Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Project Update: A Bench March 14, 2012

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 10:40 am
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I’m not sure if you remember, but back in June, I posted an article about a bench. It was a great Craiglist find and sat comfortably in my room for three years. Somehow it always stayed on the back burner of my project lists. The bench was only on display in my room so it was easy to pass it by and think I’ll just get to that later.

Well, finally, later has arrived. What boosted the determination to get ‘er done?  Simply put, it’s the warm weather. Back over Christmas break I was able to sand the bench down. However, that blip of warm weather didn’t last long enough for me to get a few coats of paint on the bench. So it sat out on the porch waiting for the warmer weather to return.

Luckily, this week we’ve been enjoying mid 60’s with light breezes. Perfect for painting! Since it’s going in my bedroom, I wanted it to match the end tables I refinished last year.

Monday evening I was able to finish a few sanding touch-ups and get the first layer of paint. Tuesday after work I layered on the second coat and third coat. I was hoping I would be able to finish it up tonight but looks like the detail work will have to wait for later this week. But at least you can see somewhat of a final production.

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Don’t worry I’ll post about the final outcome next week complete with pictures.

So you’re probably wondering what’s the next project? Well, it’s actually a desk for Kelly and it’s going to be awesome! Better stay tuned for updates!


New Project: A Bench July 19, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 5:08 pm
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When we first moved into our apartment I gained a lot more space in my bedroom. Unlike my room at my parents’ house, I didn’t need to fit a desk and chair in the room along with my bed and two dressers. The extra space is totally welcome, however, I did miss having a place to put my clothes out for the next day.

Since I had extra space to fill, I scoured my favorite furniture outlet, Craigslist for a few potential pieces. After searching for about a month, I found the perfect little bench for the bargain price of $20.

It’s been almost two years since the purchase date of said bench. The only modification to date has been its’ reupholstering. Using an extra pillow sham from my bedspread, I tore up the back seams and was able to use it as a cover over the existing fabric.

Not too bad huh? A few staples to make sure everything looked nice and I was done.

The next summer project

But since I re-did my bedroom end tables in January, it’s left me to ponder more about the bench. Maybe I’m not quite done with it just yet….

Our friend Holly had brought over the paint I used on the end tables as part of our swap, (read about that here) and I still have some leftover. So, theoretically I could end up with a nice three-piece set. I’m debating about doing a darker color with light accents. Kind of a reverse of the end tables, what do you think? I’m totally open to suggestions!


The Dresser Reveal! May 12, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 12:28 am
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Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was able to get the dresser finished this weekend. An unexpected car hiccup resulted in me postponing a trip to visit family in Wisconsin and instead left me with a full weekend of time.


I got right to work Saturday morning rockin’ my paint clothes and cloth mask. Dave commented the mask was a good look for me and that I should maybe look into dentistry as an alternate job. It’s good to know I still have options should I start thinking about a new career.

After sanding I used a dry cloth to remove any access dust. Next I taped off the top of the dresser to make sure that I wouldn’t accidently paint or spray paint any of the wood borders. Once that was completed, I moved on to staining and painting. Three coats of stain and seven coats of red paint later, I was ready to spray paint!

Using a spray adhesive, I lightly sprayed the top of the dresser. Then I placed the lace on top and patted it down to make sure it was secure. Once I was happy that no sudden gust of wind would move the lace, I got to spray painting.  Gently, I removed the lace a few minutes after spray painting and was pretty content with the results.

I waited about thirty minutes before I removed the painter’s tape to examine if my corners were dead on – which they were! Plus, I still had to stain the remaining unpainted border on the top. Another three coats later and a final coat of clear semi-gloss to polish off the piece, I’m ready to call it finished.

Here is the outcome. What do you think?



New Projects: Update April 20, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 5:56 pm
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The uncooperative weather, combined with the fact that I’ve been a little busy, equals minimal project changes in the last couple weeks. High winds, rain and cold weather are not ideal conditions for my outdoor studio, and running out of supplies doesn’t help much either. So I’m not thrilled to report my lack of progress on the wicker shelf and dresser.

Luckily, this week features more free time combined with a holiday weekend and better weather – well, hopefully better weather.

But, I have not been completely idle…

Project #2: Wicker Shelf

First I covered the back porch with black trash bags and painter’s tape to create a “safe environment” for spray paint. Then I wiped down the dusty shelf with a damp cloth before I got to work. I was able to get 90% of the shelf covered before I ran out of paint. Have no fear, I had a successful trip to Home Depot on Sunday for more spray paint. Now I just need the weather to get warmer to finish off the remaining 10%.

Project #1: Dresser

Kelly was perusing the web and found a nifty site called The Polka Dot Closet. Check out the cute end table with a beautiful lace-spray paint treatment on the drawer. When Kelly showed me this, I had a total “Ah-Ha!” moment. My dresser has a large inlay border around the top of the dresser that would be perfect for this type of treatment. I immediately dropped one of the new hardware knobs in my purse for shopping opportunities. The first of which, happened today with a successful trip to JoAnn Fabrics.

Lace for Dresser Treatment

I’m thinking of doing cream for the inlay color and then spray-paint in an orange/red color. Both colors are featured in the knobs and I think it would tie the whole piece together nicely. Naturally, the knob is still in my purse for yet another trip to Home Depot!


New Projects! April 6, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 6:26 pm
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Now that warmer weather has returned to the Chicago area I can begin work on a few new projects on my “outdoor studio,” a.k.a. the back porch. Last year, I was able to tackle – with the detailed assistance from Kelly – four end tables, a telephone table and a china cabinet. So I know you’re wondering what’s in store for this year! Over the winter, I’ve been slowly but surely collecting new pieces to refurbish…and I still might be looking for more ☺.

One of my first projects to refinish is a solid cedar dresser. My aunt gave me a lot of furniture pieces from her father, who passed away last year, and this is one of those pieces. The dresser is currently residing in our entryway and needs to be spruced up if it is going to be in the first place our visitors see.

Project 1

Here’s my idea: replace original hardware that is oversized and looks childish and use a dark brown stain treatment.

What I’ve done so far: ventured to Hobby Lobby last weekend to score new hardware. The staff members probably thought I was crazy because I plopped down in the middle of the aisle, took out one of my current knobs and lined up four potential new knobs. For about 15 minutes I stared, deliberated, and talked out loud until I finally came to my choice.

New Hardware for Project 1

I think the new knobs will look pretty sweet with the dark brown stain I’ve got planned. What do you think?

The other project is this cute little wicker shelf. Coming home from a run this weekend, I found it sitting by the trash waiting to be picked up. I thought Kelly and I could provide it a nice new home on our back porch.

Project 2

Here’s my idea: spray paint! Scrounging around our pantry I found two spray paint colors, one green and the other ivory. Wanting to add a punch of color to our porch I’m leaning towards the green. I’ll show you the final results next week!

Stay tuned for updates on these projects and other new projects scheduled for the summer!


New Project – End Tables! December 29, 2010

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 2:47 pm
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This year, I decided to take the week off between Christmas and New Years. At first, apprehension set in- what am I going to do for a full week off? Will I have anything to do? Am I going to go stir crazy?

Last weekend my aunt called and asked if I would like some extra furniture. My reply with no hesitation was yes. As I drove out to one of the western suburbs of Chicago with my little car, I thought – hopefully everything will fit!

Everything did fit…but it took two trips, including a layover at my parents’ house, which fortunately is close by. I scored a new solid cedar dresser, a drum table, two end tables, wine glasses and a lamp.

The new furniture means new projects!

First endeavor – rearranging the entryway. I moved out old furniture that Kel and I will sell on Craiglist to make way for two new pieces: the drum table and the dresser. Be sure to check out future posts for before and after pictures of those items!

Second endeavor – rearranging my bedroom to accommodate the new end tables. The end tables are a welcome addition to a room where just yesterday books, pens, a lamp and an alarm clock were sprinkled on the floor, much to my feet’s demise in the morning.

So on my first official “day off” I stripped the end tables. Using my power sander, I hummed along removing the original clear gloss on the maple tables. Thanks to our friend Holly who swapped paint with us (read more about that post) – I have a lovely blue gray and dark gray colors to paint with.

Final result – two coats of the blue gray with striping accents of a darker gray. I’m stoked, and so are my feet.

Now what to do tomorrow…




My year long project: a china cabinet November 3, 2010

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 3:55 am
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I love craigslist. Scouring for furniture deals in my area might be a slight obsession. I have a tendency of going by myself to scope out purchases where Kelly thinks I’m going to get stabbed, or kidnapped. Luckily that hasn’t happened yet. Plus I’ve learned it’s just easier to take her with me.

Nonetheless, I’ve found some great deals – one being this china cabinet for a steal of $75.

It has only taken me about a year and a half from the time I purchased it to its’ completion date. Why so long? I decided to first work on another furniture project that was in more desperate need of repair compared to the cabinet and then….

Winter blew in quickly, so I couldn’t use my outside workspace (our porch) anymore. On top of that, I didn’t feel right poisoning my roommate with toxic wood finishing vapors if I were to stain inside our apartment.

I did what I could inside, which was to fix the door and sand. Originally, there was a decorative piece of wood with holes in the door, but I felt glass would be better to keep the dust out or Harlo’s hair. I custom ordered a glass pane insert from a local glass store to replace the decorative wood insert.  Next it was sanding time and before I knew it, spring had arrived.

Now able to use my outside “workshop”, I began staining. The drawer and door were first completed with two coats of stain and a semi-gloss sealant followed by the cabinet itself. The only tricky part was getting stain into the nooks and crannies of the detailing along the bottom – but Kelly suggested using Q-tips, which worked out fabulously!

What always amazes me is how good a piece of refinished furniture can look after just one coat of stain or paint. The piece of furniture starts to come alive. You can see all your efforts have paid off and you get a better idea of what your final product will look like.

The last item to complete was the cabinet hardware. One of the original pieces was missing on the drawer, leaving me with a great opportunity to find new hardware. I headed over to Hobby Lobby and just my luck; the hardware was buy one get one free. My new love has been glass hardware so I picked up a weathered amber pair to complete my china cabinet.

What do you think of the final result?











PS – My 7th grade girls basketball team took 3rd in their conference. Totally one proud coach…now onto a new travel team. Apparently players aren’t the only ones who get recruited 🙂


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