Tag Archives: grandparents

Chest of Drawers Makeover

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Chest of Drawers Makeover

My grandpa was an appliance salesman by trade but spent many hours on projects around the house, for family members, and friends.  He and my grandma added on to their house, built a deck, built a large shop for all of his tools, built a gazebo, added on to their house again, and more!  My grandpa built this beautiful curio cabinet for my sister when we were in high school.  She had amassed quite a collection of porcelain dolls by that time and needed a place to store them.  

 When I was a child and my mom was a single parent, we had a water leak in our kitchen and needed to replace the floor and cabinets.  Insurance would cover most of it, but my grandparents drove six hours to come and do it themselves, so that we could have nicer cabinets and replace everything for less than what the insurance company had estimated for what had been damaged.  I also distinctly recall helping my grandparents reshingle their carport roof one hot summer when I was a preteen. My grandparents taught me how to use a hammer, how to do things well, and how to work hard. 

 About thirty years ago, my grandpa built this chest of drawers for me.  I have moved over a dozen times since then, and this piece of furniture has been in every house and apartment.  I used it as a child/teenager to store clothes, of course, but as an adult, I used it to store other random things (aka junk).  In my and my husband’s first house, we had a large enough closet to put this chest of drawers inside, and I stored my unmentionables in it.  Since we had the twins three years ago, this chest of drawers has been in their room.  It didn’t match their white cribs or dresser/changing table, and some of the hardware was loose or missing from the bottom of the drawers, but I didn’t have time to do anything with it when they were babies. 

The girls now have “big girl” beds, and the wood stain on the beds doesn’t match this chest of drawers either, but the bassinet for their dolls/stuffed animals is white and matches their decor, so I decided to makeover this chest of drawers in white too.  I had seen some projects on Pinterest where people had converted a chest of drawers to a bookcase or storage cabinet, and I wanted to create a piece of furniture that could still hold clothes but mesh with their room and be simpler for two little ones to access.  The two bottom drawers kept falling out, and they couldn’t put them back in by themselves. Once again, I consulted with my friend at Blue Happy Living and decided to use chalk paint.  I bought some supplies and started removing the shelves.  Oh, my.  This project ended up requiring much more time, energy, and money than I had anticipated.    

First, I removed the drawers and took the hardware off the bottom of each one.  (I’m saving the drawers for another project.)  I had to use a hammer and a slotted screwdriver to pry the trim off the front of each shelf.  Then I used a Phillips screwdriver to remove most of the screws.  Some screws had wood glue on them from the trim, and I couldn’t remove them.   I ended up taking out my frustrations on them with the hammer.  

 
Then I realized that the shelves weren’t just attached to the side walls of the chest; they were built into the walls.  I had to remove the trim from the front of each side wall in order to get to some of the screws.  At this point, I regreted starting on this project.   

   
Let me tell you, this thing would never have fallen apart!  My grandpa built it to last a lifetime.  I had to take off the back wall to access the screws on the back side of the drawer supports.  I had originally planned to leave the top two narrow drawers, but I decided to remove them as well at this point.  

 Then I removed all the pieces that had supported the drawers except the ones that were glued into the grooves in the side walls. I tried a few things and ended up hitting downward on them with a hammer to break the seal of the glue and then knocking them out from the front towards the back. A few boards splintered and had to be pried out, but most came out whole.  I spent a good deal of time using a hammer and a slotted screwdriver to chip away the pieces that were still glued in the grooves.    

I started on this project a few weeks ago while my husband was out of town for two weeks, and I had to stop after doing the prep work to wait on him to get home before proceeding because I don’t use electrical saws.  My father-in-law went to the store for me to purchase the boards to use for the shelves, and I measured and marked them for my husband to cut.  I went to the store myself to pick out some narrow trim to replace the trim I had ripped off the front of each side wall and the bottom. After my husband returned and cut the boards, I couldn’t resist putting the shelves in and showing the rest of the family my vision for this piece of furniture.

  I was so eager to start painting, but I had to glue the trim on before I could start. This was tricky.  My husband only has one clamp large enough to hold the trim on, so I improvised with bungee cords.  It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. 

 

I painted two coats of white chalk paint on each shelf and the empty cabinet before sliding the shelves into the grooves.  I also painted the inside of the back wall a deep red color to match the decor in the girls’ room.  I left the back off until the very end to avoid getting white paint on it or red paint on the cabinet.  It just so happened that my husband started tearing out our brick sidewalk about the time I started painting, so I put bricks under the cabinet and shelves to keep the paint from sticking to the drop cloth.  (More on our new sidewalk later.)

 After three coats on the top and two coats everywhere else, I put the shelves inside and painted another coat of white on everything.  It definitely needed at least three coats.  I think I used three 8 ounce jars of Americana Decor chalk paint in Everlasting (white).  I used two 2-ounce bottles of red with several drops of blue to paint the back wall of the cabinet.  

 At this point, I was so anxious to be finished with this project.  I had bricks and tiny slivers of wood all over the drop cloth.  The girls were living out of containers on their floor.  It was bothering me, but our usual chaos and multiple illnesses were preventing me from painting.  I finally finished by applying three coats of cream wax this past weekend, and then I reattached the back.  

 I let it dry for 24 hours after the last coat of wax and finally decorated today.  That top shelf is so narrow that I had no idea what we would use it for right now.  I figure when the girls are older, they will slide art supplies or books in there, but I realized this afternoon that their large puzzles would fit in that space perfectly.  Heaven knows they don’t fit well anywhere else.  

 I had originally planned to distress this piece, but after adding trim (unstained wood) and shelves (mdf), I realized the distressed places would not be the same color underneath.  If I had this to do all over, I would paint the whole thing red first and then paint white over the red, so that the red would show through when distressing it.   

 I am very pleased with how this turned out, and the girls love it. We can change out the fabric cubes if we change their decor, and they can choose to store other things in this later.  I love making things more versatile and more functional.  My mom pointed out that the grooves in the sides make the inside walls look like beadboard or something.  It does add another dimension to it.  You can barely see the red on the back wall when the fabric cubes are in the cabinet, so here is a closeup of the inside while empty.   

  

My next project will be repurposing the drawers into something special for the girls’ room.  It might be a few more weeks before I finish that project, but it will be awesome! 

 

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Climbing

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My husband’s parents live just down the driveway from us. They have lived there for about 30 years, and we moved into our house just over 4 months ago. It is absolutely wonderful living so closely to a set of grandparents. The older two kids are back and forth between our houses all the time, and Grandmother helps me with the babies frequently.

Granddad built the kids a tree house out of scrap wood from when our house was being built, and he also created a play area for the kids above the tack room in their barn. Big brother thinks this area is his fort and enjoys hanging out there. A couple of weeks ago, he placed a board upright on the floor of the fort at the top of the wooden ladder that Granddad built for them to climb up to the fort. I think he was trying to make a wall or something, but he did not nail the board in place. The older two kids were in the barn with Granddad on Thursday the 24th, and big sister decided to go up to the fort by herself. She climbed to the top, grabbed hold of the board not knowing it was loose, and fell several feet to the ground. By God’s mercy, the only thing she hurt was her left ankle, and Daddy got home just as Granddad carried her into our house. My husband is a firefighter/paramedic, so he checked her out and looked at her ankle.

20131104-104023.jpgIt was swollen and starting to bruise, but it didn’t look broken. We put ice on it, elevated it, etc. When she still refused to put any weight on it Friday morning, we decided to take her to our pediatrician just to see what they thought.

20131104-104121.jpgOf course, they recommended x-rays, so we took her for x-rays. Nothing was broken, but she had sprained it pretty badly. We bought her a brace and ordered a pediatric boot, and she has done well with those. She went to school today in regular shoes for the first time in over a week, so I think she is almost back to normal. It’s amazing how quickly children heal.

I must mention how gracious God has been to us over the past several years. This was our first trip to the doctor for an injury. We still haven’t taken a child to the ER. Part of that is due to their daddy being a paramedic and knowing what is a true emergency and what is not, but none of our children have been seriously injured before this, and it’s a wonder big brother hasn’t broken half his bones already with all the crazy stunts he tries. I thank God every day for our children’s health and safety.

We finally bought new car seats for the babies. Well, we ordered them online a few weeks ago, but one never made it to us, so we had to wait for it to return to the company, the company to refund our money, and then just go to the store and buy another one. We bought convertible seats, which means they will be rear-facing until the babies are at least a year old, and then they are able to be turned forward-facing, so these seats should last us a few years, until the babies are able to ride with just a booster seat. We were preparing the seats in the house, making adjustments to the seat backs and harnesses, and we sat the babies in them to make these adjustments. They look so big!

20131104-104453.jpgSissy is our climber–just like her big brother–and it wasn’t long before she was standing up in the seat and trying to move over to the other seat!

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A few days later, I was looking for an outfit for little sister in their closet, and sissy climbed up in this little rocking chair and stood up.

20131104-104756.jpgThis is why the chair is in their closet and not in their room. Right now, I’m just thankful we only have one pint-sized climber on our hands.