DIY: Gorgeous Gray Buffet

You don't need to remind me.  I know I have completely neglected this blog for the past several months (over seven to be exact), and my only good excuse is that I was in graduate school getting my Multiple Subject Credential. Why yes, it is a good excuse. Thank you for your understanding. However, I have finally received this long-awaited piece of paper--well, it's actually just a virtual document that I can't even hang on my wall--through sleepless nights, long commutes, grading papers, and the grueling TPA's. Once that was completed, I began my summer job at my church where I was a camp counselor and led a second grade class. I get paid to have fun, seriously. That ended the last week of July, along with all of my real responsibilities outside the home. Currently, I have no job.  The teaching market is rough right now, to put it nicely, but honestly I am enjoying the freedom. Freedom from writing papers and studying for exams, freedom from driving an hour each way to get to school or student teaching, freedom from responsibility for the first time ever. Is it selfish to say that is feels fabulous? That I love having the ability to spend time with my husband who works night shifts? That I have time to finish all of the unfinished projects I've had lying around my house for months? Maybe it is. Or maybe for this season, God has a plan for me that doesn't include working, but investing in my marriage and find joy in my love for DIY.  

The past couple weeks, I have been laboring over a piece that I bought at a yard sale for $45.  I got a GREAT deal.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Beautiful curves and ornate hardware.  It was love at first sight.  Originally, the plan was to paint this bad boy and rent it out for the business, but the hubby rejected the idea of moving this heavy piece to and from events.  I couldn't blame him.  Together, we make a pretty good team loading and unloading things, but this piece is a beast.  So my vision changed.  This was going to stay in my own home, and that meant it had to be something I would love to see everyday. 

Sorry for the poor quality.  It was taken on a camera phone at night. 

The first step was to sand it down all the way to bare wood.  I tried two different strippers to make this task a litter more bearable, but neither worked well.  So it was back to sanding it my hand. This was truly a labor of love.  The only flat pieces on the buffet were the top, side panels, and the drawer and door faces. I used a belt sander for the top and a finishing sander for the rest of the flat pieces. Everything else was by hand.  Hours and hours and hours of sanding.  If my hubby didn't jump in and help me a couple of times, I'm sure I would have threw in the towel. 

I used a 100 grit to get most of the poly and stain off, then moved to a 120 grit.   Once the entire piece was sanded, I used a 220 grit to make it nice and smooth. 
Once it was all sanded, I wiped off all of the debris to make sure it was nice and clean.  The first technique I used was a gray wash.  1 part white paint, 1 part gray paint, and 4 parts water.  I mixed it up and painted it on, almost immediately wiping it off.  This is an important step, not only because the paint will be on the runny side, but because I just spent hours upon hours sanding this thing by hand so I could see the wood grain.  If there were spots that didn't show enough of the grain, I took my 220 grit and sanded it to my liking. 

Up close gray wash.  Those markings on the drawer is from the hardware, which you won't see when it is put back on.  
 After the gray wash, I applied Minwax Classic Gray stain.  Always remember, you can shake a can of paint, but always stir stain. The stain added some depth to the piece, but it still wasn't the gray I was looking for.  

Gray stain detail
 I created my own mixture of stain, adding Minwax Classic Gray with Minwax Ebony.  I loved the richness of the stain, but when I wiped it off, I was left with sort of a "blah" gray color. So, I decided not to wipe it off! I was a bit hesitant because I have never not wiped off stain, but it turned out beautifully! 

 Then I moved on to hardware.  I was for sure keeping the original because it was so gorgeous, I just needed to make it fit the new look of the piece. I bought some metallic spay paint, but found that it made the hardware look cheap and plastic.  I decided to do an antiquing glaze over it, and viola it's perfect! 

Here is the hardware on the piece.  
Here comes the fun part! I decided to paint the inside a pop of color.  Why?  Because I can! It's such a fun surprise, isn't it?

Then I lined the drawers with beautiful paper using Mod Podge.

 And here is it in all of its gorgeous glory. Oh, how I love it! 

In this picture, your can see that I painted the sides of the drawers a dark gray.  For some reason, it looks blue, but it's gray, I promise. I decided to go with the gray because I thought continuing the paper or the pain on the outside of the drawer would be too much. 

Beautiful transformation? I think so.  Here's to unemployment, time with the hubby, and DIY projects!


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DIY: Vintage Ladder Part 2

Remember the ladder we built?  If you missed the step-by-step tutorial, check it out here!

So, now we are going to make that ladder look vintage. First step, beat it up. I used my hubby's huge hammer (the head, tail, and side) and whacked the sides and rungs of the ladder. 

I pulled out four different paint colors.  The beige and the medium gray I found in the Oops section at Home Depot, so I don't know the names, but the blue and charcoal gray are Behr Neptune Blue and Sled.

I just dipped my brush in the different paints, layering them on the wood.  You don't have to layer it thick, or even cover the entire board

It doesn't have to be perfect!

Once you have painted the ladder, take a high grit sand paper (I used 60) sand it until the grain of the wood pops

Then wipe the entire piece with a wet rag to ensure the ladder is free of any sawdust.  Open up some stain (I used Minwax Provincial) and slap it on. I didn't leave the stain on very long before I wiped it off. 

And here is the finished product! 

And there you go! A ladder that looks like reclaimed barn wood

Wait until the ladder is completely dry (I waited about 20 hours, just to be safe) and then add your accessories! I was able to hang all of my scarves and belts.

Now, they take up less space and everything is displayed so nicely. :]


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DIY: Vintage Ladder Part 1

There are so many great things you can do with an old ladder. They add so much character to a room, especially a room with tall ceilings. They can also function as storage for a bathroom or laundry room. Check out these photos I found on Pinterest for some inspiration.

I wanted a place to store all of my scarves, and I thought that a ladder would be the perfect way to display them while having that vintage look that I love. My hunk of a husband helped me out on this project. 

1 3/8” circle drill bit
Power Drill
Compound Miter Saw
One 1 3/8” wooden Dowel
Two 1” x 4” x 6’ wood boards
Tape measure
Ten 2 ½” nails

Measure where you want the rungs of the ladder to go.
I thought every 12 inches looked good.

 Start with one end of the board, elevating it off of the ground with bricks or other wood.  Carefully, use your drill bit to create a your circular cut.

 Repeat every 12 inches (five holes on each piece of wood)

 Next, mark your wooden dowel.  I cut mine every 16 inches. Keep in mind, the ends will be hidden behind the larger pieces of wood. 

 Place your dowel in the holes of one of the pieces. Put the rungs through the holes of the other 1 x 4

Starting with the first rung, take a nail hammer it straight through the top of the 1 x 4 and into the rung below.  Note: you may want to use your hammer to make sure the wooden dowel is flush with the 1 x 4 before putting the nail in

 Repeat with all other rungs.

And there you go!  Stay tuned for part 2, which will show you how to distress it to make it look vintage.

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