Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Big Ugly

refinishing furniture, distressing finish, cabinet
It was very hard to miss The Big Ugly as it sat on the floor of the Goodwill.

Read about The Low Country Crawl here and here.

I circled it several times trying to decide what it was.

Trying to decide what someone had done to it.

Trying to decide what would take the ugly off.

The decision was made when the manager reached over to reduce the price and I said, "Sold!".

While I checked out, he and Leia, my wonderfully understanding niece, lugged this behemoth out to the truck and manhandled it in.

Leia remarked she still did not know what it was, but it was the ugliest thing I had ever bought.

The Big Ugly.

It took me five hours on Thursday to get the ugly off.

I stripped all the fabric and metallic adhesive paper and straw raffia off and found how the doors worked.

Learned it was mostly particle board with a wood top.

It had casters - a plus since it was so heavy.

I sanded it down and removed the doors.

The Big Ugly now appeared to have a tiny bit of style.

I liked the arched piece over the shelves. 
Still could not figure out what it was.

Mixed some of my gloopy paint in Sweet Bluette.

BTW this is the last piece to be painted Sweet Bluette.  I forgot and threw away the empty can before having the paint matched.

Yikes!  I hate when that happens.

I could tell two coats would be enough to cover both the wood and the particle board without a smidge of lime green showing.

I was not putting the doors back - I liked the open sides.

Besides don't you hate rehanging cabinet doors?

I DO!!!

My gloopy paint dries fast.

Time for the wax.

I dithered back and forth between clear and dark wax.

Took the middle - I keep a staining rag in a can of clear wax to give a hint of distressing.

See the difference.

And here is The Big Ugly with all the ugly stripped right off him.

He is rather handsome.

I still do not know what he is.

But he has storage.

He has shelves down both sides.

He rolls.

Perhaps he was a bar in someone's party room.

He did resemble a party hat.

I think he would be perfect on a screened porch.

I added more texture to the places the particle board showed through instead of sanding it smooth.

I took him right over to the store and stuffed him into the spot between my booths.

Stacked small gray benches on him.

He is a heavyweight.

He can take it.

The watering cans were quite happy to be in the photo with The Big Ugly (who I guess needs a new name!)

Now tell the truth.

Did you see any pretty in The Big Ugly?

Well, it did take me five hours of working on him to strip that ugly off.

He is now available at Riverfront Antique Mall.

Come get him while he is hot.

Or at least tell me what he is.

See y'all!

Use this discount code to receive 10% off your purchase at the Distressed Donna Etsy store:



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  1. Good thing I couldn't sleep this morning! Looks like I'm the first to comment on the beauty in blue! Such a big transformation! I still don't know what it was supposed to be but you have improved it greatly! I like it better without the doors too. It would make a great TV stand with the shelf for a DVD player and such and the end shelves for games/movies. I'm sure someone will spot it and have the perfect use for it. Have a blessed Sunday....Vicky

    1. This is what I think it is/used to be...put VHS tapes on the side and a player on the shelf and the TV on top.

  2. Nice job of seeing through the ugly to the bones of this lovely piece. Great job!

  3. What a transformation! It looked like something made up for a party or two . . . something old and feminine I suppose. Would not have called it a "him" but now it's a wonderful piece of storage to do with . . . whatever!

  4. Absolutely wonderful! You got it going on!

  5. Dear lord, five hours! That is true dedication my friend. It does look better. Well done. How About calling it The Big Ugly's Sweet Sister now?

  6. Wow, he is very handsome now! I think Vicky is right, I think he was a TV stand.


  7. Ahhh! For some reason I had the perspective wrong on the original photo the other day. I thought this thing was GIGANTIC, as in tall enough to walk through the middle if that strange shelf hadn't been there. Now I get it and it doesn't seem like such a crazy purchase after all~

  8. What a great job you did on that Big Ugly. You can't call it that now. Looks really good.

  9. From ugly to very useful. Great fix.

  10. I'm in the same camp as Vicky - tv center. Unless Etcetorize's impression is right and you can walk under it. Then I'd say it's something to park your car in. ahahahahaha! You took it from Yuck to Yeah!

  11. Wow - that was a lot of ugly. I'm thinking it was some type of TV stand, too. But I love what you did to it and I think it would be perfect for a screened-in porch. Who doesn't love a bit of funky storage?

  12. Oh wow, what an unbelievable makeover. I love the storage and such an unusual piece.

  13. Holy cow!! That is one amazing transformation! I still can't believe what some poor misguided someone did to that piece. I've never seen anything like the before, but he is a beauty now with a lot of great storage.

  14. Good job Donna ... now it looks like a useful piece of furniture. I agree that it originally housed a TV and now could be used as a console to sit a big screen TV on top. I think I have seen some of them used for dog or cat beds by putting padding in the bottom section. I am sure someone will see a use for it.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  15. Wow, what a beautiful transformation!

  16. THis is very impressive! Wouldn't it be great as a kitchen island now? With shelves for cooking books on both sides?

  17. Now it is the big beauty. I agree with Magali, it would make a great kitchen island. This was a good save and a great transformation.

  18. As soon as I saw the pic where you removed the doors I thought that it would make a great small island in a kitchen, especially considering it's on castors. Okay you asked and I'm going to be honest and I may be the only person in here that thinks it buuuuuut I kinda liked the funky lime green with the black & white paper...the fabric on the sides was way too much. It would make a fun table in a teenager's room or hangout. But, for an island what you did with it is perfect! I'm sure it'll be sold from your booth in no time.
    Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

  19. You have such vision! The big-ugly looks great now!
    Thanks so much for sharing...

  20. Interesting piece...much, much better looking now that you have worked your magic!

  21. It sure was ugly, you saved it! Featuring this on my History & Home Link Party Features board on Pinterest!


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