Posts Tagged ‘staining’

Thrift Store Highboy: Elegant UpDo

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

For years, I’ve wanted to bring some glamour and elegance to my foyer.  It’s the first impression for guests, and it has been nothing short of dull for quite some time.  Since our entry is only ten feet wide, I also wanted to bring reflective light and shimmer to the space as well.

Last week I hinted at the fabulous highboy dresser I picked up at the Goodwill for $35.  Lucky me, it had only been on the floor for thirty minutes before I snatched it up.  SCORE !  With a bit of stain and some new hardware, I brought this wonderful vintage piece into the modern age, and gave it a special new glow.

Here’s the foyer Before and After:

Here’s how it all happened.  As you know, I frequent the local thrift stores looking for treasures.  I chanced upon this solid wood new arrival and hustled – no I seriously ran – to the cash register to buy it before anyone else could, with my poor little boy shouting “Mooooommmmiieee waaaaiiiit” as I dragged the poor little guy behind me.  I spent part of my weekend giving this piece the TLC it needed.

Re-staining Previously Stained Furniture:

Step One, Sanding:  Give your piece an all over good sanding, removing all varnish that may exist.  Wear a disposable mask so as not to inhale any microscopic dust.  In my case, I sanded the highboy by hand with coarse, and then medium, grade sandpaper.  (My electric sander, although faster, would have been too rough on this delicate piece.)  Work with, not against, the grain of the wood.  It took over an hour to fully sand this dresser, but hey I look on the bright side:  I got a great upper arm workout.

Step Two, Conditioning:  I’m a Minwax fan, so if you want to create better absorbency in your wood, you can consider using a wood conditioner like Minwax Wood Conditioner.  Grainy or gnarly woods like oak or pine should definitely be conditioned beforehand.

Step Three, Staining:  To stain this piece, I used a staining pad and Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut.  I truly madly deeply love this stuff.  The gel formula is thicker, unlike regular stain, so you don’t need a brush, and it doesn’t drip.  I recently used it to re-stain my entire two story oak staircase (reveal coming soon).  How convenient is it to be able to stain upside down without drips?  Brilliant !

The imperfections in the dinged up dresser soaked up this stain and were transformed into those ‘distress’ marks you’d pay so much for at a top retailer.  This gel stain buries itself in the ridges, and translates into deep character, just like a glaze on painted wood.  One caveat: this gel product dries a bit more quickly, so you must work fast to get your stain strokes right.  And don’t forget to wear gloves, cause this stain really stains !

Step Four, Reapply:  If you desire added depth from your stain product, then reapply a second coat 24 hours later.  Here’s what two out of three drawers looked like after just one coat (I applied two coats).

Step Five, Protectant:  If you’ve used a regular liquid stain product, then you will probably need to apply a polyurethane to protect your piece. I’ve used Minwax Wipe-On Poly with success in the past on several projects.   However, this gel based stain gave my piece such a nice glow that I didn’t find it necessary to add poly this time.

 You can see how the ‘Before’ piece had a washed out honey color, plenty of dinks, and old-fashioned hardware.  Just by staining the piece and adding new oil-rubbed bronze hardware from Home Depot ($12 for a set of ten), the dresser now looks like something out of a new furniture collection.

So now I need your input, playing a bit of multiple choice.

I played around with a few preliminary vignettes, and I have a favorite, but I’d appreciate your vote.  You’ll notice the flea market silver pitcher remains a constant.  I love fresh flowers in the foyer, so it stays.  And you’ll notice that a white ceramic bust makes an appearance (antique store find).   Your opinions please.

A) Botanical Print with bust and clock

B) Paris Print with bust and clock

C) Silver Candlestick with bust and clock

D) Wedding Print with pair of busts


So friends, give it to me straight.

Which scene do you prefer ?



Girl’s Room In Bloom

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Over the weekend I finally finished my five year old daughter’s bedroom.  Take a tour through this bloom filled room with me, and remember all of the DIY projects that contributed to the final result.

The window panels shown below are simple sheers in blush pink and in white to allow for plenty of light, with a glass knob rod from Target.  She has a inside mount shade underneath that blocks light for naps or bedtime.  The silk covered tufted bench you’ll remember from this thrift store transformation.


The bedding was a bit of a splurge.  It is the Bedding of Roses from the Land of Nod, with matching euro shams.  I had contemplated making my own version with two flat sheets and some ruffle trim, but because this was the perfect shade of blush pink, I bought the set instead.  The personalized bolster pillow I embroidered myself, then added some ribbon detail.  The paisley pillow was $10 at Marshalls.

Next to her bed is a nightstand that I bought for $3 from a yard sale last year.  I painted it white, and then spray painted the decorative pull a soft pink.  The jewelry holder I made last week with this project.  I bought this handmade doll several years ago at a local shop.

Next to the nightstand sits a dollhouse, built by Mr. CG many years ago.  It sits on my old coffee table from college.  The table is not attractive, so I hid it under the gathered tablecloth I sewed from some Waverly fabric, again in paisley print.  We hide toys and shoes underneath the skirt.  All of her dollhouse furniture is kept organized in some baskets from Michael’s and some hat boxes from the Land of Nod.


Then there is the girly glamorous closet I featured in this post.  I just love the beaded velvet curtains, the striped wall, and the green ‘Dresses’ sign above.


Next to the closet is last month’s painted cabinet project sitting below, with the oak painted mirror from this project hung above.


On the dresser is an antique milk glass vase with some peonies.  The fringed table runner is made from just a bit of toile I with a simple sew project.  Behind the door are some sweet little hooks for holding all things girly, like purses or ballerina tutus.  I will use them to hold sweaters and her robe as well.  In the corner is the cherry tree mural from this project.

On the cherry tree wall is the sweet little green painted desk from this project that I bought from a local thrift store for less than $10.  The vanity stool is from this project.  She has two of them, and uses them for impromptu tea parties.

And I cannot part with the little ballet slippers that she has long since outgrown.  They make great decor !


So here it is, finally finished.  The bed was a floor sample I picked up at a local shop for $300 when she was only one (and it was in storage for a year).  I couldn’t resist the look, and the price.  And if you’re curious, the chandelier I made myself in this project many months back.  The canopy was made with last week’s Velcro solution.

This one’s pretty happy with her lovely little space!