Coral Modge Podge Chair

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I scored an orphaned kitchen chair at a yard sale for $2 a couple of weeks ago. It was in decent shape but just plain and boring.

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I deglossed it and did a quick all over sanding. Then I used Coral spray paint. I’m not usually a spray paint girl for furniture but chairs are my least favorite item to paint (so many surfaces, corners and potential drips!) so I figured I didn’t have anything to lose on this piece except a few bucks.

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It took 2 solid coats with a round of touch up but over all I like the color and finish and maybe hate spray paint a little bit less than I did before. I left the chair plain for a few days and pondered on how to jazz it up… it was just missing an it factor. I stumbled upon (okay, purposely) stopped into a fabric sale and hoped to find trim, ribbon or something to make this chair more special. There I found a few options that I knew could further transform this piece.

I narrowed my choices to these two.

Above is a bit more formal and bright.

Below is more traditional but still bold.

Both were only $4/yard for upholstery grade fabric!

II was pretty torn and considered buying both but decided to ask Erica of EH Calligraphy for her input. You know, becaude decision making is not my strong suit. After texting back and forth we opted for the blue damask pattern. Then I traced the seat of the chair and cut the fabric to fit up to the edge of the seat. A few coats of modge podge later I had this pretty lady!

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Its a new take on a classic chair but still super functional. I think it could be a cool corner chair in a guest room or entry area or a fun pop of color in a home office. I will be coating it with some poly to help durability and I think it should be for sale soon.

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Second Chance: Dumpster Vanity to Glam Masterpiece with DIY Chalk Paint

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This might be my favorite project to date. I found this vanity out on the curb on trash night in my own neighborhood. I really have no shame.

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As you can see, it was too cool to pass up: unique shape, abundant and tasteful details, spindled legs, and I had been searching for a new desk (ours is a Target POS). The person throwing it out helped me load it into my car… the entire time they made sure I knew all of it’s flaws: broken and missing veneer, one wheel didn’t roll, “musky” smell and so on. I saw these things too. But I also saw potential. I saw solid wood construction, drawers with dovetail joints, insane detail and lots of function. And for $0 I really had nothing to lose. If I redid this and it was a bust then I would be out a few bucks for hardware or something. But then it sat in my garage for a while because other projects took priority and I still had to convince Hubby of the potential this piece had in our home. His rule is that something (furniture or really anything I collect) has to leave before anything new can come in. And he doesn’t hate the junky desk we have as much as I do. Or maybe he hated the dumpster dive vanity more than the junky desk?

I don’t blame him… the before photos are a little scary.

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As you can see, the drawers were in particularly rough shape. After I removed all of the hardware and wiped the entire vanity down with my homemade all purpose cleaner. Twice. Trust me, it was needed. Then I took the broken or cracked veneer off of the drawer fronts. Only 2 of the drawers needed the veneer removed. The other drawers had what I call “stable” pieces of veneer… meaning they weren’t damaged beyond repair and didn’t even begin to peel up when I tugged on them. I removed the veneer by prying a little with a screw driver and a spatula. Everything pretty much popped right off. Wear eye protection when doing this… lots of dust but also the possibilities of small chips of veneer flying into your face. I speak from experience.

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I really didn’t have a plan for this desk besides painting it an off-white or soft gray color. I had been itching to try to make my own chalk paint and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Like I said, I had nothing to lose. From everything I read, chalk paint is easy to work with, requires little to no prep work and easily lends itself to distressing. I found quite a few different variations of the chalk paint “recipes” online. But they all included the same ingredients at varying ratios. I chose the middle-of-the-road recipe.

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Simple Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe: 

Mix 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris with 1/3 cup cool water. Add 1 cup of any interior or exterior paint. Blend until smooth.

I used the remainder of a Sherwin Williams sample mixed with a splash of white trim paint until I had my desired creamy sort of color. Yay for custom paint mixing! At first it doesn’t look like enough paint, but I promise it covers well. I did 2 coats with this batch and still had paint leftover.

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I feel like after a couple coats of paint this looks like a way more expensive, classy piece of furniture. I think it even stood a little taller. But I wasn’t finished. Now began the labor intensive aging and distressing stage. First I “glazed” the carved details, spindles and so on. I just brushed on a dark watered down paint mix and wiped it off until I achieved the look I was going for. Then I was left with the picture below.

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I headed to Home Depot to see what to do for new hardware. Originally I envisioned glass knobs and nickel handles. But Hubby convinced me to keep the existing hardware and spray paint it with “Oil Rubbed Bronze”. He rarely has an opinion on my projects. Well, unless he disapproves. And then he’s very vocal about it. But I went with the ORB spray paint instead of new hardware and Hubby has earned major points for his taste!

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I still wanted to distress it. The piece looked old but not used-for-generations old. I used a sanding block to distress some corners and edges. I used a sanding block to distress some corners and edges. I went over existing imperfections with the sanding block as well. This brought out some of those chips and scratches and really began to add character. And I was falling in love.

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Once I was happy with the distressing and overall look, I put 2 coats of semigloss poly-crylic seal on it to protect it and give it a little shine.

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I had been so excited about this project and posted on Hilda’s Facebook about the process of fixing up this vanity. The pictures were popular and brought on many comments and even offers to buy it! I was surprised, since I had pulled it from the trash that suddenly it was a hit item. I was devastated when I placed our computer on it only to discover that it didn’t fit. And the scale of the vanity/desk was way off in our already snug family room. SADNESS!!!! I racked my brain with other uses but I truly have no other practical use for it. After some thought, I decided selling it was the best option. I had at least 12 hours into this project and a lot of love. I had only purchased the Plaster of Paris, ORB spray paint and poly-crylic ($30 tops).

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I mean, she’s just gorgeous. Like a furniture version of Pretty Woman. Or Cinderella. Luckily, the buyer is a friend of a friend and I know she will love and care for this vanity just as I would. I even painted the sides of the drawers in a soft pink for her which was a fun little touch.

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Moving on Up

Our little O is becoming such a big girl! We recently mastered potty training and with that came the “big girl bed”… er, um… toddler bed. While potty training we assembled her hand-me-down big girl bed  and tossed it in her room. The glider got squished to the left and the dresser was forced further under the window. It stayed like this for a few weeks. We used the promise of a big girl bed to motivate O to have “dry days” and she was thrilled at the thought of being a big girl!

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Oh the mess! And it was feeling cramped to say the least. I knew a clean out and overhaul was necessary. Oh. So. Necessary.

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We ditched the glider. As much as I loved rocking O, she had outgrown rocking and the chair was beginning to rock laundry instead. I also worried about that tall bookcase on the end of the room. I had arranged it that way for a humidifier and so that we could keep things out of reach. Though O is not a climber, we knew that if she really wanted something she could definitely attempt to climb and get it. Plus, she loves her books and having them all at her level was appealing.

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We decided the move the shelving unit under the window and turn it on it’s side to become a long bookcase that could also serve the purpose of a night stand. The cubbie style unit is from Target. I chose it knowing that we could move it to virtually any room because it was so easy to change. O needs a place to keep her glasses so that she can access them when she gets up. We’ve left the crib in the room for a few reasons:1-It was a total pain to assemble and I’m never doing it again; 2- We’d love to have a use for it in the future (no, nothing is currently in the works… but these yoga pants aren’t flattering anyway); 3-It was a total pain to assemble and I’m never doing it again… Like assembling it really tested our relationship. haha! The dresser stayed centered under the other window and we jut moved the lamps to more functional locations.

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After we moved everything, we were able to make a little spot for baby dolls and finally hang O’s pegs and put them to use. This kid has nearly as many bags and jewelry as I do!

Her room feels fresher, a little more spacious and functional. It also feels a little more grown up!

PSSST! You can see an original post about O’s room here.

Experiment in Deglossing: Sofa Table

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In the fall I found this sofa table in a good old fashioned curbside rescue. I had been driving around to keep O cool and happy during a long, hot soccer tournament. She eventually fell asleep. Of course that’s right when I discovered the sofa table waiting for me on the curb. Picture me trying to smuggle the table into my car without waking her. I moved two car seats and had to fold down one and a half rows in the Pilot all without waking O. Now picture me hoisting this beast into the back of the car all by my lonesome… Again, without waking the baby. The funny part is that I went through all this with absolutely no idea where I was going to use the table. In general the style is a little too formal and traditional to mesh with most of our decor. And the dark finish had seen better days and the rolling feet and bowed legs were less than modern. But there was something about it… Perhaps the fact that it had no price tag? I had to have it.

It sat in the garage for months (obviously- it’s July). I don’t think I ever got a decent before picture until I started sanding it. I often walked by it thinking about the possibilities, or lack of, that it had in our home. A couple of times I even considered curbing it myself. Hubby liked that idea best of course. But recently I have been trying to bring more order to the guest room (more on that later), so I suddenly imagined it serving as a desk/vanity/tv stand. Does that even make sense? Maybe not just yet but hang with me. The room is snug… And that is a generous description. I’d guesstimate it to be 8’x10′. So every single piece in there needs to serve a good purpose, hopefully multiple purposes. Without a full plan I decided to start painting the sofa table because it would need some love no matter where it was going to end up. And I just had to get it out of the garage.

First I sanded like crazy because there was a ton of sheen to break down on this thing. Then I whipped out a recent impulse purchase: liquid deglosser. I had heard great things and given the hard to sand rounded edges I had to deal with I figured it was worth a try, especially at $7 a bottle.  A $7 mistake is okay with me.  And if it was a bust I had only tried it on a free table with no real hope to begin with.

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After all that sanding and deglossing I still had to deal with a laminate top. Why !?!? I had hoped the sanding and deglossing would do the trick but I wasn’t so lucky. Enter: my trusty friend Kilz primer. Primer was already necessary since it was going from dark wood (now sanded) to a light painted finish so I gave it a go on the laminate top as well. Result? Win. I highly recommend a coat or two of Kilz primer on anything laminate or “unpaintable”. Worked like a charm for me. I used two coats to be safe. Then I grabbed a cream color of the Sherwin Williams sample quarts I had from my friend B (it’s an exterior paint that she had used to sample her wood shingle sided house before deciding on a delicious gray color. I kindly saved her from having to kitty litter and toss a half dozen sample quarts and she unknowing funded my freebie crafting obsession.)

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Sand, degloss, two coats primer, two coats of paint. In the end I was left with a more “yard sale chic” version of the starting point. I painted the hardware to the faux drawer (easier than flawlessly filling the holes) with bronze spray paint. The end result was a pleasant surprise.

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Here it is as the desk/tv stand/vanity in the guest room.  See what I mean when I say the guest room is snug? I plan on wrangling the cable/internet wires, finding a stool or ottoman to tuck underneath. Lookout for an actual post on the guest room. It really deserves it.

Curbside Rescue

Remember a while back when I rescued this baby from the curb a few blocks from my house in a snow storm? She was so sad and in need of lots of love.

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Well I’ve had some time (finally) to sand, prime and paint it. Because of weather (Cincinnati has beautiful spring days followed by crazy rain and then a cold fall-like day) I decided to do this project in the garage. That also allowed me to take my time (I’m sure Hubby loves that). But one afternoon I sanded it and scrubbed it down. Then next I had time for some primer. I don’t think I started painting until the next week. At least the coats of paint had plenty of dry time. So this is how my garage looked for a while. My car doesn’t fit in the garage so I didn’t mind. Well it fits, but once its in I can’t get out of the car… unless I climbed out a window or something. Its snug… so the garage is sort of my studio instead. Oh, and Hubby parks on the other side.

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We discussed where we want this to go and decided it will be most useful and fit best in our still-in-progress master bedroom. Hubby and I both liked the older style, lines and detail of the wood work. We chose the gray from the family room/foyer (Ashes by Behr) and crisp whit trim paint. We already had both so the only thing we will have to buy is hardware. I’ll put that on my list.

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Hopefully, it will be moved up to our room this weekend after we add hardware. But not bad for a dumpster dive/curbside rescue if I do say so myself!

Getting My Thrift On- The Official YHL Completely Unofficial Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

I’m a huge Young House Love fan, as I’ve stated before in an awkward “I love Eminem” encounter and subsequent blog post. John and Sherry posted about how this hilarious song about thrifting and their love of thrifting inspired a thrifting challenge for their readers.

Catchy, right? The challenge is to see what you can get for $20 at a thrift shop… bonus points for finding things referenced in the song. So off I went to the thrift shop with my $20 bill. And that tune stuck in my head.

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I like to think I’m thrifty… but to be honest, I haven’t spent a ton of time in thrift shops. I’m into Craiglist, bartering (really), trading, recycling and even an occasional trash night pick. I think I’ve been in a thrift store less than 5 times in my life. Also, I felt strange posing for a picture here. Can you tell?

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What, what? What. What, what? I found luggage!

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And I found a ceramic duck for Sherry’s collection of ceramic animals.

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And here I am leaping through the couch and chair section just like he did in the music video. Yes, I actually did this. And a little girl watched me. Then when I got down I explained that I was being silly and that I shouldn’t have done that. Um, oops?

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This wasn’t in the song but I think I need a throne. Of course I would bling it out a little more though.

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And here is my find. A solid wood four drawer dresser. And I happen to need one for our bedroom. It was $25 but it was on sale (I had no idea thrift shops had sales) so I got it for $19.97 after tax. Its roughed up on the corners, as you can see in this picture, but I think I can take care of that. My next problem was getting it into the car (thanks, Hubby!). Now I need to fix it up … stay tuned!

Earning My Stripes

I’d like to introduce you to our new living room arrangement. This room is our most used room, despite being television free (on purpose!). We entertain in here, play with Baby O and relax in here.

First of all, please excuse my poor photography. The room is wide and it is difficult to get a picture of everything. There are two chairs against the striped wall, although you can only see one. The corner of the room has a bin of toys and the boppy lives there too. I’m looking for a better system to store those things.

STRIPES: The stripes have been around for a while and I LOVE THEM. I did it while Hubby was out of town for work. He hated the idea but loves the result! Typical. As my mother says, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. Anyway, that wall was a nasty burgundy when we bought the house. JUST that wall. The rest was a paper bag tan… all in flat paint (WHHHHYYY!). It acted as a black whole and sucked all the light and helped make the room feel super cramped. The stripes freshen it up, emphasize the length of the room, enhance the height of the wall and contrasts just right with the surrounding gray walls. Colors are both Behr paint and primer in one, eggshell finish (for durability and light reflection). Gray: Ashes, Cream: Roman Plaster.

FURNITURE: The couch (Ikea Ektorp but looks soooo Pottery Barn) used to be against that wall and the chairs floated wherever for a while. I put the couch under the window for two reasons: it keeps the dogs from standing the the sill and barking and it is a better use of space. Also, the couch has other tailored slip covers available for a quick and inexpensive change whenever we feel like it. The chairs (Ikea Tullsta) went on the striped wall for more contrast and to open up the floor space. This layout definitely opened up the room and allows for more floor space as well as a better traffic flow. We’ve been using tons of floor space since Baby O can sit up, roll, scoot and such.  Also, the wall opposite the striped wall is only a half wall that overlooks the landing/foyer. I didn’t want anything there since Baby O will likely learn to climb soon. That wall is home to a toy bin and a Jumparoo. As you can imagine, they are cramping our style but I’m trying to minimize that effect. The wall opposite the couch is open to the dining area which is currently needing some love. I’m thinking about a fantastic rust colored rug. Don’t tell hubby yet. The coffee table and end table are yard sale finds. Ok, well a friend had them in her pile to sell and I saw them in her dining room and jumped in to buy them before the yard sale. But the coffee table has drawers, rounded corners and a solid build. Baby friendly and stylish! I bought them both together for $65! I’m sure they were out of my price range originally.

ACCENTS: All pillows (blue ikat and bronze ripple- but I can’t find it online) and the chenille throw are from Target. The subtle zebra curtains are as well. Who says you can’t mix patterns? Just do it in moderation and with balance.

NEXT: Hanging pictures. I have a huge pile and it’s going to take an entire weekend to look at the arrangement options. I’d like to add hints of that peacock blue from the pillows elsewhere. Better lighting is also on my list.