Reader Redesign: Dresser Refresher

Jen sent us this simple yet totally transformative dresser makeover and – as much as we love painting furniture white – we thoroughly enjoyed the fact that she took this piece back to its wooden roots for an awesome two-tone vibe. Here’s her letter:

I’ve discovered your site recently and love it! My faves are the reader redesigns, so I figured I’d share a little project with you and the rest of your readers. This is a hand-me-down dresser from a fantabulous neighbour. We’re working towards an adoption and people keep telling us that we’ll have no time when the baby comes, so I’m trying to get a few things on the move well ahead of time.


As for the work: I wanted to get the top down to the wood. There were a few coats of paint hiding under there. I began attacking it with a paint stripper… but only got so far. It was time for the big guns: the belt sander! (I may add that my shoulders got a little workout holding that thing steady- bonus!). I also picked up some new hardware and paint (from Home Depot). The paint is a soft celery colour – Behr Premium Plus 380F-4 Ground Ginger – and the stain on the top and front is Minwax Golden Oak. The little giraffes had a little paint makeover as well and their new colour is Behr Premium Plus in S-G-360 Bright Star. Thanks for taking the time to check it out! -Jen

Isn’t the new wood finish just gorgeous? All of Jen’s hard work and belt sanding clearly paid off big time. Makes me wanna go sand something myself. And those giraffes? As you can guess Sherry is ob.sessed. with them. You know she has a ceramic animal addiction, right? Anyway, you can read more about the transformation here on Jen’s blog – and don’t forget to check out the graphic treatment that she’s given the wall behind the dresser since submitting these pics. Fun, fun, fun.

 

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Ask John: Tool Tricks?

Q: Hello Youngsters. As I read about all the projects you tackle around your house, I find myself wondering whether you have a gigantic toolbox, or if in fact there are just a small handful of tools that you use on a regular basis. Do you have a few essentials you’d recommend to any DIYer? Are there any tools that you don’t have, but find yourself wishing for? Thanks!  -Chris

A: We’ll admit up front that we’re extremely weird about storing our go-to tools. We actually keep many of them in a few of our kitchen drawers. Betcha didn’t see that one coming. Even our installer thought we were crazy when I told him the cabinet base to the left of the stove would be solely devoted to screwdrivers, paint rollers, nails, anchors, sandpaper and other home improvement essentials. But it really works for us and everything is über organized thanks to four whole drawers of sorted-by-theme gadgets and gizmos.

I don’t know why I feel so ashamed to admit it, but our tool drawers really do look like that all the time. I guess I should be proud, but I feel a bit obsessive. It’s just that we’re always doing something around the house so it’s easier to grab things and get to work when we know where they are. Oh and just in case you’re wondering, here’s the per drawer breakdown:

We also previously wrote this post about our all-time favorite tools, but to summarize it we basically can’t live without: a hammer, a crowbar, a flat head screwdriver, a tape measure, a phillips head screwdriver, plumber’s putty, liquid nails, plumber’s tape, a box cutter, an exacto knife, straight razors, channel lock pliers, wrenches of all sizes, needle nosed pliers, a level, a cordless drill, sandpaper, caulk, a caulk gun, spackle, a putty knife, painter’s tape, high quality angled brushes, and an assortment of nails and screws (read way more on that subject right here).

Since then we’ve also tried some heavier artillery on for size (like a rented demolition hammer to rip up our old tile floor, a borrowed wet saw and miter saw from my dad for putting the bathroom back together, and a circular saw along with some pretty great hole cutting bits for our drill).

And I must admit that bigger tools really do make me feel infinitely more manly. In fact I’d be willing to bet that the amount of amps or volts that you have in your hand is directly proportional to your testosterone level, so it’s definitely worth renting, borrowing, or buying something along those lines to truly feel like a home improvement god (even just for a few hours before it’s due back to its rightful owner). And this empowerment perk carries over to the ladies too. Sherry never has a bigger smile on her face than when she’s using some heavy duty tool and telling that wood/tile/drywall who’s boss.

So along the “what tools don’t you have but wish for” vein,  I’d never turn down my own miter saw, wet saw, or demolition hammer although I realize that I’d probably have to store these bigger guys in our attic or out in the garage so there’s something nice and simple about renting or borrowing them when we need ‘em instead. Oh and items like our sander, our two cordless screwdriver, and a few caulk guns are kept in hidden storage space above our washer and dryer (behind our bamboo blinds) so they’re still on hand but out of sight.

And everyone knows I love my Kreg Jig. That’s probably the one item that I would name my “tool of the year” since it has single-handedly helped me build shelves for the nursery, a two person desk for the office, and even a storage shelf that slides under the desk for organizing our files.

Speaking of specific products and brands, we’re sure there’s more than one way to get ‘er done but here are the companies, and some of the actual products, that we use in our house on a regular basis:

So there you have an in depth rundown of the tools we have, where we keep ‘em, the ones that make me feel the manliest, and the brands and particular products that Sherry and I prefer (none of which paid or perk’d us for this mention, they’re just actually what we use here at Casa Petersik). As you can see we don’t have a bunch of expensive DeWalt things – which is a nice reminder that you can spiff up your house without owning a $500 saw (and we also definitely believe in renting and borrowing anything that you can to get the job done). Now go forth and build/paint/demo something!

But wait, first we’d love to hear more about your tool sitch. Do you have any life-changing tools that you’d like to share? Any other brands or products that have done you right? Dish that tool time dirt.

Psst- Some of the links included above are Amazon Affiliate links.

 

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