It is official!

It is official! I officially hate stripping paint off furniture.

When furniture has intricate scroll workings and different inlaid designs, the more I hate to strip it. I don’t know if I mentioned this but the table and buffet I purchased on Craigslist had been previously painted brown, polyurethaned and then painted/antiqued white. So basically I am trying to dig out three layers of crap. At this point of the redoing of these pieces of furniture, I have worn through two pairs of industrial strength plastic gloves, countless paintbrushes, a huge bag full of rags and my sanity. 

I miss the book I had been reading. I miss my children. I miss food that doesn’t come from a restaurant. I miss my dog. I miss having pretty hands and long painted fingernails. I miss make up. I miss interacting with other humans. Five days. Five solid days of this. It’s Friday night. People are going out on the town and all I want to do is go home and crawl in bed. Why are my fingers always sticking together?

Today was the absolute worst. That stinking buffet has so much intricate detailed work it took forever to strip and at one point I was like, “screw this!”  I had to walk away from the situation before it got violent. I’m not even sure I was taking off paint anymore. I’m pretty sure that was magnetic devil spit. 

After I got out of timeout, I approach the buffet again. With a tiny bit more patiences, I finished stripping the piece of…buffet. 

I don’t even care if it’s not perfect. Let’s just call it ‘character’. 

I almost left the staining and polyurethane for tomorrow but decided to get it over with. I applied the mahogany red stain to the buffet and then prepared to polyurethane. 

Realizing that my last paintbrush was not put away correctly and now was hard as nails, and there were no other ones left, I decided to wipe on the polyurethane with a rag. Aaaaand I had a few holes in my gloves, again, so now my hands are coated in a high gloss sheen. 

One of our employees came in (afterwards) and said “Oh, I have different brushes and tools to strip that detail work!” Always AFTER I need them. I’m pretty sure the chairs are going to stay white or I will loose my sanity stripping them tomorrow. 

I’m out, folks! 

Carpet, Staining Stair Treads, A Full Moon and Mellow Mushroom Pizza

I don’t think I’ve ever been as hungry as I was tonight. I spent all day bending over or hunched over stripping, sanding, staining and polyurethaning the stair treads. I was there from 11am to 9:30pm. I was feeling like I was going to pass out and I realized that I had not eaten all day. 

I called Mellow Mushroom to place a to-go order. This is how part of the phone conversation went:  

“Do I have to come inside to pick up my order?”

“Yes, lazy. We’re not walking it out to your car.”

“I look and smell really bad!”

“So do most of the employees here. You’ll fit right in.”

I was so hungry that I sat in the parking lot and burned my mouth with the first piece while gazing at the full moon tonight. 


  Here are the stair treads after sanding. 

I had to patch holes in the wood with wood filler. Then I sanded over the filler. 

   Then I stained the treads and polyurethaned them.   

  The basement carpet went in today! I am always amazed at how a house changes just by laying down brand-new carpet. 

 It looks like a real basement! It’s sooooo close to being done!

Look at this before and after:

I’m A Real House, Now!

It’s amazing how a house can change. When we walked into the Carmel house back in March, it looked like the 1970’s threw up on and inside of it. It smelled like moldly cat urine. It was seriously just gross. 

But, we were able to look past the retro vomit and see the potential. The bones were excellent. The location was excellent. The layout was excellent. This house was crying out for help. 

During the house online auction, there was this annoying pesistant bidder who bid early on and then, like a viper, just waited and waited until the last minute to up the freaking bid. IT WAS ON. Dave and I had our limit and these a-holes got really, really close, but in the end, they backed down. Had they not challenged us, we would have gotten the house for over $30k less than we paid for it. 

Fast forward last week. A lady comes in the house and makes a bee-line over to me. “Hi! I live a couple doors down the street. Everyone in the neighborhood was watching the online auction. I want you to know that we were the other bidders. I’m sorry we jacked up the price. We just wanted to make sure someone decent was going to fix up the house. Can I have a tour?”  

Okay, at least she was honest. AND, she fell in love and thanked us for breathing new life into the house. Also, she asked for estimates for some remodeling. 😂

It is amazing to see (and smell) the transformation. I just want to put some before and after photos up to give you an idea of what has been going on.

Before (bulkhead from living room into kitchen):



  (Disregard the table with crap all over it.)











 Before (The His Closets):


 Okay. That’s enough. As we are coming to a close on this project, I have my eye out for the next one, but am sad to be almost finished. I love this house. I love this neighborhood. I love these neighbors. 

Oh well. That’s part of the job! I love doing this. I love to see houses blossom instead of being ripped down. It is a beautiful thing!

I Will Save You, Dining Room Table

I was on the hunt for a dining room table to use at the Carmel house. I had my budget set for what I would spend for the table. Armed with my phone and Craigslist, I set to work. I found many awesome tables but the nicer tables on CL (that were within my budget) wouldn’t work because they did not include chairs. I found many table and chair sets that were OK but not the style that I wanted. Many tables that were PERFECT were already sold. 

Side note- if you have something on Craigslist and it’s sold, take it off Craigslist. And why do some people go back in their post and write the word “sold”? The delete button is right there and it’s so easy to use! It is LITERALLY easier to press the delete button and then the “confirm delete” button than to type out the word “SOLD” and then hit the “update” button. 

Several days later, while continuing my search, I found a table that needed a lot of work. It was, however, in my budget. Plus, there were two bonus items. The price included the table and chairs along with a buffet and a beverage cart. Uh, hello? Winner winner chicken dinner! 

  Yes. They are in rough condition. Someone tried to antique them and did a horrible job.  Today I tackled the top of the table.

Here are a few tips when stripping a table:

1. Wear long pants because when it drips on your legs it will cause the stripper to start eating at your skin and that really hurts!

2. You must wear heavy-duty rubber gloves. NO exceptions. 

3. Use a wire brush to get into small crevices. 

4. Wear safety goggles. Don’t be the “it won’t happen to me” person. It will happen to you!

5. Thoroughly cover the floor. 

6. Work in a well ventilated area. 

7. When you accidentally get it on your skin, get it off immediately! 

  Yes, That is a small burn mark because I was the idiot who wore running shorts to strip this table, who thought “this hurts but I will wait a few minutes before I get it off my skin”. Heed my warning!!

I applied the paint stripper and waited for the paint to start to bubble. 


 Then, I started to strip the paint, the old polyurethane and stain off the table. 
 It took several different tries to finally get all of the old paint, polyurethane and stain off the table. I used a 220 sanding paper and sanded the top of the table. Afterwards, I used tack cloth to get all the dust off the top. 
 The wood was SO dry. I had to use a pre-stain wood conditioner on it before I did anything else.

  I had thought I would probably stain the table until I saw how beautiful it was. 

  After 15 minutes, I wiped off the extra pre-stain. 

 Then, I applied the first coat of polyurethane.   

   I am loving this table. Tomorrow I will sand and apply a second coat of polyurethane. When it is dry, I will take the top off and start on the legs.


 Okay, I am so excited to refinish these feet.  

I can’t wait!!

Stay tuned!