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.


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24. Made from Scratch: DIY Feather Wall Art

Happy Labor Day!

I’m at home today, but still working hard.  I’ll be teaching a lecture and lab at Carroll University this semester, and I still have a TON of prep work to do.  Even so, I thought I’d take a much needed break and show you some cool art work I made last week.  I’ll even give you instructions on how to paint these all by yourself!

DIY Feather Wall Art



acrylic paint
2-3 paintbrushes
paper plate (to hold paint)
plastic drop cloth (I used a trash bag laid out flat)
measuring tape
hanging method of your choice (I used Command strips)


1. Unwrap your canvas and place it in the middle of the plastic drop cloth (i.e. garbage bag).  This project would ideally go a lot smoother with an easel, but I don’t have one…so you do what ya gotta do.  I purchased my canvases from Joann on sale for $5/each.  Scoreeeeee.


8″ x 24″ canvas, $5 (sale price)

2. Using your acrylic paint color of choice and a wide paintbrush, coat the entire canvas.  Don’t forget about the sides!  This will be your background color, so pick anything your little heart desires.  I did three canvases in varying shades of blue: Spa Blue, Bahama Blue, and Desert Turquoise.


Americana acrylic paint, $1.39/each


3. Allow the canvas to dry completely.  Since we’re using acrylic paint, this will take about 30 minutes or so.

4. Now come the feathers.  It’s best to use three different shades in the same color family.  This will add dimension to your feathers and give them a realistic quality.  I used Cool White, Bleached Sand and Mississippi Mud.

I think the feathers would look great in varying shades of grays or blues as well.

The base of the feather comes first, and you’ll want to use the darkest of the three shades.  Using a small brush, create a line down the center of the canvas.  Don’t worry about trying to make the line straight; it will actually look much better if there is a slight curve.  Once you have the first line drawn, slightly thicken the bottom 2″ of the line (this will be the “stalk” of the feather).  Finish off the base by using short, quick strokes to fan out the line (see closeup, far right).  Feel free to add extra paint to your brush as needed.


5. Using the same brush, add in the medium color to the feather, starting near the center of the “stalk” and working your way out and up.  You want these strokes to be much longer, with a slight curve upwards.  I added the dark brown to my brush here and there to blend the colors and add depth.  You want both sides of the feather to ALMOST touch in the middle, making sure to let some of the darkest shade to peak through along the center line.


6. Finally, add in the lightest color of the bunch (Cool White in this case).  Use this color a bit more sparingly than the medium shade, but the stroke pattern is pretty much the same as the last step.  Again, I added the medium shade to my brush every now and then to blend the colors a bit.


7.  Let your canvas dry completely, and admire your work!  Feel free to sign your art. 🙂


Hang them using your method of choice.  I used Command strips since these were so lightweight…or should I say “light as a feather”?  Yuk yuk yuk.

All in all, this project cost me about $25.  It would have been closer to $20 if I already had the brushes.  Still a better deal than buying something similar from a big box store!

I love how they turned out, and they look so pretty hanging on our wall.


I hope I’ve inspired you to create some DIY wall art of your own!  Remember, it’s just paint…nothing to be afraid of!  If you don’t like the results or feel like you’ve made too many “mistakes”, you can always paint over them with your base color and start over.


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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.


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:


Source: fabric.com

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


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!



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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”.


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):



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!



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5. Before and After: Tiered End Table

I found this little beauty on Craigslist for only $15 (please excuse our horribly messy kitchen):


The owner, Michelle, had purchased it in hopes of giving it a coat of white paint and distressing it, but unfortunately she just didn’t have the time to tackle this project.  I thought her idea was fabulous, so I decided to carry out her design.  The white I chose is called “Popped Corn” by Behr.  I chose the all-in-one primer/color/protectant in a satin finish, and I love how it turned out!






This table is currently in our living room (in a corner between two sofas), but I may move it to another room later on.  It needs to be showcased!

Happy Monday!



UPDATE (8/5/13): Here’s a nice “before and after” perfect for pinning. 😉



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