When I have a break, I get an itch to do projects. Sure I could do them anytime, after work or on the weekends, but it’s just not the same feel. I like starting and finishing something all at once. They fit nicely in the midst of life lulls…time between jobs, school, breaks, etc. A while back I painted a hideously pink wall. Last year (or a few years ago now?) I painted a pair of rocking chairs. This time, the sideboard.
I’ve had this thing forever. I found it on Craigslist soon after I moved back to Sioux Falls…maybe 4 years ago now. I bought it with the intention of painting it. I liked the basic shape, but hated the diamond patterns on the doors, and especially the flower detail in the center on the bottom. U-g-l-y. But painting a buffet is a big deal, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I bought new knobs for it from Anthropologie, and it sat. For a long time.
Since I’ve had 3 weeks off between internship and starting my new job, and funds are tight, I’ve mostly been hanging around home and thought it might be time to tackle the project. So, like I do when I’m starting just about anything, I researched the heck out of it. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, crowdsourced suggestions on Facebook, and spent a lot of time google imaging things like “distressed sideboard,” “painted buffet,” etc. until I decided the look I wanted.
I decided to go light, since my house came with a riot of color built in when I bought it. My kitchen wallpaper is seafoam green with gold details and pink curtains. My living room wallpaper is a yellow pattern, and I have blue furniture. Neutral seemed like a good bet. So I googled some more and decided on cream and some distressing.
Lest you think it was a simple project, let me describe my thought process. It’s probably not necessary as it will become self-evident, but here’s the caveat–I’m really good at coming up with ideas, not always so good at making sure they’re practical and that they’ll turn out well. These are the things other people know but I have to find out on my own. Because I’m stubborn. And I think I can make it work. So of course I decided to spray paint it. Nevermind that it weighs somewhere around 1,000 pounds and I would be moving it outdoors by myself. So I set up outside…taped a dropcloth to the back of the garage, gathered rocks to hold down another dropcloth, and proceeded to try to heave the sideboard out the patio door onto the patio. Which is probably a 6-12 inch drop. I got the beast outside, but realized I couldn’t really maneuver it where I needed it to paint.
No big deal…I’d just spray paint inside. Sure, spray painting is messy, any moron knows that. So I taped up not just one, but two 9X12 dropcloths, and put another on the floor. I thought that if I just painted toward the corner that was amply covered, we’d be good. And by the time I was done spraying on the primer, my beautiful wood floors were covered with a white dust for probably 10 feet in all directions where there was not a dropcloth. Spray painting fail.
So after wasting a whole day, I traipsed back to the hardware store for the third time in a day, and bought regular paint and some brushes. One coat of primer, two of paint (Ace’s Banana Cream), and we were up to the distressing part. One note–bad painting already kind of looks distressed. Which in this case is good. Back to the hardware store for sandpaper, and I was good to go. The nice thing about distressing is you can’t really mess it up. I think I went back to it three or four times when I had thought I was done, and wanted to do more. I tend to go overboard, so I was cool with that, I didn’t want to overdo it. When I was happy, I used up the smallest can of water-based polyurethane until it was gone, and called it good. And really, I’m quite happy with how it turned out.