Fine Diving Has Moved!


If your web brower has landed on the old version of Fine Diving, please visit the new site HERE. See you there!  Diana


May Day Weekend Roundup

flickr photo by wasabicube

Like the opening sequence of the Simpsons, the clouds are scheduled to move on, and one day soon we’ll catch a glimpse of blue sky.


From the oeuvre of posts on Craigslist, it looks that garage sale season has officially opened in neighborhoods around the city.

boxes1May first is also a heavily-trafficked move in/move out day, as Chicagoans choose a change of scenery from their apartment windows. Take a new route home or out to get coffee and you might find something useful or a piece awaiting your rehab.


Saturday, the Chicago Antiques Market rolls out the asphalt carpet for celebrity shoppers like you and me at the Swap Meet in Soldier Field. Shout out to Ally, who sent a reminder of the event.  I plan to make the scene, along with blogger Green Cricket.  The doors open at 7 am and close at 3.  What’s up for you this weekend?  Meet you back here on Monday and we’ll swap stories.

Guest Project: Missy and Kirk’s Sears Mid-century Dresser

missy-and-kirk-compositeA gorgeous before and after by Missy, an English major who wrote up the project, and Kirk, who took the photos and whose visual stories – dont’ miss them – can be seen here. Thanks, M & K.

Found Item: 9 drawer mid-century dresser

Where: for $25 (picked up from Maywood, IL)


The Makeover: First, I was would just like to say how ridiculously flattered we are that Diana invited us to do a guest post!!  This is one of our favorite blogs and I giggled for about 10 minutes when I read the email.  Thank you for letting us put our project up here!

Kirk and I recently redid our bedroom, nothing fancy, but we moved some furniture around and put some new art on the wall, etc. and in order for everything to fit, we had to smoosh our two mis-mismatched tall 5 drawer dressers next to each other on one wall, very effective…but not so pretty (and also kept the bedroom door from opening all the way).  So we went a-dresser huntin’.  We first looked at new, which is just silly as everything new was way out of our price range.  Then Kirk sent me one of Diana’s make-over’s from a while back, a beautiful 3 drawer retro chest she updated with a touch of funk…and I was in love.  So we went shopping for mid-century furniture on ‘ye olde craigslist‘ and that very day we found our dresser.  We also happened to be picking up our chair and footstool that Diana reupholstered for us that evening, and told Diana of our plans to copycat her wonderful project.

progress_kirk_missyWe went with the golden oak stain and black semi-gloss enamel to coordinate with our existing furniture and sanded everything down  (favorite new toy = orbital sander), stained (two coats) polyurethaned (two coats), and painted (two coats).  We found the furniture makers stamp in one of the drawers and a little research told us that the dresser was made by Harmony House for Sears & Roebuck in their hay-day.  Our one indulgence on this project was the $40 natural cork contact paper I lined the drawers with because even after a good scrubbing, the drawers didn’t feel clean (we also had enough cork leftover to cover some coffee cans for plant cutting containers and enough stain and paint left for future projects: BONUS!).  Even so, we came in about $200 less than we would have with a comparable new dresser on the cheap, and this one is solid wood!  No particle board! Hurray for the refurb!


Materials: Dresser: $25, Minwax Wood Finish in Golden Oak $9, Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss Fast-Drying Polyurethane $9, Valspar Satin Black Latex Enamel $9 (all 1 QT), 4 Rolls Con-Tact brand Natural Cork Self-Adhesive Contact Paper (18 in. x 4 ft.) $39.96.  Total: $91.96.


Project Twenty Five: Porch Table

Porch Table Before and After

Found Item: Small wire frame table

Where: Alley in southeast Evanston

The Makeover: Hot or preschool project?  No matter, this is a simple and fast project, perfect for anyone who’d like to bring a small piece of the beach home. On a piece of pressboard I cut to replace the existing terra cotta tabletop, I spread a quarter inch layer of tile grout.  Into it, I pressed the small shells I’d collected from a few mornings at the beach.  It’s slow drying, so no worries if you need to adjust your the pattern. I chose a wave design that reflects the water’s motion.  After a day, when the grout had dried, I sprayed a coat of matte polyurethane to seal and protect it from dust. porch-table-after21

On the frame, after giving it a good overall with a wire brush, I sprayed two coats of rust proof paint in orange, which turned out to be a nice mustard yellow on the metal.

Materials: Powder tile grout, $3.92 for the small box, Ace Rust Stop paint, $4.99, and a scrap of pressboard, on hand.

Porch Table Composite