March 24, 2021

Furniture Restoration Progress

I have been WAY too eager for spring, basically ever since fall turned into winter. Being home all last year definitely took its toll mentally. It was great during the spring and summer when I was working on giving the garage a major makeover, but when the weather got cold, doing projects outside was no longer fun.

My favorite thing to do in the warmer months is to work on a project in the garage with all the doors open so that the breeze comes through (and the squirrels can come and beg for their walnuts--when they see me in there, they come and watch me until I notice them and give them a nut). I listen to podcasts while I work and it feels almost therapeutic. It's just not the same in the winter with all the doors closed.

A few months ago, I set up my sewing stuff in there to get it out of my house--it takes up a lot of room!--and I love that it will add some more variety to the projects I can work on in the garage. I've been practicing a lot with my serger and I am definitely getting the hang of it now. I still have a lot to learn, but I really like it.

Currently, I am working on restoring the Pottery Barn furniture I bought from Facebook Marketplace. (I bought a TV console and a coffee table for $100.) It is a big project! I thought it would only take me a four days--sand on day one, prime on day two, paint first coat on day three, and paint second coat on day four--but I've been working on it daily since Saturday and I only just finished priming it today.

The sanding took much longer than I thought it would. I probably did a much more thorough job than I needed to, but I didn't want to skimp on the sanding. There were a lot of nicks in the coffee table so I sanded those out. I also cleaned everything with TSP to remove any shine.

This is what it looked like before and then after I removed the doors and drawers and sanded the heck out of it. 

Hey, in DIY things tend to look worse before they look better ;) 

I wasted a whole day on Monday when I started to apply the prime coat. I used Kilz for oil-based paint (which I've used a lot before--on furniture, doors, and trim) and it seemed "off" to me. I couldn't remember the texture being that thick when I used it in the house and it was actually difficult to apply because it was so thick (this was an unopened gallon, not the one I used in the house).

The directions said not to add any paint thinner. The brush strokes were really noticeable and it seemed like there were little chunks in the primer. (I enhanced the contrast in this picture to give a better visual--you can see the brush strokes are really bad and it looks kind of "chunky".)

After priming most of the console, I knew the primer had to be bad. It definitely didn't look like that when I used it in the house (nor was it that hard to apply). So, I had to sand all of that down from the console to get rid of the brush stroke texture.

I bought a new gallon of Kilz and sure enough, it was much thinner when I opened it up. I'm not sure what happened to the previous gallon, but I know it wasn't from storage. (I store the paint in the house because remember when I left several gallons of paint in the garage in the winter and I had to throw it all out? Ugh, expensive lesson.)

Yesterday, I was finally able to really start priming everything. The console and the coffee table are pretty big--the coffee table has three large drawers and the console has four (plus two doors). I love the drawers on the coffee table because they are two-sided--you can pull them out from either direction. I felt like I would never get done priming! Every time I thought I was done, I realized that I'd missed the side of a drawer or the inside of one leg or something like that.

I bought a gallon of "Spare White" oil-based paint from Sherwin-Williams (the same paint I used for all of the trim in the house). I would love to use some color, but I don't think there are any colors that would work well for those pieces of furniture in my living room. So, tomorrow I'm going to try to get the first coat of paint on all of the pieces.

I don't love the drawer pulls, but they are recessed pulls and that means I have to replace with them with the same type. I looked for some online, and they are SO expensive--it would cost me more to buy the pulls than I spent on the two pieces of furniture! (When removing hardware, it wasn't until I got to this last drawer that I remembered to take a "before" photo of the pulls. I don't like the little holder for a label, so I'm not going to put those back on.)

In other news, my knee is not okay yet. I'm super bummed. It doesn't hurt, but it gets really tight sometimes. And the worst part is the sound it makes when I bend it--a crunching sound with a squeak like you would hear if you stretched out a balloon. Because it's not painful, I'm tempted to exercise on it (maybe just riding my bike for a while so I'm not putting weight on it). The tightness and the sound it makes concern me, though--I really should just make an appointment with an orthopedist to be sure.

The timing of the injury was a big disappointment because I had been so excited to do the Couch to 5K plan and to continue my five miles a day streak. I was in a really good mental place when it comes to exercise. And then I injured it in the most ironic way--I was working on my bike gears in the garage when I knelt right on a screwdriver handle.

I miss going for walks (and I know Joey misses Roomba!) but strangely, I feel totally okay mentally. I haven't been hard on myself at all about not exercising while my knee heals. And I've been really happy lately. Of course, whenever I feel happy, I question whether I'm just hypomanic. Hypomania is so clear in retrospect, but not so much in the present. I haven't been obsessively cleaning or working on a project non-stop, though, so I think maybe I'm just happy :) 


  1. You could always use some Durham's Rock Hard Putty to fill the recessed holes and then drill new holes for regular type of drawer pulls. Since you're painting it anyway you shouldn't be able to see the Rock Hard stuff at all. You can sand it smooth and paint it.

  2. I personally love the hardware, it reminds me of "Restoration Hardware", a very trendy furniture brand.

  3. Wow -- you have put in a ton of work sanding and priming! Very impressive! :)

    Ouch on the knee. Have you had a chance to get an MRI done? I'm finally (mostly) back to normal after a slight injury in January 2020, a catastrophic injury in April, and surgery in September.


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