February 25, 2013

Diane the Distressed Diva

I could have waited to share this with the round up of the rest of my Pinterest projects for the month, but I think it deserves its own post and quite frankly, I took too many pictures and made too many collages not to dedicate one post to this particular project.

A little background first - I have never liked the TV stand we own. I had the same problem Brooke did, where we didn't need a new one, but I just hated how it looked. We bought it from Target when I was living on my own in South Carolina for a course and Miles was on deployment numero dos. I knew one day I'd redo the guest room furniture we owned (which we inherited free from Miles' parents - score!), but figured I would only re-paint it and still use it as bedroom furniture. We had three pieces - a tall dresser and a nightstand, that I'll share later with the other projects from the month, and a long dresser with a mirror attached to it. One night while Miles was away, and I was up until midnight working on whatever random thing I do while he is gone instead of going to bed at a reasonable time, I decided that the long dresser could become our new TV stand. So I listed our old one on Craigslist and decided that if it sold, I would be justified in turning the dresser into a TV stand. Well as luck would have it, this puppy sold two hours later.

I was so happy someone wanted this that I didn't really think through how I would get it in my car considering 
Miles wasn't home. But somehow I not only lifted the TV to the ground, and it's a 57 inch screen mind you, 
but I also moved the stand into the back of my car. I'm pretty much the strongest woman alive.
A friend watched Finn while I happily met up with the buyer and dropped off the TV stand (in a public place
and I had another friend come with me as well as Roscoe - because people can be creeps).

So then began the project of redoing the dresser, we'll call her Diane the dud:

Diane had a lot going for her - she's made of solid wood, has lots of space, and no major structural issues.  But she just wasn't too purdy.

I took Finn to Lowe's to pick out a color and some supplies as well as new hardware. I really love all the different hardware options available at Hobby Lobby, but about 90% of their inventory is for knobs, not pulls, and I didn't want to fill in all the pull holes and re-drill new holes (like I did for Gray Gertrude), so I ended up finding hardware at Lowe's that I liked. I got all my supplies there simply because Lowe's has a military discount and I think it's important to support businesses who support the troops.

These are the three main products I used and was very happy with each of them:

I wanted a distressed look, but was very tentative to start because what if I distressed it and hated it and wasted all that time painting and would need to sand it all off and start over, and did I mention I started this about a week before Miles was to return home even though he had been gone an entire month? So anyway, I decided to just give it a shot and used all of Finn's nap and bedtimes to work on it. The entire process went like this: take off old hardware, disassemble mirror, ask nice friends to help you move heavy ass furniture into garage, clean dresser, paint, let dry, paint again, let dry, sand, distress, wipe down, rub stain on, wipe stain off, let dry, apply polycrylic, let dry, apply polycrylic again, let dry, ask same nice friends to help you move furniture back inside, install new hardware, line drawers, assemble drawers, take obscene amount of pictures, share on blog.

Overall it took me about five days from start to finish ensuring that there was lots of time for it to dry in between steps. Here are a few pictures to illustrate said steps showing the initial paint, the distressing (done with sandpaper and 'ding'ing up the wood with a hammer, and staining the piece which just involved wiping the stain on, and immediately off, with a cloth. I used regular wood stain.

I decided that I wanted to keep the doors on, but when you open the doors there are three drawers inside and I'd need to remove two of those to make room for the DirectTV and PlayStation consoles. That was done through the following steps shown below: remove old drawers, remove drawer tracks, get plywood cut to fit, paint plywood, drill holes where drawer tracks used to line up, screw in plywood to existing holes, cut out two holes in back of furniture for cords and cables,  laugh at silly dog who is looking through the other end of the newly cut out hole, give media its new home.

We do not own a jigsaw or another of the sort - so I had to cut the hole out for the cables
 in a somewhat ghetto fashion with the drill, but it worked and it's not like you see it anyway.

Ok, now to the really fun stuff - the before and after pictures, or as I like to call it, Diane the Dud transforms into Diane the Distressed Diva!

Also, I forgot to mention that we had a cheapie bookshelf (also a Target purchase from when we moved in to our first apartment) and it housed all of the DVDs we never watch own. Every. Single. Day, Finn would terrorize the shelf and pull the DVDs down. It drove me nuts. But now they are tucked away neatly in the drawers. He still gets into them on occasion, but it's not as often.

I don't have one particular link or tutorial I followed, but this one gave me the idea for the color (I used Valspar Cafe Blue), other than that I kind of just winged it based off things I've read in the past and tips I've picked up along the way. I had some supplies on hand already that I needed for Diane - the stain and polycrylic finish, but I still needed to buy a few things such as the paint (which was a paint and primer in one), some drop cloths, paint brushes, plywood, and the hardware which was the most expensive. After subtracting the money I got for the old TV stand, the total cost of Diane's makeover was $78.04.  Not too shabby.



  1. Awesome! You girls are so inspiring. I'm going to need to get in on this furniture remodel and re-purposing soon. I even told Elliot.

    I think it looks amazing and I'm so surprised it's the same thing! I bet Miles was surprised when he got come.

    Thank you for sharing and keep them coming! Also, come to Chicago and teach me. Thanks.

  2. WOW WOW WOW! Caroline that is incredible! What a fantastic job! I love projects like this and particularly enjoyed the sidebar about conning your friends into moving Diane the Dud for you. I know that all too well!! What a fabulous job!

  3. Yay!! I love DIY before and afters! This looks so good! Congratulations!!

  4. I have to ask, have you written about anymore makeovers besides Gray Gertrude? I'd love to read them!

  5. Amazing job!!! Seriously though, you must be superwoman to get the TV off the old stand and get it in your car all by yourself. Where did you get those cute globe ball decorations?

  6. Love! Amazing transformation!

  7. This is awesome!! I am loving it so much! I have disressed one piece of furniture in white but it is not as good as this at all! I need lessons! :)
    Hopefully soon we can get some fun new pieces that are predone and ones that I can work on too!!
    I lifted our old tv once...it is one of those box ones that weighs about 500 pounds! Moved if from the living room to bedroom (ben was gone and i wanted to watch tv in bed)...lets just say he was very upset and I had mass bruising on my thighs for days! oh and lots of back pain! ha!

  8. I am soooo impressed. Even with your somewhat ghetto method of making the hole for cords. Ingenious! Looks totally professional.

  9. Looks great! Love the color! I had to laugh when you mentioned the ghetto-fied method in which to create the hole. I've been there. Ha. Hey, it works! :)

  10. That looks fantastic!

    And we have a drill bit that makes the circle cut outs you're talking about- approx. $10 at Home Depot. :) But your version is totally fine too. ;)

  11. I LOVE it!!! You're seriously good at the furniture makeovers. Great job!

    And you may actually be the strongest girl alive...moving a giant TV and the stand! Wow!

  12. I'm finally getting a change to check out what you've done. It's AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! Seriously you did a great job