Tag Archives: Home and Garden

Roadside Rescue Makeover: ANOTHER Chair!

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En route home the other night, my husband noticed (mere nanoseconds before I did) 2 chairs and a dining table at the curb by our neighborhood. I can spot quality a mile away, and what caught my eye first was a beautiful table base, country-looking and trestle-style. I typically get eye-rolls, loud sighs, and joking divorce threats when bringing salvaged furniture into my life/home, so I was shocked when he willingly turned the car around to look! There was a BEAUTIFUL, thick, high-quality dark pine dining table with two chairs. The chairs were lovely, with a finely-detailed Windsor design that was rustic and yet elegant. I needed one (naturally).

 

Whoever went home with the dining table is a lucky person indeed!

 

Shocker #2 was when my husband said “I think we can fit both in the car”. I had to make sure I heard him right! Being practical, I said we should take the better of the two chairs. So we went home with this beauty:Image

 

Oh, the potential! I do not like to refinish dark pine, and prefer painting it (not my usual). Looking at the details, I decided on a shabby paint job, but was torn between an oatmeal shade with antiquing wax like this $3 thrift store table makeover (I did this last week):

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OR this robin’s egg blue shade that I used to make over my $0.50 salt and pepper mills:Image

 

The blue idea won out, mainly because it’s the final chair I could get away with squeezing into the hodgepodge/ quirky eat-in area! It’s softer than the screaming turquoise I used on the other chairs and I’ve been all about blue lately! That, and I had plenty of the paint left over, so I did not need to buy any supplies!

Here she is after being painted with the blue chalk paint:

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See? Pretty even without being shabbied up!

 

After I took a sanding block to her, this was the result:

 

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I had no clear furniture wax left, so in an effort to keep this project completely free, I used some semi-gloss water-based poly I had left over from the floors. I used this to seal it, since it would be expecting frequent use.

 

This was a TOTALLY free project! Free chair, leftover paint and poly, leftover paint brushes and sandpaper. It doesn’t get better than that!

Here it is in its “home”:

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“From that thrift shop down the road!”

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I’ve had a very creative evening! I’ve been feeling extra inspired lately, and two oh-so-fabulous finds this week at my local thrift store were my muses 🙂

Item #1…a 24-inch wood stool for $1.95? YES! I am just under 5 feet in height, so this is perfect for me.Image

 

No artsy chalk paint job for this one! I decided to celebrate the start of (unofficial) summer by going with a hand-painted, summery, and colorful design. I chalk-painted the legs a Tiffany blue, but am considering doing an ombre blue design down the legs to add some color variance…we shall see. Here’s the end result:

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I’ve always thought of myself as having absolutely no artistic ability, but I may need to rethink that one.

My second thrift store find was an AWESOME end table with a beautiful marble insert. It’s by Mersman Furniture, mid-century or so, and was screaming out to me for a makeover! Best of all…I got it for just under $3. I mean, honestly…how do you say no?! Here she is:

 

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Look at those details!!

I decided on chalk paint, layered in oatmeal and white, and then a dark brown antiquing wax/glaze. I wanted the end result to resemble old wood or driftwood, but go nicely with the marble. Here’s the midway point, with the layered paint job (I had no white chalk paint left, so some white acrylic paint did the trick) and before the distressing:Image

 

Fun, but incomplete. I wanted the details to jump out and the color to darken. I took a sanding block to the piece to distress all the edges and details, and then (for the first time), I gave antiquing wax a try. The color I had was dark brown, and this is the brand I use (I also love their chalk paints, and you can get them for about $4 each after a coupon at Joann Fabric):Image

 

After taking a sanding block to the painted table for heavy distressing, I used a lint-free cloth to give the entire table a thorough wax coating, rubdown, and buffing. I was hooked and obsessed with this product from the first swipe…seriously, it’s great! I will use it on some other pieces.

Here are photos of the lovely end result of the table, some with flash for details, some in natural light.

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I’m happy with my decision to let this table rock the shabby look. The color pairs nicely with the beige marble insert and is neutral. It will serve as an end table next to the chaise on my sectional. The marble means no coasters are needed! For my best friend, the sectional is the equivalent of “Sheldon’s Spot”, so she will probably get the most use out of it!

I paid just under $3 for the table, and used supplies I already had on hand to redo it.

::shakes head:: $3. Disbelief.

Here are my other fun finds from that trip (where I spent a whopping $8):

Fun, cute vintage enamel colander for $1Image

 

And a great tabletop ironing board (that matches our kitchen) for just $2…we really needed one, as our other one that we’ve had forever broke and bent in half:

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Everything you see in this post cost me $8. Un-freaking-real. Thrifting/upcycling are a way of life for me. It’s recycling at its finest 😉

 

Until next time…

Kitchen Phase 2: Mission Accomplished!

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Our kitchen has come such a long way since we bought our house 6 months ago! It went from looking very 1970’s to sleek, beautiful, and fun. We got our appliances yesterday, so I wanted to show you the way everything looks, because this is the look that will stay for a very long time (until we tackle phase 3, which is knocking down a wall, having an island built, and having a mosaic backsplash put in).

As it stands, even without phase 3, the kitchen is officially fully updated!

Phase 1 involved a large amount of paint and a gargantuan amount of elbow grease, but it was also cheap! Yesterday, appliances went in…and though I can’t call that a “cheap” update, the price we paid for them was outstanding! When you see our kitchen photos from move-in day and from yesterday, you’ll be amazed at the transformation.

I talk often about “good bones” with a house, and I’ve said it numerous times about our kitchen. The layout was workable. There was an eat-in area. The 1995 oak cabinets were solid wood and in good enough shape to keep. They had Granite Transformations put in the counters, and the color was close enough to what we wanted that we decided to keep it. The beadboard on the walls was a plus, just ugly and unpainted. We had a good amount to “work with” and make better. Could we have ripped out the bulkhead, counters, backsplash, floor, beadboard, cabinets, etc? Sure! But I didn’t want to literally sink money into a major renovation. It works wonders for some, but the reality is that we’re both just too cheap and too DIY! 😉

I must say, my favorite “fix” was taking a shiny, oddly-textured early 90’s backsplash and painting it. It was shiny, white, oddly-textured linoleum and some tiles had weird beige bundles of flowers and wheat on them. I had the idea to try bonding primer and paint, and now the once-ugly backsplash matches our beautiful walls. It was a free update because we used the paint we had on hand, and I couldn’t be more pleased. If you don’t want to spend between $500-2000 (depending on your choices) for a new backsplash, consider this easy option.

I’ll walk you through the transformation of our kitchen from the time we first moved in up through today:

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See? Good bones indeed, but in need of updates.

Here’s the result after we got our paint on and rid ourselves of the headache-inducing screaming yellow:

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The walls looked a million times nicer with the blue-grey color, but that beadboard looked even worse. The solution?

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SO. MUCH. BETTER.

Then we decided to paint our oak cabinets white:

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Really brightened things up, didn’t it?!

Onto appliances…our dishwasher and fridge were from ’91 and the dishwasher and microwave from 2000 were both not working well. The fridge was shiny black, chrome, and had cream sides. 1 fridge, 3 colors. It drove me so crazy that we painted the sides with chalkboard paint to liven it up to be something I could live with until we could replace all the appliances at once:

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I highly suggest that update!

As far as appliances go, let me preface it all by reminding you that I’m cheap. My husband is also cheap. I may have caviar taste and like nice things, but I’m cheap! We couldn’t bring ourselves to buy appliances until Black Friday sales began popping up, as that tends to yield the best deals. I know people who spent 4 grand or more on appliances, and the thought made my heart palpitate. I came up with a budget of $2,000 for the fridge, dishwasher, over-range microwave, and gas range. The goal was good, basic appliances. We knew stainless steel was the look we were going for (sleek and industrial). Our original black-and-gray-and-white kitchen idea morphed into something with many pops of teal blue and something a lot more fun… with a punch of personality!

Home Depot had a “Pre-Black Friday” ad out and I saw exactly what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay. Furthermore, we got no-interest for 6 months (I like paying $500 a month with no interest way better than paying in cash all at once), free delivery, free haul-away, and installation for $2,000 and some tax. We went with Frigidaire. I did the best measurements I could and the fridge ended up being slightly too tall for our “built when fridges were smaller” cabinets, so hubby made a few small cuts and the crisis was averted.

Anyway, we’re more than pleased with the look. The fridge is so much bigger than the last one! Luckily for my parents, my dad was in the garage when their older-than-me spare fridge sparked a small electrical fire and died or “took a crap” in the eloquent and elegant words of my dad. Our chalk-board-sided black fridge goes to them as their new spare 🙂

Once more with “before”:

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And now, our current kitchen:

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And of course, the fun and new eat-in-area highlighted in my last entry:

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The best part of it all is that all of these updates combined cost us just $2,500 between lots of paint, elbow grease, salvaging items for free, a Craigslisted marble-top table and chairs, re-purposing current items, and appliances. It really doesn’t even look like the same kitchen. I couldn’t be happier, honestly. “The Anonymous Kitchen” is my pet-peeve (the same one everyone has, with the dark cabinets, tile backsplash, neutral walls, beige granite, and stainless appliances), and we have one that nobody else does thanks to DIY skills, imagination, and a very small amount of money (as kitchens go). “The Anonymous Kitchen” might be gorgeous, but this one looks and feels like us! I’m a “warm” person…so this is the first cool-toned room I’ve ever had or done. I enjoy that the kitchen has so much personality and stands alone from the rest of our home without clashing from the “feel” of it, thanks to the personalized touched and unique items.

::Happy warm-fuzzies::

Until next time…

Bathroom Before & After

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When we got this house, we did NOT like the bathroom. It was…well, to use a friend’s favorite adjective…tragic. It was as if the Jersey shore exploded in our tiny bathroom. I’m talking beachy-keen wallpaper, and border with very large shells on it. Also included were a dated vanity with bad fixtures and a floor comprised of a sheet of white linoleum with grooved squares. If the wallpaper wasn’t awful enough, it was 4 layers deep with one layer of wallpaper tacked on top of another, from the 60’s up through now.

Now for the *lovely* photos…

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Not ideal.

With the shower being the exception, the bathroom ended up being a “gut”.  The wallpaper over the years ruined the walls and could not be stripped without taking chunks of 1960’s drywall with it. We paid our contractor to re-drywall and paint the whole bathroom. We were not pleased, but felt it was better to have something done once and done right! We had mold/water resistant drywall put in to be safer. I was going to put a cool khaki color on the walls, but decided to use the very warm and brighter shade we used in the master.

We chose a white vanity by Allen & Roth with a matching medicine cabinet that is tall with a large mirror (not to mention a ton of storage). We picked out a brushed nickel light fixture with an interesting swirled design. We found a granite color that we love for the vanity top to complete the look. After choosing brushed nickel finishings for the faucet and toilet paper holder/towel rack, I found some great knobs for $2.95 each at Anthropologie. All else came from Lowe’s.

We just had the floor done with the porcelain tile that resembles wood, and our contractor made us a concrete/silestone room transition since a typical one wouldn’t fit (the room steps up from the hardwood in the hall). It looks like we laid driftwood in our bathroom, and the result is awesome! Neutral enough to keep indefinitely, even if we change out the decor colors in the future.

As for accessories, I fell in love with Croscill’s “mosaic leaves” collection, and got it all at Bed, Bath & Beyond with their 20% off coupons.

The result after the remodel is a bathroom that is warm, bright, fun, and really cheerful. It may be small, but it’s gorgeous and we enjoy it!

Here are the after photos:

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So. Much. Better.

This was not a “cheap” project, really. But the end result still cost a lot less than many people I know have spent on their bathrooms. The breakdown is:

New drywall, framing out the door and the windows, new baseboards, new paint: $1500

New vanity, granite top, medicine cabinet, and light fixture: $644 (yep, that’s the exact amount).

New brushed nickel fixtures and finishes: $120

New knobs from Anthropologie: $15

New 6 panel door to replace the ugly and creepy slat door: $25

Bathroom accessories (including outlet covers, decal, painting, and wall art): $150.

Grand total: $2,300 rounded up.

Trash to Treasure: Rocking Chair

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It’s been about a week since I’ve updated the blog. Please excuse my lack of attention! Life has been extremely busy, and I’ve been celebrating a fantastic (and long-awaited) new job offer!

A week and a half ago, my husband was on his way home from work and took a shortcut through a nearby neighborhood. Someone had put this out to the curb with the trash:

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An old but nicely detailed hickory rocking chair. It needed tightening and some new screws, which hubby so kindly did for me!

I loved it immediately and knew I wanted to make it over and put it in my guest room/future nursery. I have reading chairs all over the house and thought this room needed one as well.

I usually always choose to refinish wood and almost never paint it! I am a wood and furniture junkie and think the grain and quality of wood comprises much of the beauty of a piece. My exception to the rule is kitchen cabinets, because I love a light and bright kitchen!

As soon as I looked at the rocker, I thought “WHITE!”. It just needed to be white, period. I got started immediately. I painted on a coat of my trusty bonding primer after rubbing the chair down with mineral spirits on a clean rag. I then used up some white trim paint that we had left but was unhappy with the coverage, which was uneven around the fine details. I then switched to Rustoleum’s spray paint/primer:

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The rocker was old and worn in some spots, so it did not take the paint completely evenly (and I strive for perfection), but all in all, I was pleased with the results. It got two good coats with a 3rd and final spray in some spots.

Next up was choosing a chair cover. I searched first at Pier 1, one of my absolute favorite home stores. I didn’t see anything I loved for a price I wanted to pay (I’m cheap). I then switched my search to Pottery Barn, another favorite. I got lucky when looking for clearance chair cushions. This color, the blue and white “Maia” pattern, was what I had decided on originally:Image

However, I then came across the Tiffany-blue colored “Alessandra” pattern and fell in love. It was exactly what I was looking for, and even better…less than half-price with free shipping to boot! I bought the largest size cushion because the rocker is pretty large and I wanted the whole seat covered. Let me tell you…it just BARELY fits on. It does, but any bigger and it’d have been too large. Note that if you shop Pottery Barn and find something you love on clearance, you cannot return the item.

Here are the results. Not bad for a side of the road find, right?!

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And, of course, here are some photos of the chair in its “home”…the guest room (click to enlarge them):

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The total cost of this project was a mere $20!

Next time you see something with real potential on the side of the road, consider taking it home and turning someone’s trash into your treasure! It’s inexpensive, easy, and you end up with a beautiful item for your home!

Cha-cha-cha-chalkboard!

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Remember in a previous entry, I complained about my kitchen appliances? The fridge was the worst offender and the UGLIEST thing ever in life. Black, shiny, non-magnetic front, chrome accents, creme colored sides. It was a sad, sad machine. Also, it should be noted that it was made in 1991, when I was SIX YEARS OLD!  Ugh. However, we are not currently at liberty to fork over the money for a kitchen full of stainless appliances, and I have a “thing” about appliances not matching. So when we do one, we’ll do all.

My lovely friend Kait suggested chalkboard paint one day. I looked into it, thought it was the coolest idea, and we decided to give it a “go”. Even if we royally screwed it up, it certainly couldn’t look worse than it already did! We had a lot of paint supplies left over from previous projects and plenty of leftover bonding primer, so literally all we needed was a $10 quart of chalkboard paint (which was enough for our fridge).

Here was what we were working with beforehand:

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::shudders::

For the record, you can paint virtually anything with this chalkboard paint…walls, cabinets, the glass on photo-frames, mirrors, etc.

We did prep the sides of the fridge to ensure the best possible adhesion of the paint. We rubbed it down with mineral spirits and gave it a scuff-sand. We then painted it with bonding primer. We found that paint rollers were more than up to the job, and only needed the brushed for fine details and some edges.

Here is what we had after the bonding primer went on:Image

Already better than creme!

Here is the product to buy (Rust-Oleum makes it):

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A helpful tip: MIX, MIX, MIX! I had to stir the paint for a good five to seven minutes to properly mix and blend it. You want to make sure it’s as even and stirred as possible so that it works the way it should.

Here’s the so-much-better end result before adding artwork:

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You give the paint three days to dry, then “condition” it by rubbing chalk dust (the side of a piece of chalk) over the surface before drawing for the first time, and then rubbing with a paper towel. This makes the paint easier to wipe clean in the future. After we conditioned it, my beautiful mother-in-law who is up visiting from Florida went to town with the colored chalk, to this result:

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The cupcake on the fridge was drawn by my mom 🙂

Hubby did this:

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My mother-in-law made me this fabulous pink chalk basket with a container, magnets, and pipecleaners:Image

All in all, a fast, easy, cheap, and FUN project! I’d recommend this to anyone. The product is great and so was the end-result. I no longer hate my fridge and therefore don’t complain about it being an eyesore everyday (which Jeff is glad about). A win-win situation.