Posts Tagged ‘before & after’

Before & After: My Old Chairs


Do you remember this chair? I bought a pair of them off my friend for $10. I always had the ambition to reupholster them, but while we were at our last house, that ambition died and I sold them to my cousin’s wife.

I was happy to sell them to her, because I knew they would make their way to a good home. She’s an interior designer, and works on some really amazing projects, so I knew she would see their true potential.

And she did. She had them restained with a walnut finish (love the walnut color so much better) and reupholstered with a cool dot print. Check out Christa’s blog to see how they look in their new home. (seriously, I was drooling).

Black & White & Loved All Over Redesign


During Chris’s two and a half weeks of Christmas vacation, we spent our time redesigning a few blogs. WE had a grand time working together & making the interwebs a tiny bit prettier. I’ll be sharing a finished project each week along with a design tip (or two) for a better blog.

Ellen was an absolute dream to work with. She’s been commenting over here on ISLY for some time, so I was familiar with her adorable family-centered blog: Black & White & Loved All Over. When she signed up for her bloggy face lift, I was SO excited to do it for someone I was familiar with!

Her before (above) wasn’t terrible, but it lacked a lot of cohesion. The font she had chosen for her header wasn’t bad & I definitely appreciate that she used it only in the header. With that in mind, I hand-lettered her masthead & used organic elements to keep things cozy & familiar.

I didn’t want to do a literal translation of Black & White the color, so I leaned more towards grasping opposites and mostly in font weight. The color palette we kept slightly muted to create more warmth & I included a large profile picture to add a personal touch. As someone who reads a lot of personal & commercial blogs, I want to know what the writer looks like. I want to see his/her face so I can get a sense of who they are. I love the about picture of Ellen. I don’t know her in person, but I feel like her picture embodies someone approachable, creative & kind. Which I assume she is, since she was awesome to work with.

I’m totally in love with the vintage handkerchief teeshirt update pictured above. Ingenius! I’m a firm believer that clean & cohesive design elements will help make her already awesome projects shine. So on to the first design tip:

• Blog tip #1 : COLOR! •

Don’t be too literal with your color scheme, but not so over the place, either. Find an image that inspires your style & glean your palette from that. I head over to Color Collective frequently for a starting point for color palettes. Lauren is great at picking very inspiring images (she credits them all correctly, too). It’s a fantastic resource for cohesive, beautiful & unexpected color combinations.

Dresser Before & After by Guest


Until I get my studio set up at our new place, I’ll be posting mostly thrifty finds, ideas & guest posts. 

This guest post comes from Laura, my thrifting sister. Seriously, she finds the raddest things! I love this dresser she rehabbed! It’s giving me the motivation to finally finish the dresser I started to rehab 8 months ago!

• • •

Hi I’m Laura from You Are My New Dream.

Today I’d like to share with you my most recent diy undertaking. I am so proud to have finally found my much sought after mid century dresser purchased for $39 at the Salvation Army Thrift store. When I first laid eyes on this piece it looked like this:

I wasn’t feeling the sloppy burgundy paint job or the jacked up drawers. It looked pitiful in the store and none of the drawers fit right. It had already been marked down from $60. I thought to myself what a shame that the drawers are messed up. I really fell in love with the mid century shape and I could tell the dresser was solid wood construction with no veneer. I made myself at home on the floor of the thrift store and I played musical drawers until all 6 drawers fit perfectly. Then I walked ran to the register and bought it.

Now let me back up and say that I had never refinished furniture before. (There was that one time I sanded the finish off of a jenny lind bed with sandpaper and spray painted it –not recommended.) I knew what supplies were necessary because I had seen my husband do it before. This was the dresser of my dreams and I knew that there was no way I could paint over that ugliness. It would have to be stripped down to the wood and I would have to figure it out myself. So whats a girl to do? Google. A lot of googling!

I used:

  • Chemical proof gloves (trust me, paint stripper will burn your skin)
  • Goggles
  • Paint stripper (Jasco premium)
  • Small metal bucket to hold the stripper
  • Scrubby paint remover pads
  • Metal bristle mini brushes
  • A scraper
  • Mineral spirits/paint thinner
  • Drop Cloth
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper medium and fine grade (do not use a belt sander if you are a beginner)
  • Latex interior/exterior primer (Kilz)
  • Latex semi gloss pain (Valspar from Lowes)
  • Foam roller
  • Clear coat or lacquer to seal the deal (Rustoleum clear lacquer spray)

I put the dresser over a dropcloth & outside beneath a carport because it can be quite messy & smelly. Armored with my chemical proof gloves I used a large old paint brush to brush on a thick coat of the paint stripper. I let it sit for 10-15 minutes before trying to scrape it off.

If you’re doing this – you may have to repeat this step a few times depending on the layers of paint or varnish. You can use the scrubby stripping pads, or the bristle brushes for intricate detailed areas. DO NOT get paint stripper on your skin! It will burn horribly. If this happens wash the area with soap and warm water immediately.

Luckily I was working with a lot of straight lines -all except for the sculptural wood drawer pulls. It’s really not as difficult as it sounds! I was very apprehensive at the beginning of this project but once I started, it was surprisingly easy. After I stripped as much paint as I could, I used an old rag to wipe it down with mineral spirits(not soaked) to clean up any of the paint stripper residue. After it dried, I used medium grit sandpaper to remove the remaining paint.

From there I used fine grit sandpaper to sand the wood until it was smooth and even. I discovered two sizable gauges on the top of the dresser so I filled those areas with wood putty which I sanded after it was dry. After brushing off the dresser, I wiped it again with mineral spirits to catch any dust that was left behind. I let it sit for a day so it would dry out completely.

Then I began priming with a brush. I used two THIN coats of interior/exterior primer but a mysterious and stubborn stain kept bleeding through on the top. Thin coats are best! Sand between each coat & use Kilz for stains that bleed through. One light sanding after painting the last coat will do for helping your final paint stick.

I let it sit for about 2 days to let the primer dry thoroughly. Then I painted a thin coat of my color on. I let that dry for about 24 hours then painted another thin coat on all surfaces. I used a foam roller to give the top of the dresser a nice, even final coat. Again, I let this dry for another day or so before spraying it down with Rustoleum clear spray lacquer to protect the surface.

I am very pleased with how this project turned out. This dresser is for my 3 year old daughter Sophie and she loves the happy color. You can see more of Sophie’s room here.

May Showers Bring June Flowers: A Refashion


It’s been raining cats & dogs pretty much on and off for the last week. Mostly on, though. I’m ready for spring to come!! Sheesh. I took this rainy opportunity to tailor a trench coat I bought last year. I had plans to alter it back in April of last year, but then mysteriously lost motivation to work on projects. *ahem* Felix *ahem*

I was drawn to the trench for it’s soft, spring color; albeit rather 90s. It takes me back to ninth grade. Like most coats at thrift & vintage stores, it was too large. It fit just fine in the shoulders (besides the heinous shoulder pads) but the arms were very baggy, as was everything else. The length creeped me out a little. Like a purple-people eater.


While the alterations were pretty straight forward, it took me all day to do them. I had to take out the lining, clean up the edges, take in the sleeves & sides & hem the bottom. Taking in the sides took two House episodes as the seam in the sleeve & the seam in the bodice weren’t lined up. The hem took about two House episodes, too. I don’t like hemming & the bottom was rounded, which is more time consuming. That’s okay though.


I’m thrilled with the result. Now I’m headed out to jump in the puddles with Penelope.


Have I mentioned I’m going to be speaking at Sewing Summit in October on Refashioning clothing? I’m SO EXCITED to go! If you’re into sewing, it’s going to be like a giant sewing slumber party here at Salt Lake City’s Little America. Fun, hu? Let me know if you’re coming! I’m trying to think about what to do for business cards for this conference. I’m desperately needing to update mine.

Brass Bench Before & After


Remember that housewares swap I talked about last week? Here’s one of the projects that I had mentioned. It’s complete! It only took me two days to complete. I would’ve finished it sooner, but napping & cuddles took precedence.

This thing was UGLY. Honestly, if I had seen this in a thrift store I wouldn’t have given it a second glance, but for some reason I saw the hidden beauty in it at the swap party. All it took to spruce up this chair was some spray paint, padding, a zipper & just over a quarter of a yard of fabric.

I just so happen to have some extra padding from a random project I did a while back, so I added that to the cushion before covering it. GOOD IDEA. I’m glad I did it. The little bench is much more comfortable now. I also think it looks better to have a more substantial cushion on there anyway.

I thought this bench/stool/chair thingy would be perfect for Chris’s “guitar corner” in our bedroom, but I’m not so sure he really digs it. He’d much rather practice on an old school chair that’s cool, but hardly matches the decor of the bedroom. I’m hoping he’ll have a change of heart now that the thing is complete.

What do you think? Would you sit on it now?

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