Tag Archives: thrifty

French & Sensibility

Standard

(See what I did there, bibliophiles and Jane Austen fans?!)

For the record, I came up here to the office to blog, and was greeted with this:

Image

After coaxing him off with treats, I’m ready to go 🙂

I’ve got TWO projects to blog today 🙂 I’ll start with showing you the raw materials and starting costs. I found an awesome, thick pine trestle bench/end table at a thrift store. It was $7 and I had to have it! It was rustic and yet reminded me vaguely of a church pew.

The second piece is a nightstand that I got for free from one of my upcycle friends. I threw my back out getting it to my car, as it apparently is the heaviest nightstand on earth. The drawers were very swollen from the humidity and it needed a little work, but my goodness…those lines and details! I knew it would really be something when completed.

Here are my two “before” items:

Image

(ignore the mirror. That’s something I am making pretty and into a chalkboard for my classroom).

See? Great lines and tons of potential on both.

I was not feeling bright or loud colors for these two beauties. I did, however, know I wanted to play around with stencils. I decided on a driftwood/sand color for the trestle table and a deep metallic grey/brown for the nightstand.

First up, the trestle table!

I painted the whole piece in white shabby paint, and then roughed it up heavily. In order to get the color I wanted, I used a dark antiquing wax, which gave me that pretty shade I wanted. I found stencils I really liked that gave the piece a French vibe and stenciled the designs on in darker brown. Here’s the first coat to paint:

Image

Here’s the “after” waxing and stenciling:

ImageImage

 

It was finished here, technically. After looking at it again the following day, I wanted to tweak it, because I thought it was too distressed and I found the pattern of sanding distracting. After redoing pieces of it and then using white revax (varnish and wax) on it, I finally got my desired result:

Image

Image

Image

Image

SO happy with it now. I love it. How people overlook things like this, I will NEVER comprehend!

 

Now for piece #2, the freebie nightstand:

After a few days inside my house in the AC and some sanding along the drawer edges, the drawers worked again. It had no pulls, so I needed to tackle that too.

I decided that in order to achieve the color I was going for, I’d need a deep brown base in a flat color and a white top glaze.

For white glaze, I recently tried a product called white revax and it’s AMAZING! Seriously, it seals, protects, and glazes all at once. A little goes a long way and it’s something to keep on hand for any future projects. It’s also non-toxic, VOC free, and made in the USA (does it get any better than that?) You can read about it and buy it here:

https://shabbypaints.com/vax-revax/

For my base color, I went to Home Depot and chose a color from Behr’s Marquee line called “Well-Bred Brown”:

Image

 

Let me tell you, this paint is un-freaking-believable. It goes on like butter! I definitely recommend this line, notable for its stain and dirt resistance. Here is the nightstand after its base coat:

Image

Looks just like melted Hershey’s milk chocolate bars. Exactly the shade I was going for!

After this stage, I played around with the stencils and got this result:

Image

I love the corner flourishes, and had to put a tiny fleur-de-lis on there on the front. The design at the bottom I painted by hand to bring it out. I accented the stenciled parts with a small hint of metallic gold acrylic paint.

I actually nixed drawer pulls in favor of knobs, despite the fact that pulls likely “go” better for the piece. I found just what I wanted at Anthropologie…gold, vintage-looking mercury glass knobs on clearance for $2.95 each. Perfect!

Image

After sealing the brown paint with water-based poly, it was time to glaze it 🙂 After using the revax and adding my knobs, the job was done. Prepare for the photo blitz and cue “Isn’t She Lovely”:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

SO HAPPY WITH IT! The brown with the white revax gave me just the color I wanted.  slightly metallic grey-meets-brown. Love, love, love. Times a million.

 

Now for costs!

Project #1:

Trestle table: $7

Stencils: $2.40

Paints/sanding block/materials: Already on hand.

Total cost: $9.40

 

Project #2:

Nightstand: Free (thanks, Kelley!)

Sample can of Behr Marquee “Well-Bred Brown”: $3.94

Stencils: $2.40

Knobs: $2.95 each x 6 for a total of $17.70

Other poly/materials/brushes/revax: Already on hand.

Total: $24.04

 

How’s THAT for bargains?! I love them both and am so digging the French-inspired style lately. My ottoman makeover (previously blogged) bit me with the Parisian bug. So, see? All you need is some vision, and everything old becomes new again!

 

Til next time…

 

Advertisements

Fresh, new, and (something) blue!

Standard

FIRST, let me apologize for it being so freaking long since I last posted. I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing my new job! I wish I was able to post at the frequency I did over the summer, but the reality is that I have so little free time on my hands.

Either way, I can tell you that I am more excited about this entry than any of my others thus far. Truth be told, the idea happened kind of by accident! I mentioned my future kitchen plans in a previous entry. In this, I spoke of plans to take down a wall and have a custom island built with seating and storage and a granite or marble top. This would cost a number in the thousands. Then the new school year began, and even with a large increase in income, we saw how much rebuilding and prioritizing needed to be done before we could ever hope to do that renovation! We were planning to buy Jeff’s new car in the late fall, but have pushed those plans back to the spring. We decided a vacation back to Bermuda to celebrate a number of things (most of all, our 5th wedding anniversary) was high on our priority list, so that will happen in the summer of 2014. We are keeping our Black Friday timeline for our new stainless appliances (goodbye, 1990’s black appliances). The kitchen demo/reno/island fell back.

SO…we arrive at the point so many others do. The point of “It’ll happen at some point…later.”

I was looking at our beautiful kitchen table and stylish chairs one day when it hit me that they were about to not match a single thing in our kitchen anymore. As soon as those appliances come in, it would just look so wrong and mismatched. It was a hard realization because Jeff and I salvaged and refinished that table together before we moved into our first apartment. It was our first project together. We love it. It’s a part of our history! We spent countless hours doing it all by hand in my grandparents’ garage, and let me tell you…if you’ve never refinished a dining room table by sanding totally by hand, then don’t (if you enjoy having skin on the pads of your fingers, that is!)

Image

Anyway, the thought of it not being in our kitchen hurt. But I’m a realist above all else, and I knew it wouldn’t work. Luckily, my fantastic little brother is a PA who recently started his first job as an Endocrinologist. College is over, he’s got a real job now, and will be getting his own place in a few months. Aside from looking like twins, we also have similar styles and tastes. It makes me happy to know that it will find a new home with someone I love, who will appreciate it like I do. On an unrelated but “awww” kind of note, I also just bought him his first piece of original art for when he has a bachelor pad. Enough gushing…

So that left the question of what to put in the kitchen when new appliances come in. Many people leave things “as is” while waiting to renovate and are not people to make interim changes. I, however, am a HUGE fan of interim (and cheap) changes! Why not put a little elbow grease into making a space into something you like and can live with until you can afford the expensive reno?!

Anyone who knows me knows of my big, big love of carrara marble. If I had an unlimited budget and could build a kitchen from scratch, three guesses what my countertops would be:Image

I’m just sayin’, is there anything more beautiful and classic?

So, you can imagine my happiness when a kitchen table set with a carrara marble top popped up on Craigslist for the bargain price of $70. It had an off-white base and 4 distressed white chairs with wicker seats.  I particularly loved the grain in this piece of marble. The cool grey would complement the new appliances and the cabinets we painted white (see my kitchen entry for details). Also, because it’s marble, I could use it to prep and serve food! It may seem a small thing, but that really comes in handy. Here’s the set we picked up:Image

How gorgeous is that marble?

Around the same time, I got the thought in my head that I wanted to add a fun pop of blue (likely Tiffany blue) to the kitchen in the form of a refinished dining chair. Problem was, finding a free or inexpensive set of 4 to go with the marble table was not in the cards! I wanted to keep the total for the eat-in area under $100, so that hinged on my being able to salvage a chair or chairs. I was not having luck until I spotted this on the side of the road by a neighbor’s home one day:

Image

Image

😉

The chair was solid mahogany, at least 50 years old, and sturdy. Hubby helped me do the minor needed repairs! I had Tiffany blue on the brain but when I saw this deeper, brighter teal, it was love at first sight!Image

Rustoleum’s “Seaside” in a gloss finish.

I gave the chair a good scuff and light sand and then got my spray on! As you can see, there was a lot of overspray, so I switched to a tarp. Here’s the chair without the seat pad:

Image

The next step was to choose a fabric to recover the seating pad. Jeff and I went to Joann’s and found a great pattern that picked up the teal and was 40% off. It’s a durable fabric made for outdoor cushions. We ended up using $6 worth of fabric and $6 plus change in paint, making this wonderful chair a mere $12 of fun!

Image

Image

After the chair was finished, I began to look at and dislike the wicker seats on the kitchen chairs. They ended up removed, taken outside onto the tarp, and….

Image

(painted to match the chair). The top got 2 coats and the bottoms that you don’t see got 1. The paint covered well and evenly, and the result is wonderful:

Image

A while back, a table runner I adored at Anthropologie came onto clearance for $14. It’s a whimsical cotton twill runner in a blue book motif with fun titles on the books. I knew I’d eventually find the perfect use for it. It’s been folded away for a few months now. Re-purposing some accessories and a table runner later, and this fabulous eat-in area is ours!

ImageImageImageImageImage

SO. MUCH. FUN.

On the wall, I had a distressed white wrought iron bird wreath from Pier 1. On yet another whim, I took it down and painted it to match the chairs, and it really pops now!

ImageImage

There are no words adequate enough to describe how thrilled I am with our new eat-in nook! It’s fresh, fun, bright, cheery, and uniquely “us”.

Now for the customary cost breakdown:

Marble-top table and chairs from Craigslist: $70

Paint: $12

Sandpaper: $3

Fabric: $6

Re-purposed accessories, runner, and wreath that I already owned: Free!

Project total: $91

And just a reminder of how the other side of the kitchen currently looks after our fun knobs and painted cabinets:

P1070920