My New, Old Bookshelves…

Written by The Peaceful Cottage on . Posted in Before and After, DIY, Furniture

Seek ye out the best books…

A few months ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with all the piles of books we had lying around the house. Having just read a study that showed kids that grew up in homes with a library of 1,000 books or more tend to do better in college and earn more after graduation, I became more determined to find a permanent solution. (I am kidding… sort of.)

I headed to IKEA to see what options they have. I really liked the look of the Hemnes Set, but just could not stomach the price tag — $180.00 for one… I would need three.

Game Plan #2 – Build your own Hemnes – It is a simple straight forward design, I thought why not give it a try. Armed with a lot of iPhone pics, a little drawing and some dimensions – I headed to The Home Depot to price out wood. Conclusion: Less expensive than buying from Ikea, but not by much.

Moving on to game plan #3 – Scour local newspaper ads, Craigslist, thrift stores and Garage sales. This was getting more into my price range, but generally the shelving units I could afford had seen better days. Then one glorious afternoon… during nap time… a posting listed online — “Four Bookshelves for $10.” I called the individual, Wiley, and asked if it was indeed $10 for all four. Her response, “Yes, but they are pretty beat up.” Perfect, I could afford $10 and if they did not work I could easily resell them.

After my four kids took a (much shorter than normal) nap, I piled them into the car. Armed with cash and great expectations, I pulled up to the house, knocked on the front door, and when the lady opened it I walked in and started up some friendly small talk. Why am I telling you this… turns out it was the wrong house. The bookshelves lived about ten homes further up the street. Next house please… The bookshelves were indeed pretty beat up, the woods was chipped in several place, generally scratched up and some water damage. Also, three of the four bookshelves were the same size and style, but the fourth was larger.

DING! The light bulb goes on… I could refurbish the three into one big unit. The fourth (which was actually in good condition) could go into our boys’ bedroom. SOLD!

My husband swung by on his way home from work and we loaded the four shelves into the back of our Suburban and the kids into his car.  I do believe he gave me a look that I was a little bit crazy. :0)

The Process…

Step #1: First, I combined three of the bookcases with screws. This would create a more cohesive look, improve stability and hide the broken panel on the side of two of the bookshelves.

Step #2: I nailed crown molding to the top, a baseboard to the bottom and the four strips of wood to cover the vertical seems. I also added trim to the side that was similar to the Hemnes style.

Step #3: The entire unit received several layers of paint. (I already had a gallon of paint in the garage. It is a “damaged” color from Home Depot – a white with a hint of grey.) It looks glossy in the picture, but is not.

I love the way they turned out. They are in our front room and have changed the whole space from a “Sitting Room” to a “Library.” Our whole family gathers in there regularly to read and listen to the piano.

Total Cost:

– Bookshelves – $7.50

– Trim Board – $40.00

– Paint – $0.00

– Smarter Children – Priceless.

Please share a link to your refurbished love!

Refinishing Details

Written by The Peaceful Cottage on . Posted in DIY, FAQs, Furniture, Wood Work

I have had several people ask me about refinishing techniques… I will begin with a preface that I am just beginning this hobby so my technique may not be the best, and may change over time. However, I have been really pleased with the results.

Some of the frequently asked questions:

1. Where do you find your furniture?

Thus far I have been able to find some really nice stuff at our local thrift store (D. I.), through craigslist and our local newspaper’s online classified ads. Because my primary goal is to develop a hobby, I plan to resell most of the furniture after I refinish it. And because I do not want a houseful of desks… I try to find items that are inexpensive, sturdy and have a more classic design style.

2. Do you sand your furniture first?

I sand the furniture first if it has a major dents or scratches, or if their is a heavy varnish/polyurethane finish on top. For the varnish I just do a quick sanding with a 120 grit sandpaper on an electric sander to rough it up a little bit. For scratches I typically use a 80 or 60 grit sandpaper to create an even surface and then 120 grit to smooth the top layer.

3. Do you prime your furniture?

Yes, I use KILZ latex primer… it is really nice and thick and will evenly cover most light scratches or dings.

4. What paint do you use?
I love Behr brand paint… I have used in several of my home over the years and have been very pleased. For my furniture, I just buy the mistinted or damaged paints in a neutral, latex base. I typically buy the premium plus because it is usually the least expensive. I do finish my furniture with a polyurethane so I do not worry about the gloss-style.

5. What sand paper do you use to distress?

Either a 120 or 220 grit sand paper depending on what I have convenient and how distressed I want to make it. For distressing I try to mimic natural use patterns… where ever hands and feet commonly touch I distress (i.e. the ends of arm rest, top of chair back, near the “foot rests” at the bottom). Also, I lightly distress all the edges and corners. I have found that I really like to show the original and primed colors underneath so I with distress with varied pressure to bring out different colors.

6. Do you finish with a polyurethane?

Yes, I use a clear (not color or tint added) water-based Varathane polyurethane for interior wood. I choose water-based for ease in cleaning up.

7. Do you use spray paint, an air compressor, paint-brush or roller-brush?

I usually paint with a hand brush… although I have heard really great things about using an air compressor… Maybe someday.

I have used spray paint on some of my picture frames and smaller pieces… but I didn’t like the finish as well… probably I just applied it too heavily.

Farmhouse Table

Written by The Peaceful Cottage on . Posted in DIY, Furniture, Tables

I have wanted to learn how to refinish furniture for a very long time. So I finally jumped in to my first project… a Farmhouse Style Table. I must admit… I am very pleased with the way it turned out. I sanded down the previous scratched varnish. Applied primer and a beautiful off-white latex paint. Then I distressed the edges and finished with several layers of polyurethane.



I have linked this post up with:
Kimba’s DIY Party over at A Soft Place to Land.
Post image for DIY Day with Lisa Leonard Designs
Miss Mustard Seed Workshop Series… This has a fantastic tutorial with it.
Posted with Remodelaholic’s Anonymous Meeting 8…