Nautical Nightstands

In April 2012, Ben and I (and another couple), purchased Island Paradise, a beach house on beautiful Topsail Island (NC), as an investment property. While the property had great bones, it was in desperate need of a complete cosmetic makeover (imagine a cheaply decorated tiki-jungle-safari theme). Luckily, we had two handy and well-organized husbands managing the budget and contractors, while the two design-savvy and stylish wives led the interior overhaul and shopping requirements (we had years of practice between the two of us).

We did the best we could to repurpose a lot of the furniture but almost all of the accessories had to be donated, consigned or recycled out to make room for a new aesthetic. Shopping for bedding, lamps and other accessories was super fun! (What women don’t love shopping…especially when starting with a clean slate?!) Within a matter of weeks, the house was easily transformed from its previous state into a serene, coastal vacation retreat, ready for a fully booked season of summer renters.

During our appraisal of the furnishings over the last year, we knew there were some critical pieces missing from some of the rooms. To give a few of the king suites a more finished look, we needed solid night stands (as opposed to the random rattan and odd pieces the previous owner threw together). Over the winter off-season last year, I scoured Craigslist almost daily and finally found two pairs of solid wood (made in the USA) matching beside tables in a honey wood finish and knew they had potential.

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Having discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) the year prior, I knew these night stands could easily transform with some light paint and new hardware, so I set to work. The first step was giving them a good washing.

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Next I removed the hardware and taped off where I wanted to paint. I selected ASCP Old White (a rich, creamy white) for the main color. However, for practical reasons, the house being a rental, I wanted the pieces to be durable and not show wear, so I opted to leave the top panel the original, sealed wood (to avoid chipping and marks from phones, books, shoes, cups, sunscreen or whatever else the renters decided to drop down).

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I thinned out the paint with a few drops of water and gave the tables 3 coats of Old White. In between each coat, I lightly sanded the (dry) painted surfaces with 220 grit sandpaper. This step is quick (a “2-second” sanding is plenty) and helps to smooth out any brush strokes (assuming your goal is a smooth surface and not a rustic finish).

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After the paint was dry, I gave them another 2-second sand with 220 grit sandpaper and then a finishing sand with 600 grit sandpaper to give them an ultra-smooth finish. Finally, I applied one coat of ASCP Clear Wax and buffed it out.

With the painting complete, I needed to figure out the hardware situation. I knew I couldn’t put the leaf/vine pulls back on the drawers. I looked locally at Lowe’s and Home Depot but everything was too generic or commercial. I checked out my favorite online hardware market (House of Antique Hardware) but couldn’t decide. Then, as I was working with Gemma on a craft project, I came across my big ball of twine and thought maybe I could create a DIY knotted drawer pull. A few snips of twine and knots later, I had the pulls installed.

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I love the light, two-tone finish and think they compliment the beach house decor quite well. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for more small items we can add to the house to keep it feeling fresh, clean and visually appealing for our summer renters next season!

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(After the fact, I found a few rope drawer pulls at Anthropologie that sell for $12-14/each. I’m pleased to report our new pulls cost us $0!!!! And honestly, if I do another dresser or side table, I’ll likely try to DIY the bottom right drawer pull by wrapping rope around some of those commercial/generic drawer pulls I found at Lowe’s and Home Depot.)

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