Monday, May 28, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Long Awaited Dresser Post - Part 2

(Click here to read part 1)

So where were we? Oh yes, I believe we left off somewhere around here:

A hunk of burning dresser love
The dresser had been sanded and stained, leaving us with a gorgeous grain (seriously, look at it) and thismuch closer to a finished product.

The next step was to put on the top coat - the one part of the process that I was actually able to do myself. Cue the giddyness.Who has two thumbs and gets excited about applying sealer? This girl. The product I used is called Safecoat Acrylacq and it looks a little something like this:

At nearly $30 including shipping, it's not exactly a bargain but it had my vote for a couple of reasons. The first is that it's non toxic, low odor and low voc, which meant that I could apply it without worrying that my unborn child would sprout a last minute third arm (mission accomplished!). Secondly, it seals in any offgassing that might arise from the wood and stain, which makes me feel okay about putting it in the nursery. And thirdly, it comes highly recommended from Young House Love, my oft-referred to DIY blog resource. Also note my stylish respirator mask, left over from painting the nursery, which, combined with applying it in a well ventilated area, further protected my little man from any unwanted extra limbs. Yeah you're welcome, Harrison.

I ended up putting on three coats of the sealer, sanding lightly with fine steel wool in between each coat. The steel wool was able to sand down the tiny rough spots that popped up without taking off the sealer (it just dulled it down a bit), so it worked perfectly. After rubbing the surfaces quickly with the wool, I ran a damp cloth over everything to get rid of the dust and then applied my next coat of acrylacq, letting it cure overnight. Rinse and repeat.

Oooo shiny

Once the final coat cured, my step-dad loaded the bad boy up in his truck, hauled it up to our second floor apartment and now it sits all pretty-like in the nursery!

I have plans for the wall behind the dresser, hence the "in progress" label. While the dresser itself is finished the nursery isn't quite there yet. Here's the previous list I posted:
  • Set up the crib (my wonderful mother and step-dad got it for us and it should be in this week!)
  • Fix up the dresser (I finally found one...more on that soon!)
  • Finish the mobile
  • Possibly find a twin bed for guests/those late night visits to the nursery - however this might be a "Phase 2" project
  • Make/buy curtains
For now we're shelving the bed idea, but I also need to add:
  • Build book shelves (my next big project)
  • Hang up wall art
And now for more photos of the dresser, including a proper before and after:

It's hard to get across the exact coloration of the dresser, but the photo on the left below the "before" picture is probably the most accurate. It's a nice rich golden color and I love it.

Total cost breakdown:

Dresser: $43.30
Stain: Free (on hand)
Steel Wool: Free (on hand)
Paintbrush: Free (on hand)
Mask: Free (on hand)
Safecoat Acrylacq: $29.48

Total: $72.78

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Long Awaited Dresser Post - Part 1

I'm a big fat liar... I believe it was in my March 6th post when I said that I'd be back later in the week with a dresser update. Admittedly things have been a little crazy, what with delivering a baby and what not. But let's put all of that behind us...and onto the dresser update reveal!

Well...not quite the reveal. That will be in Part 2. Liar again, I know. I'm workin' on it. In the meantime I'll be over here hanging with Jim Carrey.

So the dresser that we ended up buying was one that I had seen early on but at $60 was a little more than I was willing to pay at the time. Then after spending two weekends striking out at garage sales and Goodwills (not to mention the previous months of combing CraigsList all stalker-like), I decided to revisit the resale shop. It was closed. Sonofagun. Well not closed per se. The owner of that space was relocating to another part of the property and was supposed to be open again by the next weekend. He wasn't. But in a stroke of luck, another man on the property let us into the space because we were looking for a particular piece and were ready to buy. The best part was that I offered $40 and he agreed (this, friends, is what we refer to as a "steal"). So $43.30 later (yay tax), we had a dresser! Holy bananas I thought we'd never get there.

May I present to you: the before shot, even though we had already begun the sanding process.

The dresser was pretty scratched up, especially around the edges, and the finish on it was really dull, but I was drawn to the shape of it (I continually drool over the legs) and you can't beat that storage - currently every single drawer is full. It's a mid-century piece and I wish I knew its history, but we couldn't find a manufacturer/brand label, just this on the back:

Owosso is apparently a town in Michigan, but other than that I've got nothin'.

Luckily they stamped the word "dresser" on there, you know, in case we forget.

I was really excited about refinishing this dresser because I had never made over a piece of furniture before. One hiccup: I was pregnant. And even though I was ready to jump in (with protective face mask in hand), my parentals voiced their concerns, particularly with the sanding process. In the end we struck a compromise: I wouldn't take part in the sanding or staining, but I would get to finish things up by applying the top coat (which was non toxic & low VOC, but more on that later).

So in one afternoon my stepdad knocked out the sanding step and we were left with this bad boy (minus the feet, which he tackled later):

Poor thing is naked and here I am parading him on the internet. Tsk tsk.

I then had to decide on a stain. My original plan upon getting a dresser was going to be painting it stark white to go with the crib and the deep blue walls. However, because of the quality of this piece (dovetail joints!) and the detailed grain that was exposed after we sanded it down, I reversed my plan and decided to keep it au naturel.

I was initially drawn to the dark walnut (I'm not a fan of the blond stains or anything too light), but I was worried that it would be too dark. In the end I went with Early American, which ended up looking far and away better on the dresser than it did in the brochure. My stepdad had buckets of the stuff on hand, which was another bonus, so on went the Early American. Side note: who names these things?

We did one coat to start, which I thought would be too light, but ended up being perfect. Once the stain was on it was really easy to see just how beautiful the grain of the wood was. I'll save most of that for the next post, but here's a sneak peek...

Ooo la  la!