A few years ago, I desperately wanted something for my dining room. I was really envisioning a sideboard of some sort, but we didn't have it in our budget to buy a nice piece of furniture. So, I improvised. I found a hideous 1970s dresser from a girls' bedroom set at a local thrift store. The price tag was $35. I bought it. I brought Ruf back with me the next day to pick it up, and he questioned my sanity because the thing was hideous.
Once at home in the garage, I set about the task of stripping the dresser of all its ugly paint. I then sanded it, primed it, then painted it with an oil-based paint. I replaced the tacky 1970s drawer pulls with some pretty glass ones I found on Ebay. I'm most proud to say that the only help I needed from Ruf was filling in the holes from the old drawer pulls, then drilling new ones. Oh, and he screwed in the new drawer pulls for me because he's stronger and can get the bolts tighter. Here is the finished product:
Total cost for the dresser project, including purchase of dresser, supplies for stripping, primer, paint, and drawer pulls: $80.
This last year for my birthday, the only thing I wanted was a curio cabinet I'd found at IKEA. I wanted something with clean, simple lines, and the IKEA cabinet fit the bill perfectly. Even better is that the price was only $99. Since it is in my dining room, I painted it to match the dresser I refinished. I also had a glass drawer pull leftover from the dresser project, so I had Ruf put it on instead of the one it came with. My gift was not only the purchase of the cabinet, but also Ruf's labor in putting it together. If I'd been smart, I would have had him give me the labor of priming and painting it, too! :-) The curio cabinet houses my collection of turtles from around the world.