an old favorite.

Remember I mentioned that I purchased a vintage dry sink at a garage sale a few weeks back?  Well, here it is in its ‘before’ state.

How could I resist that?  It even had the old green pump still attached.  Well, part of it anyway.  The handle is missing.

This one was definitely the perfect candidate for some milk paint.  I just happened to have some Homestead House milk paint on hand in a color called Stone Fence.  I’d used this color quite a few years ago and I really liked it, so I’d ordered more of it recently.  It was just waiting for the right project.

I went very minimal on prep because I knew I’d be OK with some chipping.  So I simply cleaned the beadboard on all four sides with some TSP substitute, and then rinsed with clear water.  Next I painted the beadboard with two coats of the Stone Fence leaving the top of the dry sink unpainted.  Once dry, I sanded with 220 grit paper.

I then vacuumed away any dust, gave it a wipe down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth, and then applied my old favorite transfer called Seeds.

That transfer could not have been any more perfect for this piece (although I didn’t use the entire transfer, there were a couple more lines at the bottom that I cut off and will save for another project)!

This is an old Prima Marketing transfer from before they parted ways with the I.O.D. sisters.  I was just looking back at one of my blog posts about a pair of twin beds that I put this transfer on back in 2018, and I mentioned in that post that the transfer cost $17.99!  Dang, what happened to those prices?!  Now you can’t find transfers this size for less than $29.99.  That’s a 65% increase in 4 years.  What’s up with that?

(Sidebar:  that urn planter on the left is another that I used Dixie Belle’s patina paint on to give it a rusty iron look, it’s really just plastic!)

The Seeds transfer came in a larger size (which is what I used on this dry sink), and a smaller version.  I used part of the smaller one on this chair …

I used this design on A LOT of pieces, and I was hoarding this last one for something special (the transfer is retired, so no longer available).

Just a quick q tip to say that I don’t necessarily recommend storing (a.k.a. hoarding) transfers for more than a couple of years.  They can dry out and then become difficult to apply.  I’ve also had them come unstuck from their backing and stuck to the protective sheet instead, and then they are worthless.

But I was ignoring my own advice and hanging onto this one until just the right piece came along.  Luckily, the transfer was still in good shape and went on fairly easily.

That being said, it can be a little more challenging to apply a transfer over an uneven surface like beadboard …

You just have to go slowly and continually press the transfer down into those grooves.

As for the top of the dry sink, I decided to just clean it up a bit.

I sanded it with 220 grit paper to remove some smudges of paint left on it by a previous owner, and then revived the finish with a coat of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

It’s not perfect, but that was my point.  I didn’t want to totally remove the patina that showed its age.

The remainder of the piece received a top coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

As for the inside, I cleaned it and that’s it.  I like that it looks authentic inside with original chippy paint.

I think this piece would be adorable as a plant stand.  You could fill the ‘sink’ area with potted plants and store all of your plant supplies underneath.

In the end, this was the perfect piece for my last precious Seeds transfer, don’t you think?

This piece is for sale, so be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

a pair of benches.

I picked up this rather non-descript pair of benches at the Bryn Mawr sales earlier this month.

They were literally the first thing I saw as I stepped out of the car.  I think I was a little over-excited at the prospect of returning neighborhood sales when I snatched these up.  They really weren’t anything special.  They certainly aren’t vintage.

They are pretty sturdy though.  So after I gave them a good cleaning, I hoped I could give them each a new personality with a little paint and some transfers.

I painted the first one in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

I added the I.O.D. Rose Chintz paint inlay to the shelf underneath.

And then I added the Fresh Cut Flowers stencil from The Stencil Market to the top.

It was a perfect fit.

I followed all of that up with some sanding to distress the edges, and then a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

I painted the 2nd bench in my favorite warm white, Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I covered the shelf underneath in a black and white gingham transfer from with prima.

Then I added a portion of their French Specialties transfer to the top of the bench.

Once again, I finished it off with a couple coats of DB’s flat clear coat.

As a sidebar, I took all of the photos for this post yesterday morning, and then yesterday afternoon this happened …

That white stuff?  It’s hail.

We had a massive hail storm.  It sounded like rocks were being dropped from the sky.  And really, they may as well be rocks … except they melt eventually.  Many of my hostas were totally shredded.

Just when they were starting to look really fabulous.

I have to steel my nerves to head out there this morning, survey the damage, and start the clean up.  But, on the bright side, I have lots of time to spend in the garden this summer.  Looks like I’m gonna need it.

So anyway, two somewhat different looks for a pair of formerly matching benches.

Which one do you prefer?

If any of you locals are in need of a small but sturdy bench, both of these are for sale.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint and clear coat used on the benches.

talk about flexibility.

Remember the desk I painted last July?

I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and added a couple of the smaller version of IOD’s Petit Rosier transfers.

I never intended for the piano stool to go with it, and in fact the piano stool that was pictured with it sold separately right away.

But the desk is still with me.  I have to admit, I’m a bit bummed out that this piece hasn’t sold yet.  I absolutely love it, but don’t have a spot for it.  Usually I will re-do a piece that doesn’t sell, but in this case I just can’t bring myself to do that.  I would hate to cover those transfers back up again.

In an effort to try and get this desk sold, I thought, “maybe it needs a chair … and possibly a mirror” (depending on if you want a desk or a makeup table).  So on my last trip to the thrift store I picked up this chair …

I had a few basic requirements for the chair.  It needed to be sturdy, a similar style to the desk, and easy to recover.  This one filled the bill perfectly.

I started with a good cleaning, and then applied a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. in clear.  This type of finish tends to bleed.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so I just went ahead and started with the B.O.S.S.

Next up I gave it two coats of Drop Cloth.  As per usual, the Drop Cloth went over the B.O.S.S. beautifully only requiring two coats for full coverage over that dark stain.  Once dry, I sanded lightly to distress and gave the chair a coat of clear wax.

For the seat, I pulled off the old grungy fabric and replaced it with some pretty black and white toile that I had on hand.  I wanted something that would work with the black and white on the desk.

Using toile always feels like a risk to me, but I know there are a couple of other toile lovers out there, right?

Next I pulled out a mirror that I had taken off a dresser (this one), and painted the frame in Drop Cloth.

I added a hanger to the back of the mirror so it can be hung on the wall.

Finally, I restaged photos of this piece as both a desk and a makeup table/vanity.  Talk about flexibility!

First up, the desk.

There is plenty of space on the top of this desk for a laptop, or really any sort of computer set up you have, leaving lots of room on either side for paperwork, books, a desk lamp and so on.

And you could hide a lot of office-y stuff in those 7 drawers!

One of the drawers has this funky glass piece that slides forward and back …

I’m completely baffled as to what the purpose of that piece is.  Do any of you have an idea?

If I add the mirror hanging over the desk, it magically becomes a vanity or makeup table.

Since the piece is black and white, it can be paired with any accent color, such as a pretty coral or pink.

So whether you are a neutral lover, or prefer a bit of color, this piece could be worked in to an existing décor.

Desk?  or Makeup Table?  Neutral color scheme, or dressed up with a pop of color?


Talk about flexibility, this one could go either way.

And it’s still for sale, and now includes the mirror and the chair.  If any of you locals need a desk … or a makeup table … be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for the details.

Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the B.O.S.S. and the Drop Cloth paint used on this project.

the back alley buy.

Mr. Q nearly bit the dust picking up today’s piece of furniture.  Well, OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration …

I found this piece on Facebook Marketplace and the seller was in south Minneapolis.  We were able to schedule a noon pickup, so at least we didn’t have to find her place in the dark.  But when we got there, the street in front of her house was closed because work was being done.  No worries, she directed us to the alley instead.

I know my local readers will understand what I’m talking about, but I’m not sure if ‘alleys’ are the same throughout the world.  So for those of you not familiar, what we call an alley here in Minnesota is a narrow street that runs behind the houses in older neighborhoods.  The garages are all in the back off the alley (and not attached to the house).

I get the original appeal.  All of the unsightly stuff like garages, cars, trash cans and so forth are all hidden out back.  They don’t put in alleys anymore though, at least not that I’m aware of.  These days people want their garages attached to the house, and alleys are just added extra square footage to maintain.

Normally I love a good alley (especially when it’s full of garage sales).  But in the winter, they can be treacherous.  They don’t get plowed out on a regular basis like they should, resulting in big ruts and ice build up.  Which was totally the case in this particular alley a few weeks ago when we picked this up.  Neither one of us was prepared for carrying a big piece of furniture over really uneven ice (we should have worn our Yaktrax).  I managed to save myself, but Mr. Q went down.  Luckily he just bruised his elbow a bit, it certainly could have been worse.

But we got it loaded and made it back home in one piece.  It was actually a fairly warm day, and by warm I mean it was around 30 degrees, so only just under the freezing mark.  I decided to take advantage of that and sand down the top of this piece before even bringing it inside.

Hey, when you don’t have a heated workshop, sometimes you have to improvise.  I prefer to keep as much dust outside as possible.

Next up I gave the piece a good cleaning, and it totally needed it.  It was fairly gross.  I emptied 4 buckets of dirty water cleaning this baby inside and out.

The finish on this piece was fairly alligatored.  Alligatoring or crazing are fine, irregular cracks in the finish usually caused by excessive heat or long exposure to sunlight.  Personally, I think an alligatored finish provides the perfect canvas for some milk paint (here’s one of my all time favorite alligatored pieces).  I had recently ordered some Fusion milk paint in Little Black Dress to give it a try, so I pulled it out for this dresser.

If you are unfamiliar with using milk paint, you can get the basics from my how-to post by clicking on the image below:

Aside from the cleaning, I did not do any other prep on the body of this piece.  I did not sand it at all.  I knew the alligatored finish was fairly dried out (usually that means milk paint won’t chip overly much), plus I was OK with some chipping.  I wanted a worn look to my final finish.

So, I mixed up my milk paint and painted the sides and drawer fronts in just one coat of Little Black Dress.

I often find that I can get away with just one coat of dark milk paint over a dark stain like the one on this dresser.  Especially if I’m going to be heavily distressing the piece anyway.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded over it with 220 grit sandpaper.  I vacuumed away the dust and then added a topcoat of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

This stuff is so perfect over dark milk paint.  If hemp oil and wax had a baby, it would be this product.  I apply mine with a wax brush, but you can use a lint-free cloth as well.  I brush it on, wait a few minutes and then wipe off any excess with a cloth.  I also buff it up a bit after 24 hours or so.

One quick note, the Big Mama’s Butta comes unscented or in three scented versions; Orange Grove, Suzanne’s Garden and FlannelOrange Grove smells like that orange scented model glue from the 70’s, does anyone else remember that glue?  I loved the smell of that stuff, and I also really like the Orange Grove scented Butta.  Flannel smells like men’s cologne, and I probably should have chosen that scent for this masculine color.  But I went with Suzanne’s Garden on this one instead.  Mr. Q said it smelled like a funeral home in our house after I applied it.  It reminds me of the rose scented soap that my grandmother had in her bathroom.  Although the floral scent might be a bit overpowering at first, it does mellow out quite a bit after a day or two.  So if you love a floral scent, Suzanne’s Garden might be right up your alley.

There were a few stains on the top of the dresser that didn’t sand out, so I decided to go ahead and stain the top in Varathane’s Special Walnut.  This is your basic old-fashioned penetrating wood stain, not a gel stain.  So you have to be sure that all of your old finish is removed in order for it to go on evenly.  But if you have a good, clean, raw wood finish, penetrating wood stain is super easy to apply, just brush it on and wipe away any excess with a lint free cloth.  I wear gloves for this process to avoid staining my hands.  You can add additional coats to dark up the color, but I loved how this one looked after just one coat.

I let the stain dry for a day and then added several coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to protect the top.

One of the things that attracted me to this dresser was the hardware.  It’s really very pretty.  After cleaning the drawer pulls and keyhole escutcheons with some Dawn dish soap and hot water and letting them dry, I added just a little more shiny gold with with prima’s Vintage Gold Metallique Wax.

Now, you have have noticed that I did not put the mirror back on this dresser.  And if you’ve followed me for long, you know that I rarely do.  I find that dressers tend to be more marketable without a mirror.  They certainly are more versatile that way, you can use them as a TV stand, in a foyer, in a dining room, etc. without them looking out of place.

Sometimes a mirror is attached in such a way that you can take it off and you’re good to go, the top is flush with the back and the mirror sits on top of the dresser top.  But other times the top of the dresser doesn’t go all the way back and butts up against the mirror instead, leaving a gap at the back that the mirror sits down into.  Like this …

It’s so much easier when you don’t have to deal with this, but that wasn’t the case this time.

Initially I thought it might be possible to use the mirror harp to fill in that space by cutting off the arms (I’d done something similar recently with this dresser).  So I sent it over to Ken’s workshop and he cut off the arms with a curve to match the style of the remaining piece.

Ken did a great job making it look intentional.  But once I had it painted and in place, I felt like it overpowered the rest of the dresser.

So we went back to the drawing board, or in this case, a simple 2.5″ board.

Ken helped me attach it with some dowel pins.

It’s just enough to fill in that gap, but not take away from the rest of the dresser.

I think most people would be placing items of some kind on the top of the dresser, thus hiding that back piece for the most part anyway.

What do you think?  Would you have gone with the tall, curvy back piece … or do you prefer the simpler look of the straight board?  I haven’t glued either one in place yet, so I could change my mind.  Feel free to weigh in with a comment.

Either way, this dresser is for sale, see my available for local sale page for more details!

wearin’ the green.

In honor of St. Patty’s Day, and since green is one of my favorite colors, I thought I’d share some of my favorite pieces painted in verdant shades while I’m off enjoying my visit with my mom.

I think my all time favorite shade of green is In a Pickle from Sweet Pickens milk paint.

I absolutely LOVE this color.  Isn’t it gorgeous on this washstand?  Pieces in this color never sell quickly for me, but every once in a while I paint another piece in it just because I love it so much.  I always eventually find someone who loves it as much as I do though.  I remember this particular washstand sold to an artist who wanted it for her studio.

I also used In a Pickle on this dresser.

This one crackled in the most perfect way.  And again, it took longer than usual to sell but I did eventually find a buyer.

I have one more favorite piece with this particular paint, this farmhouse table.

I really kind of wish I’d hung onto this piece now.  I’d love to be using it as my own desk.  It’s a bit larger than the one I have now, and I do need a little bit more space.  I’m keeping an eye out for another one like it.

My second favorite shade of green is Fusion’s Park Bench.

I’ve painted so many mid-mod pieces in this color.  Since I don’t want the chippy look of milk paint on the mid-mod’s, the Park Bench is the perfect choice for them.

Unlike with the In a Pickle, the pieces I’ve painted in Park Bench just fly out the door.

Especially the credenza’s.

Adding gold hardware to this color is always a hit.

My latest favorite green is Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  It was gorgeous on the interior of this little cabinet.

It made a fabulous planter chair.

And it was perfect on this painted toolbox.

I also love it with the Rose Chintz paint inlay from IOD over it.

I still have a mostly full jar of this paint, I’m just waiting for the perfect piece of furniture to come along to put it on.

My mom’s town usually has a parade on St. Patrick’s Day so maybe my sister and I will check that out today.  I hope you’re doing something fun today to celebrate too.  I don’t have any Irish ancestry (that I know of), but I can get behind any holiday that celebrates the color green, how about you?


the fine print.

I picked up this dresser at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore a few weeks ago while out thrifting with my friend/picker Sue.

It felt very much like a blank slate to me.  I knew it would be pretty with the top stripped, and the bottom painted.  There were a few ideas that went through my head from there, but then I saw this photo …

I love that look!  I know it may not be to everyone’s taste (sometimes I feel like I’m the only one out there who still loves toile), but I thought it was gorgeous.  That is another of the new IOD paint inlays called Grisaille Toile on the front of that dresser.  I immediately thought that this would be the perfect look for my piece.  So I ordered the paint inlay online.  While I waited for it to arrive, I stripped the top of my dresser, and prepped and painted the base in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I was basically going for the same look as on the example piece above.

I was super excited waiting for my package to arrive.  And FYI, I ordered from The Painted Heirloom.  My order arrived promptly and I would certainly order from her again.  The paint inlays were on sale for $38.40 (and last I checked they still are) and shipping was $2.95 for orders over $100 (and free for orders over $150).  I added some Homestead House milk paint (including more of their fabulous Soldier Blue) to my order to bring it over $100.

I pulled the paint inlay out of the package and trimmed off all of the edges as per the instructions (for my complete tutorial on applying a paint inlay, click here).  I then laid out the sheets trying to match up the edges to create a cohesive design to fit across the front of my dresser.  And that’s when things went haywire.  I just couldn’t figure out how to lay out the design at 4 sheets wide by 2 sheets tall and still match up the repeat (think of wallpapering).

I had made the assumption, based on that photo above, that I would be able to use it that way.

Turns out that in order to go wider than two sheets of the paint inlay, you have to have more than one packet (and even at $38.40, these things aren’t cheap).  Clearly I should have read the fine print!

To save any of you from making the same mistake, here is a helpful graphic that I found online.

You can do 2 sheets wide by 4 sheets tall.  Or you can do 8 sheets wide by 1 sheet tall.  You can not do 4 sheets wide by 2 sheets tall without using multiple packs.

So, now I have the Grisaille Toile inlay in my stash of supplies waiting for another project that it might work on.  I’ll have to find a tall narrow piece because I can’t see myself ever wanting to put over $80 worth of paint inlays on one piece of furniture.  OK, it would be one thing if I was doing a piece for myself.  In that case I might splurge in this way, but if you’re painting furniture to sell and trying to make some sort of a profit, this is a non-starter (in my opinion).

Back to the drawing board.  I still had my dresser ready to go with a stripped top and a body painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  So I gave some thought to how I could create a similar look using supplies that I already had on hand.  I started by going through my stencils and pulling out the Dixie Belle Royal Damask stencil.

Then I tested out a couple of different paint colors for stenciling over the Drop Cloth on a test board.

I decided that using Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy would give me a look very similar to the example piece, at least color-wise, plus I preferred how subtle it was compared to the Burlap.

As I was stenciling the front of the dresser I was reminded of the benefits of using a stencil rather than a transfer or paint inlay.  You can cover as much square footage as you need with a stencil at no extra cost.  You can use whatever paint color you want to.  If you mess up, you can just paint over it and start again without any additional outlay of cash.  You can re-use a stencil over and over on other pieces, thus bringing the cost per use way down.  So at $24.95, this stencil is a much better buy than the paint inlay.  Just sayin’

Today’s stenciling q tip:  when working with an overall pattern like this be sure to start stenciling in the center of your piece and then work your way out on either side.  This way your finished design will be symmetrical.

Once I had the front of the piece stenciled, I sanded the edges of the dresser with 120 grit sandpaper to distress them and then sanded all of the flat areas with 220 grit to smooth them out.  I then added a top coat of clear wax.

For the top of the dresser, I had already stripped it using CitriStrip, so I simply sanded it smooth and then finished it with some white wax.

I toyed with the idea of adding a more modern hardware to this dresser.  Unfortunately, all of the options that I found online that I thought would work were out of stock.  Have you tried finding inexpensive hardware lately?  Is it just me, or is it hard to come by?

I felt like the drawer pulls and key hole escutcheons that came on the piece were just a tad over the top, so I decided to try toning them down with a little paint.  I didn’t want to give them a solid coat of paint though.

So I made a wash of the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth paint by mixing water and paint about 50/50.  I painted that on the hardware, making sure it was in all of the crevices, and let it dry.  Then I used a damp cloth to remove the paint from all of the high points.  I followed that up with some clear wax.

I like the look of painted hardware that has been worn down over time.

I also like the subtlety of the almost tone on tone look of the Sawmill Gravy over the Drop Cloth …

and that sort of washed out, beachy vibe from the pale colors paired with the white waxed top.

I also think the fine print of this stencil gives a more delicate look than had I used the Grisaille Toile inlay.

Personally, I feel like there is pretty much no contest between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of this dresser.  That ambered oak finish had to go.

What do you think?

If you’re local and in need of a dresser, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for details on this piece.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint and stencil used on this project.

the botanical cupboard.

I found this piece a few weeks back on Facebook Marketplace.

When I reached out to the seller, she said that if I could come pick it up right away that would be best for her.  Now that I’m retired from the day job, dropping everything and running out to pick up a piece of furniture is well within the realm of possibility, so I said sure.

Normally I don’t like to leave the house without changing out of my flood water, paint splattered sweat pants, putting on at least a little makeup and doing something with my hair.  This might all sound a bit high maintenance, but the thing is, I tend to run into people I know.  Having worked for the city I live in for 34 years, I know a few people.  Including all of the public works employees, the police officers and most of the EMT’s (I sure hope I never have a heart attack while wearing those sweat pants!).

But the seller was only about 5 minutes away, and we weren’t making any other stops, so I decided it would be fine just this once.  As we drove through a school zone on the way to her house, I asked Mr. Q to be sure not to speed because if we got pulled over I would be mortified.  I could just imagine the officer going back to City Hall and telling everyone how much I’ve let myself go since retirement!

But we made it to our destination without incident.  We went up to the door and rang the bell.  As the seller answered, she was just saying goodbye over her shoulder to someone who had come to purchase an elliptical machine from her … and wouldn’t you know it!  It was a police officer I had worked with for 25+ years.

Seriously, what are the chances?!  How mortifying!  See?  Let this be a reminder to me, never leave the house without make up!

In the long run, it was worth it though.  It’s such a cool piece.  The seller wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew right away it was an old radio cabinet.  Especially after taking a look inside.

By the way, when I brought the cabinet home it did not have a back.  My handyman/neighbor Ken added the beadboard back before I took the photo above.  Obviously there were some sort of components originally mounted on the shelves in this cabinet.  A look at the label that was inside confirmed my suspicion.

Yep, definitely a radio cabinet.

After adding the beadboard back, Ken cut some pieces of hardboard that I had in my stash to cover up those holes and provide shelves instead.

There were some big grooves running down each interior side of the cabinet and I debated just leaving them, but ultimately decided it would look better if I filled them.  So I used some of Dixie Belle’s Mud in white (because I was all out of brown) to do that.  As it dried, I noticed that I definitely was getting some bleed through that was turning the white Mud pink.  At that point I decided to hedge my bets and add a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. to the entire piece.  Better safe than sorry, right?

Next up came paint.  As I was applying my first coat of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy, I was once again reminded of what a nice job the B.O.S.S. does of preparing a dark piece for a light colored paint.  I even stopped to take a photo for you guys …

I don’t know if that helps or not, but that’s just the first coat.  Look at that coverage!

I gave the piece one full coat of Sawmill Gravy, followed by a 2nd cursory watered down coat to catch any spots that I didn’t get perfect coverage on with the first go around.

Next I painted the inside in Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Hampton Olive.

I love to use an all-in-one style paint inside cabinets like this.  It’s just so much easier to paint two coats of paint and be done, no primer or top coat required.  Now, you might be looking at this color and thinking it’s an odd choice to go with the Sawmill Gravy.

Well, here’s why I chose it …

I took that greyish olive green color straight out of the IOD Floral Anthology transfer.

This is a combination of two transfers.  The floral stuff is from the IOD transfer, and the wording is from with prima’s Flower Collector transfer in black (it also comes in gold).  Don’t they make a great pair?

In both cases I have cut apart the transfers and arranged them to fit my piece.  It definitely makes a piece look more custom when you do this.  I especially love the look of the flowers flowing down from the arched detail at the top of the doors.

I used part of the Flower Collector transfer on the inside of one of the doors too.

The interior color makes a lot more sense when you see it in conjunction with the floral transfer, right?

I think it was the detail at the base of the cabinet that originally caught my eye when I saw that Facebook Marketplace ad.

Isn’t that pretty?  They just don’t make pieces like this anymore.

You really could use this cabinet for anything.  Fill it with linens, clothing, toiletries or towels in a bathroom, dishes in a dining room or kitchen, or fill it up with your pottery non-collection like I did.

It would be the perfect addition to a potting shed.

What do you think, did I improve upon the original?

I wish I had a spot for this one, but I don’t.  So it is for sale locally.  If any of you locals are in need of a unique cabinet, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying their products used in this makeover.

the do-over with a twist.

I’ve posted my share of do-overs here on the blog, pieces that didn’t sell for whatever reason and thus they get a 2nd makeover.  But today’s post is a do-over with a twist.

I came across an ad for a dresser on Facebook Marketplace recently, and here’s the picture that was included in the ad.

If you’ve been following me since 2017, this might look familiar to you.  It sure looked familiar to me!  I painted, and then sold, this one five years ago.

It always startles me a bit when I see my pieces being re-sold.  This isn’t the first time it has happened, but this is the first time that I decided to go ahead and buy it back!  The price was right, and I had a pretty good idea what the condition of the dresser would be (assuming the new owners hadn’t done significant damage in five years).  In addition, I knew that I had painted it in Fusion Mineral Paint, and therefore it would be fairly easy to paint over it.

Just for fun, here is what this dresser looked like when I originally purchased it.

And if you go back and read that original post, Ken did a fair amount of repair work on this piece before I ever got around to painting it.  Plus I replaced all of those knobs with pretty glass.  So why let all of that go to waste?

So I bought it back.

This time around I decided to ditch the mirror completely.  Last time I shared photos of the dresser with and without the mirror, but included it with the dresser to be used at the new owner’s discretion.  To be honest, I never really liked the way the mirror looked though so I separated the arms that held the mirror from the trim piece at the back.

I’ll do something with the mirror on its own down the road.

Next I just gave the entire piece a scuff sand and a good cleaning, and then repainted it in a custom mix of Dixie Belle Silk paint.

This mix is probably about 3/4 Tide Pool to 1/4 Hampton Olive.  I just mixed a little of the Hampton Olive at a time into the Tide Pool until the color felt right to me.

The Hampton Olive tones down the brightness of the Tide Pool just a bit, and adds a little more green to the mix as well.

I have to apologize, I struggled to capture this color accurately in my photos.  White balance can be a challenge sometimes, and this is one of those times.  Oddly enough, my camera did the best job of capturing the color in this close up photo of the gold frames.

But this is also one of those chameleon colors that changes with the light, and depending on what colors are next to it.

So I did my best.

One thing to always keep in mind when you are painting over pre-existing paint is that when you distress the edges you are going to see some of that original color.  So in the case of this dresser, that is going to include both the black and the white.  The white was more obvious than the black though, so I tried to distress very gently over the upper portion of the dresser that was white.

I’ve always loved the combination of this blue-green color with gold, so I decided to add a gold transfer to it.

These are all sections from with prima’s Somewhere in France transfer.

It’s subtle, but I love that it added a bit of bling.

To continue with the gold, I added some gold gilding wax to the key holes as well.

So what do you think of this simple do-over with a twist?

Which is your favorite look?  No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3?

Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know.

This dresser is for sale, so if you are local and in need of a pretty dresser, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co. for supplying the paint used in this makeover!

the “not from the 70’s” washstand.

If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I love working on washstands.

These pieces make perfect bedside tables.  And really, they are very versatile.  You can also use them in a foyer, next to the sofa, between two chairs, in the kitchen, add a vessel sink and use it in the bathroom, and on and on.

So when I saw this washstand on Facebook Marketplace I jumped at it.

I think the ad had been up for 27 minutes when I responded.  Lately it seems like I have to be quick to be the first in line.  I inquired on five pieces last week, and I was only able to purchase two of them (you’ll see the other one down the road a bit).  There are plenty of these out there that aren’t selling quickly, but they are the ones priced at over $100, even as high as $200 or $250.  When pieces are in my price range (as this one was), they go fast.

Anyway, the person selling this was not terribly knowledgeable about furniture.  It was listed as “table, with drawers, likely 70’s built”.  Hmmmm.  Not exactly.

I remember the 70’s, and this is not what they looked like.

I wouldn’t exactly call it a table either.  However, it does have drawers.  I feel fairly sure he was looking at those drawer pulls when he decided this was from the 70’s.  In fact, I am betting that the previous owners refinished this piece in the 70’s and added those pulls at that time.  As I cleaned it, I found telltale traces of paint.  So I know that at some point this piece had been painted, and then stripped and refinished.  Don’t you love it when these things go full circle?  Possibly multiple times.  Perhaps 50 years from now someone will strip my paint back off again.

I also love it when these pieces have their original labels on the back.

I like to do a little google research when I have this sort of info, and I discovered that Crescent Furniture Co from Evansville, Indiana went out of business in 1939.  So that reinforces my opinion that this piece was not built in the 70’s.

My first task was to figure out what to do about hardware.  I knew those 70’s colonial style pulls had to go.  So I dug through my stash and came up with a pair of pulls with the right look for this piece.  I wish I had four of them, but I only had three.  So I put two of them on the top drawer and then filled the holes on the other two drawers.

I found three wood knobs in my stash for those two drawers and the door.

After coming up with the hardware, I decided to sand down the top to see if I could go with a lime waxed top.  This was made possibly by my acquisition of a FlexiPort Power Tool Hose Kit from Dust Right (I purchased mine at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware).  One of my favorite customers had told me about this kit (thanks again Susan!) which basically allows you to attach a hose between your hand held electric sander and your shop vac.  You run the vacuum while you use the sander and it sucks up all (well, most) of the dust.  I have to say, it works pretty slick and was only an investment of $34.99.  Now I can sand indoors in the winter, eureka!

I sanded off the original finish, and decided that this was the perfect candidate for a simple waxed finish.  Now, when I say ‘perfect’,  I don’t mean to imply that this wood top is now in perfect condition because it isn’t.

The person who refinished this in the 70’s left some pretty deep orbital sander marks in the top, and there were also some deep scratches.  But I’m OK with leaving those marks alone on a waxed solid wood top like this one.  I think they add character and age.  All I did for this top was sand off the old finish using 80 grit sandpaper, follow that up with some 220 grit paper, vacuum and wipe away any dust, and then rub in two coats of Fusion’s Lime Wax.

Today’s q tip:  when lime waxing (or white waxing), apply your wax by rubbing it on against the grain of the wood.  The wax will get worked into the grain giving you a lighter look.

By the way, sometimes I kind of cheat a little bit when I’m doing a stripped wood top like this with a painted base.  Rather than trying to strip the finish off the curved edge, I just paint right up to the flat top.

It can be a real pain to get the finish out of those crevices.  It’s so much easier to just paint that part, and I think it looks perfectly fine on the finished piece.

OK, so now that I had my hardware figured out, and my top situated, I was left with the decision of what color to paint the base.  I debated a lot of options.  Black?  Putty?  The night before I started painting, I went to bed having decided to paint it green.

But then in the clear light of morning I second guessed that decision.  Why?  Because I wasn’t sure green would sell well.  I wish I could say that marketability was never a consideration for me, and I always just go with my artistic vision, but that would be a lie.  I don’t have a lot of storage space for finished pieces, so I can’t have them sticking around for months on end.

So, I painted it in my go-to warm white, Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  I did go out on a little bit of a limb on the inside though.  In a nod to the actual 70’s, I painted the interior of this washstand in a color from Dixie Belle’s new Silk Paint Desert Collection called Mojave (FYI – these colors are not available on the Dixie Belle website until February 9).

I have to admit, I never would have thought that I would paint something in this sort of goldenrod/dark mustard color.  Who else remembers the iconic Harvest Gold?  That screams 70’s to me.

But everything comes full circle eventually, including Harvest Gold.  Dixie Belle sent this color to me along with a few of the other new colors so I thought I’d give it a try.

And you know what?  I love it paired with the Drop Cloth.

The drawer bottoms of this piece had their share of unsightly stains, so I just went ahead and painted them all.

I really think this color is perfect for the interior of this washstand.

The beauty of the Silk paint line from Dixie Belle is that this paint has a built in primer and topcoat, so it’s perfect for interiors like this.  Two coats and you’re done.

You’ve probably already noticed that I added a transfer to the door on this piece.

This is from the IOD Label Ephemera transfer.

One last detail to note, I added vintage casters to this piece.

This washstand had clearly had casters at some time.  The caster sockets were still in place.  Luckily I had four matching wooden casters in my stash that fit perfectly.

Some pieces just look like they were meant to sit up on casters, while others clearly do not.  Who else remembers this dresser?

That one was definitely not meant to have casters, although it came with four of them.

But I think this piece was meant to have them.  The legs felt a wee bit squatty to me without them.

So what do you think?  I gave this one a little bit of the 70’s on the inside, but the outside remains neutral and firmly ensconced in the earlier part of the 20th century.

This washstand is for sale locally, so be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details if interested.

P.S.  Speaking of the Mojave, I realized recently that being retired means that I can travel whenever I want to.  My mom pointed out that it’s much warmer where she lives, and I was able to get an airline ticket using my frequent flyer miles and paying only the $12 tax.  So for less than what it would cost for dinner out, I’m going to visit my mom next week (she’s in Las Vegas, which is in the Mojave Desert, get it?).  So if any of you locals are interested in this one, be sure to reach out to me by Friday!

Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint used in this makeover.

welcome to splitsville.

Everybody’s doing it.

It was only a matter of time before I jumped on the bandwagon.

I’m talking about taking a vanity/dressing table like this one and splitting it up into a pair of nightstands.

I don’t think there would be much of a market for this piece as is.  It didn’t even have a mirror with it (and I imagine it must have had one originally, right?).  With that step down in the middle, it really couldn’t have functioned as a writing desk.

I called Ken over to help me with the actual splitting.  That center section was held in place with pegs and glue (not screws), so he took a pragmatic approach and sawed right down the middle of that piece first using a reciprocating saw.  Then he was able to use a chisel and a hammer to break pieces free from their glue and pull them out of their pegs.  Then Mr. Q used our Porter Cable Oscillating Tool to cut the pegs off fairly level with the surface.  This process did a fair amount of damage to the veneered surface, but after some gluing, filling, and sanding I think those sides look pretty good after being painted.

I have to mention though, after completing my photo shoot, dismantling the whole set up and moving the nightstands into another area I realized that I photographed the better one.  The patched side of the other nightstand is not quite as smooth.

But how about that color?

That is Dixie Belle’s Burlap.  I recently decided that I should branch out and try some new neutral shades.  So I ordered this one, and also their Spanish Moss and Dried Sage.  I’m looking forward to testing out both of those colors too.  But in the meantime, boy is that Burlap pretty.

My original plan was to use some transfers on the fronts.  However, after going through all of my transfers, and studying the drawer pulls and how they were situated, I decided to rethink that plan.  So next I went through all of my stencils and discovered that this stencil from Jami Ray Vintage actually fit fairly perfectly around those pulls …

And part of another stencil from that set was perfect for the drawer.

Both of these are from their Crock Minis stencils.

They are super subtle, I know, but I think that’s part of their charm.

Speaking of the drawers, they didn’t really need to be lined but I had the perfect paper for them so I went ahead and did it anyway.

The bottom section of each side has a little shelf inside.  I just cleaned that interior up with some of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta in Suzanne’s Garden (a floral, rather rose heavy, scent).

The feet on these pieces are pretty charming.

They were in pretty rough shape though.  Several of them have some chunks missing, a couple of them had split at some point and someone gave them a very sloppy repair job, and a couple still needed to be reglued.  I did what I could with them, and luckily paint hides a multitude of flaws.

I finished these pieces off with some clear wax on the sides and three coats of Dixie Belle clear coat in flat on the top.  Are  you curious why I chose to use different top coats?  Well, the clear coat is more durable than wax and since people tend to put water glasses on their nightstands (or coffee, if you like to read in bed with your first cup of coffee in the morning, oh, the simple pleasures of being retired!) I thought some durability was in order.  But I tend to struggle with drips when using clear coat on a vertical surface like the sides, so I went with wax there instead since the sides don’t need quite as much protection.  The combination of topcoats worked out quite well I think.

So after a bit of teamwork and some elbow grease, this vanity is now splitsville.

Actually, this isn’t the first time I’ve split up a vanity.  I did that once before back in 2017 and I learned a lot about using stamps over paint that time around.

You can revisit that post here.

Splitting this one was a definite improvement I think.

What do you think?

This pair of nightstands is for sale, so be sure to visit my ‘available for local sale‘ page if you’re interested in more details.

Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used for this project.