10 September 2012

Going Green – Campaign Dresser Makeover! (Plus a Review of Benjamin Moore's Advance Paint)

As much as I love classic blacks and clean whites, my last few makeovers left me seriously craving some colour. So I finally took the plunge with this fabulous little campaign chest – the perfect candidate for a bright & bold transformation! 

I’ve been crushing on campaign furniture for awhile now, what with all the gorgeous makeovers online. So when I found this piece at GW a few months ago, I may have jumped for joy. Just a little bit :) And at $17, it wasn't a bad deal for design inspiration come true.

The finish looks way better here than it was - really drab and dizzingly grainy. I knew I wanted to go bright - how great would this look in a deep red or indigo blue? Not to mention pink, if you’re not married to my husband :) But we both liked the idea of a fun bold green, so I went with it.

For starters we removed the hutch ('we' meaning my sweet husband, with the help of my parents’ awesome handyman friend Hai - I pretended to supervise). This was harder than expected because the screw heads were embedded, so it had to be pried + sawed off, after which we had to deal with the screws sticking out.  There must be a smarter way to do this, but all we could think of was to saw them off.

Since the dresser was in relatively good shape, the rest of the makeover was fairly straightforward.   

1. patched the screw holes with wood filler, plus all the major dings and scratches and one pretty beat up corner
2. primed with Zinsser Cover stain, a stinky but otherwise great sanding-free primer for laminate/glossy surfaces
3. applied 2 coats of semi-gloss paint, sanding lightly between coats

I decided to try out Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint, mixed in a custom colour. Can we just take a minute to talk about this paint?! It is aMAZING – I’d read good reviews, but nothing prepared me for the awesomeness that is this paint. Seriously! It rolls on as smooth as butter, and it has an extended drying time as well as being self-leveling, which meant the finish came out PERFECTLY. No matter what I did, by the time it dried it always leveled out to a super smooth even coat, not a hint of patchiness, let alone a single brush or roller mark. No need for paint conditioner! Plus I hardly used any of it (this dresser used less than ¼ of a quart), and despite the deep colour without a tinted primer, I was good in 2 coats. It's a bit pricier (here in TO, it cost me about $5-10 more than a regular good quality brand from a big box store) but it definitely goes a long way. And for an amateur painter like me it’s worth it for a guaranteed professional finish. Here's a close-up:

On the downside, the extended dry time does mean a much longer cure time between coats, but it was a reasonable trade-off.

As for a sealer, the paint guy claimed it wasn’t needed because this paint dries to a hard and durable finish over time. Not sure about this yet – it has got a few  tiny marks on the top already, but the sealer I tested dulled the finish so I skipped it anyway. Anyone with any tips please let me know :)

I’m really happy with the final results. So much so that I won’t be selling this one – it's the perfect statement piece for our living space.

The colour reads more turquoise on screen than it is in person, but picture a really bright deep green. I still felt a bit hesitant about it at first but now I totally love it -  it's so fun and vibrant and I just love how it makes the hardware pop.

I'm crazy about this Chinese porcelain lamp - it was an amazing Goodwill find for 10 bucks (right?!). I paired it with a simple shade from Homesense.

The lovely orchid was from my Mom :) and the mirror was another Homesense find. Picked up some of the other accessories on a visit to the US awhile back (at Homegoods - any guesses what my fave store is?)

Here's another before and after

I'm sad to say it got a little damaged in the move, but it's still the perfect pop of colour in our new home!