Tag Archives: hardware

DIY Armoire Makeover

Hi there! I have a new furniture DIY project for you!

Ever since we tore out our massive melamine desk and shelves before the new floors were installed, we’ve been looking for more storage for our office and craft supplies. I came across a posting for a free armoire on facebook and it looked perfect! 5 drawers, plus three shelves inside the doors:

My hubby was not impressed with the furniture when he got home with it. I had been under the impression that it was made of solid wood, and it turned out that it was mostly made from particle board. The bottom of the sides of the armoire were falling apart, there were stickers and stains in various places, and most worrisome to me, it wreaked of cigarette smoke.

“It’s going to be beautiful!” I assured my hubby. “Just you wait and see.” But I wasn’t entirely convinced. The sides and back of all the drawers were particle board and plastic. I knew chalk paint would adhere to anything, but I had never used it personally to paint plastic. I just wanted to cover up the cigarette smell.

I got to work. I cleaned the entire piece and vacuumed it out. I used Goof Off on the stickers and it worked semi-well. I covered the areas where I had used Goof Off with an oil based stain blocker by Zinsser (which has got to be the smelliest paint EVER, by the way). I wore my respirator for the Goof Off and the stain blocker! And I went to Lowes and bought their chalky paint in the color “Kid Gloves” by Valspar. $30 a can – not cheap, but still cheaper than Annie Sloan.

After the first coat of chalky paint.

I took off all the hardware and spray painted them with a brilliant bronze color. (I forgot to take a picture of that process.) I spray painted the screws, too.

I was pretty undecided about what to do about the chipping particle board at the bottom of the armoire sides. I talked with my husband about the possibility of removing and replacing the sides entirely, but it looked like it was going to be an involved process with no guarantee that it would turn out as planned. He then suggested adding a molding to the bottom. “That’ll work!” I exclaimed! So back we went to Lowe’s to get molding… he cut the molding and screwed it in. I think it looks great and it was a relatively easy fix! Kuddos to my hubby for working on it in the blazing middle-of-the-day heat.

Adding molding to the bottom to cover up chipping particle board.

And here’s how the molding turned out:

I finished painting the piece. It took 3 coats of the chalky paint and I used up the entire can. Since the piece wasn’t exactly in pristine condition, I decided that it would be fun to distress it a little. I had bought some sanding blocks (medium grit) and sanded most of the edges and corners. I definitely would NOT recommend using an orbital sander for this purpose.

I added one clear coat of Annie Sloan’s wax (it was what I had on hand) and buffed it out with a rag. Then I reattach all the spray painted hardware. Hubby helped with that as well as returning the hinges and replacing the roller hardware on the doors.

I added contact paper (leftover from when we moved into our house last fall) to all the drawers and shelves.

Hubby and I somehow managed to carry the extremely heavy piece inside (where there’s a will, there’s a way, I suppose!).

And voila! The smoke smell is gone, and now we have a place to store office and craft supplies! Total cost for paint and supplies came to $55.

Are you working on a DIY piece of furniture? I’d love to hear about it!




Filed under DIY, Furniture Makeover

{Low Budget} Mini Kitchen Reno

America seems to be captivated by the transformation of something ugly to something beautiful, and I think many would agree that it’s fun to watch the transformation take place. Lately we have been enjoying the show Fixer Upper — a show where an ugly, run down house gets transformed into a gorgeous magazine cover-worthy house in a matter of weeks (and for a seemingly too-small budget). Similarly, I like the challenge of finding ways of slowly transforming my own home for little cost.

Our house didn’t need much work when we bought it almost 4 years ago. It came with the standard 1990’s tile kitchen. I know people like to call it “contractor grade” as if that is sub par, but really it was fine. The cabinets were of good quality, and we had a tile counter top. I happen to like tile for a lot of reasons (durability, and water and heat resistant) but I hate dealing with grout, and specifically this grout. No matter how much I scrubbed and bleached (and scrubbed some more), it always looked really dirty. I always imagined bacteria growing like crazy in that grout.

The kitchen before we bought our home.

The kitchen before we bought our home.

This is a picture of a cake I made a long time ago, but you can see the gross grout. ;)

This is a picture of a cake I made a long time ago, but you can see the gross grout here. (I know, first world ‘problems.’)

We decided after much deliberation to get new counter tops. We took a year to save up for it — not that they were outrageously expensive, but we put our spare income toward necessities that might fail instead. More than once I felt conflicted about spending the money on a new counter top because we had perfectly fine working counter tops. It wasn’t a “need.” I was just tired of being grossed out by the dirty grout.

We finally decided to move forward on it and settled on a white/gray quartz counter top. We bought it at a granite outlet and the counter tops, back splash, demo and installation came to a total of around $2500. We did some shopping around, and that ended up being the best price by a long shot! Additionally, it only took a day for the entire process. Win!

Demo for counter top installation.

Demo for counter top installation.

New counter tops!

New counter tops, sink and faucet!

We also bought a new sink (ordered on amazon) and a faucet at Home Depot. Amazon made a mistake and sent up a much more expensive sink than what I had ordered. (And we got to keep it!) Hubby did the plumbing and got the sink and garbage disposal hooked up.

We bought new hardware and knobs for the cabinets and drawers. Hubby installed them. He also installed new hinges on all the cabinets. The hinges took him a couple of evenings to complete.

New drawer hardware.

New drawer hardware.



Around this time hubby replaced the blinds in the kitchen window because the old ones had a broken slat and it was difficult to open the window with the way they had been installed.

I thought about painting the cabinets a gray/blue color. I dithered over the colors for about a month. I was pregnant with Rachel at the time and just thought I was indecisive due to being pregnant. (Turns out I’m just terrible with paint colors.) My friends and family cast their votes for which color they liked best.


Feeling blue about blues. All I can say is, thank goodness hardware stores sell paint samples!

But after looking at the colors for a month, I painted it back to white. I didn’t really love any of the colors, and didn’t feel like spending more money on paint samples I probably wouldn’t like anyhow. Better to be safe than sorry, I figured. Plus, I was pretty pregnant then and lacking the energy to paint the entire kitchen (that’s probably the real reason I painted it back to white).

Rachel was born, and the kitchen stayed the same for around 6 months. Then, Josh got the stomach flu and threw up on one of the kitchen rugs. I threw both the kitchen rugs into the washer, and dried them on the lowest heat setting. Big mistake. They fell apart, so badly that I had to vacuum out the dryer. Oops.

For my birthday, my mom got me new kitchen rugs to replace the ones I had ruined in the dryer. Then, while I was out grocery shopping at walmart one morning, I spent $4.97 for a yard of fabric I liked to make new curtains (I had made the previous ones for $3).

New curtains and paint colors (take 1).

New curtains and paint colors (take 1).

We had thought about getting a marble tile back splash done in the kitchen a while back but we had two estimates done and it was looking expensive. Additionally, tiling the window was going to be a problem. So we scrapped that idea and I decided to paint the walls instead. Much cheaper!

Once again, choosing a paint color took me way too long. I would head to the hardware store hoping to get a light gray sample of paint, and return home with some other color. It took me several tries.

Paint color take 2,

Paint color take 2.

Maybe I like this paint color? No, not really.

Take 3. Maybe I like this paint color? No, not really. (It looked purple most of the time and clashed with the counter top.)

Choosing a paint color would have been even more painful if my cousin hadn’t said “Why don’t you try Benjamin’s Moore’s Revere Pewter paint color?” She had the same color in her home and sent me a few pictures of it. I was immediately sold as the color was exactly what I had been looking for! Home Depot matches this exact color with Behr paint in a sample container for $3.47. It took a little more than one paint sample to paint the entire kitchen.


The finished product. (Please excuse bibs, cutting boards, sippy cups, etc…)



So there you have it: A mini reno done on the cheap!



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Dresser Makeover

I have a confession to make.

I LOVE furniture makeovers. When I’m in the middle of a project, I  wake up in the morning excited to get started on it. I’ll check my weather app on my phone: “Is it 50F outside yet or is it still too cold to paint? When can I get started?” It’s really turning into a hobby for me these days.

As for furniture building, we do have a little history together.

When I was in high school my Grandma bought me this old ugly wooden chest with a beautiful cedar interior that she intended for me to use as my hope chest. We sanded it down, stained and sealed it with polyurethane, and then added some legs to it that I picked out at the hardware store. I was 18 then, but I was absolutely enthralled with how it turned out. We had taken something fairly ugly and made it beautiful in my eyes. The chest still sits in our bedroom today. I will never get rid of this piece of furniture because of the memories I have from transforming it with my Grandma (she passed away when I was 23).

My hope chest. (My husband loves to store his clothes on top of it now.)

My hope chest, with the lid a little propped open from too many things jammed inside it. (My husband loves to store his clothes on top of it now.)

When I went away to college, I had need for a bookshelf and a small kitchen table. My Grandma was pretty sick then, so this time my Grandpa helped me build both a bookshelf and a table using the same stain combo we used to match the hope chest. The table is dismantled and it lives in our rafters now (it only seats 4 people — it’s more like an apartment sized table) and the bookshelf lives in my little sister’s living room (since the house we bought a few years ago had a giant whole-wall bookshelf already built in). I had to dig around a little to find some pictures of both the shelf and table… they aren’t the best quality but here you go:

I spent half a lifetime digging this picture up from the recesses of my computer brain. This was our first apartment we lived in when we got married. It was pretty ugly, but I did like our table. :)

I spent half a lifetime finding this picture in the recesses of my computer brain. This was our first apartment we lived in when we got married. It was pretty ugly, but I did like our table.

This is really the only picture I could find, and it's a terrible one. It's just a basic bookshelf, except that I added moulding on the top and bottom to make it a little fancier (please ignore the hideous sofa that we had to beg some poor college student to take it away for free...).

This is really the only picture I could find with the bookshelf in it, and it’s a terrible one. It’s just a basic bookshelf, except that I added molding on the top and bottom to make it a little fancier (please ignore the hideous sofa that we had to beg some poor college student to take away for free…).

The last time I built something, or even refinished something, was a few years ago when I used a gel stain to refinish our bathroom cabinets (but that’s a whole post in itself). So I’ve was missing my little hobby. When some friends of ours kindly gave us a dresser, I stared at that dresser for a few years to see what I could do to it to help it match the decor in our room a little better. This was the dresser:

Dresser pre-makeover

Dresser: Before

It’s a nice dresser, but I didn’t really love the hardware on it, and we didn’t have any other furniture in that stain color. I began reading Virginia’s DIY furniture makeover blog and saw that she had great ideas for using all kinds of paint. Her furniture looked spectacular! So I followed her tutorial for her dresser (read about it specifically here) and this is what I came up with:

The finished product.

Dresser: After.

Since the dresser was laminate, I used a Zinsser primer which worked like a charm. I then spent $3 on a Behr paint sample at Home Depot and put on two coats with that single sample can of paint. The color I chose was Provence Blue. I then sealed it two coats of Minwax’s polycrylic– which was easy to use, low odor, and fast drying.

The hardware was important to me as I felt it would really make the dresser stand out a bit more. I went to the hardware store and looked around, and basically discovered that the pieces I liked were around $4 each. With ten pieces to buy, that was too expensive for my budget. So instead, I found a knob for $1.30/piece that was just the wrong color for my tastes, paid $5 for a can of Rustoleum spray paint (also Virginia’s idea) and painted them all. They were bronze and I painted them silver.

I spray painted the knobs to make them silver.

I spray painted the knobs to make them silver.

My hubby had to drill new holes for the new hardware and patch the old holes from the old hardware (the patching was the very first step). He put on the new knobs,  and now I was thrilled with the final results!



All in all, this dresser makeover cost about $50. It would have been cheaper if it didn’t need to have the old hardware holes filled — the stuff my husband bought to seal the holes (I can’t remember what he used, sorry) was NOT cheap! The primer and polycrylic were a little pricey but even the smallest containers of it will last for at least one or two more projects. In fact, the primer alone would last for several projects. The cheapest part was the paint itself. Ironic, isn’t it?

So that’s the story with the dresser. Next time I’ll blog on the coffee table. It’s currently in the garage awaiting it’s next coat of paint. Gotta get to it before the little buddy wakes up from his nap. See you next time!


Filed under DIY, Furniture Makeover