Antique baby girl dresser

Today I’m sharing my latest furniture flip:

I bought this at an auction and knew right away that
it was meant to be a baby girl’s dresser.
Within one hour of posting it, I had 3 offers.
The drawers were decoupaged in a brown and white damask fabric. 
The original hardware was spray painted white, then rubbed through.
After some light distressing and antiquing, I was in love with this piece!
The top had a lot of gauges, most of which needed to be filled.
The expectant Mom is designing her nursery around this piece.
Paint: Benjamin Moore Aura in Pink Lace, semi-gloss
Antiquing medium: Minwax American Walnut
Topcoat: Varathane semi-gloss.
Fabric: decoupaged with Mod Podge and then sanded smooth once dry.

Weatherproofing a Wood Table

As promised, I’m back to show how I prepared this CL table for use on our back patio ~

I haven’t started on the benches yet ~ I’m sure I will finish them to match the table color, then find a bright outdoor rug to ground the table and define the area.

We are just starting on our patio space, and one of the first things Kevin did was hang these cute outdoor lights overhead.

The lights create the right amount of bling and ambiance while hanging out back.

Anyway, back to the process of refinishing the table.

First, I sanded through the old stain and finish with 120 grit electric sandpaper. Then, I smoothed it all over with 220 grit.

Next, I used a pre-stain wood conditioner, since pine is so soft and porous and the wood would have otherwise looked too blotchy. The stain color I chose was what I had on-hand, Minwax oil-based special walnut.

Since the final finish was going to be applied with my spray gun, I chose a water-based product. This is Spar Urethane in satin, which is supposed to be good for furniture used outdoors, as it claims to expand and contract during changes in temperature. I applied 5-6 coats, and will be sure to update at a later date whether or not I would recommend the water-based Spar. They make an oil-based version, and that is what I would have used if I were

brushing this product on. But, my spray gun wins almost every time, and I go for the easiest clean-up :)

p.s. I could only find the water-based Spar at Home Depot; my Lowe’s only carried oil-based.

Whomever built this otherwise amazing table used PINK wood filler all over it!  I mean, it was everywhere.

So, after staining, I took some acrylic craft paint and a small brush and blended the pink in with the rest of the table color.

After painting….

…and after sealing with the topcoat.

Here’s one more shot of the finish that I am expecting to hold up to rain and the major AZ temperature swings.

Up next is a boy’s antique dresser set in midnight blue!

Laundry Organizer Tutorial with Plan Sketches

One evening my lovely bride (who just finished painting our laundry cabinets) showed me a picture of this new concept of a washer/dryer stand, and she wanted one. The only thing she said I needed to include is that this was not her idea and to give credit to Sausha at Show & Tell for the inspiration. Now keep in mind our washer/dryer came with the upgraded lower drawers, however I know not to stand in the way of progress. I also know that Christa’s love language is acts of service, so when I build something for her, it’s a bigdeal. I’ve given up on giving her flowers, mushy cards, and romancing her. All she really needs is for me to help her build and fix stuff.  And I’m okay with it. She never discourages a tool purchase.

So, one morning I decided that a distraction from work was in order, and off to the hardware store I went, with inspiration photo in hand.

I set up shop on the rear patio with my miter saw, circular saw, and compressor powered nail gun, and things came together pretty quick. This is the desert, though, so it was hardly ideal.
How to organize laundry

An unbalanced washer (a high probability in a house with four women) is nothing to mess around with, so I made sure the entire base was good and stable.

A few hours later (did I mention how hot it was?) I had the entire stand built, and just like the picture, I might add. I was hoping my bride wouldn’t notice that the trim I purchased was smaller than the inspiration photo, but she has a sharp eye, and I should have known better. (In my defense, it was the only thing available.)
She still liked it, and also helpfully pointed out that it would be great if the three baskets could slide out as one piece. I couldn’t deny it was a good idea, so I used the leftover plywood and added three drawer slides to make it work.
The end result turned out quite nice. We opted for a tallish version to not only accommodate taller baskets, but also to avoid bending over to do laundry. The stand makes the room feel more open and clean. The baskets bring in texture and warmth, and are very organized and easily accessible.

I must tell you that if you do this, please be sure to measure twice and cut once so that the baskets you choose will fit perfectly. (Christa got these on clearance at Target.)

So you want your husband to make you one to make one yourself? Here is how it came together. (Show & Tell had a great tutorial, too, which you should check out.)

Materials: 4″x4″x8′ wood post, (2) 6″x1″x8′ trim board, (6) 2″x2″x8′ furring, (1) 1/4″ thick 4’x8′ premium plywood, (2) 1/2″ thick 4’x8′ middle grade plywood, a handful of wood screws, and (8) small “L” brackets.

I selected middle quality wood, but in retrospect a higher grade would have been better. We are all about saving money so that mindset ruled the moment. At least I avoided all the wood that had crooks, cups, and bows.

Tip: Wood is cut to “nominal dimension” which are larger than actual dimensions. The reason for this is when trees are harvested they are still wet and they cut the lumber at the mill and the wood is either dried in a kiln or stacked and eventually the wood dries out naturally. When it dries, it shrinks. Generally about a 1/2″ for most board cuts. So, a 2×4 is actually 1-1/2″x3-1/2″. So when measuring and assembling your stand make sure you account for the actual dimensions of the wood.
I cut the 4×4 post into four sections about 18″ tall (because that accommodated the height of the baskets). The footprint for the washer/dryer is 55″x26″ so I cut the top 1/2″ plywood to that dimension less 3/4″ on each side. The best way to cut a large board is to clamp a straight edge (level) to the board as a guide for the circular saw. You will need saw horses or tables to support the  boards so it won’t pinch while cutting.
I built a rectangular frame on the top and bottom with the 2×2 furring and inserted three intermediate cross members. The top rectangular wood frame was screwed on top of the four corner posts. I had to use brackets to connect the bottom frame to the wood posts because I wanted the posts to rest on the floor to support the load of the appliances. I recommend drilling pilot holes before installing larger screws, but of course I was in a hurry to get indoors so I had to fill some cracks after the fact. Once the frames were complete I used the nail gun to secure the plywood panels and miter cut trim on the sides of the top edge.

The small crown trim squares had to be precision miter cut and glued to the 4×4 posts. If I nailed them they would have split so wood glue was easy enough and set up quickly with our 130 degree temperature. Because of the rounded edges, it was difficult to judge the exact size and not all the sides were exactly the same (due to shrinkage, a term you won’t hear me mention much of), so I found myself making a slightly longer pieces and then cutting it specific to fit.

The slide-out feature was pretty simple, using leftover 1/4″ plywood and three drawer slides. My sweetheart primed and painted it in the same color as the laundry cabinets and I put it all back together.
The baskets were secured to the plywood so they wouldn’t slide around and scratch everything up. You ladies understand.
I hope that inspires you to build your own laundry organizer.
Until the next project,
(Disclaimer: if a washer/dryer falls off one of these stands it will not be in warranty.)

Before and After White Kitchen Cabinets

I really enjoyed updating my client’s kitchen recently.
 If you ask me, there is nothing more timeless than a classic white kitchen, and is a great option for updating oak cabinets.

Here is what we started with:

Pre Designed Kitchen Cabinet

Her cabinets were a white washed oak. She was looking to paint them white, and she had a southwestern theme going on. She had recently installed new granite in a warm, rich gold and brown, and was waiting for her new “wood” plank tile to be installed. There was a lot going on in there, and pulling it all together was a challenge.
Here is the result … (by the way, there was zero natural light that day because it was dark and rainy so the pictures are yellow and washed out…the cabinets are more crisp and clean in person).
 I did some research on how to go about choosing a white cabinet paint in a kitchen with white appliances. After looking at a lot of images and reading designer opinions, we came to the conclusion it would be best not to compete with the appliances by matching them or even coming close, since they are so stark. We let the cabinets related to each other and let the appliances relate to each other. With her warm, rich granite, backsplash and flooring, a stark white without a warm yellow undertone in it might not have pulled it all together. The color (BM Linen White) appears more yellow in some of these shots because of the lighting issues. With better lighting (and black or stainless appliances) it would be even more fabulous.
 The builder basic hollow panels  got some bead board and trim work:
  • This shot is a little better representation of the color.
  • I thought her new flooring was beautiful.It’s tile made to look like wood.
  • No worries about scratches, and talk about easy maintenance.
I was SO bummed about the lighting that day.
Close ups of the bead board and trim work:
Probably the best shot of the actual color without the white appliances influencing it..
I have to tell you guys that when we came back for the final touches of adding hardware and remaining trim work, I was surprised to hear that my client’s circle of friends weren’t responding very positively to the cabinets or her beautiful flooring! Maybe it was because the hardware wasn’t on yet, but I’m sure that kind of feedback makes a person second guess their choice to go white. I told her she was a trend-setter with her group of friends and that all the young kids are doing it.
white kitchen cabinet organized
I guess white isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found that most people really like it. Who doesn’t like this kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give? Her alternative would have been to either keep her existing white wash oak, strip it and refinish it, go black, or reface/replace which is cost prohibitive for many of us. Of course if she ever replaces her appliances with stainless it would really pull things together even more.
Do you like white kitchens?

Our Paint Colors

I’m excited to be sharing the paint colors we decided on before we move!

We have accepted an offer on our current home so the move day is drawing closer, but hopefully not too soon since there are a lot of dusty projects left to do. Ideally, those projects will be complete and I’ll do a thorough clean before moving us all in.

Back to the paint colors. On my monitor, the colors come through pretty true, and aren’t dark at all. One thing I’ve learned (through the process of choosing 9 colors for this house) is that paint looks different in every house.  But, seeing a color in someone else’s home or online is always a good jumping off point if you are in the  market for new paint.

Having said that, there is one that I can HIGHLY recommend and it’s a trim color -Ben Moore Mascarpone. It is beautiful, and I think it would look great in any home. We used it for all of our white trim and doors and we love it. Whites can be tricky, and this one is a WINNER.


The main house color we chose was Frazee Keratin. It is a greige with a little bit of a green undertone, and we love it. It toned down the pinks in the tile quite a bit and would be a great backdrop to many types of decor.

How to Achieve that Beautiful, Rubbed-Through Finish

For practically nothing. I picked up this coffee table at an auction a few weeks ago. I was originally going to fix it up and sell it, but we decided to keep it.
coffee table 1

It was pretty chipped and worn, so I gave it a few light coats of black paint.
light coats on coffee table
My favorite way to rub-through black is to use denatured alcohol, and some steel wool (a scrub sponge works well, too). Be sure you take a damp cloth and immediately wipe away the rubbed-off  paint, or it will dry onto your finish and you and your sandpaper will be getting well acquainted. Applying a few light coats of paint versus heavy coats will make it much easier to rub through. Just thin the paint with a little water so it’s not thick.
Next, smooth the entire surface down with sandpaper that is anywhere between 400 & 1000 grit. Just be sure it’s fine enough that it doesn’t sand through anymore paint.
smooth with sandpaper


It will look pretty bad after you’ve rubbed through, and sanded everything smooth.
Don’t despair, the clear coat will solve that problem!
Next, if there are areas where the stain was removed down to the wood, here is what you can do:
after removing stain
A brown Crayola marker mimics wood stain beautifully.
You can also use those wood touch-up pens.
Although I sprayed both the paint and the final finish, applying slightly thinned paint with a brush would work just as well. Sometimes smoothing brush marks with a foam roller is a good idea, but may not be necessary.
After the clear coat is dry, I smoothed the final finish with some super fine steel wool, and then buffed out the steel wool scratches with car polish (NOT car wax!).

Here it is in our home:
Coffee table finish
Products I used:

  • Black paint: SW Solo Interior/Exterior Low VOC in Semi-Gloss
  • Rub-through: Denatured Alcohol and a scrubby sponge (or #1 or #2 steel wool)
  • Smoothing the paint: I prefer between 400 & 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper found at automotive stores
  • Final Finish: Varathane Floor Finish in Semi-Gloss
  • Smoothing the Finish: Dull with super fine steel wool, then Maguire’s car polish to shine