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Posts Tagged ‘distressed’

My friend Allison Dodson, who it seems I talk about a lot on this blog, shared this really great blog with me the other day. It’s called younghouselove.com. If you go to their site and click on “House Tour,” it will show you the before and after of their little ranch home in Richmond. Warning: you might want to make sure you have about 45 min. to kill before you go to their site– it’s impossible not to get sucked in! It’s really amazing what they’ve done with it and it’s practically all DIY. I’m definitely not as crafty as they are, but their blog reminded me of this great project that my dad and I tackled a while back that I thought that I would share.

Ryan and I have a pretty small bedroom, so, when we moved in, I decided that I wanted to have all white furniture in our bedroom to make the space feel as airy (and not cramped) as possible. I found this beautiful dresser at Anthropologie and the bedroom of my dreams started coming into focus.

Beautiful isn’t it? The only problem was that the price was $2,667 (before tax and shipping!). Considering I wasn’t working at the time, (and even if I were, I could think of a lot better ways to spend $3,000), that option was out. Also, I have a thing for one-of-a-kind pieces. And, as beautiful as the Anthropologie dresser looks online with their ethereal bohemian staging, I’m sure it would feel much more commercial once I actually had it in my home (and my bank account had been reduced by $3,000).

Fear not! I’ve never had a problem spending a Saturday afternoon at Circa scrounging for deals. Luckily, between a few vigilant, scouting weekends, I found this beautiful, nearly 7′ long dresser. Hello, amazing storage!

This solid wood dresser with a custom glass top was only about $225 at Circa. I also found two little side tables (probably from somewhere like Crate and Barrel originally) that I snagged for about $40 a piece. The only problem with all of the pieces that I bought was that they were all a very dark brown.

Enter Dan Kosut. My dad assured me that we could take the pieces that I found and turn them from drab to fab. So, here’s what we did on a mild day back in March that gave me and Ryan a one-of-a-kind, not too matchy-matchy bedrom set.

1. We moved the furniture outside to a sunny, well ventilated spot where the furniture could dry quickly. We took a bucket of water and poured a cup or so of ammonia in it. Then, we put on gloves and took a very fine scouring pad and rubbed the furniture down with the water and ammonia mixture. So, it was a two-in-one cleaning/ sanding. We put a little elbow grease into it, but really didn’t spend to much time on it (between the two of us doing three pieces of furniture), maybe 5-10 minutes tops. Then we wiped the furniture down with paper towels.

2. After the furniture dried, we took a primer (which we diluted a little with water) and sprayed it on (with a spray gun that my dad had bought at Lowe’s for about $30). However, if we could do it over, we just would have used a little roller brush. The spray gun was fussy, expensive and ultimately a waste of time.

3. After the primer dried, we painted everything an off-white. My dad rolled on the paint with the little roller brush and I kind of went behind him, while the paint was still wet, and made a few brush strokes with a paint brush, just to make it look a little more hand-painted. This may not be  a necessary step for everyone. It just depends how sleek vs. rustic you want it to look.

(Sorry, there’s no picture for this step! I guess I was a little busy actually helping with this step!)

4. After the paint dried, we took another kind of fine sand paper (this one had more of a foam backing and was soft and a few inches thick, so that is would sort of bend and mold around the furniture as we sanded) and we brushed the specific areas that we want to look “distressed” until some of the paint came off/ the wood came through. When you rub it down, there’s a fine grit and residue that comes off that we wiped away (with a paper towel) as we went along. One thing we noticed, was that as we sanded, the color of the paint changed from an off-white to more of a cream. If I’d known that the paint would yellow a bit as you brushed it, I might have started with a more traditional white paint, rather than an off-white.

5. The last step was spraying a coat of polyurethane on it. My dad just bought a can of it (like a spray can) at the hardware store. After the polyurethane dried, we put on new hardware that I got at Lowe’s. I know there are places that have fancier and more expensive hardware (like Anthropologie) but the pulls and knobs I got at Lowe’s suited this dresser just fine.

And here is our finished product:

Some details:

And, here is one of the bedside tables. We decided not to distress these, as we wanted to avoid all the pieces looking too matchy-matchy.

We accomplished all of this in less than a day’s worth of work and honestly, what takes the longest, is waiting for things to dry. The amount of time that you are actually painting or sanding something is probably less than an hour total! I estimate that I probably spent about $80 on new hardware/ paint/ rollers, etc., which means that for this huge bedroom makeover, I only spent about $385 (including the cost of the furniture) which is a fraction of what it would have cost me to buy that one Anthropologie dresser. Let’s do a side-by-side comparison.

What do you think? I think ours looks pretty darn close to the original. Maybe even better!

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