Cabinet Transformation

Here is our first transformation project!  We found an interesting vertical cabinet that had a lot of possibilities…and a lot of damaged areas that would need to be fixed (and some removed) if we wanted to utilize all the parts of this cabinet as well as get an interesting way to interpret the cabinet differently!

Unloved

Cabinet

What we used:

1–The cabinet (of course!)

2–drill

3–primer

…to be continued as we continue this project!

 

What we thought:

So.  Here is this really interesting cabinet.  But it’s damaged.  And it’s missing shelves and a back.  And to make it into a painted cabinet seemed boring on this particular day.  So Molly and I thought…and thought.  And then thought some more.  Our very first (and almost immediate) idea was to take this cabinet apart, prime it, fix up the damages, and put it back together as a bench.  We also thought about keeping all the pieces of this for separate projects and turning the cabinet door into an interesting wall hanging.  Then we thought it would be cool to save the bench idea and find two book shelves to put at the ends and make this an even bigger bench with a cute “built-in” kind of look.  What did we decide?  Well…the original bench idea is the winner!

We like that this could go at the foot of a twin bed or in an entry way and be more flexible as a bench.  We are thinking that we are going to put a dresser drawer in the base of the bench and have space for baskets on the sides and then the cabinet door will become the back of the bench.

If you are interested in talking to us about painting this to coordinate one of the rooms at your house, this will be for sale when we are done!  Contact us via our cell phones (if you know us) or by e-mailing us at newviewdecor@gmail.com.

 

What we did:

We started by unscrewing all the hinges and sides.  Let us tell you, there were a LOT of screws on these hinges so that was an adventure.  Once it was taken apart, we primed all the pieces to get them ready.  Normally we would trim the wood pieces before priming it but it was such a nice day that we couldn’t resist priming in the sun!  We will touch up the cut edges with primer once we make those trims.

Primed

 

Keep watching!  We will update this project as we continue to make progress!

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Child’s Rocking Chair (Thayer Brand)

For Sale

Molly and I are so lucky to live near several towns that cater to antique shops, lots of consignment and resale shops, and, of course several flea markets.  We love the flea market and have already made some fantastic finds!  One of them was a really neat child’s rocking chair.  It was in pretty rough shape so it’s good that we aren’t afraid to negotiate on prices with sellers and we walked away with a pretty good deal.  There was a decal on the back that was pretty scratched up and, after a few Google searches done by substituting various letters in the gaps, we figured out that it was a Thayer Brand Child’s Rocking Chair.  “Tops for Tots” was their motto and we are hoping to make this rocking chair in top shape again!

This is not our chair's decal but the only picture we could find online!

This is not our chair’s actual decal but the only picture we could find online of what it should have looked like if it were whole.

I am not an antique expert so I have no idea what the value of this chair is for a collector.  I know this is a great little chair it just needs some time and love to make it like new!  Someone had tried to repair it (badly) and there was wood glue all over the place.  The varnish was just about non-existent on the seat, and several of the pieces were loose.  There was a floral/ivy kind of decal across the board where the child’s head would go but it was in such bad shape I couldn’t even imagine trying to salvage it.  It wasn’t until we got it apart that we saw how rough it was!  (I apologize for not having any “before” pictures…my son has learned what the trash can icon on my phone camera means.)

Unloved

Like-Ours Chair

This isn’t our chair. Like I said, my son deleted the before picture. But this is similar in style and also made by Thayer.

What we used:

1–the rocking chair

2–sandpaper

3–gold paint

4–rub-off lettering

5–stain

6–wood glue

7–clamps

What we thought:

Molly and I originally thought we would just fix up the spindles that were loose, clean up some of the rough spots and do a cool paint color on it.  Once we got it sanded down, though, the wood was in SUCH good shape we couldn’t bear to paint it; instead we wanted to stain it and just add a touch of updating.  So here is our child’s rocking chair story!

What we did:

The first thing we did was take the chair apart.  We wanted to see how bad of shape some of spindles were (we were worried because of the wood glue issue).  The screws seem to be all original except for one and when we got it apart the spindles were all in great shape!  Whew!

Once the chair was apart, we started with sanding to get all the varnish and older stain off.  From our sample picture you can see how the stain and varnish had aged so it was pretty to see all the nice wood grain once it was “naked.”  Unfortunately the decals were in too rough of shape to save…had we seen found any information that said this chair was worth more because of the Thayer brand we may have tried to save them.  As it is, someone will get a decal-less but fantastic piece of furniture.

Stripped Rocking Chair

When the chair was taken apart like this we were able to work on the seat which had started to separate in a couple areas from the original glue.  A little wood glue, clamps, and some time have fixed it beautifully!

We didn’t know how dark a stain we wanted to use but, even though we were going with a more neutral finish, we wanted to add something unique.  Without knowing who might buy this for their little one, we decided to keep some of the original ornamentation  (in a modified way) and add our own little touch.  When it was sanded down, the decal had left a “shadow” on the wood.  We used that as a stencil and painted it with gold paint.  On top of the gold paint we chose “Once upon a time…” to add on in lettering.  We like the idea that a child will read books in this chair and so many fairy tales start that way.  Also, it was kind of a nod to the chair’s past as well as the way time goes by so quickly for children.  Maybe it’s too deep of thinking but we liked it anyway!

Sorry the picture sideways!

Sorry the picture is sideways!

For our first stain we chose Puritan Pine but, once it was dry we thought it was a little too light (pictured below).

Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 10.22.58 PM

We went a little darker with our second stain but only maybe one shade.

Once we got the stain where we liked it, it was time to start to varnish it.  We went with a high gloss because we liked the look of it and thought it would be easier to wipe down from little sticky fingers.  After a couple of coats of varnish we put it all back together!  Hooray!

We used wood glue in the spindle holes at the top and the bottom and clamped the back to the seat.  We ended up replacing both of the screws that went from the back of two spindles into the arm rests.  Only one of the screws was the original and someone had stripped it before we bought the chair so we decided that two new matching screws were better.  The screws that attached the rocker base to the seat seem to be the originals and are in good shape so in they went!

Once the chair was all together one more coat of varnish and…

New View

Finished Chair

"Once Upon a Time..."

“Once Upon a Time…”

Side view of the chair.

Side view of the chair.

Back view of the chair.

Back view of the chair.

We'd love to see our chair in your home and loved by you and your little one!  This project is for sale!  We are asking for $40 (local, shipping extra if you are out-of-town) and you can contact us (call us if you have our cell numbers) or e-mail us at newviewdecor@gmail.com.

We’d love to see our chair in your home and loved by you and your little one! This project is for sale! We are asking for $40 (local, shipping extra if you are out-of-town) and you can contact us (call us if you have our cell numbers) or e-mail us at newviewdecor@gmail.com.

 

Baby E’s Toy Box

Can we even BEGIN to tell you how excited we are for our friends’ first child, Baby E. to be born?!?!  No, we can’t!  We knew that we wanted to make him something special and something that would be useful, functional, and last for a long time. What could we make?  How about a toy box!  Not the plastic and bright kind that I have in my basement but something that could go in any room and, hopefully, be useful beyond the years when bright colored plastics are the norm.

Molly and I found a cool cabinet at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (Have we mentioned how much we love them there?) and planned on using it but had some reservations.  After a few days we found a neighbor who had a plain white, laminated fiber-board toy box but didn’t want it any more.  Perfect!  What we loved about this is that it already had child-friendly hinges so the lid doesn’t fall down and smash little fingers.  The size was (obviously) perfect since it was meant to be a toy box.  Also there was some ink and paint on it that we were able to clean off.  Since we intended to cover it with wood pieces  we liked the simplicity and the fact that it was very square and without embellishments beyond one beveled edge on the front of the lid.

Unloved

Plain Toy Box

What we used:

1–the toy box

2–5-minute epoxy

3–pine paneling

4–stain

5–wood putty

6–sandpaper

5–paint

6–furniture nails

7–painter’s tape

8–drill

9–saw

10–decorative trim piece

11-clamps

What we thought:

We knew this was going to be a toy box.  We wanted to create something that could fit in to almost any room as a piece of furniture and maybe even function as a coffee table or storage for blankets, etc., later on.

What we did:

The first thing we did was remove all the hardware (I like to store it in labeled zippered sandwich bags so I don’t lose it) and clean the piece to get a good work surface.  Then we primed it.

Because we were only planning to paint the inside we only primed the inside!

Because we were only planning to paint the inside we only primed the inside!

Once the primer was dry (it took several coats) we began to plan the application of the wood paneling.  We liked the panels we chose because they can be stained, they were perfectly sized to cut down easily, and they would be easy to adhere to the outside of the toy box.

As my grandfather (who is a carpenter) always says, “Measure twice and cut once.”  If you are using repurposed materials this is especially true as you cannot replicate those if they are damaged.  We purchased wood slats, laid them out for placement, and then labeled them with numbers so they’d go back on in the same order.  That’s a helpful trick in case you are ever applying something and the original item is not totally squared or the same length all the way around.  Here are the wood pieces we used…because this is for a child we wanted to make sure nothing we were using might have lead-based paint or other contaminants we didn’t know about.  I’ve worked with these before and that was a large part of our decision.

Wood Panels

Because of the type of material on the existing toy box we used 5-minute epoxy to attach the wood pieces.  If you ever work with these pieces it is easy for the wood to split on the tops and bottoms because of the V-connection that is used.  Before you attach them, check your package to make sure that the pieces are in good shape.  If you are working with 5-minute epoxy read the instructions as it can be a disaster if you do not mix it and apply it correctly.  It is also difficult to sand off if you get it on a project that is wood…so be careful in your application.  Also, be SURE you have a well-ventilated area.

5-Minute Epoxy

Once the wood was laid out, cut, and ready to go it was just a slow process of attaching each piece.  I applied up to 5 pieces at a time depending on how quickly my epoxy was drying that day.  Once the pieces were attached I used solid heavy wood to make sure that each piece of wood would have equal pressure when I clamped the wood down.  After it was clamped I added additional pieces of wood on top just for weight and to be “safe” that the pieces would adhere without warping or raising.  (The picture below is slightly out of order in the process..but you get the idea!)

Clamped Wood

Once all the wood was attached I sanded each side to make sure there were no rough spots or splinters.  Then, it was time to start painting. We got the leftover paint from our friends and used it to paint the inside.  This way it was somewhat personalized to match his room but the color could easily be changed in the future.  When the paint dried we attached the hardware so that we could make sure it all still worked okay.

Painted Inside

After all the regular wood siding pieces were attached I attached the decorative trim pieces.  I also sanded the top corners to an angle so there wasn’t a sharp corner that Baby E. might fall on.  I used some wood putty to fill in the small gap on each corner.  I also added furniture nails to the top and sides to get a little bit of that “travel trunk” kind of feel.  I pre-drilled holes, then dipped each nail in 5-minute epoxy before inserting them…this way it will be REALLY hard for those to ever come out.

After the paint came the stain!  Baby E’s room has a real nice reddish-colored dark stain on the furniture and their family room has soft-colored walls and beautiful dark-brown furniture.  We wanted a stain color that could go well with dark furniture but not become something that would “suck” the light.  Instead of doing something really dark, we chose a medium shade.  It looks dark on the can picture but it didn’t come out quite as dark so we liked that.

Unstained   Stain   Stained

So, the wood was attached, the paint was dry and the stain was dry.  Now came one last piece of personalization.  We chose a font style that we liked and then created our own stencil using painter’s tape.  We wanted to feel like his initial had been stamped on not necessarily perfectly painted and we like the result.

Stencil

Finally we were done!  We learned a lot of lessons from this project but we are definitely proud of our end result!

New View

Here is the box at Baby E's house...just waiting for him to come play!

Here is the box at Baby E’s house…just waiting for him to come play!

 

 

 

Scarf/Coat Rack

This was Molly’s birthday gift this year!  Even though we went shopping together for these items she had no idea (I HOPE!) what I was making for her.  For those of you who know Molly, she can SERIOUSLY rock the scarves.  Since I’d gotten her a scarf for Christmas I had to come up with something new that would actually be functional and fun!

Many thanks to the Habitat for Humanity REStore for helping me repurpose these items!

What we used:

1–An old kitchen cabinet door

2–Three ugly brass-finish doorknobs (along with 6 screws)

3–paint

4–crackle paint

5–rub-off letters

6–picture-hanging hooks & wire

What we thought:

Since I knew I wanted to make a scarf rack that could be used as a coat rack or something else I was able to shop and plan pretty easily for this.  The doorknobs gave bigger area to hang multiple scarves as well as for hanging coats, purses, etc.

What we did:

This was a fairly simple project, it just took time for the different painting steps that were involved.  First I primed the door.  My first coat of paint was a reddish color that was too red to match Molly’s decor so after that dried I added some light layers of orange spray paint to try for a more coral color.  VICTORY!  After that dried I applied the crackle paint finish and followed with a flat white paint.  I used rub-off lettering (because my handwriting is not decorative at all!) to add a quote to the top right.  Nothing too large or gaudy I just wanted it there as something special.

Crackle Painted

The doorknobs were definitely a pain but worth it in the end!  I started with those fake-brass knobs and used spray primer to get some coverage.  It took a couple coats so it was a learning experience. 🙂  Once they were primed, the knobs got several light layers of both silver and black spray paint.  I wanted an antique/pewter kind of look and by barely spritzing with layers of the colors I think I was able to achieve it.  I sprayed the screw heads with the same colors so they match the knobs.

Primed Doorknobs

When it was done I used a clear semi-gloss spray to preserve the paint since this is going to be a functional piece of furniture.  Once everything was dried and set up I attached the hanging wire and it was good to go!  (In the picture below there was a yellow glare with my camera but the door was white as in the picture above.)

New View:

Repurposed kitchen cabinet door and door knobs.

Repurposed kitchen cabinet door and door knobs.

Humble Beginnings

So, one day last summer I decided to re-do my home office…at the time my home office was our living room with the couches removed, a shelf from IKEA and a 6-foot folding table to hold my computer and everything for my job.  It was functional but just not enjoyable to work in.

I suckered my dear friend Molly into helping me update my office and hounded her at all hours with pictures of ideas I had and paint colors…frankly I’m surprised she put up with me for so long!  When my husband went out of town with one of our sons, Molly and I decided it was time to take action and make my office something interesting and fun.

It began with a trip to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and followed with several nights driving around on trash night to see what people were getting rid of that I could use.  

After Molly’s design expertise and some labor in the wee hours of the morning we decided we were going to start a business.  It was a joke.  Kind of.  

We’ve talked about it for about 8 months now and have decided to start blogging our projects and offering some of them for sale…so if you love seeing how old, beat-up, ugly pieces of furniture and decor come to life in different ways then you’re in the right spot!

We hope you have as much fun as we do taking a NEW VIEW of old things!!!