{a lesson in the value of prep-work}
     I bought this pretty bookcase a few weeks ago.  Look, I know what you're thinking: It looks like a piece of icky 70's oatmeal-coloured junk. And I can't deny that--yes, in it's current state--okay, it sure does. But it cost me like $30 and when I laid eyes on it, I really did fall in love. What can I say? I die for retro!

     I mean look at those beautiful carved details! The truth is, I bought it for nostalgic reasons. I've made no secret of my admiration for Dorothy Draper. I've taken her philosophy of fearlessness to heart, and have been wanting for some time to have some token of that ideal. Though the bookcase is relatively tame, it is reminiscent of Draper's signature elaborate moldings and does the trick to remind me of her propensity for drama.
Images via Jorge Rosso, whose post, "Life is a Banquet" is a poignant homage to Dorothy Draper and also a wonderful how-to on the elements of Draper Style. A must-read!

   My plan: To paint it a crisp and glossy white, and adorn the inside with stenciling or possibly wallpaper. I'm not sure which direction I'll take on that yet, but I put that debate on ice and--being that I'm more about instant gratification--got to work on painting the object of my affection right away. As my mother-in-law would say: This isn't my first rodeo. I think, in fact, that I've become a little too self-assured with my DIY prowess and as it goes with hubris, I was instantly karmically rewarded with peril. Sure I sanded the thing a bit and applied several even-handed coats. But here's where I failed:
1. I did not use a primer.
 Jen's reasoning at the time: "Meh, primer's for amateurs."
2. I used cheap paint.
Jen's reasoning at the time: "I can use this here paint I already have and spend the money on accessories instead! This paint wasn't great the first time, but I can always do a quick third coat, if anything." I was not thinking of the hard-to-cover carvings, naturally.
3. I did not allow sufficient drying time between coats.
Jen's reasoning at the time: "Dry enough. I bet I can be a total badass and finish this sucker today!"
And worst of all: I tragically missed the photo-op of me in adorable painter's overalls! Instead, I wore an old Care Bears t-shirt with my husband's ratty Miami Dolphins basketball shorts. I assure you there are no photographs of me in THAT! I just didn't think of the overalls until later. Another effect of my failure to plan ahead. Oh, and I got paint in my hair, because I didn't bother to pull it all back.
Notice the Dolphins' game on TV in the background. Husband had the boys over for the game and they all watched on from the sofa whilst I huffed and puffed and flapped about in frustration. MEN! Who needs 'em?!

     I'm actually not finished. I'm currently four coats in and doing only a bit every day to temper my annoyance. The photo above is three coats in. Next time I won't be so self-assuredly lackadaisical about a DIY! Learn from my mistakes, y'all. A little prep and planning on the front-end makes for way less work.
P.S. - Look out for my post on the finished bookcase next week. Don't worry, in spite of my slapdash methods, it's looking pretty great!


  1. that came out nice. i love the detail in the woodwork. very nice. great job handywoman!!!

  2. Thanks, Jess. :) It's not done yet, but I'm feeling really good about this one, in spite of my rough start, lol!


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