I love Pinterest, I really do. And I love the DIY blogs that show how easy it is to freshen up one's home and create inexpensive knock-offs of high-end decorator items. And earlier this spring, I was so inspired by having the downstairs floor replaced, and the DIY blogs I was reading, and the beautiful pieces of furniture I was seeing on Pinterest, that I decided to tackle a project. I've had this hutch in the dining room which was purchased some years ago because a) it fit the somewhat narrow space between two windows and b) it was pretty inexpensive and c) it had some very pretty details.
I always disliked how dark it was. So, with the burst of creative energy fueled by enthusiastic blogs and Pinterest images, I set to work.
Let me digress a moment here to ask you: Have you ever made a recipe from Pinterest? Or from a magazine? And did yours turn out looking as beautiful as the picture? Uh huh. This should have told me something.
Following the directions of a certain inspirational DIY blogger (who shall remain nameless here), I bought the recommended supplies. In order to have it tidy and perfect, I took the cabinet doors off and removed all of the hardware. (First really annoying glitch: the screw heads were weirdly flat with very shallow grooves so they were hard to grip with every single screwdriver in the house. I persisted, but it wasn't fun.) But I am woman, and I was roaring. So I persevered.
I sanded the bejeezus out of the thing. I followed the hardware store's advice and got a primer that is supposed to stick to anything. I applied primer to tone down the very dark wood, because I was intending to paint it a lovely pale color. My first choice was pale yellow, and I started in with a beautiful creamy, buttery yellow. Until the Teen of the household got a look, and told me in no uncertain terms that she hated it, that yellow is her least favorite color because -- imagine this said in a scornful, dramatic, accusing teenaged tone, "it's the color of SUNSHINE."
While I could (inwardly) smile at her drama, I'd actually been doubting the wisdom of the yellow. So I took a day or two to consider while allowing more time for paint to dry... and I decided that perhaps a better choice would be a pale aqua. I asked the teenager's opinion and got a begrudging approval.
So, I happily resumed painting. I had a lot of fun mornings out in the garage, door open to breezy sunshine, music from the ipod keeping me company. And I referred back often to my DIY Blogger Mentor. Do a coat, let it dry, and then sound down any drips, wipe it down, and do a second coat. Easy!
Except. Latex paint doesn't sand. It sort of peels. Yep, my brother told me on the phone one night, everyone knows that trying to sand latex paint makes a mess. Everyone? Not me. Those bloggers never warned me about that. Nope, didn't mention peeling at all. (I will add that I don't live in a humid climate and I allowed for days of drying time.) So that wasn't fun, and was frustrating, and I felt like all of those steps I'd taken to make sure things were smooth and neat were just pointless.
But, I am woman. I kept at it. I consulted with my friend Nora at the hardware store who advised me on the best ways to deal with the issue. I sanded lightly. I did a very light layer. I finished the base pieces (did I say there were two, one that stacks on the other?) and moved on to the drawers and cabinet doors.
Yesterday, I enlisted the teenager's reluctant help to move the pieces into the dining room, and we got the top stacked onto the base. The color looks fabulous. The piece looks great and doesn't loom over the room the way it did when it was dark. So this morning, I set out to put the hardware back on (having selected new knobs), and attach the doors and put the drawers in.
Oh lord. Let me first say that this has all been sitting out in the garage over the past month so it could all dry thoroughly and I could brace myself for the "fun" (I now use the term loosely as applied to painting furniture) of putting it all together.
Ms. Blogger Painter didn't warn me about any of these issues, either. A layer or two of paint adds thickness to doors. So when you go to close them, they stick. And guess what? The latex paint peels. I wanted to cry.
And another surprise: it's not the best idea to paint the sides of drawers and the inner runners that they slide on -- because, yep, that latex paint sticks. As in, will not budge. Here I thought I was doing it all so neatly and thoroughly. Ah well, back to the sander. The drawers now slide, but I'm thinking I don't want to open them anyway. I just want the thing done and then I don't want to touch it. Ever again. Or for a very long time, at least.
Well, I'm pushing forward. I can sand a bit more to eliminate the peely places, and I can touch up with paint to hide those spots. It'll look fine, in the end. But I'm a little disillusioned. My grand plans to paint the living room coffee table are on hold. I have to recover from this experience first.