I come from a family of artistic people but have never really thought of myself as such. While I have been known to be able to scratch out a pretty awesome picture using my pointer finger on the screen of an iPhone during a heated game of Draw Something, the talent stops there. Hey, I’m a kind person, I’m pretty darn funny, and I’m loyal so I do ok.
Please bear with me if you have read this story before…it gets better at the end! About two years ago, Jason and I decided to redo our kitchen. I was finally able to tear down the country green and white herb illustrated back splash that had been plaguing my nightmares since our first trip through the place. It was a dream come true. I wanted to paint the kitchen cabinets to freshen up our mid 90’s golden oak. Cousin Brian, who is a contractor and has been remodeling and building homes for years, recommended staining instead. Jason researched and found a product called General Finishes Java Gel Stain. All of the tutorials raved about how easy it is to use and how beautiful the results are. The closest retailer was Brass Armadillo so I ran out and bought my first (of many) cans and tested it out. The results were amazing after just the first coat! After each one, I would tell Jason how much I loved it and that I wanted to stop but he urged me to keep going. Between the kitchen and downstairs powder room, we have a total of 34 cabinet drawers and doors that needed stained. Not to mention the actual cupboards themselves, so this was quite a huge project for my first time! I think it took a total of 2 weeks to stain them all and give them ample drying time (during a hot and very humid Iowa month of August) before adding protective coats of polyurethane. The end result was a kitchen filled with deep, rich cabinetry that still shows the gorgeous wood grain. This shows a great before and after image that really highlights the difference with the cabinets. I love how they turned out and I LOVE General Finishes Gel stain and use it frequently, BUT if I had to do it all again, I would use the General Finishes Milk Paint and paint them instead. Making sure you get the stain going with the grain can be tricky. I will show tutorials with upcoming projects. With the paint, it’s not nearly as big of a deal. Plus – 2 coats instead of 4! That’s a no brainer. However, I do LOVE the look of our cabinets and have definite pride in my hard work!
During our renovation, we tore out a desk and shelving area that was in a little nook across from the fridge. I thought it would be the perfect place for a hutch or buffet, so I started my search. Paula Dean’s furniture is exactly what I was looking for! Gorgeous antiqued pieces in beautiful colors. I fell in love with the pieces and Jason developed a hate/hate relationship with the price tags. I knew after what we paid for our renovation, that an expensive hutch would be out of the question so I decided finally to try to find something that I could paint myself. After just one day of shopping with my dear friend Kelly, I found my adorable hutch. I stained the top, the top of the buffet section, and the very bottom to add some contrast. I also tried staining the wainscot on the back, but it didn’t work well – most likely because it wasn’t real wood – I’m continuing to learn things through this process! I found a beautiful teal chalk paint at Tweedle Dee in Ankeny. (it’s a crafty consignment type shop but she sells a lot of her own furniture, the paint, and much more). I decided to remove the doors so that it would be more open. The original brassy hardware was pretty grungy so I tried cleaning it. That didn’t work very well and I knew it would be difficult to find replacements so I decided to try spray painting it. I just found a great shiny black paint that adheres to metal. Easy peasy! It was just the contrast that my little hutch needed! I love the bright pop of color in our kitchen!
And After….And so it began, my love for painting furniture. I have been through many projects over the past few years. I’ve found things that work and things that don’t. I’ve made mistakes and had to start from scratch. I’ve had pieces that I’ve fallen in love with after the first rough coat of paint or stain. I’ve found that it is nearly impossible to get the smell of cat urine out of a beautiful chest even after it’s adorably placed by my front door. (it is now adorably airing out on my front porch!!) I’ve found great little pieces in the craziest of places and have found my spots that I can usually count on for something with character. I love looking for things that have curves or scallops, grooves or inlay, anything with depth that I know will make it that much more charming once it’s finished. Always look beyond what you see. Use your imagination to see beyond those bumps or scratches and realize how a little paint and sanding will make it appear loved instead of just worn out. I have realized through this process that I am, in fact artistic. I find such joy in knowing that I made something that was a bit tired into something beautiful. I love how using a splash of color on a small piece can make it the amazing focal point of a room.
I have had many people ask me to paint things after they’ve seen some of my work. I am terrible with charging people for things! I have painted things for friends, but most of the time I like to tell people that I can tell them how to do it for much less. That is my purpose with this site. This is something I have found a passion for and I want to share it with other people. In addition to painting, staining, distressing, antiquing, and more, I hope to also take things and create something new. My parent’s have recently retired – my dad for the second time, and I am so lucky to be able to do this with them! My dad is a pretty handy guy so I’ll be looking to him to help with small handiwork and making wobbly items more solid. My mom and I have our weekly junking trips so I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of her. And, my sarcastically sweet sixteen year old daughter, Jordan, will be taking some of these junking trips with me, too. It will be a fun journey and I hope to see some familiar faces along the way with me!
Each project will be up for sale – unless I specify ahead of time that it’s a personal piece. I know, I know, I say that a lot! But I will be branching out – and my house is already full!!
And lastly…My big tip for the day – It is definitely ok to purchase used furniture from private parties but always use your head and be careful. I try to meet in public areas when I can but with big items it’s not always possible. Just be sure to take a friend. AND, always check in drawers and other nooks and crannies because you never, ever know what critters could be lurking inside just waiting to catch a ride home with you!!