This story is going to get so much worse before it gets better.
As I mentioned in my last post, I came across a mammoth campaign dresser/shelving unit that I didn’t know I needed (but OH, how I needed it!) on Facebook Marketplace last month, located just five minutes away from where we live.
My first question, which I quickly disregarded as irrelevant, was where the f are we going to put this thing?
The second question, obviously, was how can we make this fit in our Chevy Cobalt? Because anything is possible.
Our incredibly helpful neighbor Joe came to the rescue and lent his truck and his heavy-lifting skills to the cause.
The babies and I cheered on Joe and Erik as they maneuvered this two-part beast up the stairs and down the narrow hallway, before dumping it unceremoniously into the guest room (soon to be combined kid room).
The unit is meant to be stacked, but I am thinking I will keep it separate for now while the girls are small. I can use the dresser as a changing table, and the shelving unit clearly makes an awesome “dressing room” with the kid-height mirror.
My first order of business was to remove the brass hardware. Time flies when you’re streaming (the most boring ever) Bachelor while carrying out manual labor.
On day 2 of hardware removal, I enlisted the babysitting services of Freja’s entire toy box.
Once the hardware was off, I got to work cleaning. This furniture reallllllly needed some help. I sprayed the whole thing with a blend of vinegar, water, and lemon essential oil and scrubbed like crazy.
After scrubbing, I spent a couple days sanding and then dusting to make sure the surface was totally ready for paint. After a week of prep work, it was finally time!
I still had half a gallon of no-VOC Simply White left from a closet-painting project last year, so I spent three hours on a Friday night painting the first coat on the dresser and shelves. I went to bed literally able to taste this project being finished by the end of the weekend. So much anticipation!
And then I woke up in the middle of the night to the overpowering stench of dog poop. I knew it was the paint, and I knew it definitely was not a normal paint-drying smell, but I still held out hope. It had smelled fine in the can, so I could not figure out why it would smell this wretched now. Erik went to open the windows in the guest room to speed along the process, and we went back to sleep with fingers crossed.
In the morning, I walked into the guest room fully believing that everything would be fine, but a wall of putrid old cheese stench greeted me instead as soon as I opened the door.
The furniture looked great, but seriously, what was that smell?! And did I really just spend THREE HOURS creating a giant catastrophe?
Welllllllll, enter Google. Apparently, paint can go rancid, especially no/low-VOC paint because it does not have all the solvents that typically inhibit bacteria growth. I read several stories of walls covered in rancid paint, giving off this smell for YEARS while homeowners attempted countless solutions and ultimately tore down the drywall in despair. I cried.
Luckily, I was dealing with this issue on a much smaller furniture scale, but it was still so discouraging. I went from tasting the finished room to being back at square one. Before square one, really. I thought I had completely destroyed my awesome new free furniture and would never recover.
My mom suggested vinegar (her answer for everything), so I retrieved my vinegar/lemon spray bottle and soaked every inch. Erik followed with baking soda, and then we closed the door and left it all to sit for a while with the windows open.
When I went in later to give it another wipe down with a rag, the paint actually started coming off in wet clumps, thanks to all the moisture and the abrasive baking soda. It was so messy, and I was sure I had made things 8,000 times worse by adding the baking soda, which I would now never be able to remove completely. Sigh. I left the room.
I gave everything 48 more hours to dry and then basically spent the next three days dusting and vacuuming baking soda until it was as gone as it could ever be. I eventually reached my limit. Baking soda is white, and the paint is white. At least they would match.
My internet research led me to KILZ Max, a water-based and odor-blocking primer, so I bought a gallon from Home Depot and got to work. After the week of baking soda and two coats of primer, the dog poop smell was a thing of the past. Thank goodness!!
I had another half-gallon of semi-gloss Simply White, which I tested on a stick of wood and on paper to make sure it was still ok. No smell when dry, so I was good to go! Two coats later …
Next up was the brass hardware.
I will not bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say, I stayed up until midnight for three nights in a row working on this, my fingers will never function at 100% again, and if I ever get the urge to polish brass hardware again, I hope that someone ties me down until I agree to use a can of gold spray paint instead.
I could, however, stare at this gorgeous dresser all day long. Forget making this the kid room! Perhaps I can keep the baby gate up and barricade myself in here whenever I need a moment.
Oh, right. These people are ALWAYS watching.
The shelving unit did not quite get the same treatment. As I explained, my fingers no longer work 100% and I am SO OVER polishing brass. I am suddenly really loving the aged and tarnished (oh right, patina) look.
Also, I think I’m in trouble. Trouble, trouble, trouble (sung in the key of Tay Tay) …