Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nursery progress: Paint, curtains, furniture

Today marked the start of the school year and therefore the official end of my summer. It also meant that yesterday was our self-imposed deadline for finishing off items on our summer bucket list. Most of the major items left on the list had to do with the nursery, seeing as we spent the majority of the summer doing everything else around the house in preparation for getting to the nursery last.

The nursery was a perfect blank slate in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. A week ago Matt and his dad spent several hours painting the nursery Behr's Silver Screen color. As they were applying the paint I kept thinking (and eventually said out loud), "This looks blue." When it dried, I said, "This looks purple." Either way, it did not look gray. The color was not bad per se, but it would not have gone well with the red, orange and bright green accent colors we are trying to use to add color to the nursery. So, for the first time in my life, I decided we had to repaint a room a new color. Friday afternoon I painted two samples over the Silver Screen walls: Behr's Silver Drop and Dolphin Fin. Saturday morning we settled on Dolphin Fin. Even though this color appears to have more yellowish undertones, this wound up being the perfect color to match the curtains I'd already made (and to match the vision I had in my head).

Silver Drop (top) and Dolphin Fin (bottom) layered on top of Silver Screen.
Fortunately, after having painted five other rooms in our house, we are pretty fast at painting and we've learned from our mistakes (our biggest secret: wipe the sides of the edger tool with a wet paper towel between every application to avoid getting paint on the ceiling and the need for the oh-so-nasty touch ups). We also own lots of the paint supplies we would have needed to buy, saving us a little cash. Our paint budget broke down as follows:

Nail hole filler -- $2.48
Paint samples  -- $6.17
Paint -- $63.96 (for two gallons, thanks to me changing my mind about the color)
Edger tool -- $4.97
Edger refills -- $2.54
Total cost of painting supplies: $80.12

In early July we found a solid wood dresser on Craigslist in need of refinishing. Though we'd never refinished a dresser before, we (Matt) thought we could take on this task thanks to the handy post about refinishing a dresser (though, granted, a veneer dresser) on Young House Love. I went to Home Depot to pick up the supplies one afternoon, which wound up being right when the mid-August earthquake struck the east coast. I was standing in the paint aisle grabbing the white paint we'd need when suddenly the roof started rumbling (and even visibly shaking) and then cans of paint fell around me. Fortunately none fell on me or anyone else, and minutes later I found myself in the sandpaper aisle, you know, picking up sandpaper, because that's what you do right after an earthquake -- carry on.

Matt picked up a $20 electric hand sander on Craigslist earlier this summer in preparation for this task. We have at least one other piece of wooden furniture that we plan to refinish soon, though we probably have even more projects awaiting us in the near future now that we sort of know what we're doing. The main discoveries we have regarding this project (because we can't say too much beyond what the folks at Young House Love already told you):

1) Painting a refinished piece of wooden furniture is a lot more fool proof than staining one. Paint is forgiving; stain is not.

2) Paint still requires about four coats, even when you use a wood primer, before it really looks uniform.

One more discovery, unrelated to the manual labor that went into this project: World Market has lots of cute knobs. I had been drooling over expensive hardware from Anthropologie, but I couldn't commit to spending $8-$10 per knob when I needed six. At World Market I found knobs identical to this one, this one, and this one, all at $3 to $5 per knob. Also, it worked in my favor that World Market sent me two $10 birthday coupons, so when I found the knobs I wanted, they were quite reasonable. I went with these painted ceramic knobs that match the color scheme in the curtains:
Our dresser budget broke down as follows:

Wooden dresser  --  $40 (Craigslist)
2 packs of sandpaper --  $8.54
4" paint roller --  $4.97
4" paint roll 2 pack -- $4.97
Primer for dresser -- $7.98
White paint for dresser --  $10.88
Knobs for dresser -- $16.44 (World Market)

The dresser is actually not totally complete. We need to put a sealer on it, but Home Depot does not sell any low or no-VOC sealers, so we will probably purchase that online soon. As of right now we've spent $93.78 on the dresser project, not counting the $20 we spent on the sander that we'll be using a lot in the future.

It was so nice to get the curtains I made up on the walls, especially after I installed the decal. I never had a chance to show you the curtains in their finished state. Here's a view of the nursery from the door.

Our budget for the curtains broke down as follows:

6 yards curtain fabric -- $100.74 (Jo-Ann Fabric) -- a big splurge!
2 packs of hem tape for curtains -- $5.98 (Jo-Ann Fabric, but now I know it's way cheaper to buy on Amazon)
Curtain rob -- $13.99 (Target)
2 packs of 1.5" curtain clip rings -- $14.38 (Bed Bath and Beyond)
Total spent on curtains: $135.09

In addition to the dresser, we also bought the crib and a chair for the nursery. We went with the Baby Mod Olivia crib that is stylish and modern and not-too-expensive...and from Walmart, of all places. Confession: Matt and I hate Walmart so much that we decided to have the crib shipped directly to our house and pay the extra $10 rather than drive down the street to pick it up for free after it got delivered to the store. So, the crib came in at $324.85 when we added shipping and taxes. If you're new to this whole baby thing as we are, you may be surprised to learn that when you buy a crib you do not get a mattress. We have our eye on a foam Sealy mattress that is in the $100-$120 range, so we'll get that sometime soon.

We also bought a chair at one of our favorite local furniture stores called Belfort, which is really an entire strip mall that has been converted into a furniture mecca. I'd been researching chairs for a while but couldn't find anything an appropriate size and cute style for under $800. Because we planned to spend somewhere around $1000 for the nursery, an $800 chair clearly would not make the cut. The chair needed to be upholstered and glide, but I didn't want a traditional-looking wooden glider. So, I was thrilled to find this green upholstered gliding and rotating chair for $225 (marked down on clearance from $500). The color was not my first choice initially, but once I compared it a fabric sample from our curtain I realized it fit the color scheme perfectly, and I will probably buy/make a pillow to bring some additional life to this chair.
The view from the chair...

Our nursery is a relatively small space, with little room remaining for any additional furniture. I would like to get a small bookcase, but it might need to be an exceptionally thin, vertical bookcase that could fit in one of two tiny remaining corners. We also need to decide if we're going to take down the closet doors and make another set of curtains, or if we're going to deal with this...

Not bad...

This might give you a better sense of the space, from one wall to another.

We're still going to work on the furniture spacing issue and decide if we need to spend more time and money making more closet curtains. Ultimately, though, now that summer is over, at least the major components of the nursery are complete. I'm going to make a crib skirt, we'll add shelving and/or bookcase solutions, and we'll decorate with fun pops of color, but all that can happen over the next few months. So far with 85 percent of the nursery complete we've spent $900.93 (and not nearly as much time as I thought we would have by now) getting to this point. Summer bucket list victory!


  1. Yay, Ashley! You have such good taste, it's cool that I chose the same as you. Makes me feel more fashionable. Hope you're feeling well!