July 7, 2011

Fun with Before and Afters

To me it's fun to look back on completed projects to see from where they started and the sometimes excruciatingly slow gradual progression to completion. It is challenging and exciting to transform the butt-ugly and unused to something that is not only functional, but also beautiful.

We recently found a Barzilay stereo cabinet from the late 60's that looked like this:

(um, yeah, that's DIRT inside that cabinet)

(the back side)

Not bad,loved the clean lines and geometric design of the front panels; it's oak and raw wood, which is great because I didn't have to strip it or do much sanding; the stereo components had been pulled out but there were three great soft-close hinges on the lid. I removed the hinges to use on other projects and glued the lid on for stability, replaced the back panels, and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. Before long I had it ready to paint. I was short on time so I spray painted this piece and it took four cans, but it turned out GREAT! 

Other Before & Afters:


A subtle change by using champagne nouveau spray paint. On top of gold finish, this color takes on a silvery look similar to mercury glass, a bit difficult to see the color change in the picture.

A cheapy dresser, probably bought from an unfinished furniture store becomes a cutie pie with so much sanding I thought my arms would fall off some sanding and new pulls: 

I had a FIT over these lamps, and the look on my husbands face was absolutely hysterical when I bought them, but they were $5 for the pair so he didn't mind TOO much and yes, the sockets were hanging loose:

Some epoxy on the socket and some paint and voila- 

(I'm still working on the shades.)

Antique walnut mirror with beautiful carved details needed some TLC.

The top was in perfect shape.

The bottom had a broken piece, which I glued back on and stained the teeny crevice to match. I painted this piece, too, in the good 'ol stand-by "Heirloom White" and it came out beautifully:

all taped up & ready for painting...

placed in its temporary home...

Not everything that I work on gets a coat of off-white paint. Sometimes I go with my inner bohemian and have some not-so-serious FUN:
This mirror must have been a stunner, but several of the carved wood pieces that had been attached to the wire leading from the cast metal basket of flowers at the top were broken or missing.

I painted the whole thing a light aqua blue and added paper flowers & butterflies to help hide the empty areas.

Super cute for a nursery or little girl's room.

Hardly an heirloom piece, this mostly press board china cabinet got a future's-so-bright makeover:
first coat of paint (didn't get the "before" pic for this one)

detail view once complete 

and now it's all lit up inside (and papered!)

Stairs that face the front door are about to get a facelift!

All taped up and base-coat painted a different color on each step, all the hues have a unifying gray undertone and are used elsewhere on the main level- gray, taupes, wheat, and gray-blue. 

Stenciled in two alternating designs, lighter in some areas for a bit of a weathered look.

Back/family room stairs were not left to their own devices, either!

Base coat painted (in opposite color order from the front steps)

And a closer view of the stenciling.

Some home projects Before and Afters:

Blah Blah Blah entryway with some seriously DARK navy blue backed grasscloth:
After an entire day of using a combination of WallWik awesomeness AND this other stuff:

and doing this:
Yes, umhmm, those rips in the dark paper DO look suspiciously like a crazed and angry person's fingernail-scratched areas where I tore down the grasscloth bit by teeny tiny sombeachin' bit. That is what I had to do in order to get to the paper part under the grass, so that I could use the 
and THEN I could scrub, rinse, rinse, rinse, clean, rinse, and rinse the walls some more so that it could dry for painting. 


The next day was exciting because I painted the base coat- Benjamin Moore's November Rain, a light gray-green that looked almost sea green in certain light conditions. I stewed on this one for a while, studying it, staring, sometimes glaring, mulling it over, not really sure if I loved the color. I decided I'd paint the design like I did for my client's dining room last year, only double the design, and then maybe I'd be happier with the base color. I was. I am. 
Here's how it turned out:

It went from dark & dreary to light & fabulous and it only took a couple bottles of chemicals, a few days, several fingernails, and many colorful words. Oh yes, and a little paint. No problem.

Other re-do type deals:

(Mantel before)

Enter a starburst mirror made of sticks and a candle mirror, by MOI

A coffee filter wreath I made, tied with handmade antique lace onto an old window.

Since this picture was taken, I've rearranged and am a little happier with the vignette, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my antique mercury glass decanters from England and the cute candle holder I painted that I'll hang somewhere (someday)...

There it is!

My first starburst mirror was a trial run for making more of them and I'm glad I did a test because I learned a lot from making this one. I'll know better next time how to arrange them on the back of the mirror to get the more full look I like. I may make a couple more, smaller ones, to go on the wall over the mantel, and get rid of the window, but for now I'm happy with it.

Grandbabies and projects have kept me hopping this spring & summer, and now I'm itching for some cooler weather. Bring on some AUTUMN I say! While I wait to be able to BREATHE fresh, non-humid air, I'll share some more projects. And next time I won't wait so long between posts. :-)

Do you enjoy looking at your (and other folks') project Before & Afters? 


  1. these are ALL amazing! I love reading your posts! It's so beyond anything I would ever even THINK to do! And your entryway looks 10 times better! I remember thinking the old paper was interesting, but not loving the color. This is much brighter and prettier! :)

  2. Thanks, Christy! Yes, grass cloth can really be nice, but what was in the entry here was not a fine grade of grass cloth and the color was not right. I LOVE the new look and glad you love my posts! I need to post more often, methinks. Thanks for leaving a comment!


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