It’s A Girl!

February 3, 2011 08:50 by ehouston

Just kidding.  No more babies for now.  I am talking about my new furniture baby, though.  Finally, after years of searching I found the perfect dining room table and chair set.  Right before I met The Mister I acquired the teak dining room hutch that you all have seen in many of our recently DIY’d dining room pictures. 


During all these years together, I have been on a search for a Danish Modern dining set to match…even though we have never had a dining room in any place we have ever lived.  I know, I’m crazy.  I just knew that one day I wanted a dining room and I thought it would be nice to have all the pieces in a similar style.

Well flash forward about 13 years and I find myself window shopping with a friend at the beginning of January.  This is not a time that I spend money.  In fact, I always try to plan out our Christmas spending so well that we can hit the sales at the beginning of the next year, but things have yet to go my way in that area of organization.  So here we were just taking some mom time, alone, to check out a few of the consignment shops around our area, when we stumbled upon it.  “It” being the perfect little round table with cute corded chairs.  They had it set up as a little reading area, but the split down the middle of the table caught my eye.  I realized this table potentially had matching leaves and it could be “the one”. 

Sure enough, the table had not just one, but two leaves, opened to eight feet and had six chairs!  There is definitely a lot of restoration work that needs to take place before this new furniture baby is brought back to its former glory and we will need to find two end chairs to have decent seating for eight.  Also, several of the chair seats have seen better days, but I could not pass up the cheap price.  I found this set, which ended up having a seventh chair hiding in the warehouse, for $400 bones!  That’s right, my entire dining room furniture set (table and chairs, refurbished bar and vintage hutch) comes in at a whopping, wait for it…..$545.00!  Yeah, that’s right!  It’s high five time for the budget!


I definitely have some work to do and I have been surfing the web and sending out emails to different Danish furniture sites for help with the best way to refinish everything.  So far it sounds like a cheap and easy fix with just a lot of elbow grease involved.  The only thing I am sort of fearing at the moment is reworking the cords on a couple of the chair seats.  Several have just a broken string or two (See Below) and I know with a little patience I can fix those, but one in particular looks like it was hit with a weedwacker.  I may have to breakdown and pay for it to be made whole.  I don’t know yet.



This room is finally coming together in a way that makes all of us very happy.  The Mister likes that we have a functioning space, the Little Guy loves running circles around the dining set and I am happy my search is finally over.  Whew!

Kitsch Krafts

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Making And Crafts - The Bar

February 2, 2011 06:36 by ehouston

No, I did not forget about posting more info regarding the bar project.  We have been using it since Thanksgiving, but since it was not quite finished I decided not to post any updates about it.  However, since it still has some kinks to be worked out and I’m not sure when that will happen, I thought I would share where we are so far.  As you may or  may not remember, I posted a little update on projects I had in the works.  This was the picture I shared at that time.


We had thrifted this cutie at the local Sal. Army for $50.00.  It is by Bassette furniture company, with dovetail joints and a decent finish.  There were only moderate scrapes and bruises from time and a few fresh dings from the days spent at the thrift store.  All of these issues would be easy to sand out, fill in and clean-up.  My biggest goal with this piece was to transform it into a bar cabinet with swing out doors rather than six separate drawers.  Oh, and to make it look good enough that The Mister would stop his snickering at the idea.  I also wanted to do this without spending any more than necessary.  With stain, spray paint and sealer for the top I was only in this thing for around $75.00 and I wanted to keep it that way!

Over the course of a couple of weeks I would spend 30 minutes every other day or so gutting, filling, sanding, priming, etc.  (Remember, I am only able to work during naptime and have to keep up with the house too.  In other words, time is VERY limited.)  It was remarkable how easily the drawers and inside pieces came apart.  (Thank you, Jesus!  Can I get a Hallelujah?)  A few taps with a hammer and everything just came out.  The hardest pieces to remove were the two cross boards that held up the first and second row of drawers.  They had been put in place as the sides, top and bottom were also fitted together and they slid perfectly into side holes.  I ended up having to do a little damage to the inside edge in order to pry them out, but luckily that area is out of view.  I ended up using the thin wood from the drawer bottoms as a backing for the drawer fronts, to create one solid door piece.  A little household glue and lots of brads and they came together nicely. 

Once the basic demo was completed I had intended to fit the inside of the now open cabinet with a bottom and back board to make everything flush and pretty.  However, I started to have some divergent ideas about organization of our glasses, wine, liquor bottles and bar tools, so that part of the project came to a screeching halt.  The Mister also chimed in about wanting to store our extra wine in the cabinet, something I had not intended to do, so I felt all thrown off when new ideas started rushing in.  What I ended up doing was using leftover wood from the drawer bottoms and sides in order to raise the inner area of the bottoms up to be more flush with the front and back edge of the unit.  I filled the few little spots where the veneer had broken free, sanded the whole thing down and even gave it a wipe with a deglosser.  Since the top and inner front edge are actually Formica I decided to spray them out in a bright, glossy white, while the rest of the unit received a coat of gel stain in rosewood.  Once the outside was finished I gave the inside a coat of primer and then decided to bring the whole thing into the dining room since we could now actually use it.  I also thought that putting it into play would help us decide how we wanted to eventually configure the inside shelving.  

One thing I was not thrilled about was having to use exterior hinges for the doors.  I really wanted to use the European style hinges that hide on the inside, but since the drawers had once slide partially into the dresser front the new doors would have to do the same thing.  After trying 4 different styles of the hidden hinges I opted for some basic outer mounts in brushed nickel.  Not too bad in the end, plus they were cheaper and kept me under the $80.00 mark.

So, here is the piece resting now in its spot between the windows in our dining room.





This last shot shows the view of the semi-organized interior.  I did a little measuring the other day and I think we could add a single row wine rack across the bottom and still have room for everything else above.  The racks would probably be able to hold about 10 bottles of wine all the way across and it would be a much better use of all the vertical space.  I think I even have enough leftover demo wood to build the racks, which means I also won’t have to spend any more cash. 


Kitsch Krafts

PS- The Mister stopped his snickering once we brought the piece inside.  He was also the one who stocked the cabinet, filled the glass display tube with all of our corks and last weekend he went out to buy a wine decanter to sit on top.  Turns out he LOVES the bar and wants to use the same idea to create a cabinet to house the electronics in our media/playroom.  Yeah!  Another fun project for this spring!

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DIY – Vintage Furniture Revamp

March 22, 2010 06:08 by ehouston

This project is by far one of my most favorite!  That is because it’s all about the history.  My grandparents purchased a twin bed and dresser set from a local furniture shop in Royal Oak, MI back in the early 1950’s.  This set was to accommodate a growing family, which already consisted of two young boys and a third child on the way.  The oldest of those boys was my father.  He and his brother shared a room and used those beds and dressers until they left the nest.  At that point there were three younger sisters taking up space in the compact five bedroom home my grandparents owned and in all their frugal nature they had two of the girls still employing those twin beds and dressers. 

Many years later when my brother and I had come along, and after the tragic lost of our first family home to a fire, those beds were pulled out of storage and passed on to my immediate family to be put in to use all over again.  My brother and I had our own rooms, but the furniture in each space was exactly the same.  Not until high school did I finally switch over to a full size bed, but I kept on using my dresser.  When I finally moved out on my own I took with me a bedroom set that I had scored at an estate sale.  After sanding and painting the larger dresser and full sized bed frame, I took off with a bedroom set more fitting a young adult.  (sort of, it was painted in bright pastels and looked like something straight out of Miami!)  Before I could leave, my mom was dusting off the old twin bed so she could get it back into use in her newly found guest room.  That bed set moved with her up to MI for a short stay and then later it was brought back down to TN after she returned to the south. 

At about the same time, the Mister and I were looking for something to set up our own guest bedroom and mom offered up the now well-traveled family bedroom sets.  We jumped at the opportunity to own a bit of family history until we saw the sad state of these pieces.  Before coming back to TN, they had lived for several years in my grandfather’s old home.  The same home that housed my college-aged cousin and an ever-changing group of college-aged boys.  As you can imagine they put these pieces to the ultimate test and when they arrived in TN they were in pretty rough shape.  Dirty, dusty, smelly, cracked, scratched, water ring stained….I wasn’t even sure I could bring them back from the depths of where they had gone.  But, with no furniture refinishing experience (only painting over crummy wood) I jumped right in!

Lucky for me we had a new home with a big garage and plenty of space for me to spread out the pieces and work to restore them.  The first thing I did was strip down all the old varnish that was left on the head and foot boards, along with both dressers.  Then I sanded out all the rough spots and did my best to take down any bad scratches.  When I was finished with this step I had a lovely smooth surface to start with.  Start?, you say.  Yes, I had bigger plans for what these pieces were going to become.  I wanted to use the bed in our master bedroom and since it was no longer the 1950’s, when couples used twin beds, I had some work to do.  I planned to join the footboards to the headboards and then both of those combo pieces to each other, creating one large king sized headboard.  After a lot of drilling, cutting and lining up of dowels, plus TONS of gluing I finally had a semi-finished piece.  I then had to add trim pieces to mask, or “pretty up” the joints and close off the space behind what was the feet to the footboard before adding the top shelf piece.  It took some time, the hardest of which was finding nice real wood trim in maple.  Thank God for the few small lumber stores that still exist!


The headboard in progress.


Stripped down and ready for trim pieces.


Another angle of the top before adding the shelf cap and backing trim.  These were the feet of the original footboard.

After completing the headboard, I coated all the pieces with many (to many to count!) coats of polyurethane.  I lightly sanded with 120, and then 220, grit sandpaper in between coats and ended with a light rub down of lemon oil for a super soft, velvety finish. 


Our finished headboard in all it’s restored glory!


One of the refinished dressers.  (We are still working on the decor of this bedroom, so please ignore the surroundings in the two pictures above.)

For a glimpse of the pieces in a more finished space, here is the set in our bedroom at our TN home.

(Photo Courtesy of Zeitlin Realty, Nashville, TN)

(Photo Courtesy of Zeitlin Realty, Nashville, TN)

We love how the pieces turned out and have been using them now for close to 5 years.  One day we may decide to switch out our massive headboard for something different and I have had thoughts of undoing all that I did to bring the pieces back to twin status in case my future children want to use them.  But, for now, we will just enjoy our vintage bedroom set and all it’s fun history.

Do you have any furniture pieces with history in your home?  Have you refinished any furniture pieces or do you like to leave things “as is” so they can continue to tell their story?

Kitsch Krafts

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