Saturday, October 19, 2013

From vanity to side table: Vintage Shabby Chic

aw, look, stuff we used as wedding decor...
About two years ago, my coworker gave us a vanity for Rhyanne to use.  She needed a place to do her hair and make-up, because it was just too hard for three of us to all get ready in our one and only bathroom.  So she then had her place in her room, and we brought my (and my dad's, and his grampa's) dresser up from Mom & Dad's house for me to use.  All were happy.  (Including my coworker, who'd had that vanity on her front porch for a while.  It was an antique when her dad bought it for her when she was a child.  She just retired this summer.)

Well, when we were giving Rhyanne's room a make-over, we could see that there would not be room for her vanity.  So it went to the garage until we knew what we would do with it.  Once Rhyanne got home and was getting settled in, she mentioned that she missed the drawers on her vanity, and didn't know what to do with a lot of things that were still sitting in those drawers (I had taken them out of the vanity before taking it out to the garage).

Lightbulb!  I think that vanity has eight legs!  So we trotted our happy little butts down to the garage, and lo and behold, it did have eight legs!  And so an idea was born.

We would give that vanity new life as two end tables!

After looking at that end table for a while (a couple days, or maybe weeks), I called Dad to ask for help.  How do we take this thing apart?  The next day, this is what I found when we got home from church:

Dad was there, in the garage, taking the vanity apart!  I guess it was time for him to take a road trip...  He came up, I sent him the garage code, he did his work, and didn't stick around long afterwards so he could make it home in good light.  Hopefully it was a good ride. 

Unfortunately I didn't get a before shot of it...

Once it was apart, we did some work making the pieces of wood for the back (what do you call those things), including using a scroll saw and a drum sander.

I then went to work with some Murphy's Oil Soap and, finally, sand paper.  The transformation was truly amazing.  The wood was so smooth!  It was almost a shame to paint the thing.


I showed Rhyanne some pictures on Pinterest that matched what I thought she had described, and came up with a plan.  I put a couple of coats of white paint on, and then a coat of the green paint that's on Rhyanne's accent wall.  I then mixed some of the green and white paints, and some water.  I quick slapped that on as the top coat of paint.  All of that happened over quite a few weeks of working on it when it wasn't humid, or hot, or whatnot.  It took quite a while.

Next, the fun, easy, and fast part.  I got to distress it.  It didn't take much muscle for that sand paper to take off layers of paint.  I knew we weren't going for the insanely over-the-top distressing that I've seen, so I just focused on the ares that would have really gotten wear and tear.  Corners.  Edges of drawers.  Legs.  I may have used a wrench to beat on it a few times.  And I think it turned out fantastic!

After the paint was done, I used Tarn-X and cleaned up the original drawer pulls.  I then sprayed Polyurethane on the whole thing.  The poly really pulled out the differences in the paint, exaggerating the distressing I had done.  It also shined up the pulls a bit, which it really needed.

Here's the before:
this is actually the twin to the side table Rhy has, but the only "before" shot I can come up with.

  And here's the finished product:


  1. That's beautiful! Turned out GREAT!

    1. Thank you! It was the kind of project I would love to be able to get paid to do - fun and rewarding!

  2. Looks very nice. You'll help me in Florida, right? Mom