A little paint makes a difference


I was too lazy to put the top drawers back in when I realized I hadn’t taken a before picture.

I’ve owned the same solid wood dresser for decades now, and it’s held up amazingly well. It’s sturdy, holds a lot, and doesn’t dominate the room. However it’s pretty boring – just basic brown everything, from drawer knobs to body – and lately I’ve been eyeing it and wondering how I could spiff it up. I thought about replacing the drawer pulls, but I need 16 of them and anything that’s very unique ends up costing quite a bit.

Pinterest to the rescue! I saw some dressers where the body was painted but the drawer fronts were left stained, and I decided that was just perfect for our room. We have a black and white duvet cover and ombre gray curtains, so I decided to paint the body of the dresser black.

My sister came over to help me, which basically meant motivating me to actually do it. I got a small can of cabinet paint from the hardware store and we used the orbital sander to get off the wax finish that I used when I originally stained it 20 some years ago.

The pulls got a paint coat as well.

After two coats of paint, I let it sit for a couple of days and then put on the topcoat of the same polyurethane I used on my family room tables. Unfortunately I didn’t think about the effect of doing that on a day when it was 88° and the top of the dresser dried too quickly and the polyurethane didn’t completely level out. I’m going to have to get some very fine sandpaper and smooth it and then put on one final coat. The sides and the front were all fine and don’t need to be redone. I think the combination of the heat and maybe putting it on a little too thickly was the problem on top.

The almost finished dresser, with matching dog.

While we were at the hardware store buying the paint, we wandered by a barn door kit that was the perfect solution to my sister’s bathroom door issue. The door swung into the small master bathroom in her house, and took up so much room. She was constantly having to maneuver around it.

The box was an all in one kit with everything that she needed, so after we finished painting the dresser, it was her turn. My husband and I went over and three of us got the door up and working in just an hour or so, if you don’t count the time that it took to drive back to our house to get the ratchet set that we forgot to bring the first time.

I guarantee that door will not stay white and plain very long.

We are both really happy with the changes to our rooms. It feels good to actually get something crossed off the to-do list. All this Covid time has made me fairly apathetic, and I feel like I’m wasting a lot of my days watching the world go by from my couch. So this was satisfying.

Although all that sitting on the couch left a lot of time to watch past seasons of the Great British Bake Off. Which inspired my husband to make these:

Different kinds of crafting

Sliding glass doorMy siblings and I all are handicrafters in very different ways.  I’m the fiber girl, making my crafts with yarn and fabric.  My sister is more paper and paints.

And then there is my brother.  He is the builder.  When he isn’t busy with his regular job (he’s the only non-teacher in the family as a captain in the Navy) he likes to do construction.  In his “spare” time he rips the roofs off houses and adds another level, puts in bathrooms where there were none, and adds new wings to the sides of houses.  While my idea of a weekend plan is to finish quilting a couch throw, his is to build a retaining wall and a fully insulated shed.

My sister and I frequently lament together about how wonderful our houses would be if he didn’t insist on living clear on the other side of the continent.  Two of my most frequently stated desires have been to put a sliding glass door to my back deck, and a side gate in the fence so we could put the utility trailer beside the house instead of the garage.

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For a wonderful birthday surprise, my mom and my sister arranged to fly my brother in for a long weekend!  I got home from work on Thursday and there he was!  It was the first time I’ve seen him in two years.  Lots of hugging.

And then came the rest of the treat.  We raced off to Home Depot that evening and got the door they had already arranged and the dismantling and installing began right away until it was too dark to continue.

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My sister took the next day off and, one table saw purchase later, the two of them got all the trimming and caulking finished.  I just have a little painting left but we have a fully functioning slider now, letting in so much light.  And even better, the French doors are no longer there to bang into the dining table and chairs every time my children run in and out (conservatively, a thousand times a day).  And a screen door!  Breezes without bugs!

image There was also eating birthday cake.  That kept me and the boys busy while the others sawed and hammered.

Boys and birthday cake

And they kept going.  With the kids and my husband helping they took off the narrow section of fencing at the side of our house, my brother whipped up a gate, and we can now squeeze our useful but annoyingly long utility trailer alongside the house rather than taking up every inch of space in our single car garage.

Gate building image image

Much garage organizing is in my future, and I’m so happy about that!

My sister, brother and Mom are fabulous, and it was a terrific birthday surprise.