viv’s trippy blocks nightstand.

First up, congrats to Monica.  I drew her name at random to win my Dixie Shine giveaway from last Friday.  Now, on with today’s post …

As you guys know, I don’t typically do custom work.  I’ve learned over the years that I find it too stressful to try to meet someone else’s expectations about how something might (or might not) turn out.

I also don’t like working on something that isn’t really my style.  To explain what I mean by that, I always tell the story of a customer who once asked me to paint a dresser for her because she absolutely loved my work.  She wanted it to be exactly like other pieces I had painted.  Except purple.  And not distressed at all.  And with lots of flowers on it.

In other words, nothing like my normal stuff.

But every once in a while there is an exception to my ‘no custom work’ rule.  The furniture owner has to be willing to pretty much allow me to do my own thing without much input.

In this case, the furniture owner is my friend Viv.  Now that she and her husband’s four kids have all flown the nest, she’s turning what was formerly the boy’s room into a guest room.

She’s added a pair of queen size beds (it’s a large room!) with fabulous upholstered headboards, new linens and a new paint color on the wall.  She had asked me over to give her some ideas on what else she could do with the space, and when I saw the nightstand and bureau combo with their dated finish I immediately suggested she paint them.  Duh.  Obviously.

Well … OK, in the end, I offered to paint them for her, starting with the nightstand.

This piece of furniture was in really good condition.  Certainly better condition than 99% of the pieces I normally work on, and probably about 50 years newer.  The only problem was a few water rings on the top, and well … that orange-y sort of stain color (please just ignore how much that matches my floors, ugh!).

So aside from my usual prep process of scuff sanding and cleaning, I also opted to apply a base coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. on the top before proceeding with the paint.

That brings me to today’s q tip:  when you have water rings or other damage that has compromised the existing finish, that change in texture may be hard to disguise with just a coat of regular paint.  You could end up seeing a ghost of those rings after your paint job.  To prevent that, create a uniform base by adding a coat of stain blocking primer, like the B.O.S.S., before painting.

That did the trick on this piece.

I painted Viv’s nightstand in two coats Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road.  Then I decided that the flat shelf at the bottom of the table needed a little something extra.  So I pulled out two stencils from Dixie Belle, Basket Weave and Trippy Blocks, and applied them to a tester board to figure out which one I wanted to use.

I used Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Black Sands for the stenciling.  The color is a bit darker than the Gravel Road, and the sheen of the Silk paint is just a bit less matte than the chalk paint.  Whenever I mention the Black Sands color, I like to point out that it is not black.  It is a really dark grey, don’t be thrown off by that name.  I’d tried this technique once before (on this piece) using their Midnight Sky and Anchor (which is the black from the Silk line) and loved the subtle results.

I decided that Trippy Blocks would do the best job of modernizing the look of the nightstand, which was mainly what Viv wanted me to accomplish.

Once I had everything painted, I gave Viv the option of whether or not to distress the edges and in the end she decided against it.  So after a very light sanding with 220 grit on the flat surfaces, I sealed this piece with Dixie Belle’s Easy Peasy spray wax.

Next we decided to switch out the original wood knobs for something sleeker and more modern looking.  I had filled the center holes for the original knobs with some of Dixie Belle’s Mud before I painted, so we could do anything she wanted with the hardware.  Viv did a little shopping and came up with these drawer pulls from Menards.

They definitely go a long way towards making this piece look updated, don’t you think?

The pulls came in a wide range of sizes, so we were able to use one size on the nightstand, and two different sizes on the larger dresser (which you’ll see on Monday).

It’s always so satisfying to me to see the massive difference a little paint and a change of hardware can make to a piece of furniture.

I think we definitely met our goal of giving this nightstand an updated look.  What do you think?  Leave a comment and let me know!

30 thoughts on “viv’s trippy blocks nightstand.

  1. This is great!! not just the before/after itself, but i also learned about the water stains and other little tricks!


    1. Wow! Total transformation! Say hi to Viv for me! Hard to believe her kids are all grown up. That must be one huge room for a pair of queen sized beds! This was a great makeover with just a little muscle work, paint and a few pieces of hardware. Perfect.


  2. Quite the transformation! I love that the piece is getting a 2nd chance and its life is extended preventing it from ending up in a landfill for now. Good work!


    1. Well … technically, I photographed it in my own living room before sending it back to Viv’s house. But it did look pretty fab next to my sofa 😉


  3. That was an amazing, yet simple transformation! I don’t like modern too well, but I think it turned out great and so much more modern, but yet not modern if that makes sense. Thanks for the water ring tip too – I’ll have to remember that!


    1. For the most part, Viv just wanted an updated look, not necessarily a ‘modern’ one. I probably used that word loosely in my post. But basically, I think what you’re saying is exactly what she wanted 😉


  4. It looks soooo nice. It’s hard to imagine a dated Arts & Crafts piece can become something so contemporary looking. It’s beautiful. Can’t to see the dresser on Monday!


  5. It’s such a great transformation. Your work is really amazing. I know when I did painted clothing (100 years ago) I did custom work but after dealing with clients I stopped!
    People are fickle and hard to work with 😉.


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