Tropicana Cabana Dresser Before and After

Another dresser makeover. It’s becoming a regular thing! I love giving an old dresser a new life with a bit of paint and new hardware. I’ve been using the same paint colours because I’m on a tight budget and there’s really no point in buying new paint until I’ve used up what I’ve already got. So I did the same colour combination as a recent makeover I did to this dresser. The paint colours are Tropicana Cabana and Snowfall White from Benjamin Moore.

Unfortunately I don’t have decent before photos, because I was too excited to start on the project that I didn’t think to snap a few photos. So all I’ve got is the original photo from the craigslist ad and a phone photo of the legs and drawer front. The dresser was badly stained, really uneven with many scratches and chips. The drawer pulls were handmade from wood and in need of replacing.

I filled all the chips and holes from the drawer pulls and sanded everything down. It took 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint to cover the dark stain, don’t you think it looks so much happier now?

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dresser before

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dresser makeover

Hallway Bench

Finally our hallway feels a bit more complete. We found a wood bench on craigslist that matches the wood of our type trays, it’s a perfect fit and we’ll be able to tuck our shoes underneath.

Wood bench and typography trays

Wood Railing Nightmare

When we moved into our place a year ago, we realized we had a lot of small projects ahead of us, sanding, paintings, patching etc…  and this was after the major renovation had been completed. We’ve finished almost all of them except one major thing that keeps staring us right in the face. The wood railings upstairs. You can see it from almost every angle in the apartment, it’s the same ugly red stain that the stairs were, but it can’t be removed to sand in a tent like we did for the stairs. Since our space is all open, the dust will basically go everywhere.

For the last year we’ve been avoiding them, contemplating how we’re going to approach them or convincing ourselves we don’t really need to do it. But today, we took the plunge and tried one section.

wood-railing-diy

Let me tell you, it’s hard work and makes a ginormous mess! Andrew was scraping while I tried my best to vacuum up all the bits. Scraping was only step 1, step 2 requires even more mess with sanding, but sadly at this point we gave up due to it being way too hot up in the loft.

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I guess this post is “to be continued” maybe you’ll see the results in a year…haha..but we’re hoping to at least try and tackle it again on a cooler day.

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Loft Stairs Before and After

So it’s August 2nd and it’s shocking to think that this time last year we got the keys to our place and began our renovations. We’re so happy with the apartment that i’ve totally forgotten to keep my blog updated with renovation photos. That and every time I think to take “after” photos, it’s too dark. The stuff i’m about to share with you is even a bit out dated, since then we’ve put up art on the walls and de-cluttered a ton.

Anyway, this may be a year late, but hey…better late than never I suppose.

The stairs in our apartment are solid wood and have so much potential that was hidden under a nasty red varnish. Why on earth they decided to hide the natural wood behind the ugly stain really boggles my mind, but there’s a lot about this place that made me wonder what the previous owners were thinking.

Check out the ugly red stain, which of course it much “redder” in person. Oh and don’t even get me started on the purple and burgundy paint. (which was later covered up with dark brown and white)

stairs-before

We removed all the stairs at the start of the renovation, we didn’t want to damage the wood during construction. It worked out fine, since there’s metal bars under them to step on. We numbered each stair and stored them in the closet until we were ready to refinish them.

When it came time to start, we bought a heavy paint and varnish remover that comes in a gel format. It’s extremely toxic and burns like crazy if you get it on your skin, but it works so well. You need a scraper, paper towel and a heavy duty drop cloth. Using this stripper was pretty much the only option, because we wanted to limit the amount of saw dust we created (at this point we had already moved in).  Andrew has tough hands, so he took on the stair project and scraped off as much varnish as possible.

Once that phase was done, we built a plastic tent over the window so Andrew could use an electric sander and avoid getting saw dust EVERYWHERE. We thought it was a genius idea, we strategically taped off a corner in the apartment including the window for ventilation. Andrew even used a sander that had a built in bag to collect the dust. But guess what? The sawdust was so freggin’ fine that it managed to escape the tent! For days after, actually more like weeks, it rained down sawdust on everything. No matter how much I wiped things, it was still there the next day! I guess it prevented it from being much much worse, but it wasn’t perfect and we really had no other option. Check out the process photos below.

stairs-process

After all the sanding was done and the nice light natural wood was revealed, we couldn’t wait to bolt them back onto the stair frame. Except there was one major problem, the numbers we wrote on the steps came off and we had lost track of what went where! So much for being really organized! So it began, our game of trial and error, lining up the existing screw holes because they were all screwed in differently by the previous owners. We were just glad there weren’t that many stairs. (Although i’m pretty sure Andrew wasn’t thinking that while he was sanding the never ending pile of wood). After some swearing and dropping many screws, they were on and they were beautiful. There’s nothing like natural wood sealed with a clear bees wax. The hallway feels so much brighter now.

stairs-after-diy

DIY Scrabble Coasters

This past Christmas I made a gift for a friend, knowing that she liked to play Scrabble. I couldn’t afford to buy fancy presents this year, so a craft project was a fun solution.

Unfortunately I don’t have step by step photos for this project, so hopefully my instructions are good enough. It’s really more about the idea, you could use just about any materials as a backing and use wood glue to set the tiles in place.

Here’s what the final product look like, 4 in total, each one has a hidden word. I used words that relate to drinking, “stir, pint, wine, brew.” I wanted to have 4 words in each coaster, but unfortunately it was tough finding enough letters to make lots of words.

scrabble-coaster

The Scrabble tiles can be purchased online, but I found mine at a local craft store.

Items you’ll need:

Scrabble tiles (16 per coaster)
Thick felt with built in adhesive backing
Utility knife

First layout the letters how you’d like them for the coaster. Then, peel off the adhesive backing and lay your tiles as tight together as you can onto the sticky side of your felt. Use your utility knife to trim off extra felt around the edges. They can be done at this step, but I decided to trim my edges with thin pieces of felt. Adhesive felt is very forgiving, just make sure you buy the super thick type so your coasters won’t be floppy.

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Upstairs Bathroom Renovation Complete

The upstairs bathroom is finally finished! Although these photos are not really up to date, they don’t include what we ended up doing with the corner shelf in the shower to cover the pipe. I’ll probably do a single post about this to explain in detail what we did to avoid cutting into the main water line and moving it. I previously posted about the progress of this room, but a lot has changed since then.

The bathroom took a while to finish because we were waiting for our counter top to arrive. We got a reclaimed piece of fir that was hand finished, it really looks more beautiful in person, it’s very smooth and the cracks and knots have been filled with epoxy, so you can see right into the wood. I was initially scared about getting water on it, but so far so good, it just beads right off, but I still wipe it regularly.

Someday we’ll probably change the light fixture, which was so cheap at IKEA. We just needed something urgently, so we went with it. It’s not the most attractive thing, with the black base that sticks out on the wall, but it does the trick for now.

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Downstairs Bathroom Sneak Peek

Progress has definitely been made. The downstairs bathroom has been tiled, but not grouted yet. Check out how cool these tiles are, each piece is made to look like a unique piece of wood. We splurged on fancy italian tile for the floors, only because the square footage was so small.

To do List for Downstairs Bathroom (we’re not physically doing it all ourselves):

Grout Tiles
Install Claw foot bathtub
Install Toilet
Paint Walls
Install Vanity/sink
Install sliding closet doors
Install closet shelving/storage
Hang light fixture

This is the claw foot tub we’re installing. It’s pretty much our dream tub! We wanted to find an old one on craigslist, but everything we came across was too long for the space. We had 59″ to work with and most older tubs around 66″. In the end, we spent less than if we had to get an old one and fix it up.