Category Archives: Craigslist Catch

Mid Century Craigslist Dresser Makeover

Let me begin this post by addressing the furniture purists.  Hello, you.  You’re smart, and you have valid opinions, and I love that you’re passionate about maintaining the original beauty of pieces.  Because someone put their blood, sweat, and tears into designing them in all their glory.  So you shouldn’t mess with that.  I get it.  I feel you.  I mostly agree with you.  But this dresser… THIS. DRESSER. was too far gone, and it was paint, or get off the pot trash it.  I promise I didn’t mess up a good thing.  I made a mediocre thing great.  There were, however, some bumps in the road on this journey.  Come along with me and see…  Sorry in advance for some of the more blurry pics.

Uhhh, how long ago did I buy this dresser?  Oh right… like three years ago.  I found it via craigslist.  Three years, and I’m just getting around to giving it a makeover.  Sorry, dresser.

Mid Century Modern Dresser

This MCM dresser has a beautiful masculine shape, and great bones.  Dovetailing, wooden drawer glides, sturdy build, tapered feet, gorgeous hardware, simple decorative fluting.  Overall a great piece…


The veneer surrounding the piece was a MESS.  Scraped, chipped, scratched.


At some point, a previous owner sought to paint it, I guess, because there was a big white unfinished spot on one edge…  And the color… The color was atrocious.  If I’m spitball guessing, I’d say that someone, at some point, polyurethane’d the heck out of it, which left it with a stale, burnt, pale yellow hue.


The outer surfaces were beyond repair, so I decided to paint them.  Guys, I made my own chalk paint, and I messed up…

I used a diy chalk paint formula that calls for plaster of Paris, and when I picked out a perfect, very dark navy blue, I didn’t account for the fact that the powdery white plaster of paris would *significantly* lighten the color. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t awful for weeks, but really, I hated it.


So when I was ready to pick the project back up, I went with a crispy bright white.  A – I thought it would look amazing and B – there was no worry of the plaster of Paris changing the color.  I used this formula for the chalk paint, and used a sample size of Valspar Polar White for the color.

I was wayyy happier with the white.  And really, despite hating the first color I picked, I loved using the diy chalk paint.  It takes some getting used to (the texture is different, even when compared to professionally mixed chalk paint).  It was almost like painting icing on a cake.  A lot of icing on a very large cake.  I recommend making your coats as thin as possible with chalk paint.  It’s super thick and has amazing coverage.  I covered the crazy blue with just THREE COATS of white.  No priming, no sanding, straight up paint on a brush, applied to the dresser.  Three coats, plus one coat of paste wax on top to protect the finish.  How’s that for a slice of fried gold?


For the drawer fronts, I used Minwax Polyshades in Mission Oak, in a satin finish.  A flat finish may have been a better choice considering the chalky flat finish you get with chalk paint, but the difference in finishes isn’t noticeable to me.  I did sand these before applying the stain to remove the existing layers of poly and general yuck.  The wood veneer on the drawers was in good condition, and it was thick, so it held up to a moderate session with my power sander.


The big plus of the polyshades product (no, this post isn’t sponsored) is that you have your stain and poly all in one step.  Efficient and easy.  Two coats, and I was good to go.


The end result?  A super handsome, two-toned, MCM dresser, upgraded from ick.  I am ecstatic with the outcome of this long-awaited (if only by me) project!  Side note – I also switched out my green window-pane mirror (which was too small for the wall) for a six piece gold sunburst set… have mercy.  What a big difference!


So what do you think?  Love it?  Hate it?  Opinions on diy chalk paint?  Do tell…


Craigslist Catch: Mid-Century Dining Set

So I’ve been really busy the last couple of weeks between my 9-5 and home projects… I’ve got a really fun DIY to share with y’all soon!  In the interim, I thought I’d show off another of my Craigslist Catches.

I’ve posted about a couple of my gems from Mr Craig’s list, like my mid-century style dresser

Mid Century Modern Dresser

…and the file cabinet that I painted.

File Cabinet Redo After

This find, I am particularly obsessed with proud of. Check out our dining set:

Mid Century Dining Table and Chairs Found on Craigslist

In reality, it’s those sexy cantilever chairs that tugged my heart strings.  Note: we have clearly added a jute rug and rearranged the living area since I snapped the above iPhone pic.

Mid Century Wooden Cantilever Chair Found on Craigslist

The table itself is your standard rectangular dining table. The supports for the leaf somehow became damaged so the previous owner bolted it together underneath, meaning it doesn’t expand any more. But I doubt it would fit in our dining area if it were any longer than it is.

Back to the chairs. These things are in about as good of condition as secondhand furniture comes. There is a bit of paint on one of the chairs but methinks it will be easily removed.  Here is an obligatory detail shot.

Mid Century Wooden Cantilever Chair Found on Craigslist

I’ve spent hours (seriously like 12 total) trying to find information on these chairs online. There isn’t a maker’s mark on any of them. I have only ever found one set exactly like them online, and what I found was an outdated sales listing.  And it only listed them as “mid century style cantilever chairs” which, sadly, was not new information to me.  So these chairs are either extremely rare, or so irrelevant that no one has put anything online about them.

Mid Century Wooden Cantilever Chair Found on Craigslist

But even if that is the case, that’s ok, because I didn’t buy them for the value or their relevance in the design world.  I bought them because the instant I saw them I was in lurrrve.  Are you ready to hear the price?

(drumroll…) $40.  Yep, that’s $8 per piece, folks.  I actually paid $50 for them in the end.  I saw the listing last October (yeah I’m a bit behind sharing this…) when we were in New Mexico on vacation. I offered the seller $10 extra to hold the set for me until we got back to town. Worth. Every. Penny.

The new dining set replaced our old one, a World Market set that we got at a garage sale. It was scraped up, a bit wobbly, and even missing some of the seat slats, so I’m glad to have this sturdy, classy new set in its place!

World Market Folding Table and Chairs

World Market Folding Table and Chairs

I am thinking I’ll refinish the chairs in a slightly darker stain (something in the walnut family), and possibly even paint the table a punchy color, a la this, this and this.  Either way, what we’ve got right now is definitely an upgrade to what we had if you ask me!

Mid Century Dining Table and Chairs Found on Craigslist

Craigslist can really be a great source for secondhand treasures, but it really takes some dedication.  It’s true that I’ve had some great successes with Mr Craig but there have been countless times where my searches have been fruitless.  The key is patience and low expectations, kids!

So, what do you think about this Craigslist Catch?  Love it?  Hate it? Votes on what color I should paint the table?  Do tell…

Fancy File Cabinet

Folks, just about everything at our place gets a paint job if it holds still long enough.  And that includes a dinged up old metal file cabinet!  The fella and I found this baby on Craigslist for a cool $25.  MUCH cheaper than buying brand new.  And of course I gave it a little style and sass with color-blocking!

File Cabinet Before Makeover

The seller actually has a huge warehouse full of school and office surplus in used condition.  There were tons of neat items that filled me with nostalgia and memories, but the only item that was a practical purchase was the file cabinet. We could have used it as is, but I couldn’t stand to look at its sad, drab face. So I gave it a face lift!  Before I started, I put the cabinet on risers, which are actually just leftover table legs from my LACK Hack project…  This way the cabinet wont stick to the trash bag plastic drop cloth once its painted.


Before painting, I took the hardware off. I’m not an expert in file cabinet assembly, only organizing the files in it. So before I removed the handles, latches and label holders, I used the highly scientific method of taking a picture of the latch mechanism, so I’d know how to put it back on when the time came. I’m a genius.

HON File Cabinet Latch Mechanism

I applied a couple of small strips of Frog Tape over the holes from the hardware to protect the inside of the cabinet from paint drips.  I also covered the lock with Frog Tape to prevent rogue paint swipes from messing it up.  I didn’t want to remove it, for fear I’d mess it up and render it useless.

File Cabinet Painting Precautions

If you’ve read any of my other posts (thanks!) you’ll know that Zinsser B-I-N is my go-to primer. For Pete’s sake, that stuff sticks to air. No kidding. So this file cabinet got a coat of the ol’ B-I-N.

Priming a File Cabinet

And then there was the boring wait for the primer to dry. I have this habit of adding more dry time to whatever the manufacturer’s instructions state. I live in North Texas and the humidity here is pretty much a year-round thing. Better safe than sorry I say.

After the longer than usual wait is the fun part… Painting! This file cabinet sits in our guest room / office. It lives with a gold shelf (can’t wait to share that project on here) a white writing desk and a guest bed with green and white bedding. The room is no where near where I want it to be. Baby steps. But I am a tiny bit closer with this little project!  I’ll pause while you enjoy the schematic I sent to the fella to give him an idea of what I wanted the cabinet to look like.

Schematic for File Cabinet Makeover

To achieve the diagonal line, I used a yardstick and pencil to trace a line from the top right-hand corner to the bottom left-hand corner.


The paint I used was some that I actually already had on hand. It was part of the Lowe’s Color Studio 2013 Spring Palette.

Valspar Polar White and Sweet Mint

Polar White / Sweet Mint

I just happened to be at Lowe’s shortly after they were released and bought samples of a few of the colors. Same thing happened when the 2013 Summer Palette came out… I can’t help it! The samples are inexpensive and go such a long way!

So the “bottom half” got two coats of Polar White, then I taped over my pencil line, and the “top half” got two coats of Sweet Mint.  There were about 24 hours worth of dry time between each coat, since this was done on weeknights after work.

Progress on Painting a File Cabinet

And what about the hardware? Well they got the gold spray paint treatment!  No progress pics of that but the gist is that I cleaned ’em, spray primed ’em and gave ’em several light coats of gold spray paint.  I gave the whole thing two coats of polyurethane (I use Minwax) and let it dry for… You guessed it… a couple of days longer than the manufacturer’s instructions suggested. Then I popped the hardware back in (thanks to my handy photo that showed me how to reconnect the drawer latches).

Voila! A pretty, pretty color-blocked file cabinet!!

File Cabinet Redo After

I thought the fella would hate it, I mean it is a bit feminine, but I think he’s just happy to have a place to organize his paperwork (those Air Force guys, they have a LOT of paperwork).  I love how pretty it turned out.  And I still have about half of each paint sample left over for future projects!  I’m tellin’ ya, those things go a LONG WAY.  Here’s a side by side so you can see how glorious it looks after a little TLC.

Before and After File Cabinet

I’ll admit, I’m a bit nervous about the paint chipping, since the metal surface of the cabinet is zero percent porous, but I have faith that my trusty B-I-N is up to the challenge of keeping the paint in place. I’ll definitely post an update if the paint starts to come up.

In the meantime – anyone else taking steps to a more organized life or visiting giant warehouses full of cafeteria tables and science lab equipment? Do tell…

Craigslist Catch: Mid Century Dresser

One of my favorite pastimes is browsing Craigslist for secondhand furniture. If you put in the time, use the right search terms and exercise patience, you just might get lucky enough to get your hands on a gem! And so it was for me with my most recent Craigslist Catch.

I’ve been searching Mr Craig’s List for some quality Mid-Century pieces for our bedroom for months now, and haven’t had much luck. Most of it has been out of my budget and the pieces that I could feasibly afford we’re either way too far away or gone by the time I replied. The Atomic Era, she’s popular. But recently the stars aligned. See, both of the fella’s jobs require uniforms (meeeow) which means he has tons of shirts and undershirts. And someone in the house won’t let go of any of her concert shirts and painting clothes. Yeah that’s me. Anyway, the fella gave the green light to look for another dresser on Craigslist and lo and behold:

Mid Century Modern Dresser

I know its a muddy pic, but isn’t she wonderful?! The sleek lines… The original hardware… And my newly found furniture source let this beauty go for only $160!

Turkish (head of quality control in our household) tells me the dresser passed all of his quality tests, so obviously it’s a keeper…

Turkish Conducts Quality Testing

Now what to do with it?  It’s wood veneered.  I really would like to stain it but since its an older dresser I’m afraid of killing the veneer by sanding, even if I go verrrry easy on it.  I’ve been playing around with the idea of painting it green.  Remember that fabric I bought for the bench that didn’t fit?

Retro Style Fabric

I used it for something else in the room, and that’s what steered my brain to green.  Here are the three main colors in the room.

Current Bedroom Colors

And here are the colors I’m currently crushing on.

Greens for Dresser

I’m on vacation as I type this, so I have plenty of time to mull it over in my brain.  I’m just really loving that a green hue is fitting to the style of the piece and also ties in with that great fabric!

Anyone out there have any thoughts?  All opinions are always welcome!  And who else has a story about a Craigslist Catch?  I know I’m not the only one who spends an hour a day on that site.  Do tell…