Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Old College Dresser Gets a Facelift

So in my continued quest to re-do my bedroom on a zero-sum budget, I have re-finished another piece of furniture. This dresser is one I used throughout college and is great condition, except that I didn't LOVE the way that it looked - it was sort of drab and dated to me. Since I already had a new dresser, I decided to give this piece a facelift for my husband (his dresser was one he had used since childhood and when I put clothes away, I had to shove them in a drawer and then quickly close it). It seems like our bedroom was the last room we put much thought in, especially when it came to buying new furniture, which is kind of sad! Here is how to get a great new piece without spending a lot of money. First, here is the before:

I know I said this in my previous post about re-finishing furniture, but it's not an exact science. Because the dresser wasn't really wood, I need to first apply a primer to get the paint to stick. This primer is awesome and sticks to almost anything:

I used the sponge roller to do several coats before going over it with my paint color. If I had been thinking ahead I would have done two things differently:

  1. Had the hardware store tint the primer - why make more work for myself with having to go over white primer with black paint?
  2. When I bought the primer, I would have taken it to the paint section and had them shake it for me in one of their industrial shakers - the primer was sitting on the shelf for so long that it had separated and as much as I shook and stirred, I couldn't get it to the right consistency. Luckily I had saved my receipt and was able to take it back to Home Depot and they shook it up for me.

I was going to use the same paint brush for this project as I had used on the white dresser, but once I started using it, the brush strokes were awful and I realized I needed to use a brand new paint brush to eliminate this. Thankfully I had an extra one in the garage and used lots of paint to cover the entire dresser and the drawers. I did two full coats and a third touch-up coat and that was it - the actual priming/painting only took two days.

The most fun thing to me about re-finishing furniture is you get to make it into a brand new piece. This dresser was so blah to me, but I knew with some hardware I could really add some visual interest. For several years I had been looking at the this dresser, but when I finally studied it, I realized that the top two drawers were smaller than the bottom three, but with the current hardware, you couldn't really tell. So, I decided to use knobs on the top two drawers and pulls on the bottom three - just to emphasize this difference. This meant I had to go through and fill in all the holes, which I did with wood putty, before I began the painting process.

I'm not going to lie - it got a little dicey at the end when we were installing the new pulls and sometimes our holes didn't match up. Thankfully, though, we made it work and I now have a finished product to show you:

I love it! I think with the wall color it really pops and my husband loves all the drawer space he now has (although now he can never remember where anything is).

Are there old pieces of furniture around your house that you are tired of looking at? Give them a facelift!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grout Stain part 2


I think that says it all. For $20 I transformed my kitchen/hallway tile. See how here.

Ceiling fan makover

I hate having a part of my home that I think ugly things about every time I look at it. I have had 2 years of ugly feelings toward this fan and its partner which hang over my living room.

I thought I had 2 options. Either spend $100+ each to replace them or attempt to take them down (from super high cathedral ceilings!), take it apart (hoping to reassemble correctly), and spray the metal with a wrought iron finish.

Now maybe you understand why I let this go 2 years! But my super-duper mom was visiting and suggested an easier solution.

We simply bought new globes for the lights from Wal-Mart where they were $4 each instead of $6-7 at Lowe's and HD. And a can of high quality flat black spray paint (again cheaper at Wal-Mart) and went to work.

The finished product was well worth the $35 it cost to re-do both fixtures, don't you think?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wall Decor - Part 7: Stationary

And you thought this series was over! Thanks to JI for keeping it going during my absence - a fabulous vacation in a far-off land (okay, Texas) that I will share a few photos from soon.

This is probably my favorite part of this series because I love (LOVE) stationary. It's such an easy, simple and cheap way to add a little something to your walls, but maybe one you have never considered before. In the picture below, this is one a set of notecards I received as a gift that were all of old-fashioned bathing beauties. I already had the frame and mat and, because didn't fit perfectly in the mat, I used brown kraft paper in the background - I don't even think you can notice. This is the perfect touch for the space next to the vanity in the guest bathroom - the colors are perfect and it's just a fun picture.

Next, here are some postcards we got on our honeymoon in St. Lucia. I loved how the pictures looked kind of old and how saturated the colors were. When I originally bought them, I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I knew the colors would look great in our house. Plus, they are historical buildings and areas on the island, so just the sense of history really appealed to me also. If you don't have enough postcards to do a series, just one would be fine, or maybe if you have three you could do three frames in a row. I just recently got frames for these...I don't usually buy things when I don't know how I will use them, but it's not as though I make it down to St. Lucia once a month AND storing postcards doesn't take up a lot of room! As you can see, I haven't yet found the perfect place for these in my house, which is why I have them sitting on a hamper in my hallway for this picture.

Lastly, while this isn't technically wall decor, I wanted to include it just to give you another idea of ways to use paper/stationary in decorating your home. I loved this mother-of-pearl frame the minute I saw it and had to buy it, even though I wasn't sure what I would put in it. (Again, I don't usually buy things when I don't know how they will be used - REALLY - but twice in this post I have contradicted myself! Maybe I have just become too practical in the last few years!) In the frame now is the cover from our wedding programs. The frame was kind of an odd size, but this fit perfectly and I loved the way the colors came together. It looks great on a bookshelf in our guest room and looking at it brings back memories of our wedding. Speaking of weddings, we also have our wedding invitation framed on the entrance table into our home. It was kind of plain, so I found a silver frame will some engraved leaves that really punches it up. I've also known people to frame their invitations in bigger frames with mats. What a great way to display the beginning of your lives together!

I hope you are inspired to start thinking about what to do with those beautiful notecards and postcards you either have lying around or see when you're out shopping. These also make great gifts for people. You can personlize it AND it's so original, anyone would love to receive it!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A favorite tool!

This is a tool I have come to depend on, it has so many great uses! Of course there is the basic window scraping function when you paint, but also for the outside of your windows when they get grimy.

I have a ceramic top flat stove, which I like because it is easier to clean but sometimes food gets cooked on and angry. A flat razor blade takes it right off and leaves it looking brand new!

I also carry it (closed) in my pocket when I mop, it does wonders for stuck on food and such on the tile. But don't use it on your wood floors or you'll be sorry!

I hope this handy $3 tool can make your cleaning easier too!