Side Table Archives - Go Haus Go - A DIY and Design Blog by Emily May

Plant of Steel

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Pssst… just two more days to enter my $100 giveaway to MyKnobs.com! Leave a comment on this post to enter.

I’ve been wanting to add some plant life to the bedroom somewhere and this little nook quickly raised its hand.

This corner is a tricky spot for two reasons: 1.) the large piece of art calls for a very tall (but skinny!) plant and 2.) this corner gets maybe an hour of filtered light a day. And let’s not forget that I’m not exactly the best plant keeper. I need something that will take care of itself!

This specific type of plant is called a Zamioculcas zamiifolia (commonly known as “Zanzibar Gem” according to Wikipedia). My salon has two of these flanking their entry and I’ve always loved their waxy leaves and thick stalks. I was sold on the plant though, when I saw it was categorized as a “Plant of Steel” by Lowe’s. I mean, the tag actually says, “Wants minimal attention.” SIGN ME UP!

The tag also reassured me that this low light plant only needs 1-2 hours of indirect light a day and will thrive with 1 cup of water every 2 weeks. If I can’t keep this plant alive, there is no hope for me.

The lamp I had there before was identical in height to the new plant, so I used that as an excuse to take advantage of another great deal at my favorite online lamp source. This is the mini diamante lamp in white. It’s the perfect height in relation to the plant.

I was drawn to this specific lamp (they have several at the 20″ height) because its shape matches the Land of Nod lamps I have on the other side.

To finish off the tabletop, I put a couple of bits and bobs next to the lamp. A lot of this was here before—the Happy Chic canister, the little captain statue Aaron got from his grandma as a kid and a tray I spray painted long ago. I can’t tell if I like it all together (too cluttered?) but it works for now. What’s not shown here? My super obnoxious phone charger cord. :)

And full transparency here. The reason these photos are cropped so tight is because I am trying to hide the “flat file” of posters and framed art we’ve yet to store or hang. But heck with it. We’re all friends here, right? Here’s the full corner… messy art storage and unmade bed.

Both the plant pot and plant come from Lowe’s. Dear Lowe’s, you are killing the outdoor decor game this year. I want everything. Color me very impressed. I don’t typically go to Lowe’s because it’s on the other side of town but the selection has brought me back a couple of times as the days get warmer.

And no, not a sponsored post. They don’t know me and I don’t know them.

Now I’m going to go back to neglecting my plant. It’s been about 3 weeks now since I’ve purchased it and it still looks super healthy and green. So far so good!

I’ll be back Wednesday with a reveal of a living room I just finished for my sister. Can’t wait to share!



How-To: Painting laminate furniture.

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This is the follow-up tutorial to last week’s side table makeover post. Make sure you scroll down for the color name reveal. You’ll love it. :)

It used to be that I’d come across a piece of furniture covered in laminate (basically like a high density fiberboard made to look like wood) and I’d sigh and move on. The rule has always been “you cannot paint laminate” and I was never willing to prove/disprove that theory.

Until I came across this campaign-style side table at Goodwill. Suddenly I felt more determined to figure it out.

Emily Snuffer

I hope I did this the right way. It was surprisingly drama-free and similar to how I’ve painted other pieces. It’s been a week and the paint is holding up strong.

First, I removed all the hardware. The brackets were attached with small brass finishing nails – I just used a screwdriver to wiggle them loose. The drawer pull was attached with screws. I removed that too.

I don’t have a picture of this part, but next I used Barkeeper’s Friend to polish the brackets and pulls. It does wonders for restoring tarnished metals. I was happy I didn’t have to spray paint them a faux brass.

Emily Snuffer

The exposed screw holes were plugged with toothpicks so re-installation / finding screw holes was easier at the end.

Next, sanding. Sanding laminate is a tricky art because it has to be done lightly, yet thoroughly. I sanded each surface using a fine grit sandpaper, sanding until the little flecks of fiberboard started to show. The point of sanding here is to give your primer a better change of adhering to the furniture surface.

Emily Snuffer

Prime time! I used Rust-Oleum spray primer in gray. I love this stuff. It dries crazy fast, which is perfect for my impatience. I think I waited just an hour before moving on to the paint.

Emily Snuffer

Oh yes, the green that I received so many lovely comments on is actually John Deere Green. The spray paint is an enamel meant for farm equipment, or in my case, a little side table. I didn’t want to share the color in the previous post to avoid any initial bias ;). Aaron was immediately like, “John Deere Green? Really?” but after seeing it on the table he was sold.

Why John Deere Green? One, I was limited in color choices and this was by far the best one I saw on the shelves. Two, I also wanted an enamel, knowing the laminate would need something extra durable and strong. I also love how hard and glossy enamel dries – it’s my favorite thing to use on furniture.

Emily Snuffer

It took only 2.5 coats and two cans of enamel, needing 1.5 day to complete. I waited only a day to put the hardware back on (probably should have waited longer) and 3 days to add the books and drawer. I’m so in love with this little John Deere side table.

A big thanks to Gwen at Bold Abode for making this her BOLD pick of the week.

Another big thanks to Emily (great name!) over at Emily Macleoud for making this an Upcycled Wednesday feature.

– emily

p/s: On a completely unrelated note, I am looking for a red/poppy blazer and red/poppy dress. Anyone know any affordable options?

Sad turned happy side table [Before/After].

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Update: Be sure to check out the tutorial on painting laminate furniture, using this side table, here.

When the big floor plan switch takes place over holiday break, I’ll have room for a side table. I’ve been anxious to get started on the whole process so I went and shopped all my usual haunts for a good side table – Goodwill, St. Vincent dePaul and Craigslist. With no luck. Boo.

And then just before Halloween I was at Goodwill meandering the 50% off sale when I found this sad little campaign-style nightstand. (For those unaware, campaign-style furniture is furniture marked with metal, usually brass, brackets in each corner.)

Emily Snuffer

What a sad little thing. Beat up. Laminate wood. Dingy brass. Smelly. Emily Snuffer

So of course it was love at first sight. And at $4 (it was 50% off furniture day) I couldn’t say no.

Things are looking up for this little table.

Emily Snuffer

And here’s proof that a nightstand doesn’t always have to sit next to a bed. This is going to be an awesome little side table in the new living room.

I’ll have all of the DIY details (painting laminate, colors I used, cost, etc.) next week. But for now, I’m going to enjoy my little green table.

– emily

p/s: If you can guess the name of the green spray paint used I will give you one billion internet points.

p/p/s: There’s only one way to find the stuff you want at Goodwill. You MUST go ALL.THE.TIME.