Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sleeping Dogs

I'm back with the next part of our Master Bedroom update.  Remember before when I hinted we'd be bringing in something that reminds us of Lucy?

Here it is, all framed and hung.

Back in January, Groupon was offering a $50 gift card for $25 to, and after several months of mulling over what I would buy, I landed on this print by Andrew Wyeth called Master Bedroom.  I loved it right away because it was so peaceful and it reminded me of the many times we find Lucy curled up at our pillows in the middle of the afternoon.  

Once the picture arrived, I set out to find a frame and mat that would work without costing an arm and a leg.  I started adding it up, and a custom mat and a nice, large, wood frame was not going to be cheap.  So, when we were at the rummage sale a month or so back, I found this frame that had potential.

It could work, right?  Chunky wood frame, good lines, mat included, and the best part?  $5.  Yep, $5.  A custom mat is more expensive than that on its own, so I whipped out my purse-sized tape measure and figured that it would fit just fine.  

First step was to get the frame up to par.  I went back and forth between paint and re-staining, and finally decided I wanted the wood tones.  So, one evening while we were catching up on the DVR, I sanded down the frame, first with 180 grit and finished with 220.  

Once all was sanded down, I put on three even coats of Jacobean stain by Minwax (I wiped off the excess after about 5 minutes and allowed a few hours between each coat).  Here it is after one coat.

Next up was the mat.  Size was perfect.  Color was not.  So, I had an old white canvas curtain laying around and did an old cover-roo with the help of spray glue.  I learned that trick from Katie Bower.  This stuff is super sticky and super airborne, so I suggest using it outside if at all possible.  I use Elmer's and have been really happy with it.  It doesn't dry really fast, so I have time to position and reposition as needed.   

So, here are my steps in photos...

Easy enough, right?  The verdict?  It's love.  

And yes, that is new bedding.  I am over the duvet/down comforter thing, so we moved to a quilt and blankets.  It's proving to be a good change of pace.  Here's a much better picture...

And, since it's lighter in color, it makes the room feel bigger (or maybe that's because we have one less dresser in there...).  I'm still on the hunt for white, crisp cotton sheets though.  You know, the kind your Gramma always has.  Why is it so hard to find them at a reasonable price?  

I owe you one more reveal.  It's been a really busy two weeks around the house for various reasons, so I'll be back as soon as I can find a few quiet moments while I still have brain capacity left in the day.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brown Is The New Orange

This is our sitting area in our Dining Room.  It's quite possibly my favorite spot in the house.  As you can see, Katie likes it too.  She sleeps there most of my work from home days.  

But there has been one thing about the space that has been bugging me.  Can you guess what it is?  No? Ok, let me zoom in...

You see, I get a lot of magazines.  I only keep a year's worth of back issues so that the house is not overrun with several years worth of Real Simples, Rachael Rays, and Sunsets.  But I lacked an appropriate place to keep them.  I actually do refer to them quite often for recipes, how-to's, etc, so they had to be within reach.  I also really wanted a place for someone to set a drink or a plate while sitting in my little corner of sunshine.  While my temp solution was ok, I was looking for something a little more multi-functional.  

Enter Orange Wicker Storage Ottoman.

This guy has been with us since before we said "I Do."  We got him at World Market on super duper clearance and he's been to California and back, always with some sort of purpose.  Most recently, he was serving as the bedside table in one of our spare rooms.  When we moved our extra dresser into said room and dosey-doed the furniture around, he was relieved of duty.

But I knew immediately where our displaced jack-of-all-trades would go.  You tracking with me?

You'll have to forgive me, as I have no in-progress pictures.  It could have been the unbearable heat yesterday, or maybe the five other projects I was trying to do at the same time.  At any rate, I chose to spray paint him a dark chocolate brown, as you might have guessed from the title of this post.  In order to avoid the non-wicker parts from being painted (there is a black fabric liner on the inside of the lid and main part), I took a newspaper and created a barrier with painters tape around the top perimeter.  From what I can tell, it worked swell.

And here he is at his new post.  Looks like Katie split.  Probably some rogue squirrel in the yard that she had to go handle.  

And here's my new magazine storage.

There is more than enough room in there now for all our magazines.  Maybe that means I'll be able to keep more than a year? 

And look at that!  

Milk and cookies!  For me?  Don't mind if I do!  

I have a couple more projects that kept us busy this weekend.  I'll be back soon with the details!

Monday, July 11, 2011

How We Used a Free Dresser

We have a typical brick bungalow, and with that comes smaller bedrooms.  On a good day, our bedroom is 11x12, and in those 132 square feet, we have a queen sized bed, two tallboy dressers and two dog beds.  You can do the math.  The wall to wall furniture was making me a little batty, especially when I had to crawl over the bed to get to my dresser if Andy was at his dresser.  Case and point...

So, I put my thinking cap on.  How could we get the same amount of storage with less furniture?  That's when I realized we were wasting some valuable real estate space...under the bed!  Up until now, it was only storing dust bunnies that had mated with Lucy's kamikaze hair, and an occasional sock or tennis ball (thanks to Katie).  Time to change that!  

So, I started the hunt for a cheap dresser.  And, when this dresser came up as a curb alert on Craigslist, I thought, what's cheaper than free?  

Photo from Craigslist, courtesy of the previous owners 

So I headed out quicklike and loaded up the drawers (I may or may not have left the rest of the chest on the curb waiting for the garbage truck).  

My first step was to figure out how I would make the drawers move easily, and decided on casters.  The drawer fronts were about 7 inches tall, and I had about 8 inches of clearance, so I decided on 5/8" roller ball casters and attached them to all four corners of all four drawers.  It's a good idea to drill first to avoid wood cracking when you put the screws in.  The casters were about a dollar each, and we got 16.

Then we moved on to the fronts.  The drawers weren't quite wide enough enough to fill up the entire length of the bed, and I really wanted a custom made, perfect fit.  We decided we'd need to put a false front on each of the drawers, so we cut four 7.5" x 40" (the length of the bed is 81") plywood pieces to attach to the fronts.  I figured that was enough clearance on all sides, but kept the custom look I was going for.  The plywood was $10, and we got two free cuts from the store.

But this is when it gets interesting.  We were getting ready to attach the fronts (we were going to use a nail gun) when we realized the front was coming off of one of the drawers.  I took a peek in and realized the fronts were plastic!!!  So we pried them off and were left with perfect boxes, only we had some staple rements sticking out.  Andy took the wire cutters to them and clipped them as close to the wood as possible.

We then finished them off with a hammer to make the fronts as flush as possible.  I took one of the drawers inside to figure out the placement of the false fronts so that everything would roll smoothly and then got to work attaching them.  

The actual drawer is centered on the false front at 15/16" from the top and 6.5" from each side.  We then got to work attaching the fronts to the drawers with Liquid Nails (we were going to use the nail gun, but lost all the thickness when we took the plastic fronts off) and clamped them all down.

After we took the clamps off, we felt confident with the bond was strong enough to hold up.  From there, I put on two coats of white semi-gloss paint and found the knobs (we went against staining because we were afraid we wouldn't get an exact match).  I really wanted to it to fit in with the rest of the room, so we went with wood knobs, just like on our dresser.  The knobs were $.68 each and each drawer has two knobs.

Once the knobs were on, we put them in place for a test run and they fit perfectly, and rolled beautifully!

We then got to work filling them up.  We decided to go with our heavy hitters, the stuff that takes up the most room...t-shirts and jeans.  

This is just my side, but Andy's side looks the same.  And yes, I have a problem with t-shirts.  I sleep in them and live in them during the weekends.  I'm ok with, Andy has learned to live with it.  

While we were in the process of relocating all the clothes, I took advantage of the opportunity to do my semi-annual clothing donation.  I ended up with three grocery bags!  Not bad, eh?  So, once all the clothes were moved from the second dresser to the first dresser, the closet, and the new underbed storage, we actually ended up with dresser real estate to spare, and this lovely space left on our wall.

Oh, I love the open space.  As Andy said, "I don't have to worry about running into a dresser!"  We actually have big plans for that wall.  While we gained some openness and floor space, we lost surface space the top of the dresser offered.  I'm planning on building some wall shelves and actually getting that mirror up on the wall.  We also bought a very sweet picture that reminds us of our sweet Lucy girl that will be going up.  

So what do you think?  Not bad for a roadside dresser, right?  And with all the supplies added up, we only spent about $30!  

Keep your eyes peeled; we'll be back soon with how that wall looks post-shelves!  

Friday, July 8, 2011

On The (L)edge...and fun with napkins

Remember when I gave a teaser about building new shelves for the kitchen, and that they would be red, just like our new garbage cabinet?  Well, they are done, and here they are!

Oh, I soooooo love them!  We used the plans by Ana White, which can be found here.  They are kind of a richer red than the cabinet, but that's because I took a bit of a different turn with these.  On the cabinet, I gave it two coats of red, sanded it, stained it with a dark stain, and then poly.  On the shelves, I gave them one coat of the red, sanded, stained and wiped off.  But I wasn't feeling enough brown. So, I took the stain and poly in one that I used on the cabinet top and gave them a once over with that.  They turned out really rich, and the bonus was that they were poly'ed!  

When it came time to hang them, oh the fun we had!  We already have two sets of these elsewhere in the house, and each time, we have simply screwed into a stud through the back support.  By the time we load them up with stuff, nobody will see the heads, so no problem.  Well, when we went to find a stud in this wall, we found there was one on the corner, and one about 16 inches out from the other corner.  No dice.  In the end, we punted and went for the anchors.   

The dishes on there are just some white ones I had from several years ago.  I have big plans to keep different dishes on a rotation, which will include my beloved Christmas dishes from Target and my China.  And maybe some not so dishy stuff along the way, just for fun.

While I love the simplicity of how the all white dishes look, I wanted to have some fun with napkins to see if I could get a splash of color up there.  So, I raided up all my napkin sets (and if you've seen how our basement looks these days, you'll understand what an undertaking it was to find them) and got to work...

First up, Yellow napkins from Pier One:

Next up are the punchy, vintage-inspired Floral napkins I got on clearance from Home Goods...

And last, but not least, are these cocktail napkins from Crate and Barrel...

And then I decided to get really wild and sub water goblets for the mugs...

But in the end, I went back to the mugs.  I think out of all the napkin options though, I like the floral ones the best.  As my cousin Gabby would say, they are Super Duper Fun!  

How about you?  Which ones do you like best?  Or would you not put any up?  Or would you go with the goblets?  Perhaps you aren't a dishes person at all and would put pictures and figurines up there instead.  Lots of questions...go ahead and leave your answers in the comments!  I'd love to hear (or see) who's reading this blog! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take a Chance on Me!

I think my favorite part of doing these makeovers is that I can take something that gets passed over time and time again and turn it into something that would sell in a heartbeat.  It usually just takes a little time and elbow grease (and usually paint of some variety), but that's the fun part!  Kind of like when we bought this house. It had been passed over for well over a year.  It needed to be updated badly, but that's what excited us about it--we got to make it our own!

Well, today's project is no different.  I first saw this lantern a few weeks ago and instantly loved it, but was not wild about the brassy color.

It was very dated, and I wasn't sure that I could tear it apart to refinish it, so I passed it over.  And I passed it over the following visit, and the following visit.  The last time I was there, they were having a 1/2 off special of gray tags.  Originally priced at $5, it was now $2.50, and I felt like I could take a chance.  It's like it was singing, Take a Chance, Take a Chance, Take a  Cha-Chance, Take a Chance on MEEEE!  Except I wasn't in Greece, and it wasn't wearing sequined bell-bottoms.  (Editor's note: this is from Mamma Mia! and not Grease! as Andy thought)  I couldn't refuse.

Now here's where things get really interesting.  I had a coupon for buy four items and get the fifth item free.  And if you know me, I had more than five items.  I asked her if I could use the coupon.  She said yes, but the most expensive item must come off, and that would be the lantern.  

Come again?  That's what she said?  

Umm okay.  Usually these sales work with the least expensive item being free (which was a .50 candlestick).  But she seemed to know what she was doing, so I walked out of there with my new freebie lantern.  

Once I got it home, I gave it a once over and discovered the little pegs on the bottom were merely attached by screws in on the backside, and the top twists off like a jar.   Easy enough!  We landed on Oil Rubbed Bronze, the same color I talked about here, for the new color (Red was also a front runner).  

So here he is, all torn apart (the glass part and screws were put aside for cleaning and safe keeping.

And here we are after the first coat.  

After a couple more coats, I carefully put Humpty Dumpty back together again and ended up with this knockout...

Andy might have been more impressed than I was when all was said and done.  Can I just say I cannot WAIT to get our fireplace mantle and surround redone so I have a place for him to live and for all to enjoy?!?  

I'm thinking we could get a flameless pillar candle to put in there, since it's all sealed up and would not allow for a regular candle.  Oh, and think about how cool he'll look at Christmastime when I get him all dressed up for the holidays!  I'm salivating over the possibilities!  Love, love, love!  

Now, if we could just started on that fireplace...