Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DIY Paneled Wall

Lesson Learned: What’s seen in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas.  
Guys!! Before I get started, can you please just take a look at this finished product?? Ahhh I love it!
Okay, soo do you remember the horrendous mess that was left after basement renovation part 1? Well if not, here’s where you can see it..but for those of you who are lazy, here’s a quick recap for you! Hopefully you understand why I nearly had a heart attack every time I walked down the stairs and saw this!! 
Since our part 1 of the renovation, we removed and threw away all of the trash we could (thank you to my dad for letting us use his dumpster!!).  We then began replacing the torn up drywall by hanging new drywall. As usual, I left Jason alone for this portion of the project, and he forgot to take a sufficient amount of pictures! Here is a celebratory picture I received when the first piece of drywall went up… 
Before we dig deeper, let me tell you a little about the inspiration for this paneled wall. It actually came from our recent trip to Las Vegas for Jason’s Brother’s wedding. Prior to the ceremony Jason and his brothers played pool in a billiards room at the Aria chapel. I guess the room was decorated beautifully and had a paneled wall Jason fell in love with. Like I’ve said before, if there’s a will there’s a way, and trust me when I say there was much of a will to have this paneled wall in our home. Here is a wedding picture which shows the inspiring room. You should be able to see the paneling to the right of Chris (the groom!!). 

Can you see how Jason is an exact mix of both of his brothers?? – he proclaims he got the best bits from each (shocker eh?)

So after we returned from the wedding, we discussed our plans for the paneled wall. We agreed the large wall in the basement would be the perfect location, but I really thought we should have rectangles and not squares. Rectangles seem to trick the eye and make the room appear grander, which is of course what we want! 
P.S.. The time in between the Basement demo part 1 and starting this project was a couple of weeks, I don’t want you all thinking this happened in one weekend! 
The Plans
In short, our plan was to cover the newly dry-walled wall with a hardboard to make sure we start with a smooth, blank canvas.. and then add the panels on top. So here’s how we started.
After the new sheet rock was hung, we added a layer of joint compound over all of the joins. Since this wall was going to be fully paneled, we didn’t worry too much about making this wall perfectly smooth like all of the other walls. We left the compound to dry overnight.
I guess I should mention if you feel like you would want to take the time and make your wall perfectly smooth, you could avoid the need to hang a hardboard across the whole thing. In our case, $40 was okay to spend on this hardboard  from Lowes. It covered the entire wall, allowing us to avoid wasting time sanding and fussing over imperfections.  
Luckily, our ceilings are 8ft high and the hardboard panels come in 4′ x 8′ sheets. We needed 4 full sheets and then half a sheet to make up the 18′ width (see below).

This is a mock-up of our wall- super helpful in deciding how many panels are required to cover the wall

Hanging the Hardboard
Now of course this was mostly Jason’s craftsmanship.. so here are his instructions: To attach each hardboard to the wall, hammer nails around the edges and ‘Liquid Nail’ in the middle. A tip for you: make sure you push out the air pocket from the middle or else you will have a small hump. If you can, leave this to dry and set for a night. You can see the hardboard in the pictures below!! 
Creating the panels
Before beginning this step, I recommend deciding on the width and thickness of each baton (piece of wood in the paneling) and also the spacing of each of the batons.  We decided on 3 1/2″ wide batons that were 1/2″ thick. Unfortunately our local Lowes did not sell the 1/2″ MDF we were hoping for, so we had to make a few visits to different stores until we found it.  These boards come in 4′ x 8′ sheets and is what we used for the batons.
Here is the plan we used:
Here is a great link that gives you the math to work out the width of your panels, it was a great help.
At this point in the project I will spare you from the details of our debate. BUT needless to say, after some time I ended up fully understanding Jason’s math. We then cut the MDF lengthwise into 3 1/2″ x 8′ strips.  Our plan was to use the full 8′ strips to create a border around the entire wall, and then use more long strips from ceiling to floor. The strips for the horizontal batons would be cut. We used our Miter Saw to cut the 8′ strips to the correct length on each of the horizontal pieces.
I can hear you all shouting at me about the joins on the hardboard and “won’t they show and look ugly??” just as I did. Butttt it turns out that Mr. Jason is truly maturing into a carpenter and thought of this! He made sure his math proved the batons would be spaced out to cover all the joins.
Fun Fact: these so called “batons” are ACTUALLY called “stiles” which I found out late in the game!
Also, I will mention this once so I don’t have to repeat: Make sure you use a Spirit Level to  ensure each stile is straight. We attached each stile with a nail gun and some liquid nail.
Start off with installing the top horizontal stile (see I remembered the correct name!). Use your spirit level to make sure its level. If you have a gap between the stile and the ceiling since your ceiling is not even, you can Caulk it later! Then install the bottom stile and again make sure it is level. Again, you can caulk any gaps later!
From our pictures below you will see we were missing some wood flooring due to taking out the old walls and closet, so we saved this bottom stile for last. You’ll see we accounted for the 3 1/2″ wide bottom stile when installing the vertical pieces.
Next step is to install all of the vertical stiles.
Once you have all of the vertical ones installed you can start to cut and hang the horizontal stiles to complete your boxes. Each of these were individually measured to make sure the dimensions were correct. “Measure twice and cut once” as my grandfather would say (corny but true). Soon it should be looking like this.
And soon after like this…
In the picture above you’ll see a  little grey door.. this is an access point to our crawl space and the boiler. We have a split level home so there is lots of storage under there (which I love!). For now, the grey door will be painted to match the rest of the wall.. but eventually Jason wants to hide it with a panel so the entire wall ties together.. I will definitely share with you if and when it gets done!
All in all it took Jason about a day to install all of the stiles, but keep in mind this is one “Jason” day. This would also entail taking breaks to watch some soccer on TV and swim in the pool. So, I bet with two people fully focused it could be done in a couple of hours!
Once you have completed the installation phase of the paneled wall, the real fun begins (you thought all of this previous was fun??). Using wood filler, we filled in ALL of those nail gun holes and joins in between the stiles (Yes I still remember the correct name). Next we used Caulk to smooth out the harsh corners inside all of the panels to cover any small gaps.
Finishing touches!
Being the romantic couple that we are, we spent the following week’s evenings installing the pieces of floor in the areas that were missing and finishing up the other walls that needed repairs. I also sanded the wood filler and all of the edges on the panel wall. This helped remove any snags and slightly round out the edges.  MDF is very easy to sand, so this step didn’t take long at all… maybe about an hour or so. In hindsight it probably would have been more efficient to sand all stiles before installing.  I think I forgot to mention… Jason installed the bottom piece once the floor was in place. And we were fully ready for painting!!
I primed the whole wall with my favorite Kilz  Primer. (Never have I ever thought I would be designating a favorite primer.. who am I??) When I was close to finishing priming, I ran out of primer.. so thank you to my hunnie who ran out to get more!! As you can see in the picture below, I couldn’t wait for more primer and was desperate to see how my color choice would look. Anddd.. I would say it was just as pretty as I had hoped.
Jason took this picture to show how impatient I am! Woops! (By the way the Jeter shirt is just a scrubby- I don’t mind if I get dirty shirt!)
I stopped after this panel I promise!! We finished priming and let it all dry over night.
The next day..
The following morning I finished painting the first coat and I let it dry throughout the day. 
That evening I was free to paint the final coat.Oh! In case you are wondering, the paint color I used was Sherwin Williams “Mink”. It puts me in the best mood!!
And here it is, 100% complete in all of its glory🙂panelled-wall-9
The wire that’s showing is for the thermostat, currently awaiting a new face plate. Of course, we will be putting up a TV soon so Jason can complete his sport room.
For those of you who are eagle eyed, you’ll see I have also painted the walls for the rest of the basement. I will definitely be sharing complete before and after pictures once we have finished decorating the entire basement! Oh! Another major notable mention…We had recessed lighting installed (I’m obsessed) and I replaced the popcorn ceiling with a slight textured look. I will share the how-to’s on removing popcorn ceiling soon!! Be on the lookout!
Much love as always!
ari signature

DIY Floating Shelf

Lesson Learned: If there’s a will there’s a way!
Finished Mantle
DIY MantleIt just puts me in the best mood every time I see it. I love how clean it looks.
With all of our projects going on (the biggest being the basement) and our house looking as if a dusty tornado ran through it, I was feeling the need to make our Living Room feel cozy, clutter free and closer to being complete. We have vaulted ceilings in our living room, and our mounted TV looked very lonely on the large wall! Off to Pinterest I went, spending hours seeking inspiration until I finally found what I wanted: a wooden floating mantle to hang just below the TV!.
Stumbling block number 1… Have you seen how much a solid oak mantle costs? Who has that kind of money to spend and especially on a silly little thing like a mantle? Soooo back to Pinterest for help and it turns out many people have DIY blogs on how to create a Faux Floating Mantle. I sent a few to Jason and apparently “That’s simple” and he can make at the weekend. Since I am not crafty with tools and wood, I made sure he would leave the staining and finishing to me🙂. Compromise eh? The challenge was on!
Stumbling block number 2… Jason has yet to grasp my need for 20 pictures, not 4, during these projects  so I can give a simple step by step guide on to how it was done. That being said, I apologize for the lack of pictures but I will do my best to explain! 
Now for the next part I give Jason a lot of credit, he kept a lot of the 2 x 4 pieces of wood from theknocking down of the basement wall . It turns out they would come in handy for this project and it saved us some $$’s which I love! 
Just a reminder: the studs  from the wall were taken down. On the right is Jason’s “I’m starting this project now” picture. A miter saw is one of his favorite tools to use I think! 
Let’s rewind… Dimensions, Location and Hardware StoreBefore you get started, decide on the width, depth and length that you want the mantle to be. I decided I wanted the mantle to be wider that the TV so I could place vases and other decor on either side to hug the TV (Jason was adamant no decor would be blocking ANY of the TV screen- you know it would interfere with watching sports)!  
Once I decided on the placement of the mantle (how high or low on the wall), I drew a line and then placed a painters tape line on the wall where the top of the mantle should be. I used a level to make sure that it was nice and straight. You can see the taped line on the staining picture below. The tape served 2 purposes, marking location and wall protection from stain, not that the latter was thought of on stage 1! 
Then you’ll need to make one of your weekly fun trips to the hardware store to buy what you need (I’m assuming you have the tools). Lately we seem to spend our Friday’s buying ice cream from our favorite diner and walking around Home Depot for supplies – try it, it’s fun.Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 3/4″ pine boards for finishing- Amount varies on your dimensions
  • 2 x 4 studs for support frames – They come in varying lengths
  • Wood Glue
  • Screws / Finishing nails for putting it all together 
  • 3″ wood screw to secure frame to the wall studs
  • Sandpaper for making it nice and smooth
  • Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  • Finishing Stain of your choice – I used ‘Kona” 
  • Polycrylic
Step 2… Make up the E support frame…
Using the miter saw cut a section of the 1×4 into the length that you require. You could use a hand saw or a circular saw if you do not have access to a miter saw. My mantle was going to be 5ft long so this piece was cut to 4ft 10 1/2 inches. The reasoning why its an 1 1/2 inch shorter becomes clearer later. 
DIY Mantle6
Cut the 3 shelf supports to the required length  factor in the 2×4 and the width of the pine board. I wanted it 8 inches deep so it felt chunky enough and give me enough room to place decorations. Just to make you feel better, I changed my mind 100 times, it’s only natural to. Jason did the math and each support was cut to 6 1/4 inches
Because our mantle would be not holding masses of weight, it would be screwed into 4 studs, the 3 shelf supports would give more than enough support needed.
Time to assemble…
DIY Mantle2Screw and Wood Glue the 3 supports onto the wall attachment piece, one of either end and one in the middle, make sure they are square. You need to pre drill some pocket holes to prevent the wood from splitting. I would recommend using a Kreg Jig but Jason is lazy so he went free hand. He did 3 screws in each piece to be sure. This can be seen on the right hand picture.
Your frame is now complete and ready for wall mounting and should look something like ours did below. WARNING: The top of the mantle is attached here, apparently he wanted to check it it was all measure correctly and to drill some pilot holes before it was on the wall. But attached the E-Frame to the wall before any of the covering.

DIY Mantle4
Please ignore Jason’s foot sock and knee, this is the progress update picture I got sent upon request

Step 3…Pray that there are studs where you want the mantle to be and secure frame to wall
Luckily for us there was. I used my stud finder and marked the location on the wall during my location and sizing up session Friday night. This gave Jason a reference but no doubt he did his own checks… he trusts me really.
This is where my handy piece of taping and pre-marking of the studs helped out… or so I like to think.
  • Hold the frame up to the wall to mark the location of the studs and pre-drill 2 holes in the frame on each stud line. This gives a nice strong attachment to the wall and will stop it from falling down. We had 4 studs in line so he attached it with 2 screws in each
  • Jason used the 3 ” wood screws to fix it to the wall
Step 4… Cut and attach the top shelf

They come in tons of different sizes so it is easy to customize your sizes.

Now you need those pine boards to start making the shelf. The top was cut to be the same length as the support beam and the width was cut to be flush with the ends of the shelf supports, the front piece would add the extra 3/4″ I wanted (See I told you it would make sense!!).This was screwed and glued on from the inside so there were no nail holes on the outside that would need filling. Jason used screws and counter sunk them slightly through the frame into the back of the top shelf – be careful not to use screws to long that will go through the shelf. You could use a brad nailer and secure through the top but that requires filling, I don’t like filling. Home Depot will make the cuts for you. 
Step 5… Cut and attach the 2 sidesThese were cut to be 4 1/2″ x 7 1/4″. As with the top, the sides were screwed and glued on from the inside so there were no nail holes on the outside that would need filling. The same screws and counter sinking was down from inside in framing. In effect this creates a box without a bottom.
You can see how the the sides cover over the edge of the top piece and the internal supports. 

DIY Mantle5.JPG
I apologize that I have a picture using the finished mantle, I told you Jason did not take many pictures

Step 6… Cut and attach on the bottomWe bought a cheap piece of 1/8″ plywood simply for covering and enclosing the box. This was nailed on from the outside, for obvious reasons and fitted inside the sides and front piece to keep it hidden.

This is how Jason passed over the mantle to me… the wall repair job was left from the electrician hiding our TV wires not Jason!

Step 7… Sand and SandI think this is self explanatory. I used our orbital sander with a fine grit sand paper until it was nice and smooth. I sanded the sharp edges to make them slightly rounded.
Step 8… Pre StainThose of you who have been with me before know that during my kitchen table renovation I had a nightmare when staining the top. I was not going to let history repeat it’self and opted to use somepre-stain as a precaution. I don’t think I will ever stain again and not use this stuff – it’s magical.
Step 9… Stain and protectKitchen Table StainFor this step out comes my trusty Rust-Oleum ‘Kona” stain that I have used on my kitchen table and the bedroom dresser. I love the color it gives and how I can vary the shade so easily simply by leaving it on longer or applying a number of coats. Also it means the wood work through out my house matches!
As with all staining do not worry about being neat when applying with a foam brush. I past in on pretty roughly, my only rule is that it all needs equal covering.
I left it to soak in for a couple of minutes and then used some rags to work it in and reveal the grain. Then I repeat this step as I feel necessary to get the shade I desire. For this project, one complete coat and a couple of small touch up coats over the next 3 days was enough to satisfy me. A final coat of Polycrylic and she was complete.
FYI… It took me about 3 days to decide what shade I wanted so…DO NOT APPLY POLYCRYCLIC UNTIL YOU ARE 100% HAPPY!!

Stain touch up
The final touch up to the staining color. It took me forever to be happy with the color. 

Finished… Until I find 2 Candle Stands to replace those Jugs
Finished Mantle
Thank you for joining me… please feel free to leave me a comment on how I did. If you were inspired to take on a project yourself then please share it with me.
We will talk again soon.
Much love as always
ari signature
And by the time I got around to finish writing the blog I had been to my favorite accessory store, Home Goods. SO here she is 100% complete… I hope you like her as much as I do.
Finished Mantle

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DIY Kitchen Table Makeover

Country Kitchen Table Renovation
Lesson Learned: DIY’s may turn into a confession session.
Before we dig into the details of how we refinished our kitchen table, I have a couple of confessions!!! Hey! My mom always said: “honesty is the best policy”!
So… for my first confession:  I actually completed the table before deciding that I would blog about our home projects, so I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures along the way! I will do my best to find pictures on my phone that will suffice.
Another confession– well not so much a confession but a freaky coincidence. While I was searching for images of tables that looked similar to the table we started with, I realized that during the home inspection the current homeowners (of the house we are buying) have the EXACT same table we refinished. HOW WEIRD?!??  So during a later walk thru, I managed to sneak a picture of their table-so I’m very sorry for the low quality!
Oak Kitchen Redo
As for my last confession, we inherited the table from a family friend about 12 months before we even knew we were capable of buying a house! The table was pretty ugly but I was too polite to say no and quite frankly, did not particularly wish to buy one if I didn’t have to. Everyone loves something for free, right?!! So the poor table sat in my Mom’s garage for nearly 6 months before I had an idea of what to do with it and make it pretty again (Thank you Pinterest and Joanna Gaines!) Even once the table was finished it stayed in the garage for another 2 months until we moved in.
Sand until your heart is content , and then some more…
Sanding is probably the most important step. The table had an ugly light brown finish that needed to be removed in order for the stain to stick. We started with a low grit to really dig in and get the top coat off. This part was the MESSIEST!! As a disclosure, I would 10000% recommend doing this outside and far away from anything you do not want to be covered in dust. Jason eventually looked as if he had been through a desert sandstorm.  It probably took us a couple of hours, using the electric sander & hand held paper to sand all grooves and edges. But it was warm and sunny outside so with a little bit of music to sand along to it wasn’t exactly torture. Make sure to finish off your sanding with a higher and finer grit. This will ensure the top of your table is as smooth as can be, like a factory finish. I finished with a 240grit. 
As for the legs I sand over with a 120 grit to remove the shine and remove any knicks and bumpy bits. It was going to be painted so I did not need the open grain for the stain to soak into.
Disassemble the top and paint the legs! 
This part is verry easy in comparison to every other step. Once the legs were sanded down, I painted with the SW Pro-classic paint in Marshmallow  (the same that was used for the dresser). I painted 3 coats total to make sure everything was fully covered, and once all was dry finished with the Minwax polycrylic. Again, I want to make sure the legs are as durable as can be, since people will be bumping their dining chairs and what not into them!
Staining the top…ishOk I have another, 4th confession… during my first go at staining I realized I did not sand enough due to my impatience and lack of know how. I will share that error and tips for staining when I get the courage together to write about the currently repressed memory (wah!).  

Sanded Table Top.jpg
Ready for staining. The dark patches are where the stain had soaked in properly on the first coat…

Pain Staining Process AGAIN….Second time  was a charm, but then again, this time I was prepared. I had used paint stripper to remove coatings left on it and I had had Jason sand the whole top down with 80, 120 and 240 sandpaper. I got out the pre-stain wood conditioner I had used previously on my dresser refinish, wiped it on, let it soak in for 15 minutes and then wiped off the remainder.
Next I used my foam brushes and ‘Kona’ stain, the same used for my dresser top. I painted the stain on pretty thickly as you can see here. I waited a few minutes to let the stain soak in, and used a few rags to wipe the stain off. 
Staining Kitchen Table
Protect her with some Polyurethane…
Once the stain had soaked for about 15 minutes, I wanted to apply a layer of polyurethane to protect the top of the table. Of course, a kitchen table top will take a beating as it is used so often, and polyurethane is a great barrier. It is slightly tinted yellow, so I didn’t mind applying to a stained top. I used this polyurethane. As simple as following the can… I wiped a thin and even layer on with a clean foam brush and let it dry. Make sure there are no bubbles when applying the poly.  If you find you have some small bubbles, use a very fine sandpaper to get them out!
She’s finished… well almost!!
Dog Chewed Legs, My favorite…Ok, ok my last confession. I swear I thought that with some sanding and some paint the chewed legs would not be noticeable, but how wrong was I? However on a freshly finished table they stuck out like a sore thumb so it was obvious I needed some way to repair this eye sore. The left picture is pretty horrific and the legs looked very sorry for themselves. 
Dog Chewed Legs.JPG
Off again I sent Jason to Home Depot, in a somewhat bad mood ( I love you!!), in search of a filler or something. After a few conversations with experts and some google searching on their recommendations he returned with J-B Weld Kwikwood. This stuff is a filler and magic all wrapped up into one stick of the adult version of play-doh!
More details on howDog Chewed Leg repair we repaired the legs can be found [here].
However for a quick summary, we lightly re-Dog Chewed Leg repair1.jpgsanded the chewed area to removed most of the paint we had put on. Next we molded the Kwikwood onto the legs to resemble the grooves that once existed before the dogs teeth got hold of them (Sue, we love Smoky and Bandit promise!). We let the kwikwood dry over night and sanded- AGAIN. Like I said earlier, sand, sand and sand some more until you are happy with its shape… you are now free to paint away.
And ta-dahhh… this image on the right is how it looked after some touch up paint. Not 100% perfect, but 1000% better than what it was before!
It’s a wrap!Once I had finished the table it pained me to admit I had no house to put her in. We were still waiting for our closing date at the time so, I wrapped her up for protection and left her in my Mom’s garage until move in day. It was (slightly) emotional- both Jason and I had spent a few Saturday’s on this project and wouldn’t put her to use for a number of weeks.
This was our good bye picture I took before carefully wrapping her up… 
Refurbished Kitchen Table..
Welcome home!
Adorned with some pretty flowers as a “welcome to your new home” present, here she is! The lighting is much better in these pictures and you can see how beautifully the stain took to the wood.
Country Kitchen Table Renovation
From our obvious lack of seating, all that’s needed now is for Jason to build me a breakfast nook bench in the corner (did I mention I love you J??).
Overall, the kitchen table redo was a long and painstaking process (due to my few mistakes) but totally worth it! I hope I have shared much insight on what to do, and also what not to do. Probably more of the what not to dos, but hey, they all help right?
Much love!!
ari signature
I can be found on Pinterest and my complete website can be found here here.
You can view my previous post on renovating an old bedroom dresser here.

Bedroom Dresser makeover

Finished Dresser

Lesson Learned:Furniture may take on a persona when you least expect it
I could squeal with excitement..I picked up this dresser for $40 from a Facebook yard sale! AND as an added bonus, the seller threw in a matching dresser with hutch, a coffee table and some lamps!! She was retiring to Florida and just wanted to declutter, and as you can imagine I was happy to take it all- thrilled to see what I could do with it. Check out the redo’s of these bonus items [here]!

Bedroom Dresser
There she is! Our soon to be  highlight of our master bedroom. All she needs is some Ari TLC.

Before moving into the house, I made a decision to try and keep all the furnishings within the house a similar country theme,  so this dresser’s fate was to be painted white. But Jason had convinced me an all white dresser would be a bit boring and he showed me a few pictures of  white furniture with contrasting stained tops. He was right (see Jas!!) the grain was too nice to cover up with paint.
Clean and sand drawers / dresser (minus the top)The first thing I did was remove all of the drawers and apply some TSP with a rag to remove all dirt and grime. It is pretty nasty to see what comes off! I cleaned all of the drawers and dresser, but did not touch the top since I would be starting that a little later. After removing the hardware from the drawers, I used my Kwikwood Putty to fill the holes (we want new updated hardware, obviously!!). I then followed up with a quick sand by hand- I mean quick, about 30 seconds per drawer, until my putty was smooth. I continued to focus on the drawers and remainder of the dresser first. Trust me it makes sense to leave the top of the dresser for last! Promise!
Dresser Drawers
Prime her up…My next step was to get out my newfound love: spray on primer. I had used this on projects in my past pre-blogging life, and have recently realized how amazing it is. I’ll admit I am pretty impatient, and this makes things SO much quicker. I used Valspar’s project perfect primer, which from my past experiences I know works perfectly well!

As you can see I was not OCD here, a quick spray over was enough to give the paint something to stick to

Fun fact: I was using my Mom’s garage for the project and didn’t worry about ventilation or covering the floor, which turned out to be a big no no. The spray paint “cloud” settled on her clean cement floor, and I was left spending an extra 30 minutes or so using Paint Stripper to remove the paint marks, fun for everyone!!
Back to the project… one can of spray primer was enough to prime all 6 of the drawers and half of a can was used for the two sides and front of the dresser, top excluded. I did not worry about the back because well who cares? no one will see that when it’s butted up against the wall, right? As I confessed earlier, my love for this type of primer proved to be true as it dried really quickly, around  30 minutes. I used this time to move on to the top.
Getting on top of things now…While the primer was drying I painted on a thick layer of Goof Off Pro Stripper with a cheap paint brush (one you will never need to use again) and let it soak in for 10-15 minutes.

Poly Stripper
Disclaimer – Be verrry careful where this stripper touches. It will ruin things easily.. I HIGHLY recommend gloves and crappy clothes!

It’s like a science experiment really, the way it begins to bubble and turn a misty white. Once it has reached this goopy consistency you’ll know it is ready to scrape off. I then used a wall paper scraper to remove everything, and it surprisingly comes off very easily. Scrape in the direction of the grain to avoid chipping off any wood.
Our dresser had a beveled edge, so I used a wire pad (similar to a brillo pad) to rub off the ‘Goof Off”.
Next, I gave it a quick clean down with some of that TSP to make sure all of the Stripper was removed.

Strippint Dresser Top
The color difference is easily noticeable… that’s a lot of gunk coming off!

Calling in Jason for some help…For the next step I needed to call in Jason for some help, I do not trust myself using an electric sander yet! The noise alone still scares me! He started with some 80 grit sand paper and then finished with some 250 grit paper to achieve a nice smooth finish. Please do this outside so the dust does not ruin your house. Like I mentioned we used my Mom’s garage that we have taken over, I will have to thank her again and again! As with the stripping (I can’t type this without a quick smirk, I’m so childish) sand in the direction of the grain. You can see here the difference in color of the sanded and not sanded line…Sanding Dresser Top
I used some smaller pieces of sand paper to get into the detail on the edges. Once this was done I gave it a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any bits of dust and she was ready for finishing!

My directions are nicer than the tin’s…
I never really appreciated the need for wood conditioner (I am impatient!!) until  a carpenter friend recommended it to me. It helps the wood stain soak in evenly and gives you a professional finish. I used Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, again because my carpenter friend recommended it. It worked wonderfully.
I’ll be honest we followed the instructions on the back of the product step by step, but I think you prefer listening to me! To apply the conditioner I dabbed a rag and applied a coat to the top of the dresser. I let it soak in for 20 minutes or so. Be sure to wipe off the remainder.The can says you have about an hour to stain the surface after using the conditioner so make sure you have enough time to do both!
My directions are nicer, I swear…Kitchen Table StainNow it was time to stain the top of the dresser- the piece I was looking forward to doing to most, apart from it being finished and in our new house that is! I had picked out this stain to use, mostly because I liked darker wood and the name ‘Kona’, also the Home Depot associate recommended it.  
I used a rag to heavily apply the stain all over, I tried to be as even as I could to make sure everywhere was covered equally. Like it says on the can, I let it soak in for 10-15 minutes and then used a fresh rag to wipe it all off. Hopefully this picture shows the dramatic difference between the 2 steps. I just love it, I’m obsessed.

Staining Dresser Top
Isn’t her top beginning to look gorgeous?

And here it is fully rubbed down / in, I’m not sure what the correct term is here…you can decide.

Stained up top
Now her top looks 100% gorgeous. Again the evening sun made her look a little more orange than she actually is… you will have to wait until the end for her actual coloring!

Back to her bottom…Jason and I double-teamed this portion to reallllly get the project done quicker. One of us used a mini foam paint roller, while the other used a brush for hard to reach places. We applied 2 coats of paint an hour or so apart which achieved the solid look we were hoping for. Once the paint was dry (honesty moment – I left them in the garage for a week before doing this, I had a busy week!) using a sponge I applied a thin coat of Minwax polycrylic. This is a milky white and would blend nicely with our white paint color. The polycrylic hardens the paint and creates a nice shield to any elements.  
Painted Drawers

Grain on Dresser Draw
I love the bits of grain showing through
Sherwin Williams Paint - Marshmellow
[FAN-TASTIC Stuff – I used the color Marshmallow]
Painted Dresser
I love her! She looks amazing! The stain and Marshmallow go together so well. I can’t wait to put her in our house soon.

Putting her back together and adding some new accessories (hardware)…
Finished Dresser Drawers (2)
I don’t think there is much explanation needed here, find what you love and just make sure they are centered. Oh and please pre-drill some teeny weeny holes for the little screws to avoid any splitting.
Again because we did not have our house yet, we left the dresser in pieces in the garage for a week to dry. I know that if you try to put them together to quickly the paint is not cured yet and will stick when the doors are closed. This will cause the paint to peel off. So be patient in putting it back together.
And she’s finished, in her new spot in the house!
Finished Dresser
Pssst… That mirror a big DIY Success as well. You can see its transformation as soon as I have written it. Check back soon!
Much Love
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