Cool new products, and beard scares.

Sanding in a state of trepidation is a good way to sand.  While a certain amount of unease is, uncomfortable, you tend to get a lot done when your mind is elsewhere.  So it all works out.

Recently, this is how I felt when I sanded a little cabinet, and the reason I sanded like this is because my husband Ryan was beginning the slow and terrifying process of trimming his beard.

While it varies, the routine goes something like this.  He grows his beard out for a few months, he doesn’t exactly grow it long, but just puffy, thick, copper colored.  You know, long enough to lose track of his chin.  Sort of, Leprechauny.  (we tend to live more like brother and sister when he does this).  Then one day, when he’s tired of his mustache getting in the way of his food, he starts to trim.  And it is a process that makes the whole family uneasy.

I will explain with this handy graph.

My nightmare
My nightmare

He starts with step 1, the bushy beard.  This in itself is not good, but we all know that it can get so much worse.  You see, what he enjoys doing is just trimming off a bit at a time, sometimes letting hours or EVEN days pass before moving on to the next beard monstrosity.  I am amazed at what the style of a beard can do transform a person’s looks.  He can go from a hillbilly to a redneck to some sort of pervert in a couple of hours.  (number 3 or 4 is exactly the kind of person you could imagine lurking around your property and raping your goats) And the more we protest, the more strength he gains to carry on. Ultimately, he gets to step 6, and becomes my handsome man again.  But the images in my head….

They remain.

What’s that got to do with sanding?  Well, nothing. But now you know my state of mind while performing my least favorite task. I had a fervor that one only feels when their husband is trimming his beard and showing off the midway results.  The good news, the sanding went fast.

So here’s the fun news, I actually got the products I’m about to review for freeeeeeeeeeeeeee and it was like Christmas in August  for me when I received them. (yeah, I started this post a long time ago… so what?) I decided to try these products on a little cabinet Ryan brought home the other day.  It had good bones, but was missing some larger pieces of veneer from the door front.

If a little veneer is missing, I’ll go for a simple, sandable/paintable wood filler.  If a lot is missing, I break out the big guns, BONDO, which is so stinkin’ stinky but so effective, it dries rock hard and sands like butta.  (I mean butter people, although, butter would be disgusting to sand, so let’s move on)

But today I’m trying a new product and I’m excited.  It is called SculpWood, by SYSTEM THREE products.  It’s a spreadable epoxy paste.  It is easy to sand and machines just like wood.  Following the manufacturers instructions, I added a dollop of part A, and an equal sized dollop of part B on a disposable plate.  Using a little putty knife, (which, in my case, was a piece of cardboard) I mixed part A and part B together and spread it on my missing veneer, making sure to slightly overfill.  It had a similar consistency to the BONDO I use but I thought it smelled quite a bit better, but still strong.  Now I just had to wait for it to dry.  Because of the ridiculous humidity, I knew it would take a while for it to cure, so I let it be.

 

Scuptwood review.  by de-uglied designs
Ew, just ew.
Scuptwood review.  by de-uglied designs
Better!

Now for the cabinet.

I removed the hardware and sanded down the entire thing lightly, both to even out any issues with the former finish and also to rough it up a bit.  Next I cleaned the entire thing to remove oils and excess dust.  The product I’m using says that no prep is needed, but since this is a piece I will hopefully sell someday, I prefer to prep, if only just to give it a nicer surface to apply the paint.  If you were to follow the “no prep” suggestion, make sure to thoroughly clean the piece beforehand, even if it doesn’t look dirty.  I also gave it a quick spray of primer, because I had it and it certainly can’t hurt.

 

After the primer dried, I gave it another quick sanding and cleaning and it was finally time to whip out my product, Krylon Chalky Finish in “Waterfall” They were kind enough to send me two cans, and a few more goodies.  I sprayed it in a sweeping motion and it went on very nicely and dried to a smooth even finish.  I went through the first can quickly, having left one moderately patchy coat, but covering the whole thing.  I left it to dry, and went in for a second coat with the new can.  Again, it went on very well, I was impressed.  Unfortunately, even with two cans, I ran out of product and didn’t have enough for the final few touch-ups, or the door I had patched.  So I went on a mad hunt to purchase a third can.  According to the website, it is sold at Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and Walmart.  (to mention a few local stores)  However, over the course of the next couple weeks, I visited all of those stores and not one of them (at the time I am writing this post) stocked this product.  So I had to turn to another way of purchasing things.  It is called the internet.

My first stop was Amazon, as a Prime Member, I always look here first because you can’t beat free, two-day shipping.  Unfortunately, the color I needed was out of stock.  I then went to several different sites and searched for corresponding coupon codes.  But, ultimately, I ended up ordering through JoAnnfabrics.com for a whopping $17 a can, (including shipping)  Yep.

So while I was waiting to receive my shipment, I went back to my door.  The filler worked like magic, it dried nicely, sanded smoothly, and had a hard, wood-like finish.  It was every bit as good as the BONDO, but less stinky.  A win.

So once I sanded down the door a bit, I put a quick coat of primer on both sides, and eventually, when I got my Krylon Chalky Finish in the mail, I went right to work.  Thankfully, I had enough to finish with touch-ups and the door.  I also took off the back of the cabinet, and added some fabric for fun.  This piece is bright and happy so I went with it with all of my heart.

Krylon Chalky Finish review, cabinet repaired with BONDO
Ain’t she happy!

Krylon Chalky Finish review by de-uglied designs

Just like with any chalk paint, you’re going to want to lightly sand it to give it a smooth, even finish.  And then you’ll want to seal it.  Since I was trying new products, I decided to try one more.  This one is from a company called Goddards.  The product I used is called Cabinet Maker’s Wax Spray.  This is the lazy man’s chalk paint waxing dream, and I am that lazy man.  It is a lemon and beeswax wood cleaner, sealer and protector.  It is divine.  After I sanded and removed the dust from my piece, I gave it a quick spray, buffed in the wax, let it dry, and gave it another coat. It ended up leaving a nice even sheen.  I am in Heaven, seriously, this product may change my life.  Now, for heavier use, I would go with a traditional wood wax, or for really heavy use, I’d go with a polyurethane, lacquer, or water based polyurethane, but for something like this, this spray worked perfectly.  And it is only $5.99 per bottle!  (not including shipping)

So, for the review.  I absolutely loved the ease and finish of the Krylon Chalky Finish spray paint.  Great product!  The cons really have to do with availability and price. If I had bought three cans online, at $17 each, along with paying $15 for the piece itself, and the several hours of time put into it, let’s just say, there’s no profit in it for the person who de-uglied it.  (boo hoo, that be me) If you can find this product at a store it retails for $10.  That price is still a little high for me, considering I ended up using three cans, but many places, Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby for example, have a 40-50% coupon and I would say, if they end up stocking this paint, go get yourself some.  I sure hope to eventually find this paint locally, because I really did like it.

I loved the Goddards products, I have tried several now for my wood AND painted pieces and the quality is fantastic.  I have never used a nicer furniture polish, and that wax spray will be my go-to for my jewelry boxes especially.

I also really liked the Sculpwood, and will definitely be purchasing this in the future, they even have a product that you can mold like clay, and then when it cures, you can sand and shape it.  There are so many times I could have used something like that.  Now to find the piece…..

All in all, with the exception of the availability issues with the Krylon paint, I’d have to say all of these products are a win, go give them a try for yourself.

Krylon Chalky Finish review, by de-uglied designs

 

 

 

And now, a warning. If you see a man in the FM area running around with a number 3 mustache/beard combo… just to be safe, you better keep your goats in the house.

beard
BEWARE!

 

 

Just a personal note, I know I haven’t been very active on any of my social media sites or blog lately.  If I can be honest, I’m experiencing a little amount of work/business/home burnout, and haven’t fully recovered.    I just want you all to know that I haven’t disappeared, and I am still very proud of my little side business.  Thanks for your support, patience and for accepting me and my business as I am.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, mishaps and triumphs

A couple weeks ago after arriving home from a long day at work, I was greeted at the door by my smiling daughter who announced she had a surprise for me.  She had arranged a cardboard box upside down in the center of my kitchen island, and she told me to get ready for something BIG.  You see, a while back, my sweet Emmi had told me that she was going to email a couple of companies I liked and request a sample on my behalf, in exchange for an honest review.  I told her to go ahead, that it sounded like a great idea, but hadn’t expected much in return.  So when she lifted off the box I found myself in the midst of having a small, but positive heart attack.  Oh…my…gosh… is this really happening? Yes it is.  It really is.  I had received a very generous gift from Miss Mustard Seed that included three bags of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint, a mechanical stirrer, some help oil, a paint brush, and a look book.  Is it my birthday, anniversary, mother’s day all rolled into one?  Well, no, but if felt like it.  Needless to say, I told Emmi with a great deal of urgency, “We need to get something to paint… NOW!”  We both stormed the basement, taking stairs two at a time, snagged a couple of smallish wall hanging type of décor pieces, and started prepping.  (which included a light sanding and cleaning)

Miss Mustard seed review and tutorial by de-uglied designs
My bounty, I’m not even the slightest bit joking when I say it is probably going to be the highlight of 2015. So grateful!

Now, I have used milk paint in the past, but it was long ago and it was not Miss Mustard Seed’s brand, so I was anxious to give this a try, I have heard it is quite amazing, but can have quite a learning curve.  And oh boy, did it ever.  First off, our first mix was way too thin, but because we didn’t want to waste any more of our precious paint, we decided to just apply 400 layers of ultra-thin paint to our pieces (at least the dry time was quick).  In the end, after hours of painting at my dining room table and watching two or more episodes of “LOST”, (we’re a little behind the times people) we had two cute pieces of home décor with a nice, smooth matte finish.  Not bad.

DSC03380
While the mix was a little thin, they still have a very nice finish. We just had to do a lot more coats to achieve the look.

But for this generous bounty, I knew I needed to give it “real” try, on an actual piece of furniture.  And I knew just the one.

A few months back, a friend of mine had kindly given me a fabulous dresser.  It had great bones, minus the fact that it was missing a leg and had several unfortunate coats of paint that had seen better days. Often, this dresser would sneer at me from across my garage, and I would wave my angry fist back at it in response.  Not because it was a bad dresser, it was LOADED with potential, but because it was a dresser I was in no hurry to makeover. I knew it would require a complete and very time-consuming amount of stripping and sanding.  Then there was the matter of the leg.  The stinkin’ missing leg.

drawers1
Original piece, notice the left front leg is missing so I propped it up with piles of wood.

It was, however a dresser that would be a perfect candidate for milk paint.  Classic lines and solid bones. A time-worn beauty she was indeed.  Ug.

So Friday, when I got home from work, I went straight to my garage, and started stripping. (the paint that is…) The layers of paint were cooperative, not super cooperative mind you, I’d give them about a 6 out of 10.  The rest of the job had to be done with my “favorite” technique.  The devil sanding.  So I masked up, and started out with a few drawers, stripping, scraping, and sanding.  Did I mention it was 95 degrees out?  Gross.

And on a side note, for some reason, instead of having a designated pair of painting shorts, I just roll my pink painting sweat pants up about 30 times, so it looks like I’m wearing one large donut around each thigh.  And I tend to wear nurse clogs without socks while I work.  And I was sweating, a lot.

I write this to give you a mental picture of how cool I looked in my driveway that day.

So I loved the old lines on this dresser, and since I was embracing milk paint, and hopefully a few of its quirks, I decided to NOT fill chips and other things I would normally fill in, and leave it looking a little worn.  This was a hard decision and left me quite shaken.  In general, I like to make things look new again, as in, completely smooth and pristine. But the dresser told me that I should be a little open-minded, and just “let it go”.  (like the song)

drawers
These are the drawers after the stripping, before the sanding. Notice the wood on the top drawer is completely different from the wood on the bottom drawers.  What up with dat?

So after all the stripping, scraping, sanding, and cleaning I had done.  I mixed the milk paint.  This time, I added the perfect amount of milk paint (it’s a powder) to water, and I mixed and mixed and mixed, and let it sit for 15 minutes, then mixed again.  And then I painted my freshly sanded and cleaned drawers.  Three of them, the last drawer was currently blocked so I just did the three, figuring I’d do the fourth later.

This would be my first mistake.

The color I used was a very subtle green called “Layla’s Mint”.   Now, I was open to the idea of chipping, in fact, I had hoped for a little, and thought that painting in the super heat (a no-no) would possibly aid in the chipping.  But it was not to be, most likely because I sanded too well. The piece was practically bare wood again, so the milk paint sunk right in. But that’s ok, the finish was really pretty, similar to chalk paint, but with some subtle color variation, which I was loving.

After some light sanding, I painted a second coat, let it dry, sanded again, and decided to glaze the drawers using General Finishes Glaze Effects in Van Dyke brown.

Second mistake.  For those of you who have glazed, you will know that glazing in almost 100 degree heat is… impossible frustrating.  Yes, I knew it would be problematic, I ain’t stupid.  (just impatient) Let’s just say my shoulders got a really good workout trying to rub out all that excess glaze.  But, the end results looked terrific. It was just the look I was going for.  Now for the rest of the dresser.


 

Let me digress for a moment to give a shout out to the Milk Paint.  I had literally painted the drawers only about an hour before applying the glaze.  And as I said, it was so hot, the glaze just cemented itself to the drawer.  I used all my strength to rub that glaze out, and the paint didn’t budge.  That stuff is tough!!


 

Instead of stressing over exactly how I was going to fix the leg of the dresser, I made an executive decision and cut them all off.  I know.  It was hard, but once I started, it was quite liberating and I may have laughed maniacally during the whole process, which I barely ever get to do these days.  And I actually like the results, a lot!   Next was more of the same, stripping, scraping and sanding.  I had been working on the dresser for about 7 hours now, and it was starting to get dark.  BUT, I still had some paint mixed up from those three drawers, so I thought I better paint that last drawer.  The paint had gotten fairly chunky (probably from the heat) so I added a little more water, and started mixing.  It didn’t go very well, so I mixed a new amount, just to do that last drawer.  Problem solved.

Or so I thought.  Now, like I said, it was getting dark.  So I painted the first and second coat and glazed the drawer like I had the others.  It looked great, just like the first three.  Until I brought it over to the other three and it was a completely different color.  The other three, were definitely a muted green.  The fourth.  A toupey-grey.

What the?

But I was glad.  I had met my first quirk.  I had read in Marian’s look book just the night before about color variations, and the importance of mixing up enough milk paint to do the first coat on the entire piece to avoid such variations.  She was right.  Girl knows her paint.

And I should have known better.

I decided to sleep on it.  (literally, I crawled into one of the drawers) Honestly, if it had been more than one drawer, I maybe would have kept it that way, because it was cool.  But just having the bottom drawer gray was odd, so the next day, I mixed up the rest of the mix all at once, and I painted the entire piece including all four drawers again.  This fixed the issue.  After sanding, there was a delightful color variation in the dresser, and it had such a pretty authentic finish to it, like it had been around for ages.

And it sort of felt like it had to me too.

Next, I glazed the entire thing, again, in the heat and refinished the top using General Finishes Java gel stain.  I decided I wanted to leave some of the old chippy finish to the lip around the top, and I also lightly sanded down the Java stained top to give it a worn look.  When dry, I sealed it with the hemp oil, applying three coats with several days of cure time in between.  I brought it inside for this process.

Next, I added the hardware, and drilled some new holes for the original castors, which is nice because this thing is HEAVY!

And here’s the finished look, it is exactly how I envisioned it, and I’m pleased as pie!  (French Silk)  The parts I didn’t fill, they just add to the look I was going for.  While I’ll admit, it’s a lot more shabby chic than what I usually go for, I have fallen in love with this dresser, and all of its sweet, timeless character.  I loved Miss Mustard Seeds milk paint, I loved that it gives a true authentic finish, that it is all natural, and mostly that is has a mind of its own.

Miss Mustard Seed review and tutorial by de-uglied designs
Here she is!

miss mustard seed review and tutorial by de-uglied designs

I’d like to add a few notes on Miss Mustard Seed Milk paint.  First, there are several ways to mix it, check out Marian’s website for tips and tricks.  Also, you can mix colors to create your own unique look.  (and OMG… the colors are amazing)  For a chippier appearance, apply over an existing finish (but make sure to at least sand down the sheen for a more authentic look)  And something to keep in mind, a lot of people think “farmhouse chippy” when they think of milk paint, and while you can especially master that look using these products, with the addition of a bonding agent, you can make your finish more predictable, and your piece perfectly pristine, leaving out all of the shabby, but none of the chic.  (I bet you knew I was going to write that)  I would highly recommend this paint and can’t thank Marian of Miss Mustard Seed enough for the fantastic gift.  Stay tuned for a few more pieces I had the privilege of using this paint on.  And just an FYI, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is available locally at Eco Chic in Fargo.  Go get some, I most definitely will.


 

This little cutie pie will be available at the Junk Market, October 2-3 at the West Fargo Fairgrounds.  I am, ahem… scrambling to get my booth ready and as always, guarantee a fantastic show.  For reals.

 

Thank you so much for reading!

 

DIY Banquette seating, and a fun announcement!

I am not even the slightest bit exaggerating when I say that this post took over a year to complete.  Let me explain.  It all started several years ago with a couple of crazy kids (myself and my husband) who had just moved into a new house.  In our former house, we had no space for a dining room table, but now, with this new house, it was time to go shopping.  The person that I am now would have looked for something used that I could fix up, but the person I was then wanted a bar height table with 6 chairs within the hour, and pre-owned bar height dining sets were harder to come by several years ago,  so we went to a local furniture store, and purchased a floor model at a discount, because… it was literally on the showroom floor.  It came with four chairs, and we ordered and PAID for two more to be picked up at a later date.  Fast forward almost two years, and we still hadn’t picked up those two chairs and the more time that passed, the more concerned I became that even though we had paid for them, the chairs would no longer be waiting for us.  Because…you know, two years.  And I was correct.  When we finally went in to pick up the chairs,  the local furniture store (let’s just say it has the appropriate word “Con” in it’s name) strangely had no record of our purchase of not only the chairs, but the table as well.  They did however, have records of all of the other items we had purchased from the store including two couches several there years prior to buying the dining set.

While I do think the whole thing was incredibly shady, and was disappointed we were out $240. I had to accept part of the blame.  I no longer had the receipt and let’s face it, I had waited almost two years to pick up the chairs.   My procrastination and lack of proper documentation has bitten me in the butt.  And it left a scar, a big en.

 

Fast forward another year or so to the fall of 2013.  I had been cleaning up after a dinner we hosted in which I crammed 9 people into the corner of my dining/living room. We used four regular and five makeshift chairs and while everything went okay, it occurred to me that this area of my home needed an improvement.  Space was an issue, I couldn’t allot for more, but why not build a banquette seat here?  We wouldn’t have to buy more chairs (which I refuse to do anyway), and it wouldn’t take up any more space.  AND… AND…we could put crap underneath.  Genius.  Seriously Genius.  So I thought, meticulously about this, day and night for about 5 months.  That is when I decided to present the idea to my wonderfully talented husband Ryan as something he could build as a birthday gift for ME!

He actually seemed quite open to the idea which is so unlike him and my ideas.

 

living room 1
Here is my living room before the banquette. We used to have wallpaper there, but removed it when I added the herringbone wood wall.
living room 2
Here’s the area where we will be adding the banquette seating.

 

Shortly after I presented this genius idea to my husband, things got busy and my July birthday came and went.  Then, there was beginning of school for the kids, and the 2014 Junk Market to keep us occupied.  But once those things passed, Ryan got started on the banquette with almost no urgent prodding from me at all.

Here's the start, as you can see, it is easy construction, just start out with 2x4 rectangular boxes.
Here’s the start, as you can see, it is easy construction, using 2×4’s, frame out the skeleton of your desired seating area.

 

Because we had a cold air return, we chose to add extra ventilation to both ends by adding this metal grate.
Because we had a cold air return, we chose to add extra ventilation to both ends by adding this metal grate.

 

Next we added a top, (later we chose to go with a solid piece of wood instead of 1x4's)
Next we added a top, (later we chose to go with a solid piece of wood instead of 1×4’s)
And now the plywood sides. Progress!
And now the plywood sides. Progress!

So we had a seat we could sit on, but unfortunately, that is where the progress stalled.  For a year.  I’m not sure why, seriously, we get really busy, and we try to pay attention to our lovely children so, yeah, it stayed as a plywood, ripped up wallpaper mess for over a year.

 

A year…year….year…. (this is an echo)

 

But I had a plan.  Late June of this year, I noticed the telltale signs around my forehead that I was once again, going to age soon, so I decided to go for a twofer. I asked for the banquette seating to be finished as a gift to me.  Again.  I really wanted it done.  So a few weeks ago when I was celebrating my 36th birthday at the lake with my beloved family, I received a nice little card with a sum of $$ for spending on whatever I wanted, AND… dum dum dum… the promise that while I was in Duluth for an upcoming annual trip with my mom and sis, that Ryan would finish the building of the banquette.  Yes!!! There was a time limit!  Why hadn’t I thought of that?

And so, I spent the next week, pre-thanking my husband for the banquette (which also served as a friendly reminder) and set off for Duluth.  I spent the weekend with two of my most favorite people in the world, and came back to a fully built banquette.  What a homecoming. Hooray!!!

living room 7
Here’s the photo he sent me while I was in Duluth. Loving it!

But now my work began.  Not only did I want the banquette built, but I also wanted to paint it, upholster the seats (which open up), add a painted plank wall to the back, trim it all out, remove the wallpaper fuzz and repaint the remaining wall, add an adorable shelf, some clever art work, you get the idea.  So right after work all week, I worked on the banquette.

Monday’s task:  fill nail holes and gaps.

Tuesday’s task:  sanding and painting the bench seat.

Wednesday’s task: installing the plank wall and filling holes. (I also did a great deal of staring that day)

 

 

This was Wednesday night, before the plank wall got sanded and painted.
This was Wednesday night, before the plank wall got sanded and painted.  If you look closely you can see Ryan in the background.  He is drinking water, that crazy thirsty guy!

Thursday’s task: sanding and painting the plank wall.

Friday was the biggest day of all.  I got off work early, bought the cushioning and fabric, button kit and all the trim pieces I needed.  Then, for the next two days, I finished the seats, and installed, filled and painted all the trim.  I asked Ryan to dig through his “pick-ins” for a cool sign to hang over my shelf, and he nailed it.  (I mean literally, because he had to build a frame for this cool cardboard trolley sign he managed to find) But it does add a much needed pop of color.  Nice job Ry.

 

Saturday night, we had a gorgeous banquette.  Yes, the new, clean finished look of the banquette seat certainly brings out the fact that I already need to refinish my table top, but that’s for a later day.  A much later day.  Like never.

DIY banquette seating, colors Mindful Grey, by de-uglied designs
Finished!!

DIY banquette seating tutorial, color mindful grey

 

For now, I’ll just enjoy the banquette, it’s just one of those things where you get excited to go into your living room.  I LOVE that!

 

 

Now for the big announcement…. as some of you know, my husband Ryan is my picker.  The cool “junk” in my stand, that’s all him. He is the one that finds a majority of my pieces at sales, auctions, etc., but his specialty is what he calls “backroad pickin'” where he finds the best, one of a kind junk and collectibles.  He has a really good eye for what’s trending, what’s authentic, and what is just cool.  I am often disturbed by the random knowledge he stores in that brain of his when it comes to certain types of antiques.  (he especially loves vintage clocks and advertising pieces, you know… “man cave stuff”) On August 22, we will be setting up shop at the Fargo Flea Market to debut his finds.  Yes there will be some de-uglied stuff as well, so look for my sign, but what you can also expect is a mix of high end vintage and the usual junk that’s just for fun.  It’s going to be a great show. Hope to see you all there.

DSC03345
Here’s my husband’s “man cave” and pretty much everything here, plus a lot more, is going to be at our stand. yep… it’s time to clean house.

Wood slat CRAZY!! (the tutorial)

Some of you have noticed that I love me a good wood slat project.  I can’t get enough of the look of wood grains going in all different directions, but coming together as a whole, beautiful piece.   Here’s just a few examples of past projects.

DIY herringbone pallet wall using dark walnut, weathered oak and driftwood stain.  by de-uglied designs        DIY Wood slat topped dresser, stained dark walnut. By de-uglied designs

Add wood slats to the front of dresser drawers, reface dressers with wood slats!  by de-uglied designs             DIY herribone wood wall, wood stains are dark walnut, weathered oak, and driftwood.  By de-uglied designs

Add wood lath to the back of a cabinet for a new diy look.  Stained dark walnut.  by de-uglied designs

Replace glass with wood lath for a completely new look!  by de-uglied designs Pluck the tile out of an old coffee table and replace it with wood lath.  Stained weathered oak.  by de-uglied designs

I’ve also gotten a lot of questions as to exactly how this is done on furniture, so you know what… I’ll show you.

First and most important, find the right piece of furniture.  For me, that is a piece that has recessed area with good quality craftsmanship.  You do not want to put this amount of work into something poorly made. This mid-century cutie is perfect!

Notice the way the drawers recess into the frame of the dresser. Perfect for wood slats!
Notice the way the drawers recess into the frame of the dresser. Perfect for wood slats!

Remove all the hardware, sand lightly (if the drawers are super shiny) and thoroughly clean the fronts of the drawers.

Line them up on a flat, level surface with the drawer fronts facing up.

Put spacers between each drawer.  (tape them in to get them to stay put)  I used lath, but the spacers could be thinner.  Just make sure you can get the blade of your jigsaw between each drawer.

Find the center of the drawers.  Think of all three as one big drawer and find the center of that. All you have to do is draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.  The X formed in the middle will be your center.

 

Re-face drawer fronts.  Add wood slats or lath to outdated drawer fronts. Tutorial on how to add wood to drawer fronts.  by de-uglied designs

Now, the “fun” begins.  For this project, I cut 18×2 inch wood slats at a 45 degree angle on one end.  Starting in the center, I followed my diagonal line and attached the first piece with wood glue and staples to the drawer front.  Then I formed a “sort of” pin wheel keeping the 45 degree angled end always facing away from the one before it.  (they should never come together to make a 90 degree angle)  Make sure the straight-edged end completely hangs over the side of the drawers.

Once you finish the first row, you do the same thing as before, only, with the second row, I faced the 45 degree angled end in the opposite direction as the first row.  (so if you started with the angled end facing down, this row, you’d start with it facing up).  And it fits, just like a puzzle piece.  Keep going until you finish the second row.

Continue each row, alternating how the angled end faces per entire row.  Warning… as you get further along, this process can play tricks on your eyes!

Re-face drawer fronts.  Add wood slats or lath to outdated drawer fronts. Tutorial on how to add wood to drawer fronts.  by de-uglied designs

Note.. you DO need to glue every piece.  But you DO NOT need to staple every piece.  I always staple the first pin wheel row so they don’t shift.  Once that row is in place, only staple when needed.  (like if a wood slat is a little warped.

Re-face drawer fronts.  Add wood slats or lath to outdated drawer fronts. Tutorial on how to add wood to drawer fronts.  by de-uglied designs
What is actually looks like (side view)

Let dry overnight.

The next day (or whenever you get around to it), remove your spacers and cut out your drawers using a jigsaw.  Draw a line from corner to corner where you need to make your cuts.

Re-face drawer fronts.  Add wood slats or lath to outdated drawer fronts. Tutorial on how to add wood to drawer fronts.  by de-uglied designs

Next comes the sanding.  And by golly, there’s A LOT of it. Use an orbital or belt sander, start with 60 grit, then 80, and then 120.

Once the major ridges are out, (and they are major… we’re talking hours) go ahead and route your edges.  This makes such a difference and really gives it a professional look.

Now fill in your gaps with a stainable wood filler.  Wait several hours or overnight for it to thoroughly dry.

Re-face drawer fronts.  Add wood slats or lath to outdated drawer fronts. Tutorial on how to add wood to drawer fronts.  by de-uglied designs

The next day using 240 grit sandpaper, sand away the remaining wood filler.  And don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the smooth feel of sanded wood.  Woo hoo!

Now this really is the fun part.. staining!  I took one light-colored stain (I used Minwax’s “Weathered Oak”) and stained over the entire piece.  I let this dry for a couple of hours, and then I took my detail brush and began to stain each “pin wheel” row individually.  I started with Minwax’s Ebony, in row 1, Minwax’s “Dark Walnut” in row 2.  Row 3 was a mix of “Dark Walnut” and “Weathered Oak”.  Row 4 was just another coat of “Weathered Oak” (just to deepen the stain from the first coat) and Row 5 was left with just the first coat of “Weathered Oak”.

Let it dry overnight and seal with polyurethane.  I use Minwax’s satin, oil based polyurethane.  I chose to use my spray gun, and applied two coats, allowing plenty of dry time in between.

 

 

I don’t think I need to tell you how to paint the rest of the piece, but I’ll share what I did.

Thoroughly sand and fill in any scratches or holes.

Prime the piece using a shellac or synthetic shellac based primer.  (shellac is the best for keeping the wood tannins from bleeding) let dry.

Sand lightly using a sanding sponge, apply a second coat if needed.

Paint your piece!  I used Sherwin Williams ProClassic paint in satin.  It is becoming one of my favorite paints and I’ve used… a lot of paint.  It is a little $$ but absolutely worth it and dries to a rock hard finish with little to no brush strokes.  BUT… I will warn you, it self-levels which also means, longer drying time.  (Impatient people, like myself, beware)  The color I used for this project is called “Mindful Gray”.  And mindful it is……

Let dry, sand lightly with a sanding sponge, and apply a second coat.  Apply a third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh coat.  (Kidding… usually 2 coats does it)

If you choose, you can add extra protection by sealing the paint with clear acrylic sealer.  My go-to water based sealer is Minwax’s polycrylic in satin.  Use a water based sealer when you don’t want your finish to yellow over time.

Clean the old hardware, and put it back on.  Since the original nail holes are now covered up with wood from the outside, I use a very teeny drill bit, drill new holes from the inside.  (where the original holes are)  Then I take the proper sized bit (whatever size your screws are) and drill from the outside in. You don’t want to start with a big drill bit going from the inside first, or it may chip out small pieces of your wood slats.  You will also need longer screws now that the drawers are thicker.

And that’s it!!  Here’s the finished product.  Yes, it is a LOT of work, but it is totally worth it.  I can’t stop looking at her.  She’s my darling lady and she could be yours.  This piece will be available at “the studio” for their June Event.  To see other items I have at the studio, just check out my “items available” album on  the Facebook.

 

Re-face drawer fronts.  Add wood slats or lath to outdated drawer fronts. Tutorial on how to add wood to drawer fronts.  Mindful grey by Sherwin Williams  by de-uglied designs dressers1 dressers2 dressers6

Major dresser makeover!  Tutorial on how to add wood slats to drawer fronts for a dramatic new look.  Dresser is painted Mindful Grey by Sherwin Williams.  By de-uglied designs

Thanks for reading!

Jessie

How I got started and my very first show

You know those tests to determine whether you are right brained or left brained?  Well, every time I take one of those tests, I get a result that basically says I am equally controlled by the left and right sides of my brain.  I know it’s mostly bunk, but this makes sense to me. On one hand, I’m usually very logical, yet can be dreamy and whimsical, I love facts and figures, but just as equally love art and music.

When it came time to choose a career, my gut told me that I wanted to be an interior designer, but my head told me to go into something medical, which would almost guarantee me a decent job.  You see, I’m from the small, modest town of Wadena, Minnesota.  Not many people pay for interior designers there, in fact, the concept seemed foreign and unstable.  On the other hand, people never stop getting sick… So I went with my head and began my career in Histology, which is the study of tissue.  I was told it was the “perfect mix of art and science”.  Win win right?

If you want to know what Histology is, (I get the question a lot) read on, otherwise, skip to next paragraph.

This is the tissue (surrounded by the paraffin) laying on the water bath. Just pick up one of those sections with a glass slide.
This is the tissue (surrounded by the paraffin) laying on the water bath. Just pick up one of those sections with a glass slide.
This is what a section of large intestine looks like under a microscope. Wow!!!
This is what a section of large intestine looks like under a microscope. Wow!!!

To simplify things, you know when you get something removed, like a strange looking mole on your skin?  Well, my lab gets that mole in a bottle with a diluted form of formaldehyde, called formalin.  A section of the mole, no thicker than a nickel is cut and put into a small cassette.  It is put into a processor overnight. This preserves, dehydrates and infiltrates the section of the mole with melted paraffin (like candle wax).  Then next day I take it and create a block of tissue (the tissue surrounded by solidified paraffin). From this block I can cut sections thinner than a piece of tissue paper. (one cell layer thick) These sections are laid on a heated bath of water, and picked up with a glass slide.  I can then stain this slide and put a thin piece of glass over it to keep it from scratching off.  From there, a pathologist can look at this slide under a microscope and determine whether or not you have say, a melanoma.  It is the same process for all types of tissue and species.  The fun part is, I can recut that same block of tissue, and stain it a different type of stain.  There are hundreds of stains.  One stain may be able to detect fungus in your tissue, another may detect bacteria, calcium, iron, etc.  Then there is a field called Immunohistochemistry, that can actually trigger an immune response in that small piece of tissue that results in a stain that can detect all sorts of diseases and cell types. This can help narrow down the origin of the type of cancer a person may have, which in turn, helps determine the best way to treat that cancer.  Pretty amazing right?

 

So I have a great job, I worked at Essentia Health, Innovis at the time, for 7 years, and am now starting my 8th year at NDSU in the veterinary diagnostic lab.  I run the Histology portion myself, which I love, but it can be lonely and stressful at times.  (and it’s hard to take time off!)  I am very thankful for my career, but the whole “perfect mix of art and science”, well, that was mostly crap.  You see, while I get to create some pretty slides, art is about creativity.  I am, under no circumstances, allowed to stray from the “standard operating procedures”, in my field.  And that is understandable.  But it does leave a creative mind feeling a little restless.

A few years into my career (about 11 years ago) I confided to my husband Ryan, that I wanted to start stockpiling used furniture and décor items and “fix them up” so that someday I would own my own boutique.  I’d name it “Furniture Facelifts” or something hopefully better.  I started my future business with a pair of chairs.  I painted them black, reupholstered the seats, nothing special, but I was hooked and I thought they were the greatest chairs in the world.

Shortly after this, a store in Moorhead opened up called Funky Junque.  Everything in the store was displayed so well, the work was so fun, and very unique at the time, and precisely how I envisioned my future boutique to look.  After touring the store with my husband, I felt quite dejected.  I imagined myself going back into the store and begging the owner to somehow go into business with me.  Me with the full time job that I could not quit, no additional money whatsoever, and my two painted chairs.  Ah shucks…..  So I gave up the dream then and there.

But you can’t keep your creative bug locked up.  Over the years I found myself taking on lots overzealous house projects, some good, some…. not so good.  We flipped a house just before the market crashed -I don’t want to talk about it. I also spent a year writing a book of short essays, and another year trying to find an agent and publisher.  I had no real place to land all my artistic thoughts and ideas and I would become obsessive about the strangest things, like the year I spent studying decorative concrete applications.  We even made our own concrete countertops.

Our DIY concrete countertops, and diy concrete circle backsplash.  by de-uglied designs
Our DIY concrete countertops.

Fast forward to 2012.  I was sitting in the break room at work, talking to my co-worker and friend Kelly.  She casually mentioned that there was a type of updated version of a craft show with furniture in town over the weekend, called the Junk Market.  Hmmmmm.

I didn’t go to the Junk Market, I don’t remember why, but the thought of it hovered over me for a few days, or weeks, and I decided to look up how to be a vendor.  Now, I’m no risk taker, I am usually logical remember, and I happen to be very self-critical, to the point where go out of my way to not put myself out there to be judged.  I am incredibly sensitive to harsh and even unharsh criticism.  In fact, as a child of the 80’s, I didn’t dare wear the brand “Squeeze jeans” because I knew it would only be a matter of time before someone yelled out to me “yeah, I bet you had to SQUEEZE into those jeans fatty?”

But, the heart wants what it wants, and I wanted my boutique, or a smaller weekend version of it.  So I went for it.  I bought my first piece on the way home, and painted it that night.  Over the next months, I bought books, subscribed to magazines and read countless articles and blogs on the best ways to paint furniture and began to stockpile.


 

Now, if you would allow me to digress a moment, I am no stranger to a certain type of craftsmanship.  Besides my many personal painting experiences, I grew up watching  and learning from my Dad. He was the shop teacher at Wadena-Deer Creek High school and also made custom furniture.  We’re talking high end, solid wood, gorgeous furniture.  The kind that makes other furniture bow their heads in their ugly shame.  So many nights growing up, we’d be driving home from here or there, and he’d make a turn that meant we weren’t going home, but stopping at his shop for a quick “something-or-other” that usually lasted at least an hour.   I’d cringe at these moments and can recall the hours I spent there, watching him with his handiwork, impressed but mostly impatient.  Only now I can appreciate those memories.  Whenever I cut into a quality piece of wood, or open up a can of stain, the scent brings me back to those days, watching my dad and the care he put into every detail of his craft.  There is something so comforting about the sounds and smells of a workshop.  I know my work is quite different than my Dad’s, but I’d like to think it would have made him proud of what I have learned and accomplished.

My mom on the other hand is a talented artist as well, she can paint murals and portraits, and sketch in a way that makes my chicken scratch look like it was done by a monkey.  She is also the most resourceful person I know.  If she thinks something, anything, needs to be improved upon, she’ll find a way to do it.  Immediately.  And usually for little cost.  She’s the ultimate re-purposer and DIYer.  Cool parents huh?

 


 

An opportunity like the Junk Market was something I had prayed about for many years, and by the time I set the plan in motion, my husband and I were really scrapping by financially.  Even the prospect of buying up “cheap” furniture was impossible for us.  But, as he does, God provided in a miraculous way.  Ryan got a side job cleaning out foreclosures.  This meant, that at times, free discarded furniture would fall into my lap.  His job didn’t last long, but long enough for me to get plenty of great pieces to start my business, when we had very little to put into it the first year.

So, as you all know, I did get into the Junk Market, and what a relief it was, because I had a LOT of furniture ready to go.

So once I knew it was in, I became obsessive, as I tend to do.  I ordered a tent, mapped out my stand on grid paper, (over and over) and did everything I could to make it a great first show.  My friend at work, Kelly, the same one that told me about the Junk Market in the first place, took some professional photos for me, and I posted them to my new Facebook page, which had a total of 6 likes.  By the time the Junk Market rolled around, I was at 72!!

We rented a U-haul and I was fortunate enough to have members of my family to help with the kids, set up, and run the show. The next morning, bright and early (I think it was around 5 am) we headed for the Eco Chic parking lot in West Fargo.  I was so anxious/excited/exhausted.  I still had curlers in my hair as we unloaded my precious furniture onto the parking lot.

Unfortunately, with any outdoor event, especially in Fargo, the weather played a huge roll in this process.  Here we were, June 1st… and we were getting gusts of wind that, even with 200 pound tent weights, sent my tent flying up into the sky. It was cold, in the 40’s and drizzling.  There was no way we could set say, a jewelry box on top of a dresser, it would blow right off, so all my small items remained in boxes, waiting for a break in the weather.  For the next couple of hours we heard one crash after another from other vendor booths. It was all-together not what I had envisioned.  Then my crash came.  One of my largest pieces, a mid-century hutch, blew face down on the pavement, breaking its leg and smashing the glass doors to pieces.  So there was glass everywhere, a tent that had to be constantly held down, a light rain saturating all my painted furniture….. you get the idea.  So after the crash, it was about that time where I thought I would have myself a really quick cry.  I crawled under one of my tables to screw the top to the base and let it go.  Like the song.  Only my version came with a snot fountain. (i cry through my nose)  At one point another vendor kindly leaned under the table to offer me a word of encouragement, and slowly backed away at the sight of me.  Curlers, snot and buffy eyes.  My sister-in-law Jamie who was helping with the set up could see my disappointment.  She took me aside and  suggested I disconnect from this situation for a bit and go get changed (aka… lose the curlers) at my sisters and she and Ryan would finish up. (have I mentioned how much I adore my sister-in-law?)

The hutch that broke. It's little legs just couldn't take the Fargo winds.
The hutch that broke. It’s little legs just couldn’t take the Fargo winds.

So I did, I gathered myself together and drove the few blocks to my sisters where she had hot coffee and a sympathetic ear for me as I got dressed.  Then we went back to the show together and I was feeling ready for whatever came my way.  By that time, we had been given permission to also use our U-haul to display things, because of the wind.  Jamie and Ryan had taken the top off my tent, so the wind wouldn’t catch it, and things were set up as best they could be.

DSC_0023 DSC_0024 DSC_0056

U-haul display
U-haul display

DSC_0065

Junk market dresser, by de-uglied designs

 

 

And there was a line of people waiting to get in!  A long one.

Then is began!  And people bought stuff, stuff of mine!  In fact, I may have witnessed someone jumping the gate to claim a dresser I had done.  That’s dedication.  (but, you know, probably don’t do that)  Everyone was so nice, the other vendors were great, no one was mean or competitive, the staff at Eco Chic was delightful and helpful, and mostly, all of you were so, so kind. And encouraging, and in that yucky weather, brave (or maybe little crazy).

I even sold, at a steep discount, my broken hutch that was laying out in the lawn.

In contrast, the weather was still not nice for the remainder of the day.  It was raining on and off, and unseasonably cold and windy.  My sister Shawna and Ryan were such help, and stuck by me all day!  Thankfully, I did ok with the sales, lots and lots of small items, a few big.   But as we were loading the U-haul at the end of the day, I started to feel like maybe my sales were not all that good afterall, the U-Haul still had to be strategically packed like a Tetris game and the promise I made to my family that “we would get our garage and house back” was a bust.  Look out kids, the furniture is coming back home.

Is it bad admit that I had hoped the U-haul would be hauling loads of money bags with gold dollar signs on the outside and nothing else?

While Ryan returned the U-haul, I sat in the car and for the second time that day, I may have gotten a little teary.  I had let myself and my family down.  We drove home in silence, and then Ryan, who is a man of few words, and even less in the complimentary department, told me that he was very proud of me, that he couldn’t believe the positive responses he received and what a success the show was.

 

That was just what I needed.

 

The second thing I needed, and got, was some absolutely stunning photos that Kelly took for me of my booth space.  She brought them into work on Monday and I’m telling you,  she made the day look beautiful.  I credit her skill a great deal for what happened next.

I posted the photos into an album on my Facebook page which still had very few followers.  But things started moving gradually and gratefully Eco Chic, who had a LOT of followers, posted my album as well.  That got things moving a lot faster.  My computer was getting notification after notification for days, it was crazy!!  In 24 hours, I got over 300 likes on my page alone.  Within a few weeks, I had sold almost all of my major pieces!!!

 

Ah… success!

 

So that was the story of how I got started and my first show ever, I am so thankful for the experience, the people who have helped me get to where I’m at, and the endless encouragement from so many individuals, (minus the guy who said a piece of mine was atrocious last year).  I hope to continue to refine my craft, my skills, and my judgement as I build my little business.

 

And finally, I am happy to say, that with the addition of “de-uglied designs” to my life, both sides of my brain are working in almost perfect harmony.

 

As always, thanks for taking the time to read.

 

Jessie

Laundry room makeover and so many wrong decisions

Warning: The following post contains the true story of me making stupid choices.  These choices resulted in a lot of work and unnecessary annoyance for everyone involved.

 

 

So remember back a month or two ago when I posted the most disconcerting photo of my laundry room and wrote something crazy about doing a “mini makeover” over the weekend….?  You know, just sort of whip it out quick-like?  Well, I’m happy to report that while, there are always more things I want to do, it is in a stable enough place to finally post my results.  But before I do, I need to take you back a week or so prior to that announcement to explain what inspired the makeover in the first place.

This is my before photo. Nothing to be embarrassed about here right?
This is my before photo. Nothing to be embarrassed about here right?

What you need to know about my laundry room….

  1. It is a teeny, tiny room, connected to my kitchen.
  2. It houses all my cleaning supplies, washer and dryer of course, the kitchen cabinets and microwave we removed from our kitchen (when we opened up the space into the living room) AND…. the litterbox and supplies for my hairy, super hairy cats. They conduct their finest business in there.
  3. People (meaning you, who pick up items from my house) can see this room, along with my other messes and unfinished projects everywhere. The cats, the mean hairless rat-dog….  There’s a lot of shame to go around, but my laundry room is especially embarrassing to me.
  4. All of the dials on my dryer had to be operated with a needle-nosed pliers. Also, the dryer setting was stuck permanently on permanent press (how fitting). But what made the dryer intolerable was that it made a very shrill, high pitched wailing sound the entire time it ran, which was for many hours. This added noise tension often resulted in my family yelling at one another for no good reason, spontaneous sobbing, and me coping the only way I know how, eating shredded cheese directly from my hand, like a sassy horse.

It didn’t start out that way, the dryer.  It went from a silly, and dare I say, adorable little squeak a couple years ago, to the howling noise of present day.  And often, we were so used to it, we’d zone it out.  That is, until someone would stop over while the dryer was running and say something like “How are you still sane?” ….. It does get one thinking.

We must be killer mentally strong.  Your welcome, kids. (They’ll thank me someday).

So, for a while now, I’d been keeping an eye out for something different, but affordable (cause I’m cheap, frugal)… and recently, I found just what I had been looking for.  An online auction house was auctioning off BRAND SPANKIN NEW appliances, all of them LG, many of them high end units.  So I went to work.  I started a log of every serial/model number, retail price, style, and rating.  I read endless reviews, watched YouTube videos and was well-informed before the start of the auction.  There were three interesting units that intrigued me, these were washer/dryer’s in one.  No! Not two units on top of each other, no sir….  I mean….. It washes and dries your clothes in the same chamber.  Automatically.  YES, this is a thing!  Let’s call it “the magical appliance that will save me from having to rewash my laundry because I didn’t get it in the dryer in a reasonable amount of time”.  Mildew, you have met your match. The negative reviews were… REALLY negative, but in general it rated around a 4.2 out of 5.  Not terrible.  AND it would free up a whole dryers worth of space in that tiny room, which would be fantastic.

The night the auction arrived I sat transfixed to the computer screen and watched in anticipation as the bids went up.  With a few minutes remaining, the only affordable choice was my third pick (its bids, “strangely” didn’t go up the way the others did).  The reason it was my third, was because the model had been discontinued.  But hey, none of these units would be covered under warranty anyway, so it didn’t bother me.  I should mention now, there was a little… teeny, tiny thing at the bottom of every photo in this auction, something about that they strongly recommended that all units be inspected in person, and that many of the appliances may have scratches and dents due to shipping errors.  But I couldn’t easily make the inspection times, and well, I figured they “had” to say that right?  And I’m cool with a little scratch anyhoo.  It’s character.

With my heart pounding I dramatically put in my final bid with a boisterous “boom!” and refreshed the page like a madman while giving my uninterested family 10 second updates. To my utter joy, I got the washer/dryer unit for $300!!  It was the most I ever paid for something sight unseen (although it did post several photos) and I was a little nervous, but hey, even with a few scratches, it was new.  It can’t be that big of a gamble.  And come on… I just got a really cool $1500 appliance for $300!  Jackpot!!!!!

So that same night, after the kids were in bed, I went to work emptying out my entire laundry room.  This new appliance called for a makeover!  By Friday night after work, I had the contents of my laundry room strewn all over my kitchen and was ready to get crackin.

I stopped at Ace on the way home from work and picked up a glorious taupe color to paint the walls and I asked for a quart of the best paint/primer they had.  “Spare no expense!” I proclaimed and waved my hand the way I would imagine a Queen would if she were really authoritative.  Turns out,  Ace’s best paint/primer in a QUART is $22…. Whaaaaat?  But no worries, think of what I saved on my washer/dryer.  I was feeling like a golden pot of the purest gold, and ready to take on the world.  (Anticipating home improvement projects have that effect on me).

So I get home and start painting immediately, to excited to change out of my work clothes, and sure enough, it’s going on very nicely, very nicely indeed.  Unfortunately, after the first coat was finished I noticed some holes that needed to be filled so I decided to do the right thing and spackle over the holes. Then I painfully waited for the hole filler to dry, sanded it down AND….

repainted the whole wall again!

No problem.   Moving on.  Except… after the second coat, I realized that I didn’t like the way there was no wall texture over the spackled nail holes, so again, wanting to do the right thing, I went and got my texture spray, and sprayed those areas, which really got texture, just about everywhere.  And then I got to wait, some more.

Then I got to repaint most of the wall, again!  Hooray.  (I’m saying hooray a little sarcastically here) Yes, this was annoying, but no worries, I was still so, so pumped about my new purchase.

It was about that time that I got a call from Ryan, and when I asked him enthusiastically how the pickup, and the laundry unit looked, he could only say “not good”…, and the tone of his voice told me he was not messing with me.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, he pulls into the driveway, and upon inspection, my new, super fancy, washer/dryer literally looks like it had rolled off a train down a steep, pointy mountain and off a cliff, into a cave of some sort.  A gross cave.  Both sides were caved in considerably, there were scratches everywhere, but the main concern was that the area surrounding the door where one would “hope” to have a good seal, was dented in about 3 inches.   I was embarrassed and disappointed, and $300 is over a “dressers worth” of work, which is a lot of work to me.  (I think in terms of dresser currency) And I had just thrown it away.  Squandered it all.  And, “Helllllooooo…. I’m in the middle of a laundry room MAKEOVER here. No way “Howly” dryer and his ugly washer wife was going back in there.” 

The auction photo, and yes, the dent is SUPER obvious now that I know about it. I just thought it was a fancy curve. (the mind sees what it wants to)
The auction photo, and yes, the dent is SUPER obvious now that I know about it. I just thought it was a fancy curve. (the mind sees what it wants to I guess)

Also…  an annoying side note.  I currently had the entire contents of my laundry room, the original washer and dryer, along with my “new” washer/dryer unit, (which was turning out to be a total ass), sitting in my kitchen.  Add a dresser into that mix too.  Because I seem to always have a piece of unwanted furniture in my kitchen.  That is waaaaaaay too much stuff for one room.

Thankfully, Ryan was kind and didn’t rub it in, he went to work taking off the front of the washer/dryer and pounding the major dents out.  If we could get a good seal, maybe we would still be in business!  I put on my hypothetical blinders (told you I was a sassy horse)  and went back to painting, at least I was almost done with that.  Makeover… ON!

Until I ran out of paint.  (Are you starting to feel the downturn of my golden evening?)

And now Ace was closed.  So instead of waiting until the next day to buy another $22 quart of paint.  I decided to run to Menards and do a color match with the dried paint on the lid.  (And yes, my inner voice was screaming at me that this was a bad idea).  Since it was late, the “experienced” paint person was gone, but someone was kind enough to attempt a color match for me.  Unfortunately, after 3 attempts at tweaking the tint on a new quart of paint to match, I gave up and went home, and ended up repainting the walls, for the 4th time with the new color of paint that was just… soo, soo close to the shade of the first three coats, only not close enough.  4th time’s a charm in my case.

During one of the Menards paint tinting attempts, on a whim, I decided to grab some lumber, because, why not make a built-in cabinet instead of those ugly bracket things I have in there.  Then I can hide all the cluttery stuff I have on my shelves.  And hey, I can totally do that myself right?  (That was my inner dialog, it always sounds so reasonable and makes everything sound so easy)

So while the 4th coat on my wall was drying, I decided to “whip up” a floor-to-ceiling cabinet while Ryan continued to play with the washer/dryer.  Once I got the lumber cut, I glued and assembled it on my kitchen floor, (it’s cold in my garage!) in between my three washer/dryer appliances and kitchen island, dresser, and piles of crappola I had everywhere.  It was an annoyingly tight fit.  Then I painted the cabinet white.  I used my go to trim paint which is high gloss, and is very durable and cleanable.  Unfortunately, it takes forever to dry.  But between painting the walls, and the two coats I put on the cabinet, I was able to install the cabinet (minus the doors I had yet to make) and finish the walls by 12:30 am.  Which is the next day.

So you’d “think” I’d had enough, but you’d be wrong.

I awoke with a new, inspired addition to my plan.  I thought that, on the wall behind the washer/dryer, I’d just, “real quick” install a horizontal white plank wall.  I already had wood for it, it just needed to be painted, cut and installed.  Oh… so easy.

Long story short, that took all day and a good chunk of the next.  And again, mainly because the stupid paint refused to dry.  And my laundry room is tiny, and it was just a frustrating process.  And I still had all those appliances in the kitchen.  I also removed the old trim and put in new, white painted trim, which we have slowly been doing throughout the house.

One thing that bothered me in my makeover room was the ugly space over the wash/dryer.  (Yes, Ryan got it to work, with a few minor glitches we have to deal with. And some… ahem… cosmetic issues).  I didn’t like the look of the cords.  So I made a little shelf to hold laundry soap and added a paper towel holder, just for fun.  I also added a small hanging rack, and a cool industrial curtain rod, because I couldn’t fit a normal sized curtain rod in my space with the cabinets there.   I got a new curtain panel at Target to match the rug I already had.

laundry3
Here’s the little clothes rack, and the “quick plank wall”. Do I have too many floor cleaning tools?
laundry2
My little shelf, yes, you can still see some of the cords, but it’s better, and it actually serves a purpose.
laundry9
There wasn’t enough room with the cabinet for a normal curtain rod, so I had to improvise. But I like it!

 

 

Over the next week, I made the doors to the cabinets, which I love, and because it was the first cabinet I have ever made by myself (yay!), I bought latches to keep the doors closed because I knew they wouldn’t stay closed on their own.  (and they don’t)  These I bought on Amazon, and in searching for the cheapest set that still had good reviews, I ended up accidentally purchasing them from China, and had to wait 6 weeks to get them.

Oh, the waiting!

laundry6
My latches, too cute, almost worth the wait. And I really love the cabinets and the fact that I made them myself!
DIY laundry room makeover.  DIY laundry storage cabinet, ship lap wall.  by de-uglied designs
And here’s the final photo, Sorry the photography is off, I couldn’t get a good photo to save my life.

 

So that is it.  I still have to deep clean the drips off my floor, but like I said, it’s stable.  And deep cleaning may not ever happen.  Ever.  My house is no “Pinterest house” it is real and it is usually messy.  Sometimes gross.  But usually just messy.  I chose to leave the laundry in the bins in my photos because, they will never be empty, so why lie, and I was too lazy to empty them anyway.  I am proud of my laundry room mini makeover, I love my cabinet especially and everything it hides.  My washer/dryer is doing the job of a washer/dryer, and did I mention it plays the most delightful tune when it is done?  Gotta love that.

And yes, I know the microwave is weird in there.  I deal.

Some gems of knowledge I learned along the way:

  1. I NEED to stop saying I’m going to “whip up”, or “whip out” a project. It’s never that fast, or that easy.  Why am I so easily fooled by these words?
  2. High gloss paint dries so much slower than the paint I use for furniture. It is painful and unacceptable.  I just need to walk away and let it do it’s job.
  3. Fill in your nail holes and texturize BEFORE the FIRST coat of paint. And duh… I knew this, I just don’t always follow my own rules for my own house (oh, and did I mention I ended up using the same nail holes anyway? Yep)
  4. DO NOT PAINT IN YOUR WORK SCRUBS. Seriously Jessie, you paint walls like a pig.  Embrace this.
  5. Whenever possible go inspect your auction items in person, so you won’t be in for a rude surprise when your purchase totally sucks.
  6. Just wait and get the exact paint you need, whenever possible. Don’t risk a color match on a completely different brand of paint, with an inexperienced color mixer.  Patience…. Also, if you’re going to paint a wall four times, it might be wise get a gallon in the first place.
  7. It is annoying to install an unnecessary plank wall in a small area behind a washer/dryer. Just paint it next time. You can barely see it anyway.  (although, I do love the plank wall)
  8. Don’t order hardware from China unless you are willing to wait, which I am not.

 

 

That project was annoying to relive in writing.

 

 

So now, I’m going to be taking a break from home improvement projects, I got to get my butt in gear for the Junk Market, which is just around the corner!!  Man life is busy.  Have I mentioned my daughter is in JO volleyball?  (some of you will understand)

 

 

Oh, and, if you would indulge me in shameless self-promotion, I have entered two pieces into the General Finishes paint contest.  (which is turning out to be a popularity contest it seems)  General Finishes has some of my very favorite products of all time!  If you get a chance, click on the link and vote, no registering, or anything, I promise. (ahem… this gorgeous piece is available at the studio right now!)  Here is my second entry, you are allowed to vote for as many as you’d like.  And it’s worth taking a look at the other entries, (for inspiration only of course… no voting!)  Kidding… there’s some good competition, no shortage of talent out there, that’s for sure!  Thanks for voting, and thanks for reading.  And if you get a chance, please subscribe to my blog!

 

You guys are always the goldest of golden followers, thanks again.

Jessie

Exciting news! (and a few secrets)

There are plenty of unglamorous and annoying things you deal with when running your own home business, especially one involving large pieces of furniture yet to be “de-uglied”.

 

I love wood. I try to re-finish and stain wood as often as possible.  That is not always an option for a lot of the pieces I get.  When properly finished, stained and sealed wood is not only beautiful, but durable and timeless.

 

This means I sand.  My husband sands, my kids have even sanded.  Sanding is the devils work.  I can’t even go into my garage without instantly getting sinus pain and an earache from all the sawdust.  Did I mention it’s cold in there?  Another reason to hate the sanding.  Want one more?  I think it might be aging me.  You know, like getting “all up” in my pores. When I give myself a good look in the mirror in the morning, I usually blame sanding for a lot of what I don’t approve of.

 

But when you see a gorgeous re-finished top, it’s worth it.

 

I won’t even go into how gross a painter/re-finisher/builder like myself can be.  (and I can only speak for myself)   I have had paint in my hair for 3 weeks. I’m not kidding.  It is DURABLE paint.  It’s survived at least three showers.  And the stain is worse, it absorbs into your skin, and no matter how many times I convince myself that I don’t need a glove for this “quick little project”, I always do.  I’m stingy with the gloves.  Meanwhile my fingertips are brownish, scaly and literally catch on my clothes. I don’t dare stroke the cheeks of my husband, children and hairless dog, for fear of making them bleed.

I’m sure they really miss my gentle caress.

If you caught that last paragraph above, about the three showers in three weeks, it might be an exaggeration, but not by as much as I would like.  I have a full time job at NDSU (GO Bison!) and as you can imagine, I’m busy!  Working 40 hours/week, having two kids who somehow want to be in sports AND do stuff with friends (the NERVE!), and keeping a house that, at the very least won’t soil your clothes when you enter it, is challenging. As you go further and further back into my home, you will see where the cleaning has left off entirely.  You better have a strong immune system. And stomach.

Case in point, this last Monday, my  powdered facial bronzer popped out of its container, and shattered on the floor of my bathroom.  (the bathroom WAY in back) It’s Friday today (can I get an AMEN).  So that’s 5 days….. Not only have I not picked up the bronzer, but I may have dipped my brush INTO the bronzer, on the floor, and dabbed it onto my face  (on more than one occasion), cause I got to give myself a killa glow.

 

So that happened.  Or, keeps happening.

 

I know what your thinking, “Jessie, why would you need bronzer when your skin is so beautifully golden, year round?”

 

Did I mention that eventually, all my clothes will become my painting clothes.  Once I get an idea, I get so excited to start something, that I have sanded/painted in my church clothes, my snow clothes, my bathrobe,  and my work scrubs.  Sometimes I find myself still wearing my winter jacket inside up until bedtime.   Bedtime…..  So soon. 

 

Ok, now that I have convinced you that my little side business is messy, and may affect my appearance and judgement, I’ll get to the final challenge.  There are actually many more than three  But here’s a biggie.  And that would be… the serious lack of space.

 

It’s a problem.

 

As of today, I have a washer, dryer, dresser and hutch IN MY KITCHEN.  In my kitchen!

I have climbed my furniture to get to other furniture.  Like a mountain.

I have spent hours, looking for a hammer, sander, tool of some sort amongst the disaster. Hours.

My car, has never seen the inside of my garage.

This is because, my garage has furniture.  My kitchen has furniture, multiple rooms in my basement have furniture.  And then there is “Mom’s special room”.  This room is reserved for the finished pieces.  And while the room is clean and nice for keeping my finished stuff in pristine condition, I will never make you see it, because you have to pass the wreckage of my basement, only to enter a room that may convince you that you are not at my house purchase furniture, but to be MURDERED.  Yes, it looks like a room from a horror movie.  I think it’s the wallpaper.

It's scary right?
It’s scary right? I think it’s the wallpaper.  Or the paneling?  Both.

 

Sooooo, the piece of furniture gets hauled upstairs for a showing, then back down.  (if you are crazy enough not to buy it)  Up and down, up and down.  You get the idea.

 

 BUT NOT FOR LONG!

 

A few months ago, I got an unexpected email from Leanne Sucrow.  I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the name.  She is the owner and designer of “The Studio” and “The Green Room” in Fargo.  Her work (and she) have been featured on Valley News Live, and several publications including the Fargo Forum, and Design and Living Magazine.   As it turned out, she was looking at adding some new artisans to her already fabulous store and had seen de-uglied designs pop up several times on Facebook.  (That’s because of you!  Thanks for liking, commenting, and sharing my posts!)   We ended up getting together at the Red Raven where I got the most delish coffee that also involved steamed milk and honey.  Heavenly.

 

I can’t begin to tell you what a joy it was to “talk design” with the brilliant and creative Leanne.  I love my job at NDSU, but find I can’t incorporate design talk into any of our weekly meetings.  It was so much fun.  I absolutely fell in love with Leanne’s vision for the Studio, and felt that we shared the same love of mixing textiles, woods, paints and other unique media, and creating something that was somehow cutting edge, yet classic at the same time.  Leanne is also very passionate about using environmentally friendly products, and re-purposing existing materials.  That is something I could definitely get on board with.

 

So after lots of back and forth, it was decided…. de-uglied designs will be having some choice pieces exclusively at “the Studio”  I officially AND finally have a place to put these pieces that I am truly proud of, the ones that were sanded in my dusty garage, painted in my kitchen, and stored in my murder room. And no more up and down!  It is so very exciting to me be able to show them in a proper place amongst many other extremely talented and unique designers.

 

Now I just need to deal with the dust and piles of unfinished furniture.  Someday…

One more very important thing, I will still have a booth at the Junk Market coming up May 8-9 at the Fargo Fairgrounds.  The Eco Chic team is working diligently to make this event bigger and better than ever (while still providing plenty of walking space!! Don’t worry)

 

In the meantime, check out the GRAND RE-OPENING of the Studio February 19, 20, and 21!!  As Leanne put it, be prepared for more artisans, more creativity, and more shopping space.

And to add to that list, you better be prepared for some great pieces that have been de-uglied by me!!

 

Paint mid century hutch with penny tile back, by de-uglied designs
One of my favorites, heading for “the Studio”.  Isn’t she a cutie!

 

ps.  whoever likes and shares this Facebook blog post will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to the Studio!

 

As always, thanks for reading.  You guys are the best!

Jessie

 

Headboard tutorial, Part 2

After a few weeks of feeling a combination of holiday burnout, winter laziness, and flu I was left with an unfinished headboard that, for some reason, completely refused to build itself.  So I thought I’d put to rest my nightly “honey, we should really finish that headboard……..” and dragged my still slightly feverish self and husband downstairs into my other “shop”  (gross carpeted basement bathroom) and we got back to work.

One of the biggest challenges was connecting all those staggered boards.  Attempting to make everything tight and secure had left  the back of the headboard looking like quite an eyesore. But that’s no thang… the front is gorgeous, so give her a good flip, admire the view for a moment, and add a few coats of polyurethane with adequate dry time in between.

so ugly
so ugly

The next challenge was figuring out how do configure the lights.  I knew I wanted to do something a little different than in the tutorial.  I decided to go with a fun industrial look so I headed back out to Menards.  Here’s what I got.  The light kit was around $6, the rest of the hardware came to around $10.  I bought two of everything since I was making two lamps.

DIY industrial wall light by de-uglied designs

 

So let’s assemble these bad boys.

Pretty easy! Use the white bushing and threaded rod from the lamp kit, shove it into the 1/2" nipple.
Pretty easy! Use the white bushing and threaded rod from the lamp kit, shove it into the 1/2″ nipple.
Next add the 1/2-3/4" coupling.
Next add the 1/2-3/4″ coupling.
Now add the 3/4-1" reducer.
Now add the 3/4-1″ reducer.
DIY industrial wall light by de-uglied designs
See how we just thread the bulb socket onto the threaded rod? yay!
DIY industrial wall light by de-uglied designs
Go ahead and thread the socket nice and tight. There it is!

Now, take it all apart because you’ll want to attach it to the bed.  Here’s how.  Measure where you would like the lights to be.  I chose 4″ from the top, 6″ from the side.  Drill your hole.  You really don’t have to go that big, as long as you can get your cords through, you’re solid gold.

106

 

Attach the flange…. poke the cords through…. attach the elbow…. poke the cords through…. attach the nipple that contains the bushing and threaded rod….poke the cords through.  You get it.  It’s much easier to poke the cords through one or two pieces at a time then to try to get them through the whole fixture at once.  You’ll end up with something like this.  Don’t be intimidated by the wiring.  It’s almost impossible to mess this up.  But.. it is still a little possible, especially when your nine year old gets a hold of it when you aren’t looking, and shorts out much of the kitchen.

DIY industrial wall light by de-uglied designs

 

Now, tighten it all up and plug that baby in!

DIY industrial wall light by de-uglied designs

 

Don’t get too excited.  You have to do it again on the other side.  So do it.

 

Now comes the easy part.  Cut a 1×6 into two 12 inch pieces.  Stain them.  (I chose Minwax’s Dark Walnut)  Let dry.  Give them a few coats of polyurethane with adequate drying time in between.  Now attach the shelf brackets.  I used a handy spacer that I had laying around.  This drives my husband nuts. (especially when he saw me take a photo and he realized I was going to include the Lincoln log spacer in my tutorial)  I pushed the other shelf against the back, to make sure the brackets would eventually be flush against the headboard.

Good old Lincoln Log makes a great spacer.
Good old Lincoln Log makes a great spacer.

Do both shelves and attach to the frame.

Oh my... is it done? Yes. It is.
Oh my… is it done? Almost

And that’s almost it.  We decided to go with a French cleat to hang it.   If you don’t know what that it, it’s just a 2×4, cut at an angle.  Attach one side to the bed frame, the other to some studs in the wall.  Then just set the bed frame in like a puzzle piece.

You get it!
You get it!

 

Here is the final result.  My one regret is not making two.

diy 1x4 pine headboard with built in lights by de-uglied designs

if you want to see part one of this tutorial find it here.

Love sign and headboard tutorials! Part 1

 

I’m still trying to figure out this blog thing, please bear with me.  This might get oooogly.

A lot of you know about my recent contest where I suggested my Facebook followers submit a favorite Pinterest idea for the chance to have their idea made for free!  I got a lot of cool ideas, and decided to award two winners, along with some gift certificate prizes as well.

 

My first winner of what I would call the “simple, or easier project” was for the terrific “Love” sign.  Which I….love.  I didn’t feel like there was much need for a tutorial, but I did check out the original post to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.  Check it out here!    Yes, mine is a little different than the tutorial,  I had extra pallet wood, from one of my pallet walls, and I’m all about using what I already have laying around whenever possible.

 

I will warn you, this may be a simple project, but it was surprisingly time consuming.  Making that many rosettes takes a lot of time, and isn’t easy on hands that may or may not be showing signs of repetitive motion pains.  (Does playing Mario Kart on the Wii hurt anyone else’s thumbs?)  The end result is totally worth it.

DIY Pallet "love" sign.  I used white burlap, dark walnut and natural stain.  By de-uglied designs
Gotta “love” it.

My next prize winner was for a bigger project, I didn’t want you guys to think I was lazy by picking something too easy.   I took a cue from this terrific tutorial, added my own spin on it, and I’m thinking the end result is going to be fantastic!  I hope you like it.

 

So, first things first, I asked my very sweet contest winner to measure her bed, the width and height.  Then she had to decide how long she would like those little side shelves.  Her bed is a king, that’s 77 inches, she wanted 12 inches for each shelf, so that gives me a grand total of 101 inches.  Easy peasy.  I decided I would do 10 rows of 1×4 pine boards, just like in the tutorial.

DIY pine headboard, by deuglied designs
Starting to take shape!

I bought 10 foot boards but because I wanted a staggered look, I cut a seam randomly for the first row, and used the leftover from that row to start the next row.  I cut all 10 rows.  Then I flipped them around one at a time, starting with the top row, left side, I wrote 1a↑, and 1b↑ on the first row, 2a↑, and 2b↑, on the second row and so on.   The a is for the left side, b for right, the arrow is just to show me what direction is up.

Then, the sanding began.  I used an orbital sander, sanded each board and ends with 220 grit sandpaper.

Next comes staining.  I wanted the stain to be varied as well, so I went row by row alternating between two of my favorite stain colors.  Minwax’s Driftwood, and Dark Walnut.  Then I brought the headboard inside and let the stain dry for 24 hours.  Ok… longer, because life stuff kept keeping me from getting back to the project.  Life stuff doesn’t care that I want to make a headboard.

DIY pine headboard, stains used, dark walnut, driftwood.  By de-uglied designs
All stained up! (sorry, I was working on this at night, so the photo quality is poor)

After the stain had dried, I flipped the boards over to the backside, I was thankful for my trusty labeling at this point, because we did not bring the wood inside in any particular order.  Then I cut two pieces of 1×4, the height of the headboard. I lined up each side nice and flush, and glued and nailed the piece on both sides of the headboard.

Right side
Right side
Left side
Left side

 

Then you got to let the wood glue dry.  I have a hard time waiting, but this is important.

My husbands a real genius, and he suggested using these mending plates for some of the difficult seems, these things are fantastic.

mendingplates

headboard3

What happened next was unfortunate for the headboard, but nice for me.  Christmas, New Year and a week off all all things to de-ugly, along with two days off at NDSU!  I spent my days off with family, being luxuriously lazy and eating too much.  I’m still suffering the consequences, but the extra blubber I put on helps me keep warm.

 

But now that the kids are back in school, and I’m getting back in the swing of things…. and I suppose I should be getting back to work.  Junk Market is just around the corner!   Stay tuned for my next post to see the final results of the headboard.

 

Jessie

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