Friday, May 27, 2011

Ethan Allen Armoire

My sister in law, the lovely owner of the latest Penny Wenny Frenchy Dresser re-do is selling her gorgeous Ethan Allen Tuscany Jackson Armoire.  If you are local to the area (Salt Lake City and surrounding areas) and are interested in this beauty, please send me an email and I will put you in touch with Willow.  She is asking $2,200 and it is still sold in stores for $3,449.

There is nothing wrong with the piece; it's in pristine condition but just feels too large for her space.  You can view all of the dimensions and details on Ethan Allen's site HERE.



Goodbye Paradise (and bugs)

Hello friends!  I must quickly report that my mini vacation to St. Lucia was amazing.  My mom and I stayed at the StoneField Estate Villa Resort in St. Lucia in our own private villa (which was more like a house with 3 bedrooms and a private pool).  My mom has a sweet gig where she gets to travel for virtually no cost, and happened to win this particular hotel stay.  I was lucky enough to be her plus one.  We laughed our heads off when we got there and discovered that the whole resort (and the island for the most part) catered to honeymooners, and that we definitely were not.

Despite the romantic setting, we still had a great time.  It was so nice to get away and try to force ourselves to just do nothing.  With these kind of views from our resort nestled between the world famous Pitons, it wasn't too difficult to do.

The only part about St. Lucia that was NOT so great was the bugs.  The villas are basically open to all critters with only louvres (similar looking to shutters) with screens on some of the windows.  The resort is literally right in the jungle so we were serenaded to sleep by our own personal sound machine of crickets and who knows what else.  I laughed my head off after the first night when my mom recounted the fact that the bug she thought she had flicked off her bed the night before was sitting on the pillow next to her when she woke up.  EEEK!  We are talking a big cockroach style bug... not a little house fly.

Of course I lucked out to find something very similar to this creature in my closet the next day. 
I wish I was in the right frame of mind at the time to take a picture but I was seriously just too terrified to think of anything but running away and getting that disgusting, huge, furry thing out!  A little gardener man was outside our villa and I asked him to help us, so he of course casually walks in, goes right up to the fist sized fur ball and picks him up with a black garbage bag the way you pick up your dog's poop!  We almost died!

Needless to say, we both took sleeping pills the next night to get some rest. 

I have to show you some pictures of another resort we toured, the Jalousie Beach Resort.  If I had all the money in the world, here is where I would stay.  The decor and architecture of the resort were to die for.  I had to stop and take pictures in one of the lounge areas that led up to their formal dining room.  I wish my entire house was decorated like this.

 This antique pewter framed mirror looked perfect against the modern white vases and aged table.
 Check out the black and white checkered marble tiles.  Need I say more?  They are also lined in the corners of the room with dark walnut wood floors.  Swoon.
 I fell in love with this bookcase/ armoire!  The wood had a natural weathered look with cream linen fabric lining the glass panes. 

They had hanging beds in the lounge with the most unbelievable views overlooking the ocean.  Loveee the caning on this bed and the chairs in the lounge.

In my next life I will be a billionaire who has a house that is decorated like the Jalousie Beach Hotel, and a view from my back yard that looks like this:

Until then, I will enjoy all the free trips I can get with my momma.  She is amazing (and not just because of the travel perks).  I love you, mom!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hello, Paradise

I am currently sitting in a lounge chair at the edge of a cliff overlooking the carribean sea below and gazing up at the petit piton to my left. If someone told me I was in fact dead and made it to heaven, I'd believe them. If you are unfamiliar with the Piton's as I was before we arrived, they are two huge mountains on the carribean island of St. Lucia. My sweet momma and I are here on a short 3 night getaway staying in an amazing little resort in our own private villa (surrounded by fresh mango and lime trees that we've been picking from).

I am realizing here how insanely busy and chaotic our lives in the USA are. It's been tough for me to just sit back and relax. I think we all need to be reminded somtimes to stop what we are doing, sit back, and just relax... Take a mental check of our selves and how we are doing. Heaven knows I need to! It took me traveling across the world to be reminded of that. Perhaps you have already learned this secret yourself.

Have a fabulous weekend!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Frenchy Dresser Reveal

Hello, friends! 

I have been super busy working on the yard this week, but have no excuse not to post today since it is raining yet again... this blasted Utah weather! 

I am thrilled to share with you the final reveal of the french dresser I completed for my darling Sister in law, Willow.  I have to tell you, this project gave me a run for my money with several challenges I ran into.  I am so happy to be able to finally show a beautiful finished product.

As a reminder, or for those who are stopping by for the first time today, here is the before:

Unlike many of my furniture transformations, this one was already a cute "before".  It just wasn't the color my sister was going for, and the glaze job wasn't her style.  She felt it looked dirty.  Here, ladies and gentlemen (if any) is the after:

 As with many of my transformations, the top was stripped and re stained a deep color to match some of her existing Ethan Allen Wood furniture.  (this was the process that about killed me but through trial and error we ended with a beautiful finished product).  I will share the process after the pics.

Gorgeous stained wood top that shows several imperfections, adding to its charm and character

 I ever so lightly distressed the corners and high points to bring out some of the white hiding underneath and in places some of the natural wood.
  Full angle of the gorgeous stained wood top
 Crystal knobs purchased at Anthropologie (hey, some things are worth a splurge...)
My sister in law found these perfect antiqued pewter pulls HERE.  They absolutely make the piece (though they were a pain in my rear end to install)  You know I love you, Willow!  :)

I am thrilled with the way this piece turned out and can't wait to see it in Willow's master bedroom once her makeover is complete. 

Here's how I transformed this piece.
  •  I lightly sanded down the dresser and drawers to get rid of all of the pieces of sawdust/ dirt that had been painted over.
  • I stripped the poly, glaze and paint from the top slab of wood. I have found that stripper works best if you first sand your piece to get rid of the top protective coat.  Once I sanded it down, I applied a VERY THICK layer of Citristrip with a paint brush in the direction of the grain.

  • After 12 hours of letting the stripper sit (I have found this to be the magic amount of time with this product), I scraped the layers of paint off with a stripping tool.  If the paint hasn't become tacky, it's not ready yet.  If it's been 12 hours and still isn't tacky, I have found that it needs more product.  Slab on another coat of stripper, wait 12 more hours and then try again.  It should not be labor intensive and should just pull right up.  Trust me on this one.  I spent about 5 hours stripping one leaf of my dining room table before I learned the trick. You can thank me later :)

  • Once I had scraped off as much paint as I could get, I scrubbed the entire surface with mineral spirits, using an old scrub brush to clean off any residual stripper.

  • Then, I took this baby outside and sanded off the rest of the paint residue with a coarse sand paper on my corner cat sander, followed by a very fine sand paper using an orbital sander to avoid the squiggly lines that can come from other sanders (per my fabulous reader's suggestions from another project).

I took very special care with the sander around the hand carved edges, which I discovered was cut out of a much softer wood, probably pine.

Once finished, I had uncovered this gorgeous wood.

  • I used a toothbrush with mineral spirits again to try and scrub as much paint as I could out of the dings that were on top and too deep to sand off.
  • Next, I applied wood conditioner using a clean cloth (leftover drop cloth from this chair) and followed it with a coat of minwax stain in Dark Walnut.

As you can see, it looked TERRIBLE! I wanted to cry.  Seriously.  I should have known it wouldn't have turned out well with the way all of these white little streaks popped up after the conditioner, but I thought the depth of the color would hide that. Also, you can see that there are tons of discolorations across the top.  The pine trim section soaked up that stain so strongly that it looked almost black after one coat. 

After throwing a few tantrums and seriously considering rolling paint right over the top of all that hard work, I emailed a few talented gals.  Sweet Marian, or Miss Mustard Seed herself responded to my plea for suggestions with a great idea to try and slather on a ton of stain, let it soak for a while, and see if it changed anything.  After all, nothing could hurt at this point.  I am so grateful to her for taking the time to reply to me and for offering such great insight.
  •  I went ahead and did just that.  I ran to Home Depot and picked up another can of stain in Gunstock.  My hope was that something with a lot of red/ orange undertones would help those white streaks to appear more golden, rather than such a stark contrast against the dark walnut.  I would have never chosen this color on its own, but on top of the dark walnut, it worked miracles!

The discolorations were still evident, and it certainly didn't look like a perfect piece, but it was perfect enough for me!  Gunstock in a huge amount did the trick. :)
  • Lastly for the top, I applied several coats of Minwax Polycrylic protective finish in Semi-gloss in hopes that adding a sheen would help to disguise the discolorations.  Normally, I prefer to finish wood stained tops with wax, but this was a unique situation. I sanded down lightly after each coat of poly with steel wool to get rid of any brush/ roller lines.

Alas, the top was finished!

The drawers and dresser were like a walk in the park compared to this blasted lovely top.

  • I painted everything in "Seadrifter" by Kwal Howell, color matched by Behr with their Paint and Primer in One in a satin finish. 

  • I lightly distressed the drawers and dresser, focusing on the corners and high points.  Then, I rubbed on a coat of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax with some clean drop cloth, and installed the new hardware. 

And there you have it,  the 1000 step process of how I achieved this look!  Fortunately, I have a beautiful finished piece to be proud of. 

 The moral of this story is, don't give up!  I can't tell you how many projects of mine I have wanted to just roll white paint over everything and start over.  Sometimes, you just need to keep trucking along and it really will all pull together in the end! 

Thanks for listening to my cheesy pep talk... it's really just a reminder to myself.

Pictures of the dresser in Willow's fabulous bedroom will be coming soon!  Stay Tuned....



I'm sharing this transformation with these awesome parties.  Check them out!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

The DIY Show Off

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


Domestically Speaking

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Transformation Thursday

Furniture Feature Fridays