Going for the gold!

Sorry for the long absence! I got the cold of death right before Thanksgiving and barely survived! Or at least that how it felt… The cold is mostly gone though I’m still fighting off a nasty post-nasal drip. Aren’t you glad I told you? I ended up taking a few days off work and lying in bed all day and as much as I wanted to be productive here on the blog, watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix was pretty much all I was capable of! And then it was Thanksgiving! My goodness how fast November went by! December should be a good month though. I have some fun things planned and have been getting crafty with my family! Get ready for colorful garlands and festive Christmas trees! Until then, let’s get back to my bathroom.

 

So when I first moved into this house there were a few things I immediately bought: sheets, towels, contact solution, a shower curtain. You know, the essentials. Standing in the aisle at Target that night there weren’t many options. And it was 9:30pm. And I’d spent the entire day moving boxes of books into the house and putting furniture pieces back together with nuts and bolts. I was exhausted. I grabbed the first shower curtain that looked decent to me. It was white and yellow and had a bold chevron pattern. Yellow would look good, I thought, the walls are yellow after all, and the countertop is yellow, and mustard-y yellow looks good with burgundy red. You remember my shower curtain right?

 

DSC_0241

Well, it’s not mustard. Or yellow. When I got home I realized that the florescent lights of Target in Emeryville had hidden a key item. The metallic sheen. My shower curtain was gold. I was upset for all of five seconds before I realized I’d made a fantastic mistake! You know the saying “There are no mistakes, only changes in plan”? It’s dead on the nose correct. My plan changed and the space is better for it.

 

Gold. That was what I decided. Gold accents in the bathroom. Sure, the door knobs are oil rubbed bronze and the bathroom fixtures are chrome. Whatever. Metallics are in. And this is the season of gold. Suddenly gold is everywhere! Aged brass, brushed bronze, unlaquered brass, call it what you will. The 80’s fave is trending again. Bring on the gold! Look at a design magazine, they’re starting to pop up more and more. People are embracing gold! Gold is warm! Gold is friendly! Gold is new(?)! Or at least new again… Ha!

 

I embraced my happy accident. I decided to go for it. And no, I’m not changing out my beautiful fixtures or painting them or anything crazy that will prevent me from getting my security deposit back. I am going for mixed metals and giving gold a big ol’ welcoming hug complete with back rubs and a gentle squeeze. Heelllloooo gold!

 

First things first, that black plant stand? Going for the gold! The plant stand is the perfect place for stashing my watch or my hair ties when I shower or my book when I’m getting into the bath. It’s super convenient and I love it. Err… Correction: I love the functionality of it. The actual stand itself? Hideous! I got it for free from work when we cleared out the warehouse last summer. It’s chipped and rough and not fantastic in anyway. Guess what? I changed that. I switched things up! I went for the gold! Here’s how it was looking the other day when I pulled the plant off the stand and carried the stand outside.

 

Land of Laurel

 

After looking at it’s sad, sad state, I gave the entire thing a good sanding with some rough grit sand paper. I wanted to be very careful to get off anything looking rusty and anything that looked like chipping paint. I spent quite a bit of time sanding this actually. I wanted to be sure that the gold with stick! After a good while it was looking more like this and ready for some paint.

 

Plant stand sanded | Land of Laurel

 

Once it was sanded I was especially careful to wipe the entire thing down and dust off the area it was standing in. I wanted to be sure there wasn’t a single spec of sanding dust on that stand. Spray paint is durable, but it needs to be properly applied. In a wet environment like my bathroom? Worth the extra effort to get this right. Dampness can definitely affect a coat of paint. Once I was sure the stand was good and clean, I took out my primer and went to town!Plant Stand Primed | Land of Laurel

 

Primer does wonders for holding on to a coat of paint, so I gave the stand a few coats. Unfortunately, painting something as thin as this is a bit wasteful. The stream of paint goes on wider than the tiny bars of steel. I needed a second coat for sure. Plus, after the first coat I looked it over and realized I’d forgotten to paint entire sides of the bars. You guys, there are so many sides on this stand! I was sitting and crouching and peering over the top at it trying to get a coat of paint on every surface! So. Many. Surfaces. No wonder geometry is so difficult!

 

Once I was done with the primer, I moved on to paint. Guess what color? Just kidding, you already know I went for the gold! This Rust-Oleum color is such a nice gold. It’s not too yellow-gold if you know what I mean. It’s a tad more neutral and has just the right amount of metallic sheen. It’s a very modern take on gold. I luuurve it!

 

Gold Paint | Land of Laurel

 

Ooops, there’s a surprise project hiding in the back of that photo too. It snuck it! Promise I’ll share the deets soon.

 

Anyways, the gold looked good! But boy did I use a lot of paint. SO. MANY. SURFACES. Did I mention that??

 

Plant Stand Gold! | Land of Laurel

 

And that’s just after the first coat! See how it’s a bit patchy in places? I needed to work to get good coverage on all. those. surfaces! So many sides, people! So many!!

 

I love the stand in gold! It just gleams! It’s like a gold medal platform for my plant. Just perfect. It’s great for stashing last minute items before I hop into the shower or for keeping things dry, but in reach when I take a bath. It’s pretty convenient. And now it looks great too! I stuck rubber furniture pads on the bottom of it to lift it slightly off the floor in case things get a little wet. Better safe than sorry! Hopefully that helps keep the paint looking fresh down the line!

 

Plant Stand Gone Gold | Land of Laurel

 

I turn the stand at an angle in the bathroom — following the curve of the bathtub actually — so the shower curtain slides behind it more easily.A simple, quick fix, but it feels so much nicer! I popped that plant on top and stuck my watering can beneath it. I stick the watering can in the shower when the water is getting hot, so I like to keep it close by. This seems to be the perfect spot! Plus Malary likes to sip out of it. Gotta stay hydrated right?

The stand is a bit more of a neutral gold than the slightly more yellow-y shower curtain gold, but they work fine together in my opinion and I prefer the more neutral color.

I’m slowing checking off the boxes of the to-do list in here. Closing in on having this space almost complete! Just need a bit more time. I’m excited to have one room done, done, done!

Junk in My Trunk

Oh my god, you guys, I scored something awesome!!! Definitely a #colddeadfingers moment! Mandi would be proud! I scored this beauty at a yard sale in my neighborhood and I am so excited about it!! Take a look:

 

Vintage Trunk

 

Now, I am obsessed with trunks — I have been for years and years– so when I saw this, I started wiggling like a happy puppy. Where did I get this gorgeous gentleman? A senior living community. That’s right, a seniors home! I was walking through a lovely little neighborhood in Berkeley when I started to see signs posted to every street post and wall possible. The multitude of them sparked my curiosity and I stopped to read one. “Biggest yard sale ever” it promised; “Bigger and better than last year!” it said. The senior community apparently hosted this huge sale every year! Dang! I thought, I have to check this out!

 

The following weekend, I drove over to the senior community with high expectations. Whomp, whomp, whomp. Maybe I got there too late, maybe not, I’ll never know, but by the time I got there around 10:00am, there was next to nothing for sale. A few books, some random furnishings, mismatched lamps. It certainly wasn’t huge, it certainly wasn’t a blow out. A wave of disappointment washed over me, but I’d driven over, so I decided to at least check out what was there. I found that beauty under a moving blanket about 10 minutes later. It was not priced, so I ran over to the lovely elderly women at the cash box. They seemed disapproving that I’d interrupted their conversation to inquire, but inquire I did! One of the women was actually the owner so she walked over to the chest with me.

 

“I paid $15 for this” she said.

“Oh…” I nodded.

“So I’m selling it for $15,” she explained.

“Hmmmm…” I hemmed.

“Well, how much would you pay for it?” she asked finally.

“Maybe ten, no more… yeah, seven?” I asked, hopeful, eyes bright with anticipation.

“I paid $15 for it,” she stated again.

“Well, I’d pay $10 or less,” I reiterated and started to back away, “Oh well…”

“Well what about $15?” she asked again, not getting my unwillingness to pay what she paid.

“I’d pay $10, not $15,” I explained yet again. “Maybe it’s not meant to be…” my voice trailed off dejected and I started to walk away.

“Fine! $10!” The woman called after me. I turned around, smile on my face!

 

And that, my friends, is how I convinced a poor old woman to sell me her old trunk for $10. Am I horrible? Eeek! She seemed fine with it in the end I swear… Usually I’m a horrible barginer so I was kind of proud of my ability to stick with my number. Plus, I really only wanted to spend $10. Trying not to spend every dime I have on DIY and design. 🙂 (it’s not working…)

 

I took my new best friend home and wiped him down with a damp sponge. He doesn’t need much to shine!! The trunk isn’t all that heavy, but it’s fairly well made and sturdy. And I love it’s patina! It’s fairly faded and aged, but I kind of adore it’s shabbiness! I’m still playing around with where to put it (or what to put in it!), but at the moment it’s at the foot of my bed (pictures soon I promise!). I might move it to underneath my other window, fill it with art supplies, and stack plants on top of it though… Because MORE plants is always the right answer!!

 

Seriously, I LOVE this trunk! And what a deal! I see these at flea markets going for anywhere from $60 – $250!! Crazy right? What a score!!! Got anything good lately? I need to keep hitting up yard sales! I’m on the hunt for some new (used) nightstands! I have pretty precise qualifications though.They can’t be more that 24″ wide and they must have a minimum of two drawers. It’s a little tough to find the perfect ones!! Ahh… patience… something so difficult for me… I guess I’ll just stare at this gorgey guy and dream.

 

Vintage Trunk

 

Yup. That’s a lot better. Feeling much more zen now!! Just look at the peeling cloth and layers of paint… happiness for design dorks like me! Almost as amazing as petting tile…

Little Guy for a Long-Time Friend

There is a thrift store pretty close to my house. It’s about a half-block out of my way when I’m walking home from BART after work. I won’t say what it’s called, because, to be perfectly honest, it’s not all that great of a thrift store. (Seriously where are the best furniture/accessory thrift stores in the Bay Area? Do you know??? TELL ME!!) Every now and then I’ll stop by though and see what’s there. I whole-heartedly agree with Katie from Bower Power that all thrift stores have a strength zone. This thrift store’s strength is clothes and toys. Neither of which I need much of. But, sometimes, walking home from work, a girl’s gotta see what’s what.

A few weeks ago, I’d strolled through the entire store and saw a pretty cool lamp. I liked its shape quite a lot– simple, rounded, contemporary– but I didn’t really have a place for a single lamp. I returned to browsing, and then, standing across the room, I noticed there was a second, matching lamp! The first lamp had a brother!  They were marked at $10 each and they were a hideous brown color. HIDEOUS. Now, $10 isn’t exactly pocket change for a lamp that probably doesn’t even work, but I thought, “Hey, why not?” I needed lamps for our living room which has some horrible (sorry roommates!) glass side tables, but nothing on them to give them more presence. So I hopped on those lamps like a tiger on a steak!

As I was walking to the check out — gripping my lamps by their necks like strangled chickens (is that simile graphic enough?!), I happened upon a small nightstand with fun curvy lines. What was this?? About a month before this, I’d actually spent the day thrifting (and donut snacking!) with my friend Hannah looking for a nightstand to make-over for her bedroom. Hannah wanted something with good lines, some fun turned elements that she could paint a fun color. We had gone to several places (remind me to write about how to spend an entire way thrifting and snacking through Berkeley and Oakland!), but hadn’t found anything that suited her needs. I set my lamps down on the nightstand, guarding these treasures like a dog, and pulled out my phone to text Hannah this picture.

Thrift Store Lamps and Nightstand

Hannah, of course, loved it, and for $10 dollars, she’d take it. I happily danced the rest of my way to the checkout and bought all three finds. At this point, I actually walked the rest of the way home carrying my new strangled chickens lamps. I then grabbed my car and headed back to the thrift store, because as much as I like to test my upper body strength, there was no way I was going to try carrying the nightstand home!

As I was loading the nightstand into the car, I cursed myself for my rookie mistake. I had not thoroughly looked at the nightstand before I bought it. The little guy wasn’t solid wood like I’d assumed. It was a mix of plywood, cheap pine, and MDF. Ugh. Plus, there was pretty bad moisture damage to the plywood back legs. Why hadn’t I taken a closer look?! Grrrr. I cursed myself. But, I had already bought it and the store didn’t take returns, so I decided to pretend to be an optimist and make the best out of the situation.

When I got a chance to work on the nightstand, I accessed the state of the piece, and concluded that I and the world of DIY could save this little guy. From the front, he actually looked pretty dang good!

Nightstand front view

From the side you could start to see some of the moisture damage…

Nightstand Side View

And from behind, you could completely access the damage. 😦 He definitely wasn’t a looker, this little guy!

La Chanelle

P.S. I tried to look up La Chenelle, but when it wasn’t immediately obvious, I gave up. I’m lazy like that. Let me know if you’ve heard of them?

When I zoom in, you can see that these back legs did NOT look good. I was worried…

Moisture Damage Legs

But back to the little guy’s DIY: first I wiped him completely down with an old wet projects sponge I keep around for this express purpose. Then I grabbed a pair of slip joint pliers and tightened the bolts that hold the pretty legs on. The front legs are by far my favorite piece of this dresser and I was happy they were so easily attached and not damaged like the back ones!

Tightening the legs

Oddly, once I turned him over the little guy had staples everywhere. I assume they once held something on, but at this point they were worthless and annoying.

Staples

I removed the staples in a quick minute with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Needle Nose Pliers Staples

And yes, my pliers are pink. My father bought them for me. Apparently he thought I’d prefer that… Crazy old people! Just kidding. 😛

After that, I gave the little guy a decent sanding where needed. The sides were a bit bumpy towards the bottom from the moisture. A little sanding cleaned them up though. Once he was sanded, I got out my wood glue. Elmer’s = life long adhesive ❤

Wood Glue

Because I am not known for my poise and restraint, I just squeezed a ton of wood glue on the crappy looking parts.

Wood Glue on Leg

I’d picked up these small clamps the last time I was at Home Depot, so I decided to put them to use. Where the plywood had expanded and split from the moisture damage, I glued and clamped.

Wood Glue and Clamp

This held the plywood together in a position more similar to what it’d originally been. Since plywood is really just strips / pieces of wood glued together, I figured this really wasn’t any different. Plus, what did I have to lose? I left nightstand upside down and clamped like this overnight.

In the meantime, I turned my limited attention span to the drawers. That hardware was coming off! Hannah wanted to replace the pulls with some fun knobs from Anthropologie or World Market.

Nightstand Drawers

I placed the drawer fronts towards the ground and unscrewed the hardware. This is a really easy fix if you ever want to update a piece of furniture. New knobs add so much personality! Removing the hardware from these drawers took less than five minutes.

Unscrewing Nightstand Pulls

Once the hardware was unscrewed, the pulls popped right off. Super easy! There was some guck on the drawer fronts though, so I wiped that right off with a sponge. After that, except for the wholes, you couldn’t even tell there were once pulls on these drawers!

Guck under Hardware

I left everything and pretended I have a life outside of DIY for  a bit. The next day, I pulled the clamps off back legs of the little guy. They looked SO MUCH BETTER you guys! They looked almost totally normal and I knew with a coat of paint, you’d hardly notice at all. Except for the gaping holes! But whatever! I’d regenerated plywood! This was too exciting / such a freakin’ relief for me to worry about the gaping holes!

Reglued Plywood

Remember what they looked like before?!

Moisture Damage Legs

SO MUCH BETTER!!! Once I’d finished my twirling my happy dance around the courtyard, I decided to do something about those minor huge gaping holes in the little guy’s back legs. With that in mind, I tossed open my big canvas painter’s cloth and pinned it up to protect the courtyard area. I grabbed my wood filler and started filling in the scratches and gaps on the nightstand.

Wood Filler

I wear gloves and a mask when I do that because wood filler smells like cancer Seriously. it stinks stinks stinks!

Applying Wood Glue

While I was at it, I filled the holes from the drawer hardware as well.

Wood Filler on Hardware Holes

Make sure you lump a whole bunch of wood filler in holes like these. You want it to be bumpy now so you can sand it down to smooth later. Once I’d filled the biggest scratches and gaps I waited for the wood filler to dry, then sanded the entire dresser again, making sure the spots I’d wood filled were nice and smooth.

Sanding Wood Filler

Then I wiped the nightstand down again, but this time I used liquid deglosser. Since the little guy wasn’t solid wood I hadn’t wanted to sand him too hard and I thought this would be good in the nooks and crannies of the nightstand’s details that are always so hard to sand down!

Liquid Deglosser

After that, he was looking pretty good and I was ready to paint!!! I’m actually always ready to paint. I love painting! Before I could get anywhere near the little guy, I needed to tape off some areas. I didn’t want to paint the sides of the drawers, because this can mess with the opening and closing glide. I taped the edges of the drawers and used one of my roommates’s old issue of The Economist to cover the larger areas.

Prepping to Paint Nightstand

The little guy was looking pretty decent actually. I was so relieved that I’d managed to save the moisture damaged nightstand. Now, with a bit of primer and paint, I didn’t expect to notice the little guy’s humble beginnings at all!

Have you ever saved plywood from moisture damage? Did it work? Are you as excited as I am about saving this nightstand from a watery grave?!