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The guest room just upstaged our sad, untouched bedroom by a landslide.

This headboard, by the way? We’ve had it for years! Scott spotted it in the alley behind our former condo building while walking Jack. He ran inside, yelled inaudible words of excitement until I followed him downstairs, and minutes later, we were hauling that alley find to our basement – knowing it would have a proper home someday!

(On a side note, some of the best scavenging in this city happens in the alleys on trash night. On the opposite end, it’s a fun game to set something out and place bets on how long it’ll take before someone else scoops it up. You give a little, you take a little!)

We loved that it was so ornate (I believe we said, it’s so ugly, it’s pretty again!), and it was in great structural shape with no dents or divots. We also loved that it was not real wood (faux-wood? A laminate of sorts?), giving us the freedom to paint it without the guilt that can come along with mindlessly painting a solid piece. Plus, it needed a pick-me-up. We wanted to go bold!


For this project, Wagner Spray Tech reached out and asked if we’d like to give one of their new paint sprayers a try, for which we were grateful and totally on board. We already own the Power Painter Plus (which is truly a power house!), so we talked with the Wagner Team about the intricacy of our current project. They suggested we experiment with the Flexio 590, as there are more controls and better flexibility with detailed work.

After prepping the garage, we gathered our (few) additional supplies: no-rinse TSP, latex gloves, a bucket of warm water for TSP dilution + a rag, and exterior Clark+Kensington satin enamel in Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine!. We had just half a gallon leftover from our porch swing project, so we crossed our fingers and hoped it would be enough. (Spoiler, it totally was.)


We mixed a small amount of TSP with the warm water (following the label exactly, approximately 1:4) and wiped over the entire headboard. The TSP not only acts as a deglosser, but it helps to pull out any unknown oils that may have settled into the faux-wood.


Once it was dry, we could move on to the best part – spraying!

Immediately, we noticed that the Flexio 590 was much different than our Power Painter Plus in volume alone; in other words, we didn’t feel as though we were waking our neighbor’s children with this one! (A huge, huge plus!)


There were controls to tweak the entire experience, which while awesome, admittedly took us two tries to learn what worked best for us – everything from wide vs. narrow spray, amount of material and power of air flow! In the end, we learned that for our smaller project with high detail, a minimal paint flow and higher air speed did us good. And although we did have a panicked splatter moment due to too-low air control combined with a too-much material setting, a few adjustments had us feeling more at ease. (And the few speckles that occurred during our learning curve dried completely smooth and even – perhaps a testament to the paint as well.)


In total, two coats of paint did the job, and we still have a quarter gallon of our paint left! Color us impressed. (Another side note: I always wrap the nozzle with a plastic baggie between coats to prevent any chance of dry out between coats.) We allowed everything to dry in our garage overnight, and the next day, we brought it into the guest room and bolted it to our simple metal bed frame:


We threw on our adorable guest room bedding (seriously, this room is kicking our room’s ass), and I swear Scott squealed. (Okay, me too.) It perfectly mimics the opposing wall’s paper, and the black tones down the overt girliness – it’s a win-win combo, we think! Also, Nein! Nein! Nein! is officially our favorite black.


Above, you can see that the headboard detail comes down to almost the top of the mattress, so we’re toying with the idea of raising the whole headboard a good six inches or so. We didn’t take into account our box spring when we first installed it, and once I pile on the pillows, well, we don’t want those details getting buried.

This might be our favorite dumpster dive to date. Anyone want to share the story of theirs? (And openly admit to your dumpster diving prowess?)

PS: We’re sharing our favorite yard sale tips and tricks on the Bali Blinds blog this week. It’s not too late to purge before we get carried away with holiday madness. Hop on over!

This post is in partnership with Wagner SprayTech. We were gifted the Flexio 590, and every word is ours. Thank you for supporting those that support us! xx.

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  • Sara10.23.14 - 7:01 AM

    Love, love, LOVE this! Extra points for helping me rationalize my own trash-picking/hoarding-of-treasures-for-future-projects ways. The guest room is coming together beautifully. Lucky future guests!ReplyCancel

  • Ilse10.23.14 - 7:34 AM

    We live quite an old house with beautiful moldings and trim that has been terribly renovated in the past. For example, some of the window trim in the kitchen was just cut away in order to make someone’s tiling job would be easier.

    Just YESTERDAY we found that one of our neighbours totally gutted their house and we took many great pieces of trim from their scrapheap that matches ours PERFECTLY. I am so hapy! Time for some restauration!ReplyCancel

  • Katharina10.23.14 - 7:59 AM

    WOW! what a difference!
    I love the dramatic look of it!
    Great color!

    You two are my reno & DIY idols! … please let me know if you are ever up to a (working/renovation)holiday in Europe… there’s a little treehouse in the heart of Europe which probably would need a few more handy helpers and some overseas experts! ;)

    keep up the good work. I really enjoy your blog… kept us going through some hard renovation times.
    from Vienna with love, KatharinaReplyCancel

    • Kim10.23.14 - 8:51 AM

      Girl, please! I’ve been following your adventures, and you guys are rock stars! (And I want to have a big puppy play date!)ReplyCancel

      • Katharina10.24.14 - 2:09 AM

        means a lot to hear this from you! thank you, kim.
        And the puppy play date is set! :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square10.23.14 - 8:20 AM

    Love this! I notice that you used the paint/primer combination. Any concerns about not using primer on its own first? (I always tend to go overboard and use primer even if it’s included in my paint as well. Which probably defeats the purpose of getting paint+primer in the first place.)ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.23.14 - 8:50 AM

      The TSP helps with the paint adhesion, but since this is the same paint we used on our outdoor porch swing (without priming first), we’re not too worried! And because it’s exterior grade, we felt pretty good without primer. With heavy use furniture however (things like a desk or anything that gets surface use), we’re like you – using a good primer no matter what!ReplyCancel

  • Kris10.23.14 - 8:50 AM

    That is one awesome headboard!!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel10.23.14 - 8:54 AM

    This room is shaping up to be AWESOME! Can I come stay at your house? ;)

    Also, can I just say I really admire the way you guys work sponsors into your posts? It always seems like the products you get to use are interesting and add something, rather than just being a super tacky add-on that doesn’t fit with the blog. Not sure I’m describing that right but hopefully you get what I mean. It can’t be easy to do (based on all the times I’ve seen sponsored blog posts done poorly!) so I’m just really impressed!

    And while I’m on a roll with the compliments, the other thing I love about your blog is how you guys really balance fun design stuff (and I love your taste) with the more technical nitty-gritty of the DIY projects. I feel like I get so much out of this blog. So thanks! Keep it up!! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.23.14 - 9:00 AM

      Thank you so much, Rachel! You can stay at our house all day long when you talk like that ;)

      And much appreciated about your sponsor thoughts – we know you guys can tell if something feels off, and we wouldn’t feel right working with a company that we don’t support ourselves. We’re truly grateful to have the opportunity and be able to share with you.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Rose10.23.14 - 9:19 AM

    You mentioned in the post having a bucket water for diluting. Do you have to dilute the paint when you use a sprayer? I bought one recently (and used it to cover some dining room chairs), but it was a complete FAIL. The sprayer was supposed to be OK for undiluted paint, but I wondered if maybe I should have done it anyway…ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.23.14 - 9:24 AM

      Oh, great catch! I updated the post to reflect that the water was for diluting the TSP. The paint was NOT diluted at all. How did the project fail? Splatters? Unevenness? I know Wagner has a customer line you can call if you used their product and they can help talk you through any problems you may have had!ReplyCancel

  • Alison10.23.14 - 9:34 AM

    I second the sponsored bit. I am so sick of non related sponsored posts. Yours always relate to the project at hand.
    I have to admit that I never would have seen the potential in that, and it turned out great. It’s fun watching the room come together.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home10.23.14 - 9:55 AM

    Ah! What a great find! I have a work-in-progress dumpster dive chair that has been halted due to construction. Speaking of which, I don’t know HOW you lived through all that dust for so long! I can barely breathe and we’re not doing half as much as you did. You are a trooper, for sure.ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.23.14 - 9:58 AM

      We weren’t always the happiest of campers… Hang in there!ReplyCancel

  • susan10.23.14 - 10:03 AM

    Whoa! That.Is.Fabulous!

    I’ve been waiting to see what this headboard would turn into, and you guys outdid yourselves. The color is gorgeous and must look great with the wallpaper. I missed not seeing a picture of more of the room with the bed and headboard, but your shots do show the details so beautifully…

    I’ll echo the appreciation for this purposeful sponsored post. Kudos!ReplyCancel

  • GreenCanary10.23.14 - 10:55 AM

    My best dumpster dive was for a solid teak mid-century rocking chair I saw sitting on a pile of trash in Washington, D.C. I stopped my car in the middle of the road, grabbed that chair, and shoved it into my car. One of its runners was dog-chewed, but the thing was dang beautiful. I got it home and did a little research… Turned out that my garbage chair was a Model 182 teak spindle-back Danish rocker designed by Frank Reenskaug for Brahmin Mobler in 1958. You can find them online ranging in price from $700 to $1,800. I hit the jackpot!ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.23.14 - 11:10 AM

      That is AWESOME. Don’t you love it when people don’t know what they have? That’s hard to find in bigger cities!ReplyCancel

      • GreenCanary10.23.14 - 2:36 PM

        I do love that! That chair is my pride and joy. Liz Lemon of 30 Rock had one in her apartment, as did Frank Sinatra!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian10.23.14 - 12:04 PM

    OMG Kim, I love this headboard! Awesome job, you two!ReplyCancel

  • Isn’t it amazing how a coat of paint totally refreshes an old piece? I love this! It really encapsulates your style and it’s awesome that you snagged it for free! I’m also very much in love with those sheets!ReplyCancel

  • Steph10.23.14 - 1:28 PM

    That looks fantastic! The details look so great in that colour.ReplyCancel

  • Rosie10.23.14 - 4:10 PM

    I like to make groupings of furniture and have cozy decor with throws, pillows, coasters, candles, magazines, plants that make it warm and welcoming.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel @ My Two Pitties10.23.14 - 6:19 PM

    Very cool! I’ve found so many amazing freebies on Craigslist and a few on the street too:) I also love Schoolhouse Electric…I want to buy everything on their site! I have a few of their light fixtures and signs, totally fits with our 1922 craftsman house:)ReplyCancel

  • Nikki Kelly10.23.14 - 10:47 PM

    Have you looked into smaller box springs. I don’t know how much shorter they are, but if it works it would be an easy fix.ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.24.14 - 9:06 AM

      That’s definitely another idea! We already have the box spring though, so it would be less time to just raise the headboard and bolt it a little higher :)ReplyCancel

  • Michael10.24.14 - 2:54 AM

    That looks really adorable. Where could I find those headboard designs? I want to have my own personal touch with my bed too, and I wanted to choose my own headboard design to be installed on mine. Thanks for your story.ReplyCancel

  • Trude10.24.14 - 9:42 AM

    Looks amazing! What a find! My roommate found an amazing chair for her desk on the street just before we moved in, solid wood arms and legs and mint green vinyl in near-perfect condition. Just had to wipe down the vinyl, lightly sand the legs and oil all the wood and it was good to go!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime10.24.14 - 11:27 AM

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS HEADBOARD!?!?!?! It is so AMAZING!!! And you found it in the TRASH?!?! Wow. I love how you guys can “see” the potential in items that others do not. I wouldn’t have given that headboard a second glance, ok maybe, but it would be to point out how “gaudy” it was…but add the dark paint to give it a modern touch and WOW you’ve got yourself a STUNNER! And that is why I am not running a successful design/decorating/DIY blog. LOL. Great find, and great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kyla @ HouseOfHipsters10.24.14 - 12:02 PM

    The name of that paint cracks me up! This is awesome. I’ve always wanted to try a sprayer, but I’ve been hesitant. I picture it everywhere. The headboard turned out awesome. Elegant and edgy all at once! And when it comes form the Alley it makes for a really cool story.ReplyCancel

  • Kaleigh10.24.14 - 9:12 PM

    Amazing! Seriously AMAZING! Can someone please throw something like this out along my road?ReplyCancel

  • Monika10.26.14 - 10:55 AM

    Whoa, that IS one spectacular job. Love, love, love the black and the details on that headboard…can I just squeal?! Great job, guys (as always).ReplyCancel

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