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The Breakfast Room

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Moving is not for sissies. I have decided it is not for old folk either! Right now I look like I have been fighting. I have a cut on my arm, a bruise on the other arm, and both shins are dinged up. I have dropped boxes, run into furniture, and in general made a mess of myself.

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The good news is that all this pain is paying off. We are starting to see rooms come together. The breakfast room is taking shape. The light was terrible this morning but I was excited to show what is done so far. Better photos to come.

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The picture above the pie safe is a fruit drawing I did in junior high. The artwork is terrible, but It has all the right colors and will be fun to put in the room.

The pie safe that my great, great grandfather made for his wife as a wedding present is now filled with my grandmother’s china thanks to my sister in law.

The green-legged table is now in place. I have to do some work to get the electrical cords put away and add my treasures to the top.

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My yellow chairs are in place along with the antique oak table that we bought 25 years ago. I have a plan for the wall above the green-legged table, but everything else is a clean slate. I need my old neighbor Shahana to come over and help me with the top of the pie safe!

The living room is coming together but not there yet.

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I even found a place for my McCoy ceramics.

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Buffet Table With History

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The best time to shop for anything at a resale shop or an auction is when no one else is willing to be out shopping.  If you want the best deals go when it is raining, early in the morning or, like we just did, when it is blazing hot. It was 102 on the truck thermometer and we were pooped after a day of shopping when I spied this table sitting outside a charity resale shop. It had just been delivered and heat waves were radiating off the black asphalt where it was sitting. The table was marked $60.00.

I walked around inside the store for a little while then asked the lady at the register what she would take for the table. To my surprise she said it was too hot and heavy to bring in so if we wanted it we could have it for $20.00. Sold.

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I really only wanted the legs of the table, but both Hubby and I were surprised at the quality of the table as it was loaded. I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it. I need want a buffet table at the end of our breakfast room. I have been secretly jealous of my friend Robin’s green end table with a stained top so the color was obvious…well to me it was.  We worked on getting the base and table top cut from the original table, but it was just so new and commercial looking.  Yes, I am one of those people who like a room to look collected, not bought as a set.  I feel the same about furniture.  I want unique, original and character.  Hubby and I sat in the Garagemahal looking at the piece when it came to my husband.  Use the wood from my dad.  the plank has been sitting in the hoard over a year.  It is heart pine and full of character.  I love that my dad saved it from a trash pile at the place where he worked for 30 years.  According to my dad the wood was used as a drafting table in the shop of Gulf States Utilities.  He said it was built in the 40’s and was already old when he started there in 1960.  A quick measurement let us know that it would work.  Yay!  It needed a quick cut down to the sides to make it fit, a rub down with mineral spirits to clean it, and a coat of poly.  Nothing else.It will live in our house proudly.  I love wood with history.

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The color is a little richer than Behr’s Happy Camper, because I needed it to match my fabric on the chairs in the breakfast area.  I chose Behr’s Jungle Trail.

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One coat of Bona Floor Poly on this was enough to bring out the shine but not make it too glossy.

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I love those nail holes.

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It is hard to photograph a green piece of furniture at Star Hill.  I had to move it to the gravel road to allow it to show up.

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Lots of work took place on this old wood.  I love that my dad saved it from the trash pile and held on to it for more than 10 years before I got it.  It looks amazing.

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It was so well made that the two pieces of wood match perfectly.  We thought it was one  piece of wood until we got it cleaned up.

Star Hill Begins a Porch Makeover

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Two summers ago we took down all the cedar siding on Star Hill, our lake house, and put up cement board.

Here it is with the new siding and ugly porch.

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The azaleas are beautiful but take a gander at the post. That is how all the rails looked. They were rotted out out the bottoms and were never installed properly.

The cedar siding was rotting in many places and needed to come down. We saved the wood and have used it… a lot. See here:

It also has been used by others to make outdoor storage and we still have a little hanging out that Baby Boy believes will become a sauna for him… we will see.

We had every intention of getting the porch done at the same time but the summer got away from us, then weddings, then job changes. You get the picture. This summer we are actually living at Star Hill so Hubby is getting it done. The rails and posts came down easily. He was done in a day with the rails and did the posts one by one so he could support the roof as he went along.

For some reason the railing has gone a little slower getting put back up. There is a lot of measuring, cutting and leveling involved. If you are needing to replace your railing or have installed a deck, I definitely recommend buying the railings for decks that are pre-assembled. They are $29.00 per 6 foot section. We figured it out and it costs an extra $9.00 per section to purchase them pre-assembled. Well worth the money.

They make brackets now that make assembly a snap. You just have to know which bracket you need!

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I am so excited to get this project finished! Once the rails are up and the fascia board under the roof are replaced it is all getting a coat of paint. We are going to paint the porch and concrete foundation walls too.  Enjoy the pictures.

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We Don’t Do Easy At Our House- The Beverage Station Revealed

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What do you get when you add one artistic, stubborn chick to one math minded, if I build it I expect it to last forever dude? You get most of our projects. We don’t do easy at our house. A while back ( like February!) I saw on Pinterest a sewing cabinet turned into a beverage station. Here is the link to the posting I saw: Beverage Station.

It looked simple enough. Put something into the hole that the sewing machine once lived in and voila! Shortly after finding this project online I found a sewing cabinet at a thrift store. $12.12 for the cabinet. It was a basic sewing cabinet that had no machine inside. Probably a 1960’s version. I was visiting my daughter in North Carolina so what could be better than bring something to work on home? For some reason I do not seem to have a photo of it when I bought it. I hope you can forgive me. I think that my brain is completely gone with all the moving. Here is a photo of the inside before Hubby got busy cutting.

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I finally got the Garagemahal cleared enough that I could get moving on the beverage station. As I shared my idea with Hubby, I could see the wheels moving in his head. That is where the not easy part started. He decided that a sink would be the best thing to put in the station. A sink would drain when the ice melted without having to tip it over. I am embarrassed to tell you this, but we just so happened to have a stainless steel double sink in the hoard. You know those sinks that everyone is tearing out of their kitchen right now to put in under-mount sinks? That is what we had…well we actually had two.

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Hubby got out his grinder. A scary machine that I do not touch. It sends sparks flying and takes some arm strength.

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I now have two separate sinks instead of one double sink!

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After he finished cutting the sink, he cut out a rough opening for the sink in the cabinet. The hole was not quite large enough.

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As you see from this picture I also filled in the holes where the cabinet hardware was. I found one I liked a lot more at our local Restore for fifty cents. It will match the house better. Of course I am saving what I came on it for another project.

I liked the idea he had about dropping in a sink but the sink on top of the wood was going to keep the cabinet from closing flat. This is where the project becomes more complicated. Enter another tool I am not comfortable using. A router. Hubby routed out a groove on the top of the cabinet so that the sink would be recessed. A much better look.

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I know that it is not very noticeable here but the sink fits so much better now!

Painting began. First a coat of primer then Behr Sailboat Blue. My back porch is going to be colorful! By the way, we have now painted a chair, a table top, and the beverage station for just over 1/2 a quart of paint.

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sewing cabinet make over

I used floor poly that is nasty stuff on the entire cabinet. It is going to be on a covered porch but exposed to the elements so I wanted it to last. I even primed the inside of the cabinet and applied poly to that part too. I also had a bottle opener in my hardware collection. It is attached to the end of the cabinet. Here it is all finished.

Please go back and look at my inspiration post if you think this will be too complicated. I do love my beverage station and will be getting a lot of use out of it, especially since it will be as easy as emptying a bucket under it to get rid of the melted ice, but there are easier ways to make this cabinet. We just don’t do easy at our house. Enjoy the finished product.

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drink station

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Showing off my new dispenser.

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Bottle opener on the side

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I scrubbed the life out of this sink!

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When we are ready to drain the sink, a bucket collects the water.

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My cabinet hardware.

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we can use it like a table with the top closed

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we had no ice at the house…poor planning on my part

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I wanted you to see how steep the hill is. it was tricky getting this set up, but it will work great on our back porch!

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An Open First Box

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This is not the first time I have moved. It may have been 14 years since my last move but we have lived in 8 homes since we married. One thing I learned about moving from all of those moves is that you need a basics box. This is a box that goes in to the truck or in this case the container, last. It is the first box out so that you have at least the basics as you move in.

Our box contains:

1 complete set of sheets, cheap pillows and a blanket ( I figure we will find our mattress in the container before the day is over!)

2 towels and wash cloths

A sample sized soap, shampoo, lotion etc.( in a zipper plastic bag)

Tool box- hammer, pliers, screw drivers

Scissors

Tape

A Sharpie Marker

A knife

Paper towels

Basic cleaning supplies- dish soap, Windex, 409- double bagged in plastic gallon sized zipper bag

Plastic cups, plates and bowls

Toilet paper (Over the years we did move into a couple of places that even took the tp with them)

Tylenol

Trash bags

Note pad and pen

At the very least that first day- even if all the boxes are not found immediately or placed in the right room we can eat, sleep, bathe, and go potty. We also have the basics for opening boxes, gathering up trash, re labeling boxes, and dealing with the headache that is sure to come. I have that box delivered to the kitchen and it is opened before anything else comes in. When the have you seen… questions start I can usually supply at least something that will work for the problem. We are probably 80% moved in right now. Baby Boy, Sweet Amanda and their friends put in two hard days of work. My sister in law joined the party yesterday. We are sore, tired and feel incredibly blessed. As I type this Hubby is on his way to the house from Star Hill with a dog, a cat, (not kenneled because he could not find them!)and some of my new treasures. Photos as soon as I am satisfied with a room.

Dirt Road Visit

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Across the dirt road from my buddy, The Social Planner, this is what we see.  TSP picked the best spot on the planet to put her house because her neighbor makes sure she has a gorgeous view.  He works hard on his yard and it has all the trappings of a country gentleman’s estate.   Exactly what you would expect from Mr. Scott.  Except, Mr. Scott was a writer and photographer for Life Magazine before he  retired to Coldspring, Texas. In New York City.

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There are four very spoiled horses on his land.  Just for looking at.  He doesn’t ride them.

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As spoiled as the horses are, he has a bunch of chickens who have it made.  They live in a chicken coop that is the size of a small house.

When Mr. Scott goes out his back door and yells “Ladies”, the hens come running out of their house and into the fenced yard.  They love clover and know he is going to pick some and throw it into the yard.

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This is a group of spoiled chickens.

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They love the clover!

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All the fencing is not to keep the chickens in.  Those birds know that they have it good and wouldn’t leave.  It is to keep snakes, raccoons, wild hogs and coyotes out.  Yep.  This is the real deal country.

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Did you know that the color of the bird determines the color of the egg?  Mr. Scott schooled us on chickens.

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He has had birds live more than 10 years.  One hen is 13.

He also grows things.  Baby boy was getting a lesson from him here.

Mr. Scott

Do you know what this is?

Asparagus growing

Here is a better shot.

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It is asparagus!  It takes two years for asparagus to be established and ready for harvest.  I love asparagus and I think I am going to try some at Star Hill next year.

He also grows garlic and onions year around.

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I had no idea that bees love garlic as much as they do.

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Below is the view from Mr. Scott’s back porch.  What a lucky guy.

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Baby Boy and Sweet Amanda

Baby Boy and Sweet Amanda enjoyed the walk down the dirt road

Not Everything You See On Pinterest Works- The Coral Legged Side Tables

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Our very last night in Baytown, our former home, Hubby showed me how much he loves me… he spotted some side tables sitting by the road and pulled over then turned around to pick them up without even asking. Sigh. I do love that guy. We were moving the next day and that was something else to load into the storage building but they will always have a special meaning to me.

Here are the beauties getting unloaded by Hubby and Sweet Amanda.

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The tables turned out to be solid wood and in great shape structurally. The only problem I had with them was a water ring that was revealed when the tops were sanded down to bare wood.

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This leads me to the not everything you read on Pinterest is true part. A visit to Pinterest led me to believe that allowing bleach to soak into the stain would help. Not so. Here is the stain before bleach and after. More sanding and washing. Did not help.

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The ring wins. The tables are going in the sage green bedroom where shades of white and coral. I love colors across the color wheel and it just so happens that sage and coral compliment each other! It took a few coats of stain, a few costs of paint and two costs of poly to get this done.

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Look at this creepy spider that was hiding in the crevice of one of the legs!

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Won’t they look good with the dresser set? They will be so cute in the room.

I will have to show you my project with the other part of the roadside fond later. Don’t you love the hooves on the end table?
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The Beast Gets Delivered

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I have named the entertainment center that my buddy, The Social Planner, bought, the beast.  It is a mammoth Thomasville set from the early 90’s.  It is 80 inches tall and all added together is over 100 inches wide.  It took two truckloads to get it into the garage.

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This is the center section.

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It was longer than the bed of the truck.

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The end, display pieces were not light…as you can see from the guys expressions.

If you follow my blog you have seen progress on an entertainment center piece that was going into my friend. The Social Planner’s new home.

Once Hubby and Larry got it all disassembled and ready to paint it along with my china cabinet covered the garage floor.

The first painting did not go well.  Just like the china cabinet, it all had to be sanded down and repainted.  Hubby helped a ton with the repainting on this monster thankfully. I decided to glaze it all on the same day.  Big mistake.  It literally wore me out.  I started at 6:30 in the morning and finished about 4:00 pm.  I was hot, tired, and filthy.  I was in bed by 7:00 pm after taking two Advil. I will never take on such a large project again.  I used Bona Floor Finish Polyurethane to seal the finish because I wanted it to be hardy enough to stand up to wear and tear.  I spread the poly out over three days in order to get everything dry before I moved on to another part.  I like the shine that that the floor finish adds.  The brass hardware was sprayed with Rustoleum  oil rubbed bronze to match the hardware in their new home.

Thomasville Entertainment Center

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Painted Hardware Oil Rubbed Bronze

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Picking the piece up from Garagemahal and delivering it to The Social Planner’s forever home turned out to be just as much of a challenge.  This time Larry came with reinforcements.  He brought his brother in law, Ted.  The guys loaded the two trucks, tied it down, and headed out.  Unloading was accomplished without incident, but getting it into the house proved tricky.  Remember that The Beast is 80 inches tall?  So are the doorways in The Social Planner’s home. No way to get it upright through the door and no way to lay it down and turn the corner.  Back out through the back door sliders, across the porch, and after a little modification, through their bedroom slider.

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Here it is all installed and ready to be loaded.  The bedroom looks amazing.  I love the dreamy, romantic feel of the room.  The French provincial marble topped tables turned out so well.  I love the lamps that The Social Planner picked.  They are perfect for the space.  The art is not unpacked yet, but it is going to be amazing.  The main piece will be a large watercolor painted by their daughter in law’s grandmother.  A well-known local artist.

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Here is the beast in the room!  I couldn’t resist showing you all a peek at the rest of her room.  It is not quite done but looks awesome!  I painted and glazed the side tables to match the entertainment center.  They are marble topped beauties that she got at a resale shop for $25.00.

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I love the outcome.  There are not many people I would have done this for, but I am so happy that my work is a part of their home.  I love it!  As the room gets finished I will update the photos.

Solid Wood, Plywood, Particle Board…

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I have had a few friends lately ask me to look at a piece of furniture before they updated it. All of them thought that they had solid wood furniture and did not want to ruin it. As I looked at the pieces I have had to be the one to break the news to them that although it was beautiful, it was not made of solid wood boards. Most of the furniture I look at these days is partially solid wood, and partially wood veneer. Even brands of furniture that are associated with quality furniture probably have some pieces that are not solid wood. Veneered furniture has been around for a loooong time. A thin layer of pretty solid hardwood is glued to a piece of plywood or particle board. Because the surface is a hardwood solid, it can be sanded, stained, varnished and look amazing. You just must be careful not to sand off too much wood. Not knowing the true make up of a piece of furniture can cause you to ruin it when you decide to repurpose the piece. If it is veneer, you need to check to see that the veneer is on securely. If it has peeled off in places and you are going to paint it, no big deal. Sand it, fill the area with wood filler and then once it is dry sand again. if there is particle board involved, it has to be sealed anywhere that the particle board will come in contact with something wet. ( FYI- paint is a liquid.) I recommend a primer applied lightly in coats over these areas. Get a really thick primer like Zinzer bonding primer or Glidden Gripper. Both of those product state that they also seal.

Here is my tip on how to tell what the makeup of your furniture is:

  • Look at it where it was not varnished or stained. Under the piece, the back inside the drawer space. You will get a better idea in those places.
  • Pick it up. If a piece is unbelievably heavy for its’ size, it is 99% sure not to be solid wood. All that glue and pressed wood is heavier than a solid wood piece would normally be. Solid wood furniture is generally not super heavy for its size.
  • Check the edges if there is a veneer ( thin skin of solid wood over something else) the place you can most easily tell is on a sharp edge.

A piece not being solid wood never scared me off, but knowing what something is made of does affect how I re-do it. Even Ikea furniture can be painted, but it takes the right materials and you cannot sand through the plastic-ee coating or the particle board insides will puff when they get wet.

Even antique furniture my not be solid wood. About 20 years ago we bought a church pew from an antique store. It was pretty oak wood but needed some work. We decided to have it stripped so that we could re-stain it. We found out the hard way that it was really plywood with an oak veneer on top. When we got it stripped professionally, the glue holding veneer on also dissolved and we have a few places on it even today that has a wrinkled look. Lesson learned.

This really old, pretty serpentine dresser that is going to be my kitchen island is an example of veneered wood. Serpentine oak dresser

The mirror frame is solid wood. I am still thinking about what to do with that part. Any suggestions for me?

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The drawers are solid wood.

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The dresser cabinet is another story. The top is veneer in fact the reason I got this piece for a song is because the previous owner put screws in the top trying to keep the veneer down at the back of the piece. The side panels are veneer. Look at it. basically the way that veneer is created is that they shave a log in a circle so that they create a continuous piece of hardwood that is way wider than the actual log would have been. (Think unrolling a cinnamon roll.) That means that the grain looks funny when you actually study it. The legs are solid wood. If I were going to refinish this piece I would have to be careful with the side panels and would have to replace the veneer on the top. I am going to paint the body, leave the drawers stained wood, and put a butcher block top on it that follows the serpentine shape.

These French Provincial side tables are veneer over particle board. It was no big deal because they were going to be painted, but I did have to make sure that we kept the inside area dry. I only use Gripper primer on particle board furniture. Get the grey tinted variety if the color you are painting is dark.

French Provincial Side Tables

There are times when I have been pleasantly surprised too. This table ended up being solid wood. I was shocked. We bought it for $20.00 and it is getting cut in half, length-wise for a sofa table in my new family room. I did not know it was solid wood until it was flipped over to take home. I am sanding the top down and staining it now that I know!

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French Provincial Bedroom Furniture

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20130703-143807.jpg   The post on Craig’s List said that it was a solid wood bedroom set, the price was $80.00 and based on the photo that was posted above, she was for sale at but not sold in a garage sale before being posted on CL.  Of course I was skeptical, but, the dresser,  was the right shape and size, the mirror looked ok, the headboard would work for a while and I wanted to at least look it all  over.  We drove across Houston to see about the furniture where my suspicions were confirmed.  There was a dresser, headboard and mirror waiting for us to take home.  Not solid wood and a really bad faux burled walnut finish on the furniture, but the shape of the dresser was great and I thought I could work with it.

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The finish had been compromised on the top of the dresser and there were a few spots where it had gotten wet and was a little swollen.  A little research on the internet led me to Glidden Gripper primer.

Anything that says it works on glass tells me it will hold to the laminated finish on particle board surfaces.  I sanded the top down where the top was swollen and sealed those spots by applying wood filler then sanding again.  The dresser, headboard and mirror got two coats of primer, then the furniture was painted.  It was great to find out that the drawers had a separate top piece.

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The white spot was a gouge in the top that I filled with wood filler then gave it a first coat of primer.

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It is odd to me that the only solid wood part of the drawers were the sides and the top panel.

The two parts meant that two separate colors would be easy to do, and I LOVE easy.  I chose two colors on one paint chip card for the dresser.  Almost all the dresser was painted with Behr Ocean Pearl. The only parts painted a different color were the top and drawer front panels.  I love ocean pearl!  it is a soft gray with a brownish undertone.  The separate top piece of the dresser was painted the lightest color on the paint chip card, Sea Salt.  So that the dresser fits into the green bedroom with a black chair rail I painted the top of the dresser Behr Black Suede.  (The lady bugs and flowers are stickers, so only the green paint and rail will be in the room.)

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( This will be our guest room soon!)

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I was thrilled with the combination.  It will be very restful in a guest room.  After I got it all painted, I used Bona Floor Finish in satin finish on the top of the dresser.  It is a hard surface that will be easy to clean and hopefully will not chip off easily. Even though I selected satin finish, be warned that it is still pretty shiny!   I painted the mirror and headboard the oyster pearl color and accented the ornate decoration on both with sea salt before glazing them.  I coated the rest of the dresser along  the mirror and headboard with water based clear poly because I was worried that the floor finish would yellow on the grayish dresser paint.  The hardware was brass plated and coming off in places.

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A couple of coats of flat black spray paint that works on metal made the hardware fit in perfectly with the dresser.

painted French provincial hardware

I used a charcoal colored glaze on the dresser to give the piece some age.

Glazed French Provincial Leg

French Provincial ornate

 I love how it turned out.  It is going to look great in our new house guest room. 

Behr Black Suede

Behr Oyster Pearl

French Provincial Dresser

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Painted French Procvincial Mirror

Painted French Provincial Headboard

A super big thank you to my Hubby for dragging the dresser outside in 90 degree heat so I could get some good photos.  The Garagemahal is gross right now!

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