All posts by Dee Burton

About Dee Burton

Part designer, dreamer, doer, and DIY'er. I'm a hot mess with a paint brush and power tools. Join me as I break it down, build it up and blog it out.

05 Sep

When Bold is Beautiful

update table & chairs

You know that cliché “go big or go home”? I’ve been in restaurants with tables smaller than the one Misty commissioned me to update for her busy family. She and her husband, a local church Pastor, entertain often and loved the size of their second-hand dining room set but knew it was in need of an overhaul. So when she asked, I was happy to see what I could do to help.

Because theirs is a home full of activity – with three young children and a constant flow of visitors – their tabletop had seen better days. The clear finish had gummed up and worn away in several spots. Misty gave up trying to get it clean and opted for a large tablecloth instead.

dirty table

the infamous ‘before’ picture

The chairs were in pretty good condition. A bit of glue to tack down the splat veneer, lots of paint and new upholstery would freshen them right up. They felt solid and were heavy. And once I’d stripped them of fabric and foam I knew why.

veneer chair

guess what the seat is made from…

I guess over in Malaysia it’s common to repurpose laminate countertops into seat bases. It must also be standard practice to secure fabric with 108 staples per chair. Have you ever tried to pry staples out of MDF? I don’t recommend it. Especially not eight times over.

Another lesson learned on this project was that attempts to spot-bleach wood will fail. Miserably. And since the top was composed of thin sheets of veneer an all-over-bleaching would soak through and compromise the substrate glue. That meant my plan to restore the natural blonde wood tone was out the window.

wood bleach

spot bleaching is bad!

See, originally Misty and I both assumed the filmstrip-like border was a sticker or paint and would easily remove when the table was stripped. I was surprised to find the checks were built into the tabletop itself and couldn’t bring myself to paint over the gorgeous ebony wood inlay.

black dining table

color: caviar & paint minerals

So, I taped it off and painted over. Three times.

ebony wood inlay

salvaged ebony wood inlay

Stunning right? I love how the skirting’s dentil molding pops against the checkered pattern that ties fabulously with the polka dots on the chair seat fabric (that is on sale right now.) Seriously, I love when project pieces just fall together.

Speaking of chair seat fabric, the very day I planned to haul these puppies out of the garage for delivery I had an unexpected challenge to overcome.

reupholstered chair pad

Why is there a gap under the chair pad?

The original screws seemed to have grown a 1/4″ causing the space between the chair base and seat. Apparently, eliminating the fabric-wrapped piping from the finished design meant I’d need (32) shorter screws (and a fancy new screwdriver) to complete the project.

painted veneer chair

paint: caviar black / fabric: wizard graffiti

But look at that chair. And those chairs down there! Gorgeous.

painted chairs

paint: lime rickey

Personally, I wasn’t sure if it would all come together. See, when we first discussed paint the plan was to finish the chairs in pairs with (4) different colors (red, green, black, cream) to tie in the bold fabric. Along the way, Misty decided to streamline the palette.

modern dining set

the glorious ‘after’ shot

And it works. Now the fabric takes center stage. Removing the captain’s chairs all together changes up the look too.

black kitchen table

not bad in all black

Now Misty doesn’t have to cover up when guests come over. Her fun, inviting table will no doubt make everyone feel right at home.

painted dining room table

back at home 

black kitchen table

(pin this)

29 Aug

Mission Complete – Barn Red End Tables

mission style painted tables

When I first picked up these mission style end tables the plan was to paint and sell them as bedside tables. I had envisioned them in a creamy antique white with a French-inspired ink transfer or postmark or something romantic and swoony on top. mission style painted tables But after I got the primer and two coats of paint on I was out of steam and didn’t feel like working on them anymore. So, I set them aside and moved on to other projects. Read More

14 Aug

Sound It Out

I don’t know about the rest of you but I love music. Not just the beat or the rhythm but the lyrics themselves. When I have something to say – something really important, more often than not it’s already been said and set to music. If I can’t find the words, just the right song seems to be waiting for me to come across it to fill the void.

A lot of songs, I take to heart. I’ll apply them to my situation and if they fit, they become part of the soundtrack of my life. Typically, I can recall where I was when a song impressed itself upon me. Humming the tune, I can usually insert myself into the time & place that the song represents. To me, music is the portal that allows for travel back to enjoy happy times, reminisce sad moments and even relive bad days that I may have willingly forgotten. A simple harmony can bring long lost friends back for a moment and fill my heart with their memory.

There are a lot of things I could live without in this world. If I had to choose, I’d willingly give up television and the Internet, my home and my car. Take away my music and I’d feel lost and alone.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach
Without music life would be a mistake. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is. ~William P. Merrill
When words leave off, music begins. ~Heinrich Heine

This is the song in my head today.

I originally posted this on a site I didn’t even know was called a blog back in 2009. It came up in conversation tonight and was oddly appropriate for the way I felt today.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

30 Jun

Color Inside the Lines

There comes a time in every adult’s life when they can no longer shush the aches and pains telling them they are getting old. For the avid DIYer, those grumblings from overworked and under-iced muscles are heard over even the loudest of power tools.

A few weeks ago, the ligaments in my right shoulder and forearm were screaming at me to stop painting. When I could ignore them no longer, I put down my brush, picked up a pencil and sketched up a simple solution to help me work smarter and whine less.

Once it was all worked out in my head, I enlisted the guys’ help to clear out a 9′ x 9′ area in the garage to work in. Read More

06 Jun

Small Desk, Big Color

painted desk

I’m convinced that if I could get my office pulled together the rest of my house would, once and for all, stay clean. Now, it isn’t dirty in a half-eaten-plate-of-food-sitting-on-the-counter sort of way but every horizontal surface in the main living area is obscured by a pile of crap that should go in my office.

The problem has always been finding the right desk.

I thought I had done so a few months ago after responding to a local online ad. But when I went to pick the desk up, I remembered why measurements are important and photo cropping is a bad idea. Read More

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