“Good Bones” aka “A Whole Lot of Work”

I’m notorious for finding pieces with potential and then letting them sit and collect dust in the garage.  I blame this bad habit on a few things: 1) I can’t decide on what color/fabric to use, 2) I don’t have a good work space and have to sneak and paint on the grass in our apartment complex and most importantly 3) THEY TAKE A LOT OF WORK!  

At the moment I have 6 projects that I need to tackle: a set of 7 Chinese Chippendale rattan chairs that need new joint wrapping, painting, and cushions, a faux bamboo mirror that needs painting, a campaign chest/hutch that needs sanding and painting, a little bookshelf that needs painting (still deciding on this one), a vintage rattan coffee table that needs painting and glass for the top, and the faux bamboo Baker coffee table needs another coat of paint.  Ugh.  Makes me tired just writing all that out…

Our lease is up on August 31st, and once we move I will have absolutely ZERO outdoor work space…which means that any of my spray painting projects will need to be finished by that date.  Being pregnant in the middle of the summer doesn’t help my motivation…but I’m going to try to get these projects done!  That being said, I’m going to share my projects here with you, ranked by priority, so that you guys can hold me accountable.  Deal?

Note:  Sorry for the AWFUL photos.  The “after” photos will be much, much better!  Also, I wrote this post last week and Tom and I tackled a few of these projects over the weekend, so thankfully we don’t have quite as much to do at this point.

#1.  Chinese Chippendale Dining Chairs.

These (soon to be) beauties are rattan and a lot of the wrapping on the joints has started falling off.  I received the rattan wrapping in the mail the other day, so first I’ll fix the damaged joints and then I’ll get to painting.  (I’ve never repaired rattan joints before…so we’ll see how that goes…)  I’m really trying to stick with a clean, crisp color palette, so I am pretty sure these will be painted white.  They need new cushions too, but thankfully that can wait.

#2.  Campaign Chest and Hutch. 

This needs to be sanded.  Badly.  So I plan on sanding it with my electrical sander (that I’ve never used before).  I can paint it once we move because I plan on using a roller and paintbrush, but ideally I would finish this entire project before we move.  This will be painted white and most likely will go in the nursery.  I’m thinking about not using the hutch portion because this may be where we put the changing pad.  We’ll see!

#3.  Rattan Coffee Table.  

I acquired this at the same place I acquired my beloved mid-century sofa: my parents’ neighbor’s house.  I think it came from another one of her real estate listings and the owners simply didn’t want it.  Rattan has made such a comeback lately (have you checked out Society Social?  I love their stuff but can’t afford it!), so I know this baby will look amazing with a new coat of paint.  I will also need to get glass cut for the top of it.  I need to finish this project before we move because I’ll use spray paint for this.  What color do you think I should use?  I’m so torn between white and navy, but this crazy voice in the back of my head keeps saying “yellow,” but I just don’t know.  If I have a yellow coffee table in front of my cobalt blue couch I may start looking like a Matisse painting.  Not bad, but maybe it’s not the look I should go for.  Like I said, I’m torn!

#4.  Faux Bamboo Baker Coffee Table. 

Ok so this actually can wait, because we aren’t going to use it while we have babies.  I can just see the baby falling into it…and it’s not a pretty result for either party.  It just needs one more coat of paint though, so I should be able to do that quickly.

#5.  Little Bookcase.  We were recently given a small bookcase that was made by Tom’s grandfather.  I love the idea of using it in our home, but it isn’t really the style I normally go for.  It could be cool with in our home with its current rough finish, or I could paint it to make it a little more modern.  I’m still undecided.  This project will probably have to wait until we move so that I can see where we could use it.  

#6.  Faux Bamboo Mirror.  

This will likely be my final project because I can do it entirely at the new apartment.  I’m going to paint this with actual paint because I don’t want to mess with removing the mirror.  I sparked the debate on Instagram about what color to paint it, and I’m still not decided.  I’ll likely use it in the entry way of our new apartment over a console table, so I want it to look cohesive with the rest of the living area.  I don’t want to keep it gold because I already have too much gold in our apartment and I’m trying to tone it down a bit.  But I love gold, so maybe I’ll just freshen it up?  White and navy are the two main colors I can’t decide between, but maybe this would be fun with a yellow punch of color?  I just can’t decide!

Well, now you all know what I’ll be working on over the next 12 days.  I can’t wait to share how everything turns out!  If you’re not already, join me on Instagram for real-time updates 🙂

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a comment

  1. August 19, 2015 / 5:03 pm

    So true, Katelyn! I'm torn because I already have so many bright colors…yellow would be so much fun though. Thanks for following along!

  2. Katelyn
    August 19, 2015 / 5:54 pm

    I love the idea of a yellow coffee table!! And in the future if you ever get tired of it you can always spray paint in another color!

  3. August 20, 2015 / 12:30 am

    Wow! You are going to be very busy. Can't wait to see what you do with these projects. (I do follow you on IG, too, so I have seen some of what you've done already.) I'm really looking forward to seeing the new apartment!

  4. August 20, 2015 / 2:39 am

    I think you will love the electrical sander, so much better if you are used to doing it by hand! The one good thing about all the spray paint projects while pregnant is husband has to do it all 😉 But I kinda hated that part cuz I would need something done for blog… and have to bug him a ton haha

  5. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    I love all your projects–you are so talented!!

  6. September 23, 2015 / 5:57 pm

    Hi Katie! I just picked up a set of 6 dark wood chinese chippendale chairs in Hawaii and have no idea what to do with them! Can you post a pic of your finished ones? Also, did you have to sand the finish down on them before spray painting? Love all your DIY tricks, thank you for sharing!!

  7. September 23, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    Hi Rachelle! Wow what a great find. Congrats! I don't think I ever found anything good while living in Hawaii. Maybe I just didn't know where to look though. It's funny you mention it because I've been working on my blog post on this. It's a whole long tutorial with all the steps I did to fix the rattan and paint them. My chairs are rattan so I didn't sand them, but with normal wood you probably should. The right paint is key though, so go with Rustoleum spray paint (I like the kind with paint and primer in one) and you'll have no problems. I just need to take the "after" pictures and then I can finally publish the post. I already have quite a few posts scheduled, so it'll probably come out mid to late October. Do you follow me on Instagram? I've shared a few little peeks at how they look now, and I'm sure I'll share more pics there before the blog post comes out. Hope that helps!

  8. September 23, 2015 / 6:12 pm

    Thank you! That definitely helps. I will look more on instagram for some sneak peeks! I found them at the Goodwill in Kailua and there seemed to be a ton of two-sies or or onesies…but the six piece set was really a good find. It is tough to keep anything white in Hawaii too so I may look at keeping them dark and offering a lighter cushion, but we'll see! Thanks for the help and best of luck with Baby Vail 🙂

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