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?