Decor to Score from CB2

May 18th, 2009

Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock, but there is a new catalog I am getting in the mail for the last few months that features some modern and hip decor that, how shall I say, rocks.

bamm bamm rocks

CB2 is a sister store of Crate and Barrel, with a few stores in NYC, LA, Chicago, SF and Berkeley. It features modern decor that is edgy, hip and contemporary. For someone like me who leans traditional, I find myself strangely drawn to many of their modern accessories. Am I the only one left on the planet who is just hearing about this line of affordable decor? Read the rest of this entry »

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DIY: Painted Thrift Store Desk

May 18th, 2009

Y’all know I often circle the local thrift stores in the hopes of finding new treasures.  Last week, I found a solid wood desk with a few scratches and dings, but overall in really good condition.  I mixed up a batch of color with some leftover paint samples, and transformed this old fashioned desk into a lovely green gem perfect for my little girl’s room.

Here’s the Before and After:

 

I had been looking for a desk for my daughter’s room, and got really lucky when I saw the $16.00 price tag on this desk at the local St. Vincent de Paul.  Yes I know.  Sixteen dollars.

 

But get this.  I asked the manager for a discount, and he gave me 40% off, so I only paid $9.60 for this solid wood desk.  Total score !

It would have been easy to sand it down and stain it like I did with this dresser, but with those feminine base legs and that French style hardware, I just had to place it in my daughter’s room, and that meant I had to paint it.

I was inspired by these bright pieces I saw at the local Antique Fair a few weeks ago, selling for hundreds of dollars.

 

I decided, rather than painting the desk a cream color like all of the other furniture in her room, that I would mix it up !  Be bold ! Paint it green !  But what color green ?

I had some leftover color from her wall paint, added some apple green paint from my stash, and I mixed in some gray too for a custom color.

Painting Older Wood Furniture:

Supplies:

  1. Medium grade sandpaper
  2. Primer
  3. Paint color of choice
  4. Roller brush and holder
  5. Polycrylic protectant

Step One:  Remove hardware. Sand your surface to remove any varnish or debris in preparation of primer.

Step Two:  Prime your piece with a good primer.  I prefer the spray variety since it saves a lot of time, but you can also use a brush on like Zinsser’s oil based in the brown can.   Allow to dry for recommended time.  I highly recommend these snap on spray paint guns, they save time and finger cramps, plus assist with even application.

 

Step Three:  Roll on the paint with a roller and follow up with a paintbrush to smooth any uneven spots and fill in any hard to reach nooks.  Apply two coats and allow to dry for 24 hours.

A few helpful tips on paint application:

  1. Use a new roller brush (not the rolling tool, the roller brush itself).  I tried to be “green” and reuse an old roller leftover from a previous project, but it had tiny fibers and dust on it, which ended up in my paint, and I had to hand pick it all out, wasting about thirty minutes and causing intense frustration.  Aaarrrggghh.  Spend the extra $2 for the new roller – trust me.
  2. Paint in an area where there is no chance of a breeze.  In my case, it was my garage with the garage door closed and the screened window open.  I have tried to paint outside several times, but the gnats and dust always ends up in my paint, and I really wasn’t looking for that extra “texture”.

Here I am painting in my garage last Thursday late at night in frustration because my personal favorite was kicked off American Idol.  I was working off my anger.   (My poor Danny. Sniff, sigh.)

Step Four (optional):  If you seek a distressed or antiqued look, go over the edges of your painted surface lightly with sandpaper to expose the wood underneath.

 

Step Five:  Apply a protectant like Minwax Polycrylic to your piece to protect your marvelous paint job.  I like to use Minwax products for a good reason.  If you’ve distressed your edges with sandpaper, the poly also helps to enhance the wood tone underneath.  Allow your poly to dry for at least 24 hours.

This French style hardware antiqued and beautiful so I didn’t paint or polish it.

I lined the drawers with some pretty paper too.

 

Final Result

Here’s the desk in her room:

What do you all think of the new desk?  Are you about to paint a piece of furniture and completely transform it?   Do tell.

 

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Sunday Op Ed

May 17th, 2009

I recently received an email from a reader. She posed this question about decorating on a budget:

“Hi Kate,
I love reading your blog… I’m always in awe of folks such as yourself, who have the vision to see what a battered old object can become with some paint, new fabric, ingenuity, what have you…
My question is, do you start with a completed plan for whatever room you are making over? Or do you see used objects and build the room from your vision of what they could become?
I fear I will just come home with a bunch of used objects that have no place or cohesive feel in my home, no matter what I do with a can of spray paint.
Thanks, D”

Thanks for the email, D. (No, it’s not this D.) The answers to your questions are yes and yes.

I definitely have a vision for each space that I approach, but I always remain eternally flexible. And when I do find special pieces, I imagine how I can personalize them, and then accessorize around those transformed pieces. And I fight like heck to stay within my budget.

When approaching a room redo, I follow these rules: Read the rest of this entry »

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