Category Archives: Before and After Projects

I have been working on projects.

So much time and so much effort goes into what I do. It takes a certain amount of planning, research and knowledge not to mention the time in the garage. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of it. It lights me up, and when I see the reaction from people who appreciate how I took this piece of furniture that was drab, beat up, being thrown away, broken, and not of use…that is when I feel a sense of satisfaction that nothing can compare to.  I know that I took something that other’s discarded and made it into something that anyone would be proud to have in their homes.

I also love the feeling that I saved this inanimate object from being destroyed. Kept it from becoming part of the landfill situation. Which is something I have spoken (and typed) about at great length.

There are those times when the piece of furniture is something that I already own. Something that has been moved around, dropped or damaged by my other half or, one or all of my four kids as they grew up.  All of that applies to this piece of furniture.

I got this huge thing from a friend before he died. From what I understood it was given to him by his father before he passed away, because it had belonged to his mother who died when he was very young. I am not sure why he gave it to me, other than that even at that time I had a passion for furniture.

Of course, I started before I had the thought to take a before picture. I also knew this would be a major labor of love/hate that would go on for a while.


When I start these kinds of very large projects, I get so excited and it can be hard to slow down and take my time. I hear that out of everyone who does any kind of project. We can all hear the call of the finish line!

I was informed by my Grandmother, (someone I would never argue with) that this is called a linen press. Due to the large nature of this piece, it was common to find them in larger older homes. Most people just avoided moving them.  I absolutely understand why!!

While I was working on “the linen press”, I found some interesting things.

One of the things that I found interesting was the writing on the bottom and side of one of the drawers.  What is says is:  Rebuilt by John Duk  Cabinet Maker Phil PA June 192120171020_131314-1This tells part of the story of this piece of furniture. It inspired me to start doing the same thing. Writing a short note in an inconspicuous place letting those who will have that particular piece of furniture after me, what I did, who I was and when I did it. It lends to the story behind how far a piece of furniture travels, and helps tell it’s story.  I thank John Duk, from the bottom of my heart.

The drawers are very stable, so John did a good job!

They were stable but not very pretty. Like most of the finish on this thing, it had darkened, had shadows, clouds and discoloration all over it. So I started with the drawer fronts.


The finish was like nothing I had ever seen before. I also want to note, there are locks on every one of these drawers and both the cabinet doors. I was given the key to it, and when I went in search of another key, so that I’d have two… no one could help me. I was told by one reproducer of keys (yes..they are on the internet) to look for “Jailer’s keys”. (I kind of wanted to laugh…) These locks were like nothing I had seen before. On the larger side, they seemed like overkill for a cabinet.  Two of the locks didn’t work, and I was able to take them out, and work with them to get them to smoothly open and close. With many suggestions of what to and what not to use for lube, and a shout out to all of you guys who helped me. (THANKS!!!)  One thing is for sure, these locks were made for this cabinet, original to the piece and unique.

So I continued on by taking all of the locks out, cleaning them, lubing them and fixing them so that they all worked.


Here she is with all of her drawers and cabinet doors devoid of finish. The drawer fronts were veneered, the cabinet doors and body were solid mahogany.


Once I got this far, things slowed down. I got the flu….a flu that lasted almost three months. So she sat in the garage, waiting.


Once I got better I started working on her almost immediately. This is a very large piece of furniture to have sitting in the middle of a workshop. I needed her out ASAP!!

So to work I went again.  This is after one coat of polyurethane. I let it cure for three days, before doing a “knock down” fine grit sanding. 1518752792689


I was trying to take my time.






So I finally got most of her done, and brought it into the house (with much difficulty..and I had help!)

I am glad to have her mostly done.  I will update this post when the cabinet doors are done and the escutcheons are in place. (most of them are missing, so I will be purchasing reproduction to replace).      From my garage to yours!!

cabinet almost doneLorie


It’s been a year.

I was told that in order to have a successful blog, you must write consistently. I think that is true, although life has a way of getting in the way of the things you want to do or the things you HAVE to do. I have been doing what I have had to do for the past year. Now I can write about the things I like to do again.

I also think that a successful blog happens when you have a catchy title, lots and lots of friends, and content that is original and stuff people can use.

My blog may not be considered successful, but it is all me.  YAY ME!!!

So…on to a post!!!  Yes, I have things to share!

This is the story of a little table.  I was taking my other half to work one morning recently, and I took a direction that he wasn’t completely in agreement with.  As I turned the corner onto a residential back road, there were two tables on the side of the road.  I saw them…let out an, “AWWWW”…and stopped and backed up.  I got them,… both.



This little table was one of them…and the cutest thing. But, what I noticed right away was that the second shelf was split, and the spindles were all coming out or loose.


Now, the spindles (which I LOVE) I could fix, the second shelf, I knew that it could be fixed, but that it would not be nearly as sturdy.  I likes me some sturdy furniture.  Hey!  I have grandkids!!  So, I knew that a modification would be in this little guy’s future.


So, this is what I came up with.  I put the top shelf, onto the bottom shelf. It worked.  Now at this point, I knew this cute little table had sat outside in the weather. Mainly because the finish was a little milky, and it was scratched up pretty bad.  So I stripped and sanded her down.  I did what I now call my signature finish on her, and painted the bottom, stained the top.


This is before I antiqued the legs and skirt and applied polyurethane to the entire piece.


I know the pics aren’t the greatest, but this is the finished product!  (Buffy is doing her best to photo bomb!)  I used Minwax dark walnut and polyurethane satin finish, the paint is Valspar Coconut Cream I used Minwax dark walnut to antique it by waiting for the paint to cure, brushing the stain on, and then wiping it off.

So! you will see me on here more!!

From my garage to yours!!!




A little more of what I have been doing…


This cute little table was given to my oldest daughter Beth by her Aunt Barbara.  It is such an adorable little table, but it had difficulty staying in one piece.  So at Beth’s request, I fixed the wobbly issue.  She also wanted it painted an awesome color. She settled her sights on Valspar’s Pantone color Peacock Blue. This was primed with Zinsser water based primer, and because it is a table top, I did four thin coats of Minwax clear satin polyurethane.



This poor little box shelf was in really bad shape.  It was a project that I had started, stopped…forgot about, and finally got around to finishing.

I primed this little shelf with my favorite Zinsser oiled based primer (there was stuff on this thing that I wanted to make sure wouldn’t bleed through, and I wanted to make sure I got a good base for my paint.  I painted it with Olympic’s Timeless Taupe in a semi gloss. This was honestly some very amazing paint. (I am not lucky enough to be sponsored by Minwax, Zinsser, Valspar or Olympic. These products just happen to be my favorites or were recommended by people I know and trust. So, use what you have, or what your favorites are.) I liked the way the paint went on, and I LOVE this color.  Thinking about doing my guest room in it…we’ll see. 🙂



This little end table came to me in pretty bad shape. The finish was mostly gone, flaking off where it wasn’t.  I really didn’t have to strip it, I just sanded it really well. I used Minwax Red Mahogany and Minwax clear gloss polyurethane.


I hope ya’ll have a great weekend!!


Some Before and After furniture pics….

This is before

I really loved these tables (there are two of them, the pic is the before and after of the last one I did…cause I didn’t think to take pics of the first one) from the first moment that I saw them. The design is timeless and practical…for me at least. They are just taller than the average end table, and bigger around than any end table, or occasional table. The wing or drop leaf makes them easy to place.

wing table

I was visiting my brother Robert, and as we walked in through his garage I saw them.  Me being my bratty little sister self, I pointed and said, “I want those!!” my brother being the wonderful big brother that he is, loaded them up into my truck.  He really is a good brother. The after pics is of each one in very different lighting with that in mind, yes…one is significantly darker than the other. The tops are two different kinds of wood.

wing table2CAM00419

Once I got them refinished…which took some time (mainly cause I was working on so much other stuff)…  I was not disappointed. These drop leaf tables came out better than I could have thought.  This is one time where paint just wasn’t the right thing to do. I sanded them…the finish was so worn, that there really wasn’t much finish left. and then I tacked and stained them with Minwax Red Mahogany and did three coats of Minwax polyurethane (thin coat, dry, sand with 220, repeat….  like shampoo

This dresser was part of a set that had belonged to my grandmother.  I loved my grandmother very much…but I did not love the look of this bedroom set.  Once again…my brother Robert called me and asked me if I wanted it..I said, ” YES!!!!  but I am gonna paint it red…”  He laughed…(I think he thinks I am whacky….I dunno…)



I worked on this thing for almost a month…I needed something to put the TV on!  So I stripped and sanded…and sanded,….and sanded,……  Then primed, let dry, sand, prime let dry sand…..

CAM00540CAM00594 and then I painted….let paint dry, sanded…paint, let paint dry, sanded…  days, and days….  I think that is where most people give up.  Once you strip, and sand a piece, the work has just begun.  Primer (if its an oil based primer) I let dry for at least 12 hours…(usually 12 to 24…I live in Florida…always humid) then sand, tack or clean off very well.  With oil based primers you absolutely HAVE to let it dry…COMPLETELY!!!!  If you don’t… it won’t cure…it will stay tacky to the touch…yuk.  Then you will have to do it all over again to make it right. Water based primers usually dry fairly quickly, but there are times when I won’t use them.  I am not an expert, and what I post is just observances by trial and error.


I did the dresser in Olympic’s Red Gumball and antiqued it with watered down black and brown latex craft paint (about two tablespoons of each, added water and stirred until completely mixed…I sponged it on, then wiped it off).  It dried for 12 hours before I brought it in and it was tacky in places…it was another 24 hours before it was dried completely and we put the TV on it.

I hope you like what you saw, I will being posting more ongoing projects and projects already completed as time goes on. So, Check back!!


The No Legs Dresser

This is one of my latest projects.  The dresser was given to me because one of the legs had been completely broken off and they were so thin that I didn’t feel that it would end up being very sturdy by drilling and doweling the leg back on.  So..I cut off all of the legs and bought these finials to act as feet.  It worked!  All of the wood applique pieces were with it, including the “back splash”.


To be honest, re attaching all of the pieces that had been either taken off, or broken off was the hardest part of this project.  Some of them, I had to reform with wood fill.  I LOVE wood filler, Elmer’s has a wood filler that is pink and when it is dry turns a generic sort of tan. That stuff is AWESOME!!  I used it on this and smoothed out the curves with super fine sand paper. I filled all of the holes, cracks, chips, and even some of the rough spots with it, let it dry, and then sanded it with my sander and by hand.



I did the paint with a sample of Valspar’s Vanilla Steam. I “antiqued” it with some very watered down Valspar’s Timber Dust.  I just added water until it was thinned out, and then applied it with a sponge and wiped it off with a clean, soft rag. (I repurpose my husbands white, got too icky for work,  t shirts)  I did prime it with Kilz stain block for wood first.

I have to say that prepping a project like this one is key. This piece is veneered, and the veneer had lifted in many areas. I tried to glue down as many of those pieces as I could. Some of it just had to be removed, I sanded A LOT!!! I think she came out of it pretty and useful again!