Showing posts with label projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label projects. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kitchen Table Makeover

The part of the furniture makeover that takes the longest, I find, is discussing your plans with your makeover partner in crime; in this case, Mr BC. We have endless, endless discussions over what finish to use, whether we are changing the structure or even the use of the item, if we need other parts and where we should get them, and so on. I always turn to Pinterest and Mr BC consults his own oracle, eBay. This kitchen table project was no different, and in fact the discussion was more involved, because this table belonged to Mr BC's Nanna and Poppa. 

This was bought around 1942 by the newlyweds as part of a large set of matching furniture, I guess the war time equivalent of a Freedom Furniture deal? It is a very attractive table, with nicely turned legs and an easy extension at each end that turns it into a tidy 6 seater, but after countless house moves, including 3 states in it's 72 years, it was really needing an overhaul.

Removing the ancient (and ruined) french polish was a problem. We didn't want to bring the big gun strippers in and dry out the beautiful wood grain, but the lightweight options were not working.  I tried hand sanding, then the power sander, then after a bit of Google research, metholated spirits, none of which worked. In the end it was hand chipped off very carefully with a small size paint scraper, which proved almost impossible on the turned legs.

We decided that we liked the look of wood finish with the legs painted a different colour; I wanted black gloss, Mr BC wanted white satin. We decided on this before stripping became so difficult, honest! Mr BC won out with white, because A; we already had the paint left over from this project, and B; we are trying to lighten up our house and white paint is a great way to do that. Also, C; if we hate it we can paint over it in gloss black.  So far we haven't chosen option C.

So while the legs and base were getting a few coats (well, six coats actually, we didn't want the finish kicked off by monkey feet in a few days) the top was getting some love with floor grade water based estapol. For extra toughness. This is a hard working kitchen table, it needs to stand up to some tough love!

Et Voila! It's LOVE. The pale wood, and white paint go perfectly with our silver navy emeco chairs, and the slim shape of the table fits the space beautifully. You can even walk around it while people are sitting there now! Previously people had to do that awkward suck your tummy in and lean in motion. Awkward.

Hopefully soon those ugly vertical blinds will be transformed into french doors leading to a deck, that will brighten and enlarge the space even more. Won't that look marvelous? I've visualized this so many times I have a hard time NOT seeing it. It's going to be so great!

We are really happy with the way this has turned out, especially as we were so nervous to paint it! I think it looks rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to go for another 70 odd years, and I think Nanna and Poppa might like it too.

Have you ever been anxious about making a change to some 'heirloom' furniture? 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

On Trends and Inspiration

Apparently arrows are the next big thing, after pineapples have finished having their day in the sun. Nothing personal, pineapple lovers! What do you think? Are you ready to give up the pineapple and embrace the hipster arrow? I think I am, and god knows I am over yellow and grey chevron.

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(careful, that first link plays music. Sorry)

I am not over turquoise, however. To be fair, this has coloured my aura for as long as I can remember. I skipped the memo on emerald green and radiant orchid, and although I have nothing against taxidermy I never really got on board with deer or rhino heads. 

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I guess the trick is to do what you love. Whats on trend in your life right now?


Friday, October 25, 2013

Earring holder, take 2

Ages ago (like years) I made this earring holder out of cardboard, duct tape, an old frame and a hand me down skirt of my sisters. It was very satisfying! You can read about it here if you like.

I liked this earring holder a lot, I love the way all of my dangly earrings are on display, and I love the way it looks. But, the effort it took to force an ear ring through the material and the wadding underneath would sometimes bend an ear ring out of shape. Bummer! Then recently during a clean up I found some mesh left over from this project....

After taking the whole thing apart, I used wire snips to cut the mesh to the right size, and placed it in the frame. I took the opportunity to refold and re duct tape the material/cardboard situation to make it a bit neater, then put the whole thing back together again. I stapled some webbing over the back to hold it all in securely. Done! Now, it is super functional.

The ear rings just sit on the mesh, without any effort at all. No more ear rings bent out of shape! Much easier to take out and return.

I still love the way it looks, but it's much more functional now, and actually the gold mesh sits nicely with the gold frame/silvery material vibe going on. I also like that the mesh will force me to be a bit neater with ear ring placement, where before my attempts at neat grids where hampered by the difficulty of piercing the fabric. I hung it on the wall, above some hooks that hold necklaces and bracelets. It seems to play so nicely with everything else in the room.

Have you made any small fixes lately, that made all the difference? I'm so glad I went back and re-tweaked this. Now I just have to load it up with ear rings again!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chest of Drawers Makeover. It's LOVE.

Do you remember this old chest of drawers? You can read the story of where I got them here. Spoiler: I bought them for $2 because I wanted to see what was in the drawers. Super Spoiler: Not much. BUT! We did get this awesome chest of drawers!

And do you also remember my woefully inadequate DVD storage situation? I had a rant about it here

The "DVD Storage" (let's just put that in parentheses) occupied the spot underneath the TV, with a large, dark bookcase on either side. I love my bookcases and I cannot declutter any more books, but the bookshelves really darkened the whole room and made the small room feel smaller. They are so tall that they didn't fit in the downstairs area, which was a bit of a problem because we couldn't find room for them anywhere else.

You can see what I mean in this delightful image of my sons playing 'movieoke' to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Do your children do this? Act along to the entire movie? Oh, just mine then....


We painted those old drawers. 

We finally found a furniture arrangement that allowed for the bookcases to be moved.
(one in the bedroom, one to your right, if you must know)

I love it. It brightens up the entire room considerably, I mean it makes a HUGE impact. HUGE. 

We painted it with Berger Premium water based enamel gloss in Builders White. Builders White is code for stark white with a splash of black, which for some spooky reason works better than plain white. It goes on more cleanly and covers up patchy undercoats. Water based because it's easier to clean up than oil based duh, and won't yellow over time like oil based paint will. 

And not only does this chest of drawers look great, it stores allllllllllllllllll the DVD's, with room for more!

It's love.

I will love it more when the cables disappear, but it's still love. 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Bedroom Dresser Makeover

This heirloom dresser belonged to Mr BC's Nana. It's a beautiful piece of furniture that we have enjoyed for a long time. It was bought as part of a set in 1942, that included all sorts of bedroom furniture and occasional tables. I'm not sure if it is fantastic quality, but we certainly love it.

The finish was starting to wear off, and we had been discussing refinishing it, perhaps in french polish. It lived happily in the lounge room, and was home to plants, lamps........

......and this demonic lamp. It's not really demonic, it is a beautiful and calming Himalayan Rock Salt Lamp. It's job is to be attractive and pull negative irons out of the air, reducing allergies and dust born germs. It also has the surprising habit of sucking in moisture out of the air, then sitting in a puddle of it's own salty sludge. Do you see that plate it is sitting on? That is not supposed to be salt encrusted. Such a shock, we had no idea this would happen! Before we realised, the salt had been absorbed into the wood of the dresser, warping the sides of our heirloom. What a bastard!

As annoying as it was, there really wasn't anything we could do, so we rethought the finish on the dresser and opted to paint. Besides ruining the look of the wood itself, it had caused the two panels at the side to separate - you can see the separation down the side of the dresser in the image above, even after 2 coats of under coat. (I'm sure in decades to come some grandchild will strip the paint off, it seems to be the furniture cycle, doesn't it? One generation paints, the next strips and restores. I hope they have some kind of miracle wood cure by then.)

It was a bit nerve wracking, but as the paint went on it started to look nicer and nicer. There are 3 coats of undercoat, with sanding between each coat, before we get to the actual paint.

The paint we decided on was Taubmans Endure in Star Spangled. Apparently this is the exact colour needed when creating your own Tardis, according to the Whovian lady at the paint counter. I asked her how she knew, and she assured me she had made several Tardis's (Tardii?) before.

The dresser needed at least 3 coats of paint to have a deep, smooth finish. I really wanted saturated colour, no brush marks, something very uniform.

The paint seems to have a bit of Tardis magic/science in that it enables the dresser to hold a lot of clothing. We took out another dresser and a chest of drawers with a combined total of 7 drawers, and everything fit perfectly into the Tardis dresser. Did your eagle eyes pick up on the demonic lamp, sitting on the dresser again? Well, I am ONTO it now, and won't be putting up with it's shenanigans anymore. I've got my eye on you, lamp! Apparently the trick is to keep it turned on all the time. (Plus keep an eye on it.)

Originally I had planned to free hand a large white octopus crawling across the front of the drawers. I had that idea on a whim and Mr BC really took to it, he still thinks it's a great idea. I haven't entirely discounted it, but for now I am really enjoying it the way it is, even without drawer handles. Also, so much time went into painting it I'm not in a hurry to repaint if we have an octopus fail. I might live with it for a few months and see how I feel, maybe keep an eye out for some vinyl art? I do love an octopus..

It really needs some handles but I haven't found any I love. I really love the ones below, but they are not quite big enough - the handles it came with are about 8 cm diameter, the ones below are about 5 cm so I think the scale will be all wrong if I go with them. Also Anthropologie? Far too expensive! I need 8!

These Please

So, hit me up with your handle ideas, I need all the help I can get. Also, octopus yes or no?
(bet you say no :))


Thursday, October 10, 2013

DIY Blog Planner

Do you use a blog planner? I've been planning my blog posts in a spreadsheet, and to be honest, it wasn't working for me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE spreadsheets, but I needed something versatile that would be in my face all the time. I could print my blog planner out, but then as posts changed around from day to day it would be scribbled on, and who want's that mess on display? Not me. 

Recently we completed part 2 of the office makeover, (more to come!) and during that process I unearthed this lovely picture I'd been hanging onto for 20 years. It was given to me as a joke, I don't know why I kept it - not even my kids like it. It was very easy to spray paint though.

I was so eager to paint this white that I forgot to take a before photo, but if you look closely you can still see those cheery dinosaurs frolicking happily about. It took a bit to cover them, I ended up using the dregs of 3 spray cans of white gloss, so the whole thing cost nothing. My favourite kind of upcycle!

When the paint was dry I free handed a grid in some leftover paint (Nippon Deep) and used some pretty post it notes to firstly put the name of the day and the post category across the top, and then used a different coloured post it to place planned posts through out the month. It's nice to use post it's because they come in different shapes and colours, and are very easy to move around. Eventually I might paint in the days of the week and the categories, I want to make sure I am comfortable with them first. The grid is roughly for 1 month at a time, with 7 days and 4 weeks; I'll just have to deal with it when we go over 4 weeks per month!

While I was in the mood for painting, I painted the frame on my notice board and finally hung it on the wall. It's been leaning against my desk for ages! I also gave it a good declutter, but I've got a feeling it will fill up again fairly soon...

Ta-da! My finished work space, complete with a half eaten bag of dry roasted almonds. What do you snack on while you blog?

Friday, August 16, 2013

No, I haven't been to the EKKA

It's EKKA Season in Brisbane, the time when the bush comes to the city in a show of jams, wood chopping and prize bulls. We have special Brisvegas holidays to cope - a day for each region of the city to ensure that everyone doesn't go at once. It's exciting, everyone goes. If you have, I am happy for you, and maybe a little jealous, for I have not. Growing up in Sydney I went to the Easter Show almost every year, and it was a wonderful thing - lots of people, animals, rides, interesting things to discover and look at, show bags full of lollies and useless crap to drag home like trophies. I loved it!

But now that I am an adult and have to pay a medium size fortune for the privilege of being crushed in an extremely large crowd, it's not so appealing, although I'm sure I will have to get over that and take my deprived children one day. But good for you. Next time you go can you get me a show bag?

This is what I have been doing instead, thank you for asking.

Nursing sick children back to health, although as I type one is still at home unwell. They tag teamed illness all last week so that the only day they where both at school was Wednesday, the day I became seriously caffeinated. I think we are over the worst of the vomity fevers, and that is a good thing.

Started on this dresser! Yes, I am actually doing a project, it's an EKKA miracle. I was nervous about attacking this mahogany chest of drawers because it is a bit of an heirloom for Mr BC, but he is my biggest cheer squad. The french polish is already flaking off! It's only paint, if we hate it we can just take it off! It will look great, I have complete faith you can do an awesome job! God, I love that man. Let's see how the dresser goes. My first instinct with nice wood is to give it some love and showcase it, but we have so much woodwork in the house already and several pieces of polished wood furniture already..Still, I better not stuff this up. Jeez, no pressure!

I made some small batch jams - a straight Gooseberry and a Gooseberry Chili, with Thai chilies and a few jalapenos. Also some apple and onion. They both taste delicious, but look a bit like baby crap in a jar, so I will spare you that image.

Mostly, I have been thinking that this crazy monkey is turning 6 next week, and where did that time go I ask you? We are having a low key sausage sizzle in a local park after school, because that worked so well last year for his older brother. He is pretty excited to have a party, and it is the day of book parade so everyone will already be dressed up! Easy, and lovely.

Are you going to the Ekka? How do you feel about painted furniture? 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Office Makeover Part 1

Mr BC and I share office space in the form of a converted L shaped garage. Despite the fact that Mr BC mostly works from home, this office is not at all a calm, orderly oasis and is the repository for a whole lot of junk. Small house + many hobbies + not a lot of storage space + lots of projects on the go + continual house renovations = JUNK. It's not pretty, and I'm not even going to show you Mr BC's side of the room. That will be Part 2, and will have to happen another day. 

Prepare yourself emotionally, and promise me you will not call hoarders.

Are you OK or do you need to go and have a cup of tea? I can wait. Lets do a 180 and see the entryway, it's not so brutal. See? Hills self watering garden bed leaning on an over full double wardrobe, and a glass cabinet stuffed with craft supplies while it waits to be restored. Practically soothing.

The blue desk is mine, and it was hard up against a large window looking out to the garden. I loved the view but at about 1pm when the sun moved over the yard arm, the light belted into the window and was so blinding, I couldn't sit there any longer. So I assessed the situation and made a plan. 

The plan involved moving my desk to another wall, finding homes for a lot of stuff, and getting rid of a lot of stuff on Gumtree. Some stuff found a new home in the rubbish bin! I called in some muscle to help with the heavy lifting. That teenager is stronger than she looks!

One of the three metal shelves I use for magazines was emptied, the desk was moved to it's new home, and the shelf moved to the other end near the window.

Thank you for your help, please go play snails in the other room.

Still not perfect but starting to look a lot better. This is far from my dream office, but it was once a garage after all, and our budget doesn't allow for a total makeover.

It was a good opportunity to address my magazine obsession and get rid of some, this was surprisingly easy! I was very happy to get rid of this giant pile, and only flinched a little as they where flung into the recycling bin.

So this is as good as it is going to get for a little while. Still not perfect, but a vast improvement. I wish we had a proper room to use as an office, but we don't: so we just make the best with what we do have.

After we sort out Mr BC's side, there are a few more things that will make a big difference...

  1. I would love to replace the shelving with something glossy and white from Ikea.
  2. New flooring, or at least some fresh white paint. Now that the junk installation has gone you can see where I ran out of paint last time. Maybe a nice mat or some tiles over some fresh white paint?
  3. I am so happy to not have the full force of the sun in my face, but now I need some lighting on my desk. There are two lamps on my desk that I think would look better elsewhere.
  4. That weird thing going on in the corner above the right side of my desk? It is the back of the fuse box and must be hidden, somehow.
  5. I need a large notice board above my desk. That little one does not make me happy or add value to my day.

The other end of the room! A stack of raw cushions waiting to be transformed. An exercise ball that everyone has to have a go on. That old chair should have new covers sewn by now, but the section of arm that has been repaired keeps breaking and I am not keen on going to the trouble of making covers if the chair frame cannot be fixed. It will be the perfect place to sit and read (magazines) in the sun, or even watch a movie on that monitor on top of the shelving. I hope the chair can survive, but if it has to go, I have another that can replace it.

I would love to see the fan go. In part 2 of the office makeover the filing cabinet will be moved here, and the fan (or it's replacement) can sit on top of that, rather than hang off the ceiling. Those storage tubs you see are full of my material stash.

Because this is an old garage, there is a lip across the section where the door used to be, to stop rain coming in. This makes the floor uneven, so instead of bringing the desk out and wasting 30 cm, Mr BC quickly threw together some leg extender thingys for the front legs, to make the desk level. This means my chair is quite short but not that unworkable, and in Part 2, this desk will probably become Mr BC's desk, so I will live with it for the moment. If this was to be a permanent thing I would be shopping for a taller chair or stool very quickly, and making a regular appointment with the physio!

Before and after, of part 1. Stay tuned for part 2!

Do you have a room that you have to make the most of? I love looking at inspirational images on Pinterest and (obviously) in magazines, but sometimes it is just a struggle to get the reality anywhere near to the dream, and you just have to do the best with what you have. Can you relate to this?

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