Tag Archives: DIY

Dressing Table Makeover

A while ago I showed you my old pine dressing table that was due for a re-vamp. Here’s a photo to jog your memory:

If you remember I decided to go with a lace pattern idea that I had seen on Kara Paslay Designs via Pinterest (seriously, this website is both inspiring and addictive!). So I gathered together my lace, my paint and my varnish and set about breathing life back into my dressing table.

First things first, one of the runners had broken on it so I got The Boy to give me a hand and fix a new one.

It couldn’t have been easier, you literally find a piece of pine the measurements you want in the store. They sell these pieces with the smaller dimensions in small quantities (I think it cost be about £1.50). Then measure it the length you want, cut it and then attach it in the place of the old one with a couple of small nails…voila! New runner:

Shiny new runner (down at the bottom) easy peasy!

So that the drawers would run on these smoothly, I waxed the runners using candle wax (I literally took a tea light out of it’s metal case and rubbed it on the runners, worked like a charm!)

The next job was to sand down the surface of the table. This is essential to provide a ‘key’ for the paint, to give it something to stick to. I used p80 grade of paper which is a medium grade and ideal for preparing wood for painting.

Above are the drawer fronts with two different types of sanding methods. The red one on the left is a piece of ordinary sand paper wrapped around a cork block. This is probably the cheapest way of using sand paper. The cork block is essential for sanding flat surfaces to make sure that they remain flat. The one on the right is a sanding sponge, these are easier to use and have a contoured edge for getting into the chamfered edges of wood. I find that, because they are sponge and have a bit of give to them, the sponges are a bit softer on your hands, but really they do exactly the same job.

After I had sanded it down I cleaned it to make sure it was free from the dust of the sanding (as this will stick in the paint and make the finish look lumpy). Now for the fun bit!

I decided to spray paint through the lace on both the drawer fronts and the top of the dressing table.

I just used the weight of the lace to keep it on the wood as it was quite a large piece with a good amount of weight to it. However the liquid from the spray paint caused the lace to ripple up. The effect of this rippling was that in some places the pattern was sharp and crisp and in other places it was slightly blurred, as if it were slightly out of focus. I didn’t foresee this happening and I didn’t really mind it, it softened the effect slightly. It is a personal taste thing though, The Boy suggested that it would be better sharper but I didn’t mind, so it’s up to you! What you could do would be to blue tack it down to the sides of the piece you were doing or use drawing pins to hold it in place. I don’t think that it would take much to hold it in place, so don’t pull it out too hard and risk distorting the pattern of your lace.

All dressed up!

So I sprayed through the lace on to the drawer fronts and the top of the table. I waited for about ten minutes until the paint was dry-ish (remember I have no patience!) and swiftly removed the lace in an upwards motion so’s not to disturb it if it was still wet. And this was the result:

It looks quite pale here in the daylight but the effect of the white against the pine is both delicate and striking. Once I had finished this I had to paint the rest of it white. I decided to use a primer on the piece because of the amount of yellowing that occurred the first time. Also, there are quite a few knots in the piece and these can ooze sap out into the paint and stain it. My father gave me a brilliant primer that would not only cover the yellowing and knots but also prevent either of them effecting the paintwork.

After allowing the primer to dry I applied two coats of a chalk white acrylic paint. I had originally wanted to use an actual chalk paint like those beautiful Annie Sloan ones that everyone uses on furniture for that ‘shabby chic’ look but finances and logistics being what they are, it didn’t work out. I’m really happy with the white I used though, it looks fresh but not clinical. And finally, I applied a clear varnish all over.

I used a spray because I had visions of applying the varnish with a brush and it smudging the lace pattern completely. I don’t know that this would happen but after all that hard work I decided to err on the side of caution!

And, I think you will agree, that it was worth it in the end:

From Plain Jane to Pretty Pretty…I can’t wait to do my hair and make-up sat at this! It will feel so glamorous!! What do you think? Have you tried spray painting through lace before? What have you done it on? I would love to see what other uses it could have!

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Chandeliers…

The internet is back up! I WILL NOT comment on whether it was our fault that it went down or not. That little white box containing the BT wires was far too delicate! Anyway back to business…

The Boy took an unusual interest in my DIY/crafting efforts the other day and asked about the second hand chandeliers that my parents had given us (well, me, The Boy claims to hate them).  My confusion only dissipated when he went on to comment that it would be quite nice if we were to have a light in the lounge, like, at all! This is what they looked like before so I can’t blame him for not loving them.

Firstly, it needed a good old fashioned clean. So I took of all the dangly bits and cleaned them first of all with soapy hot water and then dunking them into a bath of cold water with vinegar, they came out sparkling like new!

Then we went to the the orange coloured DIY store (the one that is our second home) and riffled through what I personally think is a rather small selection of spray paints. I read a lot of US based interiors blogs and I read about all these fandangled paints, but the range that we have in our local store, not so good. I don’t know about anyone else but these massive stores that they are building crammed to the hilt with everything, and specialising in nothing are limiting! They destroy the local hardware stores yet only stock small ranges of a large number of products and consumers end up ‘making do’. I guess we have bought it upon ourselves.

I then set about constructing an elaborate way of dangling the chandelier so that I could spray paint the relevant bits and not the irrelevant ones. For this I used part of a cupboard, a chair, a piece of scrap wood (we have heaps, you can’t throw it away…just in case!) and a wire coat hanger. I think it worked rather well.

After impatiently waiting for it to dry ( I gave it a few smudges here and there by not waiting long enough. I should have really learnt, considering how very much this paint is like nail varnish and how frequently I manage to smudge that!) I screwed all the relevant parts back together (minus one that The Boy attacked with the clothes airer and broke). Thank goodness that a) I had two of these things and b) that I didn’t take both of them apart at the same time as I really needed one to inform me on how to screw the other one back together!

So, here it is one newly restored chandelier…I know that they are not everyone’s cup of tea but I absolutely love it!

Ta da!

Puttin' on the glitz

This is how our lounge is set up at the moment (we had a party last week) and I love that the chandelier adds to the mismatched attitude to everything else in the room. We are not going to be able to afford all brand new furniture straight away so this eclectic look is just going to have to work for now.

Also, all respect and commendation must go to The Boy for wiring up this little baby. 2ndHandHouse appears to have the most confusing electrical set up ever! Thank goodness he loves a logical problem! Kitchen update is on it’s way…!

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Comms are down…

at the moment I have no internet or phone line so, aside from this sneaky post from work, I can’t post until we are back up! I will have a chandelier make over to show you and possibly a kitchen reveal!!

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Dressing Table Ideas…

When I was at Uni my Mum helped me earn a few extra quid selling my old tat at a Car Boot Sale. It worked, we earned quite a bit but I came back with a car full of other people’s tat too!! The only thing that has survived that haul some six years ago was a dressing table. I spent a whole day stripping the orangey varnish off and another applying a limewash finish and Rennie Mackintosh handles to the drawers. Since then it has gathered dust and gradually turned orange again in my old bedroom at my parents house.

She could do with a bit of TLC

Pine ages in the sunlight to what is fetchingly referred to as a ‘cigarette yellow’ tone, as you can see mine is looking pretty orangey which I think is a little bit of the overhang from the old varnish as well as the sunlight. So, seeing as she has made the transit from the Shropshire countryside and finally been summoned to my house in London after all these years I think she is in need of a make over. What do you think?

I have got a few ideas. I’m definitely going for a white legs, wood top like this:

But I’m not sure that I want to go dark on the top. I like the light wood. We have light wood throughout the house on the kitchen sideboards, on the floors in the hallway and lounge, so I am thinking of keeping the top quite light.  But I don’t think I want to leave it just plain either.  I love these ideas using old French typography:

French Typography Side Table via Curbside Collector

But then I thought that what with all of the crap that I am going to be keeping on it, it might look a bit cluttered. Also, half of the words would be covered up and half revealed so that you wouldn’t get full impact of the text. What to do? I wanted a pattern, I thought about using Rennie Mackintosh as an inspiration as the handles are Mackintosh and I have a Mackintosh jewellery case. But again, I thought that this might be too much. Then I came across this beautiful idea…

Kara Paslay came up with the idea of spray painting through lace. This is genius, it is so feminine and delicate looking-perfect for a dressing table. I had no idea that it would look so pretty!!

So what I want to do is find a piece of lace with a pattern on as large as this one above. I have been scouting around on the net but not come up with anything so large so far. What I would like to do is spray the top white so that the pattern that comes through will be the wood (hopefully!). What do you think? What would you do? Have you had any experience doing anything like this? Any tips?

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Engagement picnic…

Whilst I get on with my more…ahem, nitty gritty DIY jobs, I will distract you with pictures of my friends beautiful hand crafted Engagement picnic. Even if it hadn’t been a beautiful, sunny day the atmosphere would still have been as magical.

Yummy food, beautiful bunting and home made decorations made the day extra special and stylish.

I can’t wait for next year when the bride-to-be will turn her crafty hand to create her very own wedding day that will be personal and as special as the couple themselves.

I thought that they deserved a crafty present to celebrate their impending crafty nuptials…first the card…bunting was essential!

It’s a unique way to make a bland engagement card (and I was surprised by how bland these cards are) something a little more special.

Then, as a nod to the groom-to-be, the present…

I bought this awesome 1950’s illustrated map from frontispiece which is a great vintage maps and prints shop that sits incongruously in the mega slick shopping mall at Canary Wharf. The Groom-to-be is a map fan (a cartographile??) and a Londoner so this was the perfect present for their love nest. I was just going to frame it on white paper when The Boy pointed out that it would look great on a map (ooo, he is a secret crafting genius…he just needs to give in to it!). Passing Stanfords in town he came across a sheet of wrapping paper printed with an old Stanford’s map on it and bought it home to frame the map with. Little did he know that the map itself was originally from Stanford’s back in the day, what a perfect coincidence! So the end result was…

We loved it so much that I wanted to keep it! But we managed to pass it on from one crafty couple to another!

We have been ploughing on with the work at the house, it’s just all a bit boring. Maybe that might explain how The Boy and I have each managed to injure ourselves over the weekend, out of sheer boredom! Stay tuned for the less boring stuff, coming soon!

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Not doing DIY…

This week I have been not doing DIY…well I have, but not the glamorous, transformative and interesting DIY that I could show you pretty pictures of.

I have not been transforming my left over furniture into beautiful new pieces, I have not been re-vamping my lovely old dressing table that I bought back from my parents house and I have not been painstakingly cleaning my 2nd hand chandeliers in order to light up our lounge and hallway.

Instead…

I have been laboriously applying coat after coat of satin paint around the frame of the sliding door in the lounge. This has involved getting home after work every night, applying a coat and then washing up all of the involved paraphernalia so as to begin the process again the following day. I then ripped off the masking tape to reveal that I had also ripped off large chunks of the carefully applied paint. Wielding my craft knife I deftly sliced through into the beading (seriously, it was having a tough time getting through the masking tape, except for when I slipped and it went…straight…through…the wood!). So I have backed off that for a bit.

Before: Dark surround

After: White...thrilling!

I turned my attention to caulking. It wasn’t until my father visited that we had an explanation as to why all the wood work in the lounge looked so grotty. Neither the picture rail or the skirting board had been sealed to the wall. So instead of a lovely moulding seamlessly emerging from the wall, you get what looks like a great big slab of wood slammed against a wavey wall…like so…

Before: Grotty

This is a two man job so The Boy and I set to work first all trying to neaten up around the door frame. It is actually immensely satisfying. A couple of pointers…use a wet finger, wet cloth or wet sponge to smooth down (it’s the water that makes the difference)…the less you touch it, the better is looks (applying, smooth with wet item and leave-you can always go over it again if it shrinks back, which it does sometimes).

After: Not so grotty

I have been fitting out the under stairs cupboards. We have been concentrating on these as they will provide us with the storage that we need to put stuff away so that we can get on with the decorating without ruining everything.  This one took ages and looks deeply unimpressive…(but we have a place for our dyson now)

Before: Urgh...

After: Meh...

I have been without a kitchen again as the plasterer came in to sort out the walls…

Two steps forward...one step back...

I have been spending far too long in B&Q with The Boy discussing precisely the shade of white to paint our kitchen. Why is it that the swatch in the book, the sticker on the pot and the painted swatch in the store bear no relevance to each other whatsoever? We went with Almond White (your guess is as good as mine!).

I have also been taking a moment on a Sunday, cooking my breakfast, watching my coffee pot boil (bought in Bagnone, Italy: site of Europe’s largest lottery win, FACT) to be truly thankful that I have a kitchen!! And, as painstaking and slow as these jobs are, we are getting there and we will get there!!

Bliss

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Things I have learnt so far…

I have not been ‘at this’ for very long and I know that at the moment you may have seen very little DIY but believe me we are working hard just to have a place in which we can carry out DIY at the moment! And all the while I have learnt a few things that I would like to pass on and see if you agree with…

Spend money on good paint brushes, the ones from the shop where everything costs one hundred pence lose their bristles and leave a pattern of them in your paint…rubbish!

Don’t spend a lot of money on buckets, cleaning equipment and sponges. If your house is truly a 2ndhandhouse then you will ruin every single piece of DIY/ cleaning equipment within the first month of hard graft. Save your pennies for that Cath Kidston dust pan and brush set for next year when all you’ll need to sweep up are the odd crumbs from one of your numerous and famous dinner soirees that you hold at your beautiful new abode.

Save all your tubs from the margarine, tomatoes and meat to be washed out. Used to stand empty paint brushes in, store old nails that you don’t want to throw away just in case and keeping all your screwdrivers together,  you can never have enough of these!

Do spend money on white paint, buying the cheaper stuff is a false economy as you’ll have to do more coats which, while probably costing you the same in the long run, will eat into your time and put a strain on your back, neck, arms, social life.

Things take longer than you imagine they will. Always. Without question.

Make sure that you have EVERYTHING that you need for the job you are about to start before you start. Just because it’s upsetting to start a job and then have to run to the nearest DIY shop before you can finish!

Prioritise your money. There is so much to do in 2ndhandhouse that whenever I go to the DIY store I find myself buying all sorts of bits and pieces that, if I really think about it, I won’t get round to using for months. It’s a waste of the money that I could be using for the project that I am on now.

Get to know some local tradesmen. There are things that you will not know how to do, no matter how much you Google them. Tradesmen are knowledgeable, experienced and often are really creative. They tend to have great ideas for room lay outs and materials that you never thought about using. Local tradesmen that you find through friends are also a lot better than finding random people on the internet who will often be working under a brand name, charging you extra for that brand and fancy website. Local tradesmen, recommended by friends, are also great because their work is often showcased in your friends homes.

Remember that you can take stuff back. If you bought the wrong type of glue for the job, the tool you bought doesn’t actually do what you thought it did or the fitting you bought is the wrong size for it’s intended setting then, take it back. Buying and renovating a house is expensive enough without having excess materials that you aren’t going to use lying around. As long as they fulfil the requirements for return then go for gold! The place that we bought our tiles from operate a policy where you have to buy a pack of a certain size (in our case it was 30) but you can bring back the rest for a refund. In our case we only used just under half so we can get a refund on the other half. Obviously, you can’t take a half used pot of paint back ( you wouldn’t take a half-eaten chocolate bar back to the supermarket would you?) but if you are clever and don’t damage the packaging a rash purchase can be reversed. This doesn’t of course, mean that you don’t have to go back to the DIY store, which you do if you want the refund and this may add to the feeling that it has become your second home!

There’s probably many, many more. So let me know yours! What gems of knowledge can you impart to me? Is there anything you gree with/ don’t agree with? Like to share any funny stories of how you found them out? Let me know!

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