Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Furniture Makeover...

Here's a quickie post as I'm still recovering from the weekend.  Before I tackled the credenza, I tested my painting abilities on this Ikea shoe cabinet that formerly occupied the space the credenza now sits.
That's the factory photo thanks to google image.  I forgot to take a before, but I'm pretty sure that furniture is in a lot of background shots in previous posts.  There aren't too many places in the house I can photograph Harry.

I wanted to redo it to get some color on the recently painted white walls.  So I chose Rustoleum's Midnight Blue in satin finish.  Before I could paint, I had to disassemble the furniture and prime it.  The key to refinishing laminate furniture is PRIMER.  For mine, I used Kilz cover primer which is an oil based primer.  

After a coat of primer, I let these guys dry for a few hours.  When I was ready, I did about two coats of Midnight Blue on everything.  I underestimated how much paint I would need, and ended up having to go back out for more.  

It was during this process that I learned that spray painting requires a certain amount of patience.  The key to covering everything nicely is to not go over a spot multiple times.  However in my haste to get the project done that's what I kept doing.  So I had a few drips I needed to sand out and recoat, which definitely increased the amount of time I spent working on this.

When it was finally dry - I gave it a day - I changed out the hardware which I bought from D. Lawless.  I got a fancy backplate and a faux crystal knob.  The shoe cabinet was going to be completely uber fancy post makeover.

After the switcharoo, I took some pics of the final product.  Makeover indeed.  I think I could have even more fun with the knob selection, but right now I like the Hollywood Regency style in that little hallway.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY Furniture Makeover

My sporadic posting is attributed to some major DIY projects that required more attention than I anticipated.  These furniture makeovers I see all over the blogosphere got my creative juices flowing.  I began searching on Etsy, Craigslist, and Ebay for a project that I could tackle, and I began contemplating where in our tiny city condo we could put the soon to be masterpiece.  After some severe stalking, I finally found a credenza aka server aka sideboard aka mini bar that was just the right size, style, and price.  Talk about price.  People were asking for $200-$1,000 for an old piece of furniture!  The nice old hobbyist from Craigslist sold me mine for $40.  

Thar she is.  She's a curvy French colonial type who was actually just beautiful on her own.  She's taking the place of our shoe cabinet that served as a catch all for anything touching me when I got home from work.  She's bigger, fancier, and she's making a much better use of the space we have here.  Did ya notice the wall color changed back there?  Like I said, we've been busy.

Thanks to my loving parents, we were able to transport our treasure via Dad's truck, and I got my first taste of what moving might be like when I hauled it up the stairs with the boo.  This might be the heaviest thing we own, considering most of our furniture is particle board Ikea.  Dad gave me some tools to use for the refinishing, and I got started only a week later.

My first step was removing all the drawers and all of the hardware from the drawers.  I labeled each handle as I removed it so I'd know where to put it back later.  I also labeled inside each drawer on a piece of painter's tape where each went (top middle, bottom, left, right, etc).  Then it was time to sand.  Thanks to Dad I had a power sander by my side.  I seriously don't know if I could have done this project without it.  I used sandpaper on the curvy edges, but otherwise the sander was my grail.  For painting, it's only required to remove the gloss from the previous finish before priming.  Although I could have gotten to bare wood (and I did in a few spots) I didn't need to.  

After sanding, I wiped the piece down with wet paper towels and a tac cloth (surprisingly sticky) and got to priming.

I used Glidden Gripper Latex primer on the body of the credenza and Zinsser Cover Stain (oil based) in spray paint on the drawers.  In my research for this project, I read that a spray primer is good for cabinets and drawers because it makes the job faster.  I think I could have gone either way, but they both worked well.  I wasn't too upset about any brush marks because this was a first of many coats.  Any drips I sanded out after it dried.

For spray painting I took the drawers to the deck, where Harry supervised most of my work.  

It took me what felt like three years to pick a paint color.  I wanted to match the colors in our kitchen, but at the same time I didn't want the piece to look like that suburban "country" style.  My mom gave me an idea for doing a "faux marble" top and I took a few too many trips to Home Depot for disappointing paint samples.  The determining factor, eventually, was using the Behr Colorsmart app.  I took a picture of our carpet and pointed to the colors I wanted to match.  The app told you what Behr color closely matched.  When it gave me the shade "Hidden Forest" I was intrigued.  There were no paint swatches for it in the store; it existed solely on my iPhone.  After 15 minutes of hesitating in the paint aisle, I went for it.  In semi-gloss enamel.
Then I opened it and was surprised by how bright it was.  Shocked really.  I considered doing a "dine & ditch" paint style....hmmm a "dye & ditch"?  I even went into a tool aisle, opened the can up with a screw driver that still had tags on it, and took pics of the paint color which were frantically sent to the boo asking for approval.

It must have taken 6 or 7 coats to get the credenza finished.  Because I used a white primer, it was shining through the dark green.  The first coat looked awful.  Since I used a roller it came off with a sponge paint effect which gradually went away with each fresh coat.  Between coats wiping the pieces with a tac cloth was necessary.  Even with Harry on the couch throughout the project, his hairs were flying into the wet paint and sticking.

Once the final coats of paint went on, I proceeded to faux marble the top.  I taped off the parts where the top and bottom connected, and the rolled on an eggshell white paint that we've been using to paint the walls in the rest of the house.  Some stains were creeping through which makes me think I should've done another coat of primer on the top.  So three coats of white later, I was ready to faux marble.

I've never faux marbled and found this tutorial extremely helpful.  It was my go to guide throughout the process.  The tutorial recommends "veining" your marble using three shades of grey and painting them with a feather.  The woman in the tutorial is some kind of faux marble genius, because I did not get the same real effect she did....mine looks real from afar, but you can kind of tell it's paint up close.  She had a slab of marble for reference and I had the computer.  It took about an hour or so of "veining" for me to be satisfied.

The final step for faux marbling is mixing 3 parts water with 1 part white paint and painting over your veining.  I did this and almost cried.  It pretty much wiped away my hard work.  So I took a damp paper towel and lightly dragged it over what I had painted which thinned out my final coat to more of a final veil.  This helped dull my veins, which actually proved effective.

That evening I layered on three coats (two hours apart) of polycrylic finish on the top while watching Spring Breakers (Spraing Breaaaaaak....Spraaaaaiiing Breaaaaaaak fo-evah).  Obsessed with the final results.  Hello fancy furniture.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Harry's Got Issues

Over the past two months, we've been making repeat trips to our vet.  In June, Harry was due for his annual - which means that yes, in June Harry has been our son for a whole year (squeal).  Along with the regular check up there were some other goings on that we needed to get checked out.  Harry had a cut on his paw pad and an oozing cut on his snout that would puff up and be pink later in the day.  We couldn't explain the injuries (which made me feel like the vet thought I was a dog fighter or something) and assumed they were from rough housing in the dog park or from Harry scratching himself with the uncontrollable talons on his feet.  Caution...graphic photos below.

As it had been a full year since Harry visited the vet, he obviously was a little unsettled being there.  The waiting room was a blast, with Harry greeting every dog and owner that walked through the door.  He was curious about what was going on around the corner and eager to go there.  
"It's really great to be here, guys"
However, once we were called to go around the corner into the examination room, Harry's legs went stiff and splayed on the linoleum as we coaxed him back.  It didn't get much better from there.  Although Harry wagged his tail and engaged with the tech, he wasn't used to the awkward poking and prodding.  And since Harry was due for a slew of immunizations, it wasn't ideal for him to be uncooperative.  The worst was that Harry's anxiety came out in the form of squirming and huge stinky farts.

So although we paid for an examination, Harry wasn't able to be fully examined.  We left with a prescription for Xanax, some anti-inflammatories for his face, antibiotics for the oozing, and an appointment to return.  Our job was to test the Xanax and see if it relaxed Harry so that he'd be more controllable on our next visit.  According to our doctor, Xanax could have different effects on different dogs.  I laughed that off since Harry is absolutely perfect and nothing is wrong with him ever.  Surely he would be high as a kite on that Xanax.  

Not the case.  Harry went apeshit on Xanax.  Barking, trotting around like a maniac until 11pm, not to mention the after effects of some nasty #2s.  We cancelled our appointment with the explanation of Harry's obverse behavior.  On our second visit we retrieved Harry's alternative doping medication - Acepromazine.

After testing the new meds on Harry, we were satisfied that it did bring him down a bit.  The vet recommended a double dosage on his appointment day so we did what we were told.  Harry received almost all of his vaccines (we still have to make our fourth visit for the Leptospirosis vaccine) and was a lot better with the techs.  Thankfully we didn't have to witness the sticking...I probably would have shrieked.  By that point, his face and paw had both healed up as well so things are looking up!

Of course, then we brought home a severely doped up dog.  Which led to us being perfect parents, setting Harry up in provocative positions, snapping pics and posting it to the internet.  Harry will never get a job now.