer” finish….true of many mid century pieces. That may be the case but again, this is the process that works for me and the one I prefer…do your research and do what works for YOU! I prefer the “easy to wipe on and freshen in the future” tung oil finish over lacquer)

I also stripped and oiled the legs since they were in pretty good condition. Same process, same finish.

If your drawer fronts have MINOR chipping like this one did, I would suggest carefully removing or glueing any “loose” veneer (I use a toothpick to slide a bit of glue under any loose veneer and wipe the glue residue with mineral spirits) and then apply the finish. As my daddy use to say, you will never notice it on a passing train! Any time I can salvage and feature a beautiful walnut veneer, I do!

Again, my apologies…this will have to be one of those “to be continued” posts. We had rain and a cold front roll in (yea! it really is fall now!) and since I don’t have a nice cozy shop I am at the mercy of the elements.

Priming, paint and reveal will have to wait until next week!

This process may SEEM daunting and time consuming but in the end it is all worth the time and effort to bring these sturdy old pieces back to life!

Take your time and do it right and you will have a piece fit for another lifetime of use! Hopefully next week you will get to see the results of all this prep work!