Friday, 5 September 2014

ABD Baby, Always Be Decorating

Check out my latest grab from Kijiji.  I don't even know what I'm going to do with them! 
Check out the twins

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Hot Mess Dresser

They can't all be gems.

The plan was to update my red Ikea dresser and turn it into a sophisticated steel and chrome masterpiece. 

Big red

Because it's an Ikea dresser, I didn't want to sand it. It looks like it was painted red, not laminate, but the smoothness made me afraid that maybe I don't know what laminate means, and I know you will ruin it if you sand it, so I skipped that step.

I didn't skip the primer stage, however. I'm a personal fan of that step, no matter what anyone says! It just makes everything uniform and ready for the colour as bought, not muddied by the original colour of the piece.

Good clean fun

To start the spray painting process, you need to get a paint mask, gloves and eye protection.  I decided to do it in style.

Always use protection

You have to spray paint in a really well ventilated area. I chose my balcony, though outside on the lawn would have been preferable. Unfortunately, you can't spray paint in your sports bra and Walmart rip-off yoga pants on your apartment building's lawn. I'm pretty sure I signed something when moving in saying I couldn't do that.

Once I started spraying, I realized I was making a mistake. My blog-guru has often talked about using a spray painting gun/ tool to have a neater mist, unless you use this specific brand and then you don't need it. I bought that "good" brand for the bones of the dresser, but the drawers I used the "bad" kind. 

Bad nozzle/ good nozzle

The cheapo gloves I used kept getting in the way, and I only found out when globs of paint started to drip out. And no matter what kind of spray pattern I went with, it kept coming out totally streaky.

Oh mannnnn

I did three coats, and still, this is as good as it came out:

Wa waaaaaaa

As I've done in the past, I used a poly coat to seal it. I went to my local Canadian Tire to buy a small can of the poly acrylic that I was using in my dad's garage. Unfortunately, that brand was not to be found. So, using my expert skills, (read: no skills and not wanting to try to explain myself to a sales person with my limited refinishing vocabulary) I tried to pick something similar. I went with Minwax Fast-drying Polyurethane. It was not the same.

The polyacrylic was like a milky whitish gluey texture. The polyurethane was water-thin and not clear. It had a faint brown/ beige colour to it. It rolled on looking clear anyway, so it didn't really matter. 

Finished product, I guess

I really noticed the difference when I went to wash the paint tray and roller. I've been able to reuse the same roller for ALL of my paint jobs after washing thoroughly. When I tried to wash this, it was very waxy, and impossible to wash out. Not only that but it's been hours and my roller-washing hand is still sticky. I used a scrubber brush, nail polish remover and then lotion and still my hand feels like I stuck my hand in a honey pot.

Oh bother

The other problem is that the actual dresser is too heavy for me to carry out to the balcony alone, so the rest of the job will have to wait for another day.

So the half finished dresser looks like this:

Big fat meh

Not my best work, but hopefully, with tricky lighting, I will make it look fancy enough for the new apartment.

-Until I get bored

Monday, 11 August 2014

Shamelessly Asking for Furniture Leads

This is a message to all the Toronto area readers, or all those who like hauling furniture.

I have a surprisingly vast list of furniture still needed. Here is that list:

  • 2 bedside tables
  • 2 living room tables
  • 4 table lamps
  • 2 mirrors
  • 4 dining room chairs
It doesn't really matter what they look like. Everything can be updated to look fabulous if it has"good bones". If you or someone you know is looking to unload any of these things, let me know! 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The "I'm so fancy" makeup vanity

You may remember from an earlier post that I picked up a gem of a vanity off Kijiji. It was everything I wanted, except, in the photo I saw, the desk looked white, and pristine.

Tee hee hee, I'm actually yellow

Okay, minor setback, but I was prepared for this. I started this blog because I'm going to update all my furniture to match, and look sophisticated and mature, unlike the hodgepodge apartment I live in now.

I got to work sanding with 120 grit sand paper. Side note, I need to wear gloves to do this because touching sandpaper might be one of the grossest feelings ever. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.

Oh, did I mention that I have been living the life of luxury, as I've had the freedom of my dad's woodworking shop to do all this in. Need a screwdriver? We have 30!

The gourmet's work station

I primed the entire desk with this stuff:

To confirm, it's good stuff

I removed the hardware from the drawers as well to ensure perfect coverage.

Looks like it's smiling with a monocle

As with all projects, I hit a snag in the road. I wanted to fill all the detail lines with silver paint to really bring them out, but I do not have surgeon-steady hands and none of my surgeon friends accepted an invitation to the cottage to refinish furniture. It ended up looking like I was painting these drawers on top of the dryer with a cycle of soccer cleats in, and it took a lot of work to correct all the mistakes once it dried.

Also, you can tell I am an amateur. I'm sure there is a name for when the wood has those detailed lines in them but I have no idea what it is and don't even know where to begin with Google to find it.

So, after silvering (and then cleaning up) the detail on the drawers only, I decided to give up on that dream and leave the rest in my light grey paint.

I'm so beautiful

Onto the fun part, the hardware!

The old handles were a green, "I'm 100 years old and poorly maintained" colour. I had the idea to use a silver chrome spray paint to make them almost mirror-like.

First, I spray painted them with a gold metallic to give the base an even, warm-toned colour. I'm not sure this actually had any effect on the finished product.

Secondly, I spray painted them all over with the silver chrome, which looked awesome immediately.

Some tips on spray painting:

1. Do this in a well-ventilated area. I picked the outdoors in cottage country. I think there's lots of oxygen there.
2. Find a good surface to do this, where your pieces are kind of raised so you can get to all angles. I turned a recycling bin upside down and covered with the plastic bag I left the hardware store with when I purchased the spray paint.
3. Shake for like 2 minutes. It's the longest 2 minutes of your life.
4. Get a painting mask so you aren't breathing in the fumes. Unless you're into that. *until I get bored does not condone this. Also, get gloves.
5. Spray away from the hardware for like 3 seconds so you have a good stream coming out that is even.
6. Spray that ish from every angle; leave no crevice uncovered. I did a complete 360 around the recycling bin to ensure everything was thoroughly covered.
7. Let dry for like an hour. I don't know, I left it over night, but I bet an hour is good enough.

So in the end, they turned out like this:

Hey everyone, come see how good I look

Seriously, you would pay to own this, wouldn't you?! (If the answer is no, please skip to the next question).

This piece isn't totally done. I hate the laminate on top of the desk,  but I didn't want to paint it grey because it won't be a very nice surface to do makeup on. Instead, I'm calling around to all custom glass and mirror shops in Toronto to see if they will cut me a piece of mirror with one scalloped edge. So far one company has said no, so if any readers have people in the mirror industry, send them my way!

- Until I get bored

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Hokey Cottage Dining Table is now a Sophisticate's Dream

When my parents said they were going to get rid of the dining room table from the old cottage that my dad built with his own two hands, I thought, what a great opportunity to keep a piece of the family and save some bucks for the new apartment. Little did I know how much work would go into it.

Oh yes, it's wayyyy yellow

After getting sick of the colour quickly, my mom put a tablecloth on top and some of the under-fluff got stuck. So during step 1 of sanding the table down and filling scuff marks, I also had to peel off mini Santa beards.

See my fluff

After sanding with fine grit sandpaper (120 for what it's worth) and filling holes with wood filler (which takes about 30 mins to dry), I primed the whole thing.

All that prime

The reason this dining room table was so misleadingly difficult was because the ENTIRE thing was yellow, under pieces as well. This took 2 hours per coat to get everything done.

I used a regular primer that, and this is the important part so listen up, it adheres. It needs to say it adheres. Why? Shouldn't all primers adhere? Yes, probably, but the nice lady at the hardware store said it was important. So I bought the least expensive kind, just to try and cover up the yellow. There is still debate within my household if primer is necessary, but I was following instructions from another DIY blogger (, and I wanted to do it by the blog.

Now here's where my heart sank:

Ohhhh nooooo

After my first coat I thought I would need 6 coats before this stupid table looked finished. 

Instead of crying over streaky yellow stripes, I took the rest of the day off.

Don't worry, dear reader, it turned out to only need one more coat all over, and an extra roller of paint on the top surfaces.

Some tips for painting furniture:

1. Long strokes
3. You can use a brush or a roller, but for the love of all that is holy, literally make strokes that go from one end to the other

The final step, and perhaps an unorthodox one, which caused some more debate in my house, was the top coat I added. I used a thin layer of polyacrylic, the same stuff my dad is using to seal the hardwood floors as a top coat on my dining room table, for a smooth finish and an easy-to-clean surface.

Conversation between me and my dad:

Me: the polyacrylic kinda gets foamy sometimes
Dad:...... you need to go really slowly with that stuff or you'll get lots of bubbles
Me:.... that information could have been brought to my attention AN HOUR AGO! (said like Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer)

And da da da daaaaa, the finished product:

Check out the gams on that table

A model of sophistication

So, for my very first attempt at furniture updating, I'm quite happy with the results. Are there mistakes? Absolutely. But let's just imagine that in the new 600 square foot apartment, you won't be able to notice any.

- Until I get bored