Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Re-Loved French Provincial Dresser

Hello dear friends! I am back to share something special with you today and I hope that you love it as much as I do. Let's go back to February 2016, when I found the most beautiful French Provincial style lowboy dresser. I had been searching high and low for an unusual piece and found just what I had in mind on Craigslist for a really good price. The only wrinkle was that it was located in Vancouver B.C., Canada. The look on my husband's face when I informed him that we were driving three hours to the north to fetch this beauty was priceless. We hopped into our Durango (rest in peace, I miss your large cargo space) and off we went. I loved that it was located in the New Westminster neighborhood of Vancouver which is chock full of lovely vintage houses from the 1890's to the turn of the century. I really wished we had had more time to explore, but we were on a time crunch that day. I adored the piece which I was intending to use as a credenza/buffet, threw it in the garage and it sat there for almost six months before I finally found my inspiration. Sometimes, all it takes is a single random photo or perhaps a far away friend who's a composer by trade to inspire a big idea. While searching online for paint colors for the front door at our old house, I stumbled across the photo below and instantly fell in love with the grungy undertones that are Paris. It has inspired a whole suite of furniture for my home and I thought I would share the products I use and the process today as I added a matching new piece a weekend ago that I'm pretty excited about.

I found this piece on the app OfferUp. I like this app as I've been able to find some pretty good bargains. As with most of my shopping habits, I prefer doing things online. Garage sales are fun, but I have a crazy schedule with kids and a job in healthcare, so I prefer scrolling through inventory while on a break or commuting. When I found I saw this dresser, I just had to have it as it's an exact match for the piece I already have, just in a smaller size, and I had the perfect place to put it. Our new house is quite a bit smaller than our old one and we no longer have a formal dining room. What was my credenza/buffet has become a television stand and I've missed having a place to display some of my favorite ironstone pieces. She was in pretty good shape, and I immediately set to work by wiping her completely down (inside and out) with a mixture of white vinegar and hot water. This helps to get rid of any stains or odors that might be lingering, and I like that it's chemical free. Once it was dry, I sanded down any flea bites or minor blemishes. Luckily, this piece didn't really have many issues, so it took all of two seconds and I wiped the dust away with a dry cloth. I taped off the top and started in with my chalk paint.

I really dislike when bloggers don't list their products. Unfortunately, I will have to be one of those annoying people as I picked up the original can of paint on the clearance shelf at Lowe's. I have no idea what the color is as it apparently wasn't mixed correctly but it's a lovely vintage dove gray. I was using Christy's recipe (link at the bottom) to make my own chalk paint but I decided to try out Valspar's Chalk Paint on this piece. I hadn't realized that Valspar had a chalk paint in their range of paint products until I randomly stumbled across it while browsing at my local Lowe's. It comes in 40 different colors, B-U-T you can literally have any color from any brand mixed so long as you have the paint code available (mine is in the photo below). Ah-mazing! It typically takes about three coats to cover up the beige laminate body of these pieces. The Valspar brand dried pretty quickly and I was able to get my three coats applied on a Saturday evening before the sun went down.

I let my chalk paint settle overnight and started on the top the next morning. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE General Finishes Java Gel Stain for the tops of my furniture. Most of all the pieces I've refinished have this deep, dark luscious stain on the top which is my homage to the dark top of a Parisian building. I get so many compliments (and questions) whenever I feature or sell a piece online and it is so simple to use. I start out with a cheap foam brush in the medium size to apply the stain on a thick layer. Once the top is completely coated, I take a small paint roller and roll out the product on the top. This allows for a super smooth and flawless finish. Again, it usually takes about three coats to get an opaque coat, the photo below was taken after the application of a second coat. When I'm done with a coat, I just slip my foam brush into a sandwich baggie and put saran wrap around my roller between coats and re-use them because paint supplies can add up quickly.

While the last coat of stain is drying, I go ahead and apply my wax over the chalk paint to seal it in and protect the piece. To give it that vintage Parisian feel, I used a mixture of dark and clear waxes from the Valspar Chalk Paint line mixed together and applied with a small chalk paint brush. It looks pretty scary and streaky when first applied, but I take a rag or towel and rub it in which helps to diffuse and soften the dark wax leaving a warm glaze effect over the paint. It gives it an amazing "antiqued" look without having to distress the piece. I let the stain and wax dry overnight and apply my favorite top coat over the Java Gel Stain. I really enjoy General Finishes High Performance Top Coat. It adds a really nice shiny gloss to the dark espresso top. I always get the QTHS Satin version as it gives the prettiest finish in my opinion. Again, about three maybe four coats to really seal that stain in and protect your handiwork. I apply it the same way as I do the stain, and save my foam brush and roller between applications.

Now for the fun part! I have long been obsessed with Modern Masters Metallic paints and the shade Oyster is a match made in heaven for these furniture pieces. The metallic effect really elevates the piece and makes is so much more elegant! To start, I give the hardware a couple coats of some type of white paint as a base. I'm currently using white chalk paint from Rustoleum that I don't really like. It's great for using as a base paint though and this way I'm not wasting it. Once my hardware has the base, I go ahead and paint a couple of coats with the Oyster shade. This is a super light and very sheer paint to work with. It dries quickly though so it doesn't take long to build up the color. For these particular pieces, I also use this paint on the body of the dresser, along the rounded scallop on the top drawer and flourish at the bottom edge for maximum metallic effect.

Once everything is dry, I put it all together and let it sit for a few days. Chalk paint and wax take about 21 days to fully cure, but I couldn't resist bringing her inside to take photos for you! Isn't she dreamy? I just love the way these pieces turn out! With a wee bit of elbow grease, these tired old pieces from the 1960's & 1970's get a whole new lease on life that can be enjoyed for many years to come. I love that they are so unique and not something that everybody else will have in their home. They are so versatile and can be used in both the bedroom or living room. I've now refinished everything from a coffee table to the buffet now serving as a TV stand to a nightstand that is being used as a couch side table. It doesn't have to cost a fortune to have nice things when you want to redecorate a space in your home. My entire furniture suite in the living room that I refinished cost less than $150 thanks to Craigslist, OfferUp and my local thrift store.

And that is how I refinished my favorite pieces in our new home with my favorite paint/stain combo! I hope that you enjoyed today's post as much as I did sharing it with you. All products I used (paid for with my own money and not sponsored in any way) will be linked below for those interested =)

Chalk Paint Recipe:
Confessions of a Serial DIY'er

Chalk Paint Brush
Sponge Applicators
Paint Roller

Paint Products:
Paint (paint color code is in the photo above)
General Finishes Java Gel Stain
General Finishes High Performance Top Coat
Modern Masters Metallic Paint
Sealing Wax
Antiquing Wax
Small Chalk Paint Brush

Until Next Time,


Monday, July 10, 2017

Upcycled Chalkboard

Hello, again! I'm back today with a quick and easy little project that I worked on for my daughter, Miss Olivia at her request. You see, my pretty Olivia will be 17 in September and starting her Junior Year this Fall (How on earth did that happen?). The past two years has been pretty rough on her. Young teenage girls can be so hateful to one another, and Liv has unfortunately felt the effects of that ire more than once from young ladies she considered her friends. She ended her Freshman Year as a kind of pariah and spent her Sophmore Year trying to please others in order not to have a repeat. I have sadly watched my sophisticated and kind young lady turn into someone that I didn't recognize and her life started to fall apart. With the support of our family and her teachers, I did an intervention of sorts. I am hoping that she is now on the path to a healthier and happier future. I have tried to impress upon her that in life, we don't often get a second chance or a clean slate to start over with and not to waste the gift of a bright new year in a new school with the opportunity of making better choices. At the suggestion of my step-mother, she is currently working on making some short/long term goals for the next year and wanted some kind of chalkboard or memo board to write them on. I actually had just the thing to upcycle, and I thought that I would share it with you today!

I found this sad looking and very grimy picture frame at my local thrift store for a whopping $2.99 and threw it into my pile of "stuff to work on" out in the garage. When Liv said she was looking for something cute, I knew it would be perfect for her new room. I pulled it out and gave it a thorough cleaning with a damp cloth and attacked the glass with some windex.

I started on the wood frame first by giving it a couple of coats of a new brand of paint I've discovered - Fusion Mineral Paint in the shade Casement. This is supposed to be a one and done paint, meaning no primer or sealant is needed. I used a random wax brush as I knew that the raised decorative areas in the corners would be a challenge for a normal paint brush and it worked like a dream. I was going to distress it a bit to test it out, but Miss Liv decided that she liked it as is.

Another new to me product is the Krylon chalkboard paint that I picked up while out and about. After the glass was cleaned, I took this outside and applied it as a normal spray paint. Two coats was all it took to get the flat matte black of a chalkboard. I had purchased a special fine tip chalkboard pen and Liv was able to make a list of goals that made my mother's heart sing.

And that's all it takes to upcycle a sad and tired looking piece into something refreshed with a new life! Easy peasy and a pretty inexpensive project that is perfect for a dinner menu or grocery list in the kitchen or as a decorative accent in a girl's room.

Until next time,


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Mini Bathroom Makeover

Hello, Blogging Friends! As always seems to be the case this year, it's been a little while since my last post. We've moved into our new home and we are busy working hard to make it our own. We had found a buyer for our old place at the beginning of May, was in the process of packing up and moving out when we were notified that our buyer's financing fell through. Le sigh... Since we had an empty house waiting for us, we decided to move into the new home at the beginning of June and relist the old one without us living there. It made life so much easier for showings since we no longer had the stress of physically being there. We have a new buyer, and our house closes in another two weeks. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it goes through this time without a hitch as I am eager to move on with the next chapter in our life.

If you knew me in real life, you would know that I literally have no patience and want everything in my life done as soon as possible. Like yesterday. I work 10-12 hour shifts, but I still got most of our boxes unpacked within the first few days and painted four bedrooms over the first few weekends. It's been hard for me not to want everything to be done immediately in our first month. I keep reminding myself that we are going to be in this home for quite a number of years to come and I can take my time while fixing it up one room at a time.

Now that the bedrooms have been been repainted, I have a few other rooms to paint, and then the "hard" stuff will be done! Today, I wanted to share what I've done with our downstairs bathroom over the long 4th of July holiday weekend. It started out as a kind of blank slate as neither of the homeowners that owned our new home before us chose to do any upgrades to this space, so it's essentially the same as when the home was built in 2012. The main color throughout the home is Powell Buff by Benjamin Moore with the bathroom no exception. Initially, I intended to have the main living spaces painted Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams. But the neutral buff shade has grown on me, and I've decided to keep it after all. However, the bathroom doesn't get a lot of light and it seemed pretty dark with the walls and the ceiling painted the same tan color. We had some paint left over from Miss Olivia's room and I spent a Friday evening/Saturday morning painting the ceiling white and the walls Adley Grey from Sherwin William's HGTV line (available at Lowe's). I love this warm gray shade, it was actually a color that I had used in our old home which Miss Olivia just had to have in her new bedroom.

I chose to go with some actual color to brighten up and contrast the space (neutral loving me with color, imagine that!) and added some touches of yellow. Olivia gave me her little snowglobe as she couldn't find a spot for it in her new room and I just love it against the green of the mini boxwood wreath that I had been saving for something special since last Christmas.

Now, as much as I love the new changes, I turn to the right where the vanity area is located and it looks so sad and out of place. I really dislike the vanity that the builder chose and installed in most of the 1/4 bathrooms in the neighborhood. My goal for 2018 is to replace the vanity with something like the style below (link here). Tasteful and classic, something to fit in the small space yet considered a full-sized vanity. We shall see. But for now, I am happy with how the rest of the room has come together and it's one more thing that I can cross off my seemingly endless list for now.

Ready for more? I will be back soon to share a small project that I worked on for Miss Olivia's room. What's orange and blue and pretty ugly?...
Our front room...

Until next time,