Office Got A Tweak {Room Makeover}

Hi Everyone, hope you had a nice weekend! Ours was a busy one painting, tacking, installing hardware, and dismantling a pallet. We have three room makeovers on the go at the moment - why do just one when you can do three!

It all started with some Pinterest inspiration. I came across this and a few other pins featuring the Bedford Collection from Pottery Barn.

I fell in love with this look and then thought to myself, "wait a minute I have a similar custom made unit sitting in the guest room with nothing in it". It was built many many many years ago...okay, not that many... for Mr. Frugalista's childhood bedroom. It was later passed down to each of our children at various stages of their childhood.

Custom desk unit before in the guest bedroom

This was it's last childhood incarnation.
Custom desk unit before in our daughter's old room
I dragged that baby out of the guest bedroom and into my office lickety split and got to work making it look more "officey".  And so the office makeover began...

I had already painted it white when our daughter's room was converted into a guest room but those handles just had to go.  I don't know how many finger nails I broke trying to pry the drawers open.
Custom desk unit before with old handles
The wood handles were glued on - try removing 40 year old handles without damaging the drawer fronts!  I did it but not successfully on some drawers.  Nothing that a little Dynamic Dyna Patch couldn't handle.
Custom desk unit after with new hardware
The drawer in the desk unit had some graffiti so it needed a little makeover. First I had Mr. Frugalista make some drawer dividers that I painted white. I lined the drawer with some pretty paper and added a glass knob for some glam.
Custom desk unit drawer makeover
Take a look at these Before and After pictures - it looks so much more professional now.

Custom desk unit before and after View A

Custom desk unit before and after View B

This is my office Before the makeover:

Office before makeover View 1

Office before makeover View 2

This is my office After the makeover:

Office after makeover View 1

Office after makeover View 2

Office after makeover View 3

Office after makeover View 4
My office feels much larger now and it is definitely far more functional! Next up...the guest bedroom makeover (coming soon).


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Antique Balloon Back Chair Makeover

Mr. Frugalista and I were so excited when we inherited this lovely Antique Balloon Back Chair from his Uncle's estate. Those curvy legs and carved details fit right into our decorating style. While the red velvet seat had a faint stain, otherwise the chair was in excellent condition.

It has been a well-used chair in our home and for many years sat at a long cherry wood sofa table we used as a writing desk in our living room. Sadly after one too many gatherings and surviving two kids and a dog it started to look worn and tired, much like it's owners.

Antique Balloon Back Chair After Makeover

This is what it looked like before. You can see the fabric is well worn and there are knicks and scratches on the wood frame.

Antique Balloon Back Chair Before Makeover

An Antique Balloon Back Chair Makeover From The Inside Out

Antique Balloon Back Chair

Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. If you make a purchase through the links, there is no extra charge to you and I will receive a small commission to support my blogging wardrobe with a fresh new set of pajamas (don't judge). See my full disclosure policy.

Painting the frame

First I filled the knicks and gouges in the wood frame. Then I gave the chair a coat of Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ and all those lovely carved details popped.
Balloon back chair chalked in Old White

When I went to start the second coat I noticed dark spots coming through the paint. Paint bleed from the tannins in the dark wood. I brushed a coat of shellac over the first coat of paint before applying the second coat and it worked like a charm.

Distressing the finish

Using 220-grit sandpaper, I lightly distressed the paint along the edges and spots along the legs that would normally see wear and tear.
Balloon Back Chair Chalked Painted and Distressed

Waxing the frame

I applied a thin coat of clear wax, also by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ using a round wax brush. Before the wax dried and working in sections, I applied dark wax making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies and wiped away the excess with a lint free rag.

Dark Wax Tip: 

A great way to get deep into the nooks and crannies of a piece with dark wax is to use a small inexpensive chip brush and cut the bristles down to 1-inch high. It is my go to brush for this purpose.

Changing the plan

Because the fabric on the seat was showing wear but not torn, the plan was to chalk paint the upholstery in the color Duck Egg Blue. As I was about to get started I noticed something didn't feel right underneath that fabric.

Deconstructing the chair

Upon removing the fabric I noticed the first layer of cotton batting was still in good condition. So far so good.
Original cotton batting layer on antique chair

I was expecting horse hair underneath the batting but surprise - it was layers of stinky, dusty, messy straw.
Straw stuffing in old balloon back chair

Once I removed the bulk of the straw I noticed the burlap base was ripped and disintegrated.
Disintegrated burlap layer on old balloon back chair

Replacing straw and burlap I can handle but what was waiting underneath, I was not prepared for.

Suddenly I had flashbacks of all the gatherings where this chair had been used and realized how forgiving the poor souls who had to endure hours with springs poking up their butts and never once complained or said a word. Talk about embarrassing.

You can see in the photo below the twine had broken in several spots, leaving those springs standing at attention.
Deteriorated spring twine on old balloon back chair

At this point, I am very nervous.
Loose springs in antique balloon back chair

After a good clean with the shop vac, I was very thankful to discover the webbing was still in good condition and that all four springs were still tightly attached.

Okay, now what?

Have I mentioned that I've never upholstered a chair before?

I've taken apart old chairs for someone else to upholster.

I've watched the pros do upholstery.

But never have I ever attempted to fix a chair from the inside out, especially an old one.

I called a coffee break and sat staring at those wonky springs while scratching my head.
Balloon Back Chair Makeover staged with fresh picked Peonies

Upholstery 101 - here we come

I remembered I bought the book The Complete Guide To Upholstery by Cherry Dobson several months back.

Thank You, Cherry Dobson, you are my new best friend! I can't recommend this book enough, it is chalk full of easy to follow tutorials.

Putting the chair back together again

One layer at a time, thanks to Cherry Dobson, we (as in Mr. Frugalista and I) managed to put the chair back together again.
Replacing the inside of an Antique Balloon Back Chair

...and here it is.
Antique Balloon Back Chair After Makeover

...and a close-up of the fabric and upholstery gimp trim.
 New fabric and gimp on antique balloon back chair

The before and after...
Antique Balloon Back Chair Makeover Before and After

The chair is being used in our guest bedroom with the dresser we repurposed into a Faux Secretary With Pull Out Desk Top.
Back of Balloon Back Chair After Makeover

Reupholstered Antique Balloon Back Chair with desk

When we inherited this antique chair we also inherited a lovely set of nesting tables. Like the chair, we used them often during gatherings but they started to show wear and tear. They ended up receiving a couple of makeovers, one of which you can find here in the post The Nests Got A Makeover.

If you have a chair makeover in your future or know someone who does, please share this with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

Antique Balloon Back Chair Makeover From Inside Out
Like home renovations, sometimes when you think you'll just give it a fresh update, you are surprised by what awaits underneath.

If I have any message to leave you with, it's that if I can successfully makeover a chair from the inside out, being my first attempt at upholstery, you definitely can too. With the right tools and resources at hand, IT CAN BE DONE.

You will find this project shared at these fabulous link parties.

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The nests got a makeover (Again)

If you've been following me, the nesting tables I'm sharing today may look familiar. Mr. Frugalista inherited them from a family member several years ago. I loved these French Provincial nesting tables the moment I set eyes on them but the tops were warped and had a lot of scratches. For years I've contemplated having them refinished but it seemed like an overwhelming and expensive task.

Over the last two decades, they have sat in various nooks and crannies around our house. I have to admit, I was always a little embarrassed when they were used for gatherings. One day when I was out a few months ago Mr. Frugalista took matters into his own hands and while they did look better, I wasn't 100% pleased with the results.

So, I finally took the plunge and gave the nests one last makeover and I must say, I'm thrilled with the results.

Vintage Nesting Tables Makeover

The Nests Got A Makeover Again

Nesting Table Makeover with chalk paint and French Graphic

But before I go into the details of the latest makeover, I should show you what they looked like when we initially inherited them...

Vintage Nesting Tables Before Makeover

Here they are after Mr. Frugalista took a can of white gloss spray paint to them...

Vintage Nesting Tables spray painted high close white

I give him an A for effort and they certainly were an improvement but not exactly the look I had envisioned. We lived with them like that for about a year before I discovered the amazing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™.

Nesting Table Makeover with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Old White

I gave them two coats of chalk paint in the color Old White and distressed them lightly around the edges with 220 grit sandpaper for a timeworn look. Next, I protected the tables with a coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™  Clear Wax buffed to a beautiful matte finish. Then I rubbed Dark Wax into the crevices and removed the excess with a clean rag. 

Dark Wax Application Tip

Cut the bristles of a small chip brush down to about 1/2-inch with scissors. Give it a good rub with your fingers to remove any stray bristles. It works like a charm for getting into all those hard to reach crevices with dark wax. Remember to always remove the excess wax with a clean lint free rag.

You can see the dark wax nestled in the crevices of the tables pictured below...

Nesting Table Makeover after clear and dark wax

While I was swooning over the chalk paint and wax finish the nesting tables felt like they needed just a little something more. Inspired by others I saw on Pinterest where graphics had been added to the tops, I took a browse over at The Graphics Fairy website. She has amazing graphics with French Ephemera and I found the perfect Vintage Wine graphic to use on my tables.

Nesting table makeover with French Ephemera

I printed the image to the size I wanted on my laser printer and then placed a piece of carbon paper behind the printed graphic and traced the details with a pen. I find this method gives a nice dark transfer. Using black acrylic craft paint and a script liner art brush, I carefully painted over the details of the transfer.

While this may not be the easiest image transfer technique, I find it very relaxing and go into the zone

Vintage French Provincial Nesting Tables Before and After
I'm so pleased with the results and now when we host gathers, I'm not in the least embarrassed to serve drinks and food on these pretty French Provincial Nesting Tables.

You will find this project shared at these fabulous 
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Meeting Annie Sloan {Apple Box Design Studio™}

I was so thrilled to be one of the lucky people to receive an invitation to the Launch Party of the Apple Box Design Studio in St. Albert, Alberta last night. Leanne Playter is the Chief Reimaginer of this spacious new studio along with her beautiful little boutique in the historic Edmonton Highlands neighborhood.

Leanne's special guest for the evening was the one and only Annie Sloan!

The Interior Frugalista and Annie Sloan
She is my Rock Star of the paint world and I almost pee'd my pants when I met her. Can you tell by my facial expression that I'm trying hard to restrain from jumping up and down for joy. She is so incredibly down-to-earth and friendly and I just love her energy and business credo!

Meet Leanne, the owner of Apple Box Design Studio (on the right) - I just love her funky blue highlights! That's moi on the left holding the glass of wine (no surprise). Sorry for the poor quality of this photo - Mr. Frugalista took it with his iPhone and he hadn't dug into the delicious bites yet (like I did) so I think he was a little shaky.

The Interior Frugalista and Leanne Playter

Here is Annie Sloan signing my book *pinch* "she signed my book" *pinch again* and she liked my business name.
Annie Sloan autographing her book for The Interior Frugalista

They had the Chalk Paint™ Colour Cards available.  I urge anyone who paints with chalk paint to get one of these babies. Okay, I also had to shamelessly show off the autograph!

Here she is in action! She was so gracious in answering the numerous questions from the guests.  I so wanted to ask her a question about dark wax but being the shy gal that I am, I chickened out.  Leanne, I'm coming to pick your brain one afternoon *wink*.
Annie Sloan in action doing a demo at Apple Box Design Studio™

This is a little peak of the Apple Box Design Studio. They specialize in furniture redesign, sales and rentals, custom furniture painting, design consultations and creative workshops. They are the only retailers in the Edmonton area of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™. They also carry Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint and Homestead House Milk Paint. They have amazing stencils, fabrics, home décor, and specialty painting supplies available too.
The Design Studio's launch party is on Saturday, October 19th between 12:00 - 5:00 pm. I urge anyone in the Edmonton area to go check it out. You'll love Leanne and her staff!
Apple Box Design Studio™, St. Albert, Alberta

I wanted to give Leanne a congratulatory gift and decided it must be handmade using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ (Old White and Versailles) and so here is what I gave her. I hope she likes it! Although I realized this morning when looking at the cards she handed out that I used the wrong color on "Design Studio". Leanne, I would be more than happy to change the color for you!
Congratulatory gift for the Apple Box Design Studio™

So to Leanne and her staff...CONGRATULATIONS and thanks for an awesome evening!
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From 50's 4-Drawer Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk

Several years ago we inherited a dresser from my parent's first bedroom suite purchased in 1958. We were in need of a small desk and dresser for our small guest room. Instead, we repurposed the 50's 4-drawer dresser into a faux secretary desk with pull out drawer and it couldn't be more perfect for the room.

Vintage Dresser Repurposed Into Faux Secretary Desk

From 1950's 4-Drawer Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk

This is what the faux secretary looks like without the slide out desk extended.

Vintage Dresser Repurposed Into Faux Secretary Desk

Normally this is where I include a before picture but unfortunately, the desk conversion was done in my pre-blogging days and I never took a photo of the original dresser.

But here's a close-up of one of the drawers. They don't make them like this anymore with solid wood and dovetail joints.

Faux Secretary Desk Dovetail Joint Wood Drawers

Here's a photo of the manufacturer's stamp on the back.

Furniture Maker's Stamp on Vintage Dresser conversion

The original finish on the dresser was a blonde wood, popular in the 1950s. In a previous makeover, it was refinished with a white pickling stain. The original brass hardware was replaced with black spray painted IKEA knobs.

Here's how we converted the dresser to a faux secretary 

Remove the top drawers

The first thing we did was remove the top two drawers and the wood sliders. We kept the scalloped trim between each drawer to reuse. Removing the drawers provides an opening for guests to place their suitcase or for a basket of toiletries and snacks left for our guests.

Vintage Dresser to Faux Secretary Makeover

Add a slide-out desk

Immediately above the second drawer, we installed metal drawer slider hardware. Next, we cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit the opening and attached it to the sliding hardware to create the slide-out desktop. On the back of the sliders is a lock mechanism when the drawer is fully extended.

The scalloped trim that we removed earlier was attached directly above the slide-out desk.

With another piece of plywood, we built a shelf for the opening and attached it with brads from the sides of the dresser.

Vintage Dresser Turned Faux Secretary Makeover

Raised the dresser with feet

To raise the height of the dresser so the slide-out is at desk height, we added wooden feet from Home Depot.

Adding Wood Feet To Faux Secretary Desk

Add the pretty to the faux secretary

Beadboard wallpaper was attached to the back of the opening and chalk painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in the color Duck Egg Blue. The rest of the dresser was painted, Old White. The paint is protected with clear wax and aged with dark wax.

New metal pulls from Home Depot were added on the drawers.

Faux Secretary with paintable bead board wallpaper back

Here is a close up of the painted feet.

Painted and distressed feet on faux secretary desk

The center of each drawer looked bare so I gave them some French goodness with fleur-de-lis stencils.

Stenciled Fleur-De-Lis on faux secretary desk

The pull out drawer was begging for a pretty glass knob.

Glass knob on faux secretary desk

The pull-out desk was also painted Duck Egg Blue.

Pull out desk painted Duck Egg Blue on Faux Secretary

I always enjoy adding an element of surprise inside the drawers of my dresser makeovers. These were lined with floral wallpaper that I scored in a clearance bin at Home Depot. Because the wood on the drawers is in such good shape I decided not to paint them.

Wallpaper lined drawers on Faux Secretary Desk

For a special touch, I handpainted a French typography sentiment found on the Graphics Fairy website for our guests to enjoy. You can see how I did it in my Image Transfer Technique tutorial.

French Graphic on Faux Secretary Desk

So what do you think? Has our dresser transformation inspired you to turn an old dresser into a faux secretary?

1950's 4-Drawer Dresser now Faux Secretary with pull out desk

In case you're wondering about the antique chair I paired with the Faux Secretary Desk, you can find that makeover in my Antique Balloon Back Chair Makeover post. Have you ever seen the inside of an antique chair? NASTY

For more small desk inspiration, you can see how I gave a Queen Anne Writing Desk a Bombay Co. meets Anthropology makeover with French flair.

I also breathed new life into this Curbside Rescue Secretary Desk with chalk paint and new knobs.

If you have any questions about our faux secretary desk, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

From Vintage Dresser To Faux Secretary Desk

You will find this project shared at these fabulous link parties.

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