Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mateo's Dresser Re-vamp

Hi my name is Jamie, and a procrastinator (sigh).  It could be much worse, I guess.  Everyone has the laundry list of things they need to improve on.  Here are my top five in no particular order of importance.

#1 Be less cluttered.  I am sort of a neat freak, and my husband is the sort of self-confessed OCD type.  I am what you would call a piler.  In my attempts to organize my paper clutter, I create so many "organized" piles that I completely disorganize myself!  Hubby is convinced we need a larger countertop, but I assured him it would just give me more space to scatter things.

#2 Have more patience.  In life. In general.  With my family, particularly my three-year old. Enough said.

#3 Laugh more and stress less. Stress is so hard on the body, and there is nothing like a good, full-belly laugh to ease that tension.  At the end of the day, as long as I have my health and my family, I am a lucky gal.

#4 Take more pictures.  My kids are growing like weeds right in front of my eyes. I want to capture everything - the good the bad, the hysterical...that's the good stuff.

#5 Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. This is the inspiration for my blog post.  And let me tell you, there is nothing like a house full of guests to kick a sista' into high gear.

My brother just informed me that he and the family - my two nieces, one nephew, and my sister-in-law - would be driving down to Austin to visit us for a few days (pause for screech of excitement).  I can't wait to see my family.  This also coincides with two other guests traveling from Peru.  Seven house guests calls for a major organizational overhaul.

My three-year-old, Mateo, has been in desperate need of a dresser for quite some time.  We recently relocated Mateo's dresser/changing table to Baby Luca's room, and upgraded Mateo to a big-boy bed.  Needless to say, I was in desperate need of storage.

My in-laws purchased a dresser on clearance from the Pottery Barn outlet for our guest room. It was marked down to final sale because it was missing one drawer in the center. As you can see, the dresser was pretty simple.  Although we tried to replace the drawer with a dummy front made of plywood, the finish never matched up.  Hmmmm...sounds like a perfect guinea pig for my first attempt at refinishing furniture.

Pottery Barn Dresser Before....zzzzzzz

And here is the dresser after my transformation.

Pottery Barn Dresser After

Here is how I did it.  I have been reading an incredible DIY/home decor blog from Kate, a.k.a. Centsational Girl.  If you have never stumbled upon her blog, you should check it immediately.  She is incredible, and her DIY projects look really professional.  I am extremely picky when it comes to DIY style.  I love the idea of DIY projects, but I don't want it to look as if I came close, but didn't quite get there.

I did some hefty research on Kate's website before attempting to tackle this project. She has run the gamut on a whole slew of household projects, and has painted just about anything you can think of.  Kate also lists all of the products she uses, so I used her blog as a resource for this project. Since my in-laws purchased the dresser, I had to make it look better than before, and replace it with a better piece for the guest room.  Stay tuned, because I have big plans for a replacement piece (so excite!).

Because this piece of furniture is for a very energetic and spirited three-year-old, it needs to handle a beating.  I decided to use an oil-based paint for its superior coverage and durability.  My product of choice was Rustoleum's Smoke Gray in gloss finish.  The color reminds me of an old-school locker room. It's actually more of a slate blue than gray, so it is a nice contrast to some of the more juvenile primary accents in his room.

One thing I have learned from painting, is preparation is 90 percent of the job.  If you really want something to look professional, you must do the tedious prep work - take out all of the hardware, and fill the holes with a wood filler using a putty knife if you are replacing the hardware, and cover any scratches.  I used Elmer's wood filler.  Sand lightly over any patches to ensure a smooth finish.

I prepped the furniture all over with a light scuff using medium-grit sandpaper, followed by a coat of Zinsser's Cover-Stain Primer.  Note: Zinsser claims it will cover without sanding, but according to Kate, it doesn't hurt to give the primer a little something extra to adhere to.  I used 120 grit sandpaper. After the primer dried, I used a foam roller to apply the paint.  I immediately followed with a high-quality, 2-inch angled brush to get in the corners and smooth any drips.

Let me tell you, Texas heat is no joke. I started painting around 9 a.m, and I still had trouble with the paint bubbling while outdoors. I think next time I will lay down a drop cloth and paint inside. It was definitely challenging to apply the paint evenly before it started to dry and bubble.

Another trick I picked up from CG is to use something to prevent brushstrokes.  She recommends using Floetrol for latex paint and Penetrol for oil-based paints.  I actually used mineral spirits, which is basically low-odor paint thinner because I needed it to clean my paint brushes anyway.  It worked OK, but I will definitely try the Penetrol next time to make a comparison.  I wouldn't have been able to continue working without the mineral spirits - otherwise, the paint was getting all funky gunky.

Normally, one should do a light sanding in between coats of paint, but I skipped this step because it was removing the glossy finish, and giving the furniture a more distressed look.  I actually like that look too, but I decided to go for smooth and glossy this time.   I waited about 2 hours per the instructions, and applied the second coat of paint.  I let this cure over nigh,t and followed it with two coats of Minwax Polycrylic in gloss finish.

The final touch was the hardware.  I looked at Lowe's, and was completely underwhelmed with my hardware selection.  I intended to replace the original knobs with something a little more vintage-looking, but nada.  Back to the paint isle I went.  There wasn't a great selection of colors, but there was quite a variety of finishes.  I decided to do something metallic via Rustoleum's Bronze Metallic finish.

I am so glad I didn't replace the hardware.  For the roughly $8, I spent on a can of spray paint vs. $30 plus for new hardware,  I transformed the knobs.  Don't you agree?

Now that Mateo's dresser is complete, I can move his CD player back into his room. I miss our dance parties.  Little by little, his big-boy room is coming together.  In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of his vintage-inspired room. It's never to early to start teaching him style, but I also want his room to be a reflection of all the things he loves.  For the time being it's trains, cars, motorcycles, and robots - basically anything that makes noise or goes fast...surely, his father had no part in this. Coming from a racing family, and a husband with a Ducati, I am afraid I may be doomed...

Do you have plans to transform a piece of furniture, but are too timid to tackle it on your own? Armed with the right tools and information, you can't lose. And your wallet will thank you.

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