Friday, September 21, 2012



So, for those of you who have watched my blog in recent days, you know I've been a busy little bee. Between the office remodel, house renovation, and small consulting jobs, I've made many a trip to Lowe's. Not to mention the furniture refinishing class I took at Under the Willow Tree. (in Pendleton, SC)

I just thought I'd share a few little tips I've learned in the last few months as I've poured over old wooden objects in hopes of bringing life to them again. Thanks again to my mom for being a handy lady and instructing me in the things I needed to do differently!

The first project I have worked on in recent days is an old dresser that I acquired from a client. One man's trash is another's treasure!

Step 1: Sand piece
(be sure to sand off all shine from previous finish)

One thing I never realized is that there are DIFFERENT types of sandpaper! (wow, imagine that!)

**NOTE The higher the number, the finer the paper. So, when you are initially sanding a piece, go with a low number... 60-80 will work just perfectly!

Step 2: Prime
(I use Kilz primer and it's fantastic! Be sure to go Latex unless the piece you are working on was previously coated with oil-based paint)

** NOTE: Be sure when you are priming your piece that you don't go too thinck with the coat. It's better paint two thin coats of primer if necessary than to do one very thick coat. If you go thick, it's more likely to stick... and be sticky!

Step 3: Paint first coat Valspar

It's crucial to evaluate carefully the type of paint you want to use. I am partial to Valspar simply because you can go to Lowe's and get a Valspar sample for a few bucks and that's typically enough paint to cover a small piece.

When selecting your paint, remember that the more shine in your paint the more durable and easier it will to clean. Determine what look you want and then evaluate the type of use the furniture piece will get. For example, you like the idea of a wooden foot stool that will look rustic and have a matte finish, but remember if you choose to go with a satin or a semi-gloss low sheen paint, you will have to work extra hard to keep it fresh and clean. (just think practically!)

The look and maintenace of your piece is all up to you- that's the beauty of refinishing your own piece! :) You really can't go too wrong, and if you get the first coat on and it dries and you hate it, you can ALWAYS sand it back down and start over!

**NOTE: When you paint, be sure to paint the same direction as the grain of the piece. Makes for a more natural finish. Also be sure you do not paint too thick of layers...  You will need at least two coats to get full coverage. (note, one gallon of paint covers roughly 300 square feet, so your paint will go a LONG way on furniture!)

Step 4: Second Coat of Paint
(BUT NOT UNTIL THE FIRST COAT has dried for several days.)

Drying time will vary depending on the moisture in the air. Be sure when you touch your piece that it doesn't feel tacky but it's dried hard. (Sometimes it will take up to a week between coats)

** NOTE: Depending on the type of paint you use, you may need to do a light sanding between coats. Think about this, in order for it to stick, it has to have something to GRIP to... so sand, baby, sand! (but with a 200 sand paper... nothing coarser)

Step 5: Antiquing
(Be sure to paint or rub on stain with the grain)

Very helpful information from my dear friend (and fellow blogger) Katherine Bougie.
Visit her blog at www.

When using the antiquing technique, you will first want to distress your piece to make it look, well... like an ANTIQUE! Be sure when distressing that you think about the natural use of a piece and where it would be worn over time, and that is where you want to scratch, sand, hammer, etc. (don't get too carried away, but enjoy! Remember, you can ALWAYS put the paint back on, so have fun!)

After distressing your piece, select the stain color of choice, and then either use a brush or PAPER TOWEL (works wonders!) to rub on the stain. Remember when working with stain, it dries quickly, so you need to work on your piece fairly quickly. The stain I like to use is Minwax and I'm definitely partial to darker stain colors.

STEP 6: Final Coat
(Can use a polyurethane or a wax sealer)

There are many options to complete the piece you are working on. For this particular piece of furniture I used a Clear gloss Polycrylic polyurethane. I used a paint brush and applied a thin layer over my entire piece and then let it dry for days before touching.

PS: The best part about refinishing old pieces is the hardward. Think twice before throwing out the old. Sometimes the patina that comes with age is exactly what sets the piece apart.  Also, consider what your original hardware will look like with a little RUSTOLEUM spray paint. . .

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


So very thankful for this Wednesday. Spent a few minutes this morning at breakfast with some of the ladies in my CP group and it was a great kick-start to the day. A little Chick-fil-A, a little laughter, and a little prayer. One of the ladies reminded us of Lamentations 3:22-24...

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS!!! The Lord is my PORTION, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him."

So very thankful for the reminder of the faithfulness of the Lord, and the fact that we have hope and satisfaction in Him. We don't need anything else. . . not anything.

Blessed and Thankful today!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Hardwoods are in... now for sanding and refinishing. It's been such a fun process and the house feels so different. It's like we've gone from walking into an old, stinky house to new construction. It's amazing how much change can take place with a little (LOT) sweat and updating.

For those who are following...

View of living room- painted and ready to sand. Notice the front door is black and my
hardware is updated. Thanks Mom and Ronnie... :)
(It's been very helpful to date an engineer!)

The beautiful designer :)... and electrician, and plumber, and project manager,
and painter, and HVAC specialist. . .

You can see they are in the process of sanding down the floor. The orange is going allll away!

Picture of the den

On the right is the finish that will be done in the house. It's actually just the oak flooring with a poly finish- no stain.
Below the diagonal plank of wood  is the old hardwood floowing, and the upper hardwood
is what they just installed. You can't even tell
a difference between the two once they are sanded down-- amazing!

I must say I love this ceiling fan. Just had to post a picture. :)
(Thanks, Dad. . . also an electrician, plumber, project manager, HVAC specialist,
Landscape architect, grass mower, weed specialist, . . .)
All the update I have for now. Thankful to see the brainwork come together!

THANK YOU to all of my friends and family who have spent hours and hours and hours and hours. . . helping me!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Been in the design mode for about the last... well, 6 months or so. This next week our office renovation should be complete and then we'll be moving over the next month. I can't wait to post before and after pictures- hard to believe it's even the same building. That project was a blast to work on for me because mom and I have designed it from the blueprints to the door knobs. The builders we have worked with have been tremendous and it's been a great experience.

I've been taking a furniture refinishing class at Under the Willow Tree in Pendleton, SC which has definitely been peaking my design interest. I have a hard time not dreaming of refinishing every piece of furniture in any antique store. I am trying to remember that restoration is often better than doing faux finishes, but man... faux finishes are so much fun and so in style now. The key is, on the more inexpensive pieces of your home, go big and fun; on the staple pieces of your home, go classy and timeless. It's much easier to replace a throw pillow or a mantle piece than it is to replace your couch and love seat or your kitchen cabinets.

The NEW house project has been a MONSTER, but such a blessing. It's been so neat to see how the Lord has brought everything together so smoothly. We are working with an incredible builder (again) and they have been so helpful in keeping things moving smoothly. Most of the "unsatisfactory" list from the home inspection has been addressed, and the place is starting to come together. Tomorrow the hardwoods will be installed in the den and kitchen, and then all of the floors will be refinished and will look brand spankin' old/new. I'm looking forward to walking in next week to clean surfaces.

I would also like to announce that this morning the new gutters were installed. I never knew I would be SO excited about gutters! Never. Knew.

Today mom has been laboring over the fireplace inside. I absolutely love the brick. I know it's very popular to paint interior brick right now (always has been) and while I love the painted brick look, the red brick in my den is just too pretty to put a brush to. I'm looking forward to using creative juices and making the mantle a piece of art. Not sure yet what look I'm going for, but I have a couple of weeks to think over it.

Yesterday I had a design appointment and am doing some consulting work with a lady here in Clemson. Carpet samples and color decks are going to consume some of my weekend. I'm excited and thankful for the opportunity to do design work on the side.

SO very thankful the Lord has given me some fun experiences in the last 6 months to use my training and really one of my great passions. . . design. So blessed to have the job I have and to be working in the finance industry, so thankful for my dad and his willingness to train me to think soundly and carefully in business, and so thankful that I'm able to use the design bone in my body on the side (as a bonus!). Very thankful.

Be on the look out for pictures of my crazy house-life. Pending. . .