22. Before and After: Vintage Metal Cabinet

I love vintage stuff.  LOVE it.  Especially when it’s rusted, banged-up, dented, chippy, in-desperate-need-of-a-face-lift vintage.

The thrill of turning something from “yuck” to “yum”?  It just can’t be beat.

In walks this beauty, stage left.

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I didn’t take any photos of the inside of the cabinet, but let me assure you…it was nasty!  At some point in time, this poor lady obviously sat in someone’s dark, dank basement, because her bottom was full of rust.  Gross.

I spent hours cleaning this baby up with steel wool and rust remover, and then added a thick coat of rust preventative in primer form.

To improve upon the vintage appeal of the cabinet, I chose a fun retro aqua called “Opal Silk” from Behr.

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Source: behr.com

Yep, I just used a latex paint over my primer!  As long as you use the correct primer, you can pretty much paint anything with latex paint.  I just made sure the finish was on the shiny side so you can wipe it down if it gets dirty (satin or gloss, whichever you prefer).

Here is the final product:

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Isn’t it amazing what a coat of paint can do?

We originally used this in our kitchen when we lived in Bay View (a Milwaukee neighborhood south of downtown, right on Lake Michigan).  That flat was the upper floor of a duplex built in 1905, which meant basically no cabinet space.  It used to house all of our dishes, wine glasses, and pots and pans.  It fits a LOT of stuff!

After we moved to our new flat, we had no need/room for this cabinet.  The new kitchen has plenty of cabinet space, and there are two built-in china cabinets in the dining room.  This lady, unfortunately, took up residence in a basement yet again.  This one is dry, so no worries of rust, but I still felt bad about neglecting the poor thing.

I decided to sell the cabinet on Craigslist in hopes of finding her a good home, and lo and behold, I did!  She is now sitting pretty in an academic office space in an updated warehouse.  Hooray!

I obviously have a strange attachment to furniture…don’t judge me.

“Before and After” time!

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I hope I’ve inspired you to make something old and yucky look new and pretty again!

XO,
Gabriella

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21. I have a lot of projects. And plans. (Part 4)

This is the fourth installment of a four-part series.  You can catch up on the plans for our living room, dining room, and master bedroom by clicking the links below.

Part 1: Living Room
Part 2: Dining Room
Part 3: Master Bedroom

Today’s topic: the spare bedroom.  It’s just slightly smaller than the master bedroom, with a decent sized closet and hardwood floors.  The starting color wasn’t actually that bad.

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Since our landlords were okay with us changing the wall colors, we decided to go ahead and paint anyway.  The color choice for this room was a really pretty dark gray with blue undertones, “Dark Pewter” by Behr.

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Source: behr.com

I love this color on the wall.  I almost wish we had painted our bedroom in this color, but I’m also fond of the dark blue we have in there.  Win-win, I suppose.

This room currently serves as our in-home music studio, complete with vintage organ, various pieces of recording equipment, and Jason’s computer setup.  We’ll probably be living in this flat for the next 3-5 years, and if we decide to have a baby within that time frame (which is completely possible), this room would obviously be converted into a nursery.  This means all music stuffs would have to find a home elsewhere…probably divided between the living and dining rooms.

No baby is in the works yet, so don’t get too excited.  We are spending the first few years of our marriage enjoying our time alone and getting our debt paid down (trust me, there is a LOT of that to take care of).  We are definitely not in a rush, and we’d like to be responsible parents!  Imagine that.

Anyway, one thing I’d really like to add to this room is some sort of sleeping option for overnight guests.  We have a full-size air mattress, but it would be nice to offer out-of-town friends and family a real bed to sleep on.  I’m debating between a full-size bed and a daybed with trundle.  I’m leaning towards the daybed because it would take up less space and is more versatile in terms of sleeping options, especially if we can find the type of trundle that pops up to the same height as the bed.  I like this option from Overstock.com (especially since it looks more like a couch than a bed):

My dad lives down in Florida, and it would be nice to have a separate room for him to sleep in when he comes to visit.  It would also work out well for any other family and friends that visit from New Jersey.

As for the inspiration for this room, I am really at a loss.  Surprising, I know!  I feel like I always have a ton of idea when it comes to decorating, but I’m really not sure what kind of “look” I’m going for in this room.  Maybe something vintage?

I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

XO,
Gabriella

 

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20. I have a lot of projects. And plans. (Part 3)

This is the third installment of a four-part series.  You can catch up on the plans for our living room and dining room by clicking the links below.

Part 1: Living Room
Part 2: Dining Room

I’ve already told you all about our living room and dining room decor plans, so now it’s time to move on to the room I’m most excited about: the master bedroom.

I’ve thought long and hard about the look I’m going for in this room, and I think I’ve finally settled a color scheme.

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Source: behr.com

Yep.  Navy, coral, tan, and white.  I am super obsessed with this color palette right now!  It’s really classy.  I’m serious, look:

We already have dark blue walls and white dressers, so I’m thinking adding in our natural linen upholstered bed, white linens, and some pretty patterned curtains will look awesome.  I would really love to make some curtains with this stuff:

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Source: fabric.com

Remember the initial inspiration board for our master bedroom?  Here’s an updated version with an added pop of coral.

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Here’s what needs to happen to have our current bedroom “match” the bedroom above.

1. Find antique/vintage suitcases.
2. Purchase/make shag carpets.
3. Purchase bedding (I’m currently the highest bidder on eBay for a duvet, wish me luck!)
4. Reupholster chair.
5. Finish building platform bed (currently ~50% completed).
6. Make curtains.

Not a terrible list, but it will still be quite a while and a LOT of work.  I know I can do it!

Next time: the spare bedroom!

XO,
Gabriella

 

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19. I have a lot of projects. And plans. (Part 2)

If you missed the first installment of this four-part series, you can catch up here.

Last time, I talked all about my plans for the living room.  It’s time to turn the corner (literally) and take a peek into our dining room.

Here’s how it looked right before we moved in:

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I love the built-ins…like, a lot.  (There are actually two, one on either side of the window.)  There is no longer a door to the kitchen, it’s just an open entryway now.  I’m not sure at what point the door went byebye, but it wasn’t there when we moved in.  Again, the color on the walls is staying the way it is…it’s the same color that’s in the living room, and also the same pain in the booty textured walls.  I’m not mentally prepared to deal with something like that.  Nuh uh.

Here’s the progress we’ve made so far:

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I am seriously so frickin’ proud of that table!  I love being able to tell people we built it ourselves, especially when they give the compliment before they know.  It’s like a ton of pats on the back.  All at once.  I’m really proud of the deal I got on those chairs, too…I know they were still a pretty significant chunk of money, but I totally did my research and got the very best price I could find ANYWHERE.

Our Expedit bookcase from IKEA is currently housed here as well (it’s out of frame to the left), but that will get a makeover and find a new home in the living room.  Other than that, there are only three things I’d like to add to this room to finish it off.

1. A bench or settee.  I’d love to put it along the right-hand side of the table (i.e. the side next to the window).  It will hopefully be something antique, and it just so happens I found the PERFECT bench on…you guessed it…Craigslist.

081613_2Oh. My. Gawd.  It’s chippy.  And old.  And did I mention it’s exactly the right length and width?  And the EXACT same height as our current chairs?!  I seriously wouldn’t change anything about it, I’d just park it right next to the table and be done with it.  Well, I’d probably sew up a nice cushion to make it more comfy for its patrons, but that’s it.  I am trying not to jump the gun and buy it, but I’m so afraid it will be gone right away!  And I’m not sure I would find something that perfect again.  If you read Victoria’s blog, you know about the raccoon in her head that tells her to buy things (especially awesome things from Craigslist).  I’m pretty sure I suffer from the same affliction.  We should start a support group.  Actually, it would be better to call it an encouragement group.  Anyway, I digress.  Next!

2. A desk/dresser/buffet.  The space currently taken up by the Expedit will be quite bare after it travels to the living room, so it will need to be filled with something else.  I currently don’t have a “desk”, so it might be nice to find something small…just a nice area to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while I write my blog…and do my science thinking, of course.  I know I can just do this at the dining room table, but that means constantly moving my laptop and other stuff to keep the clutter contained, and I’d rather have a designated spot where I can just plop those sort of things down and not move them.

3. Wall art.  I should just go ahead and say that hanging things on the walls is an area of complete naivety to me.  In all of the places we’ve rented (and there have been many), we’ve never bothered to hang anything.  I never had anything hanging in my room growing up either, save a poster of a baby seal on the back of my bedroom door.  I’ve never really known how to hang stuff to make it look good, but I’d LOVE to have some sort of gallery wall.  I think this room would be a great place for it.  I’m thinking above the new desk.

That’s it!  Not a ton of work, really…as long as I can find a bench that’s already perfectly shabby and a desk/dresser/buffet that only needs a new coat of paint.

Make sure to check back soon for the next installment, the master bedroom!

XO,
Gabriella

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18. So, let’s be brutally honest…I have a lot of projects. And plans. (Part 1)

This post is the first of a series of posts dedicated to the crazy plans milling about my brain.  Please stay tuned for all FOUR posts!   (Don’t act all surprised…you read the title, folks.)

Too many projects.  And yet, I have the urge to add more things to the list.  Poor hubbins, he will want to declare mutiny one of these days.  Some of these projects are actually completed…or close to being completed, and I just need to write up a nice, tidy blog post about each of them (tidy? ha!).  Others are in the midst of being worked on, and yet others…are just in the back of my mind and don’t actually exist yet.  Yes, I am a crazy person.  I just feel like there is always something that can be rearranged or reworked or refinished or replaced (with an equal or greater thing).

Again, if you don’t know me well enough…I WANT ALL THE THINGS.  ALL OF THEM.

Let’s begin with the living room.  Here is the blank canvas with which we started.  (I know you grammar fiends out there are smiling at my beautiful sentence construction.)

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The color is staying because a. I don’t mind it, and b. you can’t tell from the photo, but the walls are textured (almost like Spanish plaster), and ain’t nobody got time for that.  Also, we can’t change anything structurally (remember, we are just lowly renters), and I also can’t paint any woodwork that isn’t already painted.  I love me some white trim, but that’s not gonna happen in this house.  That means the off white carpet and light fixtures also stay put.

Here’s what we have as of today.

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Not terrible, but it’s definitely a far cry from what I’m picturing for this room.

Plans for this room:

1. Get rid of wooden spool tables.  They are super awesome and I love them, but they just aren’t practical.  They are a bit too high to use as footrests, and that was the original purpose I intended us to use them for.  They also have holes in the center (into which lots of things get lost…remotes, earrings, crumbs, etc.) and bolts sticking out of the top.  I currently have one in the corner between the couches, but it’s a little low (you can’t even see it in the photo above).  Maybe I could add some height with a few hairpin legs?

2. Fabricate new ottoman(s) to replace the tables.  I will probably make these from scratch.  I’m thinking low, tufted ottomans with a chic print.  Maybe something like this.  I’m already cooking up some plan and a tutorial!  It will be frickin’ magical.

3. “New” stand for the TV.  I haven’t decided whether I want to hack our current stand from IKEA, or replace it with a distressed dresser or buffet.  They don’t sell the exact stand at IKEA any more, but this one is pretty close to what we have:

Source: ikea.com

Source: ikea.com

I’m thinking I might try to hack it first…and I’m sure that idea would sound better to Jason than hauling yet another piece of second-hand furniture into our house.  I’m pretty sure he gets a horrible sense of dread every time I start a sentence with the words, “So, I was looking on Craigslist…”  (The TV and stand are to the right of the radiator…just out of frame).

4. New throw pillows.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the ones we have, but I feel like the colors are clashing a bit too much.  I’d like to tone it down and have them all in neutrals like gray, white, taupe, and cream.  It’s not boring I swear!  We have a pretty big antique cabinet in our living room that houses my yarn addiction…um, collection…and it’s a deep turquoise (you can see it in the back right corner).  I’d rather let that color be the focal point and not throw in too many other crazy hues.

5. Wall art.  We don’t really have any cool pieces of art to display (besides a painting or two from my dad).  I want special pieces, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open while perusing thrift and antique stores.  We honestly have only one piece of art displayed right now.  You might have noticed it in the photos of our DIY rustic dining table.  It’s a really pretty print of “White Mums”, a painting my Neal Butcher.  I couldn’t find out much about him, so I’m not sure if the print is worth anything…but it only cost me $7 at Goodwill.  Sweet deal.  I’m debating about whether or not I should change out the frame (or at least paint it).  Perhaps that will be a future post.

6. Give our Expedit a makeover and move it into the living room.  I love the storage space, but I’ve grown tired of the dark “wood”.  We have this one:

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Source: ikea.com

I’ve seen some really cool hacks for this system whilst browsing the internet, and I’m especially fond of this one.  I’d like to paint ours gray and add wooden doors to half of the cubes…perhaps the center columns, just to do something a little different?  Another reason to keep reading my posts, I suppose. 😉

Well, that’s pretty much what I have planned for the living room!  Make sure to check back soon to read all about the plans for the rest of our place.

XO,
Gabriella

 

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17. Ah, finally the story of the dining room chairs!

Did you ever find that one thing you were looking for, only to be disappointed by the price tag?  I love finding exactly what I want within my price range!  It’s such a rush finding a great deal, and I get an insane amount of satisfaction from telling other people about my finds…especially if it helps them save money, too!  Case in point: my search for the perfect set of metal dining chairs.

I am in love with metal dining chairs, specifically the Tolix A chair.  If you haven’t heard of this chair, you don’t know what you are missing!  Here it is, in all of it’s wondrous glory:

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Source: tolix.com

These chairs were designed by Xavier Pauchard in 1934.  Definitely a timeless classic.  The popularity of this model has only increased with the revival of the Tolix company in 2004, so one can imagine that I would not be so in love with the price tag that comes along with this popularity.  Getting your hands on an authentic Tolix chair will not require you to ship them over from France, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

Pottery Barn sells the Tolix A in black, white, red, and bare metal for $269 each.  Yikes!  We wanted 6 of these chairs for our handmade rustic dining table, but with the $60 surcharge ($10 per chair) plus $168 shipping and handling (10% of the order), the total would be over $1800.  None of the available choices were even close to the color we wanted! Um, no.

After perusing the interwebs for another source, I discovered Industry West.  They sell the Marais A Side Chair for $145 each in a TON of different colors.  Better price, but the cost of 6 chairs plus shipping would still cost almost $1000.  I’m the queen of deals, people; there is ALWAYS a cheaper price!

At last we come to Restoration Hardware’s Remy Side Chair.  These normally sell for $129 each, but I happened to catch them on sale…for $89 a piece!  Also, as if the heavens parted and showered me with extra special rays of money-saving goodness, shipping was FREE.  Yes, that’s right.  F-R-E-E, free.  And no surcharges for being an oversized item!  Although I had stumbled upon a great deal, I was hesitant to order from RH after reading page after page of horror stories.  Items being back-ordered for months without notice, delayed shipments, extraneous credit charges, and damaged furniture…needless to say, not a pretty picture.  However, after inspecting said claims, it seemed that most of these issues stemmed from custom items and large pieces of furniture which were shipped via “white glove delivery” (i.e. a crappy third party delivery company).  Luckily, these chairs did not require the special delivery service, so I pulled the trigger.  I ordered them on a Wednesday, they shipped the following day, and I received them via UPS less than a week later.  No back-orders.  Quick shipment.  Perfect condition.  No suspicious credit card charges.  Pretty hassle-free, no?  I suppose this may be another case of “don’t always believe what you read”, but then again, maybe I just got lucky.  I guess we’ll never know!

I’m so glad I found these chairs.  Look at how GORGEOUS they look in our dining room!

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The best part?  A set of 6 chairs plus tax came out to less than $570.  Are they the “real deal”?  No.  However, these are such a close match that I’m still in love.  Maybe one day we can get some authentic Tolix chairs, but I’m totally okay with using these in the meantime.

XO,
Gabriella

P.S. If you also love the dining room table, we built it ourselves!  Check out this post for the tutorial. 🙂

 

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16. I love me some linen.

Spoiler alert!  I got the fabric in for the upholstered bed I’m building from scratch.  You know, that beautiful bed I keep referring to over and over again?  I bought 8 yards of a pretty, neutral linen/cotton blend from fabric.com.

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It’s seriously the perfect color, and spot on with the inspiration photo, don’t you think?

Adler Tufted Platform 56" Bed (Restoration Hardware)

Adler Tufted Platform 56″ Bed (Restoration Hardware)

If you are interested in the deets, this fabric is the Essex Wide Linen Blend in Natural (by Kaufman), and you can get it here.  Make sure to check for discount codes as well!  I found one for 10% off orders over $40 (code: corner13, good through 1/28/14), and fabric.com ALWAYS ships free when your order is over $35.  You can apparently only use this code once (unless you order with a different email), so make sure to take advantage of it!

Here is the total spent on materials for the bed so far:

Batting, upholstery needles, and two kits for covered buttons – $24.79 (Gotta love Joann sales and coupons!)
8 yards of linen and upholstery thread – $59.51
Total – $84.30

I plan on purchasing the wood for the platform portion of the bed this weekend, probably on Sunday.  We will hopefully get the platform built on Sunday as well, because I’m tired of getting in and out of bed when our mattress is on the floor!

Here’s to a productive DIY weekend!

XO,
Gabriella

 

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15. Master Bedroom Inspiration Board

I will preface this post by telling you that we are pretty far along on the progress of the master bedroom…I’ve just never showed you our plans!

We live on the second floor of a duplex built circa 1925, and I believe the floor in our bedroom is the original hardwood.  It’s pretty close to the color in the photo.  Before moving in, we painted 4 of the 6 rooms, the master bedroom being one of them.  The before is kinda “blah”.

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I am a big fan of green, but this…shall we call it sage?…was not at all appealing.  Luckily, we have fantastic landlords who totally approved of our color choices.  We painted the walls with a really soothing dark blue from Behr called “Observatory”.  It’s so pretty and calming!

Unfortunately, there isn’t much wall space in our room because there are four doors (double doors on the California closet, two entrances) and two windows, a pesky radiator, and only a 10×12 space to work with.  This, you can imagine, makes furniture choices/placement somewhat difficult.  This problem is somewhat alleviated by the fact that one of the entrance doors opens out into the hallway (as opposed to opening into the room).

Here is what I am envisioning (you know you’re “impressed” with my photo collage skills):

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I want ALL THE THINGS.

I’ve included the following components to make up the lovely inspiration board you see above:

1. Nightstand = stacked vintage suitcases.  Seriously the cutest idea ever.  (photo credit here)

2. Tufted platform bed. The one picture above is from Restoration Hardware, but we are definitely not dropping over two grand on a bed.  I’ve decided to tackle the bed as a DIY project, which will obviously result in a nice tutorial post.

3. Ruffled duvet/comforter.  I love the look of this bedding, especially in a clean, crisp white.  It’s super expensive at Anthropolgie, but I found a more inexpensive option on Walmart’s website.  I was considering making this a DIY project as well, but after building/tufting the bed, I doubt I’ll want to take on a project like that.  It wouldn’t save me that much moolah anyway.

4. White shag carpet.  I know you’re thinking, “No!  Shag went out of style years ago!  WHY?” Because it’s awesome and fuzzy and warm and soft on your feets.  That’s why.  The carpet pictured above can be found at overstock.com for about $124.  However, I’ve recently realized that I can just buy faux fur by the yard and add my own backing to get the same effect for much cheaper.  You know how I love them deals.

5. Distressed white dresser(s).  We currently have two of these, one long and one tall.  I’ve already completed the redo of both dressers (and the mirror that came with them).  Stay tuned for the reveal on those lovelies. 🙂

6. A cute, small chair.  The one pictured above is the Flax Vanity Chair from World Market.  I have a cute little chair that my husband’s grandmother gifted to us when she moved to a smaller apartment, and I’m thinking that would be a great upholstery project to finish up the room.

7. Chandelier of sparkly goodness.  Okay, so I totally don’t think we’ll be able to replace the ceiling fan in our bedroom unless our landlord was particularly fond of crystal chandeliers (he isn’t), but wouldn’t it just be the frickin’ cherry on top of the amazing sundae I’ve dreamed up?  Sigh.  If you love the chandelier above, you can get it at IKEA.

So, there you have it, folks.  Please make sure to check back on my progress!

XO,
Gabriella

 

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14. Made from Scratch: DIY Rustic Dining Table

IMPORTANT: I have updated these building plans!  To see the new and improved version of this post, click here.

 

 

Jason and I…er, I wanted a rustic looking dining table for our apartment now that we actually live somewhere with a dining room.  We originally narrowed it down to the Garner Extension Dining Table, $599 at World Market.

We planned to wait for the annual furniture sale for 25% off the price, but $450 is still a big chunk of money to drop on a table (even if it is real wood).  Obviously, this lead me to scour the internet for some DIY goodness.  I found quite a few options, but ultimately came up with my own design.  Jason thankfully helped me to execute the table; it was our first project together, and I think it came out pretty darn good!

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(The chairs are super awesome, too…I won’t talk much about them here, I’ll leave that for a future post!)

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to build a table identical to ours (finished measurements: approximately 38″ wide x 72″ long x 30″ high).

2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
1 – 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
2″ wood screws
circular saw (if you plan on doing your own cutting…but most hardware stores will do the cutting for you!)
drill
screwdriver
sander
sawhorse legs (or a long workbench if you have one!)
large clamps
medium and fine grit sandpaper
wood glue
wood filler
several old rags/t-shirts
stain and/or Danish oil
sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)

First, cut the 2x10x12 boards exactly in half; this will give you four boards that are each 72″ (6 ft) long.  Take some time laying the boards out to figure out which boards should go next to each other, and also decide which side of the board will face up for the top of the table.

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Some of the wood may have small stamp marks, but don’t worry too much about trying to hide these…those marks will come off with the great deal of sanding you’ll be doing later!

Next, flip all of the boards over LENGTHWISE to ensure that the boards will remain in the correct order.  At this point, you will want to transfer the boards to the sawhorse foundation, or to a workbench if you have a large enough space.  Run a strip of wood glue down each edge of the boards (where they will be touching in the finished project).  Secure the boards together with clamps.

While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 board into three pieces, each 30″ long.  Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, and one at each end, about 12″ from the edge of the table.  Predrill holes for the screws across the board, spacing the holes about 3-4″ apart.  MAKE SURE TO PREDRILL THE HOLES!  If you don’t, your wood may split later on, and all your work will be for naught!  Secure these supports to the table top using 2″ wood screws (we did ours in a zigzag pattern across each support, about 12 screws per support).  At this point, your table should look like this:

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Allow the wood glue to dry completely.  After the glue has dried, flip the table top over.  Using your fingers and some wood filler, fill the gaps between the boards (this process is pretty similar to caulking a tub).  We also filled in the gaps along the short ends of the table to keep everything looking uniform and polished.  Make sure to also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.

After the wood filler is set and dry (which shouldn’t take too long), it’s time for the “fun” part…the sanding!  This is honestly the part of the construction that takes the most time, and rightly so.  You want the finished project to be smooth and splinter free!  We did two rounds of sanding: one with medium grit sandpaper, and one with fine grit sand paper.  We also used two different types of sanders.  A belt sander is great for smoothing out the length of the boards, while an orbital sander works like a boss to finish off the edges.  If you are looking for a more rustic finish, make sure to pay extra attention to the edges and corners of the table; really round those babies off to give the appearance of age.

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When you’ve finished the exhausting amount of sanding required to get a nice, smooth surface, wipe off all that dust with some old rags.

Now it’s time to add the finish of your choice!  To get our desired color (a dark brown with gray undertones), we used two different types of finish.  We did two coats of Minwax Wood Finish in “Classic Gray” followed by two coats of Watco Danish Oil in “Dark Walnut”.  Make sure to follow the directions on the container and allow each coat to dry for the suggested amount of time before wiping off the excess and applying the next coat.  We used rags to apply/wipe off both products; I think rags lend themselves to a better application and more coverage than a paintbrush.

Here is what the table looked like after both stains had been applied and allowed to set overnight:

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At this point, we were unsure what we wanted to use for the topcoat: wax or polyurethane.  We decided to think on it a bit, and attached the legs in the meantime.  I ordered our legs from hairpinlegs.com.  They are 28″ standard height 3-rod hairpin legs in raw steel (they are listed in the “Sale Items” section for $20 a piece).  Aren’t they pretty?

We attached the legs according to the directions on the website, adding a 6″x6″ piece of scrap wood between the leg and the table (to prevent splitting…notice a pattern here?).  The legs are inset a few inches from each side (i.e. we didn’t attach them at the very edge of each corner).

Finally, it came time to add the protective topcoat.  I really loathe “shiny” wood, so we opted for a wax finish.  It will have to be reapplied every year, but it has a more natural finish and still protects the table from water stains.

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I’m so in love with this table!  Even my husband likes the way it turned out, and I can’t begin to tell you how many compliments we’ve received.

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I was incredibly apprehensive about starting this project, mostly due to the fact that neither my husband or I had ever built anything!  This project ended up being a lot easier than I thought, especially since Home Depot did all the cutting for us.  If we can build it, you can, too!  The best part: this table only cost us about $150 to build (including the cost of all materials).

If you do decide to build a table using our plans, please share them!  I’d love to see how it turns out. 🙂

XO,
Gabriella

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13. Before and After: Antique Dining Chairs

If you’ve read my blog at all up to this point, you know I am addicted to Craigslist.  The majority of our furnishings were purchased from the wonderful purveyors of that magical website, except for handful of things: TV stand, bookcase, dining table, dining chairs, and mattress.  Everything else is second hand, although they do NOT look that way!  We even got a beautiful pair of couches last year for $350, and they were practically brand new; they were still under warranty for the fabric treatment and seriously looked like they were never sat on.  Anyway, I digress…

The true topic of this post is a small tutorial for revamping some sad dining chairs.  I bought a set of four antique dining chairs from a lovely old couple who were moving into a retirement community.  Those sweethearts only wanted $20 for all of them!  Bless their sweet little hearts.  I’m not sure of the exact age of the chairs, but based on the design I’m guessing they date back to the 40s.  The company that manufactured the chairs, Northwest Chair Co. out of Tacoma, WA, was in business until the 1950s when they closed due to a fire, which also lead me to believe these chairs are from the 1940s.  Here are the beauties I received:

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They were in okay condition, but boy, did I know the potential hidden behind the scratches and dings.  Oh, that brown velvet fabric DID give me the shivers!

Here are the materials you’ll need if you want to transform a set of chairs:

flat-head screwdriver or pliers
staple gun (with plenty of staples)
hammer
larges scissors or utility knife
fabric (1 to 2 yards, depending on the size of your chairs)
batting
1″ foam
sandpaper
quart of paint

Let’s do this!  First things first, remove the seat bottoms from the chairs; you might need a Phillips screwdriver depending on the types of screws use to secure the seat bottom to the chair.  Next, remove the old fabric, batting, and any cushion material from the seat bottom.  I took out the old staples using a flathead screwdriver.  You can also use a pair of pliers.  Just keep your fingers out of the way!

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After removing the old fabric, batting, and padding, it’s time to prepare the new seat.  Lay the seat bottom on top of the foam and trace around the edges.

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Next, cut out the foam using a sturdy pair of scissors or a utility knife.  Again, be very careful and keep your fingers out of the way!  After cutting out the foam, you want to layer all the components as follows:  fabric, batting, foam, seat bottom.  Make sure the bottom of the seat is facing up.  Trim the batting and fabric to leave a few inches around the seat bottom.  (Extra is better…you’ll be trimming away the excess anyway!)

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Pick a side and start stapling the batting/fabric to the underside of the seat bottom, as close to the outside as possible; start in the center and work your way out, stopping an inch or two from the corner.  Repeat on the opposite side.  Finish the remaining two sides in the same fashion.

Now comes the fun part: the corners!  Ha, not really.  This is the most difficult part, and requires a bit of fabric manipulation.  I don’t have a great picture depicting this step, but luckily I found a wonderful alternative via the interwebs:

Next comes the paint!  Prep the chairs by wiping them down with a mild cleaning solvent and lightly sanding each chair with medium-fine sand paper.  Wipe down the chairs again, this time with a lint free cloth (this step is important, it’s gets rid of all the dust from the sanding).  Apply 1-3 coats of paint (depending on the type of paint and the desired coverage).  I used Behr paint and primer in one in “Elephant Skin” and got the job done properly with two coats.

After the paint has dried completely, simply reattach the seat bottoms to the chairs and you’re done!

Are you ready to see the final result?!  Here ya go! 🙂

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I think my favorite part is the fabric.  It’s a neutral linen with just the slightest hint of shimmer:

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The before and after is pretty dramatic!

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Sadly, we are going to be getting rid of these chairs. 😦  I really, really love the way they turned out, but let’s face it…I don’t have two dining room tables!  The upside: I can use the extra cash for other projects. 😉

I hope you are enjoying what little is left of your weekend!

XO,
Gabriella

 

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