Pretty painted lady

Dear Auntie Moonbeam,

Do you know William Morris? Leading member of the Arts & Crafts movement in England and the original DIYer, my man Will is the source of a quote I repeat often:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful

When you live in a tiny space this quote is a litmus test for bringing anything new into your home (except people, those you can accept even if they don’t meet the above criteria. Although bonus points if they turn out to be useful!)

Along with essential questions like: do I need this? What will I do with it? Why does it cost so freakin’ much if it’s made of MDF? I like to repeat Will’s mantra when I’m contemplating adding anything to my 958 precious square feet of real estate.

Do I believe this to be beautiful? Will it be useful?

When I saw this neglected, dusty, admittedly awkward piece at the Elegant Garage Sale (if you live in the Toronto area and you’ve never been to EGS, for shame. For shame!) my first thought was – I don’t know if you’re beautiful but I think you could be hella useful…


For the forty dollar price tag I was willing to overlook a few flaws. The construction was not top notch. The drawer corners weren’t dovetailed. The knobs were spindly and too small. There was a large gap along one side.

But I liked the lines, the height and most importantly the long deep drawers on either side. Perfect for stashing a knitting project.

Yeah I knit – so what? I got no problem admitting my ol’ lady habits! Have you ever worn a handknitted sock? That is some quality foot warmth there, my friend!

First step to beautification is a good sanding. At this stage it’s hard not to be discouraged that the piece starts to look uglier than when you started…


Ewwwwww, am I right?

Fortunately in the light of day she softened up and looked decidedly less diseased


Then a happy discovery – that unsightly gap was not a result of sloppy construction but loosened dowels. A few taps with a blunt object (which may or may not have been my shoe ’cause the hammer was allllll the way over there). Throw in a little wood filler and it’s gap be gone!


I popped out those ugly mini knobs and slapped on a little more wood filler


Then the fun starts – primer baby primer!


One thin layer of primer and two thin layers of paint later and she’s ready for her close up Mr DeMille (can I use that reference if I’ve never seen the movie? #shamefuladmission)

Quick note about the colour – it’s looking awfully close to white in pictures but it’s a soft soft soft aqua in real life.


So there she is – my pretty painted lady. I say lady because c’mon, that’s clearly a girl piece of furniture. She’s even got fancy new accessories. More on those knobs in a future post…

And in case we forget where we began let’s do the ever so popular side-by-side. Ahhhh, now that’s better, isn’t it?


**Update** For a full & detailed tutorial on how to paint furniture I suggest checking out those smart cookies at Young House Love. Those two are pro stars at just about all things DIY. Their tutorial on painting a table was the basis for my pretty painted lady.


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