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How to Paint a Craigslist Dresser in 4 Easy Steps

I finally had it one day with our cluttered hallway. It was full of plastic bins, boxes of diapers, items destined for Goodwill, and all sorts of odds and ends stacked precariously. We knew that some day in the future we would make built-in cabinets, but for now it was screaming for some TLC. So I began looking on Craigslist for some possibilities.

Tip: Use a Craigslist mobile app – so helpful when you’re not at a computer.

Step 1: Choose your dresser
Using the app, I found several that suited my needs both aesthetically and size-wise. I was looking for something kid-friendly and streamlined, no knobs or funky carvings. Just basic. One in particular was priced just right at $20, and solid oak to boot! No particle board for me, thanks. Ironically, there were two of the same model of dresser for sale (see above photo). The other was selling for $195 (and in much better condition)!

Step 2: Clean & Sand
After bringing the dresser home and taking out all the drawers, we noticed some mouse droppings in a few of them. Alarming, but not a deal-breaker. I looked on the CDC website how to properly clean and disinfect the dresser, including making a homemade bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. It sucked, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. Then came the sanding. I was expecting to do the work myself, since my husband wasn’t crazy about my plan, but he kindly offered to do the remaining work for me. He used a palm sander and gave it a good once-over. I recommend using a mask and eye protection. A benefit of this dresser’s flat, no frills style is that there aren’t any details that require special sanding.

Step 3: Prime
We have a huge 5 gallon container of primer left over from when we did our home addition last year. Some people skip this step, and that might be okay on rarely used pieces, but this will be a working dresser. If you don’t want to see chips in the paint the first time you use it, or anytime soon, then you need to prime. Tape off any areas you don’t want to paint, or when a crisp line is desired. Use a roller for ease of coverage, but have a paintbrush handy to swipe corners and other details. We decided to not paint the inner drawers, but I plan to use drawer liners. Once the primer is dry, give it a once over by hand with fine sandpaper (and maybe a sanding block).

Step 4: Paint
Because we were looking for a small budget solution, we decided to use the leftover paint from our bathroom – a medium gray semi-gloss with a bit of blue called “Still Creek”. Make sure to roll it on smooth and constantly check for drips. You can see from the photo that David had a little helper. I thought this might leave streaks on the drawer fronts, but it doesn’t as long as you roll over it while it is still wet. Chloe loved “helping” daddy.

Now that the painting is done, don’t rush to use the dresser until the paint is fully cured. The longer you wait, the harder the finish will be – up to two weeks. Otherwise you risk smudges and marks. I asked at Home Depot about a top coat, but he assured us that one wasn’t needed as long as we waited for it to fully cure.

Ta da! Here’s our dresser sitting in its new hallway spot. Soon it will have a framed wall display to go above it, but that project is still in the works. I hope to be able to share it soon. Until then, good luck and happy painting!


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Before & After: Cubbie Storage Bench + Greatroom Update


There has been a little sewing going on around here. We purchased this Martha Stewart cubbie-storage bench from Home Depot to put right inside the french doors in the great room. It came with a plain cushion so I bought some home dec fabric during the labor day sale at Joanns. What I really wanted to do was a whole entry-style unit including wall hooks for hanging jackets and such, and use the cubbie for shoes, dog items and other outdoor paraphenalia. David didn’t agree, saying that it would just accumulate junk, so we comprimised. We got the cubbie, but instead of hooks we hung our new tree of life print above it.

Do you remember this photo of our under-construction great room? Well, besides the cubbie bench we’ve finally started furnishing it to a point it is somewhat livable. We’ve been really budget conscious, so it remains on the bare side as we decide over time how best to use the space. The sofa was a happy hand-me-down from David’s parents. Otherwise the most expensive item in the room was the Ikea Bjursta dining table and bench (which we keep in the bedroom unless we have company for dinner). This is a bit of an older photo, but you can get an idea of the layout (a rare moment not toy strewn). I’ve since changed that stretch-frame fabric for a different print in an actual frame (see below). That wall is so big, I’m not sure what we’re going to do there. Shelving? A collage of frames? One huge piece of art (that we likely can’t afford)?

The only other purchases I haven’t mentioned are the 8×10 rug we bought for $100 at HomeGoods and that coffee table ottoman that we bought on sale at Fred Meyer for $50 (which I love because it is soft – no bumped heads and such). Everything else we’ve had.

P.S. After re-reading this I realized I wanted to mention that quilt above the sofa. My mother-in-law made it for us from  an old Pottery Barn sample book of discontinuted (mostly) velvet swatches of upholstery fabric. For the backing and sides she used an old deep burgundy velvet table cloth we were getting rid of. Its very heavy and very cozy. 🙂

 


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Closet Makeover

My closet was a disaster. If you promise not to judge me, you can see a “before” photo here.

Pretty awful, right? And yes, that is all my stuff. When we moved in to our original house, David kindly used the closet in the other bedroom (which is now Chloe’s nursery) and let me have this one all to myself. It wasn’t always this messy, but it got worse during the pregnancy weight gain transition. I’m still 20lbs heavy, so it will be some time before I can give up my pregnancy/nursing clothes for good.

Thankfully, moving into our new bedroom forced me to take stock of all that was in there. I purged, gave away, and re-organized. In our new bedroom closets (separate his and hers in the same room!), David and I both chose to use a ClosetMaid T3 custom shelf and rod system from Home Depot (plus one drawer for me), and we were finally able to make the switch.

Here is what it looks like now:

Amazing, right? I had to show it in two photos, because now there are sliding doors and not two swing doors that open at the same time like the old closet. Can you believe the new closet is actually smaller? The new organization makes it much more usable. Now everything has a space (and you can’t see it, but at the very top is a shelf that hold all my purses and shoulder bags, as well as a box of “skinny” clothes that I may or may not wear again. Also, those pink boxes are Ikea Drona boxes ($5) which happen to fit perfectly if set in sideways, much cheaper than adding drawers ($36).

Now the question is what color to paint the doors?


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August

It’s August! Wow! I need to really start soaking up the summer, because I know it will be gone all too soon. Check out this lovely week we’re in for:

While we Portlanders complain about the grey and rainy winters, it is the perfect summers that we live for (thankfully, not the scorching heat waves allotted to the rest of the nation). Everything is so sunny and green and beautiful out right now. Despite it’s early neglect, our garden is exploding. David’s mom did a bunch of weeding (among the many other tasks she accomplished) while she was here, and we are eating lots of fresh green beans, spinach and rainbow chard, and picked our first red tomato!

I’m happy to say that life is beginning to take on a pace that I am finally beginning to keep up with. For one thing, Leo is starting to have a recognizable schedule. I’m beginning to understand his needs, although sometimes still there is no telling and I have to try everything I can think of. Also, we finally finished the hall bathroom (aka Chloe’s Bathroom). I LOVE how it turned out, even more so than our master bathroom. Interestingly, too, we spent way less on the hall bath than the master bath, yet it still turned out better. I hope to share photos of it soon!


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More home addition progress

Things are still happening here on the house. Most notably, our master bath is close to complete! I wanted to wait and do a big reveal, but I’m too excited not to share. Everything works – our new dual-flush toilet, rain shower, and sink faucets – but there are still a few finishing touches left, like putting up the wood trim/moulding around the door, window, and floor, priming and painting the pocket door and adjusting the drawers on the sink cabinet to open and close properly. We’re talking about painting the bathroom door a fun color, but that is still undecided. Right now we’re just using a shower curtain, but eventually I’d love to have a frameless glass shower door put in. Unfortunately it costs big $$$, and there is still so much left to do yet in the rest of the house. And see that curtain? I made it from some Ikea fabric I had on hand, and I’m quite proud of how it turned out (simple as it is).

Two other notable occurrences include the professional installation of our ultra-high efficiency heat pump and the installation of our new bamboo floor. Being extra sensitive to sounds, our new heating system is taking a little getting used to, especially that only-noticeable-to-me “newly-installed” smell. I understand it is very quiet compared to most systems. Previously we had baseboards, which were almost noiseless except for occasional ticking. We used Pyramid Heating and Cooling, so if you’re in the Portland area, we would highly recommend them.

The bamboo floor was purchased from Costco, and David installed it himself over a couple of weekends. It’s noisy and repetitive work with all the pounding and sawing.   I had to take Chloe and get out of the house several times to save our sanity. It looks awesome, though. Makes me think of a ballet studio, so smooth and satiny. The above photo also shows a new-to-us Crate & Barrel sofa. My in-laws got a new sectional and drove this one out with them (from Colorado!) when they came to visit in April. It’s SO much more comfortable and better looking than our old Pottery Barn Basic sofa..

Things are really shaping up around here. Today David painted and installed lighting in our his-and-her closets. He wants us to move into the master bedroom before the baby comes, but for some reason I want to wait. It’s such a big change. I think I want to keep some sense of familiarity, plus I want to stay close to Chloe during this transitional time. Maybe I’m just silly. 🙂


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Progress

Hi! Just thought I’d check in, considering my deplorable lack of posts! Although it doesn’t always feel like it, we are actually making progress around here. This week, for example, included some landscaping, flower and vegetable gardening, a bit more painting, the final grouting/sealing/caulking of our master shower tile (all not easy with a huge 33 week belly!), and the beginning of our professional heat pump installation.

Do you have a heat pump? It was a big decision for us, deciding between a gas furnace or an electric heat pump. Our original house was fine with a couple of baseboards, but we knew we needed something better for our new space. In the end, we decided to go with the efficiency of the heat pump, especially since electricity in our area is pretty affordable compared to a lot of places. Plus the installation company gave us a deal on a refurbished unit. I hope it was the right decision.

Also partially complete is the hook-up of the Ikea Braviken Sink and Godmorgon Sink Cabinet for our master bath. It has been a real challenge for David to connect it with plumbing. He’s had to do some serious jerry-rigging due to the unusual european-style piping of the shallow double sink and having to adjust for the position of our under-sink electrical outlet.

Last weekend, Chloe also passed a major milestone – having the side-rail removed from her crib to make it a toddler bed. We probably could have left it on for longer, since she has really never tried to climb over the bar, but it seemed inevitable at almost 2 and a half. The month we were in DC she slept in the same room with me, and then when we returned to Oregon we moved her crib into our room while Grandma and Grandpa Feldkamp could have her room while they were visiting (which was AWESOME by the way). When it was time to put her back in her own room, it seemed like a good time to make the switch. I’m proud to report an almost seamless transition. My little big girl. 🙂

Home Addition by Alex Freddi Contstruction, LLC.


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Mid-February Update

Well, it’s been a while since my last post. Sometimes I find it hard to start back up, so I thought I’d just bite the bullet with some random updates…

  • We finally broke ground on our addition a couple days ago (the 17th). Unfortunately the wet weather combined with our softened clay ground caused lots of problems for the excavation vehicles. Our only option to move forward was to pay extra for gravel to be delivered and spread along the side of the house as a make-shift driveway. Not what we wanted to hear during the first (and second) day of the project, but we’re still optimistic that other parts of the construction will move on as planned.
  • At twenty-three weeks pregnant I’ve already gained 20 pounds. Sigh.
  • David caught a wild steelhead while fishing the Necanicum a couple weeks ago. He was so happy, and I was touched that he thought to call and tell me about it right afterwards while the excitement was still fresh. Trout has been his specialty, but he’s found steelheading much more challenging, and his perseverance is paying off.

  • Chloe has enjoyed several special outings outside of her usual classes this week, including a fun toddler Valentine’s Day party hosted by Lorenzo’s grandmother, a mid-week mother-daughter lunch at Noah’s Bagels, and a fun ride on the Jantzen Beach carousel with her friend Anjali, followed by a chocolate ice cream cone all to herself.
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