Category Archives: Furniture

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…

mcm-dresser-before-ick

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

mcm-dresser-chipped

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.

mcm-dresser-drawer-close

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.

mcm-dresser-blue-swatchmcm-dresser-blue-topmcm-dresser-mismatchimg_0625

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?

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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.

img_2298mcm-dresser-drawer-sandmcm-dresser-drawer-sand-complete

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.

mcm-dresser-drawer-stained-two

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!

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

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Adventures in Spraypaint: Sunburst Mirror

In my last living room post, I mentioned that I needed to spray paint the mirror over my fireplace.  I finally got on it  and I’m super happy with the result!

I bought this mirror three years ago, not for it’s weathered oak finish, but for it’s sunburst-y shape.  Sunburst mirrors were mega popular in the decor world that year, and they are in heavy circulation still, as any diligent pinterest user will tell you.

spray painted wood mirror

spray painted wood mirror

I loved the weathered oak, but it didn’t match any of my stuff.  As the old saying goes, life is too short to be irritated by mismatched furniture… That’s how it goes, right?

Taping this bad boy was a bit tedious, but diligently protecting the areas you don’t want to paint is key to a good spray paint job.  I used a plastic putty knife to smooth the tape down into the little crevice between the mirror and wooden frame.  Once I got tape all around the edge of the frame, I also taped newspaper on top of the mirror – no pics of that part, sorry!

spray painted wood sunburst mirror

I used Rustoleum Paint + Primer in gold, and because I didn’t use a white primer underneath, the grey tones of the weathered oak created a kind of champagne color. It turned out so pretty!

spray painted wood sunburst mirror

spray painted wood sunburst mirror

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when spray painting.  Here are my tips for a successful spraypaint adventure:

*Wear protection:
I wear gloves, a dust mask and clothes that I would be okay with accidentally staining EVERY TIME I spray paint.
*Protect your work surface:
Always use a drop cloth, and on days with a light breeze, stand up some cardboard or use more drop cloths to protect nearby items from overspray.
*Take it easy:
Use a light trigger finger on that spraypaint can to avoid a gloppy, drippy mess, friend. It should take at least three light coats to get full coverage with spraypaint.
*Move swiftly:
Quick, even strokes (paired with the light trigger finger) make for beautiful coverage and a smooth finish!

Lets compare the before and after again, shall we?

spray painted wood mirror

spray painted wood sunburst mirror

Yay for pretty things!

Next up for this spot is to install a floating shelf mantle – stay tuned!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Even though I live in North Texas, I love being outside.  Ninety degree springs, 105 degree summers or 95 degree falls.  Doesn’t matter… I’m there.

My apartment’s patio is on the smaller side, but that doesn’t stop me from spending time on it, so I’m set on making the most of it!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

The last thing I posted about my patio was the colander that I turned into a planter.  This project is considerably more substantial.

I got this little wood table at my local Goodwill for $5.  That was four years ago.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

When I bought it, my plan was to give it a face-lift in the coming weeks but, you know, life happens.  For a while it served as a nightstand:

Before Adding New Nightstands

But then I made my own nightstands and I didn’t need it there anymore. So it sat in storage for about a year.

I finally got my tail in gear and color blocked it. It was actually pretty easy, just a bit time consuming. Here’s how I did it.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 1 – remove existing finish.

I tried using citrustrip but there were too many heavy layers of black paint for it to do any good. It looked pretty gross.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I ended up sanding the large surfaces with my power sander and the smaller surfaces, like the slats, by hand. With as thick as the paint was, the sanding actually went by very quickly. I went from 80 grit to 150 grit to 220 to get a nice smooth finish on the wood.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 2 – clean.

This part was easy! I just hosed it down and let it sit in the hot afternoon sun for a couple of hours.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 3 – beautification.

I wanted a two-tone table, and after some deliberation, the council at jhbhq determined that the underside would be a bright color and the outer surfaces would be stained.

Step 3a – stain.

I mixed Varathane American Walnut with Varathane Sunbleached and it came out a velvety, milky, muted walnut color. I love it!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I always apply stain to wood wearing plastic gloves and most of the time I use an old cotton athletic sock that I can trash later to apply the stain to the wood. Clean of course. Please don’t use a dirty sock to apply wood stain. I’ll judge you.

I let the stain sit on the wood for a couple of minutes and then used a clean portion of the sock to wipe the excess stain off the table.

Step 3b – paint.

I ended up going with a vibrant pink to paint the underside of the table. This was a Valspar half-pint sample that I picked up on a trip to Lowe’s one day. The color is called Sonora Rose; Lowe’s featured it in their Color Studio 2013 Spring Palette.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Before I could paint, though, I had to tape off all of the stained surfaces that I didn’t want to get paint on. I used frog tape but any painters tape will do.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I primed with one coat of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, and then applied two coats of the Sonora Rose.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 4 – error correction.

Clearly I didn’t apply the tape as well as I should have. I had some bleed through with both the paint and the primer.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I grabbed a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and carefully sanded off my mistakes.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 5 – touch up.

The stain needed a bit o’ touch up after my error correction. Same as step 3a here – just less stain.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 6 – protect.

I finished the table off with two coats of polyurethane to protect it from the elements. I usually prefer to use spar urethane for outdoor pieces because of its superior waterproofness, but this table is under a covered patio so polyurethane works just fine.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 7 – relax and enjoy!

I absolutely love how the pink pops through the slats and peeks out from the underside of this table. It turned out exactly how I saw it in my head!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Besides adding the table to the patio, I also added an outdoor rug so I don’t have to look at boring concrete while I’m hanging outside.

The rug situation is strange, actually… Back when I posted about my colander planter, I included a crudely drawn rendering of how I wanted the patio to look.

upcycle a colander into a planter

Then I go to Lowe’s one day and see this guy.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Whoa. Seriously. Exactly what I drew. I’m some sort of rug prophet, guys. Serendipitous fo sho. I snagged it for just $30!

The patio has definitely improved!

Lets look at one more before and after, because we all love those, don’t we?

upcycle a colander into a planter

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I still want to spray paint my hurricane lanterns a fun color…

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

But for now, the folks at jhbhq are quite happy with the outdoor living space here!

Do you have a tiny outdoor space like mine? What do you do to make the best of it?

Operation Organization: Closet Storage

Confession: my closet looks like a hot mess around 70% of the time.  Okay, maybe 75% of the time.  Okay, lets just not quantify it.  Here’s a thing I did to help myself get a little more organized in the closet.

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

My closet is actually considerably big for my little 571 sq. ft. apartment.  It’s just under 37 sq. ft., and at 8 1/2 ft deep, there’s a fair amount of walkin’ space.  It’s almost 5 ft wide, leaving me plenty of room to put a shelf on the back wall, and still hang my clothes on the adjacent rod.

My bookshelf is one of those inexpensive composite-wood, adjustable shelving units that you can find at most big-box stores.  Its just over 6 ft tall, around 3 ft wide and 1 ft deep.  I purchased it 6ish years ago, and it’s in good shape, so I’d say I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth… but… with all of my purses and wallets and clutches and shoes on it, it’s uggo.

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

It’s nothing that a curtain rod, a curtain, some paint, and a sponge can’t fix, though.

I attached a $5 curtain rod (from Target, maybe?) to the top of my shelf.

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

My curtain had visible tabs, but I didn’t want that, so I folded them over and sewed them in place.  The curtain rod now slips in the tabs behind the top hem.  Tabs be gone.

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

Then I hemmed the bottom of the curtain up a few inches.  I just hung it on the shelf and marked where I wanted the bottom to be with a piece of chalk.  No pesky measuring, here.

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

Then I cut a damp kitchen sponge into a triangle, and used black and grey latex paint to create a random geometric pattern on the curtain.

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

Old baking tins lined with aluminum foil make great paint trays, and allow for easy cleanup!

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

Now I don’t have to stare at what could be considered a “hoarders stash” of shoes and purses every time I walk by or into my closet!  I still have a ways to go before anyone could consider this closet pinterest-worthy, but at least I’ve got the ball rolling.  Baby steps.

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

disguise ugly storage shelves with a curtain

I already had all of the supplies used in this project so I’m not sure of the exact cost, but I’d bet that you could easily re-create this on your own for under $50.  All you need is a composite wood shelf, a cheap curtain rod, a curtain, a sponge and some paint!

What solutions do you use to store your purses and shoes?  Link to them in the comments section so I can see!

xo

J

This is Why You Always Clean Your Brushes… Completely

Hey internet.  So… after proclaiming a couple of weeks ago in my blogiversary post that I’d like to be on here more often, I went silent.  There are a host of things happening at “jhbhq” (good and not so good) that have kept me away.

Namely, the feller (my mega-handsome boyfriend, whom I’ve known for around 13 years, and have been dating for almost the last four of those) is on a little overseas visit with the US Air Force.  Over the last couple of weeks, as we prepared for his impending departure, my efforts and attention were focused on enjoying our time together, not my diy and craft projects.  I mean really look at this guy…

Feller

I’ve basically been vacillating between being super proud of my Airman and weeping because I can’t share life’s daily adventures with him.  Luckily for me, my bestest friend won’t be gone very long.  Luckily for you, I am going to do my best not to whine about it.

That being said, I now have amplified free time in the event of his absence, so you may see lots of little crafty crafts on here, along with some larger projects that are both in-progress and in the pipeline.  For now I’m going to pop in really quick to show you how I royally screwed up one of my in-progress projects.

this is why you clean your brushes properly #diyfail

Friends, when you use oil based primer, you have to clean your brushes thoroughly with mineral spirits if you plan on ever being able to successfully use them again.  I do this every time I use oil based anything.  Including the last time I used this brush (a Blue Hawk brush for oil based paint).

this is why you clean your brushes properly #diyfail

But…

As you can see from the picture, I half-assed it.  Admittedly, when I last cleaned the brush, I was having serious trouble getting all of the primer off (probably because I waited a smidge too long to clean it), and I’d been at it for what felt like a half hour, and it was late at night, and I was hungry, and I had to get up early the next morning for work.

So I said “Self, these last flecks of primer are NOT leaving this brush.  They live with this brush now, and they will do so until the brush dies.  They’re faithful little primer stains that won’t ever come off.  Not even the next time I take out the brush and use it.”

And then yesterday, when I dipped the brush in some polyurethane and brushed it onto this carefully painted black surface, those flecks dropped from that brush like it was their job.  Ahem.  It WAS their job WHEN I WAS CLEANING THE THING!  And now my black surface looks like some sort of janky constellation map.

this is why you clean your brushes properly #diyfail

Now that I’ve spent a day pouting about it, I’m able to share it with the world in hopes that you wont be as lazy as I was the last time I cleaned this thing.  I’m not sure how the heck I’m going to fix my project but I’m going to spend the weekend trying.  Hopefully my next post about this project will be a reveal and not another #diyfail.

Today’s takeaway:  Don’t be lazy, clean your brushes properly, and in a timely manner.  If you have some walking around sense, you’re buying good brushes, and replacing them after each use just isn’t practical.

Have you made a lazy mistake during a craft or diy project?  How did you fix it?  Anyone have any suggestions as to how I should remove white flecks from polyurethane without damaging the black surface beyond repair?  Do tell…