Cleaning and sealing the deck...

I rarely share mundane chores...why? Well, because they are mundane. But this week I thought I would share our weekend chore only because I think I might have found a new product I like.

I say "I think I might" only because I suspect it will take a few years before I come to a conclusion as to whether it actually works. As far as "ease of application," it's a winner!

The back deck is on the north side of the house so one half gets no sun and had a good build up of black and green gunk. The other half gets a lot of sun so most sealants with stain tend to fade over time! For years I have just scrubbed it annually with bleach and Dawn.

Years ago I used a high power washer to clean my deck...not only did it clean it, it literally chewed the wood! Curses! (I suspect it was more "operator error") I sealed it with an oil based stain/sealer and it was a real pain in the rear...dry time was unreasonable when you have cats who like to sun bathe on the back deck.

Clean up wasn't a huge deal because I usually just tossed the applicator! But it made it near impossible to "start and stop" the project...I pretty much had to do it all at once!

And honestly, it was pretty stinky!

Time flies and while it feels like I just did this whole tedious chore a few years ago, I think it has been more like 10...so it was time once again to power wash and seal the deck.

This time I borrowed my neighbors power washer...only 2700 PSI but it cut right through the black gunk and dirt. 

Then I went on a search for a water based deck sealer. I'm all about oil based anything...and while I know it may not hold up as well, "ease of application" is a biggy these days!

I started researching like I always do...I googled "best deck sealant." I found a product on Amazon with five star stellar reviews...even says it right on the bottle...#1 Deck Premium Wood Stain.

I ordered the "Light Walnut" and tested it on the little deck off the master bedroom.

(Yes we neglected to clean the sides of the steps, hence the "green gunk.")

I was a little freaked out at first because it was kind of a "purplish haze" when I first brushed it on but it dried to a pleasant cedar color that blended well with the old stain color. I was able to clean the brush and bowl with soap and water so I didn't feel the pressure of getting it all done at once!

So, what do I LIKE about this product. First, it does not stink! Pretty much odorless. Second, it dried in 1-2 hours as promised so I didn't have to worry about the critters. I poured it in one of my "work bowls" and used a cheap 4" paint brush to apply it....it was like brushing on water! It was super simple to clean with soap and water.

I wish I had taken "before" pictures of the deck so you could see just how nasty it was...but again, I usually don't share mundane chores so I didn't even think about it. This is a picture I snapped with my phone after I potted my summer plants...you can kinda see how bad it was!

This is what the deck looked like after cleaning but before applying the stain/sealant. 

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It had been a few days since we powered washed the deck, so before I applied the sealant I hosed it down and let it dry....as you can see, the water just sits on the deck...no "beading."

This is "after" the sealant...looks amazing and the water beads right up which tells me the wood is sealed...for the time being!

The "side by side" comparison...again, it dries fast so I will be able to move everything over to the done side when I finally get the energy to finish it!

Why do I "think I might" like this product? I have no idea how long it will actually "seal" the deck.

Check back in a year or two!

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....

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.

A proper guest room...

I have three empty bedrooms upstairs. Three empty rooms that my heart still feels are "the kid's" rooms. Truthfully, Mitchell hasn't lived in his room in 12 years. Matt has moved home on a few occasions since he graduated, but he just bought a home. Katie is still in college 15 minutes down the road, but she has made it clear that she has no intention of moving home...she will graduate next year and I have no doubt she will set out to set the world on fire.

So while my heart feels those are "the kid's" rooms, I know in my head that it is time.

Time to paint over the big "fail whale" in Katie's room.

(In case you are wondering, those are the photo albums...for the three youngest...I know, I have issues!)

Time to replace the baseball paddle fan in Matt's room. 

Time to purge a few more things in Mitchell's room.

I've made small changes to each room over the years...Katie's room is now our "home gym." But honestly, throwing a weight bench and elliptical machine in a room doesn't really make it a "home gym." 

I have boxed up MOST of Mitchell's plaques, framed certificates and trophies...but it is still "his" room.

Matt took much of his furniture when he moved into his new home, but he left his junior high jersey and his high school diploma and senior picture, so I immediately rearranged the few pieces of furniture (a bed and chest) and put his personal momentos back on the wall. 

But it is time to make some serious changes...and as always I found the little push I needed and a bit of inspiration on another website. J. Cathell ...a site that showed up on my "Bloglovin'" feed. I also found this tutorial at Today's Creative Life that outlined a few essential "must haves" in a proper guest room.

And this super handy checklist here...a great list to make sure I have all the bases covered if I want to create the perfect guest room.

I don't intend to put the bath items in the bedroom...the bathroom is rarely used so I just need to make sure it is organized, clean and stocked with "guest necessities." 

Inspiration...the first step to making a plan for any project, big or small. 

The room featured on the Jess's site is a tad "over the top" for our needs. Truthfully we don't have a lot of guests...the kids come home for the "momdatory" holidays and occasionally my uncle will come for a visit.

Inspiration none-the-less...and a push to get the ball rolling.

A plan...right now the plan is in my head and relatively simple. 

This week I tackled the first step in "the plan." Since Mitchell's room was the most recent makeover, little will change in there. I boxed up a few more things...VHS movies, books, etc. It will still function as a guest room but it will be a room where I can still display the important stuff like diplomas and such.

Katie's room will still be our "home gym" but it needed to be purged and neutralized...in other words, it was time to paint over the fail whale.

Since it is our "home gym" we think we MIGHT eventually move all the diplomas, framed jerseys and trophy's into that room. It has the largest tv so it is also ideal for the grandkid's game room when they visit.

The paint in Matt's room is not bad, but I want to eventually coordinate all the colors in the three rooms. I painted Mitchell's room BM Rivere Pewter but I wanted to go a tad lighter in Katie and Matt's rooms...so the plan was to paint them SW Nuance...the same color I painted my master bedroom. It appears to be a shade lighter than the Revere Pewter. (As you can see, I managed to get Katie's room painted but after two days of painting and purging, I decided Matt's room will just have to wait!) The trim in Katie's room was the original trim color so it was a tad "yellower" than the Swiss Coffee I have used in the rest of the house...so that was painted as well. 

Brian replaced the baseball paddle fan in Matt's room...not a huge deal.

I wasn't thrilled with the amount of light the new fixture put off. I moved a little wicker side table from Mitchell's room and the lamp from Katie's room and I think guests will have sufficient light!

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A major "purge fest" in all three rooms...boxed up the keepsakes that will go in the attic and filled four boxes to donate. I made sure the bathroom was free of expired products and used toothbrushes. I gathered up all the spare blankets and pillows and stacked them in the closet.

Purging, paint and a paddle fan. Seems like a small step but those things made the biggest mess, the biggest impact and set the tone for the rest of the plan.

Eventually I want to paint the walls and change the bed frame in the Matt's room (the REAL guest room). I want to replace the chest of drawers with a nice dresser. Eventually incorporate all the little things Jess featured in her guest room makeover...a comfy rug, a chair or bench, new curtains and wall decor, a charging outlet, a cute wifi passcode sign, a jar with little guest necessities, a luggage rack, nice alarm clock and all the little homey nick-nacks that make a guest room comfortable and inviting. 

Truth is the most important elements of any guest room is that it is clean and clutter-free and has a comfortable bed and bedding....I can check that off my list of "things-to-do." The rest of the checklist will come with time and patience.

Thank goodness we are not expecting over night guest anytime soon!

 

 

Photographing pets for Christmas!

I say it every year...I am going to learn to use my grossly expensive digital camera.

But I never get around to it, so often my pictures are "less than perfect!"

I read a tutorial one time about taking pictures of your Christmas tree. Not sure I remember everything about how to do it properly, but one thing I did remember is to use my tripod. In low light situations, it is a must!

One thing I always like to do is take Christmas pictures of my pets...that seems like a near impossible thing to do since the shutter speed is slow and getting an animal to sit perfectly still is almost an impossible task! 

This year I managed to get a few half way decent pictures. My trick? Well, again, a tripod...gotta use it.

The other is to get them when they are "low energy." For my animals, that is early in the morning when they are still a bit sleepy or late at night. Since I don't function well after about 8 in the evening, I decided to try to capture them (almost literally) early in the morning.

Mr. Jinx is the toughest to photograph...but I did manage to get a fairly decent one this year....

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Getting Cleo to "sit and stay" is another challenge. She cooperated somewhat this year....

You can tell she wasn't at all thrilled with this process.

Litty the spaz cat is down right impossible...she rarely sits still. I did manage to catch a glimpse of her under the tree...

Animals and little kids...good luck!!!

A vintage chair makeover for the new house....

As I have mentioned before, it is important to do research on "vintage" or "antique" pieces before you take a can of spray paint to them...God forbid you find LATER that you have spray painted a potentially valuable piece.

Such was the case with this pathetic little chair....

Someone had painted a true "vintage" piece...a McGuire ratan chair. (At least I THINK someone painted it...I couldn't find any information indicating this chair would have originally been painted)

With a little bit of research I found a listing for this pair on 1stdibs selling for a small fortune!

The prices on 1stdibs and Chairish always seem a bit high for my tastes but I have found both sites to be excellent sources for researching vintage pieces. 

When I first researched this coffee table (Drexel Declaration) I found it on one of these sites for around $1600. And this little cabinet for thousands.

This little chair sat out front of 410 Vintage for several weeks before I decided to tackle it. I wasn't drawn to it because of "what it is" but rather Matt needs a few little accent chairs. Since they sold it to me for $10 I didn't feel too guilty about painting it...the "true value" was pretty much toast in its current condition! 

The strapping on the joints (strictly decorative) is actually leather, but it was all pretty dried out and one was broken...a little hot glue fixed it right up. 

I repaired the broken seat strapping, primed the frame with Kilz, sanded a bit, sprayed it with black satin paint and made new cushions and pillows. I had some foam cushions stored away in my attic from an old couch and a few small pillow forms lying around so the only thing I had to buy was the paint and fabric.

Since Matt is a pilot and we are leaning towards an "aviation" theme in his living room, I thought this fabric choice for the pillows was down right clever...lol! 

Not bad for a small investment.

So now Matt has a defaced "McGuire ratan" accent chair...of little value but perfect for his needs! 

And cute as a bugs ear!

Closing is next week and I can't wait to get started...not sure if I am more excited about Matt buying his first home or getting all this "stuff" I have accumulated out of my house! I have most of the pieces ready to load and go! I am ready to roll out the rugs, set the furniture and hang the pictures. 

In a few weeks I will post a few "project pieces" I have worked on for Matt's house. I can't wait to share what a few bucks and a little time and effort can do.

Pumpkin cutting board tutorial....

I still haven't ventured to the storage building to retrieve my fall decor. I'm just not ready to go all out on the fall decorating.

But as I mentioned here, it is never too early to start a few little "fall projects!" 

Over the years, I have shared several little cutting board makeovers....here, here and here! I never use wood cutting boards for food prep, but I like the warmth and whimsey they add to the kitchen!

Super simple little makeovers for old boards that have seen their better days! 

I've kept my eye out for one shaped like a pumpkin but so far no luck...so I decided to make one.

I wanted to make one with walnut or mahogany but I didn't have any scrap pieces big enough. I had an old pine fence picket floating around my garage...I thought I might make a little sign with it but I decided it would be perfect for this project.

The board would be replacing the pineapple shaped board for the season, so I measured that board to determine the size of the pumpkin.

I cut it into three pieces a smidge longer than the height of the finished pumpkin...around 12".

I glued the edges, clamped the three pieces together and let them dry overnight.

I made a paper template of the pumpkin and traced it onto the board....

I used my jig saw to cut out the shape. Unfortunately the glued edges didn't hold and I ended up having to reglue the edges and then glue and staple little "cleats" across the back!

Since I don't intend to use this as a REAL cutting board, no biggy!

After REassembling the boards, I sanded the top and edges with my little palm sander.

As I have shared before, I always use Watco butcher block oil on my cutting boards. Again, I don't intend to actually use this board, but if you do, this product is food safe! Truth is, I just like the way this oil brings out the color and grain of the wood! 

And it did not disappoint! A nice little "surprise" was the "orangish" patina of the wood when I applied the oil...perfect for the season!

This would be a simple little project to do in any scale...maybe a larger wood pumpkin or even a scarecrow cutout for your porch. 

Last year I used an old board to make this little welcome sign...

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It's amazing the things you can do with old scrap wood! 

NOW I'm kinda in the mood to start decorating for fall. 

More painted furniture projects and how you can get perfect paint results!

I know I share a lot of painted furniture projects. There was a time when I was a "paint snob." If it is wood, no paint.

But I have learned in my resell business that paint is often the best way to "enhance" a piece and give it new life. 

We all have "that piece." The one mom gave us or maybe we bought at a thrift store or garage sale because we needed a dresser or side table. A maple dresser from the 60s or one of those fake wood "cherry" tables from the 80s. We still need it for the storage or even to fill a space and buying new just isn't an option.

As I have said before, life is too short to live with ugly furniture and even the ugliest piece can benefit from a little "makeover" 

Updating an old dresser or bedside table isn't difficult. Yes, Pinterest is filled with precious stenciled and glazed projects...and we all envy. But simple is easy and the impact can be huge.  I have shared hundreds over the years and every week I complete at least 2-3 pieces that often do not get shared...either I forget to take pictures or they sell so fast I think "why bother." 

So today, again, I'm going to share a few simple little projects and how to get the best results.

Mini makeovers that can make a huge impact in any room!

This campaign dresser had seen it's better days....

As you can see, it had been seriously abused. But even the ugliest piece has potential....

Not the best "after" picture, but I didn't think to take a picture before I took it into 410 Vintage so I snapped one with my phone...but you get the idea. (If you haven't been to 410, GO!)

It sold the day I took it in! These "upcycled" dressers are perfect for a bedroom or even a tv and storage cabinet in the living room.

You might have noticed one piece of the hardware was missing. I happened to have one of the pulls from this project so I used the same method to retrofit it. You don't have to do anything that complicated...most home improvement stores have tons of hardware options. All the hardware was solid brass so I cleaned it up with some Brasso, steel wool and elbow grease. The point...the hardware doesn't have to be all matchy-matchy. 

This little bedside table had seen it's better days!

A simple little makeover...paint and new hardware....new life....

This is a typical hard rock maple dresser you can find for next to nothing at thrift stores and garage sales...

Usually sturdy as the day they were built, but seriously ugly and dated!

They obviously can benefit from a little love and attention...nothing fancy just a little paint and hardware update....

An inexpensive little "fake wood" side table......

And AGAIN...

I liked the brass hardware on this one so I just cleaned it up!

Sooooo...what do all these projects have in common. 

KSTP...Kilz (or any good primer!), sand with 220 grit paper, wipe down with a tack cloth and paint.

The two dressers were painted with latex paint using a 4" foam roller and paint brush. I used spray paint on the two little side tables.

So, here are a few TIPS for getting the best results when painting furniture.

1) Always clean the piece of any dirt or debris. Just wipe it down with a damp cloth and make sure you get all the "ick" off! If the piece is super grungy, you might want to clean it with ammonia or wipe it down with mineral spirits! (If it has a lot of flaking paint, you can sand it down a bit or better yet, strip it using this process...just make sure the existing paint or finish is stable!)

2) Make repairs. DO NOT waste your time making it pretty if it needs repairs. And remember, glue and clamps are your friend!!!! If you don't know how to repair something, google it or email me. MOST furniture repairs aren't that difficult...but if you do it wrong (or not at all) you will be wasting your time making it pretty! 

3) Primer....always a must if you are going to paint with spray paint or latex or oil paint. I swear by the oil-based Kilz. If you want your paint to stick and not chip or peel, prime. For smaller projects I use spray Kilz. For larger projects I roll on Kilz with a 4" foam roller. Even if your paint says "all in one paint and primer"...use primer.

4) Sand smooth after the primer has thoroughly dried. A 220 grit paper should do the trick...FEEL the surface...if you can feel it, the paint won't hide it. 

5) Use tack cloth. Most tutorials will tell you to wipe the piece with a damp cloth. That won't cut it! Tack cloth will pick up the finest grains of dust and debris you can't see until you paint the piece! Use it!

6) If you are going to brush on latex or oil, use a quality brush AND TAKE CARE OF IT! I have brushes I have owned for years because I am religious about cleaning them thoroughly after use. And don't even think about using those cheap disposable brushes (chip brushes). They are great for many things, but not for getting a smooth paint finish on furniture!!!! 

7) ALWAYS use an additive....Floetrol for latex, Penetrol for oil based paints. 

8) Use quality paint. Especially spray paint. I know it is cheaper at discount stores but pay the extra few dollars and buy a quality spray paint at your home improvement store. Cheaper will NOT be better if it doesn't hold up to wear and tear! I do 2-3 light coats (spray or brush) rather than trying to get solid coverage with one coat...trust me when I say, there is NO paint on earth that will get good coverage with just one coat!

9) Cure time is important. Seriously, I know they style their pieces on those HGTV shows within hours of painting a piece of furniture. Just don't! Just because the paint feels dry to the touch DOES NOT mean it has cured. Latex...a few days...oil...a week. Give your paint time to cure or it is going to peel or chip if you try to use it right away! Put the piece in place and chill!

10) Spray vs. Brush/roller. For me, it all depends. I have learned that large flat areas are tough to get an even coat of paint on with spray paint...and of course there is the expense factor for large pieces. A dresser can take 2-3 cans of spray paint. So it really depends of the piece. Sometimes I will spray the drawer fronts of a dresser and roll the top and sides. 

11) Keep a little spare paint for chips and dings...if you use latex or oil, just put a few tablespoons in a little container and stick it in the back of the drawer...just in case! If you are using spray paint, keep a can with a little paint. Manufacturer's change paint colors and you might not be able to find that awesome color in the future. Keep spare paint in the house...not the garage or storage shed!

Regardless of whether you spray or roll/brush, you have to follow the first rules of KSTP....Kilz (primer), sand smooth, then tack....then paint!

If you follow these simple guidelines, you can update a dated piece with just a little time and effort. 

Again, life is too short to live with ugly furniture...

Oak dresser makeover....

I shared here how I scored a new bed frame for my master bedroom!

I bought the entire set which included a chest of drawers and two nightstands. Since I am not into "matchy-matchy" and didn't need the chest and nightstands, I decided to do something to mask the "timeless" honey oak of the remaining pieces....

Notice the use of "quotes" on "timeless." I have lived long enough to know that NOTHING is timeless. Nothing. Not subway tile, trestle tables or hardwood floors.

Why? Because while they date back decades, there was a time when those now-popular must haves in the decor world were seriously out of favor. Had you bought a house with subway tile and hardwood floors in the 70s, you would have immediately replaced them with wall-to-wall carpet and olive green 4x4 tile. 

Not saying you shouldn't decorate with the times, just don't expect it to be the "in thing" 15 years from now!

Anywho, back to the chest and side table make overs! 

As always I have to have my "stain" fix. Occasionally I will paint an entire piece, but if there is some redeeming wood on a dresser or table, I want that mix of stain and paint. These piece are oak, but the color of the oak was the dated "honey oak." So I used gel stain on the tops and drawer fronts and painted the "cabinet."

Gel stain is super easy to use and allows you to change the color without having to strip the old finish.

I always stain before I paint. Primarily because after the stain and finish cures, you can tape it off to paint!

Again, no stripping or sanding. I have tried every gel stain on the market....General Finishes brand is the ONLY gel stain and finish I would recommend for this process. It comes in a variety of colors and sheens.

First, knock the sheen of the old finish off by lightly sanding with 220 grit paper...you don't need to get it ALL off...just a light sanding (WITH THE GRAIN!), then wipe it all down with a tack cloth. Wipe on the first coat of stain with an old athletic sock (I put on a disposable glove first)...let it dry for 24 hours, then wipe on the second coat with a fresh old sock...dry 24 hours...then wipe on the 3rd coat (again, fresh sock).

The first two coats will leave you in a panic...don't. I promise you will have the look you want after three coats.

Keep in mind, it is stain...NOT paint. So don't be heavy handed with it or try to get perfect coverage with the 1st and 2nd coats. Keep it thin and translucent. And ALWAYS wipe with the grain of the wood! After 3 coats of stain, I seal it with the General Finishes wipe-on poly!

If you goof, the stain will easily wipe off with mineral spirits BEFORE you seal it with the poly.

Let the poly cure well, at least 4-5 days before taping it off for paint.

This is what my "assembly line" process looks like when I prime several pieces....

I had four dressers that needed priming. This is also what I call taking a piece to "base neutral." Sometimes I have no idea what color I want to paint a piece until I can get the old crudy finish covered. I prime and sand and then wait for inspiration.

When it was all said and done, the oak dresser and side tables got plain ole' "off white." Classic. 

And of course, new hardware.

Obviously I did something right...the chest of drawers sold immediately. 

If you have a piece that has a "dated" finish, try using gel stain to update the stain color. Every decor needs the warmth of a wood finish...so don't be so quick to slather paint on every piece! 

Until next week....

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....