With the kitchen and nook checked off our list, we were asked earlier this week if that completes our first floor, and if so, what’s next? Well, we’re thisclose, with the exception being a teeny bathroom that’ll have to wait. In the meantime, we’ve been kicking out a handful of things that we’ve been meaning to do for a while – pruning our house plants, potting new, deep cleaning area rugs (so wonderfully satisfying!) and making piles to donate or sell as we purge, purge, purge. (Apparently our spring cleaning memo came late this year? Just kidding, purging is, like, my favorite thing ever.)
Most recently, we finally set aside time this past Sunday to update our media center, and you guys, what a difference that made to the whole first floor! You might remember a long, long time ago, we bought this credenza, made a few alterations to fit our things and then made a few more while upgrading our speaker system. Out of curiosity, I looked back on that first post, and I made mention that we were thinking of painting it – 2 years ago:
This piece was a steal at about $60 from Jubilee Furniture (city locals, you must go!), but here’s the thing: It’s not real wood. The entire top and drawer/sliding door fronts are all a laminate veneer, with only the legs boasting a thin wood veneer. We’ve never loved the orangey tone, but it’s served us well for the last couple of years, and we’ve always loved the slim, simple shape. It’s built with a strong, hefty weight to it, and it’s the perfect size for our space.
Jumping back to last month, I attended an Amy Howard workshop in Memphis alongside fellow Ace Hardware bloggers, which was, without a doubt, one of the most eye-opening workshops I’ve ever been a part of, as we got to play firsthand with her artisan quality paints, patinas and waxes. DIY game changers, for sure! Amy Howard is a long time furniture designer (and an all around warm, inspiring woman) that created her signature chalk-based product, One Step Paint, and has, in turn, flipped my world upside down! Her new product line has since debuted at Ace Hardwares across the country, and as cliché as this must sound, the possibilities are endless – from ultra matte finishes to high gloss, from painting glass to veneers to fabric, she’s got it covered.
But! The One Step Paint, my goodness. At the beginning of the workshop, she asked each of us to share what we were most excited to learn, and I admitted that I needed to see this One Step Paint up close; could it really be one step?, I asked. We’ve painted a lot of pieces that have held up incredibly well over the years (not without trial and error, of course), and just when we thought we got our three-part-system down to a science, Amy threw a wrench in our plans – in the best possible way.
And so the media center received yet another makeover, this time with One Step Paint + wax!
SUPPLIES + TOOLS USED
Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint
Amy Howard at Home Clear Wax
Diluted Simple Green
Wood filler + putty knife
Fine grit sandpaper
2″ angled paint brush
4″ mini roller + tray
Amy Howard at Home 2″ round brush
Clean lint-free rags
WHAT WE DID. The day before painting, I filled dents and missing veneer with wood filler and sanded those parts smooth with fine grit paper. Once that was done, we took out all the drawers, taped off the drawer glides and used diluted Simple Green to wash everything down. Once dry, I followed up with clean water to get rid of any remaining residue. Because One Step Paint is a no VOC formula, we laid down drop cloths to prevent drips on our rugs and set the credenza up in our living room. (Note: Simple Green is a degreaser that typically comes in a concentrated form. Always dilute following label instructions before using.)
We wanted a color that would lighten the room, and although the One Step Paint has pre-mixed colors available, it can still be tinted to any color you like! We considered pure white, but after staring at swatches for two days straight, we landed on a gray-like off-white, Valspar’s Shrouded Lace. We liked that the color gives off a monochromatic vibe with our walls (although it is a teensy shade darker), giving it a slightly modern edge.
I used a 2″ angled brush to get in the corners and a 4″ mini foam roller to cover the larger flat surfaces. With One Step Paint, there is no need for priming OR sanding (although I’ve since converted, this is where my hesitation showed through during the workshop!), but because the credenza is dark, I did go over everything with two coats, plus a third on the top and sides. The paint dries incredibly quick, so much so, that once I was done with round one, I could go back and continue with the second layer!
And that’s it – if you’d like! If you enjoy the pure matte look, you can call it a day, but we pushed on with clear wax to give it a satin sheen. I’d never used wax before the workshop, and I learned that the trick is to use it with a gentle touch. We picked up Amy’s 2″ round brush from Ace, which was helpful for our large piece. To use, I lightly swirled my brush in the wax, and I off-loaded the excess on a sheet of cardboard. From there, I made quick criss-crossed motions with my wrist as I covered the credenza, continuing to swirl, off-load and criss-cross until finished. Tip: Never, ever go from the wax to the furniture. Always off-load the wax to prevent unnecessary build up. A little goes a long way! When done, clean your wax brush by soaking in mineral spirits and following up with a warm, soapy water rinse.
After an hour, I used a soft (lint-free!) microfiber rag to buff the surface, and the credenza was done. I feel as though there should be more to say, but it really is that easy! The One Step paint feels fool-proof; the consistency is slightly thicker than your usual latex-based formula, and the matte finish helps to conceal flaws. The wax coating gives it a silky feel, and it hardened up nicely.
We also added hardware with these edge pulls (and a dose of gold spray paint for good measure!), and if it looks lower to you, it’s because we cut the legs down for a sleeker look before adding these casters, too. (The cute planter was picked up at Humboldt House!)
Inside the drawers, we stash games and extra cables (for connecting our laptop to the television, for example), and our receiver and cable box sit in the middle:
One of the best parts of keeping an online journal? We love to look back and see where these rooms started! In calling the living room done (not counting impending tweaks, you know?), I couldn’t help but dig up these old photos before we reconfigured a few things. Below, you’ll see how this room looked before we moved in versus today, as well as get a sense of how the living area connects to the entry and nook:
Here’s an angle taken from the dining room, but this obviously shows that chaotic, somewhat-stressful, somewhat-hopeful state during construction! Just looking at this photo, I can feel the dust hanging in the air:
Living room, you’ve come a very, very, very long way!
If you’d like to lean more about Amy Howard products, she’s hosting a free live workshop with Ace Hardware today, Thursday, October 22nd, at 12pm CST. You can register right here and see how Amy rescues furniture using her signature One Step Paint! In addition, you can enter Amy Howard at Home Sweepstakes to win $500 to Ace + a Memphis trip for two and attend the workshop in person – a real treat, truly.
And, and! Together with the Ace crew, we’re giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! The giveaway runs through Wednesday, October 28th at 5pm CST; simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The winner will be announced within this post by Wednesday evening. Good luck and happy entering!