Jimmy Buffet and my own personal secretary

by Chelsea

If you know anything about my approach to renovating a space, you know that I first attempt to work with what’s already available. There are so many ways to bring fresh life to an old space by simply working with what you’ve already got. Not only does it save you cash, it also forces creativity–two things of which I’m quite fond. Paint is a frugal DIY-er’s best friend. Get to know it. It can transform nearly ANYTHING in your home from old and drab to new and fab.  Case in point: take a look at these pieces of furniture that I’ve painted over the past few months at my house.

First up, our dining room buffet.  We found this guy on Craigslist a few years back. I don’t have any pictures of it in its original state, but I can assure you that it was ugly. Not quite as ugly as Kim’s Met Gala dress, but ugly nonetheless. The golden oak color and the hardware was old and dated–but overall, the piece had great bones. First,  I gave it a good cleaning with vinegar. The previous owners had been smokers and the smell had been absorbed into the piece. It took some time to fully air out, but you can’t smell it at all now. Next up, as with most furniture painting jobs, this one required sanding. Once it was nice and smooth and wiped clean, the primer coat was applied. Primer can be tricky if the piece you’re painting has a poly seal or varnish on it. In those cases, you’ll want to spend a little extra on a really good primer that will seal stains. For this piece, we were able to just use standard water-based primer.  I always use an angled brush to get into the little nooks and crannies of the piece, and a roller to tackle the long, flat areas. The first time I painted this piece 3 years ago, I chose a pretty, feminine green color called “Fennel.” It worked well with the color scheme at the time. But then we redid our dining room. And with the new room, I wanted our buffet to look more sleek, dark and handsome. Less “Jane Buffet.” More “Jimmy Buffet.”



And after a couple of coats of Rockport Gray (Benjamin Moore), meet Jimmy:


Handsome, isn’t he?  And speaking of furniture that gets a face lift, here’s another piece I painted recently. It’s an old hand-me-down secretary from Chip’s sweet aunt who is always giving us stuff she no longer wants. Everyone should have an aunt like that. And everyone should be able to say they have their own secretary. Even if it’s not the kind that answers your phone and takes your messages. Anyhow, our secretary sat in our living room in its original 70’s green finish for a good couple of years before I even touched it. Though it’s still not complete (we need to add glass to the doors that once hosted chicken wire and I’d like to add a patterned wallpaper or fabric to the inside back), it’s looking a lot fresher these days. Here’s the before (excuse the poor picture quality):


And now the brighter, whiter version:


I was going through a phase and spray-painted the hardware in gold.  Though I like it, I’ll probably change it up this summer and paint it in my standard go-to: Oil-Rubbed Bronze. We just aren’t glam enough for gold in this house. So how about you?  What old, worn piece of furniture are you going to revive and revamp with a little paint?


One thought on “Jimmy Buffet and my own personal secretary

  1. Love, love, love these pieces of furniture and the refreshing looks you’ve given them. Great stuff!

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