A few weekends back, Janimal and I visited a local yard sale. That’s when we came across this bad boy.
It was sitting out amongst a pile of discarded furniture, and this poor piece looked very sad and lonely. I gave the nightstand a good once-over…pulled out the drawer (smoothly slid right out), looked for any significant damage (nope, nothing too bad)…and decided it was potentially worth bringing home.
It wasn’t until I found out the price ($2! Say what?!) that I knew this little guy was all mine! It didn’t matter that I didn’t actually have a need for a nightstand, or even a home for the nightstand. Nope, those were insignificant details when it came time to purchase.
I brought the little wooden nightstand home and quickly came up with a gameplan for this makeover.
For the past few months, I’ve been salivating over two-tone combos. Bright white paired with deep wood tones…the perfect match in my playbook. I was inspired by the above looks here and here.
Luckily, I had everything I needed on hand (my DIY arsenal is building) and I got to work immediately.
First up, sanding this beauty down. I used my favorite palm sander to give the entire piece a good once over. Once it was smooth, I washed away the dust, dirt, and grime with a soap and water combo and let the entire piece dry overnight.
Next, I got to priming. I used a small roller and my favorite Zinsser Bullseye primer to give the entire piece a nice light coat. I used a brush to cover all of the small cracks and details.
While that dried, I got to staining the drawer front. For this I used a Minwax stain and a soft cloth. I simply dipped the cloth in some stain, and gently rubbed it onto the front. After a few staining mishaps, this is now my go-to method. I can control the color better and there is never a sticky residue left on the surface of the wood.
After staining, it was back to the painting. To ensure a nice, even smooth finish I decided to use my fine finish sprayer (the one I used in my mailbox makeover.)
I poured in this white paint (leftover from my entertainment center makeover) and got going. 3 light coats later and the bones of the nightstand were complete!
The only thing left to do was to seal my stained drawer front with Minwax wipe-on poly. This protects the wood and keeps it looking shiny and fabulous.
I applied 3 coats with a soft cloth, and used steel wool to sand it down in between coats.
Boom. My two-tone dresser was done over the course of a weekend.
Here’s my new two-tone nightstand all dressed up and ready to go.
Now all I had left to do was find a home for her…
I think it fits in our new Chicago apartment perfectly!
Does anyone else have an obsession with mason jars? I don’t know what it is about them…but they are just so freakin’ adorable. I suppose I imagine myself with a different life when I hold one. I’m sitting on a porch, drinking sweet tea, and sitting in a rocking chair. #livingthedream
Okay, enough day dreaming. Let’s just agree that mason jars are the bomb, and there are so many ways to incorporate them into your home.
Like perhaps for some unique bathroom storage…
You can get a tutorial on how to create a Mason Jar Organizer by reading this post or you can check out our Mason Jar Organizer Video Tutorial here too:
Supplies to Make a Mason Jar Organizer
Here’s what you’ll need for this project. Affiliate links used for your convenience.
Then get out that power drill of yours. Okay, now I’m not gonna lie. At this point I was on a roll and I was all ready to finish this project and get it on the wall. However, I did run into a few troubles. Here are my tips so you can avoid any mistakes.
Rookie Tip #1: Use a drill bit to get a pilot hole started in the wood, where you’ll eventually screw in the hose clamp.
Rookie Tip #2: Also use the drill bit to make a hole in the hose clamp. You’ll definitely need to put your back into it, because it can be difficult to create a hole in the metal.
After you’ve created the hole in the wood and the hole in the hose clamp, line them up and screw the hose clamp into the wood.
Repeat 3 more times until all hose clamps are attached.
To hang this bad boy, I just nailed in 2 picture hangers on the backside of the wood
I am loving the way it turned out! It’s farmhouse chic to me, not to mention it stores all kinds of bathroom goodies.
I think this mason jar organizer would work great just about anywhere. Maybe in your kitchen for knives, forks, and spoons? Perhaps in a craft room to hold pencils, scissors, and glue? The possibilities really are endless.
This same mason jar organizer could even add some serious freshness to your kitchen, patio or city balcony.
This bad boy was scored over a fabulous girls’ weekend with my mom, aunt, and cousin. My mom actually spotted it and quickly snatched it up at my favorite antique store for only $80. A pretty great price considering the quality. Score!
I knew right away that I wanted to stain the table to match the dark espresso of our bookshelves. That way there was some contrast going on in our family room between the white media console…the dark bookshelves…the natural couch…and the dark coffee table.
Here’s what I used to get my stain on…
120 grit sandpaper
A few cloths
Minwax Wood Finish in Ebony
The table was showing its age, with some nicks and marks on the surface.
So my first step was to sand down the wood and create a nice even surface before staining.
I used 120 grit sandpaper (a medium grit) to smooth out the surface, sides, and second level of the table. (Tip: Be sure to sand with the grain of the wood.)
Then, I wiped down the table with soapy water to get rid of any dust and dirt.
Once the table was dry it was time to stain. I put on some rubber gloves and got to work!
I went with the color “ebony” because I really wanted a dark, almost black, color for the table.
I used my paint brush to paint a nice thin coat of stain onto the table, going with the grain of the wood. You could tell the dry wood was thirsty, because it happily soaked up that first coat of stain!
After about 10 minutes, I used a dry cloth to wipe up any excess stain. Make sure you don’t press down too hard when you wipe, but definitely wipe up any extra stain that is on the surface.
I then waited 24 hours and checked on my table again. The color wasn’t quite dark enough for me, so I decided to go for another coat of stain. I repeated the staining process…this time letting the stain soak in about 20 minutes before wiping it up.
48 hours later I trudged back down to the basement (side note: my legs should look way better due to all of the stairs I climb for these projects!) ready to finish up my coffee table.
To seal and protect the stained wood, I used a wipe-on poly. I literally just poured it right out onto the table and wiped an even coat on with a soft cloth. After it dried (about 3-4 hours) I used steel wool to lightly buff out the wood. I repeated this process 2 more times, for a total of 3 coats of wipe-on poly.
I’m in love with my little round table. It’s everything my white table wasn’t…
The tray on top is from Home Goods ($9.99!) and it is filled with cute & functional goodies.
Here’s a coffee table book about St. Louis, so our guests can learn about our new city.
On top is an old horse shoe, just to add some fun and maybe even luck to our family room!
Some scrabble tile coasters (tutorial here) help us avoid the dreaded water ring on the wood (the horror!)
This candle is another Home Goods purchase. Comfy couch, tivo, glass of red wine, and this candle…that says RELAXATION to me.
I’m really happy with the color of the table. It has a distressed look to it, with darker spots and roughed up edges.
I like the contrast between the dark table and light couch.
It provides good balance to the white media console and espresso bookcases across from it.
Even though the table is quite a bit smaller than our other one…there’s still plenty of room to stretch out my legs, sit back, and unwind.
Inspired by this tutorial and this tutorial, I was ready to tackle my own wood block art! Here’s a step-by-step plan on how you can create double the blocks for half the price without any tools.
To start this project, I ventured to Home Depot to find some wood blocks. I can handle paper crafts, spray painting, staining and all things rookie level DIY, but when DIY turns to power tools, I’m lost and extremely intimidated. I set out to Home Depot not having a clue what size wood I needed, how much wood I needed, or how the heck I was going to create wood blocks without any access to a saw. (Minor Detail… right?)
Throughout my travels, I learned that the Wood section at Home Depot contains big carts like this one in the middle of the aisle. These carts contain “scraps” of material for sale for a fraction of the cost. SCORE! When a customer buys wood, the customer has the option to get this wood cut and only purchase what is needed. The leftovers from these cuts are considered the “scraps” (or sale items). The scraps are sold for a significantly lower price. Thanks to this exploding sale cart… I found my blocks wood. On the very bottom of this cart, I found a piece of wood (2 inches x 6 inches) that I thought would be perfect for my blocks. The wood was about 3 1/2 feet long and about 2 inches thick. All you need is to find a piece of wood that is thick enough to stand up by itself after it’s cut. Beyond that requirement, the size is all up to you & your space.
Then a miracle happened. I learned that Home Depot will cut any of the wood you purchase in the store for FREE… right then, right there! I took my scrap wood, drew lines where I wanted Mr. Home Depot to cut, and I was checking out within 7 minutes. My prayers had been answered. I got my wood blocks, all for less than $5 and I didn’t have to use a power tool. Thank you, Home Depot.
Here is a closer look at the blocks I was left with. Because of the super cheap price, I ended up getting two different pieces of wood and combining the pieces to create the varying height levels. One side will say “LOVE” for Valentine’s Day and the other side will say “IRISH” for St. Patrick’s Day.
I decided to use both sides of the blocks to cut down on material costs and save some serious storage space. Plus, I won’t even have to pack these blocks away right after Valentine’s Day. I will simply flip them around and keep these suckers up for the next big day, St. Patrick’s Day. Talk about going green… it’s a win-win situation if ya ask me.
I gathered a large variation of Valentine’s inspired scrapbook paper. I liked the random variety, but if you’d rather a more uniformed, matching set… a few of the same sheets could definitely work.
I gathered some irish inspired scrapbook paper for the “IRISH” side.
I cut the paper to fit each of the the wood blocks, leaving a little frame of wood exposed on each block. I wanted a little bit of the wood block to show behind the scrapbook paper to add a little bit of extra charm (and to prove my staining steps weren’t a total waste of time). The next night, I started to stain these puppies…
For a step-by-step staining tutorial…. check out this post.
Here’s a closer look at the wood blocks before the stain. Notice that these “scraps” had some obvious imperfections, but because I planned on staining them and then covering them with paper, I was not concerned.
While I waited for these beauties to dry, I got to work on cutting out the letters for each block.
I had previously created a Microsoft Word Document that said “LOVE” and one that said “IRISH” using a few different fonts. I printed both out and cut out each letter individually. These letters became my templates, and I traced them onto the scrapbook paper.
I then simply cut on the line of each letter and what seemed to be an alphabet later… I was all set to glue!
Helpful Hint: I would suggest tracing your letters on the backside of your scrapbook paper instead of on the front side if possible. By doing this, you will avoid having to erase any of the pencil marks you miss while cutting.
I added some Mod Podge to each block and attached the first layer of paper.
I then added the letters with another layer of Mod Podge. Finally I added the last coat of Mod Podge to the TOP of the entire block. I know this goes against your better judgment… I was extremely hesitant during this step because Mod Podge does not paint on clear. The idea of painting a glue-like substance onto the top of your hand-crafted papers just doesn’t seem right, but trust me… it’s worth it. This coat will dry clear and ensure that your paper stays flat and stays stuck to your wood block for years and years to come. After all our hard work, we need these blocks to last for at least that long. Let the LOVE side dry and repeat this entire process on the IRISH side. Before long, you are all set for the next two holidays.
I added some extra ribbon but any embellishment would be the perfect finishing touch.
With a few extra accessories, I was in L.O.V.E.
After Valentine’s Day is over, I plan to flip my blocks around and enjoy them for at least another month longer. These double sided irish blocks give a whole new meaning to “going green”.
Raise your hand if you “played school” growing up. Trust me… no one’s judging.
While some young girls played Barbies or dolls, my sisters and I were busy “playing school” in our basement. Thanks to our fabulous mother, our basement “classroom” was complete with educational posters, office supplies galore, official grade books, and even activity books for our usually imaginary students. The sad reality was that all three sisters insisted on being the teacher, so we rarely had any opportunity for student participation. This unfortunate reality didn’t stop us. We still filled those grade books with grades (who these grades belonged to, I’m still unsure), we still lectured about the content we needed to cover, and we still documented all of our classroom discipline issues on the chalkboard. Yikes!
That little classroom was far more effective than we could ever realize at the time. The grade books, lesson plans, and students may be long gone (hopefully), but our love for the classroom is still around. All three sisters are still playing school, this time, with three big differences:
3. No more imaginary students
Oh, and one more thing survived the test of time (and my mom’s obsession with “getting rid of clutter”)… our one and only classroom desk. When I look at this vintage school desk, I have no choice but to think of the endless hours I spent hanging out with my wonderful sisters in this influential classroom.
It must have been one of our “unruly students” who did a number on the top of this desk. If I am going to look at this rehabbed vintage desk in my new home, I cannot be reminded of those darn trouble makers.
Here is a piece of hot glue, mixed with glitter and fuzz, dried on the seat of this gem. This has got to go…
I want to breathe new life into this treasured memory and add this childhood treasure into the new home of two teachers. To start the rehab of this vintage desk and bring it from drab to far more fab, I followed these simple steps:
2. wipe down
4. wipe down
To start the sanding process you will need…
Note: I used a power sander, but with a little more blood, sweat and tears, regular sand paper could work
The large surfaces were much easier to sand. The smaller pieces were a tad more difficult only because it was awkward to get the power sander into the small areas. To avoid this awkwardness, you can ditch the power sander in these areas and use plain sand paper instead.
A few tips when using a power sander:
1. Go with the grain of the wood for optimal results
2. Use some muscle when sanding
3. Keep sanding until all surfaces are uniform
A couple hours later with a lot less day light…
… the sanding was complete!
Next step: Take a little soap and water and wipe down the entire desk. You want to make sure you wipe off ALL of the sanding dust to prepare it for staining. Once you wipe down the entire desk, paying close attention to any small groves or uneven surfaces, let the desk sit and dry over night. You may have to wipe the desk a couple times to successfull remove all of the dust you created with the sander.
To start with the staining process, you will need stain (any color), an old paint brush that you plan on throwing away, a few pieces of old cloth that will also be thrown away, and I used rubber gloves to protect my hands from staining.
I started staining the smaller parts of the desk first and avoided the larger surfaces until the very end. Remember when using stain you want to brush on the stain go in the same direction as the grain of the wood. You also want to make sure that you keep the stain on for a few minutes and then evenly wipe off all of the excess. Make sure to wipe the stain off of the wood using the grain as your guide! If you are looking for a darker finish after you have wiped off your stain, repeat this process until you reach your desired shade!
Here’s a fellow teacher and DIY-in-training getting in on the fun. 😉 This was his first stain project! #soproud
After all of the sides and legs of the desk were stained, we stained the seat and the tabletop of the desk. Here is a picture of the stain before we wiped it off, hence the shining surface. Disclaimer: Do not wait too long to wipe off your stain, especially in warmer weather. If you wait too, too long, the stain can turn thick and be very difficult to wipe off, causing a huge mess and a undesirable finished product.
After the staining process is complete, make sure you discard all of your stained cloth. I’m all about re-using material project after project, but staining material is definitely an exception. You don’t want to keep these dirty cloths around, as can become combustible material (thanks dad).
After we wiped down our “new” desk and threw away all of our stained materials, I watched in pure excitement as this old treasure started to take on new life! Check out our A+ work….
Am I the only one that feels it is absolutely necessary to bring hints of your childhood into your home? How have you incorporated a piece of childhood into your home’s decor? Give me your tips and tricks!
I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting this moment. I know you’ve been thinking “Casey, how could you torture me for an entire week with no beautiful AFTER picture of the hutch?” I know, I know…it’s been hard for us both.
My friends, the hutch has finally arrived. And she is just as beautiful as I remembered.
But before we get to those aforementioned AFTER photos, I need to tell you about a few final details we made to really transform this piece.
I forgot to mention in my Part 1, that the hutch didn’t just get an exterior upgrade. Oh no no, she got the full celebrity treatment, and received a little face lift on the inside.
With the help of some cute, purple-checked, wrapping paper from Costco, we were able to transform the drawers and cabinets.
We Jan simply cut out the paper to line the cabinets/drawers (we all know I’m not the best with scissors…)
I then mod podged it to the wood…let it dry a bit…and mod podged the top.
The Janimal in action!
So outside is looking good. Inside is looking good.
Janimal loaded her up and brought the new beauty down to STL.
Now, I originally didn’t know if I would be using the top mirrored part of the hutch. I just didn’t feel it was really my style. A little more old-school than my taste.
So we set her up sans top part, as seen below.
But here’s the thing…Moms always seem to know best. Janimal insisted I take some pics with her and the boy holding up the top part just to see if it might work.
And guess what..she was right. I actually DID like it with the top piece! We screwed it in and were ready to fill her to the gills with kitchenware.
So this DISASTER ZONE happened.
We are really into organization around here, and a new piece with tons of storage meant we needed to reevaluate our entire kitchen setup.
So out came EVERYTHING! And we spent our Saturday afternoon finding a new kitchen setup that works for us.
Into the drawers went place mats, napkins, and towels.
Into the cabinets went cookbooks, vases, candles, and oddly shaped pans.
Isn’t she gorgeous with the glossy wood?!
And how about those shiny fixtures?
She is definitely a great new addition to our kitchen.
I’m still playing around with how to decorate the top without making it look too cluttered.
So far I’ve got a new table lamp from Ikea…
Cloth napkins in a $5 peacock bowl from Home Goods.
And a few other knick knacks to tie the blue and white theme together.
I’m thinking I will eventually get some chunky white frames to put over hutch, and add a little height. But for now, I think she is dreamy!
So, what do you think about my decision to use the top mirrored part?
Isn’t she gorgeous? Jan’s friend recently moved, and didn’t have room for this vintage hutch. Luckily, Jan acted quickly and brought it home with her before anyone else could snatch her up. (Way to go Janimal!)
So, I planned a weekend trip home specifically to meet my new beautiful hutch
Me: Hey there beautiful… Hutch: Silence. Me: Let’s strip you down and stain you up (rubbing the wood beneath my fingertips) Hutch: Silence.
Okay, enough with me being a creep to furniture.
When I originally saw the hutch in the above picture, I thought I would paint her white.
But, upon closer inspection I realized it would be a sin (a sin I tell ya!) to cover it with paint.
The details were just way too ornate and handcrafted to cover up with paint.
But I definitely had to do something to her. Look at the top of the piece…
The wood was dry and in need of some TLC. There were also some water spots that needed attention.
Aren’t the antique knobs and pulls absolutely GORGEOUS?!
But they too, needed some TLC.
So I came up with a game plan to re-store the hutch: Condition the wood and deepen the natural color, and give the hardware a nice new shine!
I also wanted to cover up the flowers on the top part of the hutch. Yes, they were painted on there so beautifully, but it’s just not my style (don’t hate me!)
Here is what I gathered to get ready for this project…
120 & 220 Grit Sandpaper
Minwax Polyshades in American Chestnut Satin ($8)
Wood Stain Paint Brush
Noxon Metal Polish ($6)
My first step was to remove the hardware…
And then sand down the piece, making sure to smooth out any damaged parts of the top.
I used 220 grit sandpaper for the front and sides of the piece. And then a coarser 120 grit for the top.
I also sanded down the top of the mirror piece, to get rid of the painted flowers (goodbye!)
Then, after wiping off any excess dust, dirt, or wood shavings I cracked open the stain.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to go in the direction of the grain of the wood. Just trust me on this one!
Also, make sure you don’t glob on too much stain. There will be plenty of time to deepen the color, in the next 2 coats.
Just after one thin coat, I noticed a huge improvement!
Here’s the entire hutch after just one coat of stain.
And here is the top piece…
Lookin’ good already!
The stain directions said to wait at least 6 hours before applying the next coat. So I let the hutch sit overnight.
While watching the Olympics (go USA!), Jan and I polished up the hardware.
And what a difference it made!
The next morning, I lightly sanded down the furniture with steel wool. This got rid of any stickiness from the first coat of stain.
I then stained that bad boy again, and again. 3 coats in all.
Sadly, this is not the end where I show a fabulous before and after picture of the hutch. This is the time where I wait 6 days for the hutch to be driven from Chicago to St. Louis (by the one and only Janimal..don’t I just have the best mom?!)
So I promise in Part 2, you will absolutely get that satisfying before and after picture. In the meantime, I’m dreaming up how to decorate and accessorize this new piece of furniture for our home…
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