Upscale Blog

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photo sample of a mid century chair transformation.

Posted by Renee

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DIY Colored Chalkboard Cabinet Makeover Tutorial

Posted by: Renee

My laundry room!  Uck, the least favorite room in my whole house, I hate, wait detest doing laundry, if I was ever to be tortured, giving me laundry to wash and fold would be the way to go. So my laundry room is very neglected and looks, in my opinion very similar to a torture chamber. Just ugly, plain, and uninspired!  Needless to say, it has been on my to do list of rooms to pretty up for a very long time, but always gets pushed down to the bottom of the list. Hmm. . . . I wonder why:)

This past Sunday however, for some odd reason inspiration struck out of nowhere, and I decided to start the pretty up process with my pantry/storage cupboards.  We had these cupboard installed years ago, to add more desperately needed storage to our little house, but as you can see they are very boring looking, just plain old wood looking laminate.  Functional yes, ugly yes, need a makeover big yes.  Lately, I have been on a purple kick, not sure why, I don't really like purple, but I discovered purple and silver look so good together.  Very regal, high fashion and sophisticated, just what my boring laundry room needed, a touch of high society right?!  

So I gathered my supplies (all of which I had on hand luckily) got to work. Here is my full pictured infused tutorial on how to create this look yourself, because I just love it, and now makes me smile instead of frown when I walk into that dreaded room.  Keep in mind, it has not changed my opinion on laundry, but at least there is something to smile about while I am being tortured.

Here is the before, one laminate boring door.
First set of supplies you will need to gather: painters tape, a mask, primer, a foam brush, TSP cleaner, and a rag.
Second set of supplies: a nice angled brush, mixing spoon, mixing cup, 8 oz of your choice paint color, and non-sanded grout.  All these supplies can be found at your local home improvement store.  I love using the paint samples for these projects because it is the perfect amount for the job and only costs $3!
If you are wanting to add a little sparkle detail like I did, you will also need these supplies: a stencil (click here to see how to make your own and save a few bucks), stencil brush, metallic craft paint, and a bowl.
First step is the prep, very important!  Do not skip this step or you will hate yourself later! Take your TSP solution (following the instructions on the box), spray it on the door, and scrub like crazy.  You can also take the door off the frame, but that adds another step, so I just left it on.  Once your door feels clean to the touch, get another cloth and whip it down with water to get all the TSP residue off.  Very important to start with a clean surface otherwise your paint will not adhere correctly.  Next, if you are going to leave a boarder like I did, tape off your to-be-painted area.
Grab your primer.  I love this one, but any oil based primer will work.  Put on your mask and open some windows!  This stuff smells horrible, but works great.  If you don't wear a mask you will be stoned later. I like to use a foam brush, only because the primer is oil based and I can just toss the brush when I am finished.  
Brush on one coat of primer in a nice, mostly even layer.  You can brush on two coats, but one was good enough for me.  You cannot skip the primer step if your doors are laminate!  Primer gives the paint something to adhere too, otherwise it will just peel right off.  If you surface is solid wood, you could might get away without using primer and just clean like them like crazy good.
Mixing the paint.  Pour the entire contents of your paint sample, or 8 oz of paint into your mixing bowl.  Next add 2 Tablespoons of the non-sanded grout.  Mix it until all the grout is blended into the paint.
It will look like this.  Kinda gritty and very thick.  But don't be alarmed once you start painting the grout will smooth out.  But just make sure it is thoroughly mixed first.
Paint on your first coat!  Depending on the size of your surface, mine was very big, it will vary how many times you will go over each area.  I put on a fairly thick coat the first run, then on the second pass I was able to smooth out any lines and grout that stood out.  This paint is thick and very different to work with than normal latex paint.  Keep in mind I was painting in my laundry room (read no A/C) in the middle of day in August, and I live in the Phoenix area.  So my paint dried pretty fast, so I had to work fast to get a smooth finish.  The more passes you make to smoother the paint gets.
Once your first coat is dry to the touch, take 220 grit sandpaper and sand gently over the entire surface.  This helps to smooth out any grout grit you missed.  Then take a tack cloth and wipe off the dust.
This how it looked after my first coat, so I knew I needed a second one.  It is possible to get away with only one coat, I am sure if you can get a smooth even finish the first time.  But like I said, living in AZ and doing this in the summer, my paint was dried as soon as I put it on the door!  So I painted on a second coat.
And here it is.  Second coat on, and sanded down.
Next, take a piece of chalk and scribble over the entire surface of your new chalkboard.  Don't know why, but I read this preps and conditions the surface so you can write on it.  Next, take a moist towel and wipe off the chalk and it is ready to write on!  
I wanted a bit more sparkle to my door so I add some metallic paint to it.  Get your stencil brush (it is a coarse bristled flat head brush) and squirt some of your metallic craft paint into a bowl.  Dip your brush in and dabble off any excess.
Tape your stencil in the spot you want it on the door.
Next dabble on your paint.  I wanted a textured look, so I was happy with the paint bubbles.  If you wanted a smoother look just make sure to clean your stencil brush and re-dabble it to smooth it out a bit.  Or, wait for the paint to dry and sand down the paint bubbles.
And here is the finial product!  If only I had better handwriting this would look even cutier!  But nonetheless, I love it. From start to finish, it took about 4 hours, not bad.   And since I had all the supplies on hand, the project was free!  But even if you had to buy everything, it would still only run you about $20 or so.  Now I have four more cabinet doors that are just screaming for a makeover!

So I hope this inspires you to upscale a room in your house that needs a little something special.  Please let me know what you think.

Have a great day!


My Upcycled Dining Room Hutch

Posted by Renee on 6/10/13

I have finally found the time to sit down and write this post! Whew between school ending, summer starting, and project finishing my house has been a busy place.

This will not be a step by step tutorial, but more of a look-book.  If I gave away all my upcycling and thrifting secrets I just may put myself out of business and that would not be good!  But be warned this could get lengthy anyways!

Over a week ago, I posted pictures, see the our blog tab, of my completed upcycled dining room.  It was a very sloooow process to finish but I am thrilled with the results.  Why so slow when I do this for a living you may ask, well when it comes to doing and finishing projects for my house I am horribly indecisive!  I think it took me almost a year just to pick out the right dining set, but more on that in another post.  I love working on pieces for the shop,  because I am fearless and just go after it.  With my own house, I stress over every detail, and want to make sure it will perfectly suit my needs and will be something I will not tire of looking at in two days.  Anyways, back to the topic at hand, my hutch redo.

This was the piece that started my entire makeover.  I spotted it in one of my local thrift stores and fell deeply and madly in love at first sight.  Actually, I feel deepest for the hardware, I adore vintage hardware.  I am not much of a jewelry gal, but oh man, I do nuts over furniture hardware.  Just look at it, whats not to love?! So basically I bought the hutch for the hardware and luckily the rest of the piece was also in amazing shape. The price tag also stellar at only $75 super plus.  In addition, it was made by American of Martinsville furniture, a high quality manufacture, double plus.

It is missing the glass, but that was not big deal to me, actually it made it easier to transform.  It had an an ugly and dated stain, sorry no before pictures, so I knew it needed an update.  But this was my first foray into painting a big piece of furniture.  But I can still say, I did an excellent job!  The whole piece was primed, then painted with Sherman-Williams Emerald paint in lazy grey by hand.  This was before my spray gun days. The back interior was give a darker shade and for that I used charcoal by Behr. For added protection I used a water based satin poly and brushed on three coats.  The hardware was, of coarse, just cleaned up and put back on.

Next came to fun part, filling it up!  My sister, and shop partner, made this clock for me a million of years ago, and I knew I needed to keep somewhere to showcase.  It had always hung on this wall but with the hutch it looked so lonely by itself.  Off to the thrift store it was! Darn.
First I found the frames, and spray painted them in this fabulous ivy green color (Krylon brand).  I pulled the color inspiration from the grapes in the clock.  I love the open frame look and they served as the perfect counterbalance for the clock.
Next where the empty decanting bottles. They looked boring, so I outlined the detailing with glass paint, and viola! Another unique accent piece.
 I found the vase and the two pots at a thrift store as well, and they nicely rounded out the top decor scheme.

The first shelf was inspired by a couple of my grandmothers tea cups I inherited and never could properly display. I love vintage teacups, they are so proper looking and little works of art to boot.  I ready owned three, but needed a few more to complete the look I wanted. Off to the thrift store again!  I hit the mother load during an outing to Goodwill where I found those greenish-yellow tall cups and three more dainty cups.  I always look for unique teacups, ones from Japan (bone china), or England, (authentic porcelain), never cheap China crap.
Don't you just love those tall ones?! I had never seen teacups like them before, check out the label:
I think I purchased all five for under $10, a total steal!  

To complete the shelf I added the colorful plates at the back to add interest (I already owned those), then my six " proper " tea cups, and finished with my super hip teacups in front.  This is my favorite shelf display.  I represents my personality perfectly, colorful, girly, traditional, with a bit of funk thrown in to keep thing interesting.  And yes, I do actually drink tea, my British blood runs deep.

Next shelf please, the easy one.  I filled this one with my "nice" plain white plates.  Then to complete space I added my fiestawear bowls that I already had.
Now we are on to the bottom shelf.  We are not big drinkers anymore, but used to be, so we still have a ton of cool bar ware, that is just so hard to part with.  And besides you can't be a midcentury fan and not have a martini glass around right?!  Then I found those amazing wood bound cocktail books my parent found at a thrift store years ago just collecting dust in a cabinet.  Drinker or not, you can't help buy love these books, I mean they just don't make stuff like this anymore!  Note the action figure in the glass at the right, yes my son also likes to add his personal flare to the decor, gotta love it!
So I jazzed up the bottom shelf with a few shakers, an ice bucket, a couple Martini and margarita glasses.  Then of coarse anchored with those fabulous books.
This is one of the first things I see whenever I walk into my house and it always makes me happy.  My first big makeover project and the first piece that inspired me to Upcycle furniture for a living.  I hope I inspired you and remember what was once old can always be new again, for furniture that is! 

Thank you! Stay turned for my table and chair set redo post next.


My finished Upcycled dining room

posted by Renee on 5/29/13
Back to our roots, upcycling furniture for our homes this week! Here is my completed Upcycled dining room.  More posts coming soon with how this look was put together.  Enjoy!

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