Less than Fifty Shades of Gray Desk
Solid wood, smooth-functioning drawers, distressed layered chalk-paint finish in light grays with a slightly darker gray hydrangea stencil, vintage drawer pulls. At 4′ wide, 2’8″ tall, and 2’2″ deep, this desk has ample room in its deep drawers as well as a large work surface.
Cat Scratch Church Chair
Say that title three times fast. This was sold as a “pub chair,” which made the carved cross on the decorative splat a curious detail. I’m thinking this was a chair made for a church instead. What cross, you ask? Yes, well, there isn’t one anymore. My niece had this chair for awhile, and her cat scratched the cross off. Obviously a demon kitty. While, alas, I couldn’t restore the carving, I did sand it smooth of all cat scratches, add a dark glaze so the wood grain shined through, and reupholstered the seat … to match the Slightly Less Than Fifty Shades of Gray desk. See where I’m going with this? That’s right! Should you buy the lovely gray desk and need a lovely gray chair, these two are simpatico.
Sunday Brunch Buffet
Antique buffet, French country blue, distressed finish. Beautiful, original wood carvings. Anthropologie knobs. Two functional drawers, one a divided utensil drawer with original felt lining, and two functional cabinets. At one time, this adorable piece was used as a media console and has two small access holes in the back for wires and cables.
This beauty was left mostly in its original state with a little cleaning and polishing. The top of the dresser matched the small piece at the bottom, but had broken. My dad cut a new piece using the old one as a pattern and cut the coordinating grooves in it. We figured with some paint on top and bottom embellishments, they’d be a perfect pair again. The top drawer was the only drawer that didn’t make use of a wood veneer, and whatever solid wood it was made of (slightly lighter in color than the rest of it) was gorgeous. No need to mess with this one. The carved design of this one recalled deco designs to my eye, so I chose a deco fan stencil for the rest of the drawers. All of the hardware is the original with a slight modification to match the shade of the pulls to the knobs of the top drawer. This is one of my favorite pieces to date.
Gray Hydrangea Dresser
All wood dresser in light and dark gray, crackled patina chalk paint finish, original wood finish on drawer fronts, dark gray hydrangea stencil across the facade. New wooden knobs, smoothly-functioning drawers. This one could be used as a dresser, a changing table with a few accommodations for baby, a TV console, or an entryway or behind-the-sofa stunner. 1’8″ X 3’6″ X 2’4″
Beach View Rocker
Mission-style rocking chair, peacock blue in all-weather paint with hand-sewn cushion in a coral Waverly print in weather resistant outdoor fabric.
Chippy End Tables
Confession — these were the first pieces I’d ever painted way back in 1989. My parents bought them at a Southwest Missouri unfinished furniture store for my first apartment. I’d painted them white and given them a sponge-dobbing with light mint green. Later, I’d painted them solid black and watched them over the years chip from Joe dropping his pocket change on the table tops each evening — my pet peeve for nearly our entire marriage. Then I’d refinished these in layers of coral and light gray chalk paint and intentionally chipped through all the layers, down to the bare wood in places. This is some kind of vindication for Joe. And thank goodness these jaunty little tables can’t speak of my college years.
Get Into the Groove Coffee Table
Alright, I’m a big fan of Fixer Upper. I can’t help it. I’m a Texan, for one thing, and HGTV is my background jam while I’m grading manuscripts. You know how Joanna has a Clint? I have a Clint, too! I mean my dad, woodworker extraordinaire. Whenever I have an idea that requires tools I don’t own, I go to dad and explain it a lot of different ways until I make sense to him because he’s a retired CPA and I’m a zany writer. So I found this table in the thrift shop for ten bucks, and I needed a small coffee table. I asked dad to carve four lines in the table top and ends to look like four planks. Done. I painted it four slightly different shades of blue-ish milk paints, covered it in a light white wash, and finished with an antique wax to bring out the grooves.
Before (with dad in his shop):
After (in its happy new home):
Time’s Up Side Table & Upholstered Hellions
Three pieces here that I refinished: the glass-top side table (black glaze on original wood finish, a milk-paint French blue drawer face, and new knobs) and two antique upholstered chairs. The chairs I’d found on clearance, carted out to the curb of an antique shop in San Antonio, and I was determined to learn how to upholster on these babies. That’s right. I’ve been to upholstery hell and back because 1) these were tufted with covered buttons and 2) these were stuffed with straw, bits of cotton batting, and bad dreams. But I did it!
Up-Cycled Cottage Built-Ins
If you’re lucky enough to have a Habitat for Humanity second-hand store nearby (the Restore, as it’s called in San Antonio), go there and go there often. They have great stuff either donated (some of it overstock from other businesses) or salvaged from houses being renovated or torn down. This is where I found two salvaged upper kitchen cabinets that dad transformed into bases for his hand-crafted shelving. Joe installed the bead-board wall you can see through the open backs of the shelves. The antique pub table had lost its original tabletop by the time I’d found it, replaced by a wooden one I layered with some milk paint. The pillow in the upholstered recliner was sewn by moi out of old curtains a la Carol Burnett.
Rast Attack Nightstand
If you Google search Ikea’s “Rast” dresser, you’ll find an endless assortment of photos of cleverly hacked Rasts. I couldn’t resist the Rast challenge with its basic, functional shape and blank slate appearance. Like Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge stage prop, this one doesn’t live up to its “dresser” status. At best, it’s a lovely little nightstand. This is the first project I asked dad to modify by scoring lines in the drawer faces and attaching mod legs to the base. The surround is a cherry stain with a black glaze, and the drawer fronts are various shades of milk paint over black milk paint, strategically sanded for a well-worn appearance and finished with brass label-holder pulls.