Tag Archives | furniture redo

French provincial dresser turned media stand

This is a project a LONG time in the making. Like so long I’m not going to tell you when I bought this dresser, because it’s super embarrassing how long it sat in the garage untouched. Woops. Sometimes life happens.

I bought this yellowed french provincial dresser at a thrift store near my grandparents’ house in rural Kansas.


I’d been on the hunt for a long dresser like this for a while to replace this media stand in our living room.


The ones I kept finding at thrift stores or on Craigslist were so expensive (even though most were damaged or poor quality!), so when I found that one for $200, I snatched it up.

I sanded the bottom lightly by hand and the top with our orbital sander, primed it with an oil primer (I prefer Kilz Original for interior and Zinsser Cover stain for exterior) since the previous paint was an oil or lacquer, and then brushed on two coats of Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint. I finished it with a couple of coats of clear wax (Johnson’s paste wax.)

We let it cure overnight and then moved it inside!


At first the wall seemed really bare, but then I remembered we had these old windows in the garage so we hung them on either side. I’m not sure if they’re a permanent fixture, but for now they fill the space and don’t feel too heavy. And they were free!!


As far as cheap entertainment centers go, we did really like our previous one. It was far more interesting and modern than most, but it had gotten quite a bit of wear and didn’t really reflect our current style.


Especially with our more traditional secretary, we felt we needed something less modern and a little more transitional.


Another bonus, the wall around it doesn’t look quite so bare anymore. I was always hesitant to put anything up because the shelves of the media center already felt a little cluttery.


And now there’s no room for visible clutter, but more hidden storage! Definitely a win-win for me. I still haven’t filled up all the drawers!


Despite the huge box of sample hardware in our garage, I’m always a fan of keeping original hardware when possible. I also liked the patina so I opted not to paint the handles. And less work for me!


For now, the DVR is sitting on the floor under the dresser, which is not ideal.


We’re hoping to put it inside the space for the top right drawer and install hinges on the side of the drawer front. Unfortunately, since the drawers are curved on the inside, too, we can’t hinge it at the bottom. If we find a way to make it work, we’ll also cut out the back around that drawer to give it more ventilation.

And now, just for fun, here’s what our living room looked like right after our scraping/repainting project.


And now!


It took me a few days to get used to the new dresser (I’ll be honest, I don’t love change), but now I love it! I’m relieved it’s finally done, and Andrew is glad to have the space back in the garage!

Next up for the living room is getting a new rug and reupholstering the brown club chairs. Although, after spending a week at my parent’s house for Christmas with their much larger screens, maybe I need to add getting a bigger TV to that list!

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Ombré dresser drawers

We have TONS of projects going at the moment (hence very little time for blogging!), so in the midst of working on all these projects that need to be done, I figured I’d squeeze in a more fun project: ombré-ing (that’s a word, right?) my paint supplies dresser in the garage! It’s been on my “do if I get the time” list for a while, so I decided to take advantage of a rainy day to get it done.


We bought this shabby, not-so-chic dresser at a garage sale for $5 a few years ago. We knew the measurements were perfect to create storage in this useless space between the shelf and steps in our garage. And you cannot buy plastic storage shelves for $5, so it was a bargain.


But it was in TERRIBLE shape. Like maybe someone took it swimming. The veneer was peeling really badly (the pictures don’t do it justice) and the drawers do not open well. Or close well. Surprising that it still had all it’s hardware, really.


We primarily bought it for storage, but we also wanted to experiment with some veneer removal methods (namely, covering it with a wet rag and ironing the heck out of it). As I’m sure you can tell from the fact that we only managed to remove the veneer from one drawer, none of the methods were very easy.

So we gave up, slid it into this spot and crammed it full of stuff.


But I still want it to be cute even if it is destined to stay in the garage. I have a ton of mess up paints so I mixed up four shades of blue, one for each drawer. For the two lighter colors I started with a white base and added small amounts of turquoise, and for the two darker I started with the turquoise and added white.


I wanted this to be a quick project, so I didn’t even sand (that’s hard for me!!). I removed the hardware, wiped off the drawer fronts and added a quick coat of primer to the bare drawer.

I didn’t want to have to get a roller and tray dirty for each drawer, so starting with the lightest drawer I applied the paint with small brush, rolled it smooth, and then rolled/brushed out excess paint on a piece of cardboard before moving on to the next. The painting step took much less time than mixing the colors!


I re-attached the hardware and that was that!


This was probably the fastest project I’ve ever done! If the drawers would glide more smoothly, I’d almost consider  putting inside! Almost…


Now it’s functional and cute! In the top drawer I keep paint samples, latex and nitrile gloves, chip brushes, tack cloth and cheesecloth, and foam brushes.


Roller handles, foam and nap rollers, and extra tape in the next.


Paint trays and a few random paint sprayer supplies in the third.


And tarps go in the bottom, but they’re currently spread all over our garage for our many in process projects. Now that this is done, it’s time to move on to some more pressing things…mostly involving the deck. Be excited!


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Master bedroom metamorphosis

Our bedroom has changed a lot in the nearly 4 years that we’ve lived here. But I’m happy to say it’s finally to a point that I’m happy with! I can’t think of anything else major that I want to change or redo! Here’s what it looked like shortly after we moved in…

It was the first room we tackled. We scraped and repainted the ceilings, repainted the walls, and redid all of the trim. And besides a new-to-us bed frame, used our existing furniture that looked much more proportionate in our tiny duplex.

Here’s what it looked like a little less than a year ago.


And after some final finishing touches that I’ve wanted for a looooong time (night stands with drawers!!!), here’s what it looks like now!


I bought these navy and white shams with the guest room in mind, but they just didn’t work so I put our West Elm rice pintuck shams in there instead. And I love these in our master!


The mirrors were on sale at Target for around $30 each, plus I had gift cards. I wanted to do mirrors over the night stands to bring more light into our room since we just have one teeny window, but everywhere else they were so expensive and way too ornate. These just have a simple silver frame and were the perfect size!


These gorgeous lamps are from Home Goods, and boy was it a process to find them!


I told Andrew our budget was $100 or less for two lamps but I really wanted to keep it under $80, which seemed plausible, until I started shopping for lamps! Even at Target a lot of the large size lamp bases are $40 plus another $20 to $30 for the shade, and since they don’t come together I can never find a shade that I think is the right size for the base. Super frustrating.

I looked at Target, Pier 1, Jc Penney, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Kirklands, a slew of other places, and everywhere online I could think of. And nothing. Not to mention that Andrew is suprisingly opinionated about lamps. So over Easter when we were in Little Rock visiting my family, my mom and I went to her Home Goods and found these! I sent a picture to Andrew and he actually loved them, too!


But the best part?? $30 each, including the shade!! And they have a finial style top, which I love! No more crooked lamp shades!


I was so sick of our old mismatched lamps (one of which was a thrift store lamp with old wiring), and I just wanted two matching lamps that looked new and purposeful.


Especially since our “new” night stands were used. I like used stuff, but I don’t want my house to look too much like a garage sale!

We bought these two night stands from a guy off Craigslist that was actually selling us a different piece. These were in his garage and evidently he wanted to get rid of them, too, so he asked if we wanted them. For $5 each we were sold!


But they sat in our garage for a VERY long time. I was reluctant to paint them and sell them cause I thought we might want them for ourselves. Problem was, I really wanted something slightly taller than our bed, and these (and every other night stand available for purchase new) were too short.

Luckily, Lowe’s and Home Depot sell furniture legs, so I bought 8 of these for $3.25 each from Home Depot. They have LOTS of options, but these are one of the cheapest.

00fbb1f9-8ab9-45ef-851b-abfe85ca2ba7_400And I bought these top plates to screw them into for $1.68 a piece at Lowe’s.

038453027510We added wood blocks to each corner because the base of the night stand wasn’t sturdy enough to screw the legs directly into.


We wanted the legs to stick out from the apron of the night stand even more, so we added another small piece across the blocks. Then we attached the top plates in each corner (the front ones as far forward as they would go and then we measured for the back ones so they would be even), and screwed the legs into them.


Then I sanded and cleaned them, painted them with a homemade greige chalk paint, and waxed them with Johnson’s clear paste wax. I left the original hardware as is.


Total cost of the night stands: $53.09. (Not including paint and wax, but I always have the wax on hand and the paint was from a $5 gallon of mess-up paint that I’ve used for countless projects).


I’m loving how this room has come together! And I really really love having drawers in my night stand, even if the only things in them at the moment are a box of kleenex and an extra iPhone charger. But hey, I’m sure they’ll accumulate more things over time!


I’m calling this room complete! (There is one more thing we did to make this room comfortable to sleep in, but I’ll save that for another day).  I initially thought I wanted a rug, too, but my experience with the other two rugs in our house is that they simply collect cat hair, are a pain to vacuum (because of the cat hair), and encourage the cats to puke on them. Since the cats aren’t going anywhere, I guess I’ll save my money.

Here’s the list of everything we did and links to the posts:

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Annie Sloan Dark Wax: Take 3

I know, I know…I’m behind the times. But I gotta be honest, Annie Sloan’s dark wax seemed so difficult to work with the first time I used it that I stuck it back on the shelf. And there it sat for a long time. A really long time. Like 1 year, 9 months, and 21 days long. But who’s counting?

Despite all my struggles with it drying too quickly, getting sticky and streaky, and not being able to mix it with Minwax very well, I actually really liked the end result.

So when it came time to redo my radio cabinet, I knew this was the only way I could achieve the look I wanted. But I was nervous, because I didn’t want the wax to be quite so dramatic this time around and I didn’t want to have a sticky mess on my hands!

Luckily, I had something I didn’t have the first time: Johnson’s Paste finishing wax. It’s clear and has a much softer consistency than Minwax, so it mixes well with AS dark wax. And at about $7, it’s way cheaper than Annie Sloan clear wax.


So after having good results with this technique on my radio cabinet…

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I went ahead and did this two drawer night stand with the same paint and a similar technique. Practice makes perfect, right?

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Everyone says you don’t have to sand with chalk paint, but I just can’t help myself! The top was in kind of rough shape, so I sanded it quickly with the orbital, scuff sanded the rest with a fine grit sanding block, and cleaned the whole thing with a TSP substitute.


Remember if the surface doesn’t feel smooth to the touch, the paint is just going to emphasize the flaws! Contrary to popular belief, paint does not hide imperfections! Although, chalk paint and dark wax might transform them from “imperfections” to “character” so it just depends on what style you want.


And, of course, Chaucer had to inspect the new addition to our kitchen and take a quick nap. Fluffy cats and painting projects really do not mix well.



I didn’t want to have exaggerated brush marks on this piece, so I used my current favorite Shur-line synthetic bristle brush and applied two coats of homemade chalk paint. If you want more noticeable brush marks, Wooster makes a great short handled natural bristle brush, or you can simply use the 99 cent chip brushes if you’re ok with the occasional bristle in your paint. Here’s an example of the chalky, pre-waxed surface (not actually of the current project, due to my computer crashing).



On my radio cabinet, I decided to do a coat of clear wax first just to make sure the dark wax wasn’t too dark. It worked great, but I hate adding an extra step, so I wanted to try the same process of mixing the dark and light wax, but without the first coat of clear. I mixed together some Annie Sloan dark wax and Johnson’s paste finishing wax until they were completely blended.


On my last project I found that a 1:1 ratio was a bit too light for me. I think I settled on at least twice as much dark wax as light. I mixed them together until there were no lumps and then applied it one section at a time using a stiff brush. (I’m too cheap to buy the Annie Sloan wax brush, and so far I feel like I don’t really need it!)

In all the dark wax tutorials I’ve read, people say to work in small sections and in circles. I took this to mean that I couldn’t work on a whole section at at time. I’d spend too long brushing and then buffing one small section and when I tried to layer more dark wax to finish out that side of the piece, it would take the dark wax off. Super frustrating. So on this piece, I was sure to wax an entire section at a time. I started with the top, then worked my way around the sides from left to right.


The first time I around, I also buffed as I went, but I found that unless I wiped the wax off almost right away, it would get really sticky…despite what everyone said about “working it into the paint with the brush.” I do think that’s an option if you want a more dramatic look, but there’s definitely a learning curve with that technique. That I have yet to figure out.

This time, I wiped off the extra wax as I did each section (on my last piece I applied the wax thinly to the whole thing, let it dry for about an hour, and then went back and buffed). Then I went back in the same order and buffed more vigorously with a clean rag to achieve a slight sheen.


I finished it with a quick coat of Rustoleum’s oil rubbed bronze spray paint on the handles. (The little middle decorative piece was glued, so I opted to leave it and paint it with chalk paint.)

I’m really happy with how this piece turned out, too. I was expecting the dark wax to “stain” the piece a little more since I didn’t do the first coat of just clear wax, but the finish really turned out about the same. I’m glad to know this, because if I’m in a hurry, I can leave out that first step!


For a highly used piece, I might still do it for the extra protection, though. Or if I’d known this fluff was going to lay all over it. Nah, he’s harmless!


I especially love how the dark wax picks up these little details and adds so much depth!


I’m relieved that I’ve finally figured out a way to use the dark wax that doesn’t make me uber nervous and that doesn’t take hours to do! I’m guessing my dark wax won’t have to sit on the shelf so much anymore!


And now that I’ve conquered my fear of dark wax, maybe one of these days I’ll break outside my box and use it with something other than gray! Hah, yeah right…

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