Vintage Rocking Chair Refurbish Project

Just finished this custom designed rocking chair for a client and wanted to share it with you! 

My client chose the colors and fabric and I loved putting it all together! 


My client had done much of the hard work to remove the fabric and stain, but since I was spray painting, I wanted it to be completely smooth. There was a thick splotchy coat of wax that would interfere with the paint, so the power sander really came in handy here! I also had to do a fair amount of scraping to get the wax out of the tiny cracks. 


My client wanted to keep the original cane work natural. So I used plastic and painters tape to protect it. 

First step was Zinsser Shellac. I know I’ve talked about it before, but Zinsser seals in old stains and eliminates bleed-through. I use it every time! 

Next I used Krylon’s Color Master paint plus primer spray paint, and did several coats to achieve the desired coverage. 

One trick with spray paint is to sand in-between coats. That really ensured a smooth finish! 

I sealed the paint with Minwax Spray Polycrilic, and just love how smooth it feels! 

I got to try out my new air compressor with my staple gun for the upholstery! Makes me feel like such a big girl to have my own tools! The air compressor was a Mother’s Day present! 

Sigh… some girls ask for pedicures… I ask for power tools! 

Some gold trim and this beauty is ready to go! 

What do you think? Ever had success with spray paint before? 

Patio Table and Seating Refinish

So excited to share my custom refinish project on this outdoor patio furniture! 

My client’s Pottery Barn patio table and chairs were loosing their luster. The stain was chipping off, and it was warped in a few spots. 

The mahogany was so weathered that it had turned gray! This is a fairly common problem with outdoor furniture, but can be easily repaired with a little elbow grease and oil-based products. 

I wanted a topcoat that would hold up better than it had before. We also wanted to match the top to the color of the legs and keep that dark rich look. 

I’d heard a lot of good things about Thompson’s Water Seal and did a test board of it on top of my stain. The results were not good, and after a lot of research, I learned that Thompson’s is best on untreated wood. Remember that… somewhere in your vast hoards of mental data! Since we needed to go over the top of stain, Thompson’s was out. 

I ended up doing more research, sample boards, and talking with several pros! My neighbor showed me the teak oil he used on his boat, and that got me thinking about how boats take a real beating, but still look great. So I checked with my friends at Benjamin Moore and they led me to Old Master’s Marine Varnish. An amazing product used on boats! I was thrilled!  

After a few more successful test boards, I was ready to go!

The weather was amazing for this outdoor project! These longhorns were very patient with the noise from my power sander! 

I think I’m developing a little love affair with mahogany… it’s gorgeous!! 

I had a slight panic attack after the first coat of stain. My sunglasses were making it look bright orange and green! When my client came by I began to apologize and she said she didn’t see what I was seeing! It was only later that I took off my sunglasses and the color was corrected! Phew! 

The varnish went on smooth and I just love how this gorgeous set turned out! 

This table and seating came out so beautifully, but the best part was seeing my client’s excitement over it! I’m so grateful I got to be a part of this table’s journey! 

Broyhill Nightstands Refinish Project

Happy weekend friends! I wanted to share the story behind my recent nightstands project!

Here is the before pic:

This is a very common set of nightstands that Broyhill manufactured several years ago. I located them on Craigslist during our time in Phoenix, and my boys used them as their “Science labs”. 

The previous owners had added a child safety lock, which was a little weird, and my boys had carved “new year” into the top.  They also let a sucker melt on the top of the nightstands, which left a hard sticky substance that had to be sanded off. 

Seriously, kids are so hard on furniture! 

The biggest problem on this project was that one of the drawers had lost it’s track, and the drawer tipped when it was pulled out too far.

After analyzing the track, I decided to try and fix it. I used a sander and made some very dangerously close cuts on my miter saw to create the pieces I needed. (Yes, I did remember my brother’s you’re-going-to-cut-you-finger-off warning…)  
A little glue, a lot of sanding, and a few prayers later, the drawer worked better than ever!

The awesome folks down at the Benjamin Moore store here offered to let me come in and demonstrate some of my projects in their store. So for my first demonstration, I used these nightstands!

After sanding every surface down, I used a shellac primer to make sure any additional stains were sealed in nicely. Then I used Benjamin Moore’s latex paint in “gray wolf”, and did a wash rag technique rather than a brush to lay it down. Once the paint was dry, I used Valspar’s antiquing wax, which was more like a glaze, and added a nice rich patina to the wood finish. Finally I covered the paint with Benjamin Moore’s clearcoat. To give it a nice smooth hard polycrilic finish. 

Finally I drilled new holes, and added some pewter handles.

We delivered them to their new owner last night, and she absolutely loved them!

This was such a fun little nightstand project! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a fabulous rest of your weekend!


Slant-Top Secretary Desk

A few months ago a client asked for help refinishing her sewing table.

Her “sewing table” was actually a slant-top desk, a descendant of the portable desk built on a frame and developed during the Queen Anne style of furniture design. 

This particular desk was built in the Philippines, but I wasn’t able to track down more information as to it’s date. It had a leather-like veneer over particle board, which is a common characteristic of furniture built in the Philippines. 

This desk had a funky metal decorative top. It had been used as a computer table and a makeshift keyboard holder had been added, as well as several holes drilled for various cords. The veneer had been badly worn off and it was missing two drawers. It just needed a good vintage update! 

My client had a vision of painting and distressing it white and I was excited to help! 

Here are some pics during the project:

After the paint was dry, we remembered that two of the original drawers were missing! 

I was able to re-create the drawers out of poplar planks. 

I was also able to find some coordinating hardware at Hobby Lobby. 

In the end, she decided to keep the slant-top off because she loved the look of the drawers. Also notice that the metal decorative top didn’t get put back on! What a difference! 

The piece went from a hulking item that was unclear what it was, to a traditional desk on a frame. It’s a gorgeous piece, and I loved getting to assist with it! 

Farmhouse Chair

So excited to reveal the final on this chair!

Of the 4  chairs chairs project, this was my least favorite because it didn’t fave a fabric seat. So, it became my “guinie pig” as I tried chalk paint with a poly top coat instead of wax.

Here is the before:

Boring black… chipped and wobbly…


Repaired the wobbles and distressed for a fun farmhouse look!

The poly top coat makes it smooth and wonderful to sit on! And I love it to death now!

So fun how a little paint can make a world of difference!! It is in perfect concision now, and ready to go!!


Behind the Scenes of the Four Chairs Project 

I’m starting a new project and want to share some pics as I go!

These 4 chairs were filthy! I wouldn’t let my kids touch them until I cleaned them. They are also a little wobbly and I’ve got to get to the bottom of that.

Each chair is different. I’m guessing that the previous owner refinished them all to make them appear like a set.

The two Carvers Chairs in the center intrigue me the most, so I’m going to research their history.

The first step in refinishing a project, is to give the wood a good wash. I used ammonia and water, and my rag was black from the dirt and paint that came off!

Side note: DO NOT use ammonia on painted furniture for regular cleaning as it can take off the finish. Since these chairs are getting new paint, I’m not worried about the current finish.

Next I began removing the fabric from the chairs.

I took the seats off and tightened all of the supporting screws. That helped with some of the wobbles.

Next I began removing the fabric.  I used a flat-head screwdriver and pliers to get the staples out.

Look how dirty!!

Underneath the first layer of fabric was another layer, and judging by the staples,I’m  assuming the same person (maybe the last owner) recovered the chairs on two separate occasions.

The first chair was simple, but things got messy when I got to the ornate Carvers chair. There were 5 layers of fabric on the seat!

And the fabric and nails got older and older as I uncovered the layers!

The last layer was disgusting, like haunted house disgusting!

This curly black stuff that was used as padding looks like horse hair!

The rusty nails at this layer just broke off and I couldn’t get one out! And the dirt… oh so disgusting! It was caked on, and even thicker than the fabric!! Despite wearing a face mask, my snot was black when I blew my nose afterwards. (That’s when you know you’re really dirty!)

I’ve never seen so much dirt trapped in between layers! To think that through all the years people were just reupholstering over the top, layer by layer, and sitting on all that dirt! Ugh!

This is how the carver chair looks now. It’s by far the oldest of the 4 chairs. And I’m dying to know more about its history.

This basic dining chair is the heaviest and newest of the 4.

Another carver chair. I like the lower back on this one.

The 4th is a fiddle back chair that got attacked by some fingernail polish. Lots of junk on this one.

Thanks for joining me behind the scenes today!!

Another Chair Redo

My mom is the best! Whenever I go down for a trip she lets me refinish something, decorate something, or paint something… and it’s generally a piece of furniture! 

I usually suggest what we should change… she says, “Really?” Followed by and excited, “Ok!” We can’t tell dad beforehand because he’s nervous about change, but he almost always comes around and loves it when it’s done! Oh how I love that man!  

Mom’s patience with my furniture addiction has helped develop my love of decor, and I’m forever grateful for the thousands of lessons she’s taught me!! 

Here’s the before on a little chair we did:

I fell in love with the moldings and solid construction. I think she found it at a thrift store! 

We used Old White Annie Sloan Chalk paint, and re-upholstered the cushion with fabric found at Hobby Lobby. 

I love how it turned out! 

Side Note: I found another chair exactly like this at a yard sale a few months ago. The owner had painted it silver with a mauve cushion and it looked terrible! She wanted $120. I would love one for my own home, but just couldn’t justify that price on something I’d have to refinish… sigh! I’ll continue my search.

Here it is staged next to another piece I love at mom’s house! She uses the hutch for vintage quilts. So fun! 

The Blue Chairs

I have to admit I was a little worried when my friend, D, asked if we could makeover the chairs she found at a yard-sale. Let’s be honest… we were all worried! 

Everyone who saw the pic of these had a knee-jerk reaction! They looked terrible!! And they smelled horrific! 

But D had vision! 

I seriously can’t tell you how bad they smelled! Like old people and smoke and cats! I was nauseous for an entire day after we began stripping  off that nasty yellow fabric! 

I love the difference that paint and primer had on the chairs!! 

D picked out some fabric and padding, we borrowed her dad’s finicky nail gun and went to town reconstructing the cushions. Here are some pics through of the transformation theough the project. 

The nail gun slipped a few times and hit the wood! I felt sick about it! 

But D used some wood filler and paint, and now you can’t even tell!

We split up the sewing projects and D created the cushions while I made some piping cord.

We used Magna Tac to glue on the cord.

 And finally, after 3 months, the blue chairs are done!! 

I am so pleased with how they came out! 

The fun part:  Total cost of the project was about $140, and it took us about 17 total hours of working together. I’ve done pricing on these chairs new, and they run anywhere from $600-$800 each! 

This project made me look at upholstered furniture differently, and I don’t think I’ll be doing another anytime soon… but I loved getting to giggle, theorize and commiserate with D while we worked on this transformation! 

What do you think? 

Yard Sale Chair Redo

Every once in a while I hit a yard sale where the owners are just trying to get rid of their stuff, and could care less how much the item sales for! I actually have dreams about these sales! (Weird, I know.) A few years ago I found once such sale in Phoenix. The owner was selling two of these chairs for $4 and I was thrilled!! 

One chair was this natural wood color, and the other was a dark purple. I was so excited to refinish them that I forgot to take the before pic of the purple one, but trust me when I say it was pretty bad! 

First I sanded as much wood as I could. I did not sand the seat as wicker obviously doesn’t sand. 

Next I used Kiltz spray primer and covered everything! Once it was dry, I used 220 grit sand paper and smoothed the grit that primer often leaves. 

Then I did two coats of Krylon’s Paint Plus Primer in White. 

When it was dry, I heavily spot sanded some areas to distress it. 

I love how they turned out! They  are some of my favorite decorating pieces to use and add flair to a corner! 

Total cost: $10 for two chairs! 

Your turn: What is the best yard sale deal you’ve ever scored? 

Corner Hutch Refinish

My good friend asked me to help paint her corner hutch! If you know me, you know how much I love to work with furniture, so of course I said yes! Before:

She said it came from someone’s basement, and she’d had it for years not loving it, but not sure if she wanted to tackle the project. Every time they’d move, her hubby would ask if they should just throw it out, but she had dreams of finishing it.

Don’t we all have those pieces? I firmly believe that waiting to start a project, makes the project feel bigger. I have things that have been sitting around for years because the idea of doing it seems so big and I don’t even know where to start!

I was thrilled to help out. First I sent a few idea pics and she decided she wanted a dark, flat blue paint.

For this project we made our own Chalk paint using plaster of paris. She had previously removed all of the doors, so we began taping off the windows and painting! To be honest, she did most of the work… I was more of the slave driver! But we had it done in less than a week! And I love how it turned out!!


Corner hutch: Free- basement find

Total cost of the refinish: About $20 for paint and elbow grease!