Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best of 2011

It's hard to narrow down my favorite pieces of the year. I've refinished somewhere around 200+ pieces of furniture. I wish that I had been keeping track. But, these stand out as my personal favorites. The ones I wish I kept...or wish I had room to keep. Happy New Year and here's to a new year of creativity and color!  

Friday, December 30, 2011

Paint Splattered

This poor dresser has been sitting in my parents garage for the last four months, waiting to be worked on...loved.

The problem I've had with it is the sheer number of new knobs I needed to get. Twelve to be exact. The average price of a new knob being around $5, I was looking at spending $60 on new hardware and just didn't want to fork out the expense. I painted it so that it would be ready for new hardware when I found the right knobs.

And, it sat. For another month or so.

Then, I had a request for a new dresser for a 13 year old. They liked this one and the request was to splatter it with a lot of different colors of paint. "Are you sure?" I asked.

I laid down a huge tarp, placed it in the middle of the grass and went to town. And, this is how it turned out!

Like those teal ceramic knobs?

I hope she likes it! It was so much fun to paint.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Painted Granite

Have you ever heard of painting your counters to resemble granite? I have. But would have NEVER considered using it. I put it in the category of fake grass, fake trees, fake brick walls (have you ever seen those? It's an applique that goes on a wall and looks like brick...except that it looks like a sticker...on a wall...CHEESY!) get the point.

However, about the end of November, I received an e-mail from a representative of Giani Paint asking if I would be willing to be one of 20 blogs selected to sample the paint and write about it. Are you kidding me? My little blog was deemed worthy to test a product and write about it? Heck yes.

What to paint, though. I like my kitchen counter tops so that wasn't on the list. And I already have granite in my bathrooms. My parents desperately need new counter tops. So, I figured we could tackle that project. But, the paint kit covers 35 square feet of counter space which is about what was in their kitchen. I wasn't sure there would be enough to get the job done. Plus, new counter tops for them would snowball into painting the kitchen, redoing the cabinets, new know how that goes?

This correspondence from Giani couldn't have been more perfectly timed because it just so happened that hiding in the shed was a dusty and dirty play kitchen that I was planning on refurbishing for my girls this Christmas.

For the last few years, anytime I've talked about refinishing this piece it always came down to "what am I going to do with the counters?" There was a laminate top on them with wood trim. I wasn't quite sure how to update the look. Plus, they were dingy and scratched up from 50+ years of play.

PERFECT project for the new paint! It was small enough to tackle under the time frame Giani wanted me to test the product and will (over time) show how well it stands up to life.

I received my paint kit the first week of December and had to finish these counters no later than December 11th. It takes two weeks for the paint to cure, so if the kids wanted to play with it on Christmas day, I had to get to work.

The kit comes with a 15 minute instructional DVD, a sponge, small roller with two brushes and the paint.

I picked the Sicilian Sand. It has a lot of different shades but is light and neutral.

Step one of the process involved rolling the black primer on the entire kitchen top. Once that dried for eight hours, the three small cans (2A, 2B and 2C) get sponged on in varying patterns and section. Each color sponges over the next while it is still wet to add different tones, blends and patterns.

For the hard to reach areas, I used an artists brush to add color.

Once the paint dried for another eight hours, the top coat goes on. And, I completely missed a step in this process. before the top coat, the surface needs to be sanded with a fine sanding block to smooth the texture and bumps. I rolled my first layer of top coat and and did a big Homer Simpson style "DOH!"

No worries (it's just for the kids, after all). Once the first coat of top coat dried, I sanded.

Then, applied another layer of top coat. I have to tell you, it is the top coat that makes all the difference. The counters went from looking and feeling painted to that shiny and glossy look of real granite.  

When it was all painted, I put the whole set on the sidewalk for people see.

The kind of comments I got:

"How did you get granite counters on a play kitchen."
"That looks totally real!"
"Those counters must be heavy." (Not so much, it's just laminate)
"That's amazing!"
So, what's my assessment of this whole process?

This paint was really easy to work with! I was pleasantly surprised at how real it looked in the end. I wish I had done a few things differently. One of which was filled in some of the seams between the wood and laminate so that the counter looked like one solid piece.

The instructions allow for any scratched surfaces or dings in the counters to be filled with wood filler and sanded down so that when it is painted, you get a flawless surface.

I should have taken that extra step where the wood and laminate met. I honestly didn't think it would be so noticeable when it was painted.

The instructional video also suggests as a last step to use an artists brush to paint natural looking breaks or flaws within the counter. I did that on one section of the kitchen and thought it looked ridiculous. I'm not an artist and when I started adding the lines and "cracks," I felt that it started looking fake.

You can barely see on the middle section where I added some "rock flaws." When I use this paint in the future, I won't add any of those embellishments.

Now that it's all said and done, I love how the whole project turned out! It looks like a miniature version of a real kitchen and I would definitely use this paint on other projects!

I have enough left over for a desk top that I have in mind. :) stay tuned for more on that project!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Kitchen for the Kids

I've been so excited to post about this play kitchen that my girls got for Christmas from Santa. In fact, there is too much to write about in just one post, so I am going to do it in two postings. One about the kitchen itself and the other about the redo of the faux granite counter tops.

To refresh your memory, this is what this play kitchen looked like when I pulled it out of the shed.

Actually, this is the clean version. It was covered in a layer of dust, cobwebs and other unmentionable nastiness!

So, here's the story. This kitchen is probably 50+ years old. I inherited it when my Dad's church sold their large building and downsized. Sometimes being a PK (pastor's kid) has its benefits. When I was a little girl, my sister and I would play with this kitchen for hours. Over the years, it took a beating from generation after generation of kids imaginative play. When I brought this home, my oldest daughter wasn't even a year old, but I knew in a short time, she would enjoy playing with it as much as I did. Well, four years and two kids later, it was time to tackle this project. Not only was painting it in order, but I needed streamline the hardware so that all the drawers had knobs and all the cabinets had pulls. I also needed to fill the holes where a fourth oven knob should have been. Plus, the entire oven door was missing, which meant cutting and painting a new one.

The first step was addressing the ugly counter tops! Thanks to a perfectly timed correspondence from Giani Granite, I was offered a kit of their granite paint and I chose to use it to redo these counter tops. Probably not quite what they had in mind. I'm going to be writing an entire blog post just about the painted counter tops!

Next came the painting. This would have been so cute in a great shade of teal, or sage green, even black! But, since this was going home with me, I needed to think about versatility. It needed to match the decor in any number of rooms of the house so I opted for plain old white. I lathered up the entire set in two coats of homemade chalk paint

I used my palm sander with fine sand paper to add a heavy distressing. It made the white paint much less boring and the finish is super smooth. Two coats of finishing wax make it completely cleanable!

The new oven door with my limited artistic skills at work and the new hardware!

All set up on Christmas Eve!

I even repainted the girls chairs and set the table for lunch. Cheeseburgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets.

Painting around those burners...not fun!

The real question is, did they like it?

Yes! They did. I made them pose for a picture and then my oldest disappeared while we were all having "tea." I went to go find her and she was in the living room by the Christmas tree playing with a 25 cent Princess Paddle ball toy that I found at a yard sale. So, it goes to show that no matter how big, how grand the toy, when it comes right down to it, when you are just four years old, a basket of dollar store treasures is pure joy!

Although, she did tell me, "Mom, you can't sell my kitchen because it was a Christmas present."

Fair enough. The kitchen stays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Classically Simple

Last Sunday, we sold eight pieces of furniture! I was so excited to free up some space in the store for some of the finished pieces that I have been stowing in my garage for the past few weeks. Once I moved everything around, though I was loving the openness; ridding the clutter; having breathing and walking room. So, instead of bringing them all and cramming them back into my tiny space, I made room for only one new piece. It's a classic early American secretary hutch with great storage for stowing supplies, clothes and accessories and great display shelves for placing pretty things.

I picked this piece up last Saturday and added it to Macy's to-do list! And, she did an awesome job of this hutch from start to finish!

The pictures speak for themselves.

For sale this Furniture Friday!
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