I’m finally getting around to posting my first project of the summer.  I think it’s actually my first start-to-finish DIY furniture project – I don’t count our guest room bed since that was already white when we bought it.  This…is the sideboard project.  I started the project back in April, but had to pause when I went away to my residency in May, so it wasn’t completed until June.

Without further ado, here is The Sideboard.

Calling out to us from the back corner of the used furniture store.


Testing out its position in our dining room.  That’s Edgecomb Gray on the walls. And if you’re wondering what that red thing under the back right leg is, it’s a plastic-encased notebook from the Berkshire International Film Festival.  I’m putting the schwag to use.


I reeeaaaally hope people don’t tell me it looked better unpainted.


Anuj’s contribution to the project came in sanding down the flat surfaces of the sideboard with his new toy from Home Depot: an electric sander!  (I had to do the legs by hand…)

After sanding, we wiped the piece down with a damp towel.  It wasn’t until after we’d painted it that my Dad informed me using a a damp towel to absorb saw dust is a bad idea.  Apparently the water raises the grain of the wood, making it less smooth (and less attractive).  Better to use a tack cloth.  Thanks Dad.


I primed it with…what else?  BIN.  I use BIN like I use olive oil – it goes on everything.  I love it, except when it gets on your deck and won’t come out.  Even with furious scrubbing and soap and…nope.  We now have a BIN-stained deck.

As for its coverage on shelves and furniture, I like to think of BIN as SPF 90.  Ain’t nothing getting through.  It’s great for really unattractive, knotty pieces of wood.  Probably wasn’t necessary on our sideboard, but it’s what I had.  Any recommendations for a more SPF 25 – type wood primer?

After ruining the deck priming the piece, we brought it back inside to paint, stopping in the dining room again to see how it would look as a lighter color.  See, we hadn’t fully committed to a color for the sideboard.  We were waiting for some kind of divine inspiration but nothing was coming.  All we had was some leftover Gray Owl from the city (we’re repainting our apartment and looking for the perfect gray – help?).  You can’t get a sample of Gray Owl so we had to buy the quart.  I was convinced it would work on our apartment walls, but it was too blue, so we brought the quart upstate in the hopes we’re find a use for it.



Here was the opportunity.

Funny how Gray Owl is too blue in the city, and too white here.  Ugh.  I was convinced we’d turned our chic dream sideboard into a shabby chic nightmare.

Gray Owl:


Now, I’m not dissing shabby chic.  I had my shabby chic phase in college.  Back then, if you gave me an overstuffed sofa, floral curtains, baskets hung from the walls, and chunky, white painted furniture, I was your girl.  Gray Owl was supposed to be gray.  But it is white.

Back to the paint store (return visits to the paint and hardware store seem to be a recurring theme for us…), grumbling.  Before deciding on Gray Owl, Anuj and I had discussed painting the piece a dark color, like black (remember the yummy piece from Aero?).  But our dining room isn’t huge and we were afraid a black sideboard might eat up the whole room.  Anuj wanted to go with red, but I wasn’t sure, as the piece didn’t exactly say ‘chinoiserie’.  So there we stood in the paint store, frustrated, and running out of ideas.  ‘What about eggplant?’ I asked?  ‘Eggplant?’  ‘Yeah, dark purple.  Like really dark.  Almost black, but not.’  ‘Won’t that make the sideboard look bigger?’  ‘Maybe.  But I don’t care anymore.’  ‘Okay, fine.  We’ll go with eggplant.’  And so with that, Anuj chose a paint chip, we brought it to the counter, paid, and walked out of the store carrying a quart of our new color for the sideboard.


First coat of Abyss (semi-gloss):


The bad news when painting a piece of furniture a color you don’t like is that before you repaint it you have to sand it down – almost to the primer – which is basically like starting over.  The good news is, this time we used tack cloth to wipe up the saw dust.


These legs were really time-consuming to sand, prime, paint, paint, sand again, paint, paint and paint again.


And the big reveal:


I had some issues with the roller sponge brushes I was using, so you’ll notice a few brush marks on the bottom drawer.  Frankly, I have no desire to go back and re-sand and re-paint the drawer, so it may remain like so.

As for the color, I was initially afraid we’d painted it Barney purple, but Anuj and a few friends assure me it’s more gray.  It’s growing on me.


And as for the pulls – I bought some really cute ones in North Carolina that Anuj vetoed for being too big, so we got these little ditties from Home Depot.  They’re fine – not spectacular, but fine.

What do you think?


*Update: Is it me or is Abyss eerily similar to IKEA’s new dark purple Edland line?  I don’t know whether to be horrified or really pleased with myself…