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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hung them in the GUEST ROOM….

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


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

A simple and inexpensive makeover.

Before….

After….

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

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

Simple, inexpensive…but oh so much better!

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

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

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

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

She has this super nifty fold out “leaf.”

Just too fricking cool!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An antique trestle I featured here

An oak farmhouse table featured here…..

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The most recent…an antique draw leaf table…

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

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

So get ready for a few pictures…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE GREATEST MOTHER’S DAY GIFT

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

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

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

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

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

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Vintage car handle hardware...

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

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

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

Just thought it was a super cute idea.

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

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

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

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

Problem 1 solved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too stinking cute!!!!

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

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

Craftsman dresser....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just too stinking cute!

Feel free to be “inspired” and copy away!

VW Bus chest of drawer makeover....

This, I believe, is my favorite dresser (technically a chest of drawer) makeover!

I first found my “inspiration” here….I knew the minute I saw this I had to do one! All I had to do was find perfect waterfall chest.

I bet I have passed on a few hundred over the years. They aren’t terribly “sturdy” dressers and because of that they tend to be in pretty bad shape after a few decades of use.

Just so happens a friend who owns a vintage store posted one on Facebook market place. It was a tad higher than what I wanted to pay but I wanted it NOW!

Most of the decorative doo-dads on waterfall pieces are painted on but this one had actual carvings…

…which meant I had to fill the carving….curses.

But whatevs….

I usually use the wood filler I pick up at Lowe’s and have always been happy with it but I saw this product on another blog and decided to give it a try…

Meh…It’s okay but I have to order it and price wise it’s not worth it. I think I will just stick to the product I have been using.

Remember when you use wood fillers to “patch” you may have to sand and reapply 2-3 times before you get a smooth repair…patience!

This little project took a lot longer than my normal KSTP project because of all the different paints…each “layer” had to dry before I could paint the next layer.

But the overall process was the same…first, patch and repair, then Kilz, sand and wipe with tack cloth, then paint on the design (KSTP). The white is lacquer and the other paint colors are some latex I had on hand…most of it “custom” mixed.

TOO. STINKING. CUTE!!!!

I used some round knobs I had in my stash and painted them the same color as the drawers. The “window wipers” are stainless pulls.

I wanted to buy an actual VW Bus emblem but they were pretty pricey for a “makeover-for-resale” project so I bought a vinyl decal from HERE and it looks great!

The details were a combination of freehand, taping and a few homemade templates. Seriously, you do not have to be super creative to do something like this…just patient and skip the coffee for a day…lol!

I sure hope Larissa believes “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

This weekend we are headed to Phoenix so I probably won’t be around next week!

Until next time…

Herringbone dresser top....

I would love to take credit for all my incredibly creative makeovers but truth is I get a lot of inspiration from a lot of sources…Pinterest, other DIY bloggers, and random website.

This time it was my son. He found a really awesome entry bench online and built one for himself!

I shared his entry makeover here.

His girlfriend loved it so much he made her a desk for Christmas!

So when this dresser top turned out super cruddy, I decided to put a herringbone top on it.

The top is a veneer and had some “bubbling.”

I was able to sand the “bubbles” so that the top was smooth, but when I sanded, it took the stain and finish off and the gel stain just wasn’t covering it.

I could have sanded the entire top and removed all the stain and finish…or I could have painted it…. but nah….I kinda wanted an excuse to do something “different.”

Matt was out of town and couldn’t help me so he sent me THIS link…AWESOME tutorial. These girls do a bang up job on the video tutorial…if you love the look, they tell you exactly how to do it!

The top of the dresser hung over the front quite a bit so I decided to use my Kreg rip cut guide to cut down the top a tad.

My daughter got it for me for Christmas and this is the first time I was able to use it…LOVE! I have always used my “yard stick” trick to make straight cuts with my skill saw…this was SOOOO much better!!!

Using the linked tutorial, I started laying out the top. I used white pine 1x4 for the top boards and 1x2 for the edge banding.

Now, this is where I had to deviate a tad from the tutorial. Because I was covering a dresser top and not making a new top that I could flip over to cut down, I had to cut the herringbone boards from the top. If I covered the entire top before the cut, I wasn’t going to be able to “see” the edges of the existing top to know where to make my cut. So I laid all but the corner boards, used my long metal guide to draw my cut marks on all four sides, and then cut those boards first. Then I nailed down the corner pieces, marked them, and cut them.

I used a palm sander to sand all the edges before applying the trim boards around all four sides.

I puttied the holes with wood filler, let that dry, then I sanded the top and sides smooth. Remember, stain will not adhere to glue, so you want to make sure you sand well and remove any glue residue!

After sanding I applied the stain…pine does not take penetrating stain well so I used General Finishes gel stain. There will be tiny gaps between the boards…to get the stain down in between those gaps, I used a small craft brush. I sprayed on a polycrylic finish to seal it!

I had kilzed and sanded the cabinet and the drawer fronts before working on the top. After the stain dried, I painted those a “steel blue.” (Again, don’t ask me the color…it is a mix of blues and black I had on hand!)

I wanted to use the existing hardware but I wasn’t digging the original finish. I primed them with metal primer and painted them flat black…soooo much better and far cheaper than replacing it with new.

Just another “ick” saved from a life of “yuck.”

Again, you don’t have to go all fancy…I could have easily painted the top…but the tutorial on “Shanty-2-Chic” is super easy to follow!

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!



Just ANOTHER makeover!!!

A few weeks ago I promised to share some of these makeovers….

I shared the details of this one….

here….

It sold in a couple of days!

This chest was a mess…

It is solid wood and pretty sturdy. A few of the drawer tracks needed some minor repairs but all in all it was a decent piece…just super ick.

Again, I have to have my “wood fix.” Since the drawer fronts were solid wood, I decided to use gel stain on them.

First I removed all the old hardware and gave the entire piece a good cleaning with a mild detergent.

There is no need to remove the old finish when using gel stain…maybe a light sanding to remove any boogers and dull the shine on the existing finish.

I ONLY use General Finishes brand gel stain. I applied three LIGHT coats with an athletic sock over a rubber glove, allowing each coat to dry overnight. The first coat will look like crud, the second will look a tad better, the third coat looks awesome. I sprayed on polycrylic to seal them. General Finishes has a wipe-on poly and it is pretty awesome…but I had polycrylic on hand so that is what I used.

I sprayed the “cabinet” with Kilz, sand, tack and latex paint (KSTP). I ALWAYS use an additive with paints I am going to roll and brush…Flotroel for latex.

New hardware…and PRESTO….

Another piece saved from the clutches of ugly and dated!
I share these makeovers to remind you….IT’S NOT HARD to take dated, ugly furniture and turn it into something you will be proud to have in your home.

Life is too short to live with ugly furniture!