So why did I start this blog? It all started with our tv media cabinet. When we moved back to Australia from the US, in late 2010, the removalists, being the caring, thoughtful chaps that they always are, packed our furniture without any blankets or coverings on them. This meant that a few items were smashed up against each other – including the legs of one item into the sides of our media cabinet. Now, to be fair, it wasn’t a fancy media cabinet – I got it at Crate and Barrel in the US for about $350 I think. It was part of their flat-pack range and was barely a step up from IKEA. But it certainly wasn’t improved by a big gouge on the front rim or down one side panel. It still functioned perfectly well though so we used it for the next couple of years. Then we moved into a new place and decided to upgrade some of our furniture as the amount of flat-packed furniture was getting a bit out of control. So we got a nice new media cabinet.
But I didn’t want to get rid of the old one – it was perfectly fine except for these two unsightly blemishes. I had dabbled with a bit of DIY here and there with pretty average results but I really wanted to have a go at painting this cabinet so that it could be useful again! Then life happened – having a 3 month old and an almost 3 year old meant I didn’t do anything with it for MONTHS. I also didn’t really know where to start or whether it was worth doing since it might look awful at the end. But ya don’t get anywhere if ya don’t try, right?! Besides, I had nothing to lose – I’d probably not get more than $20 for it on EBay so figured I might as well give it a shot. In hindsight, a smaller furniture item is a better one to start with! I had a bunch of other projects around the house that I wanted to do as well and since I couldn’t seem to find any great DIY blogs here in Australia, I figured I might as well do one myself. Btw, if anyone has recommendations for good blogs in Australia about DIY then please let me know! I could read ‘Before & After’ stories all day.
So this was my first project.
First up, I sanded. By hand. Then I went and bought a small handheld sander. SOOOO much better! Then I primed. I learned a valuable lesson with this part – always tape off the bits where you don’t want paint. You can have a hand as steady as a surgeon but an open corner is really difficult to paint neatly. The next step was turning it upside down to spray paint the metal legs. I also removed the hardware and spray painted that in a matt gold. I didn’t intend for it to have a rough, industrial look to it, but something was wrong with the spray paint and it came out really thick and gloopy and not in a fine mist at all. (and yes, I did shake the can!) After spraying the hardware I took the dodgy spray paint back to Bunnings and got a different one to do the base. So the base is a much smoother finish in gold rather than matt gold.
Next up, painting. and more painting. and more painting and finally one more coat of paint. Yes, it took four coats of high gloss paint to get this sucker looking how I wanted! I had decided to go with Emerald green (a bit of an ode to the Pantone colour of the year!). After the first two coats I realised it was too bright and looking a bit more like an Irish leprechaun threw up on it. So off I went to Bunnings again for some high gloss black paint to dull down the green paint. I just mixed it by sight, threw a coat on and it looked better so I went with it. I happened to find some fantastic zebra print vinyl at Bunnings while I was there and decided that it would look fantastic on the shelves. Perhaps a little over the top but I was going for maximum impact and trying to make this into a statement piece. Zebra is quite a statement.
The last step, which I wouldn’t have needed to do if I’d taped off during my primer/painting stages, was to sand the first inch or so around each of the openings in the front (where the edges were uneven with paint) and go over very, very carefully with high gloss black paint – using a small brush that I could control much better. Not ideal, but the only way I could think of to neaten it all up!
The result?! Well, you certainly wouldn’t find this in IKEA or Crate and Barrel! It is not for the faint hearted and I think it has a very industrial/glam vibe going. So below is a pictorial view of this process and the outcome. A picture tells a thousand words so being the chatty person that I am, the pics are quicker than reading all my drivel!
Sanding (note the glamorous surroundings in which I work my magic!)
spraying the base
starting to paint (and getting a little worried about the colour…)
mid-way through painting (and still very worried that this was going to end up a waste of time)
The final product! You’ll recognise the gorgeous print called Pink Champagne that usually lives in our bedroom. It’s by Lona de Anna (https://www.etsy.com/shop/LonadeAnna). The peacock vase is by Jonathan Adler, which I bought on Gilt.com (they ship a lot of their sales to Australia!), the Sirocco gilt peacock is one of a pair that I bought on EBay and the lamp was from Domayne Furniture. I think it was called the Sahara. The cowhide was from Milan Direct. And there is actually another DIY project in this pic that I will share very soon!