Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Printers Desk Re-Do

Ever since I saw the printers desk from Pottery Barn in the fall 2010 catalog, I knew I had to have it. The rustic patina, the pretty pulls! It's pretty much the Rachel to my Ross. The peanut butter to my jelly. But with a price tag of $699, that is just not going to happen, friends.

So I made one! Well, made one OUT of an existing desk. I've yet to find the cajones or the time to actually make a piece of furniture from scratch- but it will happen. I digress.
Let's see my desk before:

Gross, right? 

Well, with some walnut stain and a little elbow grease over a weekend- I turned it into....

THIS BEAUTY!!!!! What do you think? I am posting it for sale in the greater Palm Beach county area so if you're interested, give me a shout! 

Want to know how I did it?

You will need

  • Mask (optional, but recommended)
  • Gloves
  • Paintbrushes ( one large, one small)
  • Foam craft brush (large)
  • Rags
  • Tarp
  • Screwdriver ( to take off hardware, if applicable)
  • Stain
  • Wood Conditioner (optional) 
  • Minwax Polyurethane
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper 

  1. Sand your the piece all over, being sure to go WITH the grain of the wood. If there is existing finish/paint on it, use a coarser grit sandpaper (80) and follow it up with a finer grit (120+)
  2. Wipe off the dust with a slightly damp cloth and allow to dry
  3. Apply Wood Conditioner  with the large craft brush according to the directions on the label - I used Minwax 
  4. Once dry, you are ready to start staining. DO wear gloves because they don't call it 'stain' for nothing. I used Minwax stain in Dark Walnut. 
  5. You may use a paintbrush or apply with a rag, or both. If you are going for a cleaner look, I suggest the brush, but if you want to go rustic- use a rag and really rub it into the depressions. In all cases make sure you THINLY apply, do not glob it on. You can always go back over it. Tip: Start staining in the hard to-reach areas first and work your way out 
  6. Once you have achieved the desired color, allow to dry according to stain directions- usually about 6-8 hours should do it. But of course, the longer you wait, the better. 
  7. Due to the nature of wood, some areas may soak up stain faster, thus leaving an uneven, matte appearance where the rest of the wood is shiny- don't sweat it- all will be remedied by the poly. 
  8. I used Minwax oil-based polyurethane and as with the stain- apply a very thin layer all around and don't go back to try and retouch it before it's completely dry or else it will pull. I only needed one layer, but depending on where the refinished item will be placed/ what it is, you may want another coat. 
Hope that helps! Happy refinishing! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mmmmm... Charleston...

So, sorry for the brief hiatus but my hands were occupied stuffing my face this weekend in Charleston. I literally ate my way through that town.
Let me just say that I LOVE this city. I've resolved myself to being friendlier- like those Charlestonians. (San Diagans? San Diegoans? Anchorman, anyone?) Perhaps their pleasant frame of mind comes from starting off the day with $10 bottomless mimosas at TOAST. Yes. Toast-ED is more like it.

I may or may not have taken advantage of this deal 2 mornings in a row followed by two afternoon naps aaand I'm pretty proud of that.

Oh and yes that is a biscuit AND grits.

If you'll excuse me I have go to purchase some leggings now- I'll be back tomorrow with a VERY exciting project! No hints! You'll just have to tune in!

Monday, November 22, 2010

This ain't your grandmas dresser!

... or is it?! This is my Grandma Margaret's dresser before- sitting in the garage keeping some old tennis equipment and halloween decorations company. The inspiration for this little beauty was more necessity than anything else. My husband and I left San Francisco in August in preparation for our October wedding in Palm Beach FL.  In consequence, we moved into my parents house, into the room that was an office/recording studio. Hence ZERO storage. Also my husband has more pairs of jeans than I do. so...

Here are the pictures before:
( Sorry for the crappy quality, I took these before I knew I'd blog about it)

And the glorious, fantastic, just do-a-little-victory dance gorgeous results:
(also better pictures to come, I just couldn't wait to share)

How I did it:
1. Look at the piece of furniture you want to change. What look do you want to achieve? Distressed and antique? Painted and modern? For this project I painted it a soft gray color using regular old wall paint from Glidden.

2. Sand all over using either a sander or by hand (a power sander makes it go WAY faster). I have a mouse sander from Black & Decker and its suited me just fine.

3. I used 80-grit sandpaper for the first pass, and then switched to 150/200 for the second pass. The varnish was thick on my dresser, so I could use a coarser grit.  If the existing varnish is very thin you will want to sand with a much finer grit sandpaper, and possibly even by hand, especially if you plan on staining instead of painting. In all cases make sure to sand with the grain of the wood.

Note: As this process is very messy and dusty, consider putting a tarp down to catch the dust and make for easier cleanup- and wear a mask! You don't want to be inhaling all that nasty old varnish/wood dust. Gloves are also highly recommended.

4. Wipe down, let dry

5. Paint Selection - I used Glidden. Not because I think their paint is superior or anything, but I'm a sucker for sample sizes, and they have the little 3-4 oz tester bottles, so you can take it home and sample to your hearts delight without making a gallon commitment. I really suggest testing your paint (or stain) on a piece of scrap wood to make sure the color is really what you wanted. Also take it into the room and look at it in the different lights- I guarantee you will see a difference from room to room and paint chip to wood.

6. For the varnish I used a water-based polyurethane from Minwax. This is the step that will give your project the the "woah, how much did you pay for that" look, instead of "oh, so this is what you did this weekend". The key with varnish is working fast and not glopping it on. In preparation for this step, I put the dresser on its back (with some help, of course) on top of some bins to create a sort of trestle so I could reach all the areas quickly and easily. Use a clean brush and apply a thin layer of varnish all around- make sure to catch any drips and don't let them dry that way. Now STEP AWAY- that's right! Don't touch it. I know you want to. It looks dry, and you just want to get that one teensy little spot- DON'T DO IT. You do get a second coat but it has to wait about 8 hours or so. Once that second coat is on, wait for at least 24 hours before moving/ using it.

Now, go get yourself a cocktail. You've earned it.

P.S. In response to your questions- the pulls are vintage from etsy.com

Barn Beam Ledges

I have to admit I nearly peed myself when I stumbled over Ana White's blog. This chick is fantastic- building gorgeous furniture, exactly the way you want it, without the pottery barn/west elm/restoration hardware price tag. And the PLANS! She has plans galore for EVERYTHING. I can't wait until I get my drill out of storage ( oh, and have a place of our own to put these) and take a crack! I loves me some rustic.

See the plans for this project and her HUNDREDS of other projects at:
Barn Beam Ledges

seriously. go.

Friday, November 19, 2010

De-"bunking" the classic boys' room

Don't worry. It's not time to procreate yet- but I'm pretty sure one of the only saving graces of having three little boys would be THIS ROOM:

I love the visuals, the rustic yet modern edge and how practical it is! Got to check out The Bumper Crop

'Tis the season...of pies!

Can you tell by my background that I LOVE fall? Living in South Florida, though, makes me miss the golden afternoons and blustery soccer games of my childhood in Jersey even more. In any case, what's more fall than baking pies? Delicious pie!

Just in case you get sick of those pumpkin/apple/pecan/strawberry-rhubarb creations and want to go for something a little lighter this holiday season, here's my fool-proof Key Lime Pie Recipe.
This is great to bring to any hostess, or you can also use the little pre-made tartlette shells in the baking section of the supermarket to create individual pies as gifts or favors. The baking time might be slightly less, so keep your eye on them if you take this route.

Easy Key Lime Pie:            
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 ( 14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (regular lime juice will do if you can't find key lime)
1 (9 in) prepared graham cracker crust

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Combine eggs, condensed milk and juice and mix well
3. Pour into crust shell
4. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge