I found this old desk at a garage sale and thought she was beautiful! Well at least she had the potential to be beautiful. At the time of purchase it was pretty run down looking and well used...
Not that that's a bad thing... just means its perfect for refinishing!
Now like way too many projects I forgot to take a picture before I got started :( But don't worry! I found some look-alikes online so you can get the idea.

These pictures aren't perfect... the top one has the wrong drawers - hence the drawer picture separate... This desk also looks like its in perfect shape... my desk did not look like that. It was dirty and dingy and chipped and stained - but otherwise very similar.

I decided that I wanted a teal accent on the desk. SO what did that mean I did? Yup - you're exactly right. I spray painted it. :)
Because I knew that I was only going to do a light sanding for a light accent I only sprayed all the edges. I didn't need to do the whole piece.
One thing that I am still not used to here in SC is what the humidity does to drying times. In WA I would spray paint something and then I could paint very soon after.. Like an hour maybe. The spray paint would be dry and sealed and all would be good to move on... Here - that's not really the case. The spray paint takes forever to dry - its still tacky sometimes after several hours. So this was painted and then just sat for a couple days actually until I had time to go back to it.
At which point I painted it black.
While that was all drying I recovered the chair's seat.
I had this material in my scrap pile from pervious projects. Best way to use material!
After letting everything dry and then edging it - it was looking good!

So I sealed the whole thing, reattached the seat and thought I was done...
A couple days later I decided it was too boring.. It could be way better!
SO I went back to the store for more of the same fabric and I put that on the back of the hutch. I used spray adhesive for that. And then I tacked it in place with my staple gun while reattaching it back on the hutch itself.
I didn't get it outside for some new glamour shots so you see my garage in the background here... but I think its way more fun now!
 
 
SO - I think that one of the defining moments in becoming a DIYer is dumpster diving... You know you are committed when you stop at garbage piles and pull out peoples old trash in order to turn it into something great.
This isn't my first time doing this BUT its the first time pulling something this large out of the garbage pile and having to dig for all the pieces...
I saw this beauty while on a date actually... we were on our way to see the Angel Oak in SC - If you haven't been its kinda cool. Super big sweet looking tree. Not too much to do while there other than check out the cool tree- just FYI... but still worth going and seeing.
Anyway - we are on the way there and we drive by this less than nice - lets say - complex that has a big dumpster out front. Next to the dumpster I see some furniture... We continued on to the Angel Oak and then as we were leaving? Yup - you got it. I made my date stop to check out the dumpster furniture with me! Lol. Figure if he can't handle it then he isn't the guy for me right?
So we check it out and there are two gorgeous dressers. There was no way it would fit in his car so sadly we left them.
I couldn't stop thinking about them though and so later I drove back out there and saved this one! All the drawers were broken and in pieces. I had to dig through the rest of the trash to find everything that belonged to this dresser. I got some strange looks from some of the complex residents who were chillin outside having a drink. . .  
But when I started to load the dresser they came over and helped me get it in the car :) So I cant complain!
My car isn't big enough to fit both of the dressers that were there and by the time I made it back (a couple days later) the garbage truck had obviously been by. I can only hope that someone else saved that one before that happened...
You can see that she isn't in the best shape... The paint is peeling where it looks like she may have been exposed to some weather. And as I said all the drawers were in pieces... But most of the pieces were there and in relatively good shape.
So that was step one. Reassemble the drawers.
This involved wood glue, the mallet you see there, and the nail gun. Because these drawers had been ripped apart and not nicely disassembled the dovetail edges needed a bit of reinforcement in order to get them to hold properly.
I lucked out that the only piece completely unsalvageable was one of the drawer bases. I had to go to Home Depot and buy a super thin board that I could cut to size. Cutting the front edge wasn't easy... I just don't have the right tools for that. And since I didn't want to purchase a scroll saw - It wasn't quite as easy as I had hoped. But it still worked out!
Once all the drawers were reassembled I made sure that they fit back in the dresser properly...
They all fit!! And as you can see it was missing a couple of the pulls. Because I liked the pulls so much and didn't want to get all new ones I decided to find some that would go with - without worrying about them being exactly the same. I spray painted them all to match so they would work.

The next step was to sand the dresser and drawer fronts. Needed to get any of that paint that was peeling removed and off so that it wouldn't cause problems with the new paint.
It looked significantly worse after sanding... good thing I was covering all that up!
While sanding the drawers my hand sander decided to die on me... It was my less expensive hand sander that I purchased when I was sanding my stairs (since my super nice one was with all my stuff that hadn't arrived yet...) But I've been using it since then and its been great! Apparently it decided that I used it too much :(
Oh well... I have my other one though so I pulled that out and finished the job!
And then because I wanted a dark contrast when I distressed I spray painted the whole thing black
After letting that dry I pulled out the paint!
It took several coats to get them completely covered. And then I distressed them. I wanted to let that black paint show through a little...
Same with the base unit - several coats of paint... and then distressing. I
Last but not least and always important - I sealed the piece. I used the spray seal because I was already worried about the drawers fitting too tightly and didn't want to add another layer to make things more tight...

And then I put it all together.
She looked amazing!! And this is why sometimes digging through the dumpster is totally worth it!
 
 
I purchased this Lingerie cabinet off facebook - Paying way too much for it... I thought it was solid wood (they advertised it as such...) and it looked to be in pretty good shape.
I was wrong. It was not in great shape. The person before me had wanted to refinish it and couldn't remove the handles so they went ahead and painted right over them... This is a red flag. if ever you are shopping for furniture to refinish watch out for the pieces that someone has gone ahead and painted right over the knobs/pulls. Its possible they were just lazy and so its not a huge deal... but its also possible that there is a reason.
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On this piece they had used these insert things to hold the knobs in.
Now I realize that these make attaching knobs or pulls easier if they are stripped or the hole it too big for your screw to hold it in... However - if you want the piece to last and to ever possibly be redone. Never use these. Get new knobs, buy a washer to hold the screw  - something. Anything. This is what made the last person not even try and just paint right over the knobs/pulls - making a huge ugly mess of a cabinet :(
You can see below that in order for me to remove them - I had to rip apart the pulls and scratch up the front of the cabinet..

Lets suffice it to say there was lots of trying not to swear while removing these pulls... Something that usually is no big deal...
If you are looking at furniture and see this issue (you can recognize it by the lack of screw holding the handle in - see below) you may want to run the other way. OR at the very least - request a huge discount due to this problem.
After longer than I care to admit - I finally got all those knobs and pulls removed. At that point I sanded. I had to sand off all the paint that had pooled around the handles when they pained over the whole things. And I needed to remove some of the tool marks I made while removing them. Good thing at least the drawer fronts were wood- even if the drawers themselves weren't.
Lots of sanding and scraping paint off later - I got to repaint it. I decided I liked the white clean look... SO I repainted it white again - only this time I didn't allow the paint to drip and make a mess as it had done previously...
After painting I lightly distressed the edges and sealed it.
Last but not least I added new handles that I found at Hobby Lobby - gotta love Hobby Lobby's selection of knobs and pulls. Once of the best places to get them! And of course if you plan it right you can get them half off. Those went on and she was done!

 
 
Since I have been building a crate inspired theme now in my house - with the crate bookshelves and the crate entertainment center - I decided that my desk should also be made out of crates as well!!

This is clearly a simple design. Because the desk is simple it works in any corner because you can just flip the desk around and what is now the back would become the front. Keeping all crates accessible!
Started by staining the crates. And then cutting 2x4s to be the feet on the bottom. I wanted these crates up off the floor and sticking with my simplistic design I didn't want fancy feet - 2x4s cut to size were perfect. Those were also stained and then I made the base.

The top was made with two 2x10s. I routed the front and back edges in order to get a nice rounded front (even if I flip it around still nice rounded front...) And of course stained the top as well. The top I stained the same color as the floors. I kept the crates the same color as the bookshelves on the opposite wall.

Finish it off with a good layer of poly.. Yes I used the same floor poly I've decided I really like for any stained projects. And she was good to go!
I wanted a little bit of extra storage above the desk and so I used a couple more crates. Clearly this is even more simple!
I just stained them and sealed them and used brackets that I found at Hobby Lobby to add extra support when attaching them to the wall. This little desk area works perfect for me!
 
 
Remember how I am horrible at remembering to take before pictures? This is another one of those situations...
I bought this dresser for $10 at a garage sale. They were just happy to sell it because all the veneer was peeling and looked terrible.
Now when veneer is peeling there are only a couple things you can do. 1) Peal it all off 2) glue down the edges and repair/fill in the gaps 3) Sand down the edges so you don't notice and paint - then you can either embrace the lines that inevitably will still show or pray that no one notices...
I originally decided to go with option 1 - I was able to peel it all off on one side and then when I started the other side it did NOT want to come off. This left me with option 3.. Seeing as I had already peeled a bunch of it repairing was now out of the question...
So I sanded all the edges where I had peeled the veneer and prayed for the best.. . .It didn't matter what I did to the dresser anything would look better than it had - and than this.. I mean come on..
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The drawers on the front all had chipped veneer on them as well.. and I sanded those out also. I couldn't seem to get it to show in the picture.. Clearly my sending actually worked better on the drawers!

But as you can see the drawers are all completely smooth and I kept thinking that I wanted to do something fun with this dresser. (You open it from under the drawer - so no knobs!)

I keep looking at those pictures online of people who have transferred a large picture or something to the front of a dresser like this and I think that looks awesome! But then I went online to see how much a picture large enough to cover the front of this costs... and it was way out of my price range.

I may be a little too cheap for that... But then I thought - hey - I can still do something similar and go with fabric on the drawers that still gives it character. So off to Hobby Lobby I went.
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I found map fabric! I fell in love at first site... and it was 30% off... even better!!

Now this isn't the first time that I have put fabric on furniture. You can check out this post where I put it on the drawers. But in that case I used Mod Podge to attach the fabric to the drawer. To be completely honest that made the fabric/drawer front a but rough. Something about the mod Podge and the fabric I used didn't get along well and it felt funny. It still looked good... but wasn't my favorite. So this time I decided to try spray adhesive and then glue down the edges with wood glue.


At first I tried just keeping the fabric the exact size of the front of the drawer but that looked terrible... so instead I used a larger piece and wrapped it around the drawer front. Top/bottom and sides. This worked way better!! Plus it gave me space to glue the edges where no one could see.
The fabric repeated itself and so I didn't need to worry about it lining up perfectly. I decided it wasn't worth trying to make the edges match cause they were all kind of random and repeating anyway.
This time my drawer fronts are soft just like the fabric! I know you're thinking - why do you want soft drawer fronts? what does it matter? It doesn't. I just like it better than the rough ones I got last time I tried this. :)
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Once all the drawer fronts were covered I turned to the dresser itself. And painted him black.

To be fair I may be painting a bunch of things black in the near future. I may have gotten a bunch of black paint for super cheap... Doesn't matter what I paid for it - its still good paint and thus should be used! Plus I am really liking the black distressed look lately. So this gives me the perfect chance to do a lot with it!

So after the paint dried I distressed the whole thing. Here is a close up of the distressed detail.

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So of course I had to see what it looked like... So even though I haven't sealed the dresser I put the drawers in just to make sure they slid and to see what it was looking like.
Its looking good!!

The last thing I needed to do was seal the dresser.
So I purchased some poly (not floor poly - which I love but seems to yellow anything but stained wood) that is supposed to be satin finish. I think that they and I clearly disagree on what satin looks like.
Cause that's what I used here and I would say this looks like gloss. I really didn't want it to be so shiny. I hate that I cant find the brand that I like in WA here in SC... So I'm still looking for a new brand that's not going to break the bank but that works!

Because I am not keeping the dresser I decided that the poly was good the way it is... even though I would prefer a softer feel and not the shininess that is here - I'm going to stick with it. It still looks good and I know someone will love it :)
Ohh - and PS - You caaaann see the lines from the veneer... but because the drawers with the map faces are clearly the focus you don't notice unless you are looking for it. Sometimes you can distract from other flaws with shiny objects.... or well maps... but you know what I mean... lol  :)
 
 
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SO I found a set of end tables and matching coffee table at a garage sale. You know the kind - the ones that everyone is getting rid of cause they are old and not really in style anymore?
Usually the tops are completely scratched or have water stains on them...

To be completely honest they really aren't that bad... its just that they are no longer in style. And I really like that the ones I found have tops that open up to be bigger... But in this refinish I am removing the tops anyway so that will go. I will have to use them for something else in the future :)

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These that I picked up were begging for a redo though - I mean one of them was missing part of its top... and the coffee table was in bad shape.. lots of scratches and dings and dents and water marks. No good!!

SO the first thing I did was remove all the tops!
I've been wanting to try building a top out of pallet wood and thought this might work and I had a couple pallets...
Except that when I took the pallets apart -the wood broke ... I think my pallets were old and crappy. Since I wanted to get this going and haven't searched for where to get free pallets yet - I just used wood I had in my garage instead to build up a new top. SO instead of pallet wood it was made out of new wood that I made look rustic...
I built three of these. Two for the end tables and a larger one for the coffee table.
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Then I painted and distressed the bases. I chose to do that before attaching the tops so I didn't have to worry about spill over of either the stain or the paint..

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And while that was drying I stained the top pieces.

Once stained and dried I used my favorite floor sealer to seal the tops of these tables. I have found that using the floor sealer on something you painted - bad idea... it does not look good and I don't know.. its just bad. But it works perfect on any wood stained surface and is soo much stronger than regular poly that I used to use.
After letting the poly dry overnight I gave the whole thing a good sanding. I cheated and used my hand sander with super fine grit sand paper.
This leaves a funny film on the wood and so I wiped it off with a wet wipe but I it came back... I used a little furniture polish on them and TaDa!! They look perfect!!
At this point its just a matter of attaching these new tops to the bases. And attaching the drawer slides to the new tops as well so that the drawers work and all done!!
 
 
I know you have seen a million posts of the standard bookshelf made out of crates. I can never do something exactly like everyone else.... In case you have missed those... Here are some examples of the ones I see most often!
I of course feel the need to do things differently! SO when I went to build my bookshelves out of crates I created a new design for them.

Before doing anything I needed to stain them and then I securely attached them to one another...

I forgot to take pictures of them inside before loading them up with books  - I was too excited to put them to use!!

But here are some of the finished pictures of my crate library shelves!! I made 3 sets of these to accommodate all my books. I may like books... cause I could easily use another set :) But I'm not sure I have the space for that.
 
 
I found this old buffet at a garage sale a couple weekends ago. It was sitting in the back not with all the other garage sale items and was looking very dejected. When I asked about it they said that they were just going to take it out front so that the garbage people would take it... It was in too bad of shape.
I couldn't let them throw away something that had that much potential so I convinced them to give it to me instead.
I got it home and put it in the garage with all my other great finds of the day and finally got to it about a week later.
As I removed the top drawers I realized that this was not only home to mold from sitting outside - but also home to cockroaches.... EEEEWWWWWWW

I am NOT a fan of cockroaches. Out came the cockroach spray and down went the cockroaches. Thank fully it wasn't a huge nest it was only 5-6 of the nasty things. I got them all. I could not let them live and get out. EEggghhh... So gross!!!
Don't worry. I didn't take pictures of them to show you. No one wants to see that. GROSS!!!

Anyways.... After successfully ridding the piece and then my garage of gross bugs I then went back to work on the buffet.
The second drawer was completely stuck and wouldn't come out no matter what I did. It had gotten wet and expanded inside and nothing was going to make it come back out.
After fighting with it for way too long I finally was able to break the drawer apart (just at the seams to it was completely fixable!) and then I was able to force it to come out.
As is clear in the pics they had painted it... Black for the base and then done a terrible painting job of white on the drawers and the top.
The top was in such bad condition that it wasn't salvageable. I had to toss it. But its ok. It wasn't real wood anyway so I didn't feel bad about having to replace it. Real wood can usually be salvaged - even after being neglected like this guy was. But this top was not real wood and after having been outside it had no hope of ever coming back. So I bought a new piece of wood and cut it to size for the top.
I decided that I wanted the buffet stained though and so I proceeded in stripping it.
It didn't want to lose its black paint. That stuff was on there!
Several iterations of stripping and scraping and stripping and scraping later I had enough paint off that I was  able to sand it.
Because it had been so neglected I was worried about water damage to the wood - that might have sunk in and actually hurt the wood.. But I was lucky. All that super thick paint had actually protected the wood some - so after a good sand it was looking good as new!
Ok... well maybe not good as new - but I decided that I liked the dark edges where some of the paint didn't quite come off - I felt it gave it a antique feel... Not like it really needed more to make it antique but still. I like it.
Then I stained it. I used a light stain mixed with a little grey stain in order to preserve the natural color of the wood but allow it to keep the antiquey look. I ended up adding a touch of the dark stain to it as well - it needed a little depth to the color.  
When I stained the sides though they turned redish... Apparently when it was built they used completely different wood for the sides than for the frame. I guess they had planned on painting it from the get go! Now this left me wondering... do I leave it and embrace the multiple colors? Or do I change my plan and go back and paint it?
I decided to embrace it. After all that work to clean the black paint off - I didn't want to cover it back up again. Plus I decided that there are lots of examples where mixing different colors of stained wood is now embraced...
Here are some quick examples that I found on pinterest...
Do you feel like I am justifying this? I think that you're probably right.
BUT I decided that if I was going to keep multiple stain colors that I could still go with my original plan of doing the top dark. The idea was that with the dark edges showing in the frame a dark top would help accent those. Plus I knew that I couldn't get the top to match the frame and although I might have been able to get it to match the sides - I didn't really want a red-ish top... So I went with full on embracing the multiple stain look!
I'm treading down new paths here... its ok. its good for me. :)

All this time on the frame - time to work on the drawers.
They had peeling veneer all over the place. I pulled off anything that was loose and then sanded down all the edges so  that there wasn't anything sticking up. I wanted the drawers to be vintagey looking too! So I decided to embrace their flaws in my painting scheme.
After the trash that this was... I was starting to get excited that it was starting to come together and kept trying to get an idea of what it would look like...New knobs were definitely needed and Hobby Lobby had some cute ones! The knobs helped determine the color of the drawers...
Paint dry - I sanded the edges and roughed up the paint job a bit. I was going for vintage after all... And then sealed that. And added knobs. Well - only added them to the top drawers so I could get a better idea what it was going to look like...
I still had to rebuild that drawer I took apart and sand it down so it would fit where it belonged.
Plus I wanted to line all the drawers. They needed it. But again I wanted to see what it was looking like. I was starting to get excited. It was looking good!
Rebuilding, cleaning, sealing, and lining later I put it all together! It was looking good!! So last but not least I attached the top and did one final sand to smooth everything out after putting on the seal and she was done!!!
From trash bound, cockroach ridden grossness - to awesomeness!! It looks soo much better and can now live on for another several generations. :)

How do you feel about the multiple colors of wood? do you like it? Is it not really for you? Let me know! I want to know your opinions!
 
 
As I scroll through pinterest I see all these great ideas of things to do to upgrade your home and think 'that would be awesome' without ever really having the intent to do anything about it... BUT when I purchased this house and saw the front closet immediately I thought I should do one of those closet remodels that I see on pinterest all the time!!
So as I was having the place painted I removed the bi-fold doors and just left it open. This way I couldn't back out on my plan.
A couple weekends ago I got ambitious and decided it was time to see something happen here.
The first thing I did was remove the ugly wire shelving that comes standard in every closet. It did a number on the wall.... they really secure that thing in there!
Good thing I had decided to do a board and batten look and so I was able to install the horizontal board directly on top of that ugly mess covering up a good portion of the damage left by the removal.
I could do the vertical boards yet because I didn't know exactly how long they needed to be. So instead I had to start the bench portion next. This I wanted to be super secure... So out came the stud finder.
Now - if you have a helper to help you do this then you can have them hold one end and you hold the other while you make sure its level and put your first couple screws in. I didn't so - instead I pulled a board out of the scrap wood and used it as a way to hold up one end :) It worked great.
Because I have issues with things not being strong enough and crazy fears of them falling when someone sits down- I made sure that this was secured at every single stud available. Both along the back and on the sides.
It was strong enough to sit on as is :) I think I succeeded in making it strong enough!!
Next I added the vertical  boards for the back board and batten look.
Originally I placed the boards to cover the other holes that the metal shelving had made. But I ended up moving them because they didn't look as good as I wanted them to...
See? Much better.
Now it was time for the legs. I picked out some cute traditional looking legs from the hardware store and cut them to make them fit. Remember how I could sit on the bench without it moving before? The legs are more decorative - but also work as backup support just in case its needed :)
Bench in I built a small shelf to go above. Didn't want to waste all that perfectly good space. Not that I really need to store anything up there.. but just in case. (I didn't mention that I have a huge under the stairs storage closet less than 5 feet from this one did I?  That gives me plenty of space for storing all the things that I don't want out in view of everyone who walks in the door.)
Next came putty to fill in all the holes and seal off all the edges.
And of course paint!
I measured and cut out trim for the top of the bench as well and painted that. Originally I planned on a padded bench but decided that a stained bench that would match the floors would be more value added for the home. Plus I realized after building the seat that it was higher than I planned (still good...) but if I added padding and it got taller I would need a step stool to sit down. Lol. Not a good call. So with a wood top I wanted it to look finished and thus needed trim to trim it out. Thankfully I had leftover trim from getting the floors done.
So going on in the garage is the work on the seat itself. It had been cut to size and was being stained and sealed in the garage. I choose to use the same floor poly that I used on the stairs again... I really like that stuff. Its super strong!
Touch it up for significant improvements...
And add the seat and trim. At this point it still needed the trim to be sealed and touched up but I was soo excited it looked so good I added pillows and baskets to start to get the idea :) I hadn't gotten to the hooks yet at this point either but sometimes you just get soo excited you want to jump ahead to start to see the end result.
Here it is all complete!

I love it!! It was a great improvement to my home and it opens it up when you first walk in the front door. Instead of walking into closet doors - you walk in and see this.
George wanted to be part of the fun so he kept jumping into the finished pictures - he stayed far away while all the work was being done. . . scary power tools that make crazy noises and all...
 
 
Every once in awhile you find a diamond in the rough. I found this beauty at Deseret Industries in WA for only $50... Now $50 is more than I usually like to spend on a dresser. But this was a Drexel in perfect condition. Its only flaw? it was super ugly.
Granted this was totally in style when it was made but no one really wants a faded yellow/gold trimmed dresser anymore...
It also has something weird going on on top... it had some strange dyed on colors. None of which concerned me in the least since I didn't plan on letting it stay that color for long anyway!
The first thing that I did was spray paint the whole thing black.
Well... all the edges and the hardware. no need to waste spray paint on the big side panels...
I knew that I wanted a distressed look and I knew that I didn't want gold showing through... So the only way to avoid that was to change the base color.
I did a couple coats of the black spray paint to make sure that it was on and sealed before moving on to the next step. Paint!
I used my favorite white and a light blue color that I lucked out and found in the mis-tinted paint at the hardware store. Gotta love the mis-tints :)
I don't actually have more pictures of the intermediate steps... it was a simple painting job. I had to do a couple coats to get everything covered evenly; and then I distressed all the edges and raised edges on the drawers.
I did list this one for sale for awhile but never got any offers that I would consider real... for the quality and shape that its in. I wasn't going to just give it away. It's worth soo much more!! But I'm glad that I never ended up selling it. It works perfect in my guest room and I love it!!
 
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    I am a lover of all things crafty! I recently started refinishing furniture in addition to all the other fun crafts that I make and decided that I should create a blog to track all the fun I am having!
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