Wednesday, August 11, 2010


When you build a big house, everyone has furniture you can "have." And when I hear "have," what I really hear is "ugly." One of the things I received was an old china hutch (that matched the dining table that replaced the picnic table we were dining on in the kitchen. Yes, a honest to goodness picnic table!) It spent a good couple years floating around the basement until I found the perfect project for the piece! Here is my inspiration...

...and this is where i started.

(It was taller but in this pic the legs had already been cut so this cute bench
would fit neatly under my bedroom window.)
This was my first semi-professional furniture re-purposing so bare with me if I include way too many details...

Step 1:
Take off all hardware. Mine had locked doors which literally took me days to pick open and after they were opened I vowed never to put them back in but install generic knobs instead. Removing knobs and hinges may sound elementary but too many times I have rushed through projects neglecting this step and left the final piece looking sloppy. May I suggest collecting all screws and hardware in a ziploc bag. I'll admit that is usually my number one rule but I skipped it until I was halfway through this project and realized I had lost one drawer pull. (It was in the kitchen by the way...)

Step 2:
Sand it. Do you own a random orbital sander? Get one. Love mine. We do this to roughen the surface so the paint will want to stick and not peel off the first time it is challenged. (Again, another step I have unfortunately left out and deeply regretted later.) Start with a lower number sandpaper, say 60 or 100, and sand it once. Then a second sanding with a high number, like 150 or 220. I just used what I had.)

Step 3:

Wash it. Just soap and water, nothing fancy. You want it to be free from sanding dust and storage cobwebs. Now you are probably looking at something like this and wondering what have I done? Push through.

Step 4:
Paint. This is where a few bucks came in on this fantastic remodel. I splurged and bought paint. Usually I use what I have but since I had a picture in my head what I wanted the final product to look like I needed dark paint. I always have tons of paint brushes and foam brushes. You want to make sure to get paint in all the wood details which is why a variety of brushes is a good thing. I did three coats, two of which were in the dark which is probably why it even needed three. You could probably get by with two. I also spray painted the hardware. Now I am begining to see it.

Step 5:
Up until now, these are expected and standard steps in refinishing. Step 5 is to sand again. Hear me out. To give this piece character and interest, I took sandpaper and strategically hand sanded places where normal paint ware would occur, Places like around edges and raised surfaces, corners too. Trust me.

Step 6:
Paint detail. First I sketched it on paper and then drew it on the bench with chalk. Brilliant. Now you can erase with a damp cloth! Mix some paint with whatever colors you have. Something contrasting. Since my base was dark I chose a much lighter shade for the detail. Free hand paint your design. Stand back and admire your creativity! You are amazing!

Step 7:
Put hardware back on. Find ziploc bag with all the parts and pieces. Aren't you glad you didn't skip this step?

Step 8:
Move your beautiful piece to its home! Admire daily.

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