the family discount.

I was so surprised by the outpouring of comments on my post about the dollhouse from Friday!  My dad would be have absolutely loved hearing all of the compliments from everyone.  A huge thanks to all of you for taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciated every single one!

Now, on with today’s post.

A while back Mr. Q brought home two dressers from the daughter of one of my blog readers.  The first was the french provincial dresser that I painted a couple of weeks ago, and the second was this one.

It’s a bit more traditional than the pieces I normally choose to work with, but it’s a  solid, well-made dresser.  I love giving pieces like this a new lease on life with some paint.  This dresser is going to last another 75 years easily.  It’s not going to fall apart in 5 years like inexpensive (or sometimes not so inexpensive) new furniture made out of particle board (not that I’m naming names, such as IKEA, or anything).

Ken helped me out with reattaching a drawer glide that had come free, but otherwise it didn’t need much work.  Ironically the aspect of this job that took the longest was removing the old contact paper that was lining the drawers.

I wish I had gotten a photo to illustrate, but basically that stuff came out in a million little pieces that I painstakingly scraped off with a razor blade.  And it left behind a sticky gooey mess that required a couple of applications of Goo Gone to remove.  This is exactly why I rarely choose to line the drawers of dressers that I sell.  Because I know that inevitably down the road someone is going to have to get that stuff back out of there and it won’t be fun (and oftentimes that someone  is me!).  The only time I line drawers is when the drawer bottom is too stained to salvage.

Funny little story though, I slogged through the first 7 drawers one evening after work.  Stripping out that liner, cleaning with Goo Gone, removing the hardware, sanding the drawer front and cleaning it with TSP Substitute.  I really wanted to finish all nine drawers that evening so I could start painting right away the next evening.  But as the sun was setting, I looked at those last two drawers still in the dresser and thought “nope, I just can’t face them, I’ll have to do them tomorrow” and I went to bed.  The next evening I went to pull out the first of the remaining two drawers and guess what?  It wasn’t lined!  Neither was the last drawer.  Ha!  Had I only looked inside the previous night I would have realized that I could easily prep them before bed.  Too funny!

Anyway, the next step was painting and that part was a breeze.  I used Fusion paint in a rich, dark grey color called Ash.

I painted two coats of paint, and shortly after the 2nd coat was dry I sanded the edges lightly to distress.

Just the other day my friend Sue was commenting on the fact that a lot of the furniture painters out there don’t distress their pieces.  She and I are of the same mind when it comes to distressing.  We are not fans of non-distressed pieces.  The only time I don’t distress is when I’m working on a mid-century modern piece with really clean lines.  Otherwise, in my opinion distressing is what really brings out the character of a piece.  I know it’s a personal preference thing though, and it just happens to be my preference (and Sue’s!).

One tip, you absolutely don’t need to add a topcoat over Fusion paint, but when I distress the edges I’ll often put a little Homestead House or Miss Mustard Seed beeswax on a cloth and run that over those exposed edges.  It will help protect that little bit of bare wood, but more importantly it will take away the ‘freshly sanded’ look of the wood and make it look more as though it was worn over time.

I have to tell you, I did absolutely nothing to the drawer pulls.  I didn’t polish them or even really clean them. Yet this next photo really shows how different they look on the grey.  Isn’t that kinda crazy?

So normally this is the point where I say “this dresser is available for sale”, but no, this one isn’t!  My sister stopped by shortly after I finished it, decided she really needed to have it for her new house and asked if she could get a ‘family discount’.  Naturally I agreed.  I’m pretty thrilled because she’ll be replacing an IKEA dresser with it!  My plan is to slowly work on her over time until her whole house is de-IKEA-fied.  I’m working on convincing her to replace the console thingie that her T.V. sits on next, but shhhhh, she doesn’t realize it yet so don’t tell her.



the dollhouse.

Once upon a time, way back in the early 90’s, my dad took an early retirement from his job at IBM.  I believe he was around 55 or so at the time.  Back in the day an early retirement from an excellent company was totally do-able because companies were more likely to provide you with health insurance after retirement.  That’s no longer very likely and now people like me will have to work until they are medicare eligible because health insurance has gotten so ridiculously expensive.  But I digress.  This is not a post about the ongoing woes of our health care system, this is a post about a dollhouse.

You see, once retired my dad quickly grew bored.  He desperately needed a project.  So when I casually mentioned how I’d always wanted a dollhouse, he took that idea and ran with it.

At the time my parents lived in Kentucky, and I was here in Minnesota.  Now remember, this was the early 90’s.  We didn’t have email.  Nor did we have cell phones.  My dad would take photos of his progress, get them developed and then send them to me in the mail.  I would send paint chips, wallpaper (dollhouse sized) and tiny furnishings back to him in the mail.  It was an awesome way for my dad and I to connect.  We were both so excited about the project.  I will always have fond memories of that time (my dad passed away about 10 years ago).

All of that being said, the dollhouse is large and heavy.  For a long time it resided in what is now the Q Branch and it took up the entire room since you really need to be able to get around all sides of it.  I used to decorate it for the holidays when it was on display in that room, I even had a Christmas tree with working lights.  But eventually I decided that it was a poor use of a really great room so we moved the dollhouse up to the guest room where it has been sitting and gathering dust for quite some time.

Since we had to move the dollhouse downstairs to refinish the floors in the guest room, I did some serious thinking and decided it wasn’t going back up.  This will allow Mr. Q to take over the larger room as his study, and the smaller room will become the guest room  with no space for the dollhouse.  I just don’t have a large enough house to devote so much space to something that I barely pay attention to anymore.

My niece used to always say she would take the dollhouse one day, so I asked her if she really wanted it.  The answer was no.  I offered it to a couple of other family members who also didn’t want it.  I was starting to think I might have to just sell it, when Mr. Q’s step-dad mentioned that he would love to have it!  He loves anything miniature (just check out this post about his workshop for proof of that), plus he’s an extremely talented wood worker, so the dollhouse will be in good hands.

So it’s a happy ending.  The dollhouse is going to a wonderful new home.  Tom is in the process of adding a three season wrap around porch at their farmhouse and the dollhouse will fit neatly at one end.  I’ll be able to visit it whenever I want to, and the grandkids will all be able to play with it whenever they visit.

Before I send it off to its new home, I thought I’d take a few photos to share with you guys.

Gosh, where do I even start?  If you haven’t already gotten yourself a fresh cup of coffee, you might want to do that now.  This may be a long one.

Since this dollhouse was for me, obviously it had to have impressive gardens.

Most of the flowers are made out of Fimo clay.  I made some of them myself, like the trailing vines in the window boxes, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that I really don’t have the patience for working with tiny things.

Let’s head inside …

 and begin our tour in the kitchen.

Did you notice the tin ceiling or the ceiling fan?

Remember, this was decorated back in the early 90’s.  Stenciled borders were all the rage.  I added that stencil myself with a tiny little metal stencil.  And even though farmhouse sinks weren’t quite as popular yet, I wanted one in my dollhouse!

My dad was very detail oriented.  The door between the kitchen and the dining room is a swinging door.  And check out the paneling below the chair rail, the parquet floor and the dentil crown molding above the stenciled border.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but the dollhouse is fully electrified.

Another example of attention to detail, there is a little door under the stairs that opens and closes.  I suppose I could store the Christmas tree under there.  See it back there?

You can catch a glimpse of the foyer through the arched opening in the dining room.  The floor in the foyer is a type of blue shale that is found in Kentucky.  My dad just gathered some up from a field near his house and ’tiled’ the floor with it.

Boy, you can also tell the era of this dollhouse by all of the wallpaper!  My real house was entirely wallpapered at that time as well.  And the garish shades of pink, burgundy, sea foam green and forest green (all chosen by yours truly).  Yikes!

Here’s the living room.  See that wedding photo on the wall to the left?  That’s me and Mr. Q!

Oh, and did I mention that my dollhouse has two original water colors on the walls?  Yep, my dad was friends with local artist at the time and he asked him to paint a couple of paintings for the dollhouse.  The first one hangs over the living room fireplace.

The second one hangs over the master bedroom fireplace.  I really can’t decide which one of these is my favorite, I love them both.  Had I ended up having to sell the dollhouse I would have removed these and kept them.  But now they will stay in place.

Can I just mention here how much I love that fireplace?  Isn’t it fantastic!  This is another great example of my dad’s attention to detail.  He purposely added black ‘soot’ to the brick fireplace insert so it would look well used.  See it?  The little pile of logs on the fire is electrified so that it glows like a real fireplace.

Currently the master bedroom is sparsely furnished with just this lovely four poster bed.

Next door is the bathroom.  Originally there was just going to be the claw foot tub with the towel bar above it, but my dad found this amazing hot water heater and had to have it.

I love all of the details in this room; the tile floor, the wainscoted wall, the tin ceiling, the wall mounted sink, even the little toothpaste box next to the sink.

But I can’t lie.  My favorite detail in the bathroom is the tiny roll of toilet paper.  Seriously, does that thing just crack you up or what?

I decorated the second bedroom in the house as a young girl’s room.  Naturally.

Complete with a faux wicker vanity.

Just above the girl’s room is the attic.

I believe my dad originally came up with the idea for this space when he found the newspaper wallpaper.

My dad had a lot of fun with the details of this room like the exposed studs and electrical, and we both had fun coming up with stuff to ‘store’ in the attic.

The other room on the 3rd floor was inspired by the pool table.  When my dad found that, he knew he had to have a room for it.

Last, but not least, there is one more tiny room tucked away in the tower.

A cozy little reading nook.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the dollhouse.

I’m looking forward to a week off the day job next week.  A little staycation, during which I plan to work on my master bedroom makeover.  I’ve got several projects planned, so be sure to stay tuned!




Today I’m sharing the last of the Norwegian ports of call on our recent Holland America cruise, Bergen!

Bergen is known for being one of the rainiest cities in Europe.  Everything we read about this city said to be prepared for rain, and so we were … and it didn’t rain at all.  It was a bit overcast in the morning, but it cleared up after noon and was perfectly lovely.

Once again our ship was docked in the most convenient location just across the street from the Bergenhus Fortress.

We walked around the fortress and admired the grounds a bit.

Then headed out the other side to walk toward Bryggen.

Bryggen is the old Hanseatic Quarter of Bergen.  The oldest wooden buildings date from the early 1700’s and were built by the German merchants and traders who established a Hanseatic trading post here.

This area continues as a ‘trading post’ and was filled with touristy shops and tourists.

Next we hopped on the Fløibanen, or the funicular, to ride up to the top of Mount Fløyen to check out the views.

I have to admit, Mr. Q and I are not big fans of the ‘view panoramica’.  I guess we just prefer seeing things up close and personal rather than viewing sweeping vistas from on high.

So, after enjoying a cup of coffee with some friends from our ship, we didn’t linger long at the top.  We decided we’d prefer to walk back down, but we weren’t sure just how intense a walk that was going to be, so we took some advice from our Rick Steves’ guidebook and we took the Fløibanen halfway down, got off at the mid-way point and walked the rest of the way (note: if you are ever in Bergen and want to do this, only the funiculars that leave on the hour and half hour stop at the halfway point, Promsgate, the others do not stop).

As it turned out, we could easily have walked the entire way down.  It was a very lovely walk through a wooded area …

And then a really charming residential area.

By the way, Rick Steve’s calls these ‘delightful cobbled and shiplap lanes’.  Huh?  Shiplap lanes?  Clearly the Norwegians had shiplap way before Fixer Upper came along!

I loved the profusion of flowers along these cobblestone lanes.  Despite the almost total lack of garden space, there were still flowers everywhere.  They were even growing out of the crevices in the rock walls …

I recognized this corydalis right away, I have these in my own garden …

After making our way back to sea level, we headed out to the fish market.  I didn’t take a single photo there.  It was just so touristy and honestly, kind of lame.  We wandered around it for a few minutes, but then after hitting a couple of shops back in Bryggen we headed back towards our ship.

Along the way I spied this lovely azalea in front of the Domkirke, Bergen’s main church that is dedicated to St. Olav the patron saint of Norway.

We had a beautiful sunny evening for sailing out of Bergen.  Mr. Q and I enjoyed it from our balcony.

And alas, this was where we had to say goodbye to Norway, the land of my ancestors.  Our next stop, the Shetland Islands!

Be sure to stay tuned!


the dollhouse dresser refresh.

I posted all about our plan to makeover our master bedroom on Friday.  As is the usual case, the project has grown beyond its original boundaries.  When the college kids were out giving me a quote on the bedroom floor, they suggested I do all of the upstairs floors at once.  It makes sense since they all flow together.  Then, one thing led to another and since doing the floors involves moving all the furniture around anyway, we decided to swap the guest room and Mr. Q’s study.

Mr. Q’s study was in the smaller of the two rooms and he felt pretty crowded in there.  Our guest room, on the other hand, is only used once or twice per year and the rest of the year just lies idle.

There was one small … or kinda big … obstacle to this plan.  My dollhouse.  Yep, I have a pretty amazing dollhouse.  My dad made it after he retired.  He was bored and he needed a project.  When my dad took on a project, he pulled out all of the stops.

The dollhouse is big.  And cumbersome.  And bulky.  And any other word you can think of to describe a rather large item that takes up a lot of space in a room but doesn’t really serve any purpose.  The dollhouse was doing just that in the guest room.  Swapping the rooms is going to require relocating the dollhouse, but you’ll hear more on that plan later.  Today’s post isn’t about the dollhouse (but don’t worry, that will be coming soon), or about swapping the two rooms around, it’s about the dresser that the dollhouse sat on.  This may be the nicest ‘before’ photo of a piece of furniture on my blog ever …

I have to say, this dresser was pretty much invisible underneath that dollhouse.  I’d forgotten both how big it is and how pretty it is.

I don’t even remember how long ago I painted this piece.  I know it was quite a few years ago.  It was certainly before I knew about milk paint or Fusion acrylic paint, and even before I knew about chalk paint.  It’s from way back in the dark ages when I was painting with regular old latex paint.  I painted quite a few pieces in this color from Behr called Beluga (as in the caviar which is black, not the whale itself which is white).

The dollhouse did do a little bit of damage to the top of the dresser …

It left a couple of big scratches.  But the rest of the dresser still looked great.  So I decided to just freshen up the top with a couple of coats of Fusion paint in Coal Black.

I scuff sanded the top with some fine grit sandpaper, wiped it clean with a damp cloth and then added two coats of Coal Black.  Easy peasy.

Although the blacks don’t match precisely, it’s not noticeable at all.

The details on this dresser are really pretty.

Unfortunately, with the room switch taking place, I no longer have a place for it.  So I staged it up with my faux dress form, Lula, to get some pictures to use in my Craigslist ad.

Lula is made from an old yellow Styrofoam manikin body that I painted with black chalkboard paint, a lamp table base (also painted black) and an old black porcelain door knob.

One of these days I might change it up and paint her white and add an Iron Orchid Designs transfer … hmmm … I’ll just add that to my to-do list.

In the meantime, I got the dollhouse dresser all cleaned up and posted on Craigslist and it sold right away.

The new owner is going to add a sink and use it as a bathroom vanity!  Probably a much better use of this dresser than hiding it under a giant dollhouse, don’t you agree?





mission possible.

You may remember that earlier this year I posted about getting a quote to have my wood floors refinished.  The cost was over $6,000 to do the entire house.  But to be truly honest, not only was it the cost that bothered me it was also the idea that we would have to move all of the furniture out of our house and store it somewhere (including a baby grand piano).  Also, the quarter round on the baseboards would all have to be removed.  I don’t care how careful you are doing that, you are going to break some.  And you are definitely going to chip some paint, thus requiring the baseboards to be repainted throughout (by yours truly of course).

So after giving the matter some serious thought, Mr. Q and I opted to take our trip to Norway and Scotland instead.

Ironically both my BFF and nnK (that’s my neighbor across the street) did opt to have their wood floors refinished in the last couple of months.  They both chose a matte finish (which is also what I would have done) and they both now have gorgeous floors.

So as I gaze at their beautiful floors, do I wish I had decided differently?

Nope!  Our trip was amazing.  We’ll have those memories forever (well, until the Alzheimer’s kicks in anyway).

best.  decision.  ever.

I don’t have much money left over after our memorable trip though, so I decided to do a budget DIY makeover in our master bedroom this summer.

I’m dubbing this project ‘mission possible.’  Because while I felt like the whole house floor refinish was entirely impossible, I think this one room makeover is certainly possible.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hold me accountable.  You really don’t have to do anything, just the action of putting my plan in writing and sharing it here will give me some additional motivation to actually get this project done (I hope).  Also, feel free to leave occasional comments like “hey, what ever happened to the bedroom makeover?” As always, should I or any of my I.M. (interior modification?) Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of our actions.

 So let’s go over the plan, shall we?

The walls.

I’ve been wanting to do a faux ship lap wall in here for some time now.  Ken (amazing neighbor/handyman) has already agreed to help Mr. Q and me with this project.  It’s just a matter of putting it on the calendar.  I plan to do just the angled wall behind the bed all the way up to the ceiling (wall seen in photo above).

But first, I have to paint that wall white.  The ship lap will be white also, and I don’t want any blue peeking through the gaps.

Although I think the current pale blue walls are pretty, I’ve grown a little tired of them.  So since I’m painting one wall anyway, I might as well paint all of them, as well as the ceiling.  I’m still trying to decide if the un-shiplapped walls will also be white, or possibly a very pale greige.

The framed vintage maps that are currently hanging on the walls are also going to go.  Those white IKEA frames are just not doing it for me anymore.

but I think my pretty floral plates may stay in some capacity.

The floor.

When we purchased our house 30 years ago (good grief, has it really been that long?), the downstairs wood floors had obviously been recently refinished while the upstairs floors had not.  Thus, the floors in here weren’t in the greatest of shape to begin with, and 30 years of living has taken its toll.

As it turns out, nnK knows some college kids that refinish gym floors as a summer job. I’ve scheduled them to do just my upstairs floors at a budget rate.  They may not do the same professional level work as the expensive guy, but it will most likely be good enough and for a fraction of the cost.

The fixtures.

The last time I remodeled this room I was going through a phase.  I liked the idea of combining antiques with modern, clean lines.  Um, yeah.  I don’t know where I got that ridiculous idea.  But as a result, I have a shiny modern chrome ceiling fan in place.

That’s going to be replaced.  I’m still debating replacing it with another fan, or just a light.  Ceiling fans are so ‘out’ at the moment, but they are so very functional when you don’t have central air conditioning.  And now that it’s the middle of July I’m realizing just how valuable it is to have a ceiling fan.  Anyone want to weigh in on this subject?

I’m also planning to replace the current bedside lamps.  I picked these up at a garage sale several years ago.  They are really functional, and actually not terrible looking.

But I found some vintage looking wall sconces at World Market a while back that I love, so they will be taking the place of these.

The furnishings.

Back in the day buying a matching suite of furniture for your master bedroom was the thing to do.  Not anymore.  Now the key is to mix and match.  Over the last several years I have been slowly working on getting rid of each piece of my matching suite (I originally had bedside tables and an armoire to match my sleigh bed).

The bedside tables went first and I replaced them with a pretty table on my side …

and my grandparent’s spoon carved washstand on Mr. Q’s side.

They are about the same size and height and they are painted in the same shade of pale grey, all of which makes them perfect as mismatched bedside tables.  So these two pieces are going to stay.  The pale grey never worked that well with the blue walls, but I think it will be perfect with my new look.

The current cupboard that holds my clothes will also be staying (now that I’ve cured its bad smell), although I’m probably going to paint it.  As much as I love the aqua and white combo, I’m going to be moving away from that color in the room.

I also plan to keep the chippy white stool.

The bench at the foot of the bed is going to go.

Again, it’s the wrong color.  Plus I’ve found an amazing replacement for it, here’s a sneak peek.

so you’ll have to stay tuned to see more on that down the road.

I have a plan in mind for the bed too.

It’s definitely time for the old cherry sleigh bed to go.  Initially I debated just painting it, but Mr. Q really doesn’t like having a foot board.  Then I remembered an idea I saw a while back and was able to find just the right supplies needed to make it happen via Craigslist, here’s another sneak peek …

This is another future post to look forward to!

The window treatments.

I’ve had many different treatments on these windows over the years.  I’ve had wood slat blinds, bamboo roman shades, roller shades, fabric curtains on a rod, yada, yada, yada.  I really struggle with window treatments.  For the most part, I don’t like them.  I would prefer to have nothing at all, but that’s just not possible in a bedroom that faces the street, as well as the house across the street.  I’m sure nnK would prefer we have some kind of window covering.

The current treatment consists of three different vintage linens tacked to the lower half of each window.  The functionality of this system is spot on.  When I open the windows (remember, we don’t have a/c in this room), the curtains go up with them allowing for unimpeded air flow.  When the windows are closed, the top halves are uncovered which lets in maximum light, and the bottom halves are covered which blocks the view of any peeping toms out there.  I really love the trim around my windows too, so I hate to cover that up with heavy window treatments.

Plus, I also happen to have a really lovely view.  Even though these windows face the street, they also face nnK’s yard which is this year’s winner of the Acorn Award, the local award for properties that go ‘above and beyond’ with their landscaping efforts (here’s a post I wrote about her water feature).  As I frequently like to tell nnK, her yard looks amazing from over here!

Window treatments.  Still a question mark.  Any ideas?

So, Mission Possible starts next week, who’s with me?!










For those of you who may be new to my blog, in May Mr. Q and I took a Holland America cruise to Norway and Scotland.  I’ve been slowly posting about each of our ports of call on Wednesdays.  So far we started in Copenhagen, then went to Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger in Norway.  Today I’m sharing our next port of call, Flåm, Norway.

I have to say that sailing down the Sognefjord and the Aurlandsfjord to Flåm was one of the most amazing travel experiences I’ve ever had.

Mr. Q and I woke up in the very early hours to this view outside our window.

We sailed through this misty and magical scenery for a couple of hours…

passing about a gajillion waterfalls.

By the way, this was one of the moments on our cruise when we were really glad we upgraded to a balcony cabin at the last minute.  We were sailing through here at about 6 a.m.  It was easy to just pop out of bed, walk out on the balcony and enjoy the scenery.  Had we been in an inside cabin I am quite sure we would have slept right through this, and wouldn’t that have been a shame?

We passed the little town of Undredal.

We docked in Flåm around 8 a.m.  The immediate area around the dock in Flåm is very touristy.

 There is a huge souvenir shop, a tourist info center, a couple of restaurants, the train museum and the train station.  I would say that probably 99% of the passengers on our ship either took the scenic train ride, or else they took a fjord cruise right from here.  We decided to do something else altogether.  We walked the 3 km along a rushing stream to the real town of Flåm.

According to the Rick Steves guidebook there isn’t much to see in Flåm proper and no real reason to go there, and I suppose he is right if you are looking for castles, museums, historic sites or other tourists.  He recommends taking the scenic train ride, as do most people I know who’ve been to this area.

But if you prefer your stunning scenery without having to battle for elbow room with 300 other tourists, well, then I recommend this walk instead.

Is anyone else tempted to break into song looking at that picture?  The hills are alive, with the sound of music … wait, wrong country.

This place simply could not have been any more beautiful.

As we walked further and further up the valley, the sun got brighter and the air got warmer.  It was so peaceful and quiet.  We saw very few other people.

Our final destination was the old church.

This church was built in 1670 (or 1667 depending on the source) and replaced the original stave church that once stood in this spot.  And P.S., there is a handy (and free) public restroom at the church.

We wandered around the tiny cluster of homes that made up the ‘downtown’ hoping to find somewhere to get coffee, but no such luck.

 So we turned around and headed back to our ship, which was getting ready to sail back down the fjord and out to sea.  Shortly before sailing, our captain made an announcement that a pod of Orca’s had been sighted in the Nærøyfjord.  So although our ship was too big to go very far down that fjord, he was going to take a detour down it to see if we could spot them.  Unfortunately we never saw them, but we did enjoy the dramatic scenery of the Nærøyfjord.  I think the most entertaining part was seeing how the ship did a complete 180 degree turn to get back out again!

This truly was one of my favorite days on our trip.  Mr. Q and I both really enjoyed being surrounded by spectacular scenery during our peaceful walk up the valley, as we practically had the place to ourselves.  We also loved sailing through the fjords.

Next Wednesday I’ll share our last port of call in Norway, Bergen (which we definitely did not have to ourselves)!

I hope you’ll stay tuned.


the seed & horticulture dresser.

I didn’t mention it earlier, but the washstand that I painted in Grain Sack a couple of weeks ago was part of an entire bedroom set.  There it is in the front.

I purchased this entire set for the bed.  I have plans for that bed.  You’ll just have to wait for that.  But in the meantime, I’ve given the dresser (just behind the washstand in that photo) a makeover.

Here’s a better look at just the dresser ‘before’.

Although it came with a mirror, the two will be parting ways.

I knew I wanted to use milk paint on this one, and I also wanted to use an Iron Orchid Designs transfer.  I’ve mentioned before that you have to be a little careful with this combo.  If your milk paint is too chippy, it’s hard to get the transfer to stick to the paint rather than the paint sticking to the transfer.  So I gave this one an extra good scuff sanding and then cleaned it with TSP substitute to help control the chipping.

I also decided to go with a wood top on this dresser, so I stripped the original finish off the top which was pretty scratched up.

Next I mixed a custom milk paint color, mainly to use up a few partial packets of paint I had on hand.  I started by mixing equal parts Miss Mustard Seed’s Eulalie’s Sky and Shutter Gray.  The resulting color was just a bit too blue for me, so I then added another equal part MMS Grain Sack to both lighten it up and add a little more grey.

I love this color!  I’m going to keep track of this color recipe for future use.

After the paint was good and dry, I added the Iron Orchids Design’s Seeds transfer.

I had to ‘cut and paste’ it a bit to fit the dimensions of this dresser, and also to avoid the rectangular drawer pulls.  Your hardware probably won’t be in place when you are adding a transfer, so don’t forget to take it into account.  In this case I had to move “Autumn Catalogue” up a bit to avoid the pulls.  The entire transfer didn’t fit on this dresser, but this is most of it.

I mentioned in my last post about the furniture transfer fail on the Bayberry dresser that Sally at IOD recommends distressing the transfer lightly with fine grit sandpaper to reduce the ‘halo’ effect.  I gave that a try with this transfer and it definitely minimizes it. That ‘halo’ is most apparent when looking at it from an angle, so here’s a good angle shot so you can see what I’m talking about …

It’s practically invisible looking at it straight on.

I decided to go a little old school on finishing the wood top.  After stripping and sanding, I stained it with Varythane Dark Walnut gel stain and then added a couple coats of Minwax Wipe on Poly in a satin finish.  By the way, I used Homestead House Beeswax finish over the milk paint and the furniture transfer.

I focused on the ‘seed catalogue’ garden theme of the transfer when choosing my props for these photos.

I really love how this piece turned out.

What do you think of it?

If you are local and interesting in purchasing this one, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ tab for more details.