Tag Archives: furniture

Our DIY Family Room Before and After (Now that it actually looks like we live here)

sunroom2

Almost a year ago we finished renovating our 70s-wood-paneled-sunroom-turned-family-room and I shared a before and after here on the blog. Well, more like a before and empty-room-after, which, let’s be honest, is boring!

The thing is that filling out a room takes time and effort! The family room has turned into one of my favorite places to spend time in our house (thanks to the bath of sunshine we get from 9 windows, and a constantly growing Netflix queue). While we’ve still got a bit to work on in this room, I’m happy with the cozy cocoon we’ve created. (Wood paneling be gone!)

The cracking linoleum floors, wood paneling, snake skeletons and rodent-poop-insulation feel (and are) a million miles away. (Thanks goodness!)

Just a reminder of where we started:

Lo and behold – it looks like we live here (finally!)

sunroom3

We get TONS of sun in our house – and with nine windows, this room is constantly full of light. And no window treatments. Because that’s how we roll. Hopefully for not much longer.

sunroom4We bought the hooked pillows this summer when we were in Portsmouth for the weekend. They are my favorite part! We finally kicked all our old college stuff to the curb (except for the IKEA Poang chair – that will never die!). We’ve bought all of our upholstered furniture from Boston Interiors – and I couldn’t recommend them enough!sunroom5

I’ve been pondering artwork for this room. It’s a tough place to hang anything because – oh yeah – we have nine windows and two french doors. In an act of impulsiveness I hung those woven starfish and they’ve been there ever since.sunroom6We originally bought these colorful monkey’s fists to hang off the wall… but I’m not sure if I like that idea anymore. So they are just monnkeyin’ hanging around waiting to find a home.

sunroom7I found this lovely red metal waypoint at one of those local discount curtain and bath outlets. Then this month I saw it in the L.L. Bean home magazine! It’s more expensive at L.L. Bean, but if you want one for yourself I thought I’d share the knowledge.

“They” (who are “they” anyways?) say that every room needs a splash of red – now that we have one, I have to agree.

This brings us to the empty side of the room:sunroom8Our current TV stand is obviously way too small for the space. We are (fingers crossed) really hoping to make our first attempt at furniture building with a new entertainment center – so until that happens this one will stay. I’m hoping this spring we can finally get to it! Ultimately we’d love a long, low storage unit that will span the whole width of the room.

And YES, we still have our TV in front of a window – what a strange problem to have – not enough wall space! I’m just glad it’s out of the main living room now.

A tough part in the winter as a blogger is when to take photos. It’s dark when I get home from work and the last thing I’m thinking of on a Saturday morning is to run around and take photos of all the things I want to post about. Lucky for you, I happened to snap a few on my phone – because after I (finally got my act together and) took pictures of the family room, we got a new rug. The tan one now lives in our bedroom, and all my braided rug dreams have come true.

sunroom9 sunroom10This was a HomeGoods find.

Truly, I feel pretty self-conscious about posting a room just full of stuff. There’s NO PROJECT to explain, but my BFF convinced me that everyone loves a good before and after. I hope that’s the case! I must say, I don’t miss the old room one bit.

So, now that I’ve shared our TV watching room of the house… any Netflix recommendations? :p

Read all about how we DIYed our Family Room:

Before & After: An Old Painted Dresser

First – Happy Saturday!

We’ve had several men working on our house for the last two weeks residing our house. (!!) The  old siding was rotted and peeling beyond repair. We also were able to knock out that awkward window in our shower and side right over it!

All this to say, they are working right outside of the window I’m sitting in front of and I feel a little rude. So this post will be short today.

Earlier this spring I posted another dresser that I was tackling – my mom’s dresser that she had when she was a kid.

Refinishing an old painted dresser

You can see more of the “before” photos and how I stripped the paint here in this old post.

It took me a long time to refinish this piece because there were many layers of paint, and also needed quite a bit of sanding to take out a lot of dings and scratches.

I am happy to say that it has spent the last month happily living in my bedroom!!

Today I’ll share an “after” and I’ll be back to explain the sanding and pre-staining process I tried this time around.

Refinishing an old painted dresser

Happy Saturday!!

What are your plans today? I’m getting together with one of my best girlfriends!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser  I’ve inherited another family dresser!

My first refinishing project was a dark stained wood dresser that came from my Grandparent’s bedroom. Although I kept it a dark stain, it took quite a bit of work to get it there! Read more about that here.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

We are kind of bureau-starved in this house, so my Mom was kind enough to haul this dresser out of her basement.

Fun Fact: This was the dresser from my Mom’s bedroom growing up (aw!) and one of the drawers is still lined with her childhood bedroom wallpaper!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

The first question to ask yourself when refinishing any piece of furniture: is it worth refinishing?

Both my family dressers are solid hardwood, structurally sturdy and were built with the all-important dovetailed corners.

In my opinion, if a dresser doesn’t have dovetailed corners, I wouldn’t bother putting all the work into refinishing it. It’s a mark of good craftsmanship.

Evidence of dovetailed corners seen here:

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

I started this project in the fall and it’s only half-way done! It got WAY too cold for me to keep working on it in the garage – so that’s where it sits. Soon I should be able to finish it though, it’s starting to warm up!

In this post, I’ll talk about stripping the dresser of paint, which is a different beast than stripped a stained dresser.

I started with this Klean-Strip chemical paint stripper and a plastic scraper.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

First, WEAR GLOVES. Then, in a well-ventilated area, brush the stripper on to the painted areas. I used a foam brush so I could just throw it away at the end.

Then wait 15-25 minutes. It will look bubbly like this when it’s ready to be scraped: I quickly learned that the plastic scraper was a waste of time and got out an old metal scraper. (Note: I ruined this scraper, just letting you know.)

Scrape the surface (being careful not to gouge the wood with the corners of the scraper) and discard directly into a trash bag.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser
I even found an old sticker underneath the paint.

Repeat. Again and Again. The lengthiness of this part of the process will depend on a lot of things – Was there varnish over the paint? How many layers of paint? What’s the temperature outside? etc.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

After my first afternoon I was able to take it down to this point:

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

A weekend or two later I returned to attack the dresser body. To no avail. This is where my problems started! First, I ran out of stripper so I ordered a new type – this kind:

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted DresserCitri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel

I applied, waited and… nothing. Now I know – ALWAYS refinish furniture in the summer when it’s warm and you can be outside! Not in a 15 degree garage.

Note: Chemical Stripper won’t work if it’s too cold!

We brought the space heater into the garage to warm up the air and let the stripper work away at the paint – it’s important for you to LEAVE the garage at this point and not inhale all the fumes. This stripper smells like oranges and it’s easy to forget you are dealing with toxic chemicals.

The space heater helped some. So I reapplied and scraped several more times.

Then I brought the big gun out – that would be, the heat gun – I should have done this earlier!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresservia Home Depot

To use a heat gun, just plug it in, turn it on and hold about 4-5 inches away from the surface. It will start to bubble (similar looking to the paint stripper). Then you can scrap it off with your metal scraper just like with the chemical stripper. It’s just like a hair dryer.

Then the sky opened up and angels sang.

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

I have no photos of this portion because when my hands weren’t covered in chemical goop, I had a scraper in one hand and a heat gun in the other.

Using the heat gun allowed me to get to this point – now we’re getting somewhere!!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

Unfortunately, there are a LOT of gouges in the top that were minimized by the billion layers of paint on this dresser. But I will deal with that when it’s not so cold. Hopefully soon now that it’s feeling spring-y.

I’m eagerly awaiting my dresser upgrade!

DIY Tutorial: Stripping a Painted Dresser

The natural wood is a warm reddish hue.

As you can see, stripping a painted dresser is not difficult, it just takes some time.

This particular dresser had 5-6 coats of paint on it, so it took me a bit longer for that reason too.

My only suggestions:

If you’re going to put the effort into stripping a dresser, make sure it’s a solid piece of furniture (look for dovetailed corners).

Also (this is JUST me) but I wouldn’t start with a very curvaceous dresser – flat surfaces are much easier to scrap/sand down!

Next steps: Sanding this monster smooth!

Have you ever stripped a piece of furniture?

Did you have wallpaper in your room growing up?

I went through three different wallpapers over the course of my youth – two different yellow striped wallpapers and one wallpaper with pink/blue flowers!

DIY Tutorial: How to Refinish an Old Dresser

Thank you for all the love from my before and after dresser reveal!

This dresser I got from my grandparents was in pretty good shape – except the original finish was dark, cloudy and crackly.

And after 50+ years of use it was showing its age.

I took everything outside and used a palm sander. This was by far the hardest and most time consuming. I probably spent a solid 6 hours sanding over the course of two days.

I started with 150 grit, and worked my way up to 300 grit. (150 to 200 to 250 to 300 – don’t skip any!)

The finish was so old it took a very long time to get through. It kept building up in clumps on the sandpaper. I just picked it off with a razor blade every 10 minutes and kept going!

In a few small stubborn spots I did use chemical strippers – I used a spray can of KleanStrip and scraped it off with a paint scraper after 15 minutes and continued sanding.

It was worth all the hard work! Check out the difference – see how black the original finish was!?

Now the new top is nice and smooth.

To stain I used 2 coats of Mixwax Dark Walnut. I brushed it on with a foam brush and let it sit about five minutes. Then I wiped it down with an old cloth. After 20 minutes I put another coat of stain on.

Then I brushed on a coat of Cabot Semi-Gloss Fast Drying (HAH!) Poly with a foam brush.

Because it is SO hot and humid out, I needed to wait three days before I could do the next layer of poly.

I am not a patience project person. It was not easy for me to wait!

Another 3 days later and we were good to go!

Before, between and after each coat of poly I took a fine sanding “sponge” and lightly sanded. This will ensure a finish that is smooth to the touch. And don’t shake the can of poly! It will fill it with bubbles and your dresser finish will feel like it has a rash. I learned this the hard way.

After a week of poly-drying, it was finally ready to go upstairs!

Check out that beauteous wood grain!! Bye-bye cloudy black finish!

I bought 12 of these Clear Melon Glass Cabinet Knobs Drawer Pulls from Bonanza.com for $50. It was a little steep for this thrifty gal (my DIY attempts failed me), but this was the only cost I encountered with the dresser. You can only be so stingy, you know.


via

I chose these knobs because this dressy is sexy and sophisticated! With the sleek dark stain and lots of curves, it was begging for some swanky hardware.

Glass is timeless, and the floral cut added a bit of girliness. The antique brass centers bought out the warmness of the wood. At least that’s what I was thinking when I purchased them… and I think I was right!

I must say, I am very happy with the result.

There is still a mirror and mirror attachment that go on top – I have yet to start those! Someday I’ll get there.

Until then, I’m enjoying this dresser being in our bedroom. I love how it looks with the cool gray walls.

I will absolutely give refinishing furniture another try – it was totally worth the end result. And while the sanding was painful and the poly-drying took forever, I know this is a piece we will keep for a very long time.

Do you have any furniture lying around waiting to be refinished?