Project 5: Refinishing Furniture with Minwax Polyshades

When we first moved into our home, the nursery looked like this: Before_House_Shot_0052 We then turned the room into a guest room, by basically adding a bed and some paint.  But let’s be honest–as any of our guests can attest to, the room was never really finished.  Sorry guests! So when we decided to turn this room into the nursery, we started with this:

And while I like the functionality of the built-ins and someday when the kids are older, it will be nice to have the desks and whatnot, I currently can’t stand the way they look.  The woods are all different shades!

And while we’re being honest, it’s not even really all wood. The countertop is actually a laminate, and the rest are all veneers. So, what was I to do? I could rip it out, but then we’d have a flooring issue since these are original to the house and so there are no wood floors underneath. I could paint it all, but that would take forever and remember: I was preggo at the time I tackled this project; I could sand and stain it all to try and match the laminate, but again: preggo and not interested in a ton of work. So what did I decide? To do a sort of mix: paint the shelves and trim, and then use a cheater method to stain the cabinets and drawers to match the countertop.  First up, priming and painting the shelves and trim (I used Kilz latex primer and Sherwin Williams Pro Classic color-matched to Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White).

  

Once the first coat of paint was on, then I caulked around all the edges. Then did the final coat of paint.  The next step was tackling the drawers and doors. I didn’t feel like sanding them down so that I could stain and seal them. Just too much work. So I decided to take yet another page out of the Young House Love handbook and try Minwax Polyshades.  Remember when YHL used this method to do their new kitchen’s lower cabinets?

My goal was to have the cabinets match the color of the laminate top. So I took some pics of the top with my phone and headed off to Lowe’s.

IMG_6525

There, I picked up some steel wool (per the directions on the Minwax can) and a can of Minwax Polyshades in Tudor, Satin finish (the same as YHL since it actually seemed that color would be a close match).   Once home, I then took all the hardware off the cabinets and drawers and used the steel wool all over everything. Then wiped it all down with a damp cloth.  I don’t have any pictures of these steps. Sorry. I then applied my first coat of the Polyshades. I bought a new paintbrush for this since it’s oil-based and I planned to just throw away the brush when I was done.  I found that this stuff goes on extremely sticky and it’s hard to get it to not show brush strokes. Even with a light hand. And even harder to get an even coat.  So be warned–it probably worked so well for YHL because they made their cabinets super dark. I’m not so sure this would look particularly good in a lighter color.  I started by doing the insides of the cabinet doors, just so I could get the hang of it before tackling parts that would actually be showing.  And I did get better at applying it. It took me only about 15 minutes to do the insides of the cabinets and all 12 drawer fronts (to allow for drying, my plan was to tackle the insides of the cabinets first and let those completely dry before moving on to the outside of the cabinets).  This stuff also royally stinks, so make sure you’ve got adequate ventilation.  Well, after one coat (and one day of drying time since dry and wet did look different), I found that the color was all wrong. The laminate top had way more red in it and the Tudor was definitely more of a chocolate brown.  Here’s a shot of one of the inside of the doors after one coat of Tudor:

IMG_6526

And here’s another phone shot of the laminate top (this time it looks totally different than before, right? Dang iPhone):

IMG_6527

See how it’s way more red? So I headed to Home Depot this time, where I discovered that HD carried an entirely different set of colors of Polyshades than Lowe’s. Not sure what that’s all about. But I ended up buying American Chestnut:  

My plan at that point (since I already had one coat done in the Tudor) was to just do my final coat in the American Chestnut. I figured that the blend of the two would be a close-enough match to the laminate top.  Following the instructions, I then rubbed my first coat down with more steel wool, and wiped it all down to remove any dust.  I then proceeded with applying the chestnut. I found the key was to get a decent amount in the brush, and apply it over the whole piece quickly. Then immediately go back and do long brush strokes with the grain from end to end. However, even with my technique perfected, I still found that the Polyshades went on smoother in some places than others. Here’s a pic of two drawers as an example:

Nursery_built_ins_002

I finished the drawers first since they only had one side. I decided to keep the original hardware since the size was pretty unique and I couldn’t find a replacement I liked. Plus, being the lazy preggo woman that I was, I didn’t feel like going with a different size and then having to patch the old holes and drill new ones. Plus, brass is making a comeback these days, right?

IMG_6563

  From a distance, I think it looks pretty good and is a vast improvement over where it started.

Nursery_built_ins_005

But close-up, well, let’s just say it’s not the best. It didn’t come out nearly as well as Mini B’s dresser.

Nursery_built_ins_011

Nursery_built_ins_009

So if you want to use this on an heirloom or quality piece of furniture, then my advice? Don’t. Instead, take the time to actually sand it down and apply stain. Even if it is just veneer.  But, if it’s a piece you don’t really care about, and/or you’re looking for a quick fix, then this is the ticket. Although, while the application of the product goes quickly, with drying time it is still a multi-day affair.

And so this is where the nursery stood when Baby B made his debut:

Nursery_built_ins_003

Now that he’s been around for two months, it’s probably about time that I get on finishing this room already.  Stay tuned . . .

Sophistikat-ed Kids

Don’t worry–I know how to spell sophisticated.  I mean, c’mon.  I practically invented the word (har-har).  But seriously, we’re talking a different type of sophisticated today.  In this case, we’re talking Flor Sophistikat carpet tiles.  Yes, I know you’re shocked–I’m talking about carpet tiles again.  But before I get to the afters, let’s talk inspiration:

Emily_Henderson_Inspiration

I love that dining room by Emily Henderson.  So much so that those chairs may soon replace our dining room chairs.  But more on that another day.

So now back to the carpet tiles.  Here they are originally from Flor’s site:

flor-sophistikat

flor2

I say originally because they’re no longer available from Flor.  However, a certain someone I know, ahem-Mr. Bunches-ahem, was able to get a LOT of these discontinued tiles . . . so if you want any, let us know :).

Anyways, you can put the tiles into a variety of patterns.  And luckily (well, for Mr. Bunches at least), I found this site that showed 3 ways to lay out the tiles here:

flor-02

flor-01

flor-03

And yes–the tiles are supposed to not match up exactly.  It’s part of their charm.  So, after much thought, I decided to go with . . . STRIPES!  Huzzah.  And that’s when Mr. B got to work . . .

Flor_Sophistikat_LR_001

Flor_Sophistikat_LR_003

It took a while.  Especially considering we had to move out the big brown couch and then lay out the tiles first before attaching them together with the Flor dots (to make sure that the pattern wasn’t too far off).

Flor_Sophistikat_LR_002

Flor_Sophistikat_LR_004

Thank goodness he’s so patient.  And after a couple hours, we were left with this (oh, and I have to apologize for the sort-of not-so-great after picture, but with a wee one, it’s kind of hard to get everything just so; so no–that white chair is not staying there.  Because that would be weird.):

Flor_Sophistikat_LR_005

Pretty fun, right?  I looked long and hard for a rug that I liked (and that wasn’t outrageously out of our budget), but in the end I’m glad I waited.  The carpet tiles are completely customizable to our space and we ended up laying out a lot since Mini B may just decide to start crawling any day now, and now she has some room to move . . .

MiniB_crawling_001

What do you think?  Hate it?  Love it?  I must say–Mr. B and I are smitten.  Happy Wednesday!

Update: Mr. Bunches has finally launched his discount carpet tile website, DavidPaulFlooring.com, and there are still a lot of the Sophistikat Flor carpet tiles available (as well as lots of other great options).  Check it out here.

The Ultimate Gallery Wall

As if my sister’s nursery wasn’t enough (see it here), she also outdid herself in the rest of her house.  I’ve already posted about her kitchen that we redid (more on that here and here), but I had to take some pics to show off her gallery wall in the bonus room.

I was seriously impressed.  Seriously.  Especially since, besides Mini B’s nursery, there is currently only one framed item hung in our house.  And we’ve lived here for over a year now.  Pathetic.  Entirely, completely pathetic.

Unfortunately I had less than two minutes to grab these shots since Mini B was not such a great napper while in Texas, but I think you get the jist.  In a few words: my sister rocks.  Oh, and so does my bro-in-law since it’s my understanding that he gave her the “encouragement” to finally get everything hung.

Okay, so there you have it.  Enough sister envy for a while?  Thought so.

Nursery Crash

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but this was my first week back at work and, well, I’ve been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster to which I think pretty much any working parent can relate.  But, instead of writing a whole woe-is-me post (and getting even weepier than I already am), I thought instead I’d share some shots of my sister’s nursery from our visit a couple weeks ago.

Now, this nursery is far, far superior to my own (see Mini B’s nursery here), so it’s a good thing that Mini B is too young right now to really notice.  Although, maybe her lack of sleep since returning from Texas is her own way of protesting the inferiority of her room?  Guess I’ll have to wait until she starts communicating with actual words instead of drool to really find out.  In the meantime, let’s share some rad nursery shots.  I haven’t actually cleared this with my sis, but I’m going to go ahead and assume I have the, well, the go ahead.

In a word, er, actually a short phrase, her nursery totally kicks my nursery’s butt.  And then some.

And not only was it super cute and all styled and everything, but it was also crazy organized.  And I thought I was anal (just kidding sis–love you!).

I loved that little bookshelf in the corner that was just oh-so-neat-and-tidy.  So much so that I took close-ups of each shelf.  Ya’ know, just in case I want to full on copy her later.

And the artwork was pretty amazing too.  The big pieces were picked out by my bro-in-law and I have to give him mad props for a job well done.

They’re both by artist Todd Goldman.  I liked them so much that I’ve actually bought one of his pieces from eBay (surprise Mr. Bunches!), but I haven’t received it yet.  Once I do and get it framed, you know I’ll post about it.

My sister also put together a mini gallery wall in the room . . .

A few of these are etsy finds, and one (the little ducky) is actually original art done by my sis herself.  Talented, eh?

I also loved the mirror above the changing table.

It was apparently a Homegoods find.  Seriously?!  I never have that kind of luck at Homegoods.

Another idea I’ll be borrowing stealing from my sis is her choice of a clothes hamper for her little guy.  Isn’t this bag adorable?

It’s from Snuggybaby on etsy.  Of course, the store is currently out of that pattern, so I’m in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment.  Grrr.

Her crib sheets are also beyond stylin’.  Don’t you love that we’re both chevron fans?

So there you have it: my nephew’s nursery.  Mini B was more than a little envious, but she hid it well while assisting me with the picture taking . . .

Oh, and just because I can’t show the nursery without showing the proud occupant of the nursery, here’s a shot of the little guy.

I mean come on!  Couldn’t you just eat him up?!?!

Kitchen Decision #3: Faucet

First, the inspiration (all images from Pinterest):

That’s right folks–I’ve been sold on those commercial-style faucets for years, and now I had my opportunity to have one in my own home.  Joy oh joy!  Sometimes it’s the little things, right? 

So then I had to decide which one to get.  I won’t go through the nauseating process that I did for the sink (from here), but needless to say, I did do some research.  And I’m not gonna’ lie–price played a pretty big part in my final decision.  Who knew that faucets could range from $100 to $2,000?  Yikes.  Anyways, here were the finalists:

The Premier 120334 Essen for ~$220 . . .

The Danze D455158ss for ~$280 . . .

And the Kraus KPF-1602 for ~$260:

Now, I wanted the faucet to be in a stainless finish (as opposed to chrome), so that bumped up the price on some of them.  Awesome.  So how did I decide which one?  Well, it wasn’t just price.  Nope, I basically made my decision based mostly on measurements, reviews, and availability (see, the countertop fabricators want you to have the new fixtures on site at the time they measure, so that put me into a bit of a time crunch).  Basically, I ruled out the Kraus faucet because it was 28″ tall–that was just way too tall for our kitchen.

So then it was between the Premier and the Danze, which had similar measurements except for how close the bottom of the faucet was to the sink–the Danze was 2″ lower.  Which initially might sound like a bad thing, but these faucets are not pull out faucets, but rather are pull down faucets, so the vertical reach isn’t great.  And that meant I figured I should get one that’s closer already to the sink to compensate for the lack of maneuverability, and so the winner is . . .

The Danze!  Yay!  And because I’m cost-conscious insane, I made a little spreadsheet of my price-shopping to make sure I was getting the best deal:

I know, I’m nuts.  You can say it.  I’ve accepted it.  In the end, I ordered from Faucet.com since Danzetogo.com and Homecenter.com couldn’t guarantee that it was in stock and would ship quickly.  But, the good news is that I got the faucet in less than 5 days and it’s amazing!  I can’t wait until it’s all installed and set up (still about 1-2 months out, so don’t hold your breath).

Any thoughts on my insanity?  Do you like the choice?  Are you just as excited to see the final product as we are?!  Probably not.

Nursery Mood Boards

I have to admit–I’ve got baby on the brain all the time these days.  Possibly because Mini Bunches has been going full-on romp-a-room in my belly lately; I’m a little afraid this kid’s going to come out bouncing off the walls–yikes!  And so, in an effort to prepare, I’m thinking about the nursery.  Now, I still owe you a post about the painting of the nursery (mainly because I have some choice words about the supposedly no-VOC paint we used, and yes–I say supposedly because we painted months ago and there’s STILL an odor in there), but I’ll get to that in a bit.  For now it’s time to decorate–hooray!

Before we get to the mood boards, let’s first visit our inspiration for the room: an oh-so-thoughtful-and-sure-to-be-a-treasured-keepsake-for-years quilt that my sister made for us:

Seriously?!  She’s amazing.  And now for the close-ups . . .

The back is all the animal print while the front is all different coordinating pieces.  And just to give you some scale, here’s a shot of my man-hand on the back of the quilt . . .

Maybe I should instead say that’s Mr. Bunches’ hand?  Oh well–too late now I guess.  So there you have it–the overall color inspiration for the room: grays, yellow, teal, and white.

Now, this doesn’t mean that we’re going with a jungle theme room because of the animals in the quilt–nope.  While I adore the animals, for some reason I’m just not feeling theme-y for the nursery.  So no theme for us.  Unless of course “calm” is a theme?  My sister wants her nursery to have an Anthropologie theme, which, when I pushed for a definition of what exactly that is (I had visions of paper plate sculptures across the ceiling and a crib wrapped in multi-colored yarn), she succinctly said calm, white, neutral but with bold pops of color.  And I like that idea.  Not enough to say I’m having an Anthropologie theme, but enough to say that I’m thinking along the same lines.

And with that, I give you Nursery Mood Board #1:

  • Crib: the one shown is the Oeuf Convertible Crib in Walnut (available here).  But, since that crib costs upwards of $900, we’re going with this one, the Baby Mod Olivia Espresso Crib for only $249 (it’s actually from Walmart of all places, but it’s made by Million Dollar Baby and it’s supposedly non-toxic).  It should be arriving any day now:

  • Dresser: the one I refinished from craigslist here.
  • Glider: I’m pretty much in love with the Gus Modern Glider, but at $999 I think it’s a no-go.  Which means I’m going to continue hunting thrift stores and the like to see if I can find anything I like that could be reupholstered.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!
  • Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore’s Ocean Air on the ceiling and BM’s Decorator’s White on the walls (ya’ know–so the nursery can be painted the same color as all the other rooms in our house ;) ).
  • Curtains: PB Teen’s Suite Ribbon Drapes in Gray on sale for $46.99 a panel; which means they’d cost ~$190 for four panels.  I’m probably going to have to think on those for a bit.  And, I know that we can’t just survive with curtain panels alone since every parent I know has been singing the praises of blackout shades, so those will be on the list too.
  • Ceiling Light: the existing vintage one that’s in the room.  I just need to give it a good cleaning, but I actually think it’s sort of charming, and it creates some pretty dramatic shadows on the ceiling.
  • Rug: Urban Outfitters Zigzag Printed Rug in Yellow for $179 for the 5×7.  Of course, the reviews of it aren’t that great, so I’m not entirely sold.
  • Wall Art: I love this numbers print (and all of the birth announcement prints) from Etsy shop Almost Sunday; and I love that you can get 12 prints for only $35 from another Etsy shop, PeaPress–I think they’d look amazing in a gallery wall of white frames.

And now, Nursery Mood Board #2 (there are going to be some duplicates obviously–the crib, dresser, light fixture, and paint colors have already been decided upon):

And now, for one last mood board, I’ll call this the high-end version.  Nursery Mood Board #3:

So at least those are a start, right?  I’m also thinking about taking down the closet doors and replacing them with printed curtains–which means yet another spot for pattern/color.  I just don’t want it to be too overwhelming (I have a feeling I’m going to be overwhelmed with Mini B as it is).  So any thoughts?  suggestions?  options for a cheap, comfy, but stylish glider/rocker?

Blue Velvet

You know, I’ve never seen the movie Blue Velvet, but with Twin Peaks’ star Kyle Maclachlan in it, methinks I should?  Anyone out there have an opinion?

Okay, so this post isn’t about random movies that I’m thinking about seeing.  Nope, it’s yet another thrifting post!  I know–can you hardly stand the excitement?  Since I had some good success the last time I went thrifting (see more here), I figured it was worth another shot.  And since I had to go to Rochester to buy new flooring tiles for our half bath (more on that soon), I thought I’d scope out some thrift stores en route.

First stop: Batavia, NY.  One word: JACKPOT.  At least for a mid-century modern buff like me.  Just check these pieces out:

You’ll have to forgive the poor picture quality–these were taken on my crackberry.  Can you believe those two?  A matching hutch and sideboard for only $150!

I really loved that sideboard/dresser.  It was in perfect condition, and with a little refinishing, it could make a gorgeous piece.  Of course, the hutch was nice too, but I’m not really a hutch type of girl.

I was kind of bummed out that they were being sold together.  But since I was also on my own for this outing (thrifting isn’t really the Mr.’s thing), there was no way that I would be able to get either piece into the car.  I mean, I think I’m strong and all, but I’m not so sure about being that  strong.

Oh, and for those of you who aren’t that into mid-century modern, you probably don’t know that the stuff’s pretty popular these days.  Similar pieces can go for big money.  Like this hutch for $895 (you can buy it here):

Of course, Batavia not only had some great wood pieces, but it also had this beauty:

Yep, that’s right–it’s the namesake of this post and I sort of love it.  Now, before you get all skeeved out about buying an upholstered piece from a thrift store, I’d just like to point out that these pieces can be cleaned or even completely reupholstered.  Emily Henderson does it all the time–just look at her couch that she got at an LA thrift store (she didn’t even have it reupholstered):

Now, the Blue Velvet I found isn’t quite as charming, but I’m still digging it.  And it was in great condition–a little dusty, but no holes or stains in the velvet, and just look at that tufting!  Sigh.

I’m not completely in love with the skirted bottom, but I can forgive some sins.  OH, and wanna know the price?  $80!  Yes, only $80.  Now if I can only convince Mr. B that we need to get it.  I mean, for $80 how can you really go that wrong, right?  I think it would look kind of rad at the end of our bed, sort of like this (image from here):

But it would also work well in our work-in-progress family room/play room (more on that here; oh, and we went with stripes–updated pictures coming soon).  Anyways, fingers crossed I can convince Mr. B that this couch is a good idea (oh, and fingers crossed that it’s still sitting at the thrift store in Batavia, right?).  I’ll keep you posted.

Traveling on, I came across yet another great long dresser.  With some new knobs and a little refinishing, I think this piece could also be stunning:

And then there were also these cute framed original pieces of art.  I wasn’t so much digging the art, but the frames were pretty rad . . . especially in that punchy yellow.  I’m a little bit regretting that I didn’t purchase these two (I think at this point I was getting very hungry and so I didn’t stay as focused as I needed to):

So can you believe that all that cool stuff has been hiding out in Batavia?  I stopped in a couple places closer to Rochester, but found nothing.  Wah.  Although, I did stop into one place in Buffalo and came across this stunner:

Now, obviously this piece would need to be reupholstered (unless of course your style is all Grandma-and-Grandpa-from-the-1960s-and-we-update-nothing; in which case–props to you).  But just check out the lines of it–nice deep seat, pleating along the back, sloping arms, and dainty little pointy legs.  I have to tell you–I think the shape of it is amazing.  And at $40, with probably another $150 + the cost of fabric for reupholstering, I think it’s a pretty good deal.  But there was only one of them.  And I’m kind of on the lookout for a pair of rad chairs to go in the family room.  Now, if this were a glider, it would be a different story–how cool would that be for the nursery?  Maybe reupholstered in a white linen?  Sigh.

So there you have it.  Another thrifting adventure.  Anyone else find anything cool on a thrift hunt?  Any thoughts on Blue Velvet?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 59 other followers