Updated and painted Murphy bed

Updated and painted Murphy bed

Been awhile since I wrote a post here. The last one was about a year ago about my painted floors which, by the way, I sill love! They’ve held up incredibly well. I’ll have to do a follow-up post soon with some recent photos. I’m still amazed by them.

Here’s a post about what to do when you inheret a piece of furniture that doesn’t fit your style but is completely functional and expensive to replace. When we bought our little house a couple of years ago it came with a family room Murphy bed which was essential since we no longer had a guest room. It was 20 years old but really hadn’t been used much and it was solidly made locally. Guests raved at how comfortable it was and I loved the practicality of having a family room by day and a guest bedroom by night.

I had a plan on what I wanted to do but it took me a while to get motivated. This project was incredibly simple and relatively inexpensive but it did require quite a bit of time. From start to finish it took about two weeks of nights and weekends. That’s not bad considering the size of this piece.

This is what it looked like before. I wanted the bed area to give the ellusion of a wardrobe with two doors opening from the centre. I also like the simplicity of a shaker style cabinets and it’s the easiest way to go if you’re planning to take something like this on. No need for the horror of mitre saws and angles.

Once we decided on a plan the rest was pretty straight forward. We went to Lowes and had them cut an 8 foot plank of 1/4″ plywood into 2 inch strips. The first 5 cuts are free and every additional cut is $1.00. We had them cut the entire plank in case we screwed up somewhere. We didn’t regret that decision. Haha! I took my palm sander and sanded the rough edges of the 2” plywood strips and then we measured and cut the strips to fit the doors precisely. We then picked the ugliest of the two sides of wood, applied wood glue to that side and air nailed them into place. It was pretty simple and took about 4 hours.

You don’t have to worry too much if there are small gaps where the wood strips meet. I took Bondo and filled in the gaps. I also filled in the previous handle holes and grooves where the laminate veneers met in the panels (shown in photo below). I waited until the Bondo dried then sanded it with my orbital sander and sanding block until it was completely smooth.

Next, I rolled on two coats of Zinsser Shellac based primer and then gave it two coats of Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim paint.

I removed the doors in the shelving area so that it was easier to paint the inside and because I didn’t want to get paint on the hinges. A little off topic but important to note that on antique pieces that I paint, I don’t ever take off the hinges. They never go back on the same way and you end up spending days trying to fix them. I either tape them or paint them. Painted hinges seem more authentic to me when it comes antique funiture. Since I wanted this piece to look more modern, the hinges came off.

When the exterior was finished, we tackled the back panel before securing the bed back to the wall. Working with a piece this big and heavy was tricky. When it isn’t bolted to the wall, it was extremely tippy. I couldn’t wait to reattach it to the wall. While I really love the look of a shiplap wall it doesn’t suit the look of this house. However, using shiplap as a backboard on a Murphy bed seemed perfect! Again, we went to Lowes and had them cut two panels of shiplap boards to size. Bonus was that they were on sale! Yay! We primed and painted the board before air nailing them to the back of the bed and we were finally able to secure the bed. We were ready to pull the bed down and we primed and painted the platform and interior of the bed area.

We went to Ikea and bought a new duvet cover, a new area rug and the knobs and handles for the doors. The kids even came since we hadn’t been out in so long. I never dreamt my kids would consider a trip to Ikea as a fun family excursion. Ah COVID! How you’ve changed our lives forever!

I think that’s it. Happy to answer any questions you may have. We really love this transformation and we can’t believe how much lighter and happier this area feels. Although we have no plans for guests in the near future, we’re totally ready for them when it finally happens. I’m hoping it’s like the line in the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come!” Here’s hoping!

Updated Murphy bed

Vintage sideboard painted in Old Fashioned Milk Paint, Oyster White

Vintage sideboard painted in Old Fashioned Milk Paint, Oyster White

If you follow my work you know that painting furniture white is usually not my thing although I get requests for it all the time. It’s not that I don’t like white furniture. I do, it’s just that I can’t use my regular “go to” topcoat. I had struggled for a while to find one I really liked but I think I finally found it. So excited!
I painted her in Old Fashioned Milk Paint’s Oyster White. I’m thrilled with the colour and of course it did all the stuff that makes me never want to paint with anything else but milk paint. Crackled and chipped better than any other piece I’ve done. I really did nothing at all. The paint does it all itself. 😉
I loved the pulls and wanted to reuse them so I just primed & painted them in milk paint with a top coat as well. Just the right contrast against the white. A little Spoonflower paper to line the cutlery drawer and this beauty is ready for her new home. Isn’t she lovely?

Although I love all the pieces that I work on, this one was an amazing treat. You might remember the dresser and night table made by the same manufacturer that I sold last year? I have worked on some pretty amazing pieces but none as intricate and detailed as these beauties.
Up until I edited the photos, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to part with her. This one of a kind, bowed front sideboard was painted in MMS Artissimo. I painted her the same colour as her sister dresser a year ago. The combination of the wood and paint colour are perfection! Why mess with that?
Of course the milk paint did all the fun unpredictable stuff it always does. It’s so amazing to work with this type of paint once you get the hang of it. It really gives the piece an authentic vintage vibe.
And finally the pulls. As you may have noticed I almost always change out the original hardware on most projects but these beauties were made for this piece. I absolutely love them! I just cleaned them up, whitewashed and topcoated them. What a difference it made. Of course, with all the snow I had to take the compulsory winter shot of my Sorels. 🙂
Although I love doing this work and transformations like these are totally motivating, I secretly hope that one day, Sarah Richardson will discover one of my pieces and have to have it. If that were ever to happen, this would be the one. Spread the word! 😉
Restyled antique radio cabinet

Restyled antique radio cabinet

Remember this little one? I started working on her a while ago and she was sold before she was even done, to us! I’m sorry everyone but we’re just too in love with her and for practical reasons, we needed a bar.

I spotted this little one on kijiji over a year ago. What “had me at hello” were her amazing door mouldings. Rare to see this kind of detail on a piece – it made me swoon! The inside still had the original radio shelf (large u-shaped hole near the back) and someone had nailed two planks to the bottom. Even the feet had been altered and cut into squares (weird!). But, I’m a “I’ll deal with later” kinda girl, so we loaded her up and took her home.

Over the years I’ve learned quite a bit on how to repair and modify pieces but this one was a challenge. First I started with the legs. The radio/bar was just a little too tall for my vertically challenged body and since I prefer no cross joint on furniture legs the decision was easy – take off the bottom half. It immediately looked so much better!


Then I had to deal with the shelves. Despite my business name, I’m actually quite a perfectionist. Not only did I have to replace the shelves, I also needed the right mouldings to butt up against them. Did you know that if you buy wood at any hardware store they will cut it to your dimensions at no extra cost? This is so amazing when you have big ideas on how to fix things but no time to do it. One small-ish board made two shelves. Wood trim was added to bring it all together. Oh, and anytime I get to use my air-nailer is a good day. Love that thing!

The final repair (exhausted yet?) was to fix the moulding I loved so much. There was a small piece missing on the bottom of the right door. I sanded and cleaned the part that was missing and then used regular wood filler to make my moulding. It was like playing with play-doh or I imagine the more mature would call it sculpting?! Regardless, once wood filler dries, it’s as hard as wood. I sanded it down to the right shape and thickness and it looks exactly the same as the other side. Pretty proud of that achievement.

Once everything was fixed and in place it was time to prime and paint. I knew the minute I saw the ad, that this little one would be painted in one of my all-time favourite colours, Mustard. Not only is it my go-to yellow, it just happens to be milk paint. I won’t go on… you know how I feel about milk paint.

The finishing touches were papering the back in a honeycomb pattern and the tiny bubble-gum knobs. It just all worked together. All that’s left to do is to fill it and You’re all invited! 😉

Artissimo empire sideboard with bubblegum knobs

Artissimo empire sideboard with bubblegum knobs

Remember I asked a few weeks ago if you thought a sideboard could be blue? I always stay pretty traditional when it comes to dinning room furniture: greys, blacks and whites are usually my go to. But I thought to myself, navy is also a neutral! Why not! I picked up this gorgeous empire sideboard a few weeks ago and knew immediately, she would be the one!
Again, MMS Artissimo was the paint of choice. I literally have to stop myself from painting things in this colour. My kids moan when they see another piece in this blue… that’s how much I use it. It really reminds me of a worn pair of denim jeans with varying shades of blues. The wood colour of this sideboard was the perfect canvas.
Of course, as you may know, empire styled furniture is one of my favourites. The curves are so stunning and the craftsmanship, second to none. I’m always in awe when I work on one of these. They are truly made to stand the test of time.
I have about 20 different style of knobs in stock and yet, I always go back to these little white knobs. They pop against any colour yet they don’t compete with the beauty of the piece – they just compliment them. I use them so much I ordered another 40 last night.
I’m in love with this one, and I hope you are too. Picked up the little yellow flowers (weeds?) on the side of the road today. Love the combination with the pretty drawer liners. Navy in the dining room? A definite yes!