Weekend Warriors

>> 1.31.2014

Do you have any exciting home improvement plans for this weekend? It's going to be warmer the next couple of days so I can finally get to work on some projects outside. I've got a side table and a vintage high chair that I will be prepping to paint this weekend, and I'm excited to show you the process!

 Look for part I on Monday where we will discuss stripping vs. sanding vs. priming. Ooo! Sounds exciting.

In the meantime, here's my project assistant, Andrew, with a dose of cuteness to make your day!


Thrifting Thursday - Chair Love

>> 1.30.2014

Like many of you, I have an obsession with thrifting. The thrill of the hunt, the amazing deals, finding a diamond in the rough...there's nothing like it! Every Thursday I hope to share with you a treasure that I (or maybe even one of you) have found while thrifting, dumpster diving, garage saling, or roadkill rescuing.

My first Thrifting Thursday isn't even something I found, but I had to share it before all the rest. It is an amazing mid-century modern chair that my sister Missy found for me on an online garage sale for ten dollars. TEN DOLLARS!!! Go Missy! I think it goes down in history as one of the greatest finds EVER. I just feel so bad for the person that sold it because they really didn't know what they were giving up.

I love this chair so much. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to make sure that it's still there and not just a dream. Okay, not quite. But I really do love it and I have big plans for it. 

My plan is to sand the arms and other worn areas and re-stain them, or even strip it down completely  and re-stain in Minwax Walnut or Early American to match the current stain. Then for the cushions I want to go neutral with a white or linen color like this:

The chair is actually in amazing shape, and the current upholstery is a little outdated but clean, so I am going to hold out on recovering it for a while until I can pay to get it professionally upholstered. Once it's done, it could be re-sold for a least $300. But don't believe that that's ever going to happen! You'll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. 

So what do you think? Have you ever scored an amazing piece like this?  Can I see?


Fourth Grade Styling

>> 1.29.2014

I've had the hardest time learning how to accessorize bookcases. For someone like me with no design experience, it's been a real learning curve, and a lot of trial and error. I feel kind of like I am in the fourth grade of styling school, with so much more to learn. I've spent a lot of time researching how to style bookcases, dressers and mantles, and I think I'm beginning to get the hang of it.

There's this bookcase that I stare at every day while cooking dinner, and its haphazardly placed accessories (or lack thereof) were beating me down. So the other day I neglected the chores and spent the morning restyling it. Part of accessorizing is just trying different things until it looks good, so that's what I did.

Here's a before:

And After:

I'm pretty sure the pros don't spend an entire morning trying to figure out a space like I did, but I do think in most cases there is no one right way to do it, and it takes some trial and error to find what really works.

You should try this at home. Here are some tips; some I've taken from other designers, and some from my own limited experience. 

1. Steal from your house. So maybe you have a really cool frame that you love, but it's in another space. Don't limit yourself by keeping that frame in there. Try it out in the space that you're working on. Who knows, maybe it will look better there.

2. Put things you love into your bookcases. There is no rule that says bookcases are only for books. They should be for collectables, interesting knickknacks, pictures, memories, and things that appeal to you.

3. Stack books different ways. On their sides, by color, spines facing the wrong way, etc. Put things on top of books too! Try it. It's fun.

4. Start with the larger things and spread them out evenly throughout the shelves. Then go for the medium size stuff, and lastly, add the little things. While doing this, keep in mind height, shape and color and try to vary it up.

5. Are your bookcases a little bare? Go to the thrift store. Look for cheap books with interesting spines, little chotskies like figurines, vases, things that are appealing to you. They may seem weird alone, but put them in a bookcase and it's magic.

6. Think in odd numbers. Solitary items, and groups of three and five are more appealing to the eye than even numbers of items on a shelf.

7. Sometimes less is more. Once you put everything in, take a step back and get a good look at your work. Does it seem like "too much?" or is it just right? Now's the time to edit, and take things away that seem to clutter the space instead of add to it. Because we don't want to turn into this:

photo via Keely Kraft


Red Bed in My Head

>> 1.17.2014

Back in 2012, I was perusing Pinterest when I found this image of two low post beds.

I loved it so much that I decided to refinish a bed for my son, Carter. So that very day I looked on craigslist and found a bed with similar bones for $30. I went to look at it and I was like, um... I don't know about this. It was coated with thick, gloppy, drippy old white paint, which I knew was going to be a beast to remove. But I bought it anyway. Because it was $30 and I was up for the challenge. (And I am a total sucker for the underdog.)

Although I had refinished furniture in the past, this was going to be my very first experience with stripping a piece down to the original wood. I used one natural-type product to start, but it wasn't so great (maybe that's why it was on clearance) and so I switched to Citristrip after reading great things about it. Although it did a much better job, this is what it looked like after two rounds of Citristrip:

A totally hot mess.

It took me about two more rounds of stripper before the bulk of it was off, and THEN I started with the scrubber brush, scrubbing every little piece of gunky old paint off of it. At this point I was not a happy camper, but that vision of a red bed kept me going. Oh, and then after the white was removed, I had to get the original stain off it too, which took some sanding as well. yipee.  But let me tell ya, a completely bare and clean piece of furniture is such a beautiful sight. 

Once it was completely stripped down I put a coat of gray spray primer on it. 

And then I did two coats of red spray paint to finish it off. Isn't she beautiful?

This bed has been in the boys room up until we got them bunk beds a couple months ago. It's in our attic right now, but I plan on putting it in our guest room eventually. But for some reason I love this bed so much I will never get rid of it, even when we don't have a use for it anymore.


Guest Bedroom

>> 1.06.2014

This is what our guest room looked like a couple of months ago. It is going through somewhat of a transition right now because we took the bed and rug out to use in other spaces, but I wanted to document what it used to look like and how much I spent on the original makeover. 

More on this room later. 


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