Friday, May 19, 2017

dresser makeover - ombre chalk paint

We had an old dresser that had been used by everyone in my family - my parents, both brothers, and myself at different points in our lives. It was pretty rough looking and there was a significant amount of sticker reside that I didn't want to mess with. But also this dresser couldn't really be used as-is anymore.

So out comes the chalk paint -

I did no prep work. I didn't clean off the sticker residue at all. I just painted right over it and thats one of the reasons I like chalk paint - it covers stuff up nicely. The directions will tell you to clean the surface before painting, but I have never had a problem so far.

I had a small jar of light gray chalk paint that I had purchased (before I realized that I could make my own). I painted the top drawer with that, then added a small amount of black to make the color darker as I painted the next two drawers. I also had some black chalk paint already mixed, so I used that for the bottom drawer and the top of the dresser here. I also put a clear-coat of polycrylic (on the top surface only) when I use chalk-paint because people tend to set drinks on there and that doesn't mix well with chalk paint.

I kept the body of the dresser and the knobs the original dark wood color. I touched up a few of the wooden knobs with similar brown craft paint that I had around, that happened to match perfectly!

Now I can use this dresser in my bedroom and not have to worry about it looking gross!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Mudroom" closet

We had a large hallway closet with clunky sliding doors that is the first thing you see when you come in the front door. I've tried replacing the sliders, but the doors never quite sat right and always looked horrible. But not as horrible as whatever we'd shoved back there before we closed the doors - a million coats, shirts to iron, stuff for Goodwill, and whatever else we didn't know what to do with. I have no idea why the photo is black and white, I will blame the kids for that....

The thing we hated most about this closet is that we would shove things in there out of convenience, which created a big mess that we'd eventually have to sort through if we wanted to find something. Our idea was to remove the doors and the clothing rod, and make it a mudroom style area. Not that we really need a mudroom, but I just wanted it to look nice and keep everyone from shoving things in there... so, like a mudroom, but just for looks...

Oh and by the way, when we did have guests over, they definitely could not hang up their coats, because there was no room and the closet was too messy to open, anyhow! So if you're wondering if we would "lose" room by eliminating a true closet, the truth is - not really, because it was not really storage space as much as it was a black-hole of junk!

Here is what the closet looked like after I took off the doors, removed all of the hanging coats, etc and the hanging rod, plus a lot of the junk that was piled in the closet (yes, there was more - much more). I also took one of the boards that comprised the two-board deep shelving out (but it got wedged in, as you can see in the photo, and it took me a while to figure out how to get out)

We wanted to add some molding and paneling, and I already had some textured wallpaper that looks like beadboard, so I decided to give that a try. It wasn't hard to put on, but if I ever want to add beadboard anywhere else in the house I will just buy the real thing. This wallpaper looks good, but it dents very easily. I've already spent a lot of time patching it and trying to repair ripples along the edges (I did carefully follow the instructions). Basically if you lean anything on it, or anything is touching it, OR if you slip and fall on it when you're caulking, it will make a dent.

Here I am measuring the wall and marking it with the backside of my wallpaper "beadboard"...

A piece of the wet wallpaper "beadboard" before I applied it to the wall....

After I put the wallpaper up.... (its uneven on the bottoms, but I didn't worry about that part because it was going to be covered by wood). You might also notice that large (and tacky) piece of wood on the bottom left side of the closet. The master bathroom is on the other side of this closet, so I believe that this wall was used to access the plumbing at some point, and this wooden patch was placed over the drywall that was removed. It really is an eyesore (they used really thick wood, so it sticks out about an inch from the wall). I considered replacing it with something less horrible, but then I decided I'd better just leave it alone in case we need to access the plumbing in the future. But I would definitely need a way to hide it...

Next I added the wood trim/molding under the shelf, at the bottom of the "beadboard," etc. and caulked, then painted it all the same white color. I added 5 brushed-nickel hooks (here I am checking the placement of the hooks by attaching them with painters tape before I actually attach them)...

In the photo above, you can also see that I am checking to make sure that the base of my bench will fit. I added 4 "legs" to a piece of wood that I already had (an old shelf piece that I didn't want, that I cut 5" off of to make it the size I wanted and then roughly painted white over the brown). I attached the legs using this hardware that I found at Lowe's. The bench would have been fine without adding the legs, but I needed a few extra inches of height to cover that square wood patch that I mentioned before....

I got these plain wooden crates at Michael's, then sanded & painted them white, then bolted together...

Here is the bench with the top and bottom pieces attached... I painted another piece of wood with what I call "faux-stain" (basically I just water down craft paint and paint on so that you can still see the wood grain and then cover it with a layer or two of polycrylic clear coat). This is the same as I did with the top for our entertainment/media center (see that post for more info). Its a dark brown color with the wood grain showing through for a rustic sort of look. 

I used wood screws to attach the top and bottom to the crates.

And here is the finished project! I think it makes the entry area of our home seem more roomy and bright. And I don't have to worry about people shoving junk in there, because there is no door to close!  

The first thing my kids said was, "can we put our coats and shoes in here now?" Why no, no you can't. We actually have an area in the entryway from the garage (where we actually enter the house) to put shoes, etc. This one is just for looks, people! And guests, too, I suppose. :)

Friday, March 3, 2017


Then....                                                                                                 NOW!

I spotted this cabinet across the parking lot at a garage sale, I thought it was a buffet table and I got really excited... It would be nice in our dining room (AFTER a makeover). When I got closer and actually tried to open the the drawers, I realized that its actually an old stereo/record player/8-track player. YIKES. I decided to buy it anyhow. It was $10 and the guy even loaded it into my van (and provided a bungee cord when it didn't quite fit!)
 To John's ultimate disappointment, the record player didn't actually work, but I wasn't planning on keeping it anyhow, so I didn't mind a bit.

I removed the back and gutted out as much as I felt like of the inner wiring/equipment. I also fixed the flip-up lid (over the record player) that wasn't sitting quite right by adjusting the hinge in the back. 

Back of cabinet, mid-gutting

Even though there is no door/drawer access from the front, pulling it away from the wall will give access to whatever we put in the back. But of course whatever we put back there would need to be something I wouldn't be getting out frequently (KEEP READING TO FIND OUT WHAT I PUT BACK THERE!)

I haven't gotten to it yet, but eventually I will also remove the record player, which will give us some room to store items (like tablecloths or whatever), on the top shelf (accessible through the flip-up top).

The next step was to paint the outside of the cabinet with black chalk paint (plaster of paris, water, and black interior house paint) that I mixed myself using the huge bucket o' plaster of paris I bought a few projects back. Black chalk paint is pretty flat looking until you distress and/or wax:
Painted with chalk paint

 Next, I distressed the edges with sandpaper and waxed the whole thing with clear wax:
Distressed & waxed

 A close-up! 

I had enough room in the bottom section of this cabinet to put my emergency water storage (FEMA & the Red Cross recommend storing 3 days worth of water for drinking/cooking/hygiene in  emergencies that might affect the local water supply). Better safe than sorry! I had recently purchased some mylar water bags that go inside special stackable boxes from Emergency Essentials. These are easy to stack in a closet or somewhere else out of the way (like a huge stereo cabinet).
Emergency water storage inside the not-very-accessible bottom section

UPDATE: The dining room table is dark, and so is the piano, so I felt like it was a little much. I repainted the body white and kept the top black. I also coated the top with polycrylic clear coat.

Plain wooden chest = fancy wooden chest


I want to redo the existing cabinets in the kitchen (old-school wood grain type)...we have the same cabinets in the laundry room, so I decided to try it out in there first. Because of the small size and angle of the laundry room, its impossible to get a photo of the whole room, but here are some close ups of the cabinets. See previous post about redoing the floor and adding molding if you are interested!

This project took a lot longer than I thought because even with a paint/primer combo paint it took at least 5 coats before you couldn't see the dark wood grain peeking through.

I used white paint, polycrylic, and chalk that I already had from another project, plus some extra knobs that I had leftover from a dresser makeover. So my total out of pocket cost was $0

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New kitchen faucet

Our old kitchen faucet broke, so I got this awesome new faucet and replaced it myself!