61. Before and After: Vintage Dressers

So…yeah.  I’ve been really terrible at keeping up with this blog lately.  I blame the nice weather!  And going to the gym.  Both fabulous excuses, if you ask me.

Here’s the next post in my furniture series: a lovely makeover involving a set of vintage dressers.  Vintage Kroehler dressers!  That I found on Craigslist for $65.  (You know I’m patting myself on the back over here…)

Here’s what they looked like when we first got them home.

vintage dressers

vintage dressers

vintage dressers
I sanded them and gave them a couple of coats of Behr Popped Corn, which is a nice “warm” white.  I also gave them a bit of distressing with a sanding block and a cheese knife shaped like a miniature meat cleaver.  My tools known no bounds.

Don’t they look perty?

vintage dressers

vintage dressers
I’d eventually like to switch out the hardware to something a little more modern, but they work for now.  Drawer pulls are expensive, and mama’s gots bills ta pay!

Happy Monday, fools.

XO,
Gabriella

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60. Before and After: Antique China Cabinet

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I’ll be joining the festivities later this evening, but first, a blog post.

I promised to make last week all about furniture.  I failed to keep this promise and only wrote one post.  Shame on me!  Let’s try this again.  Hopefully I’ll find the time to write up everything on my list!

Today’s before and after is a lovely antique china cabinet I found on Craigslist.  The young lady who sold it to me only wanted $35!

antique china cabinetIt’s hard to tell from the photo, but the wood was not exactly in great shape.  I decided to paint the cabinet, and decided on a deep turquoise from Behr called “Caribe”.

behr caribe

Source: Home Depot

Jason ended up being the one who painted this cabinet; I had a lot of projects going on at that time, and we just wanted to get them DONE.  I think he did an excellent job.

antique china cabinetThis cabinet got painted almost two years ago.  I use it for storing all my yarn and knitting accessories, and the fact that it didn’t have a handle was super annoying.  Last month, I went back to Home Depot and bought an antique-style cabinet pull, drilled a few holes in the door, and installed the handle.  Much, much better.

antique china cabinetYou’ll notice that the paint job has gotten quite a few dings.  We moved since acquiring the cabinet, and it’s moved around a bit in our new place.  Battle scars, my friends.  Battle scars.  I think they add a bit of character, so I probably won’t fix them.  I also don’t have any more of this paint, so I’m sure that also has something to do with my lack of caring.

before and after antique china cabinetI seriously cannot believe it took me so long to show you this cabinet!  The worst case of procrastination if I ever saw one.  Make sure to check back tomorrow, because I’ll be showing you another furniture makeover: a set of vintage dressers!

XO,
Gabriella

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49. Made From Scratch: DIY Rustic Dining Table (UPDATED!)

Remember our DIY dining table?  I showed it to you in August of last year.  I’ve realized that the instructions I gave could use some improvement…especially after I realized our table was sagging a bit on one side.  The good news is that I fixed it with my AWESOME new drill, and you reap the benefits by getting an improved building plan.

DIY Rustic Dining Table

Materials:

2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
2- 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
1-5/8″ 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
prestain
stain and/or Danish oil
wood sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)

Directions:

1.  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.  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!

diy rustic dining table

2.  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.

diy rustic dining table instructions

3.  While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 boards into 6 pieces, each 32″ long (you’ll only use 5 of the pieces).  Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, one at each end, about 3″ from the edge of the table, and space the last two boards evenly between the end and middle boards.  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 1-5/8″ wood screws.

diy rustic dining table instructions

4.  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).  Don’t forget about the ends of the table, too!  You should also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.

5.  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.

diy rustic dining table instructions

6. 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.

7.  Apply a coat of pre-stain using a clean rag.  The pre-stain is optional, but it really helps with an even coat of stain and prevents blotches.  Allow to set for about five minutes, and wipe off excess stain with another clean rag.

8.  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:

diy rustic dining table instructions

9. After the stain has dried completely, flip the table top over and attach the legs.  I ordered 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).

IMPORTANT: Raw steel will rust, even indoors!  I had to learn this the hard way…I’m passing on my knowledge to you so the same does not occur.  In order to prevent rusting, just cover your legs with a few coats of matte acrylic spray.

diy rustic dining table instructions

10.  Finally, it’s 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.  Make sure to follow that manufacturer’s instructions for whatever topcoat you choose, but with wax, you just rub on/off with cheesecloth and buff it out.

Voilà, you have your very own rustic dining table…and you made it all by yourself!

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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).

diy rustic dining table instructions

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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46. Antique store score.

I’ve been meaning to check out Antiques on Second for quite a while, and I had the opportunity to visit last Saturday.  I brought my mom along, and we had such a good time looking through everything.  Well, the things  we had time to see, anyway.  We were there for an hour, and that was just the first floor.  There are two more floors of untold treasures I have yet to see!

I did find the cutest little mirror, though.  I was secretly hoping to find one to display jewelry on my dresser, and I found this beauty for $15.  A decent price, indeed.

antique mirror jewelry tray display
I love displaying jewelry like this.  It makes me feel classy.  Pinky-in-the-air-while-drinking-tea classy.

How do you display your jewelry?

XO,
Gabriella

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41. A birthday gift for my mom.

My mom’s birthday was back at the beginning of October, and I promised her that I would refinish a pair chairs I picked up from Craigslist a while back as her gift.  She’ll be using them in her living room as additional seating.

The story behind these chairs is actually a bit quirky.  I sent an inquiry to the poster of the Craigslist ad, offering him $20 for both chairs (which are really just wood frames…I have to add the cushions on my own).  Lo and behold, the owner of said chairs was one of my husband’s previous co-workers.  Such a small world!

The frames for the chairs are solid wood, and they are HEAVY.  The original paint job was black and gross.  I initially intended to keep the chairs for myself, and originally stripped the paint thinking I could then sand them down and give them a clear coat.  The wood ended up being no so great, and the paint was a pain in the ass to get off.  I ended up painting ONE of the frames gray, and added some custom cushions.  You can actually see this chair in the background of our living room in the photo I showed in this post.

Here it is again to refresh your memory:

living room chair
It’s a terrible photo, I know, but I can’t seem to find any “before” shots.  I’ll have to snap a photo of the unfinished frame that is currently sitting in our basement…it is still half stripped and VERY ugly.

I decided that the chairs were too large for our space, and we don’t really need them as both couches are fairly large and provide plenty of seating.  My mom needs some extra seating for her living room, so I decided if I couldn’t keep them for me, who better to give them to?

I went through tons of fabric options with her (based on the color of her couch), and we decided on a cool blue linen for the cushions, with a nice floral print for accent pillows.  I’ll also be painting the frames a deep brown (“Espresso Beans” from Behr).

Large_DC-663

Source: fabric.com

Large_UD-085

Source: fabric.com

I really love the print, and I’m actually surprised that she picked it.  My mom doesn’t normally go for prints, but this one is pretty neutral, and has lots of color options to use as accents.

Don’t the fabrics look fantastic with the the deep, dark brown I’ll be using for the frames?

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I’m hoping I can finally finish these up over the next week or so, especially now that the custom cushions are in.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my progress!

XO,
Gabriella

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39. DIY Wedding: Aisle Pomander Balls

Today I’ll be showing you the pretty pomander balls I used to line the aisles for our wedding ceremony.  This project is so simple, I almost feel guilty calling it a DIY.  Almost.

“DIY” Aisle Pomander Balls

Materials:

premade pomander balls – I bought mine from afloral.com, but they no longer carry this item. 😦
peacock feathers
ribbon
hot glue gun & glue sticks

Directions:

Step 1: Cut ribbon to desired length.  It’s going to be doubled, so if you’d like a 12″ drop length, cut a piece about 24″ long.

Step 2: If your pomanders already have an ugly sheer ribbon (like mine), rip those bad boys out.

pomander
Step 3: Using your hot glue gun, fasten your new, much prettier ribbon to the pomander.  Make sure to hide it underneath the flowers so everything stays nice and tidy.

Step 4: Trim the eye of a peacock feather, and attach to the base of the ribbon with hot glue.

peacock feather pomanderStep 5: Hang on a chair and enjoy.

peacock feather pomander aisle decoration

See, I told you this DIY was ridiculously easy!

I still have a long list of projects to share with you, too.  Here are some DIY wedding projects to look forward to reading about:

bride’s/bridesmaids’ fascinators
peacock feather wrist corsages
peacock feather pins
peacock feather boutonnieres
table runners
escort card ribbon board
manzanita branch centerpieces
invitations
peacock feather wreaths w/ bride and groom initials
luminaries
bar sign
bridesmaids’ earrings
programs
card birdcage

Crazy, right?  Hey, it gives me lots of stuff to write about!

XO,
Gabriella

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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.

082813_1

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.

brcolors2

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.

brinspiration

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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