Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover

Now that it’s been replaced by a larger one, I’m doing a pine chest of drawers makeover. I bought it used several years ago, particularly cheap because it had some pretty major scratching and staining, but never got around to refinishing it because it was needed for storage. While not top of the range (plywood drawer bottoms, and lacking the dovetail joints you find in the best pieces), it’s a solid piece with plenty of potential.

Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover: Before
Before. All I’ve done is take off the handles.

The chest is now going to be part of staging our old house for sale. It’s a listed period cottage being sold in winter, so the look I’m going for is cosy, slightly rustic and built to last. This piece will be the only wooden bit in what I’m dressing as the guest bedroom, so I’m aiming to bring out the warmth of the wood and also add a bit of rustic/period charm. The dings and scratches are suddenly an asset!

It’s finished in antique pine varnish. That’s fine, but it’s also mass-produced. I think a low-sheen, waxed or oiled, finish gives a more period look. Which means getting the varnish off. I had a go with stripper, but it really wasn’t working very well (it seems to do much better with paint than varnish), so I switched to my orbital sander. That’s taken off a lot, but also revealed a hell of a lot of previously-invisible dents where the varnish stubbornly remains! Since these add character, I don’t want to sand them out (plus that would take ages), so it’s on to the wire wool. (I ended up using the stripper to soften the varnish a little and then mostly wire wool to scrub).

Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover: SandedI also filled in the second set of hardware holes with antique pine filler. I definitely should have used one for natural pine, because it was really orange. Curiously, when I sanded it down with wire wool it went pink. Was that a reaction with the metal or does it always do that? Hmmm. I had trouble getting rid of the light circles around the holes too. To be honest, I didn’t solve that one.

You may have noticed that I haven’t sanded the top (actually I have, but only lightly). That’s because I have other plans for it. In the same vein as my Ikea Latt table makeover, I’m using marble-effect sticky back plastic [contact paper] to cover it. I love seeing old marble-topped pine washstands and other furniture, and this is the closest thing I can afford – not to mention get up the stairs.

Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover: CornerSo how did that work? Pretty well across the top. The plastic is available in 45cm, 67.5cm and 90cm widths and can be bought in one or two metre lengths, so for this I needed one piece 67.5cm by 1m. I cut out a piece slightly bigger than I needed and then trimmed it when it was stuck down. I removed the backing a little at a time, smoothing it down to remove air bubbles. I got most of them – with a bit more patience I probably could have got all of them. I had more trouble with the sides and it really wasn’t sticking properly underneath. I ended up applying super glue, and using a wooden baton and clamps to hold the plastic in place while it dried. That worked just fine. I made a mistake with the corners though, by cutting them to size rather than folding the plastic over. It came unglued a little when I was moving the chest.

Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover: HandlesThe chest originally had plain wooden knobs, but I picked up some white ceramic ones with a tea cup design on them, which I thought would go better with the marble. I do like them, but I think they would have coordinated better if the marble had been more black and white rather than grey and white.

So here’s the result of my pine chest of drawers makeover! Despite the problems, I think it looks pretty damn cool and a lovely addition to the room. Certainly loads better than before.

img_20161117_105952298Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover: After #2Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover: After #3

Simple Ikea Latt Table Hack

Simple Ikea Latt Table HackIkea hacks seem to be all the rage these days. Pinterest is full of the amazing furniture people have turned bog standard pieces into. For our Ikea Latt table, however, it was more of a rescue.  After much abuse at the hands of 4-Year-Old, the surface looked like a teenager’s skin. The chairs were spared only because I gave them to my sister for her little boy.

First I took it apart (bless whoever invented alan keys) and rubbed the whole thing down with wire wool (actually a kitchen pan scourer). It’s a bit rough for some surfaces, but it did a great job of cleaning up the legs and the worst of the dirt without risking more water damage to the hardboard top. The frame is plain pine – I like bare wood, but I might oil it to give it protection.

Ikea Latt Table 3I thought we’d have to replace the top. It turned out that the other side wasn’t bad, but it definitely needed a new surface. I’d been eyeing some granite-effect sticky back plastic at Yorkshire Trading (local chain selling a bit of everything) for ages and this seemed the perfect project to try it out on.


And here’s the result! Quick, simple and cheap, and the Ikea Latt table lives to see another day. The plan is to use clear sealant round the edges to make sure no water gets into the cracks. I even had enough left over to resurface a tray as well.Tra

[This week I also finally got out the sewing machine and sewed zips into the sofa cushion covers, which were previously sewn closed. My husband has had this sofa for ten years. I shudder to think what they’ve been through.]

Have you rescued any household items lately?

Bathroom Project – Walls & Floors Competition Entry

Okay, this is sort of a sponsored post. UK tile company Walls & Floors are running a competition to design a room and do a post and Pinterest board on it. The prizes are many lots of tile vouchers and I covet.

My bathroom

So, our bathroom is rather small – but quite light thanks to windows across two walls – and features the original aquamarine suite from when the house was built around 1980. And no, we haven’t run screaming for a wrecking ball. Yes, I know everyone’s all about white these days. The thing is, though, that it’s actually a nice colour (if it were avocado it would be a different story. I’d have put in the perfectly good suite the people over the road skipped last year). It’s also a good quality suite that is still in good condition after the best part of four decades. And it means we don’t have to tear the bathroom to pieces and fork out lots of money. We’re keeping it. So there. Hey, wait another couple of decades and it’ll probably be in style again!

Bathroom ceilingThe tiling, however, has to go. The green, vaguely-marble-effect might just about be tolerable if it weren’t for that awful border. Peek under the sink and there’s still a few of the original square aqua tiles clinging on for dear life. The ceiling is covered in polystyrene tiles and there was carpet on the floor. I’m surprised it didn’t sit up and object when we removed it.

Now, it’s quite common to combine a white suite with blue/green tiling, so I figure it’ll work the other way around as well. I am quite keen on the whole metro tile trend (I’ve no objection to following fashion so long as I like it), and I came across a truly brilliant idea on Pinterest – coloured grout!

White metro tiles with turquoise grout.

I’m not quite sure on the pattern yet. I’ll be re-reading 10 Really Interesting Things You Can Do With Plain White Tile.

Bathroom cabinetI’m also going with plain white walls. I picked up a large bathroom cabinet and matching mirror at a charity shop (thrift store to US readers) for £20, which is great because we really need the space. The amount of lotions, potions and medicines we have in there is astonishing. Right now I think they’re limed light wood, but I’m thinking I might paint them a nice slate grey and make that the third colour of the bathroom. I adore these tiles and they’re ceramic so I think they could work as a basin backsplash.

Carrying on the grey to the floor, right now we have vinyl which is a sort of slate tile pattern. If money was no object (i.e. if I won the competition – hint, hint), I’ve got my eye on these anti-slip grey wood effect tiles. I love wood effect – I had vinyl like that in my old house – and anti-slip tiles sound like a really great idea when you combine splashing water and running small persons.

CabinetIf I get really creative, I’m toying with the idea of turning this little cabinet (picked up on eBay for 99p) into a vanity unit around the sink. I don’t really like it as it is, but it’s very sturdy so it seems a shame to get rid of it. Blame Pinterest again for that idea. I’m thinking I’ll paint it white, change out the handles (I’ve got some pewter ones left over from our old kitchen), take out the drawers and make them into false fronts and either paint the top grey or use some slate-effect sticky back plastic wrap on it. Admittedly there is quite a list of other projects in front of that one, but if I ever get around to it I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Have you got any home improvement projects planned? Share Pinterest links below.