Archive | November, 2012

And the Console-ation Prize Goes To…

27 Nov

Finished another project last weekend! This TV console project was half messy and half fun. All in all, it wasn’t too hard once Ryan and I came up with a plan. Let me start at the beginning.

One of the by-products of getting married is a lot of extra furniture. This 6-drawer dresser was in Ryan’s room before we were married.

The bedrooms in our 1950s house aren’t huge, so I wanted a tall, skinny dresser instead of this wide, short one. So this guy sat in our garage for a good two years. We were going to donate it to Ryan’s younger brother Cory, but hey, you snooze, you lose. If something sits around in our garage for long enough, I will find some way to redo it and bring it back unto the house. Sorry Cory. ūüôā

But I digress. We already had a TV console in our living room, but I always kind of thought it was underwhelming. (side note: our living room is in the process of being redecorated. The furniture is gone and we have new stuff. Another post…)

Here’s another view:

We were in kind of a pinch when we bought this console. Our TV died last year and true to form, my husband had to get another big one (note – this is not the only large TV in our house!). We had heard that your TV console should be wider than your TV. Ours wasn’t. Not sure why we didn’t follow TV console rules. Anyway, this guy has served its purpose for the last year or so. But it just seemed…small. Enter old dresser in garage, stage left!

I had a vision, of course, but this guy needed some work. Back in the days when Ryan and I were still playing the “friend” game (8 or so years ago), I helped him repaint his new house. I thought it would be a good idea to slap a coat of wall paint over the top of this dresser and put on¬†some new knobs. So, I rolled a coat of paint on it with a wall roller. Bad idea. Almost immediately it started chipping and peeling where any two pieces of wood rubbed together. We definitely should have at the very least primed it.

Anyway, this time around I knew that there were at least two coats of thick paint on it, so nothing was going to adhere very well. I had to strip it (insert obvious stripper joke here). A little tip for you – try to avoid stripping paint if you can. It is messy, stinky and painful if you get any of this on your skin. Wear gloves and a mask. It is intense. (note: I wish I would have gotten pictures of how gross and gloppy it was when I scraped it off, but that was before I thought about how I would put together a blog post. In addition, I could have sworn I took a picture of this dresser at least after it was scraped…or even after it was primed. I am¬†a bad blogger!)

I used this stripper, and wiped it off with this stripper wash so the primer would adhere.

Okay, so I stripped it, sanded it just a bit to smooth it all out, then put a couple of coats of primer. I decided to paint it light blue in a semi-gloss. Tip – use a small foam roller so it goes on nice and smooth.

Maia likes it. I planned on leaving out the two top drawers, putting the DVD player and cable box on the right side¬†and baskets on the left side. We removed the drawer runner on the right side and left the one on the left side because my baskets would go there, and the runner helped keep them nice and straight. You can sort of see that it needs to be evened out on the bottom, so I got a couple of pieces of 2’x2′ 1/4″ plywood and Ryan cut it to size.

Just to make sure it was seamless, I put a layer of caulk in the seams (insert obvious caulk joke here). This is what I was left with:

Next, I primed the inside:

Then I painted the inside the same light blue:

Almost done! To make sure the top is nice and durable, I applied two coats of polycrylic to the top with a small sponge roller. It looks milky but dries clear and keeps the top protected from nicks and scratches. Plus, it’s water-based so brushes clean up nicely, unlike with varnish.

I had Ryan cut a hole in the back for cords, and we’re done!

I’m very happy with it. It’s much more proportional to the size of our television, and I’m loving the color! This was a fairly easy project, so if you have an old dresser taking up space, or find one on the cheap, you can make your own unique console! (p.s. Don’t feel bad for Cory – we’re offering our old TV console to him at a reduced price)

Next post I’ll finally be getting to the big bathroom reveal (here’s a little teaser photo for you). We’re so excited about it – it’s a big deal around the Rixen household! Even Geebs likes it (okay, maybe the heated tile helps).


One Cool Spool…Table

19 Nov

Disclaimer – I love coming up with titles. Just call me Leslie Knope (if you don’t watch Parks and Rec – start!). I wanted the title to be, “We don’t have a¬†pool table…but we¬†have a spool table!” but Ryan thought it was¬†lame.¬†I think every idea I come up with is awesome, but I guess that’s the difference between us.

Ever since I saw this idea¬†on Pinterest, I thought, “I’m doing that one for sure.” It looked pretty easy, and we don’t have an interesting bookshelf to speak of. We’re not a real¬†book-buying household, so we didn’t need much space, but I had “keeper” books tucked away in different places that I wanted displayed in one place.

(Photo Credit:

The biggest challenge of this project was actually getting my hands on a spool that was the right size and was all wood. I actually stalked one at Lowe’s for awhile until I finally just asked if I could have an empty one that looked to be the right size. Turns out they just throw those away when they’re empty! Travesty. Lowe’s let me have the empty spool; however, there were three problems with it:

  1. It was too small! Too narrow across, and too short. I’d barely be able to fit any books on it.
  2. The middle part was cardboard. I thought I could fashion my own little wooden facade, but I didn’t make it that far because…
  3. The top and bottom were plywood. Plywood is fine unless you can see the layers of…ply? Hm. Not sure what those are called but I’m going with it. I wanted solid wood.

Luckily, Ryan plays softball in the summer for Front Street Lighting/Seifert Electric. Yipee! An “in” to the world of electrical spools. I bugged him about it incessantly, so Ryan put in a word with one of his softball buddies to save a spool if one came through that was, oh, two feet across or so.

I waited…and waited…and thought I would have to give up on my spool table dream. (I wish I was being overly dramatic about this but no…just ask Ryan. I was sad about my lack of spool.) Then out of the blue, Ryan got a call that there were two spools waiting for me at Front Street Lighting! Long story short, one of them ended up being perfect…look at her. What a beaut.

I decided that I wanted it black instead of white, because our basement (where it would live) has a lot of black accents. I loved the rusted bolts on the top, so I taped them off.

Then I just spraypainted it black. I planned to distress it a bit,¬†so I wasn’t too worried about being perfect.¬†Once it was painted, Ryan helped me add the casters to the bottom so it could be rotated and moved around easily.

Seriously, this project was a piece of cake thus far. Next, I measured and cut the six dowels. Once I did that, I spraypainted those black as well and gave them a little bit of sanding, too. The dowels were actually pretty tight once I wedged them in, but just to be sure they didn’t shift, I added a long, skinny nail to the top and bottom. The table already had nails everywhere, so six more tiny nails didn’t make much difference.

Then I distressed it. I’ve never distressed anything before, so I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I just got my trusty electric sander out and went to town. The table was uneven enough that it was very easy to distress. That’s it! Done! Here it is without books.

Here it is in the corner of our basement with books and some other things I added to the top. I actually used the hole in the middle to run the cord of the candle warmer.

To give you an idea of the size, it’s 30″ across and 21″ high.

This project was tons of fun because it was easy and fast. I pretty much did most of this on a Saturday, and didn’t even¬†take all day! If you can get your hands on one of these spools, take it! Easy, fun and cheap.¬†That’s how I roll…