I remember my first apartment like it was yesterday…
How excited I was to pick out the wall paper border for the kitchen and bathroom.
Shopping for living room furniture with my Mom.
Rescuing the electric fireplace from my parent’s garage to dress up my simple living room.
And, my determination to create a stylish home despite my limited budget.
This nostalgia was brought on while helping my niece with a furniture flip project. She bought a beat up, secondhand kitchen island with the idea of turning it into a coffee bar; her first project in creating a cozy sitting area, perfect for morning coffee.
The island had good lines with a nice design. But, what I loved most about it, was my niece saw it and immediately had a vision for what it could be.
Then, she called Aunt Sharon for some D.I.Y. help.
We ran into a few snags, and at one point, my niece wanted to stop while we were ahead, but we pressed on and eventually flipped that has-been kitchen island into the stylish coffee station she envisioned.
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For this particular project we used:
- Rags (old wash cloths and t-shirts)
- Sanding block
- Painter’s tape
- Wood filler
- Wood and varnish stripper
- Wood stain in dark walnut, satin finish
- Polyurethane in clear satin
- Chalk Paint brush or chip brush
- Stain brush
- Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in yesteryear
- Americana Decor Creme Wax in clear
- Hand scraper for varnish removal (paint supply section of any hardware store)
- New hardware (optional)
- Thick paper plates for paint/stain palettes
- Paint can opener or flat head screwdriver
- Paint cloth
We spent the first day of the project prepping and painting the furniture. First, by wiping down the furniture to make sure it was clean and ready to take paint.
We also filled the deeper scratches, dings and chewed legs with wood filler. After the wood filler dried, we used a fine grit sanding block to smooth it down.
And of course, we taped off the glass on the door to protect it from paint.
After we applied the first coat of paint together, I left my niece to finish painting.
On day two of the project, we focused on stripping and staining the top of the furniture. I applied the stripper according to the package directions and waited 30 minutes before scraping away the varnish.
After washing the residual varnish and stripper off, I used a small brush to apply the stain to the top and sides of the counter. Then, after 5 or ten minutes, wiped it off with a rag, and repeated the process to get the stain color just right.
While that was drying, we used wood glue to secure the drawer glide back in place, and tightened up the sides of the furniture so that the furniture wouldn’t wobble. (That just required pushing the sides of the furniture so that the pegs could slide back into the holes.)
Then, I applied the first coat of poly to the top of the counter. Unfortunately, the sides of the counter top wouldn’t take the stain, so I had to come up with plan B. I ended up following this tutorial for creating a faux wood finish using a sample pot of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco and the stain we had on hand.
The rest of the sealing process, and the other finishing touches, were left to my niece. The next day, she sent me pictures of her new coffee station!
I love that we were able to bring her vision for this piece of furniture, and her breakfast room, to life.
I hope that in between shopping for supplies, learning how to paint furniture, and discovering the beauty of Plan B, she picked up a few other lessons, too. Like, she can do anything she puts her mind to. And, how a coffee station isn’t just a coffee station; it’s a lifestyle. And, how sometimes creating the life you want takes grit.
And, in twenty years from now, as she looks back on this furniture flip, and creating her first home with her husband, I hope she remembers it as fondly as I remember my first apartment.
See you in class,