Thursday, March 31, 2011

Striped Dresser Feature - Design*Sponge

My little striped dresser is out in the big world today.  It's part of the Before & After series and I'm giddy with excitement.  Who doesn't love Design*Sponge? Go take a peek.

This is the last day for the beautiful blanket giveaway.  I'm naming a winner tomorrow so get right on over there and put your name in for a chance.

I'm heading off to go thrifting with my thrifty pal Barb.  I will also be picking up a night stand that is going in my daughter's room (yes, that same room I've been working on for months). Barb picked up 2 French Provincial style beauties and was kind enough to allow me to mooch the other one.  She has already finished hers and it's stunning which inspires and intimidates me at the same time.  I hope that tomorrow I'm posting about all the awesome deals we scored today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Distressed Dresser

Whoa, this project has taken a long time to complete.  I think most of the delays were due to my anxiety about trying new techniques.  Some fears were unfounded while others were realized. I'm feeling a bit nervous about this reveal because so many of you have expressed interest.  I only hope it lives up to the hype.  Let me just say as a disclaimer that I do not drink martinis in my bedroom.  The dresser is in the dining room.

In case you haven't been following along this dresser was originally claimed by Barb at hodge:podge when we went thrifting.  When she couldn't make it work I took the opportunity to pounce.  What I didn't tell you is that it's original price of $70 was reduced to a blow-out special price of $35 the day I purchased it.  Here's a reminder of the before.

The work started out as any ordinary painting project does...sanding, priming and painting. I have never distressed a furniture piece before so I was a little nervous.  I've never stained a piece either so my anxiety level was mounting.  You can get a peek at the distressing here and the staining here if you missed it.  I was a very bad blogger and didn't take any photos of the finished stained piece but I can assure you it was heavenly.  Afterwards I wanted to seal and protect it and I chose my newest obsession, furniture wax.

The body of the dresser turned out beautifully and then I started on the drawers and...disaster.

 The wax actually started to remove the stain!

After a little cursing I buffed all the drawers.  They looked bad.  I added a bit more stain to try and add a new layer of coverage.  It looked good except it was quite a bit darker than I had wanted.  After obsessing for a day or two I painted the hardware and attached it and realized that mistakes sometimes happen for the right reason.  The dresser looks perfect and probably would not have had enough "antique" patina if I hadn't added the extra layer of stain.  

I kept most of the hardware but splurged on 4 glass knobs for the top drawers to give it a little sparkle.

 Loving that awesome detail.

I have to say, I'm a convert.  I never thought I could love a distressed and antiqued piece but I do!

Don't forget to enter the beautiful blanket giveaway taking place this Friday.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Spring is my very favourite time of year.  I love the newness of everything.  I also love the opportunity to get back on track and dispense with my slovenly winter ways.

I'm not much of a pack rat so I don't have to do much in the way of spring cleaning but while sorting out a linen closet I came across this fabulous blanket that I have been carrying with me since I closed my store almost 2 years ago.

It is 100% organic cotton with a beautiful hand drawn and silk screened image of trees that I thought would be a perfect giveaway.  It measures 44" x 90" and is light so it's perfect for spring and summer evenings. It retails for $90 but for one of you lucky readers it will be yours.  It is made by textile designer Jenna Rose from Hamilton, Ontario. She also has an etsy shop so if you are not the lucky winner you can still buy yourself a nice little thing or two.

Do you see what I"m doing here with this photo?  I"m giving you a sneak peak at the dresser that I've been distressing/staining/waxing and all the while pulling my hair out.  I will tell you all about the trials and tribulations tomorrow when I reveal the dresser.

To enter:

1.  Be a follower of The Design Pages through Google Friends Connect.  Look for the box at the right side of the page with all the happy, smiling followers and click the Follow button.

2.  Leave me a comment letting me know.  Easy, right?

The contest is open to all Canadian and American residents.  Contest closes at midnight on Thursday, March 31 and the winner will be announced on Friday, April 1.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Staining Painted Furniture

I did it!!  I stained the painted/ distressed dresser and it is l-o-v-e.  I can't believe I haven't tried this before.  I am really a modern gal but I have to say that this distressed and stained finish has stolen my heart.

I absolutely loved all the feedback I received from my awesome readers when I asked if I should continue to distress the top.  It was a resounding NO and so I painted over it and I have to say that was a good call!

Here are the goods.  Minwax stain in black, a paintbrush for applying the stain and about 300 white rags for removing the stain.  Wow, that stain absorbs quickly.  

So here are my observations regarding staining that I thought would be worth sharing.

- It is every bit like painting so dress accordingly.  Don't wear white watches, your brand new favourite pair of skinny jeans or a long unwieldy scarf.  I was smart enough to take my watch off after snapping this photo but had to ask my husband for assistance with the scarf 20 minutes after I started.  

- When they say work in small sections because stain dries quickly, I advise you to listen.  It dries damn fast people.

- Unlike paint or primer you do NOT need to cover every square inch.  In fact it is not advisable.  After all, you're just removing it.

- If you're painting over furniture there's no reason to go with the grain as far as I could tell.  Feel free to go around in circles which helped to incorporate the edges that need to be blended.

- The stain does lighten slightly after a few hours, maybe more.  It's only been a few hours and I see a difference so maybe tomorrow it'll be remarkable.

This weekend I'm waxing this baby.  Full reveal next week.  Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Distressing Painted Furniture

I am so far behind on my list of projects as our March Break continues for one more week.  I have made some small headway on the Kent Coffey dresser over the last couple of weeks.  I was planning to wait until it was complete to reveal it but you're getting a sneak peak.

After much consideration as to what should be done I figured I'd try my hand at something new. Distressing is new (to me).  I should try that I thought.  It must be easy.  You just scratch it up and it'll look old and distressed.  Easy peasy.  WRONG!

Distressing is actually quite time consuming and the attention to detail required is staggering.  I started off a bit heavy handed and ended up with these not-so-authentic looking gouges in the paint job.  Ahhhhh.  Visions of repainting the entire piece were dancing through my head.

So a few touch ups later I was back at it.  I realize there are virtually no rules when distressing but I also realize that what I like is a very softly distressed look.  A little wear around drawers and top of dresser is just fine.

The top of the dresser remains a bit of a conundrum.  I have made a few distress marks across the top but I'm not sure I like them.  I will have to wait a day or two and see.  This is one of the better marks.  But the question is, would it look weird to have none on the top?  I think it would but I could be wrong.  

I know all my blogger buddies are experts at this distressing thing but my heart rate is only now approaching normal days later.  The next step is staining it.  I have a black stain and I'm a little freaked out by that process as well.  Wish me luck!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vancouver Chronicles - Granville Island

I thought it would be really fun to start a new series chronicling some of the great spots in Vancouver for all you non-Vancouver readers.  Since I'm relatively new to the city I still get excited by all the different neighbourhoods and attractions.

One of our family's favourite spots to hit on the weekend is Granville Island.

Granville Island is literally a little island right in the middle of the city of Vancouver and is surrounded by marinas.  It's made up of an amazing fresh food market and a slightly chaotic series of criss-cross streets with outdoor shops, restaurants and theatres.

The food market is all indoors and is a series of independently owned food shops.  There's really nothing you can't find here...produce, fish, meat, desserts, cheese, bread and an awesome food court as well.  There are tons of ethnic products and if you're ever looking for a hard to find ingredient, you'll probably find it here.

The kids market is a 2-story building dedicated to all things "kid".  There's a ball pit, a maze, an arcade, a candy store and tons of specialty shops including costume store, boutique clothes stores and zillions of toy stores.  It's also home to what seems like millions of screaming and sometimes crying children so be prepared for the noise.

Once last year when I was enjoying a scrumptious lunch with friends at Bridges Restaurant a grey whale took a detour from his migration path and ended in the water right outside the restaurant.  

You can drive right into Granville Island but if you decide you don't want to, this super cute Aqua Bus ferries shoppers back and forth across False Creek from the island to the city.

These guys get a big awwww.

There are a number of theatres for adults, youth and children and there's even a theatre school for kids.  How awesome!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Emily Carr, let me introduce her.  She was a Canadian artist and one of the first to introduce Canadian art in a post-impressionist style.  She is one of the beloved Group of Seven and is described by most Canadians as a "Canadian icon".  What does this have to do with Granville Island you wonder.  The prestigious Emily Carr University of Art + Design is located in Granville Island.  This lends a funky, edgy feel with all the cool kids wandering about the place.  Because of the school, there are also a surplus of amazing art supply stores located on the island.

So, what do you think?  Do you love Granville Island as much as I do?  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Thrift Store Finds

We're on a 2 week spring break from school and I have spent the first little bit hanging out with a good friend and her kids who are visiting from Ontario.  When she saw the cake plate I made from thrifted items she decided to try her hand at it.  She is not a card holding member of Thrift Store Shoppers Anonymous so I pulled some strings and got her in.

I'm not quite ready for a new project but I couldn't pass up what I found waiting for me.  I'm still on the hunt for a chair for my daughter's desk so I always head straight to the chairs.  This beautiful creature certainly can't be used for a desk but how could I not take it home I ask you?

The chair is quite petite and while I"m very comfortable with bold colours I think this time I'm going to push myself a little and go for a strong pattern as well.  Here are just a couple of possibilities.

1/ Chair sprayed in turquoise and a bright paisley pattern
2/ Chair sprayed with emerald green and a strong black and white graphic

I also found this fantastically gorgeous tray.  If I can manage to remove the rust without damaging the original surface then I will leave it.  If the rust removal either proves impossible or damaging then I'll have to come up with a plan b.  Does anyone have a rust removal trick they can share?

 Look at the beautiful beaded handle.  Love!

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