Tips For the Holidays

The holidays are definitely upon us, but we still have time to get our house ready for family and friends, making sure that when they leave, our house still looks as good as when they arrived. And speaking of arriving, this worn doormat may say “Welcome,” but it certainly doesn’t look welcoming.

A new inexpensive doormat will not only look more attractive, but it will save wear-and-tear on your carpeting and hardwood floors as it picks up sharp particles of grit from your guests’ shoes.

Forget to turn on the porch light? Or change the bulb? Upgrading your old light to a double motion-sensitive fixture is quick and easy — just don’t forget to turn off the power first!

Once inside the front door, your guests may be reaching for the newel post at the bottom of the stairs. Ours had loosened, but Leigh Ann simply had to tap the nails back in with a hammer and punch to tighten it, then disguised the holes with pre-tinted Minwax® Wood Putty to match the color of the oak.

And then where will your guests go? To the kitchen, of course! Make sure your kitchen cabinets can withstand their scrutiny by first wiping them down with Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner and a clean soft cloth or paper towel.

We certainly don’t have time for a new refinishing project, so grab a Minwax® Wood Finish Stain marker to cover up any nicks and scratches on your furniture.

And speaking of furniture, the holidays also mean people will be moving your furniture, sliding it across your precious hardwood floors. Before they do, simply tap in protective furniture glides to make sure no one scratches your floor.

Once they settle in, your guests will be setting their glasses down just about anywhere, so make sure you have plenty of coasters handy, including trivets or tiles for plates of hot food. And if the finish is looking thin, add a coat of Minwax® Wipe-On Poly to provide another layer of protection.

Last tip for today: don’t leave clean-up for the morning. Left overnight, even drips of alcohol and crumbs of food will have time to leave a permanent stain on your furniture finish or upholstery.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

 

Change the Knobs, Not the Cabinets!

When I saw this set of maple kitchen cabinets I was just as impressed with the contrast between the porcelain knobs and the wood as I was with the wood itself — and that’s saying a lot for me! The owner explained that the cabinets first had wooden knobs, but they got visually lost in front of the wood cabinets. So, she simply got a set of porcelain knobs and a screwdriver and upgraded her cabinets in just a few minutes. Next time you’re in your local home improvement store, swing by the hardware aisle and check out your options for your kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

Until our next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

Vintage Recycled Wainscoting

It may look like a major project, but in truth putting salvaged wainscoting up on a plain, boring wall is pretty easy. I simply cleaned these old tongue-and-groove pine boards with Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner, then protected them with satin Wipe-On Poly. After cutting them to length with a hand saw, I used a lightweight nail gun to attach them to the wall, then hid the ends (and the nail heads) with baseboard (bottom) and chair rail (top). If you can’t find any old boards, you can stain and finish new unfinished wainscoting available in home improvement stores.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

Making New Wood Look Old

I have always collected antiques, even having stuffed a large oak rocking chair in my tiny dorm room in college. But antiques today don’t fit every budget or every house, including those with active children and pets with claws! So here are a few tips for making a new, inexpensive piece of unfinished furniture look like a vintage antique. First, sand it with #180-grit sandpaper to open the pores and smooth out the wood.

Before you go crazy “distressing” it, study real antiques and duplicate their signs of age. I use coarse sandpaper or a file to round sharp corners, soften edges, and add a few scratches.

Rather than beating the top with a chain, I use a hammer to carefully place a few shallow dents.

I then grab a small nail and use it and the hammer to produce a few clusters of worm holes, often found in antiques that have been home to some powder-post beetles.

Next, a coat of one of my favorite shade of brown, Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Special Walnut.” Normally I would first apply Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, but since that product did not exist a hundred years ago, I skipped that step. The resulting blotchiness in pine is usually something we want to avoid, but since we are making this piece look old, we want some unevenness in our coloration, right?

The final step: two or three hand-rubbed coats of Minwax® Antique Oil Finish for a satin, yet protective, sheen. We get the best of both worlds: the look of a vintage antique combined with the protection of a modern finish — all for a fraction of the cost of an antique!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce