IKEA Furniture Refresh I promised in my last post, I’m going to share the “after” from my IKEA cabinet refresh.  I’ve refinished the outside but I’ve also changed the use and purpose of the piece although it remains in the same spot in the house.  I find that over time, everything needs to be pulled out of a storage spot, edited and returned to orderly storage.  Sometimes, once you edit, you realize there really is a better place to keep some of the things and this is what has happened with this cabinet.  I used to keep vases in the lower half of the cabinet but with two bassets running around the house, the noise of the glassware clinking together was a little disturbing.  I kept waiting to hear the crash which fortunately never came.  The cabinet now houses candles, candle holders, and some larger serving pieces like platters. started by taking the pieces apart and filling the screw holes with wood filler.  The base and the hutch were painted separately so that I have the option of using the base on its own in the future. you are planning on taking your piece apart one day, you won’t want to fill the screw holes but as I have no plans to pack it flat again, I wanted to remove the look of the unsightly screws by filling the holes.


I used an Elmer’s Wood Filler, sanded once and refilled where the fill hole had sunk.  Make sure you get a nice smooth finish or it will really show once you paint.

It’s so easy to lose pieces when you are disassembling something to refinish. always grab a small bowl or plastic bag to contain all the little bits so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of refinishing.  If it’s a really complicated project that you are taking apart, use the camera on your phone to take a couple of quick pics of what it looks like before dismantling so you have a visual map when it comes time to put it all back together.

For this piece, I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Aubusson Blue.  It was a really bold choice but the rest of the pieces in my home are primarily stained wood or pieces/cabinets I have painted in either White or French Linen by ASCP. colour swatch on the Annie Sloan site looks like a dark blue but as you can see from the photos, it is more of a teal colour.  I added two coats of paint and then the Clear Wax.  The colour wasn’t as dark as I wanted so I then added a Dark Wax as the final finish.  Quite often you will use the Dark Wax to age and highlight but I used it over the entire piece to deepen the colour.

I am so happy with how this IKEA cabinet turned out!  The paint has brought new life to the piece and I am loving it once again.  Although the colour is bold, the dark wax mutes it a bit, and the new piece works really well to separate the Great Room from the Kitchen and Eating Area.  Open plans are a wonderful way to live and I wouldn’t want to go back to closed rooms but they definitely pose challenges when it comes to decorating. I have found with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is that the colours differ substantially depending upon the project I am working on and where it is going to sit in my home.  I have started creating my own colour charts by painting the stir sticks I have been accumulating from my purchases at Home Depot.  I paint both sides of the stick with the colour, leave one side unwaxed, and on the opposite side, I apply Clear Wax and on the opposite end, I apply Dark Wax over the clear.  On the unwaxed side, I then write the name of the paint colour in Sharpie.  It’s a great way for me to compare colours for the lighting in my own home.

To me, decorating is always the fun part but shelves can be a challenge.  I knew I needed to added some light items for decor and that the dark finish would really make things pop!  I always try to add a mixture of textures, colour, and a bit of metallic or glass for some shine.  Natural elements are always a good addition as well. found an easel at a home decor store that was in the clearance bin ($8) and thought it would be a great way to display some art on the shelf.  The picture is a print I picked up on a recent trip to Cannon Beach so it has some nice memories attached to it as well.  The piece is called “Rain People” III by John Ebner.  I love it because it is awash in greys but has some wonderful pops of colour to make it lively.  As a west coaster (wet-coaster?) it’s easy to get the blues with the drizzly weather but this just shows that bright clothing and umbrellas are a game-changer!  I framed the print myself but I’m not happy with the mat that came with the frame so I will cut a new one at some point.  For now, it is framed and protected from dust. candle holders are favourites that get moved around the house on a regular basis.  I have added small pebbles to the cups and topped them with an LED votive.  Because they are sitting within a shelf, a real candle burning could damage the cabinet.  LEDs are great because you can get the ambiance without the risk of damage.  The jar to the right is filled with larger polished rocks.

The lower shelf has an orchid which brings a bit of contrasting colour to the palette. remaining items are a serving tray on a plate stand, and a hydrangea arrangement.  The pears were bought a few years ago at a big box grocery store.  I typically have them out in the fall (when fresh pears would be available) but I needed something white to balance the space.  The wicker baskets on the top of the cabinet contain candles and jar fillers (like my rock collection) – not to sure about what the dust might be like over time and I may change them out but for now, I like they way they look.

Don’t forget to shop your own home when you are deciding to redecorate an area.  You might be surprised at what you find and how great it looks in its new home!  Thanks for sharing this home improvement journey with me.









IKEA Furniture

IKEA from the 80’s. We have a lot of it. We purchased it when we were newly married because:

  1. It was affordable.
  2. It could be packed flat.  We moved – often.
  3. It was pine and at that time we liked pine.
  4. Much of it was made with solid wood, with the exception of the shelves.
  5. Who didn’t love those crazy names for everything in the store?Pie Safe Reinvented 1019

Flash forward to 2015. IKEA. We still have a lot of it. We still have the pieces we purchased when we were newly married. And while many of our peers have replaced furniture more than once, ours is still going strong.

  1. It has more than paid for itself in 29 years of marriage.
  2. It can still be packed flat but thank goodness it no longer needs to be, we’ve lived here 15 years.
  3. It’s still pine but requesting a facelift.
  4. I’m glad our kitchen table was solid wood as it has been sanded and refinished many times.
  5. I still love all those crazy names for everything in the store.

Pie Safe Reinvented 1046If you have been a long time IKEA fan out of price or necessity, it’s time to stop hiding those pieces in the spare bedroom or basement! Bring them out into the light and give them some love. Many of the most popular pieces of furniture right now are painted and distressed. I’m a big fan of the painted and conservative on the distressed. To each her own. What the paint has done is let me love those pieces again and enjoy incorporating them back into our living space. I treasure my antiques but the painted pieces make our home more livable. It says we respect the old but hey, we’re also kinda fun.

I shared a Pine Pie Safe that finished in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and I have completed another item that is now sitting proudly in our Great Room. unfortunate part about IKEA is that items are often discontinued and that was the case with this piece.  I had intended to have this piece, along with two others, side by side for dishes and storage in our dining room but after purchasing the first piece (about 1988, I think) the line was discontinued 3 months later.  This piece was used a lot in our home, in a variety of settings, but the colour was starting to turn a bit orange so it became an ideal candidate for a make over.  Originally, there were double doors on the top as well.  I removed them before taking the “before” picture (I’m still getting the hang of documenting everything I do around here!) but you can still see the hardware from where the doors hung.’m also sharing my candle/candle holder/vase table of shame with you. Can you believe that all of that came out of this cabinet? Like an episode of Hoarders, this has gotten way out of control!’s amazing what you can stash away behind doors but without the doors on the top, that couldn’t continue.  I promised you an honest progress on my quest to update and simplify – warts and all.  I sorted through everything creating a keep and a donate pile.  And then, I went through the keep pile again.

I took the cabinet apart so I could easily paint the pieces that make it up.  I did this so I could remove the hutch at some point in the future if I want just the base to use somewhere in the house. of course, there’s my little dog photobomber, Dexter.

Next time I will share the “after” pictures of the IKEA cabinet and how I’ve styled it for the room.  Thanks for sharing this home improvement journey with me.


Updated Powder Room Reveal!

Very excited to share with you the final reveal of the updated Powder Room.  Powder Room Refresh_1891I love a good Before and After, don’t you? The entire project took about two weeks, off and on, and there was no down time for the room which is always a bonus.  Here’s the before.Powder Room Refresh_1890





Nothing wrong with it – it just lacked some pizzazz.


The first thing I decided to do was paint the cabinet.  The cabinet was in excellent condition but I was tired of the light wood.  I thought a darker cabinet would bring a bit of drama to the small room.  I used my new favourite, French Linen by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  It was a breeze to paint and I’m still using the same can I purchased for the Pie SafePowder Room Refresh_2215I removed the doors and hardware and painted the base of the cabinet as well.

Two coats of paint and a coat of wax later and I’m loving the look.  My husband changed out the faucets to a two-handle style from the Builder one that had a fake crystal plastic pull up.  Yuk!  Glad to see it finally gone! I plan to replace the counter at some point but for now the colour works well with the existing laminate counter top.  You can see what a difference simply painting out the cabinet has made to the room.

Next I added the Board and Batten.  It was a fairly simple project and my first time doing it. Applying Caulk to the seams of Board and Batten can see the process in this post where I go through the steps of creating this look.  This is when the room really began to take shape.  The huge blank wall that had baffled me on how to decorate suddenly had lots going on and didn’t need any additional decorating.

The other thing I wanted to do was add some inexpensive art work to bring some colour to the room.  I had the cover of a greeting card which had some lovely coordinating colours so I went and purchased a mat for an existing frame and put it together.’t be afraid to use unusual items to create art in your home.

Soap & Water and common sense are the best disinfectants

~ William Osler

I created two framed pieces of art with some of the pieces in my collection of Sea Glass.  The Sea Glass has just been collecting in a large bowl but I love the way it is now on display and you can see some of the original markings on the pieces.  I will show you the steps of how I created this in a future post. picture over the toilet was created using Canva.

I also shopped the house for some decorative accessories.  I’m a big fan of doing that.  Sometimes just moving an item to a new location in your home can make it seem fresh and new.  The orchid on the counter was from my dining room. It is silk and there is no way a real plant could survive in the Powder Room without any natural light.  And the bonus?  It distracts you from the Builder Grade mirror!!

It’s time to have a look at everything pulled together. Powder Room Refresh_1890













I am so happy with the transformation.  I finally have a room that is a reflection of the rest of our home – no mirror pun intended. 

Pie Safe Reinvented 1046

Pine Pie Safe Reinvented with Chalk Paint

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve got a lot of pine furniture that I’m anxious to reinvent.  I have a Pie Safe that was purchased at a big box lumber store more than 20 years ago.  I originally used Varathane to finish the piece and it was used to store items in our family room.  I am not, however, a fan of how orange everything is becoming. Pie Safe Reinvented 1019

It was an inexpensive piece and it has served our family well.  The problem with pine, even with a good finish, is that it is soft and easily damaged. Pie Safe Reinvented 1019Pie Safe Reinvented 1019Here is one of the culprits!  This is Dexter, one of our two Basset Hounds.  He always has to be in the middle of whatever I am doing – he is my dog photo bomber…


I have decided to paint out this piece with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen.  As you may remember from my previous post on the Outdoor Bench, I have fallen in love with this paint!  It applies so easily and I have discovered that touch ups are a breeze.  No need to completely re-do your finish, simply touch up the spot, right over the wax finish, and re-apply the wax.  Doesn’t get any easier than that, does it? I’m painting the inside of the piece.  It’s not necessary but I like a uniform look.  I have only done one coat and and I will wax the shelves to give them some added protection but I’m not going to bother with the interior sides and back of the piece.  The more I use this paint, the more I discover how really versatile it is.  If you’ve ever tried painting furniture, you know that drips and sag are a constant battle.  It’s not always possible with furniture to paint on a flat, horizontal surface but with this paint, it doesn’t seem to matter.

Here it is with two coats of paint.  I am loving this colour!  French Linen is kind of a poor description of what the colour really is – to me it’s a lovely greige – not the creamy beige colour one might expect from the word Linen.

And now for the magic!  This wax is incredible and I love how it deepens the colour once you apply it.’ve tried to capture that in this comparison photo but I’m not sure it does it justice.  It might look like a lighting issue in the photo but that is just what the wax does to the colour.

Can you believe the difference?  I think this might be good for another 20 years!Pie Safe Reinvented 1046Supply List:

  • Pine Pie Safe
  • ASCP in French Linen (for a list of retailers near you, click here Annie Sloan Stockists )
  • ASCP Clear Wax
  • Wax Brush
  • Old sheet to polish wax once it has dried
  • Paint Brush – I use Purdy because they last a long time if you keep them clean


Chalk Paint Outdoor Bench

I am inspired by words, particularly quotes.  I love reading them and find they are an excellent way to start the day.  With that same thought, I have decided to start using a quote with each of my blog posts – that is until I run out of quotes or blog posts – although I think neither is likely to happen.

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.  ~ Aldous Huxley (1864-1963) English Novelist

I believe whole-heartedly in improving my corner of the universe and my emphasis this year (let’s not call it a resolution, those are too easy to break) is on learning.  Learning a new skill, a new idea, learning more about the people in my life.  I hope that by sharing some of my projects, you will learn something too.

After allowing it to dry for 24 hours, I began the process of applying the finishing wax.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint makes two different kinds of wax.  The Clear Wax is traditionally applied first with the Dark Wax used to age/antique the piece.  But because I was applying it over Black paint, I used the Dark Wax exclusively.  You can see the paint before the wax is really a dark slate grey, not the colour I was wanting.  The texture of the finish is very unique, it has a soft, chalky feel to it.  You can leave your piece like this but adding the wax gives it durability and a depth to the colour.  Very hard to explain but I hope the pictures give you an idea of the transformation of the paint.  The wax penetrates the paint and hardens it making it extremely durable.Application of Dark Wax

I used a short haired brush to apply the wax, dipping into the container and work the wax into the paint with a small circular motion.  The wax is soft and easy to apply but apply sparingly because at some point, you will need to buff it and too much will just make it sticky.  Here is a picture that shows the dramatic difference in colour once the wax as been applied. Outdoor Bench 1007 It’s like the paint suddenly comes to life!  Outdoor Bench 1011

After coating the entire piece, I allowed it to dry overnight.  The next day, the wax felt a bit tacky and I used an old sheet to buff the wax smooth.  The texture of the finish now feels like it has been varnished, very smooth and lovely!

I love this piece now and am so inspired to paint more pieces.  Outdoor Bench 1012This process is completely addictive!  Incredible results – fast and easy.  Stay tuned for more…




An Intro to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I had been curious about chalk paint for some time but the price seemed daunting.  It was such a small can for so big an investment!  I decided to try it out on a piece of furniture that would not make me cry if it turned out horribly.

Outdoor Bench before the makeover

This piece had been sitting on my porch for the past 12 years and had only been re-painted once during that time.  Although it was always under cover, the dampness had begun to lift the paint in spots and it was beginning to flake. Close up of paint chips on benchI had read that ASCP didn’t require any prep work and I didn’t relish sanding down the bench before refinishing so it seemed like a great candidate for the experiment.

I took it onto the driveway and hosed it down, using a brush to remove any loose paint.  After allowing it to dry for two days, I spread a drop cloth and grabbed my brush.

I began by flipping the bench upside down to cover that area first.  Upside down bench to be paintedIt may not have been necessary, but I knew there were areas that needed to be sealed so I set to work.  The paint had a very different consistency than I was used to with Latex.  It was thick, creamy and very easy to apply.  Open can of ASCPI discovered as I worked, that it was best to pour a portion into another container because the paint dried so quickly.

That quick drying finish was a time saver! As soon as I had finished the first coat on the bottom, it was ready for the second. First coat of paint on the bench

Second coat of paint

See the difference with the 2nd coat

 I was so pleased with the results but it just didn’t seem black enough…  I turned the bench over and began painting the top side.  Within the afternoon, I had the bench completed and decided to allow it to dry and cure 24 hours before applying the wax.  And my concerns about the cost?  This small can covered the bench with two coats and more than half a can remaining.  Amazing!

The most incredible thing was the clean up.  Soap and water.  No scrubbing, just a gentle washing of my hands.  Gotta love that!



In my next post, I will share the results after I added the finishing wax.