Antiquity Made New

Some of you might have seen a piece of yellow furniture sticking out behind our newly adopted dining table.

Gus helps set-up the table.

Gus helps set-up the table.

“What is it,” you ask?  It’s THIS beauty!

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“No, seriously, Laura… What is that?”  Well, for starters, it used to be a worn-down Vintage Record Cabinet, seen in this old post:


After falling in love with this baby on craigslist back in May, I snagged it for $20 and stashed it in the sun room, where it sat collecting dust for close to a month.  When Mike went on his boys-only fishing trip to Canada, I jumped at the opportunity to revamp this ugly duckling into the yellow swan you spotted above.

Since I knew that the rehab would create dust and there’d be a ton of paint fumes, I kept everything contained in the sun room, and made the dogs hang out alone in the house, much to their chagrin.  In order to “protect” the AstroTurf flooring, which I hate but the landlords apparently love, I laid down a cardboard box.

The first step was what I called “de-roughing.”  (Note from Laura: at this point, I wasn’t affected by any paint fumes, so I was clearly just being weird and making up words all on my own.)  Basically, the sides and the top were a little too rough for my liking.  The finish had been worn away, there was some pitting, some kind of strange hole carved into the top, and there were various nails sticking out in places where they needn’t be.  I knew that all of these would make for less-than-ideal painting conditions, so they needed to be addressed ASAP.  I filled the tiny pit in with a tiny bit of caulk and actually used an old fork to remove the nails (they were too small to extract with the hammer, and I couldn’t find the rest of Mike’s tools).

Starting with medium grain sandpaper and working up to fine, I used lots of elbow grease anywhere it felt like it needed it.  The way that I judged this was incredibly unscientific, but highly effective… I merely ran my fingers over every surface, nook, and cranny, and sanded any bits that stuck out or felt rough.  This resulted in a mottled look that was actually smooth to the touch (see the first picture above).  I finished the sanding up by lightly rubbing the fine sandpaper over the whole shebang, since I wanted the primer to have something to stick to.  There was so much brown dust from the sanding, so I used some eco-friendly cleaner and an old sock to wipe up the furniture.

Next, I removed the one door knob (the second knob had fallen off and gotten lost at some point),  unscrewed only the hinges from the main cabinet (leaving them still on the doors), and laid the doors down on a separate hunk of cardboard.

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Confession #1: I had planned to do the same sanding job on these, since you can see in the above photo that the wood stain had a slight sheen to it.  But I completely forgot.  Oops.  

Confession #2: At this point, I still wasn’t 100% sure which color I was going to paint everything.  I already have quite a stock of different colors, so I lined them all up and narrowed it down to two: a mustard-y yellow, and a dark teal.  And then (duh!) it hit me: both of them!  But before I could create my two-toned masterpiece, I needed to prime the area.

I hate the added task of priming… but I love how it makes the paint look so much more polished.  The good thing about primer application is that you can slap it on easily without much effort, and it dries relatively quickly.  I applied two thin and even coats of primer with my short-handled brush, leaving only about 20 minutes of dry time in between.  Everything looked a little crazy after the first coat…

…but after the second coat, we were good to go!

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As soon as the second coat was safe to touch, I began applying the color.  I wanted the entire outside (including the doors) to be mustard, while the inside would be dark teal.  Having a dark color on the inside allowed for some degree of forgiveness, since it’s more difficult to detect any painting imperfections, smudges, or drips.  However, the outside needed to be perfect.  And that’s exactly the thought I had as I looked around and couldn’t find any roller covers.  Crap.

I could have gone to the store, but I knew that would waste a half hour of valuable painting time, and I wanted to get one coat done before I headed off to work.  So I decided to just be very very careful in my application.

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As you can see from the above photo, the brush does leave visible strokes, which I ended up LOVING.  I thought they added a nice antique-y touch of character to the already vintage frame.  And not grabbing a roller cover saved me time and money.  Score!

At this point, I headed off to work, leaving my first coat to dry.

When I returned several hours later, everything was dry and ready for the second coat.  I applied the yellow paint using the same slow, meticulous strokes with my short-handled brush.  After two coats, the outside was completely done.  Perfect looking!  But the inside teal was uneven, and the primer still shone through in spots.  So I added a third coat, which did the trick!

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I used the exact same method on the doors, although they took a little longer.  The process involved two coats of primer and two coats of yellow paint on each side.  Eight coats total.  I decided to paint the hinges as well to make them a little less visible.  And what about the lack of door sanding?  Were the doors ruined because I forgot to sand them down?  Nope.  In fact, they look perfect.  No different from the main cabinet.  In retrospect, I probably could have gotten away with only sanding the rough parts.  For your own projects, just use your best judgment.

I let all components air out in the sun room overnight before I screwed on two silver knobs I had left over from the bathroom, put the doors back in place and moved the cabinet inside.  For the moment, it only has one $14.99 wire terrarium on top, which holds three little plants.  I purchased the terrarium at a store in Fairlawn, OH called Tuesday Morning.

I love staring at the cabinet so much that I still haven’t figured out what should go inside.  It is just the most wonderful little piece of furniture I have ever owned, even though it doesn’t technically have a function at the moment.  Whether opened or closed, it adds such a fun pop of color to the dining room, and makes me happy every time I see it.  At some point, I might want to add a shiny varnish on the outside to protect it from scratches and water spots, but for now it is absolutely incredible just the way it is!  This little lady is incredibly happy with the results.


Getting Giddy

Today it really hit us that in just 5 short days, we will be moving into the rental house.  I woke up so excited at 7:45 am that I could not resist waking Mike up early.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  2 hours later, he was up and ready for the shopping extravaganza I had planned (okay, fine… he could only handle two stores).

First stop was to Lowe’s.  I had a coupon for a free 8 ounce Valspar paint sample, and after much deliberation on my part (Mike “helped” by proclaiming several times that all of the colors looked fine and I should just wing it), I settled on Pine Green from the Spring 2013 collection.

Valspar Pine Green

I’d prefer for the paint to have low or zero VOC, but it was free, and beggars can’t be choosers!  (ML note: You might notice that I have yellow spray paint on my fingers… That’s another project I’ll be sharing later this week in anticipation of the move!)

While we were at Lowe’s, I figured I needed to check out the clearance sections… and found these three steals:


Each Valspar paint sample (Dylan Velvet and Redstone Dining Room Gold, both from the Fall/Winter 2012 collection) was on sale for $1, which made them well below half-off.  I was especially excited by the Valspar Ultra Kitchen & Bath paint, as it happens to be in one of my favorite colors (dark teal), and has zero VOC.  It made me nervous that the can was only about half full, and that we don’t technically know what color it is, so purchasing more would be tricky.  But I was instantly sold after seeing the price tag.  Or rather, the paint was sold (terrible pun alert…)!

Valspar Price Tag

Is that an amazing deal or what?!  On my newly induced shopper’s high, I was ready to head to the next store.  But not before discovering this gorgeous metal sheet:

Laura & Metal Sheet Love

I couldn’t stop thinking up new projects to incorporate this gorgeous beaut, and promised I’d come back for her as soon as we were settled in the new house.  And then it was time to head to (AKA drag Mike to) Goodwill, where I fell in love with some burlap-looking curtains called “Tan Chesapeake,” originally from Target.  Each of the two gorgeous window panels was still in its packaging, and marked at only $3.99!  Phoebe gave her stamp of approval and decided to repurpose them as her new doggie bed.

Phoebe and curtains

Yes, I realize that Phoebe, the curtains, and the carpet are all the same color…  Beige overload.  Try and ignore the ugly carpeting, and just keep chanting “5 more days until the new place!”

I also snagged this amazing oversized picnic-looking basket for $6, which I plan on placing atop a luggage rack or table for a mini-laundry basket.

Laundry basket

Our laundry situation right now is not ideal, since we basically just wait until one of us runs out of underwear.  By that point, we’ve usually accumulated about 6 loads of laundry.  We’re hoping that using a smaller basket will force us to do at least one load of laundry every other day, making it a much more manageable task.  (ML note: You’ll notice Phoebe’s tush and Mike’s feet in the above photo… It ended up being a nearly impossible task to photograph the basket without one of them jumping in the photo.  Perhaps they’re drawn to the basket’s amazing energy?)

We have close to a dozen projects in the hopper, but since we currently have no outdoor space for painting besides a tiny balcony, you’ll just have to wait 5 more days for anything to be completed.  One of the first projects will be to paint our lazy Susan, snagged for a mere 1 smackeroo.

Lazy Susan

Please ignore how much is crammed on there at the moment… Space is at a premium right now in this teeny apartment.  And in case you’re wondering, the yellow pot (originally terracotta, but I painted it with Valspar’s Appletini) holds a tiny succulent I snatched up for $1.  The blue and white plate is a 25 cent find that holds our heart-shaped rock collection, the free beer bottle is currently being repurposed as a vase for free hydrangeas that grow in the apartment complex,  and that green lump is actually 4 leaf coasters that I knit over the winter.  All of these items belong to other posts, which I promise will come shortly.  In the meantime, would you be so kind as to help me pick which color to paint the lazy Susan?  Keep in mind that none of the above items will necessarily be living on this lazy Susan for much longer, and I hope to use it for non-food purposes only.  Now, get to voting below (please!)!