My Dream Big Girl Closet - {ReStyle: Part 1}

About three years ago, Triple Threat (my Handy, Handsome, Hubby) asked me what I wanted for the big 4-0 birthday.  That was a simple answer.  A big girl closet.  For our entire married life, which was eleven years at the time, our closet was in a constant state of mess.  And it drove me absolutely crazy.  I consider myself to be an organized person.  If something has a specific place, I always put it back in the right spot.  In my closet's case, NOTHING had a place so it was a giant free-for-all.  It was a vortex of dishevelment. 

Those close to me know about my love affair with shoes.  All 125 pairs of them.  Stilettos were an part of my everyday wardrobe.  I wore them the duration of my pregnancy and against the prediction of my OB-Gyn, to the delivery room.

 

{Source: www.fashupp.com}

{Source: www.fashupp.com}

Now, our closet wasn't built to hold that kind of serious shoe collection.  The only place to store them was on the top shelves so we invested in the plastic racks. About eight to be exact.  We soon discovered the flaw in this plan.  Now, I am 5'3" tall so the only way for me to reach my shoes was a ladder.  It became painfully obvious (not to mention inconvenient) that dragging out a ladder every time I needed to reach my shoes wasn't happening.  In turn, the floor of our closet became a giant swimming pool of shoes. 

Exhibit A:  The most frequently worn shoes in my collection.

Exhibit A:  The most frequently worn shoes in my collection.

The other constant source of frustration was not having any drawers for socks, unmentionables, workout clothes, and anything else your might want to cram in a drawer.  Again, we turned to plastic bins for a temporary solution that ended up not exactly being temporary fourteen years later.

Exhibit B: What a mess! Overflowing bins

Exhibit B: What a mess! Overflowing bins

Triple Threat knew how important my dream of a Big Girl Closet was to me and decided it was the perfect spurge for my 40th birthday.  We starting researching our options and met with several closet installation companies.

Enter Closets by Design.  We instantly connected with the designer, Jessy Busch, who came out to make my Big Girl Closet dream come true.

First, Jessy took measurements of our entire closet, calculated how much hang space we needed and counted all my shoes to make sure there would be a place for everything.  I'm pretty sure counting all my shoes wore her out.  {He he he!}.

Then all the magic started.  She drafted a plan of the new closet and we met to discuss what we liked and wanted to change.  We were pretty on board with everything she came up with and only made minor changes to the original plan.  Finally!  We were ready to get started!  

Or, so we thought.  Right after we met and finalized the plans, our sweet kitty became extremely sick.  So, we had a choice...invest in vet expenses or my dream closet.  Which option do you think we went with?

Of course, the health of our beloved family pet was more important so my Big Girl Closet would have to wait.  Two years to be exact.  Fast forward to the summer of 2014 and we are finally doing it.  My test of patience is paying off!  

Step one of the process was removing the ENTIRE contents out of our closet.  Did I mention I was not excited about this part?  I had no idea how much stuff was crammed into this space.  On the upside, it was the perfect opportunity to sort through everything and make a substantial donation.

Now, where to put the complete contents of a closet?  For an entire week, everything that was once in our master closet crowded our bedroom.  Let me tell you, I am a neat freak and that wasn't easy for me.  

When everything's finally out, we're ready for demolition.  Out with the old and in with the new!  

Ready, Set, Demo! 

Ready, Set, Demo! 

Our closet looked HUGE once the old closet was removed!

Saying goodbye was never so easy.

Saying goodbye was never so easy.

Even our cat loved the empty closet.  

Step two is painting the closet.  We couldn't decided on color so decided to go with both.  Ripe Wheat on the walls and Stable Hay on the ceiling.  We only had one day to get the entire closet painted.  I don't think I've ever painted so fast in my life.

We went with both!

We went with both!

Painted and ready for carpet install.

Painted and ready for carpet install.

Whoa, you might needs shades!  I promise the color doesn't look quite so intense once the new closet is in.  Pinky swear.

Sneak Peek.

Sneak Peek.

Closets by Design did a beyond fabulous installation of my Big Girl Closet and I can't wait to show you the rest of it.  Stay tuned for Part 2 to see the full reveal!

How to Stain Poplar Wood Like a Boss

I love taking a challenge and turning it into a triumph.  This is exactly what happened with one of my recent projects.

{BEFORE}

{BEFORE}

A client brought me a dining room table covered in glitter and the surface was a sticky, gooey mess.  I got to work sanding with 80# and when I had finally sanded off all the goo, I discovered it was poplar wood (not stain-grade). {Insert HUGE sigh.}

See all that shiny stuff?  Yep, that's glitter y'all.  

See all that shiny stuff?  Yep, that's glitter y'all.  

Poplar is commonly used in furniture projects because it's inexpensive  and works best with a painted finish. However, my client wanted the top stained and I was not going to let her down.   On the inside, I was a little concerned that I wasn't going to be able to pull it off.

Triple Threat {Handsome, Handy, Hubby} told me "no way is that going to stain well, you should probably tell her it needs to be painted." Well, I considered that a challenge. I had to prove him wrong.  

Check out all the variations in the wood pieces.  This top was definitely not intended to be stained with the finger-style joints showing.

Check out all the variations in the wood pieces.  This top was definitely not intended to be stained with the finger-style joints showing.

Lots of variation in the wood.  This is definitely going to be a challenge.

Lots of variation in the wood.  This is definitely going to be a challenge.

I applied wood conditioner, said a prayer and went to work with the ONE COAT WONDER, General Finishes Java gel stain. The first coat looked pretty darn good but was a little patchy in areas. Next coat, I used Walnut gel stain to give a little dimension to the Java. Holy cow, it looked amazing except one tiny area that wasn't staining well at all.

No worries, I used my dry brushing technique with walnut gel stain and VOILA, the tabletop transformed into a high-end wood knock-off.  When Triple Threat saw the the ReStyle, he was amazed I was able to stain poplar to appear like one of its higher-end cousins such as walnut. He affectionately refers to me as the Stain Master now, which I can't say I mind.  

The top completely transformed with General Finishes gel stains.

The top completely transformed with General Finishes gel stains.

{RESTYLED}

{RESTYLED}

My favorite part of this whole process was conquering something that seemed impossible.  That and my client's reaction when she saw her ReStyled table.  She loved it so much and said it was almost too pretty to use.  You can't beat that kind of payment for your work!  

The table base got some loving too.  

The table base got some loving too.  

I hope this will inspire you to try staining the 'unstainable,'  And if you do, please let me know how it works out for you.

In the meantime, Keep Calm and Gel Stain On!  

One Coat Wonder is Back in Black

You've probably heard of General Finishes Gel Stain by now unless you never get on Pinterest or social media of any kind.  Java and Antique Walnut have been my best friends lately but there's a new kid in town.  BLACK is the new black in the latest addition to the gel stain family! And one of you will be lucky enough to win a pint.

The contest runs from July 18-26, 2014 and it's simple to be eligible.  

1.  Like High Style ReStyle on Facebook. Easy, right since most of you have already covered that one.  

2.  Post a comment.  Say what project you need black gel stain to start or finish.  Or you've never tried gel stain so this is the perfect opportunity.  If you just want to win something free, that's okay too as long as you comment about it.  

3. Share my page with everyone you know.  

I'll be announcing the winner on Saturday, July 27.  So stay tuned to see which lucky DIYer gets to be one of the first to try out One Coat Wonder in black.

ENTER HERE -------------->


Got A Pain in Your Stain?

If you follow my Facebook page, then you know how much I'm loving General Finishes Gel Stain. In fact, I nicknamed it the One Coat Wonder, which seems to be catching on since even General Finishes started using it.  {Yippee!}   

When a client brought me her dining room table, I knew gel stain was the perfect product to take the golden oak to wonderful walnut. 

{BEFORE with leaf}

{BEFORE with leaf}

In my workshop ready to be transformed.

In my workshop ready to be transformed.

The grain was too beautiful to completely cover so I had to choose the right shade.  Java was too dark; Antique Walnut wasn't dark enough.   I decided on using a 50/50 blend of Antique Walnut and Java. I used a disposable shot glass to measure equal parts, which worked perfectly.  How's that for a shot of Java?  ;)

To prep the table for its ReStyle, I cleaned and scuff-sanded (scuff, scuff, that's enough) the entire surface.  Don't forget to wipe down the top again with a cloth after sanding to remove any dust.  

Once I applied the first coat, I noticed one section of the edging wasn't taking the stain.  This had never happened so I thought the second coat would solve the problem.  But, it didn't.  It seemed like this section came from a different type of wood than the rest of the table.  But the fact it wasn't staining was puzzling.

This was not good.  At all.  The table was now two shades darker.  All except for one section and I had no idea why.  

Table with light side_2.jpg

I was trying not to panic when I remembered a technique used in faux finishing called dry brushing.  Not sure why this idea popped into my head at that moment but I'll call it serendipitous.  Keep reading and you'll understand.

In drybrushing, the idea is to apply a small amount of paint to your brush and then squeeze the excess paint into a paper towel or rag.   Very little paint should remain on your brush.  Next, lightly drag your brush over the area so it's slightly kissed with paint rather than loaded for full coverage.  

Dip your brush about one-third to bottom of ferrule. 

Dip your brush about one-third to bottom of ferrule. 

Blot off excess stain onto paper towel or cloth.

Blot off excess stain onto paper towel or cloth.

I decided to give dry brushing a try since I didn't have any other painting tricks up my sleeve at this point.  And boy, I'm so glad I did!  I gave the entire area a quick dry brush and I almost couldn't believe my eyes.  The edge that had been two complete shades lighter was now a perfect match and blended in with the rest of the table.  The best part was the dry brushed area was completely autonomous with the rest of table.  It was now seamlessly stained.  Can I get an HALLELUJAH?!

Did I tell you this stuff was amazing?  That light edge darkened right up just like I wanted.

Did I tell you this stuff was amazing?  That light edge darkened right up just like I wanted.

It was at this moment I realized General Finishes gel stains were so fantastic, they can practically read you story and tuck you in bed.  Yes.  They really are that good.  And the best part is discovering other creative uses to help me ReStyle the world's furniture.

Check out these legs! {Whistling} 

Check out these legs! {Whistling} 

From outdated Oak to a wonderful Walnut blend, this table is ready for some serious entertaining!

From outdated Oak to a wonderful Walnut blend, this table is ready for some serious entertaining!

You might be wondering why the dry brushing technique worked when the typical staining application didn't.  Normally, when you apply stain (gel or wipe-on), you brush on and wipe off the excess. In this case, wiping off the excess was removing too much of the stain for the wood to accept the color.  By dry brushing on the gel stain, it stayed on top of the wood providing an opaque layer without removing more than necessary.

This method worked so well, I only needed to dry brush on one coat to get the desired look. Winning!

I love when a painting challenge turns into a brilliant discovery.  And this definitely falls into that category.

After this game-changing find, I thought I'd try it out on some old, past-its-prime patina brass table feet. And what do you know...magic happened ladies and gents.  Step right up and see for yourself.

Java Gel Stain on hardware.jpg

So, if you're in the middle (or beginning) of a painting project and find a paint in your stain I hope you give this method a try.  I pinkie swear it will rock your socks!  And I'd love to hear all about how you used it!

To learn more about General Finishes and the One Coat Wonder, run don't walk over to their Facebook page and give them a like.  And make sure to tell them High Style ReStyle sent ya!

In the meantime - 



Got Scratches, Chew Marks or Gouges? Gnaw Problem.

My latest project involves ReStyling a set of eight (8) dining chairs that apparently lived in sheer terror of the family dog.  Not a one managed to escape its jaws of doom.  These poor, disheveled chairs are high-quality,  solid cherry and I'm excited to return them to their finer glory days.  Well, actually having seen the original fabric, even better than the original.  ;)

{Queen Anne Chairs Before}

{Queen Anne Chairs Before}

If you have that piece of furniture you haven't tackled yet because of its battle scars (deep scratches, gouges or teeth marks), let me introduce you to one of my favorite furniture CPR products. 

Durham's Rock Hard Putty is my secret weapon.

Durham's Rock Hard Putty is my secret weapon.

Durham's is my secret weapon when it comes to repairing furniture.  One of these cans is supposed to last a lifetime but I've gone through one in about a year if that tells you how much I use it.  Trust me, it's that good.

That piece of furniture you've been hoarding because you thought it was a lost cause can be fixed at last. Can I get an AMEN?!

These chairs survived the horrors of abuse and survived.  With a little Durham's putty and paint, they will be thriving in no time!

Check out those gnaw marks!

Check out those gnaw marks!

Scratches or gouges anyone?

Scratches or gouges anyone?

First step is mixing up the desired amount of Durham's putty with a little water.  I use a disposable cup or bowl and gradually add water until it gets to a workable consistency.  I like mine to be similar to a creamy peanut butter.  Just make sure you aren't tempted to taste it.  ;)

Using a putty knife, smear the Durham's over the area you want to repair, pushing the putty down into the scratches or chew marks.  Then, take a damp paper towel and wipe off any excess.  Once you've applied as much as necessary to fill any scratches or holes, let dry at least two hours before moving on.

They don't look pretty yet, but I promise they will.

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Once the puttied areas are nice and dry, it's time to move on to sanding.  I like to use a course sanding block but use whatever sandpaper floats your boat.  120-grit does a nice job removing the extra putty without sanding too much of the surrounding wood.

Sand the entire area you've applied Durham's until the finish is smooth to the touch.  The goal is for the putty to completely fill in the scratches, gouges and holes without creating extra build-up.

 

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See how those scratches and holes are filled in like a dream?  What'd I tell you?!  Even though you can still see the repaired areas, they are as smooth as glass.  And once painted, will be undetectable.

Durham's helps save those pieces that might have been forgotten about otherwise.  It dries rock-hard just like its name so you never have to worry about it crumbling.  I've even molded missing corners and trim pieces with this putty!  

Now, you can move on to the fun part of painting and ReStyling!   I always use a chalk-type paint and have never had any coverage issues with Durham's.  

Don't worry, these chairs aren't completely finished but you get the idea.  This is only after I applied one coat of van Gogh's Revenge.  They need a second coat and then I'll use a black wax/varnish as the final topcoat. 

Do you see any evidence of gouges?  Me neither.  :)

Do you see any evidence of gouges?  Me neither.  :)

Bye, bye chew marks!

Bye, bye chew marks!

These chairs have come a long way baby. Don't you agree?  I hope you found this tutorial on repairing furniture with the amazing Durham's helpful.  I'd love to hear from you and find out what projects you need to use it on.

Until next time, keep on painting and transforming furniture!