Four poster bed in Black (part 3)


Sherwin Williams Tricorn is a gorgeous black! I ended up diluting this paint at 1 cup to 1/4 cup water for my paint sprayer. I tested the color on a wood scrap and and made sure the Velvet Finishes Protect (water based poly) would be okay with this paint. Everything checked out okay! So onward with the project!

Start your project on the back or an inconspicuous area so you can get a feel for the sprayer. Always start the spray pointed away from your project so you don’t get splatter. I found working outside much easier then the garage and inside the house would have resulted in a huge mess!


I decided to use sawhorses to prop up the head and footboards because it helped me get one coat on the front and back. The above photo shows the first coat which is still showing a lot of white and unevenness in the coat. Remember, you want light coats, not heavy, so it’s not unusual for the base primer to show through at this stage.

Below is the first coat (left) and second coat (right):

When dealing with molding and carvings, change the position of the piece you are painting to get the coverage inside the crevices. After spraying the bed in the upright position, I turned the headboard flat. Curves can really hide places where you are not getting coverage! The same for legs – move the piece higher so you can see the legs at chest height in order to doublecheck the coverage.


Large flat areas also take a lot of time to cover so you don’t have streaks. This third coat is starting to even out but it will take time to get that nice even coverage in thin, light coats. Be patient!


Some more tips on using an electric Spray Gun for paint:

Always dilute the paint according to the machine’s instructions;

Always keep your machine clean because that is the biggest source for paint spray issues;

Always look on the can and use only when temperature and humidity are right, as spraying when it is too cold, hot or high in humidity leads to paint blemishes;

Remember, first and second coats should be light. At this stage you probably won’t be seeing the color coverage you want but be patient;

To get a heavier coat, move the spray gun closer to the item you are painting;

Keep the gun in motion, when you keep it in one place you get drips;

The spray is heavier at positions where you start and stop it, which could result in splotches if you don’t keep it moving;

Always check between coats for blemishes such as hair, drips or nicks in the paint coat so you can correct as soon as possible;

With this sprayer, if the nozzle is perpendicular, spray up and down;

If the nozzle is horizontal, move the sprayer side to side;

To better coverage inside of the spirals, turn the nozzle to the 45 degree position;


Well, this project is going to take several days – letting paint dry well between coats, dealing with the weather and humidity and finally it will need two coats of water based poly, so next time you see it, it will be in our bedroom with our new linens (Pottery Barn is having a 20% off sale on Duvets so I’m thinking I might be grabbing that Duvet I wanted this week).

Updating our four poster bed to Black (part 2) the design ideas

Originally, when I had the idea of painting the four poster bed black, I was going to distress it, but as time passed, I began to really think distressing had become a bit passe. I want whatever finish I do to the bed to last for another 10+ years so I’m looking for a deep solid black on the bed as the final finish.

So before beginning I collected some Inspiration photos on my Pinterest bedroom board:

Basset Furniture
Baker Ballard Interiors

I had a pretty good idea that the black bed would look great against the white molding wall that I will be doing behind it in the master bedroom, something similar to this feature wall.

Charles Vincent George Architects

I also knew from experience that it was hard to really find bed linens that looked good with the cream white – the poster bed itself seemed to fade away in the room. However, I think black would be stunning for example against this Pottery Barn duvet:


I had tried a Glidden black for the television cabinet with the idea I would just be using the paint for the bed but I discovered it didn’t handle the water based poly coat that I wanted to put as the topcoat so off to Sherwin Williams where I bought another black called Tricorn.


Updating our 20+ year old bed frame with paint (part 1)

We bought a four poster, king sized bed from Ethan Allen about 3 years into our marriage. It’s been with us now for over 21+ years! When we moved to Tulsa and was stuck in an apartment for six months, the bed had to be hauled up with ropes over the balcony to be brought into the bedroom as the stairs tight corner wouldn’t have allowed it to fit!

The original paint was a cream but over the years it wore poorly and became stained and dirty. The original paint yellowed in areas. Its been badly in need of a paint do over for a decade or more! And for some time I’ve been considering the color black.


First step: Cleaned the surface with Denatured Alcohol. Do this in an open area with a LOT of ventilation. Wear gloves and ventilator (if doing inside). This removes the topcoat surface (i.e. polyurethane, wax etc…). I did sand lightly as this is a project that is important to me and I want a very nice smooth finish.

Second step: Using our paint sprayer, I applied about 3 light coats of Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 123 Primer for all surfaces. This was diluted by 1 cup to 5 Tablespoons water for my electric paint sprayer (HomeRight sprayer) and I actually used the entire quart of primer for this project.

I first sprayed one side of the headboard with it leaning up against a privacy fence with plastic behind it. About an hour later, I flipped it and sprayed the other side. Once dry, it went horizontal on two sawhorses to get one side sprayed, and after it dried, the other side. Because of the decorative posts, it took different angles to get it evenly covered with primer.

A few times I didn’t keep my spray gun moving and got a drip or two, so I did sand again lightly to clear up those mistakes. The best thing to do is to keep the gun MOVING and think LIGHT COATS. It is far better to keep going back and doing another LIGHT coat then doing a thick one and then having a gloppy surface finish.

Below, the post on the right are with the 2 coats of primer, the one on the left with the first light coat.


As you can see fro m the photos, in each photo the left one still shows some of the cream and grime, while the one on the right has a nice, even coat. Also from these photos you can see that the twists on the posts would have been difficult to get nice smooth coverage using a brush or roller. Hence the spray gun was a necessity for this project!


Some thoughts on this primer – I bought it because it specifically said it would work with latex paint. The odor was far less then Kilz. In reading the reviews on Lowes for this product some people complain about it not giving a flat white the first try…  Well anyone with real paint experience knows that several light layers is better then one heavy – and that primer is just a base for a top coat.

Also, if you are spraying new wood, you should know first to use a wood conditioner, especially if the wood has knots which might later bleed through.

For me, I’m pleased with the product. It adhered to the wood very well. The coverage was even and the paint surface felt like it would give grip to the black paint I would be spraying on top. It dried quickly and I was able to work with it even though the humidity was high (over 50%, under 70%, check the can) which allowed me to get the product moved along even though the weather was uncooperative.

Because this project has ornamentation and has to be flipped for other visible sides to be done, allow a day to get it primed before moving on to the next step.

Next blog post will be about the black finish (which may take a few days as I’m waiting for the weather to clear off).

DIY Kitchen Island, updated


We had big plans on building a completely new island but as time passed we asked ourselves why we were going to go to all the trouble and expense since we are looking at this renovation just to sell the house?

When we discovered that the table legs we had our eye on vanished from the online store and we would have to go with a different size we decided to change plans altogether and make life easier. However, we had also trashed the doors so what to do!?

Here is the finish and countertop with dimensions of the original island:

kitchen island before drawer side dimedsions

We ended up using the same 3 drawer format and built new drawers that were flat against the surface to provide some interesting counterpoint to the other drawers in the kitchen. In any future kitchen I’m putting in lots and lots of drawers! We use these island drawers for spices as they are located across from the stove.



The three sections below were originally hinged doors which I found really inconvenient as they opened into the aisle across from the stove and you couldn’t access anything in them easily as they were too deep. In this new version they are now pull out, appliance storage drawers (i.e. bread machine, crockpot, waffle machine etc…) with a pierced pattern on the front similar to a Farmhouse pie-cabinet look. LOVE THEM!


Here is a diagram plan with measurements that we were working from:


The exterior paint is a latex I found in the Lowe’s bargain bin and we added a black glaze on top to tone down the green. Two additional coats of Velvet Finishes, Protect poly were put on top of that. The stain on the doors and drawers is by General Finishes and is Antique Oak. The hardware is from a local store, Garbes, and the black granite countertop is by Hoffman, a local installer.

We still need to put in supporting brackets under the overhang (something I decided to add when the counter people came out to measure) and some touch ups on paint.



We ended up loving this color so much that we’ve decided to go with it and repaint the entire base cabinetry to match.

The cream-white chalk paint we’ve lived with for 3 years is far too much trouble on base cabinetry – as this is where the spills mostly happen. Keeping it clean is almost impossible and any stain shows up on the cream -white. The cream-white base cabinetry against the white floor also doesn’t show up as well as I would like either as there isn’t enough contrast between colors.

The repaint is going to be a big pain in the neck, repaint job but it needs to happen. It was a mistake to go this direction but sometimes you don’t learn until you try something out.

Next up though is getting a new backsplash to show off our new granite counters.

Planning a kitchen island

This post I wrote as a draft three years ago… the island will have its new countertop Tuesday and I’ll update with photos. So this is a blast from the past. We decided to go a different direction but I still love these choices so check them out.

Redoing the kitchen included updating the kitchen island as part of the complete kitchen renovation.

The original cabinet is a three drawer and three door cabinet sitting on the cement foundation. Because there is no tile underneath, and we don’t plan on re-tiling the kitchen, the renovation has to take that factor into account. The island’s electrical box will also be moved to improve aesthetics.

One thing to help in the redesign is take photos from different angles you would enter the room. It helps to visualize the entire space. With this kitchen it’s three directions and these are the two most highly trafficked directions:

From the photos, the island looks just like a box, nothing special. It also blends in with the other cabinetry and just looks like more cabinetry. Fashion wise, today’s kitchen islands look more and more like furniture, preferably an “antique” that has been added to the kitchen either before or after it’s construction.

BTW changing your current island or installing a new one, check your code. There are specifics about how far the island can be placed from the stove, fridge, and dishwasher, as well as the width of walkways through the kitchen. You don’t want to change your island, only to find out you can’t remove your stove!

Looking over alot of ideas for kitchen islands and these were my favorites and why:

The blue island has awesome cornerlegs and I really like how the base molding is done. The only fault is the countertop should have been thicker too for better proportion.

I like the proportion of the upper with the lower, shorter leg on this table from I also like the base shelf being completely open. Our design would need the baseboard to go all the way to the floor to conceal the lack of tile.

Another design with the bottom completely open from I think the advantage this design would make the kitchen appear larger. My only problem is how this space would be used for storage and is it realistic for how we use storage in our kitchen?

After reviewing what I liked and why, I know I want to keep the drawers. They are way useful and the kitchen runs a bit short on drawers. Another choice for storage would be baskets for holding onions, garlic, potatoes and other dry pantry items and/or vegetables. I like this idea as it would provide texture and country to the kitchen without going overboard.

Our original plan was this, which I love and may use one day however, for this house we completely went a different direction (and I’ll post later about why).


Television media stand from vintage sideboard (part 3)




Wow! This project went a lot faster and was easier then I expected although we did have a few bumps in the road. Not sure why I waited so long!


First, the vintage cabinet got some repairs and changes made to its structure. The inside shelf was removed, the height was shortened by removing two drawers, and veneer was replaced or repaired.

TIP – if looking to do the same find furniture that is made from 100% wood and is preferably with construction that is tongue and groove (hint: look at the drawers and inside corners).

Second, the television cabinet former sideboard was painted with two coats of Black Onyx semi gloss latex premium paint from Glidden. My other blog post has a lot of tips on how to use the HomeRight Paint Sprayer to make it go much easier and faster. However, I would not use this paint brand again (see below on why).

Now for the finishing touches:

First, we used a coat of paint stripper on the top of the cabinet. This was to remove any old topcoat of varnish or poly as well as clean off any gunk.

Next it was sanded using mostly a fine sandpaper on an electric sander. Again this was just to lighten the wood from the original stain. Husband did this for me and was very industrious! He got it down to bare wood and almost all of the damage out, except for one round stain that remains.


The stain I used on the top is a water based, wood stain by General Finishes called Antique Oak. I like this color because it has a gray undertone in it and not the dreaded yellow or red color you see in other oak stains.

You may be more familiar with the wipe on Java gel stain this company offers due to the many, many Pinterest projects that use it 😀 If you haven’t used General Finishes before, I highly recommend their products. Very easy to use and a great result.

This water based, stain product is a bit thick like their Java Gel stain, and it is also grainy which surprised me. It went on darker then I expected but that was okay. It dried very fast! So work quickly! I used a foam brush applicator, wore latex gloves and wiped off with a lint clean rag.

TIP: This top was down to bare wood and it was very dry. It soaked up the stain very quickly so be aware you might need to work faster on old wood, vintage pieces then you would on projects that use new wood.


After one coat of stain, I put on two protective coats of Velvet Finishes Protect on the top and Howard paste wax in neutral on the bottom. The first time using this wax and I’m impressed. Went on very easy (unlike Annie Sloan’s wax) and had the most delicious smell! Easy to buff too.

Behind the Scenes: I tried VF Protect on the black paint area and boy was that a mistake! It immediately started stripping off the paint! Whoa! So if using this product on anything but their own line do a test patch first. I already knew it worked well over this stain due to the kitchen island project where I used them both in combination.

The cabinet originally had wood knobs which I felt made it too country and dated for me. Those I replaced.

The doors didn’t close right and that wasn’t because they were warped (very hard to fix) but because they needed new hardware. Replaced!

Thoughts on this project:

I made a few mistakes. First one, is that I should have treated the bare wood panel we used on one side with a primer or sealant. Once the paint hit it, it raised the wood grain, giving a rough appearance to the surface. Solution? I gave it a slight hand sanding to smooth it down and then repainted that panel with the black.

Second mistake, when I put the cabinet up on 5 gallon buckets that wasn’t really high enough. I should have waited and used the sawhorses which would have allowed me to approach each side at a different angle by simply adding a step stool or not using a step stool. When you can’t change the paint approach slightly (instead you approach head on so to speak) it is hard to get coverage into crevices. I later touched that up with a foam brush.

Third mistake, I used the Velvet Finishes Protect on the black area without doing a test and disaster! It removed the black paint like a paint remover! Egad! Immediately cleaned it off with denatured alcohol, let dry and reapplied the black with a foam brush on the damaged areas.

I do wish I had sprayed on a primer. I think it would have given more grip for the paint and when I do the next project, the King Poster Bed, I will use a primer.

I also wish we had put some sort of ornamentation on the front kickboard area as it looks a little too plain next to all the other carving. OTOH, I’ve since swept in this room and the kickboard allowed me to get a clean sweep across without shoving dust under the unit. Yay!

I think this project would have looked even cooler in a color! Like a red, coral, turquoise or blue. However, I know we’ll be moving in a few years and wanted this in a classic color that would work with a lot of different furniture colors so black it was.

Future thoughts…

The inside of this unit is to store dvds but the current containers I have for them isn’t quite the right size. I looked at Target, Walmart, and Bed and Bath and no one has containers for DVDs??!!

I need a bin that has a straight side, not tapered (that removes the interior space) and with a lid. I found these small and large box at the Container Store so that looks like the storage solution there. Though still looking through various possibilities at Ikea.

Television media stand from vintage sideboard (part 2)


Before painting this piece, it was cleaned using denatured alcohol; this removes any wax or topcoat and also cleans off the dust and grime. It didn’t really need any sanding except over the repaired areas (see the last post).

Paint used: Glidden Premium, semi gloss latex, color Deep Onyx from Home Depot. I bought a gallon as I’ll be using this color on my four poster bed and the front door.

Dilution: 3 cups paint to 15 tablespoons water. This was a THICK PAINT! so this was the number I went with after using the cup provided by the HomeRight paint sprayer kit.

The Good:

The last time I used a paint sprayer it was a commercial one and it made a lot of overspray! This machine is far more targeted so that means less of a chance of a big mess. However, I would still tape off or cover in plastic anything you don’t want misted if you were doing this inside or in the garage. I did this project outdoors as it was a lovely day with little wind.

After reading the directions the machine was actually far easier to use then I expected from the Amazon reviews. It’s not that complicated but it does take some experimentation with testing the paint’s viscosity and figuring out the best amount of pressure and nozzle direction for your project.

The paint went further then I expected (about 2 cups finished the project). With a commercial paint sprayer it hooks into a gallon or 5 gallon tank and used a lot more paint so I’m very pleased with this HomeRight because it’s just right for smaller projects.

It dried amazingly fast. Because the first coat was thin with a sprayer (vs. a brush or roller) it was dry within 30 minutes. I went back and got a second coat on without having to clean my sprayer. Yay!

Timewise, I got the first coat applied in 10 minutes, the second coat in about 8 minutes. If I had been using a brush or roller with all the carving on this piece this would have been a half day project of rolling and cutting in around the carved pieces. TIMESAVER.



DO NOT SKIP THE STEP OF DILUTING YOUR PAINT (if needed). Be sure to test it. That was actually the longest part of my project and took me half an hour to get it right. Husband was going to dilute the whole gallon and I was like hold on there cowboy!

I took one cup in a container and tested that over and over again. I wasn’t going to dilute the entire gallon and then end up ruining it. Start small, test small and then apply to the larger batch you are going to do. Mine for example was 3 cups paint to 15 tablespoons water and that did the entire project.

The job went very well because of the time spent on testing the thickness of the paint. Also, I plan on doing my king sized, poster bed with this same paint/sprayer technique so when I start that project, I already know the dilution needed.

Once you have your paint loaded and you are about to pull that trigger – WAIT. Get a piece of cardboard and spray on it for about 1 minute. That loads up the paint into the sprayer and you won’t get that first splotchy coat on your proect. It also gives you a moment to adjust the nozzle or pressure.

This machine works a lot like a can of spray paint (but much better). Some of the issues you have with spraypaint you can run into here – don’t keep your sprayer pointed at one place – keep it moving all the time or you will end up with blotching.

You need to be quick to take your hand/finger off the trigger! Don’t go heavy and put the handle in a death grip! Be ready to stop at anytime when you are not sure by simply removing the pressure on the handle.

Just like spraypaint cans if your nozzle gets dirty or jammed, your flow will come out splotchy and uneven. Always clean your machine between jobs or even within the same job if you are taking too long between coats. It’s why I bought a special cleaning kit to make it go easier.

The nozzle direction didn’t quite work out the way I was expecting so the first few passes were a bit chancy. I changed the nozzle and it worked better for the way I intuitively paint. Be ready to make changes and start with an experimental piece to test out how the machine works.

The spray looked a little bumpy on that first coat, however, on this project, when I went back in 30 minutes the paint coat had magically evened out! Yay! So finish wise I have to say I feel it is just about right for what I wanted. Unless you have an obvious run, wait till the first coat dries and examine to see if it is right.

At first, I felt the droplet spray was a little too large and not as fine as I would like. This is a compromise. Do you want more area covered? Bigger spray. Smaller area takes more time but the spray can be finer. Again, pick a piece to experiment with (or some cardboard) to get a feel for the machine.

People complain about the short cord. I actually prefer the short cord and use an extension cord. My sander has a long cord but it isn’t long enough to really work around a project so it ends up being more of a pain to store then a help. Just use an extension cord 😉

I also bought an extra paint container with lid. So after I finished the black paint, I capped the paint container that came with the original sprayer and put it aside to later use for my bed project.

If you are going to be switching back and forth between paints or topcoats and don’t want to clean out each container or  you want to store back your diluted paint but not with the un-diluted paint, consider buy some of these!

DON’T BE SLOPPY, CLEAN YOUR MACHINE! Just like any spray can, if the nozzle gets jammed it can’t mist the paint or other product you want to use. If you are not applying coats within 30 minutes of each other, your paint could be drying in the nozzle which would effect the quality of future sprays.

Yes, it takes time to take the machine apart and clean it, but the finish and relief from other hassles (cleaning brushes, having the garbage of spray paint cans and rollers, more time painting etc…) is well worth it.

I’ll be wrapping up the info blog posts for this project by tomorrow with info on staining the top of the cabinet, putting in hardware so the doors close better and new knobs.