Friday, June 25, 2010

Paint it Brown

Brown Painted Dresser

I recently decided to paint a small thrift shop dresser brown. I've painted a lot of furniture mostly shades of off white, taupe, and my most adventurous choice, a soft butter yellow. Dark brown was unchartered. I didn't want it to look like I was going for "wood" and missed and I couldn't find any examples to base my decision on. But truthfully, this little dresser couldn't get much worse than it was. The original finish looked like someone tried to stain it dark and something went horribly, horribly, wrong. I'm embarrased to admit I paid $50 for this little treasure and even more embarrased to admit that its mottled finish held some shabby chic appeal to me for a time - not that I ever thought it was beautiful, but rather so ugly I kinda liked it. Anyway, it is a nice, small size and serves well for a nightstand as it has drawers for pjs, and for the magazines, books and other sundry items that always seem to be cluttering my bedside.

I did this project before I started this blog, so I do not have a picture of it in its full glory, but I think you can get an idea of the finish below. The handles were black hand-wrought-looking iron - the typical Colonial Revival look.

Brown Dresser Before

Brown is a hard paint color to find the perfect shade of - some are too yellow, some too red. I finally settled on Ralph Lauren's Edwardian Burgundy from Home Depot. For about $3 I purchased the sample/tester container. The samples only come in eggshell, so that is what I got, although I tend to prefer to do furniture in a flat finish and than wax with Butcher's Wax for a slight sheen. I used the cheapy sponge brushes for this project and did minimal sanding and no filling. I picked up a contractor's pack of brushed nickle bin-pull style handles at Target on sale for about $12.

Repainted dresser

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to Repurpose Old Patio Chairs into Cute Planters

I pretty much never throw away anything. Heck, I even trash pick for other people’s castoffs. Of course the one time I do throw something out, it comes back to bite me. Cases in point are these vintage ice cream parlor chairs. These were actually a trash treasure rescued many years ago and enjoyed for their intended purpose for several seasons. The seats were a wooden base topped with a foam cushion covered in a lovely (not) orange pleather-like material. Eventually from being outside in the rain and weather the fabric split and the foam got all gross. What I should have done was remove the foam and faux fabric and keep the wood as a base for making new cushions. What I did do was toss the whole mess. So great, now I have these two chairs and no easy way to cut a circular wooden base, let alone the desire to tackle a circular cushion (I’m a fair sewer, straight lines are good, curves, OK. Perfect circles? With piped edges? Not so much). So, what to do with these chairs? I decided to make them into planters: a very easy, quick, and unique solution. I originally looked at just regular clay pots, but didn’t really want anything that deep, so instead I got wire coir lined baskets, popped them in and planted them up.

Vintage Iron Chair Converted to Planter

I think next season I may paint everything a uniform color, but I’m waiting for the new siding to go up before I really decide what I’m doing color and style wise out on the balcony, so for this season, I think they turned out pretty cute. Anyone else have cute ideas for planters or repurposing chairs?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Small Mirror, Big Impact

Cameron Place Dresser from JC Penney

I bought a new dresser this winter. It had an optional matching mirror, but I wasn't crazy about the lattice, and I already had what I thought was a large mirror in a similar finish, so I planned to just use that.

When the eagerly awaited dresser was delivered (and kudos to JC Penney for FABULOUS delivery and customer service) my formerly large mirror was dwarfed by this thing. The traditional centered horizontal placement was just NOT going to work. So, what I decided to do was to center it vertically over one half of the dresser and then fill in the rest of the space with other elements, creating a centered, balanced whole out of the smaller parts.

Mirror Arrangement

To the left of the mirror I hung two melamine lattice print square plastic plates from Target. These three elements together were basically centered over the dresser and created the anchor of the design. To the left of the plates I placed a lamp and to the right of the mirror I hung two small frames which I made into art using a few cheap supplies from the craft store. I’m pretty pleased with how the whole thing turned out. What do you think?
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