Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Decorating on Shoestring

Remember this?


And this old dresser?  I sanded the top of the dresser down to the bare wood by hand, before I got the random orbit sander


Add to it this $20 bookcase off Craigslist


The bookshelf was held together with a lot of glue, and some nails and screws.  With some hammer and chisel work, and some quick heavy blows to the bottom part, we ended up with this.  Damage was minimal, thank goodness.


I'd picked a few cans of paint up from the mistint shelf at Home Depot.  What's not to love about a full can of paint that is both paint and primer, and only $3.  The green paint was a mis-tint also.  It's too hard to decide from a full spectrum of paint chips.  Limit my choices, and I'm much happier.  Kind of how I like to pick library books.  I'm happy if there is a cart or two of books waiting to be reshelved.  Looking over those titles gives me enough choice, and in a few minutes I can usually pick out a half dozen or so books to read.

So the shelf and the dresser were painted with the beige primer/flat paint.  Then one of my other cheap cans was used to paint over it.


Green on the back of the shelf, and the drawer fronts.  Some of the $3 can of dark brown gloss was thinned down by about half with water and brushed over the rest of the beige.  I wasn't really happy how that turned out, so I mixed a bit of red in to change the colour up.  Say it like that and it sounds so simple. Actually, I spent a long time fiddling around adding a bit of this and that to get a colour I liked, and brushed another layer of watered down paint over what I had already done.


The top of the dresser was stained.  I used a water based Minwax stain.  I picked the darkest one.  It didn't turn out anywhere near as dark as it looked in the bottle.  I bought an oil base walnut stain and tried to darken it up.  I thought it had worked, but was reminded that oil and water don't mix.  The oil stain wouldn't dry, well I guess it couldn't soak in, so in the end I had to wipe it off.
Add in some 50 cent pulls from Habitat for Humanity, and we can open the drawers with one hand.  Small things like that make me happy:)
The bookshelf will now be a tv cabinet.  When we get a tv for it, I'll put that shelf, leaning against the bottom right, in the cabinet above the tv.   This is at Wyndson Cottage in Oliver.  We've just come back from a week there.  We did quite a bit of painting.  The walls, none of which are drywall, but are three different patterns of hardboard stuff, were a very blue colour.  They are now Parisian White (cream).  Our furniture is browns, greens and golds.  We are decorating on a tight budget.


Here's looking at the opposite wall from the tv cabinet before we painted.  (The walls were much bluer than they appear here.)
Between hand-me-downs, garage sales, thrift stores, Craigslist and repurposing, not counting the paint, we've spent $75 on our sort of retro-ish, 70-ish living room.  
Those chairs are darn comfy. (Thanks K and N!)


And over looking it all, as she should, is Larry's mum, a hundred and two years younger.  
After all, her legacy helped to make it all possible.



  1. Your project turned out really good..you had a vision! Wyndson Cottage looks cozy..and with two couches the dogs have a spot to sleep! How did you like it up at Oliver? :)

    1. Loved it! I was really getting into the groove of living there. Life was pretty simple and uncomplicated, and we had snow:)

    2. Oh yeah, and Luna occasionally sneaks onto a loveseat, but we do have a few dog beds now in strategic spots.

  2. I had a feeling when I first saw those pieces that you were working on furnishing your new abode. The place is coming along nicely and I love the new TV cabinet. You are a very handy person Karen :)

  3. OMG...Can I borrow you? FABULOUS redo on the dresser/bookcase. You are so CREATIVE. I love it.

  4. Love what you've done. The floors in your new house are gorgeous.

  5. love your vision I wish I had the talent that is in your pinky. I so need to learn how to do projects like that.

  6. love your vision I wish I had the talent that is in your pinky. I so need to learn how to do projects like that.

    1. I started looking at furniture makeover blogs...oh my, the ideas some people have. I'm slowly delving into that sort of thing.


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