How to: Refinish a Mid-Century Modern Credenza: Pt 2

Moving on to part two, after cleaning all of the drawers, legs and sides on the credenza, I let them dry for a couple hours. Followed by the lovely products from Howard, Restor-A-Finish in Walnut and Feed-N-Wax. And one of my favorite kinds of beer to help the process along :)  More on bar keepers friend and brasso later… 2015-05-23 14.10.00

I removed the hardware from all of the drawers after cleaning and laid out all of my supplies on a moving blanket to prevent any potential disasters. You’ll also notice my ipad sitting there for entertainment (The Americans is my new favorite obsession), as I didn’t have the tv plugged in and set up yet at this stage. 2015-05-23 16.22.04  Before: The drawers were much cleaner but noticeably dry looking. 2015-05-23 16.29.16  After using the Restor-A-Finish (with a dab of it on a clean rag, just swiping over each drawer carefully), the drawers were noticeably much shinier. You can see the dullness of the couple on the left in this photo that hadn’t been done yet paired with the new sheen on the drawers on the right: 2015-05-23 16.34.02 They looked even better up close:2015-05-23 16.36.49  2015-05-23 16.39.57 2015-05-23 16.40.17 2015-05-23 16.40.21 This photo of the credenza isn’t the greatest quality, but you can see the outline of the wood is shinier and the legs improved a great deal. 2015-05-23 16.54.18 I left everything to dry for 45 minutes while I tackled the brass hardware. 2015-05-23 16.54.45   I knew the hardware was in pretty bad shape but figured if I couldn’t fix it, I could easily purchase new similar handles. Here’s the before photos:2015-05-23 17.03.05 2015-05-23 17.03.06After a TON of scrubbing with bar keepers friend, (I don’t think the brasso did anything at all) a small miracle happened and the transformation was even better than I hoped for: 2015-05-23 18.44.47   They’re by no means perfect, but a huge improvement and work well with the character of the piece. Side note: bar keepers friend is a magic little powder (for only $2-3) but five days after using it, my poor hands are still dried out and gross, no matter how much lotion or scrubbing I try. I’d recommend using dish washing gloves or something protective for the hands next time…

While the hardware was drying, I also tackled this little chip on one of the legs…. with a brown sharpie. (Again, thanks to YHL for the tips!)2015-05-23 17.53.43 Much less noticeable:2015-05-23 17.55.07  Last step: I applied the feed-n-wax using another clean rag. Placed a quarter-sized bit on the rag and smoothed it over the surface of each drawer as with the restor-a-finish. They started to look even shinier and almost brand new after this step. 2015-05-23 17.59.45 2015-05-23 17.59.49 2015-05-23 18.08.39 2015-05-23 18.08.58 After putting the hardware back on and getting the tv/internet components set up in the drawers (more on that drama tomorrow) it was completely dark out, so this photo doesn’t nearly do it justice! Stay tuned tomorrow for the full reveal and styling!     2015-05-23 20.58.25A quick little reminder of where it started…

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How to: Refinish a Mid-Century Modern Credenza Pt. 1

If you missed yesterday’s post, check out the first look at my credenza here. It definitely needed a little bit of work and love, but the elbow grease definitely paid off. Thanks to a tutorial on Young House Love, I picked up a couple supplies at the hardware store and got to work.


2015-05-23 10.47.11 2015-05-23 10.47.17 2015-05-23 10.47.23  2015-05-23 10.47.38 2015-05-23 10.47.42  Step 1: Magic eraser

I tested it on a non-visible portion first to make sure it wouldn’t do something horrible to the wood, but after the all clear, I scrubbed all the grime off of it. 2015-05-23 11.03.45 2015-05-23 11.07.10 The drawer at the top of the photo has been scrubbed and the bottom one has not. It even removed little paint marks on the drawers, too!   2015-05-23 11.14.16 2015-05-23 11.16.35 You can really tell the difference in this photo as well. Left is still dirty and right is clean. After getting the magic eraser slightly damp and scrubbing, then I wiped off any excess moisture/soapy mix off the wood immediately with a clean rag. 2015-05-23 11.18.40   The result of a lot of scrubbing:2015-05-23 11.26.36 2015-05-23 11.26.43   Step 2: Clean out the inside of the credenza. 

Simply using my vacuum and a rag to clean off the dust, I tackled the inside of the credenza.

Before:2015-05-23 11.37.04  2015-05-23 11.38.15  After:2015-05-23 11.47.10 Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on the last steps to restoring the credenza!2015-05-23 14.10.00

Mid-Century Modern Credenza

If you hadn’t already noticed from my instagram sneak peek over the weekend, I finally scored a mid-century modern credenza! I’ve been on the hunt for years and hadn’t pulled the trigger on one yet. After a lot of craigslist searching, I finally found one! It was the perfect size and came with a mirror (which I didn’t think I needed) but was a little out of my price range. I negotiated it down by $75 to a price I was more comfortable with. Even better: I was able to get it delivered for a small extra cost! I could have rented a zipcar and picked it up, but this was much less hassle and far a cheaper route for me.

After having one craigslist credenza fall through at the last minute a couple weeks ago, (the day before I drove out to pick it up, they decided to email and tell me they no longer wanted to sell it…) I was hesitant to get too excited about this one until it actually arrived at my doorstep! It all worked out and I’m so glad I found this gem. It definitely needed a little bit of work and polish, but I’ll be featuring updates on that throughout this week. Here’s a first look and a few photos of inspiration on how I’d like to use and style it!

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Melbourne Studio Apartment Tour

Next up in the studio apartment tour series… this gorgeous, bright, minimalist gem from Melbourne. With natural elements, smart storage and classic design, Natalie makes great use of space in her studio apartment.

By adding a rug and facing the accent chair toward the sofa, the apartment is easily separated into two distinct living and sleeping areas.

FullSizeRenderWall-mounted shelving is great for small spaces. It provides storage but doesn’t take up any precious floor space. It’s also a nice focal point in the room and adds a bit of personality. FullSizeRender (1)The sleeping area is tucked in the little alcove but doesn’t feel cramped with the natural light coming in and white walls and bedding. Utilizing the window ledge for a record player, art and a plant is smart when you’re left with little surface space to work with. Another functional wall-mounted storage solution is the bar for clothing. It is practical and stylish at the same time. Lastly, opting for a wall mounted- industrial light saves space so you don’t need a bulky nightstand with a table lamp on top. FullSizeRender

I’ll leave you with a shot of her adorable cat! Thanks again to Natalie for letting me feature your space. FullSizeRender (1)

All photos: Natalie, Melbourne
Check out her amazing instagram page here.

Stay tuned for more studio apartment tours coming up over the next couple weeks and months. Do you have a studio apartment you want featured on Studio Style Blog? Please email with 5-7 photos (both wide shots and close ups) of your space with the subject line “Studio Apartment Tour” for consideration.

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume IV

Tiffany in Virginia asks:

I recently started following your AMAZING Instagram page. I recently moved to a studio apartment in Alexandria that is extremely small and it has carpet, I have no idea how to decorate it so it’s been so plain for the past month or so. I really like everything on the blog so if you have any suggestions I’m open to anything! I would say my style is chic and stylish. Thank you so much for creating this blog and I can’t wait for it to look as cute as or close to as cute as yours!

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Studio Style Blog Response:
Thanks for your kind words and email! I think your apartment has a lot of potential, so don’t be discouraged by the carpet. I’ll break down my suggestions into a couple categories below and be sure to let me know if you end up utilizing them as you decorate. I’m sure the readers would love to see some ‘after’ photos as well.

1. Layering rugs: I wrote about this in a design trend post awhile ago, and it’s a great solution to cover up rental carpet. Try layering a larger jute rug with a colorful patterned smaller rug on top in the living room area. See photo example below:


This jute rug from World Market is a stylish and affordable option. For pattern and color, try this rug from Target or this rug from West Elm.


2. Add curtains and pull back the blinds: This will draw attention away from the not-so-chic look of vertical blinds and will draw the eye up away from the carpet. Simple white curtains will keep the space light and airy but these are thick enough to provide privacy when needed.
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3. Decorate the walls: Whether it’s with art, wall decals, shelving or all of the above, adding elements to the walls will brighten the place with color, pattern and style. And will make your apartment feel more lived in and more like a home rather than a rental apartment.

  • Adding art: Resources for art and prints here. DIY art project example here. Gallery wall post here. Many more art-related posts on Studio Style Blog can be found here.
  • Adding wall decals: tutorials from both of my studio apartments: old and new.
  • Adding wall-mounted shelving: A few favorite resources for shelves: West Elm // CB2 //Ikea // The Container Store 

2015-03-15 12.30.164. Add furniture, especially dual storage pieces: I’m not sure what’s on your list of furniture that you need or already have, but I’ll throw out a few options for apartment-friendly stylish and affordable furniture.

  • Sofas: Neutral sofas work well in any space and won’t feel too bulky or overbearing. World market has one very similar to my sofa here and I love this one from CB2. More affordable sofa posts on Studio Style Blog here and here.
  • What better to pair with a neutral sofa than a ton of affordable throw pillows from yesterday’s Style on a Budget post here.
  • For dual storage options, tall dressers and media consoles are great for apartments. The dresser can be used out in the main room and won’t look out of place if you style it correctly. Adding a lamp, a few accessories and leaning art on top of a dresser like this would look great. And you obviously don’t have to use a dresser for clothes if you have other storage needs (books, toiletries, shoes, anything goes!) I’m currently using a dresser as a media stand. If you need a place for a television, try a colorful media console like this one. You’ll be able to use the cabinets as great hidden storage.

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Hope this was all helpful for you and any of my readers with a similar problem!

Thanks to Tiffany for writing in and for info on how to submit your questions to Studio Style Blog, click here.

How to Instantly Double Your Kitchen Counter Space

While I love my kitchen, it’s certainly lacking in counter space. I really only have a small section between the range and the sink and the only other counter space is the island. I often find myself setting things on top of the burners when I run out of room. So, I’ve been in search of a solution to utilize the range as an extra work space without an ugly cover or an expensive slab of granite or marble. 2015-03-15 12.24.38-1IMG_4867

Enter: the Ikea “as is” section! There’s a small little area near the checkouts where they have discounted damaged items for final sale, weird sized pieces of wood, etc. I forgot to measure my stove before going, but I found a white piece (that actually looks exactly like my dining table) with zero damage/markings for only $2.99. It seemed close enough to the size of my stove, and if it happened to be too big or small, it wasn’t a huge risk at that price. I brought it home and to my delight, it’s almost the exact size. There is a bit of overhang at the front, but nothing too significant. This piece is perfect for extra work space. It’s heavy and sturdy enough not to move around and the plain white color works well with the rest of the kitchen.

IMG_4862 IMG_4863 IMG_4865I‘m so glad I found this piece and for a few dollars, I now have a great deal of extra “counter” space. If you have a similar problem, I would definitely suggest checking out the “as is” section at Ikea or your local tile/stone place to see if they have remnants or samples that will allow you to cover your range for an extra work space.

Update: this project was recently featured! Check out the post here.featured_button