Fact #1: I’m obsessed with storage.
I think no matter how big our house is or how many closets it has, it will always feel like there’s never enough storage.
Fact #2: I hate staring at the back of our couch when I’m in the kitchen.
It’s boring. It’s flat. Nothing about it excites me.
I’ve played with the idea of adding a console table behind the couch/in the kitchen, but we already have one behind our loveseat in our living room and I really didn’t see a need for two. What I really wanted was lots of hidden storage, bonus points for drawers, and no baskets (since we already have 6 at the end of our island). At the top of my wish list, was a piece of furniture that was long and narrow. I wanted to make sure it was wide enough to fill up most of the length of the couch, but narrow enough that it didn’t take up all the space in our eat-in kitchen with no room leftover to get around our table.
I’ve been looking for this perfect piece for years.
I’ve finally found it.
The measurements for IKEA’s TARVA 6-drawer chest were almost exactly what I’d been looking for. At 61″ wide it was long enough to anchor the back of the couch, and at 15″ deep it was a few precious inches shallower than any other sideboard or buffet I had seen. The only measurement that didn’t quite work was the height – a problem I easily took care of by having G chop off the legs!
The TARVA comes unfinished, which makes it easy to customize. I wanted it to be a timeless piece that would always match the space regardless of the colors and decorations around it, so I decided on an ivory painted bottom with espresso stained top. Here are the supplies I used:
Most people these days think of that distressed, crackled furniture finish when you think of working with milk paint, but did you know it can produce a strong, smooth, factory-like finish when applied to raw wood?
I first used milk paint 7 years ago on the unfinished secretary desk I painted for our entryway. At the time I had consulted with an expert at a specialty woodworking store and he got me hooked on General Finishes Brand milk paints and stains. They’re water based which makes them easy to work with and clean up super easy, and I absolutely love the look and feel of the end result. Our secretary desk gets opened, closed, bumped, banged, and attacked with keys on a daily basis and it still looks as great as the day I finished it. I knew I wanted that same smooth and durable finish for our dresser-turned-sideboard, so I turned to milk paint once again.
To get started with my Tarva transformation, I first assembled and then lightly sanded the piece to get it ready for painting and staining. Since I knew I’d be changing out the handles, I also filled in and sanded the preexisting holes on the drawer fronts, and drilled fresh holes for my new handles.
I used General Finishes Milk Paint in Antique White for the lower part of the sideboard. I applied two coats, lightly sanding in between each one, and then finished with two coats of General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat in Satin. This top coat gives the piece an enamel-like finish, leaving it super durable, and the satin finish gives it a slight sheen without being too glossy. It’s my absolute favorite top coat and I use on every furniture piece I paint.
For the dark-stained top, I first started with General Finishes Pre-Stain Water Based Wood Conditioner in Natural. I saw firsthand at the Haven Conference last year what a huge difference pre-stain conditioner makes. Pre-stain conditioner allows your stain to go on smooth and evenly, whereas untreated wood is nearly impossible to stain without it looking splotchy and uneven. Once my pre-stain conditioner was set I applied two coats of General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain in Espresso, working in small sections and wiping off excess stain with a dry cloth before moving on to the next session. I finished off the top with four light coats of General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat in Satin for an extra durable, smooth satin finish.
Once the piece was all painted, stained, top-coated, and cured, I finished it off with some long stainless steel kitchen pulls (LANSA Handles from IKEA) to give the piece more of a “kitchen” look versus a “bedroom” look:
The extra storage our new sideboard offers has been a dream come true! It houses Kate’s paints and playdough (things she does at the kitchen table instead of in her carpeted playroom), some of Kate’s activity books, and tablecloths, runners, and placemats for our kitchen table. I keep one drawer reserved for my laptop, planner, blog notes, etc. so I have a convenient nearby spot to house things when it’s time to pack up my “kitchen table office” at the end of the day!
I added two glass tear drop lamps with geometric shades on top of the sideboard for some mid-level ambiance lighting, perfect for reading on the couch. I found these two little pulleys on clearance at Target for $5 each, and although they have nothing to do with a kitchen, I absolutely love them. I walked by them probably 20 times, thinking each time I saw them, “Those are so cool!” Once they went to clearance I couldn’t resist bringing them home. I think what I love about them is they remind me of some of the random old things my mom would bring home after a day of “junking” when we were kids.
Did you notice our new gray wall? This is the wall Kate helped me paint back in March when I decided to embrace a gray kitchen. The color is Sherwin Williams’ Anonymous and it looks just as good in our living room as it does in our kitchen! You can kind of see the back corner of the house where the gray meets the wheat color in the living room – I love how the two colors look together!
So what do you think? Have I convinced you to try putting a dresser in your kitchen? What other creative storage solutions have you found for your kitchen?