Wednesday, March 30, 2011

making progress

I thought the new dining chair project would be a snap, but apparently staining chairs is totally f---ing hard.  Things became complicated last night when I saw that whoever stripped/sanded the chairs last left huge swirly ridges in the grain of the wood, which means they really needed to be sanded down.   I did a light sanding on one of the chairs and stained it, only to be left with this:

 Hideous.  Look at that streaky, blotchy mess.

I tried a few more attempts at sanding/staining one of the other chairs, and then, exhausted and with a sore arm, decided to throw in the towel at 1 a.m.  I left my dining room looking like this:

I like to call it, "Still Life of Desperate Frustration."

 Realizing that these chairs need to be sanded down significantly because of all the surface damage, I bit the bullet and bought myself one of these little guys, 

which helped a lot.  Look at my pants after sanding the back of the first chair!

(that shot makes me look like I have fat lady legs, but I don't.)

Anyway, I re-sanded that first atrocious chair down to this:

And then, per the Home Depot guy's instructions, put a coat of wood conditioner on before staining:

Here's the front, after the wood conditioner had been wiped off and I had put one coat of stain on:

I think it's a big improvement from the first attempt, with all those big blotches everywhere.  I'll probably put on a second coat of stain in a few hours to make it darker; apparently using wood conditioner can make the first coat of stain a bit lighter than normal.
But that's just one chair!  And I still have five to go.  The electric sander makes things a lot easier, but it's still tiring work.  Here's where I left things after my right arm was starting to go numb:

 That's right, halfway sanded.  This project is going to take a while.

Can't forget that I have a real job!  Gotta get some work for that done now before I return to this behemoth of a project.

stripey bear

Monday, March 28, 2011

big plans

I ended up selling the dining chairs I recently bought, and found these awesome chairs on craigslist instead.  All six for $200 -- not too bad, though they need a little work.  I plan on staining them a bit darker and reupholstering the seats with the same ikat fabric I used on the other dining chairs the first time around. Here they are now...

Kevin thinks they're pretty cool!

watching the world go by

(note the smudgy nose prints on the window)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Remember this?

And this?

Well, he's still at it:

 You can almost see the fear in that little duck eye.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

mr. casual

"Oh, hi there."

new dining chairs: before and after

I recently bought some new dining chairs on craigslist to replace my old eames-style chairs.   Refurbishing (?? is that the right word?) them was a lot of fun, and they turned out just how I wanted.  Only problem is, they don't look that great around my table.  I might end up re-selling them now and looking for something else.  Hmmmm...

Anyway, here they are before:

Okay looking, but the seats were very stained and the finish had some scratches. 

Here's one of the chairs during the refinishing:

And here they are after!

Well, just two of them.  There are six total.  More pics:

I spray painted them off-white and covered the seat with this really pretty ikat fabric that's actually a duvet I got (on sale; lucky me) from West Elm.  I was looking for a pattern just like this, so I was lucky to find it.  

Love the greek key detail on the back:

Kevin approves!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

better dresser photos

I finally found my digital camera, which does a better job than my poo camera phone.  Some updated pics of my happy-making chartreuse dresser:

Still loving those cute little shiny legs and brass feet:

 And I organized the shit out of the dresser drawers, too:

And while I was at it, I organized the shit out of my living room credenza drawers:

(never mind those Wisconsin headphones; I got them on sale) 

L.Z. fabric outlet

I went to the CRAZY L.Z. discount fabric outlet today, in search of material to reupholster my new dining chairs.  Despite the enormous amount of fabric there -- a lot of which was old and not cute -- I didn't really find anything I liked.  But the place is a massive, surreal, true fabric warehouse.

At first, I was excited: row upon row of fabric; how could I NOT find something?!

But then I started to come upon room after room of stuff like this:


The basement was like Silence of the Lambs.  Truly creepy:

In an act of desperation, I bought some blue fabric for $3.95 a yard, thinking it might work on my chairs, but when I brought it home, it was totally the wrong color.  I guess I'm only out $12, not the end of the world.

Later on in the day, Kevin and I went to Fishmans Fabrics, but we didn't find anything there, either.  This is how he felt about that:

Not too happy.

duck head

Remember this?

He continues to torment his victim.

What a sicko.

Monday, March 14, 2011

he's a proper little chap

How civilized.

before and after: new office storage dresser

Oh man, this dresser went from super awesome craigslist score, to bitter disappointment, to very pleasant surprise.

Allow me to explain.

I was in need of extra storage in my office, as I had been using a combination of crap furniture + IKEA boxes to keep track of all my papers and supplies.  So, craigslist to the rescue, again!  I bought this very cool, Asian-inspired American of Martinsville dresser from a nice guy online for $160.  It had really pretty brass hardware (which was basically what hooked me) and the style of the dresser was awesome (love the legs!).  But the previous owner had applied a bizarre faux-finish paint job, which I planned to strip, and then just restore the natural wood.  Unfortunately, the project turned into a total catastrophe, and I found myself left with this, after many hours of pained scrubbing and stripping:

Total filthy disaster.
And here's a lovely close up of the gucky goopy crap that was all over the dresser: a mixture of paint stripper and nasty old paint:

The wood turned out to be badly damaged underneath, and covered in gouges and scratches.  Though I'm sure it could have been restored, a master wood restorer I am not, and so I decided to just go ahead and paint it.  And boy, am I glad I did!  It turned out a lot better than I hoped.  I picked a chartreuse high gloss paint, which looks really awesome against the orange curtains in my office, actually.  It looks a little butter yellow in the pictures here, but that's just because of my shite camera; it is in fact chartreuse.  I had the white lamp and lampshade in my storage unit in the basement, and I also got a piece of glass cut to protect the top. 

Love that sweet glossy finish.  Again, I know the pictures are crap because of the camera on my phone.  I'll replace them with nice ones as soon as I get my camera working again.

Look at the sweet glossy black legs with the little brass caps on the feet.  And check out that brass hardware:

Here's a close up of the knobs: octagon-shaped brass.  I replaced these, since it was clear that the knobs on the dresser weren't original.  The handles were, though:

I also found this cool contact paper, at, of all places, Home Depot.  The drawers were pretty grody inside, so they look much better now that they're lined:

I bought some lucite drawer organizers today at Target and am eagerly looking forward to organizing those damned drawers (nerdy, yes).

One last look, this time without the light on:

Makes me happy.