Wait for it…Wait for it…

Once upon a time I painted my dining room three times in a weekend. Two of those times were in the same day. One of those colors was lilac. I make mistakes.

Enter: A chifferobe. This chifferobe started out in a cherry finish. And, well, no one wants cherry furniture right now. So since Ken and I were newbies to refinishing furniture, we sanded it. I can’t believe we did, but yes, we sanded it. Entirely. It took a lot of time. And then (embarrassingly) we used a vinegar barn wood stain on it. It was horrible.

After that the pig needed some lipstick, so we painted it white and put it in our antique booth. And there it sat. And sat. It got lots of compliments. And there it sat some more.

So we brought it home and put it in the garage. And one day I decided to slap some antiquing glaze on it, which was also horrible. It was so bad that it might as well have been cherry finish again. I cursed the chifferobe and spat on it (in my head) and turned my back on its ugliness for months.

Then last week I had a thought: Gray. And then I had another thought: Flat Spray Paint. Valspar sells some fantastic colors of flat spray paint at Lowe’s. So I picked up three cans and brought them home to introduce them to the chifferobe. But…gray is relative, apparently. And this wasn’t my idea of “gray” as much as “bluish ugly concrete primer color.”

So glad I quickly realized that the gray spray paint wasn’t the color I was looking for.

So, doing what I do best I went to Home Depot and picked out a nice shade of gray and mixed up a batch of “chalk” paint. And even though there was nothing wrong with the long mirror, I took it out. (hold the hate mail) I replaced it with some natural linen fabric.


We added a knob to the door after this picture was taken.

And now finally, finally, I love it. So I’m going to do what I do with all of my favorite pieces. I’m going to keep it (because I love it). At least for a few months until I decide that I love a paycheck more. And then I’m going to let one of you love it.

Mistakes are okay. They aren’t sins. They’re learning opportunities. I’ve made so, so many mistakes in my life. But I’ve also learned so, so much. I’m thankful for my learning opportunities.

Ephesians 4:22-24                
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

XOXO,
Abby

The {Final} Nitty-Gritty on Sanding. When You’re Done?

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of times tutorials that go over how to use “furniture” (aka “chalk”) paint don’t go over what to do once the paint has dried. I personally have several more steps to go once the paint is dry on my furniture. I sand it, seal it, and often glaze it.

Sand it when the paint is dry? For latex or spray paint, not usually. For “furniture,” chalk, or milk paint, yes. There is an incredible difference in the finish of “furniture” paint when you sand it after it dries and when you don’t. It becomes incredibly smooth and “finished” looking. The paint should dry 8 hours, or overnight, before you sand it.

Depending on the look I am going for, I will either use 220 grit sandpaper or “00” steel wool. Usually using 220 grit sandpaper with my Black & Decker Mouse sander will give more of a distressed look. That means whatever the surface color was before you sanded it (wood or a different color) will show through on the edges and raised details. If I just want to “finish” the piece and I don’t want to distress it I will use “00” (double fine) steel wool. Even when using the “00” steel wool, be careful on the edges and details.

DON’T freak out when you sand your painted piece. Paint dust will come off. Trust me when I say, do not sand indoors, even a garage. You will cover everything in a fine coating of chalk dust. The great thing about “furniture” paint is, if you sand off too much, just touch it up with some more paint. Also, don’t freak out if your paint color “lightens” up a bit. This is just the effect of the “chalk” or plaster of Paris in the paint. When you apply your wax the color will deepen again.

Before you continue the process of finishing your painted piece after you have sanded it, wipe it down completely with a DRY cloth. Actually, most of the time I vacuum the piece with my shop vac when I’m done sanding. You can even use the final sanding process as a way to be creative with your paint. Once you have done a final sanding, you are ready to finish your piece with wax, polyurethane, or glaze. (or all of the above) 😉

I will go over more info on using “furniture” paint in a future blog post.
XOXO,
Abby

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The Nitty-Gritty on Sanding {Part Two}

In my previous post I went over the reasons why I would or wouldn’t sand a piece before refinishing it. In this post I’m going to go over how exactly to go about sanding.

Three things that will make your life easier while sanding:
#1 An electric hand held sander.
#2 Know your grit, Sherlock.

#3 Always sand in the direction of the grain. (the direction that the lines in the wood are going)

An electric hand held sander is going to cut your time by at least 75%. I have an old Black & Decker “Mouse” sander and I love it. I want a new sander, but just because I love tools. This one works great. Sandpaper is made especially to fit it and is easily put on and off. I like this because I can switch in between sandpapers when I’m working on something. Yes, it is possible to sand using a sanding block, but it is going to take you a lot of time.
 
Know your grit. Grit refers to the roughness of the sandpaper. The lower the number, the rougher the grit. You always, ALWAYS start with a lower number and work your way up to the higher number. For example, when I am refinishing a table top I will start with 60 grit. The 60 grit will grind down through any varnish and stain to the bare wood. If you use 60 grit too long, it will eventually start to grind away at your wood. 60 grit will leave your surface rough. There will be visible sanding marks and your piece will not be ready to paint or stain.

After removing the paint, varnish, or stain you were aiming to remove, next you will be ready to start creating a smooth surface ready for your finish. I like to move from 60 grit to 120 to 220. Going in this order will leave you with a quality surface that looks professional and neat. Be sure to check the surfaces that you’re sanding from different angles. If you are able to see sanding marks, you will need to re-sand that area to get rid of them, which is why I like the mouse. If I am working with the 220 grit sandpaper and I see marks left from the 60 grit, I can take the 220 off and put some 120 back on, remove the 60 grit marks, and then move back to the 220.

Finally, always sand with the grain of the wood. “Grain of the wood” refers to the direction that the lines in the wood are going. Don’t argue; just do it.

If you’ve sanded properly, when you apply your stain you will be rewarded with a thing of beauty. If you apply your stain and you suddenly see marks from sanding, wait for the stain to dry and begin again.

Sanding is one of those things that when you do it right, it is completely rewarding. You can literally see your hard work pay off. I’ll go over how to stain furniture sometime in the future.
This is my 12 year old sanding a bookshelf for his room. Don’t be afraid to get started. You can do this.
 
Next up will be: Sanding when you’re…done?

XOXO,
Abby

 

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Don’t hide your crazy! History, that is.

Do you ever browse through the history section of Pinterest? I do. All I have to say is, there have always been crazy things going on in this world, there just hasn’t always been as many of us in it. When you find something that has survived through a lot of that crazy history, it deserves a little respect, doesn’t it?

You would probably assume since I like antiques, that I would also be interested in history. It’s true. I am interested in history and I have an appreciation for it. It’s so fascinating to me what particular antiques have actually survived and made it through to modern times.

I currently have a gorgeous vanity dresser available. This drop-center dresser was made circa 1850. It’s an early Victorian, pre-Civil War piece. Can you imagine what this dresser has “lived” through??

Solid marble is used for the surfaces in this drop-center vanity.

This dresser has been around through 32 presidents. When it was made there were only 31 states in the United States of America. The phone and the television were not invented. It made it through the Civil War, both World Wars, and Vietnam. This dresser was around during the time of Emancipation, Prohibition, Segregation, Women’s Suffrage, and human kind entering outer space. And it survived. Amazing, isn’t it?!
 


Talk about “made to last!” Check out those dovetail joints and the wooden locks on the drawers. I wonder what would have been locked up in them?

Ooooh! A secret drawer on the bottom!

A final reminder of just how long ago 1850 was: these shelves for a candleholder were necessary since electricity was not in homes yet.

XOXO,
Abby

***UPDATE*** Thank you for all of the interest in this piece. However, it has sold and is no longer available.
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Drop Leaf {Table} Like It’s Hot


I love marking things off of my “list.” And this table has been on my to-do list for wayyyyyy too long. I have procrastinated doing this table like nobody’s (I’ll get to it) tomorrow.

I paid more than I thought I should have. (We left it in the garage.)

I thought it was going to be very difficult and time consuming to fix. (We dumped stuff on top of it.)

I thought the existing finish was going to be stubborn. (We never even completely unwrapped it.)

But you’ll never guess what happened. It’s the first piece that I have been able to refinish 100% on my own. As in, no one had to move it for me. No one had to hold it up while I did anything to it. I did it all. On. my. own. Oh, how glorious it is to say that. I hate asking for help. For anything. (Do you know that about me yet?)

I sanded the top just to rough it up a little bit for some “tooth.” “Tooth” means something for the paint to grab onto. Chalk paint isn’t supposed to need priming or sanding, but like I mentioned, I was worried about the existing finish being stubborn and difficult. I didn’t sand anything other than the top.

I make my own chalk paint. I used Martha Stewart Living in “Duck’s Egg” as my base.
After that I used Valspar Glaze in “Mocha.” 
Lastly, I used Krylon UV-Resistant Matte spray finish. I didn’t use a wax as I normally do because I didn’t want any sheen (shine), however I did want some protection on the table top. The trick to using this spray and having it be truly matte, with no spray marks, is to hold it at least 12 inches away from your surface. If  you hold it much closer than that you won’t have an even finish. As the directions on the can say, wait at least 2 minutes in between coats to avoid “white-ish” spots.

It’s more green than in this pictures. Don’t know why this came out so much lighter.

This table is perfect for our house. We like to have big family meals with the whole family, which is 15 and counting. If we open this up with the two leaves and combine it with our other dining table which seats 8. there will be plenty of room for everyone.

I hope you love it as much as I do.

XOXO,
Abby

Cosmetic Sugery: A Furniture Facelift

I have a big birthday coming up in a few weeks. Okay, no I don’t. It’s not a big one! It may or may not be a mid-life number. Okay, it’s not. I refuse to believe that half of my life is over. It’s not. I’m calm over-reacting.

*sigh* At what number did I stop wanting to get older? One minute I’m wishing that everyone would take my super-young, over-achieving, bossy-pants self seriously. The next minute I’m wishing that everyone would just chill out, relax, and get over themselves. How did I get from having two small kids, to having one that is bigger than me? Today is the day. It’s the day that I start my savings account for cosmetic surgery when everything is sagging and dragging on the floor mid-life crisis therapy.

Speaking of “cosmetic surgery.” Check out what got a facelift! Within a couple of weeks, we found two, almost identical chifferobes. This one, I’m embarrassed to say,  has been sitting in our foyer hallway for nearly 6 months. If you aren’t familiar with chifferobes, basically it is a closet, outside of a closet. Houses never used to have the enormous walk-in closets that are standard in today’s new construction. Closets were tiny, and if you needed more closet space, a chifferobe is what you got.

On one side (the left in this case), are drawers and a small cupboard. On the other side is a door that opens to a bar for hanging clothes. In this particular chifferobe, when you open the door, there is space under the drawers for a pair of shoes.

This piece definitely needed a face lift. It’s wrinkles cracks were spackled. It had a limp (one missing wheel). Surgery was successful.


I made my own chalk paint using Martha Stewart’s “silhouette” from Home Depot. Afterwards I used Valspar glaze in “mocha.” I finished it off with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax.

We had originally planned on keeping the mirrors, but while adjusting the hinges I dropped one of the doors. The mirrors were out and the chicken wire and burlap were in. I’m actually kind of glad it happened, because I love how it turned out.
I am having a hard time saying “goodbye” to this one. I would love to keep it in my foyer to hang guests’ coats in. Or perhaps it would be good for hanging the kids’ backpacks in. I can also imagine this being used in a kitchen for aprons, kitchen towels, and other linens. 
I will most likely have this for sale at my next antique festival in April.
I hope you love it!
XOXO,
Abby

Before & After: A dresser saved from the dump.


Last weekend I revived a dying 1930’s dresser. I assumed that it was going to be a fairly straight forward and easy project, but it turned out to take quite a bit of time. Grrr. I’m happy with how it turned out, and I’m even happier that I was able to save the fantastic Art Deco hardware.

Here it is before:

During:

Everyone refinishes furniture on their kitchen floor, right?

I decided to use Martha Stewart “Barn Red.” I make my own chalk paint, but that is the base that I used.

After the chalk paint, I used Valspar Glaze in “Mocha.” I bought this at Lowe’s. A little goes a long way.

The hardware needed some love and elbow grease. I used steel wool, baking soda and vinegar, baking soda and Dawn and vinegar, baking soda and water, more steel wool. You get my point; it took a while.

All said and done….

XOXO,
Abby
P.S. This dresser was not saved literally from the dump. As in, I did not go to the dump and get it. Rather, it was close to being headed to the dump. I don’t even know where a dump is. But if I did, it wouldn’t be beneath me to go there. And look for a dresser.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

Chevron Chair Makeover in Minutes

Alone in a dark corner, she captured my heart! Isn’t this chair awesome? I paid around $5 for it at an Atlanta Mission thrift store, which I considered a steal!  It’s awfully utilitarian looking, so I imagine it came from either a dinette set, or it was a desk chair. 

The wood was dry as a bone, but I loved the patina and the wear. I decided that all I wanted to do with the wood was to condition it. I’ve used butcher block conditioner before on a previous project, so I knew that it would do the trick.


So I have to say that this is a very easy project that even a beginner DIY’er can do. If you gather your materials ahead of time, this should take less than an hour from start to finish. To remove the cushion from the chair you will need a screwdriver. This is pretty much standard for all chair cushions. Save the screws and set them aside.

Next you’ll need to remove the fabric from the cushion. This will most likely be attached with staples. My tool of choice for doing this is a flat-head screwdriver. Occasionally a set of pliers will be needed to pull a stubborn staple out. Discard the fabric and staples, set the cushion base (wood or mdf) aside. I was all too happy to throw out the nasty Naugahyde covering my chair. Ew.



Now that we’re out with the old, it’s time to bring in the new. I have a piece of cushion foam ready to go.

I simply laid the wood base from the seat onto the foam and traced around it.

I cut it out and was ready to put some fabric back on. A half of a yard of fabric is plenty for a project like this. Here are three different fabrics that I was considering:

All of these fabrics are from Hobby Lobby. Love them! I decided to go with the gray chevron fabric, and saved the other two for future projects.

I used the same method as the foam to cut out my fabric, except it left a wide enough border so that I could wrap it around to the back. Being careful that my fabric was straight, I put one staple in the middle of each side. (Seriously, you NEED a staple gun!) I then began working my way out from each middle to the sides, periodically checking that my fabric wasn’t moving.

Once your fabric is on, reattach the seat to the chair using the screws that you removed at the beginning. And you’re done!

A single chair project is a great first project if you’re interested in reupholstering pieces. Don’t be intimidated; just jump right in. What do you think? Do you like the wood, or would you have painted it?

XOXO,
Abby

Enough is Enough (Christmas Decorations)

Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to buy anymore Christmas decorations. But this year is the first year that I’ve actually followed through on my promise to myself. The problem is that I have an obnoxious amount of holiday decorations. Not just Christmas ones, either. I know it comes from the interior designer in me. I absolutely love to create little holiday themed vignettes around the house. But at one point I looked at the number of Rubbermaid bins full of decorations and I said to myself, “Enough is enough.”

So, so far this year, no “new” decorations. But I have still felt the urge to change things up and set up different decorations. What I’ve done instead is to use what I already have on hand and repurpose it. I want to show you a couple of the things I have put together. I’m so happy with they way they turned out.

First I decided to use an antique style toolbox. I loved the style of it when we were browsing in an antique store months ago, and I picked it up. Yes, even though we sell antiques, we still shop at other antique stores. (Shout out to Countryside Antiques in Braselton!)

Along with the toolbox, I got some cuttings left over from the Christmas tree, a string of white lights that we already owned, and some cinnamon scented pine cones. Okay, so technically the pine cones were new, but they are not an item that will be going into the Rubbermaid bins. And since we do not have any pine trees in our neighborhood, purchasing these was a must. And if you’re wondering, they’re from Walmart. One bag is simply scented pine cones. The other bag is scented pine cones with some of them painted in glitter and chunks of scented potpourri thingies.

Next, I simply cut the Christmas tree branches to the size that I wanted so that they could fit into the toolbox.

Then I simply wrapped and wove the lights into the branches.

The branches with lights go into the box and the pine cones are placed on top.

It looks so pretty at night, and it smells divine!

Here is another project that I did using similar materials. Instead of Christmas tree lights and a toolbox, I used candles and an old Coke crate. This one didn’t cost a dime, since I used some of the pine cones from the other project.

With both of the projects use good judgement about safety. Unplug the lights when you’re not at home and attend to the candles when they’re lit.
I love the magic of Christmas and I hope you are inspired to create something special of your own.

XOXO,
Abby

Either Oar {Beach House, Lake House}

A few weeks ago, Ken and I headed out on a Friday to see if we could pick up some antique and vintage items. We must’ve stopped at 6 garage sales, in addition to our regular spots where we usually find stuff. It was just one of those days where there is just not anything good. It was about time for him to head to work and me to go pick up the kids from school, and we were exhausted. On our way home we stopped at one last garage sale, and I’m so glad we did. We picked up a vintage coke crate in excellent condition, filled with vintage coke bottles, a beautiful, old rustic box, and two wooden oars. The oars weren’t old, but ever since I saw this picture on Pinterest, my brain had been coming up with tons of ideas.

Oar Rack from A Beach Cottage
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Since we found two oars, I decided to show you two different ways that they could turn out, depending on your preference.
First step, sand off the finish. On one of the oars, I sanded less in certain spots.
The oar on the left has been sanded. The one on the right has not.
I just love the character from this split in the wood. We’re all a little cracked up, aren’t we? 🙂
After the oars were sanded, it was time to re-stain them. Why would I sand off the finish and them refinish them? Because I want them to look old and rustic! 
The oar that I sanded less gets the DIY vinegar stain that I showed you how to make on the crates.
One day I will think ahead and wear gloves. 

On the other oar, I made a glaze using Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes clear latex glaze mixed with Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow. I used a wet paper towel to wipe some of the glaze off while it was still wet.
After the oar with the glaze on it dried, I added a stain to it. I used Varathane stain in “sunbleached.” My goal was to get a weathered look. But you could use any color you wanted, depending on the finished look that you were going for.

Finally, both oars got robe hooks and hanging hardware.
Here is the finished product! I like to call them “Beach House” and “Lake House”. 
“Beach House”

“Lake House”

 Both of the kids said that they like the “Lake House” oar better. Ken likes the “Beach House” one. I can’t decide which one that I like. What do you like? Leave me a comment and let me know. If you like either one, will you please “pin” it to Pinterest?
XOXO,
Abby

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