Keeping it in the family




The Desk At The Beach House


The desk wasn’t in terrible shape, it just needed a make over.  It was actually easy to sand and prep for paint, which isn’t always the way it works out; some pieces can be a real pain in the a$$.  Once I had it all sanded and cleaned up, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it.  In fact, it has been sitting up in the guest room naked and afraid for months, haha.  You know, when I work on pieces I tend to spend some time determining what I want the piece, in this case the desk, to express.

So I got to thinking… the desk wasn’t worn or in rough shape, and it made me realize it probably wasn’t used much.  Isn’t the purpose of a desk to be a comfortable place to foster work or inspire ideas?  Well it saddened me to think this desk’s purpose wasn’t fulfilled.  I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Each piece of furniture has a story, beginning, middle, or end.  This desk is old but only at the beginning of its story- cheated out of love and affection.


My gift to the desk was to provide it a seemingly fulfilled life with a makeover.  I decided the piece would look overly worn, by also showcase elegance.  Great contrast in design ideas, but lets imagine it’s story:

I picture the desk sitting in an upstairs room of an old beach house.  It was painted blue to compliment the white worn walls, sandy beach, and blue skies.  The top was finished with a deep stain to look solid, sleek, and elegant.


The atmosphere in the room felt like the beach sand and sticky air was actually inside.  Remembering the piece is old, I pictured a pile of papers with handwriting, postal mail, and an old time clock on the desk.  It looked hectic, but still felt organized.  Lengthy amounts of time were spend at that desk.  Perhaps an author used the desk to write a novel, and was inspired by the beach; like Earnest Hemingway’s “Old Man and The Sea.”  Over the years, the sticky air inside the room of the old beach house brushed paint off the desk, showing the dark wood beneath the color blue.  It felt like the incoming of the crashing waves caused the paint to appear distressed.  However, the top remained dark , in tact, and elegant.  How could this be?  Taking a closer look, you would notice that the top of the desk was protected by stacks of papers and mail.  The stack of papers was not comprised of bills. receipts, or unnecessary mail; instead they held much greater value.  The papers were pages written by some one that was inspired to write a book; demonstrating hard work, dedication, and re-writes to create perfection.  The mail on the desk consisted of saved love letters; each one tucked into it’s envelope in order to keep it safe.  One day the family passed the old beach house down to the next generation, but the desk remained.  Having served its purposed, and relishing in its fulfilled life.


The end.

Black ALWAYS Looks Good


A while back, my father and I picked up this hutch at a yard sale.  It was green (or some sort of “green”), with ridiculously ornate doors and hardware, but beneath the ugly I saw some beauty.  It’s a rare sized hutch, perfect for small spaces, which is often hard to find. Unfortunately, I can’t find the pictures of it untouched with the doors on and everything. What I have below is the piece after sanding, and a considerable amount of patching.

Once it was all set for paint, I opted for a light cream color.  While I was painting out front, a neighbor drove by and said she had been “eyeing it” in the garage, and was waiting for me to start it!  I love when things like this happen; people see a piece I am working on, and have the same mutual respect for it.  Right then and there we made a sale, but she asked me to paint it black.

Now, at first I didn’t think that black was a good choice because it can be a rather unforgiving color, and harsh, but when we she showed me the space she was putting it in I knew it could work quite well.  Black would work well for a number of reasons 1)it would match well with what else she already had in the space, 2)it complemented the other colors in the space, and 3) the color made the piece stand out, but small enough to not be an eyesore.

I decided to keep the original hardware.  Although ornate, it brought out some beautiful detail that was lacking with solid black.  Check out the finished product!  Please note the shadows and lighting affected the image quality.

What can I say?  Black always looks good!




This particular custom order came to me… a bit… well… looking for a serious make-over.  A gorgeous piece- just “struggling” a bit.  There was plenty to work with: a tall back that supported a swinging mirror, a unique shape, and original black porcelain handles, which were in good shape! The painted design on the drawer fronts were probably beautiful at one point, but most of it had chipped away.

I started sanding off the painted design on the front of the drawers, but I could see how dry the piece was.  I decided to sand the whole piece down to the original wood, to breathe some fresh life into it.  It’s funny you know, having a conversation with a piece of furniture like: “Stop that fussing, you’ll look better in the end,” but I didn’t receive too much back talk.  When the piece wall sanded, it looked alive again.

Pretty good right?  Yes, yes indeed.  However, I knew that the wood was so dry that it was going to completely soak up the paint.  I used KILZ primer to give a solid first coat, which also covered up any stains.

If you follow my blog, you will notice that I try to name the pieces because it’s just more fun that way.  I titled this entry “Civil War” for a couple of reasons:

  1. It was a battle for beauty
  2. My client provided me with the paint color.  Benjamin Moore’s “Confederate Red.” (Although Benjamin Moore has recently changed the name to “Patriot Red”)


The color is so rich and vibrant, it was a perfect fit for this piece.  Anyway,  with a few coats of paint and sealant, a bit of re-assembling, and freshly polished hardware, this piece turned into a beauty!

I think it is important to note, that not all pieces need to be “distressed,” and sometimes I feel like distressing is the go-to nowadays.  Personally, I think you need to get to know the piece you are working with.  I felt that because this piece already had such a unique shape, ornate mirror, and black porcelain handles, it didn’t need distressing.  I felt it would be too “busy.”  You may disagree, but I’m sticking to it.  Here is the finished project:





Since I love being so crafty- I created a lot of the decorations used at our wedding.  One of my favorites was making our card box.  I wanted it to fit in with that antique feeling I was going for, but was looking for just the right piece.  One day, my husband and I headed up to a vintage store, and there we found an antique dining flatware box.  It had seen better days for sure.  I always try to envision what the story is behind each item.  When I came across this box my mind ran wild with ideas.  Perhaps it had been in a husband and wife’s home for years, and it is where they stored their fine china flatware, and maybe they received the box at their bridal shower or wedding.  How fitting since we were getting married.  Immediately it was a must have- “This is it” moment.  Here is how we found it:

I started by ripping out the inside of the box:

I sanded the box and painted it with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint.  Once it was dried I distressed it and used antique wax to add some depth and seal it.  I used fabric I already had, and then used the thick card stock from a gift bag I had lying around in the closed.  It provided the perfect lining for the drawer.

Now- to accessorize….. For our wedding I wanted to put this on display and stage it.  Here’s how I staged it:


By: Renewed Reloved

The Perfect Pair


When I was moving into my new home, I needed a new bedroom set.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I figured I would use my sorcery to bring old pieces back to life.  I don’t usually do pieces for my own home, but I was excited to start…

I had done work for a client, and she had a dresser she was looking to pass on.  I absolutely took it with me!  The problem was…I needed end tables to go with it.  Some were too short, to wide, or just ugly.  I’m not goldilocks, but I wanted them to be perfect nonetheless.  One day, on the hunt, I found two (in rough shape) matching end tables. What made it even better was the engraving that had a design similar to the dresser!  I didn’t care how ugly they were, I had to have them!

Here is the set BEFORE it had been renewed and reloved:


You’re probably wondering- “uuummmm I am sure she could have found something better than THAT!…”  Well just you wait and see friends!  It started with sanding, it took quite some time to get the finish off, especially the end tables.  You can see how glossy the end tables were from the picture above.  Sanded and washed, I decided to engrave the wood a little more around the design that was barely peeking through.  I chose two colors- one for the base, and the other for the decorative design.  I was very satisfied with the result:


The dresser’s knobs were all there, but different, which is usually a problem (when you want to keep it authentic).  The bottom ones needed to be adjusted, so there were different knobs on it, but luckily the original pieces were in the drawer!  Really simple fixes- they look like door knockers and the knocker piece fell out of the holder.  Pliers and some strength fixed that real easy! Here was the final outcome! I love it, and I love how I got two separate pieces to match and become the perfect pair!


By: Renewed Reloved

“Rock A Bye Baby”


A new client (who found me through Google… very exciting!) reached out to me to help her with some pieces for her babies nursery.  She has two boys, and this time around she is having a girl, and she wanted to make the room special.  She found an incredible dresser that she wanted to serve as the changing table, and down the road would also function as a regular dresser!  She already had a rocker and ottoman, that was an espresso color, and wanted it painted an antique white.  The color combination for the nursery is precious- antique white, a soft gray and a peach color.  Here are the colors she chose:

Benjamin Moore Farmers Market: 054


Sherwin Williams Alabaster: SW 7008


The glider was in really great condition.  It took a long time to sand because of all the spindles and different angles, but it didn’t put up too much of a struggle.  The paint had no problem adhering to the surface either.  Once painted, here is what the piece looked like:

My client’s Mother-In-Law made cushions with a beautiful damask pattern to compliment the color of the dresser.  Here is the rocker all dressed up:

The dresser on the other hand, was in rougher shape, but that is expected considering its an older piece.  It had lots of little dings and bangs in it, and it had a very heavy varnish on it.  It was very glossy.

Because of the finish on it, I knew that the paint wouldn’t adhere well (regardless if it was a high quality paint and that it had a primer in it).  I decided it would be best to sand the entire piece down to the bare wood.  It was a struggle, but I definitely made the right choice.  I removed the hardware, and put them aside.


I wanted to keep the interior of the drawers wood, so I (very creatively) wrapped the base of the drawers with plastic bags and secured them with painters tape… yes yes, I know, that’s pretty brilliant!  On the inside I taped off the holes from the hardware so paint would be sprayed through.


My boyfriend and I brought the pieces to my client and set them up in the baby’s nursery. They really came out beautiful.  I encouraged them not to paint the hardware.  We left them as they were, which was a great choice because the hardware really is timeless.


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Mix & Match


Well this turned out to be quite the project.  It all started when I saw a piece of furniture on the side of the road, and like every good junker I was like “I have to have this!”  My father came and met me, he looked at me like I was crazy, we loaded it up and headed home.  It was missing half of its doors.  Here is what it looked like:


So I had a pretty genius idea….. I like the way the dresser looked  with out the doors.  The drawers on the inside were unique and I thought “hmm… maybe I can refinish this dresser with out the doors!”  I had to start sanding the piece.  It had this plastic chipping all over the place, almost like it was a sealant coat on it.    I was able to sand it down to the bare surface.

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Once it was sanded, I patched up all the door hinges etc….


The piece was ready to go, but what next? I knew this dresser was going to have a much more simple look.  I decided to do a two tone.  The drawers are a light creamy yellow, and the frame of the dresser is a light gray.  Here is the finished product withsome light distressing.9

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Book Worm Bookshelf


Hello all! I have been finishing furniture and posting things on Facebook, but it has been a while since I blogged about a recent furniture piece.  I thought this recent custom order would be perfect to share!

A client was looking for a specific sized book shelf that had glass enclosures and was NOT something from Ikea….  After some hunting on Craigslist, I managed to find the, a knock off of a barrister bookshelf.  It looked just like an authentic one, and once it was refinished you would never know the difference!!  The backing on the piece was flimsy cardboard with a seam running down the middle.  It did not support the bookshelf at all.  I knew I would replace the piece with a story piece of ply.  Here is the piece with the back removed, sanded and ready for paint.


It was easiest to remove the glass in order to spray the entire bookshelf.  It was a little tricky since the shelves folded up and inside, so I had to position the shelf in so many different positions to make sure all areas were covered with paint.

Once the piece was completely painted, and sealed, and the glass back in the case, I put the new solid wood backing on it.  Instantly the entire bookshelf was supported and sturdy.


Here is the finished product!  Pretty close to an original barrister?

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The client found hardware from Anthropologie, and they were the perfect finishing touch!

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Mad Hatter Tea Party


Wow, it has been a while.  The winter was extremely difficult, and I had no place to do any work!  Spring is here, and summer i’m going to go nuts doing work!  It was also my first year of teaching, and that proved to be quite difficult to do both.

Anywayyyyy.  I completed this really awesome custom order.  My client wanted to spice up her dining area.  She had a table with a bench on one side, and wanted chairs around the table to be all different.  There were five dining chairs, each one a different color, and we mixed and matched patterns.  The sixth chair will be used for a side chair.

My client went to a salvage/antique shop and picked a bunch of different chairs.  They were covered in lacquer, and took forever to sand down.  Here is one  of them prepped and ready to go!


When I was ready to paint, I came home one day, and found my paint sprayer hose chews, and when I took a closer look I saw that the cord had been chewed.  My lovely dog Prima must have had a meltdown because she chewed it up! Good thing it wasn’t plugged in.  The shoe is in there just for good measure.

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So I had to buy a new paint sprayer, which set me back a bit.  I decided to try a new brand- Black & Decker, and I actually really like it.


It allows me to have a lot more control over the flow of paint, it is super easy to clean, and the price was on the lower end of sprayers.

Each chair needed a new piece of wood for the seat, new foam, and obviously upholstered.

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Once assembled, here is how they came out, pretty cool I think!  Here is the purple chair:

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Here is the yellow chair:

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Here is the orange chair:

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Here is the green chair:

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Assembly row:

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Turned out to be a very cool collection.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like at her kitchen table!

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