Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Life for a Little Old Lady

So, Monday was a snow day for us (a rarity this winter) and we made the most of it. Benny was off too, so we decided to tackle two of our projects that have been in the basement for waaay too long.

The mission: give new life to two old dressers desperately in need of some love. See Exhibit A.

The players: Benny, myself, and a ReStore dresser we moved into the basement when we built the house and a little dresser that was my great, great aunt's (it's got her signature on the back) and was mine as a kid.

The first is the little lady that was mine as a kid. It's solid construction, though the runners of the drawers needed a little paraffin (we had none so resorted to bar soap) to help them slide better. Originally, it had painted wooden knobs that had a few coats of paint that had seen better days, so I knew these would go. It also needed some serious sanding since the backs of the drawer fronts had been painted and had adhered to the dresser front after years of storage in my mom's attic. And, of course, it needed to be primed and painted. It's got this cute little apron front detail and is a nice small scale, perfect for additional linen storage in our kitchen. (It seems you can never have enough storage in the kitchen.)

I should mention here that I'd been drooling over this cool paintable textured wall paper that they now carry at Boone Paint and Interiors where Benny works. Since we're not the wallpaper on our walls type of people (too many horrible experiences removing the stuff after people didn't prep the walls properly), I kept trying to come up with a way to use the stuff. These projects ended up being the perfect fit, since they were pretty plain pieces without any ornate detailing on the drawer fronts or anything. (Plus, the ReStore dresser had a horrible finish that had been poorly scraped off leaving the sides very distressed, and not in a pretty-I-meant-to-make-it-look-like-that way.) So, Benny brought home the book and I chose a modern circle pattern that was the right scale for the pieces.

So, on Monday, we took these babies up two flights of stairs to the office to paint them, after they'd been prepped and primed earlier in the basement. They both got wallpaper pasted to the sides, which we measured and carefully cut with a razor blade. The wallpaper paste ended up being free from a painter Benny knows (it's great to have him work in this business sometimes). The painter recommended that we thin down the paste with some water and mix it with a kitchen whisk, which was perfect. (We did spend all of 94 cents for a new whisk so that we didn't risk mucking up our good one for baking.) We rolled it on with a disposable foam roller, so that made it really easy. Then we carefully smoothed down the paper and pressed out any air bubbles. This part was a little tricky with the textured paper to see all the bubbles, but once we got the hang of it, it was pretty quick work.

After pasting the paper and letting it set for a while (we went downstairs for a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches... yummy, one of my favs that Benny makes), we painted each one with paint we had leftover from other projects. The little one got white Aura (this is Benjamin Moore's low VOC stuff and it covers great... one coat!) trim paint and the taller ReStore one got some paint we'd color matched to go with the aged white paint on the furniture in the guest room. This way, if we ever need another dresser in the guest room, it will be the same color and we won't have to paint it again. The drawer fronts on the little lady for the kitchen got painted out in leftover blue Aura paint from our living room to help tie the two spaces together a bit more. We applied the paint using the red feather mini rollers left over from another project, and since we didn't have any roller tray liners, we used plastic grocery sacks (which somehow inexplicably make their way into our kitchen, even though we use reusable totes whenever possible--even to the extent that if we forget them and leave them in the car, we'll go out of the grocery store with an armload of produce and cereal and the cashiers think we're nuts).

Once we finished with all the painting, we came downstairs and ordered the hardware for the dressers from . We searched out an online coupon code for the site and found one that would work for our order and gave us 5% off. (There were better ones, but we didn't have a big enough order.) One trick with this site is to order all your hardware from one manufacturer to save on shipping, otherwise it's an additional cost per manufacturer. We ended up paying about $60 for the hardware (10 knobs, 4-3" handles/pulls, 3-5" handles/pulls), which was above my $50 goal for the hardware for both, but still pretty good when you compare to retail prices. The hardware should arrive tomorrow and I'm so stinking excited! I can't wait to put the jewelry on my little lady in the kitchen! (I'll put a new pic up when I get the hardware on.)

Last night, I lined the drawers of the new kitchen linen chest (little lady sounds so much sweeter) with some wallpaper we found at my grandmother's house that was what used to be in her kitchen. I think it's so neat that this piece has so much family history and is getting used again after a lot time in storage. It's such a nice addition to our kitchen and really helps to clear out some of the areas that were just too full. I love that I can now store all our cloth napkins right in the kitchen, along with our dish towels, place mats, and table runners. (These used to take up a good portion of the bottom shelf in our bedroom closet... we so did not plan enough storage in this house.)

The ReStore dresser is now kind of in limbo in the office waiting for us to finish up some more cleaning out and finish some other projects before there's space for it. It's going to look great in the office and will provide some much needed storage in there for our winter items (scarves seem to multiply around here with me, and hats) and office supplies.

So, here's the estimated total, for those of you wanting to know:

"little lady" kitchen cabinet: free (gratis as Benny would say)

ReStore diamond in the rough: $10-15 (I can't quite remember, I bought it like 4 years ago)

textured paintable wall paper: $15 per roll (we only needed one)

primer/paint: free (leftover from other projects)

wallpaper paste: free (gifted by painter)

whisk to mix wallpaper paste: 94 cents

sponge rollers: $2.50

cabinet hardware: $60 (including shipping)

Total: $93.44 for two dressers

So, what do you think? Have you been up to any painting projects lately? How have you saved a buck (or saved something from the landfill) and still added storage to your home? I'd love to hear from you!

** I'll be back with pics later. I just couldn't wait to post this! :)


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