Updating outdated furniture...another "before" and "after" makeover!

You have it or you have seen it being sold for next to nothing on Craigslist or Marketplace or at garage sales.

Dated furniture. Naturally we turn our noses up at it because, well, ick.

But often these old dated pieces are rock solid and truthfully, they can be updated with very little time, money and effort. You just have to be willing to see past the “ick” and roll up your sleeves.

The first thing I did to “update” this piece was remove the little scrolly doo-dads on the top drawer and round doo-dads in the corners.

Often these little “doo-dads” are affixed with a little bit of glue and tiny nails…just use a chisel or flat object to slip behind and pop off…super simple…then just fill the holes and sand smooth.

After that I removed all the hardware. I liked the little brass knocker looking pulls so I painted them (and the round knobs on the top drawer) with metal primer and Rust-Oleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. I replaced the bottom two drawer’s hardware with oil rubbed bronze cup pulls…

While the hardware “cured” I painted the piece with homemade chalk paint. Two coats. Homemade chalk paint is SUPER cheap and easy to whip up…5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris mixed well with 3 tablespoons of water…then add 2 cups of latex paint. You can buy sample pots of paint so you can mix the chalk paint any color you want. Then I “distressed” a tad with 220 grit sandpaper, wiped it down with tack cloth and sealed it with a spray on polycrylic.

So what does it cost to update a piece like this?

Time wise? A day. Chalk paint dries super fast so you can usually apply two coats and distress in a matter of a few hours, then spray or brush on a sealer.

Cost?

Wood putty/filler. Maybe $3-4 but then you have a BUNCH for other projects.

Spray paint for hardware. 1 can of metal primer and 1 can of spray paint…less than $10…and again you will have a bunch leftover for other projects

Paint for the chest. Home made chalk paint is super cheap. A box of Plaster of Paris is about $5. A sample pot of latex paint is less than $4.

Clear coat: polycrylic or polyurethane or any spray on clear coat…less than $10.

In this case I added new hardware on the bottom two drawers…that added about $20 to the total cost…but the original hardware could have been painted as well.

A piece of sand paper and tack cloth…less than $5 if you don’t have it on hand.

So realistically WELL under $50 and a little time and effort.

Seriously…soooo simple!

I have said it before and will say it again…LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!!!!

You CAN do it!





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!

My happy place....

This month has been crazy busy. I started painting the older buildings at my apartment complex…the weather hasn’t been very cooperative so only 1/2 is done. I have had to tear out and replace rotted flooring in an older unit and I have had a few vacancies which is always a lot of work. My daughter graduated from college week before last and everyone came home (I shared that here) and my grandson graduated from high school this past weekend.

Crazy busy!!!

One thing I am eternally grateful for is my yard…it is my happy place and I am so glad I got all the mulch down and the planting done before life got too hectic.

One of my favorite ways to unwind is sit in my backyard and just breathe….

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Not much changes in the front and side yard but since my neighbors murdered their trees, my swing pergola in the front gets too much sun in the afternoon to really enjoy….

…but again, visitors may not see your backyard but they will see the front…so keep it pretty! (I shared the construction of the window planters HERE)

I do have a few moles causing a bit of stress….HERE I talk about what I have learned about moles and how I deal with them (it ain’t pretty!)

But since I now plant all my “tender annuals” in pots, they really do little but annoy me. Truth is they are nature’s little tillers for flower beds and if they didn’t run through the yard to get to the flower beds, I probably wouldn’t give them a second thought.

I am grateful I have the ability to do the work I do…but I am even more grateful I have a place I can go to recharge….

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!

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!

Swing pergola tutorial...

With spring just around the corner this is a great time to revisit one of my favorite tutorials. An AWESOME outdoor project that takes a bit of muscle but not a lot of brain power.

This swing pergola is a “MUST HAVE” in any yard…so break out a few basic tools and follow THIS tutorial so you can impress your friends and have a great place to nap in the warm summer days ahead!!!


Visiting history...

This past week we traveled to Phoenix to visit my oldest son. While we were there we decided to do a little sight seeing.

First we headed north to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

I’ve seen pictures but no matter how beautiful the photos are, they do not do it justice. It is one of those places you have to see in person. And while you stand on the rim of this vast canyon and TRY to wrap your brain around the fact that the lowest level of exposed rock is TWO BILLION years old, you suddenly realize how “minute” your time on this earth truly is. My mind just can not comprehend that span of time but it can certainly appreciate the beauty of this marvel.

If you have not seen it, go.

We spent one day shopping around Old Scottsdale…okay, so I am not big on shopping so we walked around peaking in windows, exploring the history of the town! We pretty much ran through the Phoenix zoo while killing time before the Cubs game. Brian is from Chicago so he thoroughly enjoyed the game and his Chicago hot dog….a treat from his past.

Tuesday we drove south to Tombstone. The movie “Tombstone” is one of our all time favorites so it was fun to see the Grand Hotel (now the Big Nose Kate Saloon)….

Boothill Cemetery, where the McLaury brothers and Billy Clanton, killed during the OK Coral Shootout, are buried.

The old county courthouse has been beautifully preserved as a museum.

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One thing I found interesting was this display of ironstone and old scales, considering today’s decor trends….

Compared to TWO BILLION YEARS, the 140 year history of Tombstone seems like it happened yesterday. It is a time in history that interests us and we enjoyed exploring the little town.

Which brings me to MY history. The day we came home, a friend posted on Facebook that an old building downtown was being torn down. It is the building that first housed the company my dad worked for from 1972 until his death in 1995.

This old building is part of MY history…I was 7 when we moved here in 1971 and this is company my dad worked for through out my childhood and for much of his adult life.

It is soooo sad to see old historical buildings disappear….

….this one is being bulldozed for a parking lot.

I knew I wanted a “momento” from the old building so I contacted the company that was hired to demolish it.

Frank from SSi Construction was SO helpful…much of the building had already been torn down but he patiently picked through the piles of ruble and pulled out a few splintered boards. I pulled all the nails and cut off the splintered ends and hope to clean them up and make a table or bench out of them…reclaimed wood with some serious “sentimental value.”

Forty years…140 years…two billion years. History is relative. Regardless, it is fun to explore. Most importantly, cherish and preserve.