Refreshing An Overly Painted Bookcase

The Gold Hive Bookcase Before and After

The bookcase room dividers were a big selling point when we (well, when I) first laid eyes on the house. But, somehow, I neglected them for two years. I got distracted with all of the other projects, so they sat empty for months. Then I started piling books on them. Then I loaded them with junk with no intention of styling them. Then they just sat there for months. I'm not perfect, okay??

The Gold Hive Bookcase Before

Luckily, all of my knick knacks covered up the horrid paint job underneath. Not only was it an unfortunate brown color, but it was peeling pretty badly. This, my friends, is why you don't want to paint water-based paint over oil-based paint without some serious prepping. Otherwise, you leave a mess of refinishing for people like me (or even yourself) years later.


6-in-1 tool
Razor blade scraper
Utility knife
Sander with coarse grit papers
Respirator/dust mask and goggles
Drop cloth and optionally an old sheet
Paint of choice
Angled paintbrush
Shelf support pins

The latex paint was peeling off in sheets, so I used a combination of tools to scrape and peel it all off. Some of it came off nice and easy, whereas other spots took some serious scraping. The goal was to scrape anything that wanted to come off. Really stuck-on paint could stay.

The Gold Hive Refinish a Bookcase

After what felt like 99 hours of scraping, the next step was to sand everything really smooth. Any edges where the layers of paint didn't come off entirely need to be sanded down until they are slick to the touch. You'll still see the different colors, but as long as you can't feel it to the touch, then you're golden. I used the 50 grit sanding pads on my orbital sander to smooth edges and rough up the existing finish to receive new paint.

Since power sanders blow a bunch of dust around, I wanted to protect the rest of the house from the mess. Thus, a made a cocoon for myself with an old sheet to encapsulate all of the dust. Of course, I wore face protection to keep dust out of my eyes and lungs.

The Gold Hive sanding a bookcase

I'll admit that the funny looking technique wasn't the most comfortable way to work. It got pretty hot and rather dusty. But I didn't need to clean up much dust at the end of the project, so I consider it a win!

Once everything was sanded smooth and paint scraps were cleaned up, I coated the surface with my go-to primer, Zinsser 1-2-3.

The Gold Hive bookcase primer

That's just primer, but look at the transformative power of paint!

Next, I did a couple of coats of paint left over from the One Room Challenge. Benjamin Moore's Simply White in the satin finish is such a pretty, soft white. So much better, right?

The Gold Hive Refinish a Bookcase

The bookcase has small holes on the sides to mount adjustable shelves on pins. Each of them was filled with so much paint (prior to my scraping), that the pins didn't fit. After painting my own three layers of paint, which subsequently mucked it up even further, I redrilled the holes. Using a bit the size of the holes (1/4" in my case) I re-drilled each of them being sure not to make them any bigger than their original size.

The Gold Hive Bookcase Refinish

The drill removed the gunk from inside of the holes, but it did pull up some of the new paint along the edges. No biggie, though.

The Gold Hive bookcase refinish

I followed up with a mallet and the end of a screwdriver to soften the edges by hammering any rough edges produced by the drilling into the hole. This is the same technique I recommend for patching a hole in the wall after removing a nail.

For a swift cleanup, I used compressed air to blow the dust out of each of the holes while vacuuming gunk that flew out with a shopvac. I followed up with a light dabbing of paint to touch up the spots that lost some of the finish.

The Gold Hive Refinish a Bookcase

Finally, I pushed the shelf mount pins in, then plopped the painted shelves on them. These pins work wondrously for creating adjustable shelving options. If you're building your own shelves, or want to add more storage to an existing unit, you could easily install a strip of wood in each of the corners with equally spaced holes. Then pop the pins in, mount a shelf, and you'd have adjustable storage!


Next week, I'll share my steps for styling shelves. Maybe within the next two years I'll refinish the other matching bookcase, too!

The Gold Hive Bookshelf

Weekly Roundup

The Faux Backyard

Melissa of The Faux Martha revealed her backyard and it's my number one thing this week. That summer snow hemlock tree in the corner makes me melt each time I see it. And that pizza oven paired with the black fence! I shared Emily Henderson's yard last week and the two spaces are so different yet I'm absolutely gushing over both. If you HAD to choose, which would you pick for your home? I'll be the first to admit that I refuse to answer because they are both perfect. 

Did you catch this week's Young House Love podcast? I laughed out loud at the 2-minute segment that starts at 15:35.

Speaking of podcasts, have I been living under a rock?! Karen and Zandra have been interviewing some of my favorite designers and creators for years.

My friend Erin of Cotton & Flax had her fabric designs featured on Design*Sponge this week, and you can download them as a wallpaper for your phone or computer - for free! New designs are being shared daily, so click here to admire all of them!

Earlier this week, I shared the kitchen flooring tutorial in blog format and in video. Didja watch the vid? Tell me if I should keep doing those or not. Myers-Briggs says I'm a people pleaser, so tell me how to please!

I've been working on fixing up the living room so you'll see a refreshed space pretty soon! I've been scraping paint for days, so I'm pretty excited to see the finished space, myself.

Happy weekend!

15 Unique Cabinet Knobs and Pulls for Under $10

When we bought the house, all of the kitchen cabinets were adorned with handles in the shape of twigs. All cabinets but one - the drawer under the sink had a knob in the likeness of a rooster. So stylish, so festive. While I love foliage and fowls, I decided to swap them out for new pulls. Since we were seeking stopgap solutions for a phase 1 upgrade, inexpensive options were a top priority. I know I'm not the only one that likes to be nice on the budget, so I've compiled a list of cabinet hardware pieces for under $10, just for you!

The Gold Hive Budget Friendly Hardware.jpg

1. Peggy // 2. Paris // 3. Porcelain // 4. U-Turn // 5. Hex // 6. Leather // 7. Wooden // 8. Latch // 9. Martin // 10. Metro // 11. Cup // 12. Allison // 13. Marcel // 14. Cork // 15. Bar

When searching for budget pieces, it's easy to head straight to the big box store, but can you believe that many of those are handmade?! And all of them are under $10? And one of them is made of cork? And another with leather?

We went with #11 and #12 in nickel, but I have eyes for a few of those other pieces. Which are your favorites?

A DIY Kitchen Transformation Using Vinyl Floor Tiles + A Video Tutorial!

The kitchen has seen a wild transformation! So far, I've shared the plans, the concrete counter DIY, and three tutorials for adding more work space - check out those posts here. But the floors! They made the kitchen into a wonderfully different space. I couldn't have been more excited to get started on the quick/cheap/transformative project of giving my kitchen floors a fresh buffalo check pattern. This DIY kitchen transformation using vinyl floor tiles is among my favorites yet - and it costs about as much as it does to paint a room!

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

I made my first-ever video! Check out the video below to see the flooring tutorial which includes an über satisfying timelapse and a favorite song. Then, read below for the detailed step-by-step guide.

1. Prep: Simply vacuum and mop. Being sure to get into all of the corners and edges, give your floor a really good cleaning. The vinyl tiles will stick to whatever you put them on and the goal is to stick them to the existing flooring, not the dirt or grease. If your floors are significantly damaged (like chipped, bubbled, or unlevel), I'd recommend taking more time during prep to resolve these issues. You may want to pull up the existing linoleum, scrape off uneven surfaces, or even level your floors. However, if you're doing this cheap and easy project as a stopgap like me, you can probably live with some of these irregularities if you keep in mind that the vinyl tiles aren't magic and you may see traces of your wonky floors.

2. Gather materials: I used Nexus Vinyl Floor Tiles in black, white, and grey. All are 12"x12" and are a thin 1.2mm thick. Any peel-and-stick tile should do the trick, but I chose these because they were the cheapest ($1/sqft!), and came in the colors I wanted for my pattern. Note that there are high-end vinyl floor tiles that can be grouted and have a much sturdier long-lasting finish. Check out the process and incredible transformation that Chris Loves Julia did in their Pittsburg kitchen remodel.

In addition to the tile, you'll need:
- Tape measure
- Speed square
- Straight edge (I used the side of my level)
- Utility knife

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

3. Measure: Planning exactly where the tiles will go is a critical step. For floors of all the same color, it is less crucial, but with patterned designs, you need to be mindful of how the edges will terminate. I laid out the tiles to do a rough plan of the flooring and instantly noticed that I didn't want full 12"x12" tiles at the edges of the cabinets. It made it look like I plopped the tiles on after the fact (which I was doing!). The solution was to cut them to around 6" wide to give the illusion of the tiles going underneath the cabinets.

In addition to considering how the tiles terminate at the cabinets, the edges where the tile transitions to walls and existing flooring are key. My kitchen had two points of entry where the flooring would transition from hardwoods to the new tile. It was important that these spots didn't have the floating-on-top-of-the-floor look, and even more important that the edges weren't 0.5" slivers of tile. Tiny pieces of tile on a threshold will most certainly get kicked up after lots of treading on them.

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

To make sure I avoided the two measuring concerns, I took the length of the kitchen and focused on just the last few inches that didn't make up a full foot. (Since the tiles are each a foot, I subtracted them from the equation.) The length I measured was 14'11", so I took the 11" inches and decided how I could use that amount to create two cuts on either side of the kitchen. Making each side 5.5" inches wide with 14 tiles in the middle was an easy solution. Then, I did this again in the opposite direction.

Once I knew how wide I wanted the edge pieces to be, I measured to find the middle of the kitchen floor. Since I'm a rule follower, I did as the packaging told me and started in the middle and worked my way out. If your kitchen has a different configuration, I fully support you starting at an edge. However, if the edge you butt your tiles up against, or the cut you made for your edge tile isn't perfectly square to the cabinets or prominent walls, you'll have a lopsided flooring pattern by the time you get to the other side.

4. Lay the tile: I placed the first tile in the center of the floor using the existing hardwood floors as my linear guide, since I used my speed square earlier to ensure the floorboards were, in fact, trustworthy. Then, I put the next tile adjacent to that one using the first tile's edges as a guide. I then spiraled out from the center. This provided me with corners as my guides, which maintained the pattern much better than had I gone in a stripe pattern.

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

The application was incredibly simple. I just peeled off the back paper and placed the tile on the floor starting with the corner or edge guide, then rolled the rest of the tile down. The adhesive has some give to it, so I could tug on the tile to slide it close to the previous tile for a tight joint.

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

Being mindful not to mix up the colors in my pattern, I continued the spiral application until I got to an edge that would require a cut piece. I saved all cut pieces until the end primarily because I wanted instant gratification without slowing down for cutting and measuring. Also, I frequently came across tiles with dented corners that wouldn't have worked as full tiles, but I could cut off the damaged part and have a salvageable cut edge piece. I saved these in a pile to use later for cut pieces, which helped preserve the intact tiles for the main attraction. We have a pretty good amount of flooring in the kitchen, but placing the tiles went surprisingly quickly. Since there's no cleanup, I was also able to stop at this point and save cutting the edge pieces for another day.

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

5. Cut the tile: The vinyl was very easy to cut with a quick score and snap technique. The trickiest part was measuring and ensuring the cuts were square. To do this, I set up my cutting station on the counter and used the edge to line up the tile along with my trusty speed square. Keeping the tile squared to my two tools, I measured the length of tile needed, lined up the edge of my speed square to that mark, then butted up a straight edge to the speed square (since it was too short to go the length of the tile). I pressed firmly so nothing would budge, then gave a single score down the tile with a utility knife. No need to press hard. After scoring the tile, fold it to snap the tile into two pieces.

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

When I got to spots needing multiple cuts to account for moulding or other floor obstructions, I followed the same steps as above. The only difference is the measuring is more meticulous, and the scoring/snapping technique is a touch more challenging - but totally doable! Any edges that didn't get a perfect cut can be filled in later with caulking to blend into the cabinets or baseboards.

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

6. Get under appliances: Make sure the tile edges go partially under appliances and furniture pieces to give a clean continuous look. To do this, you'll need to move the appliances temporarily out of the way. Ross was out of town, so I used my brute strength to shimmy the fridge and stove out of the way. If you don't have room to slide appliances around, you can lift the appliance up a few inches, then have an assistant tuck a piece of scrap lumber underneath, so you can squeeze in your tile. Be careful when moving appliances that you don't kink any gas or water lines!

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

7. Clean up: There's nearly no clean up other than recycling the paper backings and tossing out the scraps. On a few tiles, the adhesive oozed out of the seams a couple of days later. You can use olive oil or goo gone to clean up these spots.

That's pretty much it! Super simple, relatively quick, and cheap!

If you didn't catch the video, you can watch it here. This is my first video tutorial! Should I make more? What else would you like to see from me in video format? 

The Gold Hive Vinyl Floor Tutorial

Weekly Roundup

Emily Henderson revealed her beautiful backyard this week and it's what English-country-garden-while-living-in-Los-Angeles-dreams are made of. I promise that I'll share our front yard landscaping soon!

On Wednesday, Ross and I went to see Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears and it was pretty swell! Who else should we aim to see before they stop performing? Elton John is on my list, but what other classics are still out there playing their hits?

Comic Con is happening in San Diego this week. It isn't my scene at all, but I ventured down the block from my office to check out Broad City's life-size coloring book. That show cannot come back from hiatus soon enough! Who is listening to Abbi Jacobson's new podcast in partnership with MoMa

I'm making an effort to add more artwork to my home. Each time I get a new piece, I'm so pleased with myself, but this couple has me beat.

Sometimes I think about owning a hotel and decorating each room exactly the same, or wildly different. I also fantasize about being in the Guilty Remnant (I still can't get over The Leftovers being snubbed by the Emmys!). So, this list of Six SoCal Motels You Can Buy Right Now That Would Be Ideal For Starting A Cult is right up my alley.

Domino says this is the best brownstone in Brooklyn. I'd have to agree that the bedroom wallpaper is super heart-eyes.

Annie Selke's rug design contest has ended, and the winning designs are pretty great. But I'm totally bummed that Nicole Balch's bug rugs didn't win!

Happy weekend!