Little houses

Recently I whipped up a cheap little decorating project. I found two kitschy wooden houses at a thrift store in town. Each cost $1.

Crafty houses

I bought some craft paint and brushes. I love the color combination of bright red and turquoise. I sanded the little houses so the paint would stick better and started painting. After a few coats I began to wish I’d primed with some white paint, but it was a bit late for that so I pressed on. I added coats over the course of the entire day, probably nine to 10 coats in all (each of which took just a minute or two… cleaning the paint brush took longer than that each time!).

Crafty houses 2As you can see in the above photo, the original paint showed through the craft paint I was applying for the first five or six coats.

Crafty houses 3And here’s the finished product! I think those silly little houses turned out nicely as modern pops of color in the living room. It was a fun, quick project for less than $10!




Sitting pretty

Several weeks I ago, I picked up four chairs at a consignment store for a reasonable price. The catch: the chairs were in pretty rough condition, having likely never had any love. The stain was chipped and wearing off, and the cushions (that’s a misnomer — the chair seats have no real cushion) have seen far better days. But the chairs have nice curves and beautiful carved roses on the back rest.

So this weekend I refurbished one of the four. The other three will follow, likely one chair at a time. First, I sanded the remaining stain (there wasn’t much) off the chair. I used 150-grit sandpaper and because the stain was in such shabby shape, sanding was a breeze. After sanding, I wiped away the excess dirt and grime with a wet rag.

Since the chairs haven’t been well-cared for, I applied several coats of wood conditioner to moisturize the wood. I used MinWax. Although the pre-stain wood conditioner says it works best when followed with stain, I didn’t have any trouble following with paint.

After the conditioner dried (it’s quick — only ten or fifteen minutes, and less with such dry wood), I applied two coats of latex primer. I did this to ensure the stain won’t bleed through the paint. I allowed the primer to dry for several hours. It was an absolutely beautiful day for painting the chair. The sky was a brilliant blue, it was warm with a slight breeze and hummingbirds zipped past the porch, their wings buzzing madly.

Finally, I painted the chair with Martha Stewart’s Sunken Pool paint. It’s a lovely aqua blue. To make sure the rose design was still visible — a friend commented that if I painted in all the cracks and crevices the design might fade into the rest of the chair — I purposely applied the paint sloppily, allowing the primer and wood to show through. The design has taken on a distressed, antique look. Again, I let the paint dry for several hours.

I have to say, it was painful putting back on the ratty old cushion. The beauty of the body of the chair amplifies just how terrible the cushion really is. Anyway, I plan to add foam and recover the cushion in a pretty fabric. When I get to that (it may take me a while to re-do the rest of the chairs since the one took all day), I’ll make sure to post an update.