February 29, 2012

The Truth About Painting Furniture

I did A LOT of research before attempting to paint my furniture. I grew up in a house where that was taboo and you did not put color on wood and veneer was absolutely not paintable. I guess that's why I kept waiting for someone to walk in and yell at me while I was doing this whole project! Anyhow, this is what I learned through trial and error and trying a few different things:
First, Zinsser cover stain is your best friend for this project! Note, this is oil based and doesn't just wash right off your hands and brush when you are done. In fact, make it easy on yourself and just buy a cheap pan to toss afterwards and you use cheap brushes for this project too so plan on throwing them away as well. And buy this baby in the gallon size because you will use it a lot once you see how easy this project is!

The other crucial items you need are FOAM brushes... I repeat FOAM!!! Zinsser picks up all and every fiber off a regular rolling brush. I also feel you need a small foam roller, a large foam roller and the giant bag of craft foam brushes for those hard to reach places and cracks. By the way, these are really inexpensive at Walmart. As much as I detest Walmart, it's worth the trip for the pan to throw away to the brushes.

Okay, next item you need is sand paper and wood putty. Here is the truth behind sanding... you don't even need to unless the piece is damaged. I know this because I tested this theory out. The bed I painted had been chewed by a dog and I sanded the crap out of the headboard. But, the foot board I left untouched except where the dog ate it. All I did was fill the holes and sand it after it dried for a smooth look.


Now that you know the basics, one it comes to your final top coat of paint here's another tip. I went to Benjamin Moore and bought the paint all the websites recommended. It was $20 for a pint!!! I flirted with the paint man and that was even an employee discount! (Shhh.. don't tell J!) So I painted one dresser with this special expensive paint and one with the Behr Ultra Premium paint which runs $30 a gallon. You do need two coats of paint so the gallon is what you will end up buying. BUT... as long as you use TWO coats of Zinsser and 2 coats of the top paint... it doesn't matter! I had to use two coats of both types of paint and they look identical. This goes for the furniture I sanded like mad and the ones I was too tired to sand and just said "Eff it"! AS LONG AS YOU YOU A FOAM ROLLER, YOU DON'T NEED EXPENSIVE PAINT!!!! I ONLY USE FOAM ROLLERS!!!!

My last tip before you get started with this entire project is cleaning the furniture before you paint. Many people said to go with TSP. It's waaaay more expensive than my homemade version. I just put equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and wiped it down with that. It took so much crap out of the wood! I did wipe it down before and after sanding too. You will be grossed out by the dirt it pulls out!! For the TSP... this is non toxic and works amazingly!

So here's the run down one more time:
1) clean
2) sand if you must
3) clean if you sand
4) 2 coats primer
5) 2 coats of paint
AND PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE... wait at least 8 hours between coats so you don't get a tacky piece of furniture. This parts sucks the most!!!

Here are my before and after pictures: (eventually I want to replace the hardware but I'm keeping it as is for now)





February 27, 2012

While waiting on paint to dry... Pantry Makeover

I spent 8 hours straight painting two dressers and H's bed Saturday. I was a little too woozy to post after that. Because I wanted to let the paint dry adequately before putting on the final glossy top coat, I decided to tackle an easier project and get reinspired. My pantry is UGLY!! In fact, if it wasn't a load bearing wall, I'd knock it out. Truth be known, I don't need one and we only eat items that perish quickly. Before, I had a cabinet in which I kept all my baking items because I bake a LOT!
So what to do with this big ugly room until I have the cash to revamp the shelving and wallpaper the back of the shelves? Because, you know... I'm gonna make it pretty somehow.

Here was my cheap and easy solution: I did some price comparisons between the Container Store, Target and Walmart and a few others in there as well. Where I might have bought something used, I needed several jars and I wanted them clean and in great shape because this would be storage for my food. I gotta draw the line with my thriftiness and germ phobia somewhere. Anyhow, I found that Walmart carries the EXACT same jars as the Container Store but for waaaay cheaper! I bought crap load of, gallon to pint sized, jars and a package of 2"x4" clear labels on clearance from Target for $5. Note: the same labels were $14 at Staples!

After I figured out what food I was going to repackage, I went of the www.avery/template website and printed a large oval with the words I was going to display on my jars. Originally, I wanted a vintage looking border and something ultra fancy, but I gave in to a simple oval because I just didn't feel like spend more than an hour on this project.

So, with labels in hand, I began peeling and sticking labels on all the jar... AFTER I WASHED THEM and cleaned the insides. But, since this is trial and error for me... I didn't like how you could see the rectangle a little bit so I peeled them all off and cut around the oval with scissors for a cleaner look. And ta-da!!! I think it came out looking awesome and I love my pantry now. Well, love is a strong word. I like it a whole lot more!

I even got a little label happy and made labels for my olive oil, grape seed oil and vinegar! And then... I started dressing up old containers I had like my Mom's plastic yellow flour container from the 70's and a few white jars I had for coffee, tea and hot chocolate. I'm telling you, labels make all the difference!

It's made cooking so much easier too by the way! I just whip my jars out and there's no thumbing around with flour bags and assorted containers. I also like how I can see what's getting low and what to buy next at the grocery in case I forget to write it down. The first thing I have cooked using the new jars is my faux buttermilk pancake recipe. Make this recipe just once, and no pancake will ever taste as good. I PROMISE!!!

"Buttermilk" Pancakes:
1 cup flour
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
(1/4 tsp salt or )1/8 tsp sea salt I use the sea salt
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1 Tbs melted butter
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1/2 milk (maybe a little less or more)
dash of vanilla extract

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and all the wet ingredients in a small bowl. Combine the ingredients and mix until they two are well combined. Add a little more milk if necessary. I like my pancakes thick so my batter is usually a little thick like that of cake batter. Bake on a greased griddle until both sides are golden brown and serve with Organic pure maple syrup! YUMMY!!!

So, while you are chowing down on a plate full of pancakes, let me entertain you with a few of inspiration pictures for my dream pantry!

I want a countertop and a few drawers in it just like here only I want it to be a butchers block top and large wire baskets to store fruit in in place of the wicker baskets. I'd also like the bottom shelving to pull out for easy access too.

These pull out shelves are what I have in mind and I'd love a wine rack and place to store my glasses. I'm thinking sort of like a butler's pantry in addition to a food pantry. I will need better lighting too.

This pantry is heaven! I'd just like the wallpaper in the same print but gray... beautiful though! I want the white shelves and wallpaper!

Did I mention that we are building a hidden walk-in pantry when we redo the cabinets? Oh yes we are! By the time we are said and done, the pantry may be my favorite room!

February 25, 2012

New this week...

This week doesn't feel like I've gotten a lot done because of having to run errands and compare prices. You know, thing like curtain rods and window treatments, purchases and returns, trial and error etc... Here's a teaser of what's yet to come though!
In my bathrooms, I have two windows over each garden tub that are corner windows. Instead of ordinary window treatments and blinds... I'm thinking stained glass. That way, the light shines in but I still have privacy at all hours. Here is a peak at my sample window as I devise the best method of getting the look I want!

I have actually NEVER painted furniture before! I've been reading up on the best methods of painting furniture for that glossy Pottery Barn look and I've already learned more than I've read. Here's part of the dresser project I'm working on too:

Here is a DIY project for the kids' bathroom coming soon.

J thinks I have ADHD because I work on multiple projects at one time. I think he has ADHD because he can't carry a 2-minute conversation without forgetting he was talking to me or being distracted by a beer commercial. SO, here's another hint of a project I'm brainstorming up using anaglypta:

I took an afternoon to make some art for the playroom too. Can you guess what I will be doing with this silhouette?

Here is also my inspiration for H's room and progress on how my vision is coming together. Please understand, when H asked for a blue room, it was very hard to picture a blue little girl's room! However, it is becoming my favorite room so far:





I found this bed on Craigslist for next to nothing and it's solid mahogany and weighs a ton! This purchase is most exciting because I didn't realize my inspiration photo was a sleigh bed and finally, both my children have headboards! This photo is what the room looked like when I went to bed tonight.

E's room is just about done and I have things hanging on her walls now. This weekend we are borrowing a contractor friend's spray machine to get all the oak trim in the house painted white. Then it's back to painting walls and the above projects. I will have to wait until daylight to take pictures of the rooms for better images. I can't wait to share more soon!

February 19, 2012

IKEA Hacking (make something old into something new)

I've mentioned on my family blog how I love turning old clothes into new clothes so why not do that with furniture? While packing up the house, I was staring at H's bed and decided I didn't like it anymore. We bought the IKEA Malm bed off craigslist when we lived in GA because we were desperate to own a bed and the space we had was really tiny. Jeremy said No so reluctantly, I took the bed apart dreading to rebuild it in the new house.

That was until I got the newest edition of Pottery Barn Kids and came across the prettiest bed. In case you didn't know, I'm a sucker for nail head trim and crystal chandeliers. This bed was perfect for my vision and then I got to brainstorming...

I had J run to the hardware store for me after I spent the night with a glass of wine, a box top, pen and my conversion calculator. I had a queen sized bed so I needed some plywood 66.5" long and 18" high. I also need lots of screw, staples for my gun and some L-brackets. Meanwhile, I ran to the fabric store and bought 4.75 yards of fabric a 5 yards of 2" batting and some silver nail head trim.

Here's what I did:
1) I attached 4 L-brackets to the plywood

2) Then I screwed the plywood to the headboard

3)I carefully laid the headboard down being attentive to the brackets making sure not to bend them. I took some left over plywood and placed it on the front of the headboard to secure it a little better.

4)Once that was screwed in place, I cut the 2" batting to fit the headboard and secured it with a few staples so it didn't move while I measured the rest of the batting to fit

5)I attached a second row of batting, making sure to cut out a space for the side rails to attach later

6)Next, I took my fabric a stapled it to the bottom of the headboard where it would be covered by the mattress. I proceeded to staple the fabric as I pulled it tightly to get a nice even look

7)I carefully folded up the corners like a present and stapled them

8)Then I nailed the trim in place

9) I did the same thing with the foot board

10)I also covered the side rails but did not use batting. Instead, I had to be careful getting under the slight ledge on the side.

PRESTO!!! My $2000 pottery barn bed 4 hours and a blister later for $100!

Stay tuned to see the bed in the room with bedding once paint dries in the room here in a few days!

E's Room Stage 1

We started with E's room first because it was the "easiest" and the farthest away from the main living quarters. The original room belonged to a boy who beat the crap out of the walls. After we removed the border, I went through and patched dings, knicks and holes with joint compound and sanded it smooth.

Her favorite color is green and her old room was a very pale pink. She wanted green and I went searching for a green color I liked that was minty of limey. I narrowed it down to three colors and let them sit for a day before buying the paint. I couldn't bring myself to paint the entire room green so I decided I wanted a chair rail in her room as well.

The molding in the house is all oak and really nice wood. Rather than rip it all out a spend a fortune replacing it, we decided to keep it and spend a life time painting it! Check out this tip for painting the trim near the carpet. All we did was rip down the exisiting vertical blinds and slide them under the gap between the carpet and trim. Then, I just extended the area with cardboard boxes since we have a million right now.

Here are pictures showing the progress of the room: