Spring Design Projects


Dear Readers,

Something I’ve found I need in my life to help me hit goals is accountability. That’s why today’s post is simply a list of my 2018 spring design projects… so that you can bug me to post in-progress pictures of my progress!

I have three projects: painting a chest, finding/building a desk, and making a pallet bed.

The D*mn Chest

The d*mn chest… well… as it’s name implies, this piece of furniture has taken on a life of it’s own. You know how sometimes at Christmas you end up with a gift you don’t want? What do you do with it? Do you re-gift it? Take it back? Well, when it’s a piece of furniture, custom-made, you can’t exactly take it back. So I have stored this chest in the garage at Jackson Plumbing, hauled it across Ohio, and kept it covered up with a tapesttry all winter until spring arrives and I can finally paint it.

See? It’s hiding, but it’s there!

What I want to do with the chest is paint it with Sherwin-Williams ProClassic in a Semigloss finish to coordinate with the coat rack (above) and my tea chest (not pictured) that is on the opposite wall in the living room. Since the coat rack and tea chest are both distressed, I may do a bit of distressing to the chest, once it is painted. That’s still TBD.

Why ProClassic

I chose Sherwin-Williams ProClassic for a myriad of reasons, but I’ll try to condense them into reasons that apply to the brand and the product.

(1) Sherwin-Williams paint is high-quality. If you ask anyone on the street to name a high-quality paint, chances are, PPG, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin-Williams are the names that are going to come to mind.

Paint is made up of solvents, binders, and pigment. Most modern paints are bound together by polymers–plastic particles–but cheap paints (like Behr, or anything you’d buy at a home center) are actually bound together with clay. These cheap paints often wear poorly and don’t hold up over the test of time.

(2) ProClassic is a self-leveling paint. That means that if you apply one coat and then come back several minutes later, any imperfections or brush strokes that you might have seen right after application will level themselves out. This is something that cheaper paints can’t do because of the base not having as high a count in polymers. Pretty cool, huh?

ProClassic is also a water-based alkyd. Oil-based paints are smelly. Their level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are heavily regulated by the EPA, are high. They are difficult to clean up and aren’t the safest to apply indoors, unless you want to evacuate for a day after painting. Oil-based paints yellow over time, too. But since ProClassic is a water-based alkyd paint, it can safely be applied indoors with almost no odor. ProClassic passes the EPA’s most stringent VOC compliance standards, so it’s better for the environment and not as difficult to dispose of leftover paint. And, it won’t yellow. Win, win, win. Of course, it’s not cheap, but nothing good in life is.

Painting Process

As for how I’m going to do it, I’ve already thoroughly sanded the chest (150 and 200 grit) so that the oak is buttery-smooth. This took… a lot of hours of listening to the audiobook version of Moby Dick. I’ll apply a Sherwin-Williams primer, apply one coat with a brush, and then back-roll with a Mohair mini roller. I’ll wait for the first coat to dry and then follow it up with a second coat.

At this juncture, I will decide if I want to distress the paint/wood with a bit of sand paper and some nail holes.

I’m almost certain I’ll cover the prime +2 with Varathane. Varathane is also a water-based product, so it won’t yellow, is easy to clean up, and has very low odor. The Varathane will help protect the wood, the paint, and will add a bit of gloss.

Picking the Right Color

One of the fun details of painting is picking a color. But have you ever stood in front of a wall of paint and thought, Lordy, how am I ever going to pick just one?? I have! 🙋

Thankfully, I knew I wanted to match the tea chest and the coat rack, so I had something to go on other than just a couple of thousand neutral cream-beige paint chips: I had a piece of wood I could get a match off of.

If you’re into painting things that match often, you’re going to love me for this design hack. Meet the Color Muse.

Color Muse is used by painters, cosmetic designers, even Nordstrom’s, to match colors of paint, cosmetics, apparel, flooring, siding, and much more!

Color Muse matched my coat rack with Fresco Cream (SW 7719). Fresco Cream it is, oh, Muse!

A Desk

So, scroll back up the page a bit if you would to the first picture I showed you of the d*mn chest. Do you see how next to it, there’s a plastic tote bursting with small boxes, baskets, staplers, rolls of tape, envelopes, stationary, and more? You can’t see that? Oh, good… because every time I look at the plastic tote, that’s all I can see. The truth is, I had a table that I used as a desk in Erie, but I donated it because it wasn’t a piece I loved. I have yet to replace this with something. I just need something small–a writing desk, a table… my trouble is, I can’t pick what it is that I need or want. Here are some of my ideas. Let me know in the comments section which ideas you like best!

I saw this idea on Instagram: a cinder block desk.


Cinder block furniture, is, apparently a thing. There are cinder block benches, end tables, win closets, shoe organizers, book shelves, television stands, and cabinets. What I like about the idea is it’s minimalist, cheap, functional, and portable. I just might do it. I could even paint the blocks to match the desk, if I wanted too, or could go for a bolder, coordinating color like Waterloo.

What I love especially about this picture of this desk is the desk top appears to be a reclaimed door panel or reclaimed shingle.

One thing I’m not too sure about with this desk design is the fact that all my junk can be seen because there’s not hidden storage space. That could easily be fixed by incorporating fabric skirting around the desk, though. If I go with this idea, I would probably opt for a more decorative style of cinder block rather than the standard, industrial blocks shown above.


Another Instagram idea I’ve found is using the very-popular ladder-rack and modifying it into a desk. In my case, I’d have to find a design that called for a much lower overall-height since my air conditioner would interfere with a top storage shelf.

If I do opt for a build-my-own desk, I won’t do it without plans. I recently discovered @shanty2chic on Instagram. Shanty2Chic is run by two sisters who build their own furniture and post free plans on their website. Their recent 6-board Farmhouse desk caught my eye. It’s inexpensive to make ($30.00 in materials), looks fabulous, and would certainly give me enough space for my needs. My concern with it, again, is the lack of concealed storage space. I could of course add some floating shelves to the left of my desk area and store supplies in baskets… but that’s another project and I don’t know if I want to go there yet 😂

For those who would rather skip the DIY experience, Shanty2Chic has a line of items available to purchase at At Home.

A Bed


Remember when I posted this? There are so. many. things. you can do with pallets to make super simple, affordable platform beds. I know one thing from my experience trying to sand the d*mn chest: I’m investing in a sander. (Maybe I’ll do another post at some point about that, but for now, let’s just say, I’ve decided this Makita 5-inch random orbital sander is the one I want to do the job.)

Those are my three projects. Follow me on Instagram to keep up with my progress!

Best wishes,


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