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Repurposing Old Furniture: Our Quest for a Sideboard

Hello again! We are taking a break from a new project (a floating shelf to hang behind our couch) while the paint dries and I thought it may be a good time to document one of our first projects.

When we started our search for our first house, one of my must-haves was a formal dining room. Before moving in I had a vision of our dining room, and central to that vision was a sideboard. It wasn’t because I had some awesome sideboard or buffet already (I didn’t even have one piece of dining room furniture) but I have always wanted one from the moment I set eyes on my step mom’s antique family heirloom buffet.

Financially, Jess and I are not in the position to go buy the antique furniture that we love so, as we tend to do, we got creative. We started by going window shopping to a lot of trendy places in town to get an idea about what we liked and what we didn’t like. I highly recommend a visit to Revival off of Capital if you are in the Raleigh area. We could have spent a month in that place. Once we had some ideas, it was time to start stalking Offer Up. If you’ve never used Offer Up, think of it as  a marriage between Craigslist and Tinder. Its addictive.

Anyway, we found a piece we thought we could work with. Here she is… I needed a lot of imagination with this one.

File Jun 05, 8 01 05 PM

The dresser had been listed for a few months so we were able to haggle a little on price (there really is nothing better than haggling over goods on craigslist and offer up- ok well there may be better things, but the lawyer in me really enjoys it.) When looking for pieces to refinish, if you’re planning to re-stain or sand, make sure the furniture is solid wood rather than a wooden veneer finish on top of particle board.

I wanted all of my dining room furniture to be white and I was going for the antiqued look. I also wanted a place to store some of our glassware. With our needs in mind Jess was able to come up with a way to alter this piece to make it less of a dresser and more of a dining room sideboard. We started by removing the drawers and the hardware on the drawers. We measured the distance between the holes on each drawer to determine what type of pulls we could use and went to pick out replacements. Drawer pulls were the most expensive part of this revival and we picked ours up at Lowes aka our second home.

I sanded the top of the dresser where it had a few water spots. After sanding the top I applied my first coat of paint. I used Valspar Chalky Finish Paint in the color “Kids Gloves” which goes on white. I read a lot about chalk paint before deciding to head to Lowes to purchase this paint. This is a paint that needs to be mixed. Do not just go purchase a quart of this paint without having them mix in color just because you think it’ll go on white. I’ve read that it does not cover well at all if you go that route. They have about 15-20 color options available. The BEST thing about this paint is that you DO NOT HAVE TO SAND FIRST. That is amazing. This was not the first piece of furniture we worked on after the move. I was so happy not to spend the day sanding. SO happy. It is a little pricey but the quart was enough for me to paint this piece, a dresser, 4 dining chairs, and legs to a dining room table.

Photo Jun 05, 6 10 24 PM

After painting, I once again considered leaving the dresser  as it was without making any other adjustments. I get impatient and ready to move to the next project but Jess assured me that the alterations she had in mind would be easy. Our plan was to remove the middle two top drawers to make an open shelf. This would mean sawing off some of the front of the dresser, removing the drawer slides, and framing out a new area. Jess used a jigsaw to remove the unwanted front pieces. She then framed out the shelving area using pine plywood.

Photo Apr 06, 5 12 36 PM

After adding a coat of paint to the new shelving unit we were ready to seal the piece. I decided not to distress this piece and to leave it a clean white. I sealed it using Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish. After letting it dry for a few days we added the new hardware.

Photo Apr 03, 5 08 25 PM

Then we moved her into the house! I was so excited I didn’t even change out of my work clothes.

Photo Apr 07, 6 43 52 PM

And as always, I like to show a picture of our pieces all dressed up:

Photo Jun 05, 7 20 21 PM

I love this piece. It is so practical- the large drawers hold a majority of our serving platters. I store all of my table linens here and I am able to showcase some of my favorite glassware- including some handed down to me from my Mamaw.

The sideboard is also home to our very first piece of Ben Owen pottery (http://benowenpottery.com) that we received as a gift from my parents. This piece is the focal point of this room and the pop of color it needed. I picked up the apothecary jars at various places (Homegoods and World Market), found the wreath at The Scrap Exchange in Durham for $3, and the honeycomb wine rack at a consignment store in Wilmington, NC. (Tip: When I’m decorating surfaces I like some symmetry in height, but I always use an odd number of items. I think it is more pleasing to the eye unless your items are exactly symmetrical.)

Interested in how the rest of the dining room turned out? I’ll be including a post on our distressed farm table and chairs later this week!

Thanks for reading and make good choices!

Alex

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