Colleen Quinn's Recent Articles
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Before & After: Outdated Entry Gets a Hotel Inspired Makeover
Jill’s entry from the garage had been a thorn in her side for months. Though the checkerboard floor was a great feature, the paneled walls were dark and dated; certainly not the warm welcome home she craved. In addition to a brighter color, Jill knew she wanted to add what she calls a “landing pad” for shoes, coats, bags, etc — a spot other than her kitchen table!
Jun 20, 2012
Before & After: Bedroom Dresser is Painted No More
Karen scored this dresser when it was left behind in a friend of a friend’s garage. She took that dresser with its one green painted drawer home and painted it white and cream to match her bedroom, and there it has lived for the last seven years. She and her husband are working to update their master bedroom, and Karen decided this dresser was just asking for a makeover.
Jun 18, 2012
Before & After: Upgrading a Builder’s Grade Kitchen
When Kalie and Travis moved into their house a year ago, they knew they had a lot of things to change to make it feel like home. Thrilled to finally have an outlet for their passion for decorating, they have been gradually implementing their big plans in their self-defined little house.They changed out the light wood floors for dark, and installed new custom cabinets built by a friend.
May 23, 2012
Before & After: Red Paint to Mahogany Dresser
When Sarah picked up this painted dresser for $25, she knew the bright red paint and mismatched knobs had to go. Since the red paint wasn’t quite her thing, she immediately covered the dresser with a coat of citri-strip. Once that round of stripper revealed the mahogany beneath the paint, she knew her makeover would be both more complicated and more satisfying.After stripping the entire dresser down to the underlying wood, Sarah pretreated the base and then stained with Minwax Dark Walnut.
May 17, 2012
Before & After: Two Tone Coffee Table Makeover
Catherine’s husband Danny owned this rather orange coffee table when they first met, and she freely admits to having spent the last few years moving it around the house in an attempt to hide its rather bright hue. The flaking finish plus some penmanship practice in one corner made this piece ripe for a makeover once Catherine found her inspiration in a post by a fellow blogger.
Apr 26, 2012
Before & After: Rescuing a Battered Buffet
When Susan first saw this battered buffet, it was anything but love at first sight. Water stains, peeling veneer, and missing drawer pulls — this buffet had them all. Thankfully, it also had wonderful lines, solid construction, and some beautiful carved legs peeping through the grime and abuse. With a gritty determination, Susan set out to restore this buffet to reflect its proud past.
Apr 19, 2012
Before & After: A Side Table Lightens Up
Ashley picked this table up at a thrift store for only $10, a great deal for a piece with this much hidden storage. Despite the obvious benefits of such a table for a growing family, the look of the piece is dated and too dark for Ashley’s plan to brighten up her living room. Though this project required a lot of time and attention to detail, the end result is a great addition to Ashley’s evolving living room.
Apr 13, 2012
Before & After: Vintage Veneered Dresser Goes Back to Basics
Sarah got herself a great deal on this painted dresser — or so she thought until she started sanding off the paint on the top and found not solid wood but veneer. Battered veneer patched with wood filler. Veneer she knew she would have to chip off bit by bit. Veneer that ultimately required a chisel and a heat gun to remove completely. Despite her hatred of the process, the end result was certainly worth the effort.
Apr 11, 2012
Before & After: Roadside Dresser Transformed for Teen Boy
When Ms. Bliss found this lemon yellow dresser by the side of the road, she was certain it still had some life left in it. She was already working on redoing her 13-year-old son’s bedroom, and knew the added storage would be a great addition to that space. With only minimal damage to be fixed, this dresser was an excellent candidate for a more masculine makeover.Ms.
Apr 6, 2012
Before & After: Restoring a Childhood Wood Bed
Maury (Mars for short) is slowly but surely redoing her guest room to make it an inviting place for friends and family to visit. Since she is working with a budget, she is reusing furniture from her childhood- furniture she loves but that looks well-loved in return. Using some familiar products, Mars managed to transform the look of her childhood bed for this new adult space.Oh the joy and wonder that is Howard Restor-a-Finish and Feed-n-Wax!
Apr 4, 2012
Before & After: Vintage Nightstands Get a Crisp, Clean Makeover
After taking a break from furniture refinishing for a year to have a lovely baby, Cathy decided to get back in the game when she found these wooden nightstands listed for sale online. Solidly built but not very attractive, these nightstands were crying out for a makeover.Cathy sanded everything down to remove the old finish before using her paint sprayer to cover the bases in Benjamin Moore Moon Rise. She chose to retain the original wood tones of the top, staining it with Minwax Red Oak.
Mar 28, 2012
Before & After: Updating Dad’s Childhood Beds for the Next Generation
When Alisha and her husband decided the time had come to rearrange all the bedrooms in their house to better suit the needs of their growing family, they were lucky enough to have some old family favorites to help set up a new room for their toddler son that could double as a guest room when necessary. Alisha knew she wanted to reuse the beds that had belonged to her husband when he was a child, but also knew they needed an update to fit with her vision.
Mar 23, 2012
Before & After: Drab Dresser Makeover
When David found this drab little dresser, he immediately had a vision of a kid-friendly makeover involving chalkboard paint. That plan lasted right up until he had a conversation with his sister, a mom of three who was not a fan of the idea of chalk dust anywhere near her kids clean clothes. David immediately switched gears and came up with a wonderful backup plan involving vintage graphics he found online.
Mar 22, 2012
Before & After: Rescuing a Damaged Veneer Table
Katie picked up this bruised and battered table from her favorite thrift store for the unbelievable price of $16.91. Despite the peeling veneer and the damaged finish, Katie knew this table was solidly built and had a lot of life left in it.With no way to fix the damaged veneer on the edge, Katie was forced to remove it using a damp cloth and a hot iron. She then used lacquer remover and sanding to take off the finish and the gold foil design on the top.
Mar 16, 2012
Before & After: Updating Lucite Tables
As you can see from the photos, these lovely lucite tables were already a wonderful component of this fun turquoise living room. Of course, sometimes we tire of even lovely tables after looking at them day after day without change. Thankfully, there is an easy and inexpensive way to update these tables without making any permanent alterations.Blogger Meeha Meeha spent only 12 euros on hot pink adhesive film to transform her tables for to help fight the winter blues.
Mar 9, 2012
Restoring a Solid Wood Desk
Rhonda has the kind of friends we all need — friends who give away beautiful solid wood desks on Facebook. Desks like the one above that have strong bones despite the visible wear and tear caused by years of hard use. Rhonda and her husband knew this desk would shine up to a become a showpiece in their home, and boy were they right!Rhonda’s husband took charge of this project, removing all of the old chipped veneer before sanding the wood smooth.
Feb 29, 2012
Before & After: Empty Corner to Comfy Back Porch Seating
Courtney and her husband are lucky enough to have a wonderful outdoor deck, but weren’t sure how to best use this odd empty corner. Inspiration struck and they decided to construct an outdoor day bed to provide some much needed lounging space for a party or a quiet afternoon. Using a combination of new and reclaimed wood, they built a custom seating area to fill up that empty corner.
Feb 24, 2012
Before & After: Restoring a Craigslist Dresser
Back when she moved into her new condo, Michelle decided the time had come to replace the IKEA dresser in her bedroom, a dresser purchased back when she was in middle school! After scouring Craiglist and thrift stores for months, she finally found the perfect piece for her new home, and picked it up for only $50 delivered.
Feb 17, 2012
Before & After: Thrift Store Dresser Gets a Coastal Makeover
When Tammy picked up this dresser, it was already painted a soft blue and the drawer fronts were already sanded down to the bare wood- clearly this was someone’s unfinished DIY project. Never one to back down from a challenge, Tammy immediately had a vision of a coastal vibe dresser honoring her family’s annual summer trip to the beaches of North Carolina.Tammy left the blue paint on the frame of the dresser, but sanded down the top to match the bare drawer fronts.
Feb 11, 2012
Before & After: Thrifted Chair Goes Gold
As Brittany herself says, this story began (as so many here do) with a trip to the thrift store. Celebrating the sale of an old white coffee table, Brittany was delighted to find this sticky, smelly, and admittedly in need of repair chair for the bargain price of only $5. With a little elbow grease and gold leaf, Brittany created a marvelous addition for her home.After removing the seat, Brittany sanded the whole chair with 400-grit sandpaper, then wiped it down to remove any dust.
Feb 3, 2012
Before & After: Entertainment Center Turned French Play Kitchen
When Ann Marie decided to take on a project for her son’s school auction, she was lucky to find this old entertainment system for free on Craigslist. After some hard work and for only a $15 investment in supplies, she transformed this unwanted piece into a showstopping French kitchen that any child would love.
Jan 25, 2012
Before & After: $60 Galley Kitchen Transformation
Dana and her boyfriend Ryan love their beach getaway at Cape May, but nothing could make them love its outdated galley kitchen. From the mixed wood tones to the plastic backsplash, this 1980s kitchen was not the rustic coastal kitchen they knew their vacation home deserved. Despite the tiny budget, they managed to make big changes that capture the relaxed attitude every beach home should exude.
Jan 9, 2012
Before &amp After: DIY Dining Table Rehab
Though this thrift store dining table was missing a leaf and had obviously seen some hard use in the past, the classic lines and solid wood construction were just crying out for a little TLC to become a showpiece in someone’s home. Priced at only $15, this table was a steal despite the problems with the fininsh on the tabletop. Though this makeover does involve some paint, the wood purists among you should also be happy with the final result.
Jan 4, 2012
Before & After: Vintage Radio Cabinet Becomes the Star of the Party
Sherry and her husband lucked out when they stumbled upon this vintage 1930s radio in a store that was closing the very day they dropped in to browse. Though the radio components were beyond salvage, the cabinet was just crying out for some TLC in order to become a showpiece in their home.Sherry’s husband devoted hours of time and lots of elbow grease as he sanded, glued, clamped, and stained this piece to restore the finish to its original glory.
Dec 16, 2011
Before & After: Making Over Nightstands for Mom and Dad
Allison didn’t have to look very far to find these project pieces- her parents have owned them for over 36 years! Part of the bedroom set her parents got for their wedding, these nightstands lived in Allison’s childhood home before making a move to her parents’ cabin 10 years ago. When the cabin sold, these pieces came to Allison to work some makeover magic.Solidly built pieces by Lane, these nightstands are dark and heavy; Allison herself calls them “ominous”.
Dec 14, 2011
Before & After: Rolltop Desk Gets Youthful Makeover
Rolltop desks are a classic element for any office, but sometimes they can be a bit staid for a modern aesthetic, not to mention a bit big for a small space. This small-scale rolltop desk had wonderful lines and is perfect for a kid’s room, but the horrid orangey stain really dated the piece. Thankfully, Baltimore designers Kahli and Milla had a plan modernize this vintage desk.
Dec 9, 2011
Before & After: Decoupaging a Thrift Store Desk
Some people just have all the luck when it comes to sniffing out thrift store bargains. When Kim found this battered yet solid desk for the incredible price of $26, she knew she had to have it; learning it was on sale for half that was just icing on the cake. She immediately wrestled the desk into her car, determined to try out a decoupaging technique on this bargain find.
Dec 7, 2011
Before & After: Curbside Dresser Becomes a Custom Bench
Gail found this dresser by the side of the road, obviously already the victim of a failed DIY effort. The top had been removed and two drawers were missing (though the drawer fronts remained). Despite its sad condition, Gail brought it home, certain she could make something great from this curbside find.Gail removed the interior supports for the upper two drawers, and used the drawer fronts to form the back of the bench.
Dec 2, 2011
Before & After: A Preppy Makeover for a Beat-Up Dresser
When Meg’s sister had a baby boy, she knew she wanted to give her new nephew a special present to welcome him into the family. She found a dresser on Craigslist desperately in need of a makeover and saw the potential for the perfect gift. Though many would agree with her husband’s assessment that it was only good for firewood, Meg had a vision of what a little paint could do.
Nov 30, 2011
Before & After: Battered Dresser Goes from Drab to Fab
The tagline for Julia’s blog and furniture design business is “from ugly ducklings to beautiful swans”, an accurate description for the transformation she achieved with this battered Craigslist find. Purchased from a family that just didn’t have the space to hang onto grandma’s dresser any longer, this piece was crying out for a little TLC.
Nov 18, 2011
Before & After: A Server Goes Back to Basics
When Cynthia picked up the server above at auction, it was completely covered in that creamy yellow paint; she was so eager to begin the redo, she didn’t even take true before pics! Though not a fan of the paint treatment, Cynthia loved the lines of this little server and price tag of $20 was hard to pass up.
Nov 11, 2011
Before & After: Thrift Store Dresser Goes Two Tone
When Erin fell in love with a DIY dresser re-do found online, she just knew she wanted to create her own version. She kept her eye out for a suitable dresser for her house, finally snapping one up at a local thrift store. Though smaller and blockier than her inspiration piece, the piece was perfect for the two-tone treatment she wanted to try.Erin painted and primed the frame of the dresser with a lovely blue-grey (Cement Grey by Behr), then sanded and stained the drawers in Ebony (by Minwax).
Nov 4, 2011
Before & After: Adding Pattern and Color to a Slipper Chair
Self-confessed DIY-aholic Kayla found this sad little chair in a garage under a blanket while attending a local estate sale. The low curves of this fabulous chair made her look beyond the horrible stained upholstery to see the graceful lady desperate to shine through. Grabbing some fabric and a can of paint, she sank into this chair redo.
Oct 28, 2011
Before & After: A Little Color Packs a Big Punch
Though the booklover in me was ready to swoon at the sight of these fabulous build-in shelves, decorator Terry Moore knew they were not living up to their full potential. Working with a client hoping to inject some personality into a new home, Terry popped out the shelves, picked up a paintbrush, and went to town on this neutral space.
Oct 19, 2011
Before & After: A Changing Table Turned Media Stand
We love it when a creative DIYer is able to think of new ways to rework existing furniture to better fit a changing lifestyle. Rachelle originally purchased this credenza off of Craiglist to use in her son’s nursery; the original dark walnut finish was painted white to brighten up both the piece and the space.
Oct 12, 2011
Before & After: Dilapidated Dresser Gets New Lease on Life
When Holly’s sister drove by this piece at a garage sale, it caught her eye despite the battered finish and missing drawer. $15 (and another trip to the garage sale) later, Holly had a project, a piece she knew could bring back to life even though she wasn’t yet certain where in her new house it would go.A few coats of paint later, and this dresser was no longer a sad garage sale piece but Holly still wasn’t sure how to use it.
Oct 5, 2011
Before & After: Repurposing Unused Cabinets
After removing the upper cabinets from her laundry room in order to create more useable open shelves, Sarah hung onto the narrow cabinets which she knew still had some life in them. Though most of us would probably think of reusing such cabinets in the basement or garage, Sarah transformed them into a centerpiece in her living room.By removing the doors and adding on some fun feet and decorative trim, Sarah turned those ho-hum cabinets into a wonderful sofa table.
Sep 23, 2011
Before & After: Free Vanity Mirror Totally Transformed!
When Shelley’s parents gave her their old double vanity mirror, she immediately knew she wanted to transform it into a full length floor mirror for her living room. After living with the mirror in the garage for months, she finally got the supplies (and the truck) necessary to complete this creative DIY project.Shelley used plywood, trim, and crown moulding to transform this free vanity mirror into a centerpiece for her living room.
Sep 21, 2011
Before & After: $10 Door Transformed
Tired of living with the unfinished look of a “king size bed on a cheap metal frame just pushed up against the wall”, Kristen knew she wanted to add a headboard but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Enter her local secondhand store, Buffalo ReUse, where Kristen went to browse for inspiration. At only $10, this solid wood door was a great find, one Kristen knew she could use to transform the look of her bedroom.Kristen selected this door for its simple lines and its symmetry.
Sep 2, 2011
Before & After: Inspired Reading Chair Makeover
Inspired by NicoleMari’s reading chair makeover, Rachelle decided the time had come to make some changes to the reading chair passed down from her parents when she was young and furniture-free. Since she still loved the comfort and scale of this chair, changing out the fabric to bring it up to date was the ideal (though challenging) solution. Though she originally planned to reupholster the chair, in the end she opted to make a custom slipcover instead.
Aug 31, 2011
Before & After: Garage Sale Vanity Gets a New Lease on Life
When Carrie found this vintage vanity at a garage sale, the large center mirror was missing, the finish was in desperate need of some TLC, and the drawers were full of dead bugs. Despite the obvious condition problems, and the fact that she herself had no need for a vanity, Carrie knew this lovely piece deserved a second chance to grace a home. After a little reflection on the piece and on her actual needs, Carrie was able to give her secondhand vanity a new lease on life.
Aug 26, 2011
Before & After: Divine Dresser Makeover
Kate found this great dresser for only $20 at her local thrift store; though it had lovely lines, she knew it needed some TLC before it found a place of pride in her home. Kate originally planned to sand and stain the piece, until she discovered the top of the dresser was laminate rather than solid wood. Faced with this unexpected curveball, Kate was forced to change her plans for this inexpensive piece.
Aug 24, 2011
Before & After: $69 Loveseat Makeover
It takes a keen eye see past the dingy upholstery and waiting-room feel to focus on the possibilities of this loveseat. When Kelli found this piece at a garage sale for only $20, she knew she had a steal of a project on her hands, but she had to wait a few months to find the time to get this makeover started.Kelli stripped this seat down piece by piece, saving the fabric to use as a pattern for the new upholstery.
Aug 19, 2011
Before & After: Fabulous DIY Reupholstery Project
Who among us can’t empathize with Joy, who found a fabulous pink chair at the thrift store and convinced her husband that of course she had the necessary skills for this reupholstery project? Though the initial chair is one anyone might easily bypass, the end result is a reminder that good things come to those who invest the time and energy to give new life to an old favorite.For only $35 (!), Joy bought this wonderful chair with slightly less than wonderful upholstery.
Aug 10, 2011
Before & After: Dresser Re-Do Inspired by Anthropologie
When Korrie came across this mid-century dresser in need of some TLC, she immediately envisioned the piece redone in a style inspired by an Anthropologie dresser. Given the beat up finish, she knew painting was her best option, but wanted to preserve some of the wood tones that drew her to the dresser in the first place. The end result is a fun look that gives new life to a classic piece.
Jul 27, 2011
Before & After: Paint Transforms a Vintage Dresser
Though painted furniture isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it is makeovers like this that demonstrate why this technique is so popular. This yard sale find with fabulous curves was transformed with a little elbow grease, some leftover paint, and a mix of old and new hardware.We have written about Sarah’s magic touch wth paint before (Sarah’s Delightful Dresser Redo); now we’re starting to wonder how she has so much luck finding dressers with such appealing lines.
Jun 22, 2011
Before & After: Reducing the Visual Noise of a DVD Cabinet
When I was growing up, this glass door bookcase lived in the home of an elderly neighbor housing a collection of beautiful hardcover books. My sister and I always considered Miss Matthews a surrogate grandmother, and I was delighted to inherit this and some other furniture pieces when she passed away a few years ago. Though this bookcase wouldn’t work in my library, I knew it would be perfect to house my DVD collection.
Feb 18, 2011
Space Saving Laundry Drying Racks
image:6868e07a0e2e70070567da3ba55ec1bb834e3dc7 w:540 s:"fit" class_name:"mt-image-center" show_pin_button:"true" show_image_credits:"true" Whether you dislike using the dryer for environmental reasons or simply have a wardrobe full of “lay flat to dry” labels, finding easy ways to dry clothes in a small apartment can be extremely challenging.
Jan 12, 2011