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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

(Finally) Baby P's Furniture

I mentioned in a previous post that we are on a budget for our nursery... A budget that didn't allow for all new furniture. And I had some furniture in that room already. It was my furniture set that I got for my 12th birthday. It's pretty simple, classic design. Nothing life changing. And little bit country chic (perhaps minus the chic part) with it's light knotty oak finish. But it's sturdy. And it's ours. And it's...

Completely not the look I had in mind for my nursery.
A quick jaunt around the interwebs to discount furniture sites and even craigslist quickly made me realize that purchasing a new (or new-to-us used) set of furniture would be out of the question. We just couldn't justify that kind of money. And even though I knew I should be content and just work with what I had...
I didn't want to.
So I pouted.
And I thought.

And I wondered if I could refinish the furniture?
Negative, ghost writer.
It's not real wood. It's particle board. Laminate junk. Still sturdy. But particle board nonetheless. You can't sand and stain that junk. Can I paint it? Well... I didn't really want traditional flat white furniture for Baby P's room, because I was hoping the furniture would be stuff we could keep around for a long time. You know... grow with it. I didn't want it to look too juvenile. Also, you may recall that we really wanted (and therefore purchased... well, grandma and grandpa purchased) a new crib in espresso finish. Nice and modern and classy. And a far cry from the fake light oak particle board furniture in the rest of the room.

So I dared to think something I swore to myself I would never ever think, much less include in my decor. (I think I was tainted by the 90's sponge painting craze? That my mother embraced whole heartedly in every room of our house.) I dared to think... maybe... just maybe... I could do some kind of a faux-finish that wouldn't look terrible.
And then I cringed at that word.
I took my pregnant but determined self to the Home Depot to figure it out. Got in an argument with my husband about whether or not you can stain particle board (you can't, Z. You just can't.). Got into an argument with the sales associate about whether or not you can use an interior glaze medium on furniture (You definitely can, associate. You suck at your job. Go read a crafty blog and be schooled.) And stomped out of the store annoyed but undeterred.
I shared my plan with my husband who looked at me skeptically and didn't think it would work. I shared my plan with my parents who looked at me skeptically and didn't think it would work. I shared my plan with my friend Joy who said... "Okay. Want me to come help?"
Bingo. She gets one million points for the correct response. Z and my parents are in the hole.
Everything sanded... and the bureau in the bottom right corner is primed
So here's the plan:
Step 1: SAND    Step 2: PRIME    Step 3: PAINT    Step 4: GLAZE   Step 5: TOPCOAT    Step 6: Sip lemonade on the patio and revel in my brilliance and how easy that whole thing was.
Should take me 3 days--tops-- including a whole afternoon for sipping and reveling.
I was wrong.
This project took me the better part of three weeks to complete. About halfway through our dear sweet child found that nice sciatic nerve in my spine and dedicated his evenings to pressing his skull into it with all the force his 10 oz. would let him. And it was enough to take me down and bring me to tears regularly. Z says I am not allowed to swear around the baby now that he can 'hear' us. I am pretty sure I was swearing AT the baby during this process. Not gonna win me mother of the year, I know. But DANG that was some evil nasty thing to do to one's mom. That's all I'm saying about that.

It just took forever. After sanding and priming (which took up the first week...) it took 4 coats of the chocolate brown to cover the furniture. Four coats! Four hours drying time between coats. 9 drawers, 2 cabinets, bureau and dresser... four coats. Heaven help me. I thought I would never get through. Then I glazed the thing in black to create a faux-finish (cringe) wood grain. Then 2-3 coats of the safecoat acrylacq.  Stick a fork in me. I am SO DONE with this project.
Last night I finally... FINALLY reassembled everything and installed all the new hardware and...
I love it! It looks good, faux finish and all. And I am sad my photography isn't better and you can't see it well, but check out the fake-out wood grain from the glaze on my glossy drawer fronts:

Pretty, no?
Lots of shelf space inside those doors and two big drawers.

I love it.
This will be the changing table, and count those 7 drawers for storage and little clothes!
I am so proud.
And... the non-believers?
Well, my husband is super impressed with the finished product. "It looks like real wood grain... like it was made that way, not refinished in a stuffy room in our house," he said. Yup.
My parents are baffled by the transformation. My dad keeps saying... " When you told me your plan I thought it was going to look terrible and cheap. But this looks really nice-- classy and professional." Yup.
So two thumbs up from them.
And even though it wasn't CHEAP (you know, not as cheap as just using what we had) it was a lot cheaper than buying new stuff, and it looks stellar, and as I have more time than money right now... the time investment to save money but still have fab furniture was worth it to me. And the whole thing still cost under $100 for classy brand-new looking furniture. I am very happy.

Price breakdown:
Primer and Chocolate brown interior paint: $16
Glazing medium and tint: $14
Safecoat Acrylacq: $27
New hardware (17 knobs!): $38
TOTAL: $95.00

One more look...


  1. Thank you for the props, although I don't deserve much credit. The sanding was the fun part; the painting... well, who knows how that would've gone if I helped, what with toenail painting and all. Looks fantastic! Great before/after shots.

  2. good job Valerie!!!! how did you know what glaze to buy??

  3. Joy- Maybe I just needed someone to be enthusiastic about my project. :)

    Lisa- I purchased an interior glaze medium... not sure what brand. They didn't have but 2 to choose from- i picked the cheaper. You have to mix your own color (paint) into it... Truly was not difficult, even though the guy at the paint counter told me my project would look bad when I told him I was trying to refinish laminate furniture. Whatever, dude.

  4. This looks amazing. Your baby's space will be stylin'!

  5. Thanks Stacia, that's the plan! :)

  6. Oh my goodness! These look so good! Your dad was right - very classy. :) I am way inspired to try something like this now.