Midwest #8: The “Wretched to Retro” Project

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Will and Marie
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Time: 2 weekends
Cost: $120. (including cost of furniture)

Will and Marie went glossy, colorful and mod with their project. Aside from the super photos, they have submitted carefully detailed DIY instructions – Jump below for all the pics, tools, how-to and VOTING…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Tell us the tools and resources you used for the project:
– Palm Sander/Sandpaper (medium to fine grit)
– Sponge brushes/Paint Brushes
– Screw Driver
– Staple Gun (1/2 inch staples)
– Pliers

– 2 Quarts High Gloss Enamel/Latex Paint (Red)
– 1 Quart High Gloss Enamel/Latex Paint (Black)
– 1 Gallon Latex Primer (White)
– High Gloss Spray Paint (Black)
– Wallpaper
– Modge-Podge/Paper Glue

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Share step by step instructions for how you completed the project:

This piece consisted of two main parts, drawers on the bottom and a
hutch with shelves and a sliding front panel on top. We began by
separating these two pieces; for the hutch we removed the front panel
(before the “before” picture was taken), and the back board (which was
attached with old rusted staple-nails, which we discarded). We then
removed all of the drawers from the bottom piece, removed the feet
from the bottom, and unscrewed the hardware from each drawer – which
consisted of a knob and a black backing plate.

2. Sand
It was necessary to lightly sand the entire piece, in order to
provide a porous, adhesive surface that the primer and paint might
stick to. We used a medium to fine grit with the palm sander for all
the parts. To get into the nooks and crannies we sanded by hand.

3. Prime
We used simple sponge brushes to apply the primer.
We found that 3 coats of primer yielded a surface that was adequately
covered. Having a smooth surface helped immensely with the painting
process by cutting down on the layers of paint needed to overcome

4. Tape
We decided to paint the piece black and red. Since the majority of
the piece would be red, that’s what we started with. So, we carefully
taped off all of the parts to be painted black.

5. Red Paint
We used wide and medium width sponge brushes to thinly layer on the
paint. We wanted a bold, lacquered look to the piece, so it took
about seven coats to get the look we wanted. However, we feel the end
product is definitely worth the effort.

6. Tape
After letting the red paint “cure” for a day, we carefully removed
the tape, using an exacto knife to help keep the edges clean. After
all the tape was removed, we then covered and taped off the red edges.

7. Black Paint
Like the red paint, we also wanted the black paint to have a
lacquered finish. Fortunately, since the color was so opaque, it took
only four coats.
Again, we used sponge brushes to apply the thin coats, with the
exception of the last two coats on the counter top. We stood the
bottom piece up and applied the last two coats thickly with a nylon
bristle brush. This was done so that as the very wet paint dried, it
would settle, filling in any brush strokes left by the brush, and dry
into a smooth, flat surface. While the paint dried, we continued with
the hardware and wallpaper.

8. Spray Paint Hardware
Each knob was a brushed-silver, with a black back plate. To brighten
up the knobs, we lightly sanded them with a fine 1000 grit sand paper.
Not too heavy, so as not to create any deep scratches. We then
gathered up the six back plates and painted them with three light
coats of high-gloss spray paint.

9. Wall Paper
We decided to apply decorative paper to the backboard of the top
piece in order to break up the stark black and red combination, and to
incorporate geometric movement. We chose wallpaper for its heavy
weight, vinyl finish, and variety of available patterns. However, a
contact or other decorative paper would also be suitable. In order to
hide the seams of the paper, we cut four horizontal pieces for each
shelf opening. For each section, we thinly applied the Modge-Podge
glue with a sponge brush to backboard, and quickly set the paper on,
carefully smoothing any bubbles out to the edges.

10. Reassemble
After letting the black paint dry, we carefully removed the painter’s
tape with the exacto knife. We then secured the backboard to the hutch
using a staple gun with 1/2 inch staples. We reattached the feet to
the dresser, and hardware to the dresser drawers. Next, we matched
the hutch to the counter top of the dresser and secured it with the
original brackets and screws on the backside. Finally, we popped the
front sliding panel back into the hutch.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)