My latest furniture project was turning a gross, nicotine stained mid century style dresser into an ombré painted beauty! I’ve been keeping my eye out for a dresser that would work for my son’s room. Since we moved in his clothes have been stored in two rubbermaid sets of drawers in the closet. Fletcher has picked up a real sense of fashion lately and has a lot more clothes than would fit in those so he needed an upgrade. After seeing the amazing ombré dresser on Young House Love I’ve wanted to do one but had to wait until finding the perfect dresser. Thanks to the 50% off sale at my local thrift shop and a perfect fit for this project I came home with this guy for $34.50. I purposefully chose a dresser that wasn’t super nice because I would hate to ruin something that would be more suited to new stain and not a whole lot of paint. For that reason this dresser fit the bill perfectly and the hardware drew me in right away. It was coated in grease and dirt and the dresser was badly stained yellow. I don’t think the photos can convey how filthy it was. I used the Centsational Girl laminate painting furniture tutorial since this was a laquered style paint job and it seems to be working great. The color palette was imspired by a dresser on Thrifty Inspirations. It isn’t perfectly smooth but I think overall it looks pretty nice!
In one trip 2 weeks ago I scored big at Goodwill. Not only did I come home with a nice upholstered chair that I painted and shared last week, but I also found matching nightstands. I’d been scouring Craigslist for a few months for a set. My goal was to find something mid century in good condition for a fair price. I was willing to refinish or paint a set if the right ones came along to save money. I didn’t score my dream set but these would work with my plan. Knowing the tops would likely be damaged on a older set I wanted to paint all but the drawers white for a modern two-tone look. It would be important to find a set that was all wood and where, if possible, the drawers were in good shape enough to leave intact. Boy did I ever find the perfect set for this! I paid $45 each.
You can see that I did one pair first to make sure I liked it before I potentially ruined the next.
The lighting from the open garage was a little too flattering, there are scratches on the front and sides too.
They came to me with scratches, some pretty deep. They weren’t in poor condition and could have been used as is for some people.
I sanded the surfaces I intended to paint down as much as possible to remove the shiny finish so that paint would adhere. I also filled in the deeper scratches so that when I painted the surface would be pretty smooth.
I realized after painting that the joints were open and would look like cracks. After giving the whole thing a coat of white I went back with some caulk and filled in any of those obvious cracked joints then added more coats of paint on top.
You can see this made a pretty big difference. I don’t think I would have been as happy with the results had I not done this.
I used a gloss white spray paint from Rustoleum and made sure to tape the cabinet opening since it would be visible when opened. Also taped off the brass ends on the legs. It took 4-5 coats.
Here is the finished product. The hardware took some hunting… I wanted a bar but the width between the two holes from the previous knobs was an odd width for bars. I managed to find some at Ikea that are just a hair too narrow but you can’t tell since I screwed them in each a little crooked. The cabinet hardware is also Ikea.
It has a coat of poly on top of the paint as well for a nice “lacquered” looking shine and this made the whole piece look much more professional. I did sand the paint before applying. I did a wet sand on the tops and a regular fine grit sand everywhere else.
On my husband’s side.
A front view of them side by side.
Like I said, I never would have picked these up had they not worked perfectly for the two-tone plan. The paint and hardware make them look so much more modern to me and I feel like they could be mistaken for new pieces that cost a lot more than $45 each. With the hardware and paint they would be about $58 each. If you run across a dresser or nightstand this scheme could work for you too.
Our master bedroom wasn’t as desperate as most of the other rooms in our home when we moved in (you can see the whole home in before photos here). 6 years ago there was a fire in that side of the home and so it was re-done including the master bathroom. For this reason these two rooms came last on the list to re-paint. While the original color wasn’t terrible for the space there were holes in the wall like swiss cheese from a TV mount and shelving that used to be.
I decided to keep a little warmth in the room and went with Independent Gold from Sherwin Williams. After a lot of hole patching, some removal of a bad caulk job on spots on the trim and re-caulking, new outlets and plates, and a fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim we now have a whole new room!
The standing lamp was a 5 year anniversary gift from my husband. You might notice a plaque on the base which is engraved. Interesting gift choice… I aslo replaced the antiqued brass knobs on the nightstand to the right with a new brushed nickel one.
I found a frame from Ikea that works well to hold my photos of Fletcher through the ages.
For Christmas my MIL gave me a painting of my husband and I’s favorite little hole in the wall bar and burger joint in Charlotte NC, The Penguin, which is on the armoire on the right.
A few tokens from our wedding- the invitation, the “Save the Date’s, the ornament he used to hide my engagement ring on when he proposed on Christmas Day in 2007, the tassel from my college graduation which took place 3 months prior to our wedding day, and my DIY handmade birdcage veil and hair piece.
Above our bed hangs a summary of our lives together- the center photo was my 5 year wedding anniversary gift to my husband. I went back to our college and photographed the exact hallway where we met. The photo on the left is from our wedding day of course, and the right photo is our whole little family.
The dresser was a fabulous thrift store find- a mid century Bassett for 63.00. It needed some minor scratch repair and a good washing with Murphy’s Oil Soap. The lamp was also from the thrift store for $5.00 and the shade is from Target.
The mirror to the right belongs to the dresser but I kind of like it just propped up on the wall and not mounted. We’ll see how it goes.
I really wanted to raise the height of the curtain rods so I filled the holes and raised it about 2-3 inches and mounted it wider a few inches. The curtains are from Ikea- $19.99 for a pack of 2 panels and I have 4. The rod was already in the home when we moved in so that was free. I have Ev’s 1-2 year photos framed next to the window.
The room isn’t complete just yet. Yesterday I found the exact doors I have been drooling over at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Brand new craftsman style 5 panel doors. I’m planning on painting them black and replacing the door to my room, bathroom, and the laundry room. I’ve been hunting for a matching set of nightstands to refinish as well to replace the mismatch tables we have now.
With only one room left to paint, the master bathroom, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I can reclaim the closet in our home that is dedicated to paint materials. I’m so in love with our bedroom I can’t even hide it. It’s so serene and adult, free of toys and clutter, just the way a master bedroom should be.
The little ol’ granny in me has always wanted one of those cameo style silhouettes in a beautiful oval frame. It is something that has been on my “must craft” list for a long time but only recently came true over the weekend. I’m glad I waited because the craft came AFTER finding the perfect vintage oval frames at my favorite thrift store for $2.00 each. They are completely made of plastic that is painted to resemble wood. I think they are convincing. The date on the back? 1970!
With the frames in hand I set about making my silhouettes of my boys. Here is how I did it. It was all by hand (no fancy Silhouette Cameo machine, but I would take one if I was offered it!) with an exacto knife. Check the supply list, read over the instructions, and in one day you could have your own granny style art for your home! Total cost- about $3.38 in supplies plus $4.00 for the frames.
Exacto Knife (with anice sharp blade)
Card stock/scrapbooking paper for the silhouette
Card stock/scrapbooking paper for the background
White craft glue or glue stick
Printed profile photo to use as template
Step 1: Take your profile photos
Once you realize almost everything you need is already in your home you are probably like “Let’s get this craft started!” The first thing you need to do is bribe your subjects into standing still long enough to take a profile photo. I’ll include mine to show you what I started with. Fletcher wouldn’t stand still for anything but Ev would, except he wouldn’t turn his body to the side so I had to fudge a little on his neck to pretend that he did. Some people will include the bust area in the silhouette but I only wanted the neck.
Once that is over you are done with the hardest part!
Step 2: Make Your Template
After uploading the pictures to my computer I decided to make my templates using Photoshop Elements. You can skip this is you would rather simply print your images and cut around their faces with scissors, just keep in mind you might still need to re-size those photos to make them the exact dimensions you want. In Photoshop I used the quick selection tool to select just his face and neck, then deleted the background around him. Next I cleaned up the edges to make sure what printed would be exactly the shape I wanted. Afterwards I set the image to grayscale and deleted everything from the insides. This was just to save printer ink.
Step 3: Cut and Trace
After you have your templates printed and you decide they are the correct size you can start the cutting process. I should mention that you can also opt to print your template directly onto you chosen paper if it is a light enough color and the correct size paper- if you do this you want the silhouette printed backwards of the side you wish it to face on. If you choose to print on printer paper you will need to cut the template very carefully. You can use scissors for this cut but again, with very small cuts you will want to take it slow and easy. With your template in hand you can trace onto your nice paper- flip the template over so that you are tracing around it upside down. After cutting your final piece you will want any leftover marks on the back.
Step 3: Cut out your Silhouette
With the outline traced it is time to start cutting. Using a very sharp exacto knife you will want to slowly and carefully cut along your pencil lines. I would start with a half press and then retrace the same cut with full pressure to cut it completely. I wasn’t perfect by any means and the smallest cuts like the points of the cow licks and the eyelashes aren’t as smooth as the longer cuts. Just take it easy and remember that your guests won’t notice those tiny imperfections even if they are staring you in the face. After you have a tiny head in your hands flip it over. You might have raised edges from the pressure of the cuts in places, you can smooth them down. Trim any rough “hang nails” as well.
Step 4: Glue ‘er Down
When you are happy with your little silhouette it’s time to glue it down to your backing. I chose a nice black scrapbook paper with a slight sheen to add more interest than just plain black. I already had Elmer’s glue at home and wasn’t sure how it would work out but it did OK. I believe a glue stick would have been better though. I used a foam brush to very lightly paint the glue over the back to prevent the rippling of paper that is too wet with glue. You want to cover the entire surface area all the way to the edge, but again, as light as possible to prevent oozing and rippling.
Step 5: Frame!
I decided to hang a few framed pictures in the hallway, including my new silhouettes, to the three bedrooms on the east side of the house. Most guests would never see these unless they are staying with us so it is a hodge podge of pictures that mean something to us. I will add more to it as time goes on.
Some of you have expressed interest in my home reno/decorating progress. This is consuming most of my time so it makes sense to use it as blog material.
This week I focused heavily on finding pieces for the entryway. In our old home we had a small bench with storage and this sufficed. This home has a wider, longer entry and the bench looked a little ridiculous. The hallway also started out orange. It was the first room to be painted in the house but until this week sat untouched.
After browsing Pinterest and other websites for hours trying to find a practical and appropriate way to fill the space without being too “formal” and traditional but still needing it was a photo a friend posted for a paint color that caught my eye! The photo had one chair and an entryway table. Initially I was looking for a long console but having chairs might work too. I hit Pinterest again and found the photo for inspiration:
The chairs were traditional but clean and I liked the ottoman idea in the middle. I was hoping to score a set of chairs at a thrift store since I knew buying new would cost a fortune.
I snapped a blurry pic because the children were running from me. Story of my life.
As fate would have it I ran into my dream chairs at Salvation Army. I walked in with the boys and they were right in the front. Two white upholstered, Mid Century style chairs. I’m a sucker for Mid Century furniture. I love the lines. I’ve wanted to start changing our furniture over but really nice pieces are expensive and I’m usually no good at finding these things! I worried they would be too low so I texted my husband a photo. By the time he replied I had already left the store because my children were running wild! I had forgotten my BobaAir and Ev won’t sit in a cart.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the chairs. The more I thought about them the more I knew they had to come home with me. The kids needed naps so I couldn’t go back right away. I called the store and asked them to hold them until I could get there but the manager said they couldn’t. He assured me it was a slow day and they would probably be there in a few hours.
When the kids awoke we left immediately! I took my tape measure to see if the chairs would even fit into the trunk of my car. I did another once over for damage and they were in near pristine condition minus some scuffed white paint from a wall and one scratch on the arm. The upholstery had some yellowing but I want to replace it down the line. I’m not a math whiz but I figured they would puzzle in, but barely.
I paid for them (all $80.00 for the two!) and the manager helped me get them in my trunk. They were MINE. I loaded them in my hallway and fell in love! Perfection. They were meant to be mine.
Next I needed a table for in between. I spied two that might work at the same store, one was the old school low octagonal table, but I would need to refinish them. I looked online and didn’t find much. The table needed to be low.
After reading a blog post on MODG (THE 11 STEPS TO GETTING THE BEST STUFF ON CRAIGSLIST WITHOUT GETTING MURDERED) I remembered, DUH, check craigslist! I used my Ultimate Craigslist App to search for “table” in my area. Three possible contenders, one was sold, one never replied, and one was in St. Pete which is almost an hour away. The third option was my favorite but it wasn’t a table, it was a credenza. The height would probably be too much. However it was Mid Century and a 1950′s piece. Stylistically it was perfect. I photoshopped to (what I thought) was scale based on the measurements and it clicked. Friday while Fletcher was in Pre-K I made the trip. I measured my trunk and figured it would fit. If it didn’t I was prepared to remove Fletcher’s car seat for the extra space but that would be a pain.
On the way to St. Pete I arranged a breakfast with Calley, The Eco Chic, since I would be in her neck of the woods. Then onward to a little warehouse. It was hard to find and the GPS was clueless so I had to phone back and forth. The clouds overhead were looming and I feared a downpour. I arrived and saw my credenza. Not a scratch on her. Solid wood, glass sliding doors, and replaced legs with brass tips. The tapered legs, while not original, added a lot to the look and I loved them. SOLD! Except…. I forgot to swing by the ATM or ask her preferred method of payment. Of course, cash only she said. Ugh. Rain was still threatening and I had to find an ATM. Ev and I drove out and found a bank. I returned with my case and we dissassembled the doors and legs. I ended up having to remove Fletcher’s seat and put it in front so his seat would fold. It fit in my car by the skin of its teeth. I only had 1.5 hours to get home, get lunch, remove the large item (alone), re-install the seat, and pick up Fletcher. The drive was 45 minutes. Zoinks!
Unloading the credenza alone was tough and I hurt my back pretty bad. I had no choice because with it in my car I couldn’t pick up Fletcher! I got his seat in and picked him up just in time.
Now the final result is perfect and I’m beyond happy with it, despite how much trouble they both were. I don’t have an exact idea for the art above it yet but a starburst would look nice or these cattails I found on Etsy. I also need a new rug! The shopping never ends. At least it is fun. On Saturday my good luck continued when I found a Mid Century Bassett dresser in great condition (the top was replaced but the rest is original) for 63.00. Seriously. It is either going to be my new TV console or going in my room. For that price it would find a home.
Our bathroom is way behind since my husband is out of town. We have two weekends to finish it before guests arrive. Nothing like pressure to breed productivity! Once that is done I’ll share the outcome.