refinishing furniture Tag


Pimp My Furniture: Half a China Cabinet

Ok folks. I’m super excited about this project I’m about to share, and it’s only half done!! I’ve been working on it for a while, because it’s a big piece of furniture and I only have spare moments here and there to get it done. But it’s coming along nicely and I had to share my progress with you!

Remember a while back when I inherited this china cabinet from my parents when my dad was moving out of my high-school home?

Well it took me some time to decide the best makeover strategy for it. (If you follow me on Pinterest, perhaps you remember a barrage of china cabinet pins a few months ago.) But I finally did make a decision and got to work- starting with the buffet base of the cabinet. (China cabinets usually come in two pieces for easier moving- the base buffet and the top display.)

First I removed the drawers and sanded the whole thing down.

I hate sanding, so this probably took me the longest. But once it was done, it was off to the races. I wrapped and taped off the top of the buffet and spray primed, then hand-painted the bottom. Like so:

One layer of primer and three layers of paint later, and the buffet was starting to look pretty awesome to me. (I’ll have to get the name of the paint color for you when I do the second half of this cabinet. It’s late and I don’t want to run down to the garage to check…#lazypants) Now for the buffet top. I had the hub help me sand this down with a belt sander (it was a little tall for tiny me to get any good downward pressure), and then I hand sanded it extra smooth.

Maybe you’re wondering why I hand sanded the rest and not the top? Well, when painting furniture, I never worry too much about getting down to completely bare wood. As long as you can get the gloss off, and you use a decent primer, your paint should hold up fairly well. For the top though, I didn’t want to paint, I wanted to stain.  And that meant I had to get as much of the old stain off as possible so the wood would soak up the new stain.

Once the buffet top was sanded down nicely, I applied three coats of stain, waiting plenty of time between each to allow them to dry. I really wanted a deep dark stain, so I didn’t rub the stain off between coats like you normally would. I just gave it extra time to dry. It surprisingly worked out nicely for an untested technique, and I am smitten with the deep wood finish.

(At this point, Dania stopped in and told me it was looking a little “cookie-monster-blue.” I ignored her. Sorry, Sis. :) Sometimes when you’re finishing furniture, you do it to impress others. This time it’s for me, and I love cookies.)

On to the drawers! I removed all the hardware and painted these the same way I had the cabinet. I am really kind of in love with the original hardware that was on the cabinet, however a couple of the pieces are broken/missing, and have been for as long as I can remember growing up. For a while I debated looking for new hardware that was a little more updated. But I didn’t want to spend a lot on hardware, and like I said, I’m kinda in love with this vintage look.

So instead I decided to use what I had, and am still searching online for replacement parts for the broken handles.

I updated the hardware slightly and added a pop of contrast by spraying it all with Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint before reattaching it to the drawers.

Here is Vera and Bear giving their approval before all the drawers were attached.

Love that kid.

One of my favorite things about this piece is the amazing vintage contact paper that someone (probably my mother) lined the drawers with at some point in the past. It is a tad torn and stained, but I still love it and the unexpected pop of color you get when you open the drawers.

And finally, here she is all put together!

I think this buffet could easily stand on its own as a fantastic piece of furniture. I am seriously in love with my cookie-monster-blue buffet. But I still need a place to store my grandmother’s china (you know, besides that plastic tub in my basement) and I have big plans for the top display also. So as much as I love the half china cabinet, I’m working away on the top half too. It might take me a bit to get it finished up, but I’ll keep you posted.

Hope you had a great weekend!

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Best of B&A 2011

With the year wrapping up, its fun to look back and see all the projects we’ve gotten to. Today I’m linking up with Southern Hospitalities best of 2011 party. Check it out for loads of inspiring projects or link up your own of you’ve got ‘em!

Here are some of my favorite projects from 2011:

Vera’s Nursery


New Kitchen Sink


Chair Re-finished


New Flooring


DIY Painted Countertops


It’s kind of crazy to think that at this time last year we didn’t even have V’s nursery finished yet, let alone all the projects we’ve tackled since then. We’re whipping this place into shape, slowly but surely. I can’t wait to see how far we get in 2012!


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Around the House: Finally Re-finished

After seeing Sherry’s post a few days ago about refinishing the rocking chair she’s had sitting around for 9 months, I felt both shame and inspiration. You see, I also have a chair I’ve been putting off finishing for well, let’s just say it’s been longer than 9 months. And it’s not even as complicated as the double-sided rocker she tackled. Just a plain old side chair that I bought at Goodwill for $8 a long time ago and got about halfway finished with before I became overwhelmed by fabric choices and banished it to the corner until further notice. It was so far from my mind that I didn’t even include it on my recent list of unfinished projects!

I wish I could show you a true ‘before’ picture, but unfortunately the only ones I have are on my old cell phone and I have yet to figure out how to get them off of there. (That is how long ago I purchased this chair.) So you’ll have to rely on my descriptive skills to get a picture in your mind.

Picture this:
Like I said, it was an $8 thrift store find and I couldn’t pass it up, as ugly as it looked back then. The chair was a light oak that was extremely scratched and scuffed up and covered in cobwebs. If I’m remembering correctly, the seat was covered in a blue (or maybe green?) crushed velvet fabric. It’s hard to say exactly, because there were so many layers of different fabrics once I started taking it apart, that they all blend together in my memory. There was even a layer of leather in there somewhere. What a life this chair must have had! What I do remember is that it was stained and showing a lot of wear.

I had been casually looking for a small chair for our master bedroom for a while, and this one seemed perfect. It wasn’t until I got it home and started pulling apart the fabric that I realized that the support board was completely rotten and some of the 12 (literally 12) layers of fabric it had been recovered with over the years, appeared to be moldy. Ew! So I threw the whole seat part away and decided I’d have to start from scratch. Which meant purchasing foam for the seat and a new support board. I also painted the chair white. I wasn’t sure what fabric I was going to use yet, but I thought that white would be crisp and clean and match the dressers in our room nicely. But that is where I stalled out. I looked online for weeks for the perfect fabric, but I couldn’t find anything I loved. I searched Hobby Lobby and Micheal’s to no avail. In my mind, I pictured a striped fabric. Maybe something with gray and plum, but I couldn’t find the perfect one anywhere! So I did what I always do when something frustrates me. I put it out of my mind.

And here’s how it’s looked for the past 9+ months (ok maybe closer to a year or so). Which is already 20x better than it looked when I bought it, FYI.

Yes that’s another unfinished project laying on top of the unfinished chair (a ceiling fan that needs to be wired). And a television wire in the background that still needs to be hidden. My unfinished projects are taking over! And ok, if I’m being completely honest, it really usually looks like this:

But after my little blogesphere kick in the shorts, I decided it was high time to pull it out and finish it up. So Friday, on my day off, I headed to JoAnn Fabrics to find the rest of the supplies I needed. I already had the support board and foam seat, so picked up some cotton batting and started hard-core fabric shopping. I was still thinking gray stripes, but couldn’t find anything close to what I needed, so when I saw a couple other options, I had to rethink my whole plan.

These were the two options I debated between for a while in the aisle at Jo Ann’s. They are both from the Dwell Studio for Robert Allen collection. I also saw a couple more fabrics in that collection that would make some gorgeous pillows if I ever get my sewing machine (birthday hint hub!).

In the end I decided on the brighter birdie fabric. I love furniture upholstered in loud patterns and our room is so white, it could use a shot of color. Plus I love the plum and yellow combo and thought it would be a nice jumping off point to add a third color into our master bedroom.

So with that decision made, I headed home to get to work. With just one more small pit stop on the way. Since selecting the fabric, it occurred to me that maybe the bright white I had already painted my chair wasn’t the best compliment to it after all. No biggie though. It was already painted, which meant no sanding necessary. So I just took another page from Sherry’s book and picked up a couple cans of Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint at Lowes.

This was a first for me, as I’ve never tried ORB before, but I gave it a whirl and let me tell you, I’m a huge fan!! After just one coat the color and coverage were amazing (I ended up doing two coats just to be sure there were no thin spots) and I’m hooked. Like, I’m already looking for other items to paint, hooked.

Anyway, back to the chair, here’s a before an after spray job with a couple close-ups to really see that baby glimmer in the sun.

Once it was painted, I had the hub trim down the support board to fit the seat, while I cut down my foam cushion. Then I covered the whole thing in cotton batting. This does a few things. First, it keeps any sharp edges from the wood from snagging or tearing the fabric. It also adds an extra layer of softness and makes the fabric seem extra thick and professional when it’s all finished off. Not to mention that it helps hold it all together nicely during the fabric wrapping stage. A few staples was all it took. Thanks to Brett scoring me this handy staple gun on his last trip to Arkansas (so much goodness in our home comes from Arkansas! Hand-me-downs are the best.), it was a quick and painless process.

Don’t mind the teething ring in the background of that photo. All Vera’s were properly supervised and kept far away from the staple gun and scissors during this process!

Then the fun part. Ok it’s all fun, but the final step is always the most fun! Because of the pattern on my fabric, I had to make sure it lined up exactly where I wanted before stapling. Then I just pulled the fabric tight (but not too tight or it will smoosh the foam and cause weird bunches) and put one staple in the middle of each side. I did try to make sure it was positioned correctly and the pattern wouldn’t get off as I worked my way around. Also to make sure it wasn’t to tight or too loose.

From there I just worked my way around the bottom with my staple gun. Luckily this is a side no one will ever see, so I didn’t worry about making it pretty, or trimming down the extra fabric. When I got to the corners, I just folded them down like I was wrapping a present. It was a little tricky with the angle of the seat, but I just made sure the folded edges faced the sides and not the front and that they were as smooth as possible. (I actually might still break out the iron to give the seams an extra crisp edge.) Then it was just a matter of screwing the new seat back onto the chair and presto!! Here’s the finished chair:

Not bad for a one day project. I don’t know why I put it off for so long!! Man, this would have really helped in the putting-shoes-on department when I was pregnant. Now that we can actually use it, maybe it won’t just be a place to store laundry. Maybe. :)

Here’s a breakdown of the sources and cost of this project (prices are rounded):

Chair- Goodwill $8
Support Board- Lowes $3
Cushion- Hobby Lobby $7 (40% off)
Batting- Jo Ann Fabrics $8
Fabric- Jo Ann Fabrics $25 (40% off)
ORB Spray Paint- Lowes $10 (two cans)
Total – $61

I probably could have done it for less if I’d purchased less expensive fabric, but call it a splurge. Plus I have some left over to make a couple of matching pillows for our bed (once I get my sewing machine.. hint hint). All in all, not bad at all. And it was a fun project!

Here’s a final comparison shot, just to save you some scrolling back to the top.

Have any cool projects you wish you’d have finished sooner? Show me, show me!


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Around the House:Unfinished Projects

Anyone who’s stopped by my house for the past year and a half has probably heard the phrase “You’ll have to excuse the random unfinished projects around here. We’re in a constant state of remodeling.” While that’s certainly the truth, it’s really only half-true. You see I have a sickness. I love starting new projects and getting this place looking good, but I have a problem actually finishing those projects.

It seems like my creative imagination is both a blessing and a curse in this particular arena, as I can easily imagine what I want every room to look like and plan how to get there. The problem is that once I get about 75% done, I can also easily imagine what the finished product will look like and then I lose motivation to actually finish that project. And have you ever noticed that once you get used to something, you can pretty much live with it looking like that indefinitely?

But I’m trying to get better. So I’m making a list. Here are (mostly) all of the projects I need to just buckle down and finish up around this house. Preferably before I start any new ones, but I can’t make any promises. It’s a sickness after all.

Install Baseboards:
First on the list is the baseboards. Not that it will be the first to get finished, but it bothers me the most. They’ve been like this for over a year and its my goal to get them finished before Vera learns to crawl.



Paint Trim:
Then we have the unfinished trim work. I want to eventually paint all the trim white, but that’s a big job. I randomly started a few places, so my goal is to finish those first and then move on to finishing the first floor. A lot of work, but will make such a huge difference!

Patch and Paint Basement:
I first talked about this little accident when we bought the couch for our basement. That was quite a while ago, and obviously since it’s on this list, it still looks like this. Basically squeezing a giant sofa down a narrow staircase put a rather large hole in our basement wall, which put finishing the paint on hold until we patch the hole.

Second Coat Railings:
I am actually proud of myself for finishing the first coat of both railings in our home, but then I ran out of paint and that was the speed-bump that knocked me off track.










Paint Stairwell:
This one’s kind of embarrassing. Ok they’re all embarrassing, but this one really bothers me. When we were painting the stairwell shortly after moving in, we only got as far as our extended rollers could reach. It’s the give and take of high ceilings I guess. They can look great, but ladders are required. For a while our excuse was that we didn’t have a tall enough ladder to finish the job. Now that we actually do have a ladder though, its pretty much just laziness that has kept this from getting done. Ok maybe a pregnancy in there contributed to my reluctance to climb a ladder propped over a staircase, but regardless of past excuses, I intend to wrap this up very soon.


Bench Building:
I started building this bench a few months ago because I wanted a simple and inexpensive piece of furniture to sit in front of our large front windows. /this is as far as I got before our little 7-volt screwdriver failed me. But since we got a shiny new 18-volt for Christmas last year, that excuse no longer holds water. Shouldn’t take long to cross this one off the list.

Bedroom Furniture Refinishing:
These two dressers in our master bedroom were old pieces that were screaming for a refinishing job.So I obliged. But when I got to the last few details I ran out of steam and they’ve been sitting like this ever since. I also need to finish painting around the base of the dressers and I think they could use a little touch up on the rest of the paint too.

Guest Bath Vanity:
Our guest bathroom is far from being finished. In fact it is one of the least finished rooms in the house, right behind the master bath. That being said, it would look at least a little more complete if I get in gear and finish the vanity. A little paint and some new hardware and voilá! It will be totally transformed.

Kitchen Sink:
Our kitchen is close to finished, but this new sink has been sitting on the floor in our dining room for a few months now. I debated putting this on the list, because it is something that we need Brett’s dad and his handy-man skills to finish, but since I see it everyday, I decided to include it. Hopefully now that summer is here, Brett and his dad will have a little more free time to fit this in. Can’t wait!!




Hide Basement TV Wires:
We were so excited to hang our new flat screen in the basement when we got it that we put it up without proper wire hiding efforts. Since its kind of a pain to take it down, its been like this for a few months now. We want to get a second cable box for down here too, so we’ve been telling ourselves we’re waiting on that so we can hook it up at the same time we have the TV down. Time to get the ball rolling I think.

Hide Living room TV Wires:
Since we have our TV over the fireplace in our living room, I am nervous about drilling into the wall to mount the TV and hide the wires. We’ve been talking about having someone come in to look at the fireplace for a while so hopefully we’ll be able to do that soon and I can get a recommendation on those wires at the same time. This one might be a little lower on my list, but on the list it is.

So  there you have it: my embarrassing list of unfinished projects. (Actually as I’m sitting here typing, I can already think of a few more that I forgot to include, but this is a good start at least.) My list of as-yet-unstarted projects is much longer, but hopefully I can force myself to mull through the boring, but necessary, final stages of the unfinished before I move on to the excitement of  starting something new. My plan is to tackle these one at a time until my list is whittled down. I’ll keep you posted on how its going. Wish me luck!!

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