I’m so excited to share my vintage grey dresser makeover with you! But first, let me tell you a bit about my day.
It started with a heated discussion with the unnamed child. She wanted to wear a pair of shorts to school that she had worn last summer. The only problem was that she had grown, and the shorts had not. Yes, I did understand that they went perfectly with her shirt. But they were just a little too hoochy, and she just didn’t see that.
After 20 minutes of “discussing” she finally changed, and I got to hear lots of stomping around … and the car door happened to shut just a little too loudly when I dropped her off (probably just the wind).
We have had battles over her wardrobe since she was three years old. I remember her getting ready for kindergarten one day, and she had these wooden clogs that she was obsessed with. She had to wear them to school, and we fought and fought over them, and I kept telling her they weren’t appropriate for school. In the end, I had to go to work and she won out.
Welcome to Restoration Redoux! If you’re a regular, than you might be asking what exactly is this The Bloglight?
Hometalk is an amazing online community of bloggers and nonbloggers talking about home improvement, DIY, and everything in between. At Hometalk you can share DIY projects, comment on posts, and follow people.
I’m a Hometalk junkie. I have posted 41 projects in the 3 months since I discovered the site!
There are people of all levels, posting projects and asking questions. Every week they choose a different blogger to feature, and they have given me the honor this week!
Miriam, the Director of Community at Hometalk, sent me over some questions to answer … so let’s get started!
Since the unnamed child is finished with her cheer season, I gave her the option of going out for track (which she quickly declined) or going to the gym with me everyday after school. I thought it would be a good way to motivate me and to force me to make time during the day for some exercise.
Here is how today went:
Me: Ready to go to the gym?
The kid: I’m not going.
Me: You have to go
The kid: I just straightened my hair today, and if I sweat I will have to redo it … and I hate working out.
Me: So do I, but if we don’t go we’re going to get fat, have a heart attack, and die. Or even worse … get cellulite
The kid: Fine I’ll go but you cant force me to sweat.
I’m so glad it’s a new week! Last week … well frankly it sucked.
It started it out with me burning a big chunk of skin off my finger while hot gluing my book page wreath together. It got better when I had a massive migraine for 5 days — “thank you” to my great Facebook followers for your home remedy solutions! One afternoon while picking up the unnamed child, some punk in the school parking lot hit my car and drove off! Fantastic! Then some point in my adventures, I ran over a nail and popped a tire.
Lastly, after $200 in testing, I found out our 19 year old cat has hyperthyroidism. Now I have to spend another $200 testing to see if her kidneys are functioning well enough to tolerate the thyroid medication.
Yes last week suckity suck sucked.
Since we are about to start off a new year, I thought I would reflect on this year’s favorite posts.
When I first started reading other DIY blogs, I have to admit I was a bit intimidated. Every project they did looked so perfect. When there was a tutorial, a lot of them used terms or techniques I wasn’t familiar with, and so I would never try them.
I was searching for a blog that brought it down to a beginner’s level. I wanted one that would say “Hey, I’m no expert, but this is what did or didn’t work for me.” I didn’t just want to see perfect houses with their perfect lives. I wanted the “Hey, my husband’s been out of town, my house flooded, the kid is sick, and the house is a wreck … but here’s this easy project I completed in the middle of it all.” I wanted real life. I wanted someone to tell me that not every project they do turns out perfect, or that they had to do a technique 3 times before they got it right, and I wanted to learn from their experiences.
If you read my earlier post about my first dog Gracie, you know that I am absolutely in love with my pup. She is such an amazing dog. The only problem we had was separation anxiety (on both our parts). She was (is) super clingy to me. If we would leave you could hear her through the door crying.
So at this point in our lives, we had one dog and two cats which my hubby thought was more than enough. I didn’t.
I knew Gracie needed a friend. I also knew this time I didn’t want to go through a breeder. I wanted to rescue a dog that needed a home, so I looked on petfinder.com. It’s a great site. You can type in what breed you want, what gender, what age and how far you’re willing to travel to find one.
Being allergic to dogs I have to have a hypoallergenic breed which limits things. I liked bichons and thought they were beautiful, so I found a rescue in Kansas City who had a litter of bichon puppies. I (kind of) discussed it with the hubby and he needed some convincing, but he didn’t say a flat out no — so I filled out the forms and emailed it in to see if we qualified.
A woman from the rescue called me the next day saying this litter came from a puppy mill and would be ready to go by the weekend. GREAT! Only problem was you had to commit to the dog, sight unseen. Well, what if we got up there and didn’t bond with the dog? What if she hated me? Then what? My husband would kill me if we drove 3 hours to get this dog, and we didn’t even want it.
The rescue was bringing several animals to a Petsmart that weekend to try to get them adopted and said we could pick up our pup there.
Here was my plan, we could go in and just act like we were random people, look at the dog and if we didn’t want it we would just walk back out.
Once inside, we saw the little munchkin. She was so tiny! We asked to hold her and she was so still and quiet and just snuggled up in my arms. At that point we told the woman who we were and that we wanted her.
Now bichons are usually white little fluff balls, but at the puppy mill they just had dog cages stacked on top of each other, and one dogs waste would just leak down to the cages below (sorry, not a pretty visual). So when they found all the dogs there they were literally yellow, so they had to shave them all down. So she wasn’t quite as fluffy as I expected but that was fine it would grow back.
We put her in the kennel we brought and headed back home. The whole 3 hours in the car there was not one peep from this puppy. I kept looking in the kennel to make sure she was still breathing. She was terrified.
It turns out, for the first 3 months of her life she never stepped foot outside her cage. That is the crucial time where puppies learn to bond with people and their litter mates. She did neither. So when we got her home she crawled straight under the couch. It took so much coaxing to get her to come out. If my husband came near her, back under she would go. It was really hard for him.
Once they had rescued Lulu (which is her name) from the mill they put her right in a foster home. The only problem was that the foster home had 4 small children that were constantly chasing her and pulling on her. So going from zero interaction with people, to the other extreme, she sort of had a nervous breakdown.
We have had Lulu for 5 years now. It took 2 years before she would come on her own and sit in my husband’s lap. Even now if we move too quickly around her, she will dive for cover. If anyone other than my mom comes to visit, she will race back under the couch.
It makes me sad that her terrible beginning in life will affect her forever. I think for the most part she is a very happy dog. She loves us, and she follows Gracie everywhere.
Gracie is definitely the Alpha and Lulu is fine with that. I can’t imagine what her life would be like if she was adopted my anyone but us. Not everyone would be as patient and understanding with her as we are. I guess that’s why God brought us together. She has enriched our lives and we couldn’t imagine life without her.
Speaking of family, this green dresser almost became part of mine.
I really fell in love with this one. I got it off craigslist for $25! It’s from around 1910-1920.
Now it looked pretty horrible when we picked it up. It was also very heavy. But it has great lines. The top two drawers stick out further than the bottom two (intentionally). It had fantastic hardware on the bottom two drawers, but the knobs on top were missing. I found 4 different, really cool, vintage knobs that give it character.
I used Sherwin Williams paint in Paradise as the base for my chalk paint, distressed it, glazed it with brown glaze and waxed it.
It has been sitting in my dining room for a few weeks, I’m having a hard time parting with it. If I had a speck of green anywhere in my house this baby would be mine.
You know the saying “if it’s too good to be true it probably is”? On this project I learned this the hard way.
I found this great deal on craigslist. It was a vanity with a cute circular mirror and an upright dresser with great carving from the 1930′s. $40 for the pair! I talked my hubby into going to take a look at them (which is code for “Shanna’s going to buy these”).
We got there, and they were so cute! The only problem was that they were coated in lots of paint. Not just lots of paint, but lots and lots. My hubby tells me walk away. But no, I knew I could transform them. As hard as it is for me to say this, it turns out that sometimes husbands are r-r-r-r-right.
The reason I use chalk paint is that I don’t like to sand. I have rheumatoid arthritis and the sanding hurts my wrists. So the chalk paint is perfect because it adheres to anything and you don’t have to sand beforehand.
These paint-saturated pieces had to be sanded. There were big chunks for paint missing and if I painted over it, it would never be even.
Once home I coated the whole dresser with stripper and waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing happened, no paint bubbling up, no globs to melted paint-sludge oozing down the sides, nothing.
They had coated this in so many layers of what I guess was spray paint that it turned into a thick rubbery coating. Stripper, stripper and more stripper and nothing.
I had to peel the entire dresser by hand. Did I mention that I had to do this on the deck in 105 degree Kansas heat (which means wind and humidity to boot)?
It took me weeks. Once the spray paint was off, I realized underneath was 3 coats of oil based paint (which turned to goo when the stripper was on it) and for an extra treat several coats of latexy something under that.
I hated this dresser. I literally would have set a match to it or taken out some Office Space type of assault, but a super nice lady who bought two of my pieces for her darling daughter’s bedroom wanted an upright dresser also and at the time this was the only one I had.
Long story short, it turned out to be a nice piece. I painted it an ivory color and once distressed, it was the right amount of rustic charm.
Now if you figured out how much I would have had to charge her to make all my hours pay off it would have had to be around the $3000 range but you live and you learn and you never buy furniture you have to strip.
Oh and if you’re wondering where the cute vanity is that went with it? It’s in my basement where it will probably be for the next 10 years or until I loose my mind again.
My aunt called me about a dresser at an estate sale. I drove down to find this pretty little dresser that needed some work.
I sanded and sanded and sanded! This paint did not want to come off. So I decided stripper was the answer.
No it really wasn’t. It just turned into a gooey mess.
So, back to the sanding. This paint had obviously been on there for a realllly long time.
After the many days of sanding were finally over I started to paint. I used a light blue chalk paint on it. I went over the raised filigree with an iridescent white paint. It turned out really sweet.
A nice couple who were expecting bought it for their nursery.
This has been my most challenging project to date.
I bought this dresser off craigslist. We drove a long way to see it (my husband was super excited about that), and it was a definite fixer upper. It was totally dated and smelled really bad.
I thought it had some serious potential though. My husband did not. I think his exact words were “this is crap, nothing can be done with this, just walk away”. He has no vision.
So we piled it in the car along with the matching headboard, and we were on our smelly way home.
Cleaning this was disgusting. All of the grooves in the carving required hours of work and many nasty q-tips.
Once clean I painted with chalk paint. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It soaked up the paint like nothing I had ever seen. Five coats later it was finished.
I then started the glazing process. It took forever. Getting the right amount into the carving without getting too much was sooo hard. If too much got in I had to go in with a toothpick wrapped in cloth to get it out.
I then glazed the top. I looked down and a huge patch of glaze soaked in way too much. So here I was with this dark spot right on the top of this dresser I painted 5 times! Determined to make this work, I then started dry brushing on the stain and it started evening out. Thank heavens!
After several coats of wax later, it was finally finished. The pictures don’t do it justice. It turned out to be my favorite piece.
I really had to think hard about whether I wanted to sell it or not. Monica, the nice lady who bought my blue desk, bought it to hang her tv above.