Archive of ‘Guest Post’ category

As easy as DIY!

So, my friend Eliza, went to work and has already turned around her vintage desks! You can click here to see my suggestions on how to get started.









She was so excited to learn how easy this was that she tackled a vintage buffet in her home, too!  They look gorgeous-I think the wood was reaaaaalllly thirsty!





 Now she’s working on the details. More tips coming later this week!

Happy Spring Cleaning


Part IV: Carolyn Conquers All!

Finished Hutch

Alright, here’s the happy ending you’ve all been waiting for… I think there’s some true love at the end. ~Ali

PART IV: Carolyn Conquers the Hutch

Phase 5: Applying undercoat.

For the undercoat, I used one, count em’ one, coat of Benjamin Moore latex enamel (slate blue) to cover the exterior of the top section of the hutch as well as the cabinet top, sides and doors. The enamel went on easily and didn’t bleed due to the coat of shellac I applied early in the process.

It was at this point that I began to see the hutch as a thing of beauty and not an eyesore, but we’re not done yet!

Hutch in Progress

Phase 6: Crackle Paint

The transformation from eyesore to beauty wasn’t enough for me. I wanted the hutch to be something special, something I would like in my home and something I hope you would like in yours.

If you have never used crackle paint you are in for a treat. The effect is lovely, and can be really dramatic depending on how much you use and the colors used for base coat and contrast. I used Martha Stewart’s fine crackle paint over the blue enamel.

You need to apply a liberal amount of crackle paint to achieve even minimal crackle effect. Brush it on in smooth, even strokes and do not go back over areas you have already painted. Crackle paint is the consistency of watered-down Elmer’s Glue and like glue, “begins” to dry quickly. Attempting to paint over spots will make the paint clump and ruin the crackle potential. Apply a second coat only after waiting for the initial coat to dry and know that it can take up to 24 hours to fully dry, so don’t rush it. Another thing you need to know about crackle paint is that when applied anywhere but on an even, horizontal surface, it drips and drips and drips.

Crackle for Hutch

The only thing that passed for a flat surface on the hutch was the top of the cabinet. Applying liberal amounts of crackle paint to that surface was easy, what wasn’t was keeping up with the drips forming off the edges and, later on the sides of the cabinet. You can clean up “crackle” drips and return an hour later and find more. Clean those up and four hours later you’ll find more. Clean those up and the next morning you’ll find more drips that solidified in the night. Argggggggghhh! You can scream or you can lightly sand the drips and touch up the paint in the areas where the drips marred the original paint job. Don’t give up, you’re almost there! Just deal with it.

If, after the crackle paint dries, you find the crackle effect isn’t as pronounced as you had hoped, apply (liberally) another crackle coat and let dry at least 24 hours. Two coats later, and assuming you are happy with the amount of crackle, apply the top contrast coat. Apply the contrast coat in small amounts and wipe it away immediately with a soft cloth. If you leave the top coat on the crackle paint too long, the top coat will soak in and obliterate the crackle paint and back to square one it is. The effect you want is to simply color the “cracks” for contrast.

Crackle Up Close

I diluted two cups of the ivory latex paint (I originally used this in the chalk paint), as my contrast coat over the crackle. The effect was just what I wanted. The overall look is subtle crackle with a whitewash finish.

Don’t expect the world from crackle paint. The effect you love in one area with one color may not work so great in another. I tried the inverse of the blue base with white on one of the hutch door inserts and hated the result. That meant I had to repaint the door… two additional coats of chalk paint later, I switched gears and decided to use an unobtrusive stencil on both doors to break up the ivory. I mixed the blue enamel with a little of the ivory chalk paint for a tone that complemented the rest of the cabinet and used it on the doors with a delicate rope pattern stencil. Turns out this was a good choice.

Phase 7: Sealing the paint.

I used Howard Feed-N-Wax wood polish and conditioner to seal the paint on the interior and exterior of the hutch. Apply the wax with a soft cloth, working in small in circles for complete coverage. Wax adds a wonderful look and feel to painted furniture that you cannot achieve with other products (polyurethane or shellac). Plus, the wax has a lemony smell that is similar to furniture polish rather than the overwhelming odor of urethane. It also cures faster — typically in 48 hours.

Phase 8: To Market.

 The ivory doors? The owner of the shop helped us move the hutch into our space and as we positioned the cabinet section on a cart he said, “This looks great and I really like the decoration on the doors. Is that some kind of rope stencil?” Validation – I love it.

Finished Hutch

I want a hutch.

Well, that’s it for Carolyn’s fantastic hutch transformation series! Thanks, C, for helping me out. I wish I could tell you all where to buy this fabulous hutch… but it sold as soon as it hit shop, if you’re interested in our other up-cycled goods visit our shop in Lewes, Delaware at Practically Yours.


Part III: Manhandling Hardware

Ready to hear more about how Carolyn prettied up this beast? Here’s Part III: In which, Carolyn moves on to the hardware…. Click here to view Part I or click here for Part II.

hutch 1

Phase 4: Doors and hinges and drawer pulls, oh no.

I refer to this as the grumble-fest portion of the project.

The next time you consider buying a piece of furniture damaged beyond normal wear and tear with the thought of refurbishing, be darn sure that it is repairable without major reconstructive surgery, including replacing hardware. As I mentioned earlier, one of the doors on the hutch was damaged and hanging loosely on its hinge. The door didn’t close without effort and when it did, it scratched and dug into the cabinet. My thought was, the door is damaged I’ll repair it. Followed by, it has a broken hinge(?), I’ll just buy new hinges.

For wood that is cracked, has significant scars or could use some larger scale reconstructive patching, plastic wood (wood putty) has come to my rescue a number of times. I used a bit of DAP Plastic Wood on the cabinet doors to strengthen areas cracked as a result of stress from the broken hinge and it worked very well. Plastic wood is easy to work with, dries relatively fast, is extremely sturdy and sands easily. The downside is that it has a really strong odor, similar to solvent, and should only be used in a well ventilated area. You should always use gloves when working with plastic wood because, besides the smell, it also sticks to skin and is difficult to scrub off (if you do get it on your skin, wipe it off immediately and use a dab of vegetable oil on a paper towel to remove the residue).

The standard hardware in use today for furniture, kitchen cabinets, etc., is configured differently from that in use 50 years ago. This can make finding replacement hardware for older pieces of furniture and cabinetry difficult. Your typical hardware store be it, big box or mom and pop, will likely not carry hardware that fits older furniture. That in mind, you’ll say, “oh, I’ll just go online and find what I need.” Well, you might luck out finding something that will fit your piece, and you might not.

If you are looking for hinges you will want to try them out. If you are lucky enough to find something similar in design (manufacture) you need to try it on the door to be sure it works, meaning the door will hang correctly, and open and close as it should. Your chances of finding the right fit for any one particular piece of furniture are pretty slim. We bought different model hinges at two big box retailers and one mom and pop. None of them fit the doors. What to do next?

I drilled new holes and reset the old door hinges. Even so, right up to the moment when we moved the hutch into the Painted Lark shop, my husband was still adjusting the door on the left side of the hutch so that it would close snugly and, yet, not dig into the new paint. What a pain in the neck, but don’t go away, we are not done talking hardware.

Next up: drawer pulls that tug on your sanity.

Carolyn Pulls

The original pulls on the hutch were brass. I wanted silver. I looked at the same big box stores and could not find pulls that were less than 3”. The pulls on the hutch are of course, 2 ½.” No big deal I said! I’ll go online and find the right size pulls. Nope. Try finding pulls under 3”. Another of those charming changes that took place in the 50+ years since the hutch was made. Again I said, “no big deal! I can simply drill new holes in the drawers to accommodate 3” pulls. Since I was forced to use the larger size, I also went the extra mile and ordered cutesy “fish” pulls online.

I proceeded to drill new holes in the two top drawers, everything moved along swimmingly. Two busted drill bits later… I came to the realization that in the middle of the larger “three pull drawer” there was metal of some sort embedded in the wood which would prevent my using 3” pulls. I put my cutesy fish pulls back in the box and from there it was to the refrigerator to grab a beer (or two). Enough already!

In the depths of my despair (and otherwise coming unhinged over ill fitting hinges and trials of trying to retrofit 3” pulls on a cabinet originally featuring 2 ½” pulls), I stumbled on a sale of spray paint at the local hardware store. There just happened to be silver metallic paint among the cans. My husband suggested that I try spray painting the original brass pulls. Golly, three coats of spray paint later, it worked! Back out came the plastic wood to fill the extra holes I had drilled in the drawers and thus back to square one.

If there is a lesson in this, it’s some variation of the CSNY’s song “Love the One You’re With.”

And finally, we’ll reveal the happy ending to Carolyn and the Hutch in our next post! ~Ali

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