Monday, June 22, 2009

I'll Take Cream With That

Here’s my latest dumpster dive. The fun part is that I’m friends with the woman who threw it away. I think it will be cool to invite her over and see if she recognizes this old dresser, now a console, that I plucked from the curb.

The bottom drawer was broken, so out it went, and I tucked a cute little stool underneath. I switched out the old knobs for cut glass ones. I'm totally bummed that the creamy white paint made the crookedness of the drawers stand out so much, but overall I'm happy with it. Cost: $3 each for the knobs and a little white paint. Here's the cute but a little broken original. I don't feel bad about tampering with it, since it was going to a landfill anyway:

My grandma and grandpa have lived in the same house since the 1940’s. It has 2 bedrooms, a living/dining room, kitchen and a bath. Grandma’s secret to keeping it bright and airy? White paint on everything. I don’t know how long it took Grandpa to get on board with the white paint, but he’s surely been at peace with it a while, since they’ve been married over 70 years.

Most men are more than a little reluctant to embrace putting paint on anything other than walls, while women want to take the plunge. “But it’s such nice wood!” is the line heard ‘round the world when wives propose painting wood trim, cabinets, paneling or even an old chair. The “nice wood” label is certainly debatable, but men, perhaps from the earliest ages, have prized their wood. That last line did not come out the way I intended, but I think you know what I’m saying.

I bet that back in the day when some guy came back to the hut with a dandy new catapult, his wife tried to convince him to jazz it up by rubbing a little limestone on it or even some mashed berries for color.

Tom’s not too psyched about my spray painting proclivities, but he doesn’t say much. He knows he is NOT the arbiter of decor in this house. One reason my getting stuff out of the trash or at the thrift store works so well for us is that whole paint thing go. Until yesterday.

See, my latest dream is a creamy off-white kitchen. My current kitchen? Nice, dark wood cabinets. It’s easier to take the plunge and paint kitchen cabinets if they are old and dingy, but our remodeled kitchen (in a 1960’s house) is very well done and was a big selling point when we bought the house 6 years ago.

I just didn’t stop to consider that within a few years I’d be yearning to tweak, to change, okay, to paint those cabinets! And Tom? Not coming on board with tampering with them. Here he is enjoying them. Please excuse the mess.

Tom is right to be reluctant (or adamantly opposed) to my painting the cabinets, because when I paint things, it is usually pretty shoddy work. I’ve toyed with the idea of selling some of the chairs and other stuff I’ve “made over,” but I know other people’s standards would be more exacting than mine. They might expect the bottom of things to be painted, or for me to wipe off cobwebs before plunging in. None of which is a given.

If I’m doing a particularly crappy job on a project, Tom will sometimes swoop in to save me. Seeing my drips bugs him. Not that I would ever do something like this on purpose, but I will tell you that when Tom and I were dating and I burned a big hole in his pants with an iron, I sealed my fate of never having to iron again. Well played, I think.

So, my dream of off-white cabinets, black soapstone or white carrera marble counters, and gorgeous open shelving (yea, try organizing plastic Ikea cups on those!) remains just a dream for now.

Maybe when I’m an old lady in a cottage by the sea.

And as for my next half-arsed spray-painting project? I think I need to give Tom a break and start small.

With the coffee table, perhaps?


Lexilooo said...

70 years?! that is so amazing and wonderful!

also, the dresser is adorable!

Mags said...

I love how you fixed up the dresser. I LOVE white furniture.

All 3 of my children have white bedroom furniture. Also, my sister and I recently had someone paint my grandparents' twin beds white. She has one for her son, and I have one for my youngest daughter.

Christy said...

I am sure she won't recognize that dresser/console table. I had to do a double take myself!

And, 70 years! That's amazing and awe-inspiring!

I say go for it - the coffee table. Be sure to take a before pix!

Good luck convincing him on the kitchen...

Lynn Kellan said...

Are you me? Because I paint exactly the same way. I didn't even use a drop cloth when I painted the hallway a couple of days ago.

I must say that your kitchen cabinets are beautiful, unfortunately. But you are a creative, intelligent woman...I bet you'll come up with a great idea to brighten the room up.

Maybe you can iron the kitchen cabinets!

Heidi said...

I too want a creamy off white kitchen and have talked about painting them. My husband doesn't want for me to do it either. I'm pretty confident that one day I'll have my way.

Love the work on the console table!

Keetha said...

That is a great looking find. I'd never have thought of either painting it white nor pushing a stool under it - great ideas!

Freckles Chick said...

Your grandma was way ahead of her time! If it ain't right, paint it white is what I say. =] My dream kitchen is an all white one w/ cararra marble counters....yum.

The dresser looks lovely--fabulous job Anna! It went from dated to coastal/vintage chic. And hello, I'm lusting after that chair--the tall cutout back is to die for.

(Thank you so much for dropping by my blog w/ your kind words!)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love your dumpster diving stories. It reminds me so much of all of my mom's finds. I currently own a Chippendale couch that my mother found abandoned on the East West Highway in NY back in the late '60s. Not worth anything since the middle back legs were sawed off (we assume that someone once did this to fit it through a door/around a corner?) - but it's a gorgeous couch. Just needed new upholstery.

purejoy said...

ohhh, don't paint your husband!! he's cute just the way he is!
i hear you on the kitchen makeover. i have a dream of an entire ikea kitchen one day. really. i think i would slip into a julia child coma!!

2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs said...

We just painted the whole house interior white. It felt so much cleaner. I would love to do our kitchen cabinets white but my kids have already managed to cause chaos in their bedroom and it has to be repainted. I love reviving old furniture.

SamiJ said...

Cheap thumbtacks (vinyl top) can help make the drawers look more level -- the vinyl kind so the drawers will still glide smoothly.
Just push them in on the frame of the lower side of the drawer.