Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Repurposed "Art Moderne" dumpster find

During our master bedroom remodel, we tore down our old closet, and moved it to make two smaller-but efficient closets. In doing that our bedroom gained a long wall with negative space.  I told my husband that I desperately wanted to find a small desk that I could make into a custom vanity (inspiration from this pinterest-found blog).  I started combing craigslist for free or cheap furniture.  I looked and looked, but could not find anything I really wanted.  I knew the next town over did its yearly large dump day (everyone throws out their unwanted items onto the curb and they haul it off) and over the weekend just prior to pick up many people comb the neighborhoods for dumpster finds.  It is actually quite a thing to see, so many are looking for scrap metal, or usable goods, and many people put stuff out there knowing that us scavengers will be out looking!

Early on a Sunday morning I loaded my two littles into my suburban, and put a movie on for them while my husband was sleeping after his overnight shift, and headed over to scavenge In the corner of my eye I saw something that looked like a dresser and drawers and I was AMAZED at what I found after only about 10 minutes of searching. 
Under all that dust is a functional and beautiful piece!
A 1940s wartime "art moderne" style vanity built by a mainstream company (it could have even been manufactured by women during WWII). I had originally hoped to leave some of its veneer, but it was chipping up in a lot of places, and had quite a bit of water and residue damage.  I shopped pinterest for ideas, and headed to home depot to decide on spray paint colors.  Instead of using regular paint, I chose to use a high gloss professional enamel spray paint to make sure that it would be easy to clean and water proof.

For this project:
  • 1 vanity
  • 2 cans of professional enamel black spray paint
  • 2 cans of key lime green spray paint
  • 2 yards of fabric
  • 1 large cardboard box  (for making drawer inserts )
  • Sand paper (fine/medium)
  • 1 can of 3m spray adhesive (gets kinda messy but works the best) you will need newspaper to lay down cause this can get messy)

I first cleaned it up, and awed in its great lines, and fixed the two drawers that weren't in the best of shape. So we sanded the surface a little bit with a fine/medium grit sand paper cause it had a bit of finish left on it, removed the damp dust and spray painted it. It needed two coats to make sure it was even, and be sure to let it dry thoroughly. If it is nice and warm outside it can sit outside, and it will harden well, you really don’t want it to be too cold, or it will stay sticky and take longer.  
you can kind of see the damage to the veneer, but there was quite a bit, and there was no fixing it

Once the black has cured and hardened, you will want to mask off the black face of the drawers with paper and tape. Measure or trace the inside of the drawers so that you can begin to make the liners with fabric and cardboard (lining the inside of the drawers is great because it can protect from makeup spills, and cover any previous damage. Ours had this sticky resin gunk mess (shown ) that I could not get off so doing this covered that up)
Nasty sticky residue in the drawers that We couldn't get off

Then spray the interior of the drawers (don’t worry about doing the bottom, as this may affect the functionality of the drawers), and while they are drying, work on the inserts.

about 1 1/2 inches around and fold smoothly 

We reused, re-purposed and built all of our bedroom furniture, so to make them match we used the high gloss black spray paint on all of our furniture, and then gave each piece a decal by using a stencil by Martha Stewart from home depot using flat black paint that we already had from a different project.
After everything has dried, put the dresser together and place it in the desired place.

As you can see here, we used the extra fabric to cover over this stool that I had in the garage. I used to use it as my hair chair, but a few years ago I got my hands on a professional chair to put in my little hair "salon" down stairs. We also spray painted the chair with the same black spray paint 

The lighting in our bedroom is not fully adequate. I will have to bring in some lights and take a much better photo.

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