New Project

Remember this beauty that I found last summer?

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Working on this French settee was my first attempt at reupholstering anything.  It was a beast of a project. But, after all of the labor, it turned out like this

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It found a new home in a little girl’s French-themed nursery.  How perfect.

Well, after 6 months of recovering, I am ready to make my second attempt at upholstery.  I have been stalking this certain chair at my local thrift store for about 3 weeks now, waiting for it to go on sale.  I’m not quite sure why, by my local store seems to charge sky high prices for their used furniture, no matter the condition.

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I tried to buy the chair last week using a coupon I had for 20% off to combine with the store sale of 30% off, but they wouldn’t let me use my coupon.  So I sat it back by the window, and thought it wasn’t meant to be. Until yesterday, on my way to take my kids to the dentist, I saw the sign “Entire Store 50% off!”  I crossed over two lanes of traffic to make a last minute turn into the store, hoping it was still there . . . and it was.  So, at last, I was able to take it home!

I’m excited about it because like the French Settee, this chair will require very little, if any, sewing.  That’s good for me, because I can’t sew.  I have tried to learn many, many times, and it’s just not in my wheelhouse.  But I can pull fabric, and staple it, so this chair will work for me. I  did see two seams on the back that may require enlisting the help of a friend, but I think I can manage that.

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The wood has some amazing carved detail that is going to look awesome painted.

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I’m thinking some sort of gray/white for the wood frame, a solid-color front, and patterned back fabric.

Like maybe some ticking.

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or a chevron

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or even a whimsical floral

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Hmm, that ticking and floral actually look pretty good together . . .

It’s gonna take me awhile, so don’t be looking for the reveal any time soon. Maybe in time for the coming of Spring I can have it ready–it seems like a spring chair to me.

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Kid’s Room Makeover

I wrote in my last post about my battle with cedar allergies . . . unfortunately about 10 hours after that post published I woke up with fever, aches, and my dinner from the night before showing back up (if you know what I mean!) Yep, now I have the flu.  They keep saying on the news that this is one of the worst years for the flu in Texas, and they must be right because this is first time I have caught it in ten years. I spent about 48 hours in bed, and was glad finally to be up a little bit this morning.  I can manage about 30 minutes up at a time, but then back to bed it is.  I’m so thankful that my husband can be home to help with my kids, and also that everyone else in the family got their shot so hopefully I will be the only victim.

So with lots of time resting in bed, I thought I would take the chance to post again! Over Christmas break my husband and I arranged to have our oldest two boys spend a few days away with grandparents and cousins so we could work on re-doing their bedroom.  This is what it looked like before:

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It was “Dr. Seuss” themed, in case the bright stripes didn’t give it away! My boys were 4 and 2 when we moved into this house, and this was their first “real” room.  We had been living in rentals prior to this, and so I wanted to go all out with making a super-fun kids room. My oldest at the time loved Dr. Seuss and Pottery Barn had just come out with a Seuss line of bedding, so we decided to make it as bright and “Seuss-ical” as we could.  The twin beds were purchased from JCPenney on clearance, and the bedding sets were from PBK (they were the big splurge).  The dresser was mine from when I was a kid and had been used at one time as our master bedroom dresser.  I always intended to paint it, but never could decide on a color, so it stayed the same.

It was a fun room,  but my boys are now 7 and 5 and I felt like they needed something more “big boy”.  Also, the room only has one window and doesn’t get much natural light, so the bright, saturated colors on the walls made it feel very dark.  When my third was born I moved all of the big boys’ toys up to their room to make space downstairs for baby stuff.  That made their room very cramped and it felt even more uninviting with the darker colors.  They really never wanted to play up there, so another motivation in the room re-do was to give them a brighter space with more room to play.

Finding some of the new furnishings was a work in progress, but once those were found it took us about 3 days to re-paint and pull it all together.

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It’s about 90% finished now, and here is what it looks like:

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Let me walk through the major changes.

First,  I sold my old dresser and purchased one tall chest off Craigslist.  My oldest’s clothes are now in that and my youngest’s are in a Elka drawer system (from The Container Store) in the closet. The Elka drawers used to be in the baby’s room holding blankets, bibs, etc, but it wasn’t really being used anymore so I moved it to this room.

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This chest of drawers is of amazing quality and is completely solid wood, including the back.  It cost only $75 and with its deep drawers, will fit his clothes for many years to come. The TV was our old TV from downstairs and was moved up to their room when we received a new one as a Christmas gift.  I know, I know . . . TV in kid’s bedrooms is a parenting faux-pas, but  they are only allowed to watch with our permission and only have access to certain shows through streaming Netflix.  Having it there provides a little relief to our overused family room.

Next major move was changing out the 2 twin beds for bunk beds. The bunk bed was purchased off Craigslist for $200 and is decent quality, good enough for the few years we plan to use it.  The twin beds were nicer quality, so we didn’t want to get rid of them knowing they would probably use them again in the future.  One of them was taken down and stored, and the other was moved to the baby’s room to be his big-boy bed when he’s ready.  To make room for it, we sold a full-size mattress set and bed frame that was going unused in the baby’s room.  I also sold one of the PBKids Dr. Seuss bedding sets on Ebay, and put the other in with the twin bed in the baby’s room.  Since we didn’t need box springs with the bunk beds, I moved one with the twin bed and sold the other.  I found a like-new twin mattress on Facebook for $75 and purchased that for the twin bed now in the nursery.  Whew, that’s alot of selling and swapping, I hope you followed me!

The bedding was purchased from Target and is really amazing quality. Both sets together cost roughly what one of the PBKids Seuss sets cost. They fit our needs much better because they are lighter (a better fit for our mostly warm TX weather) and fit the bunk beds also (the PB quilts were way too puffy).

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With the bunk beds the boys now have much more floor space to play.

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There is plenty of room for their toys now and even now a special shelf to display their Lego creations.  The white shelves were actually $0 cost . . . my husband cut them down from a shelf that was left in my booth space up at ACM. The lamp is an extra one that was going unused in the corner of our master.  Use what you have!

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Another fun find is the pew shelf that serves as the top bunk’s bookshelf.  I bought two of those a few years ago off Ebay for the baby’s room, but was having trouble finding one for an affordable cost this time around. I finally stumbled upon this one though at an estate sale and paid $1 for it. Amazing!

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The curtains were hold-overs from their last room and the small nightstand I bought at a flea market for $30.  I have intentions to paint it navy, but it may take me a bit.  The vintage letter “a” came from a yard sale and cost $2.  I plan on hunting down a few more letter “a” signs to fill up that space.

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The “Brother” sign is one of my favorite additions. I purchased the digital print off Etsy for $12 then paid $30 to have it printed at a FedEx Kinko’s.  My husband mounted it on some particle board we had in the garage.  The only other new purchase was the lamp  base, which was $12 at Wal-Mart.  The denim shade was one I had kept from a previous broken lamp. I knew it would come in handy one day!

This room was achieved through lots of selling and deal-buying.  A quick recap of what I sold to fund the makeover:

– one PB Kids bedding set

– my old dresser

– one twin box spring

– full size mattress and full size bed frame (from baby’s room)

– an antique mirror that didn’t sell in my shop and was being stored in my garage

The money from those sales covered the new chest of drawers, bunk bed, Target bedding sets, nightstand, lamp, “Brother” print, and twin mattress for baby’s room.

The only cost that came out of our regular budget was the paint, which was the high quality Behr Premium Plus from Home Depot.  It’s roughly $30 a gallon, and we had to purchase 2. (On a side note, the paint did an incredible job covering those stripes!) So that makes for roughly $60 out of pocket for a completely new bedroom.

So here are some take away thoughts for those of you trying to accomplish a major room makeover on a budget:

1.  Sell what you don’t need or want anymore. Look around your home, and whatever is sitting unused let it become a blessing to someone else.  Let that be your seed $ for your new project.

2.  Don’t be afraid of “used”.  The bunk beds we purchased off CL are not the highest quality, but we don’t see ourselves using them forever.  They cost about $600-$800 less than something like them new, so why waste the money? Also, the new twin mattress we purchased for the baby’s room was only $75, compared to over $200 new.  It was used as the extra mattress on a trundle bed for a few years, so it truly is like new.

3.  Look for quality in hidden places.  The Pottery Barn Seuss bedding sets I first bought were great quality, but when all is said and done, they turned out to be more than what we needed.  The Target quilts appear just as nice to me and cost 1/3 of the PB ones, and they fit our needs even better.

4.  Be patient.  Like I wrote above, the new furnishings and decorative items were accumulated over a few months time.  Re-doing a room on a budget means you will have to take time to look around at all options, and wait for a good deal to show up. Piece it together as you find it, then once most of it is accumulated, take a few days to paint and put it all together.

I hope this has been helpful.  My boys love their new room! And I enjoyed sharing it with you all.

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Elizabeth and Co.

Dried Lavender Chest Reveal

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We enjoyed our family time together, although I have to admit I am glad to get back to “normal” today.  Christmas day started nice and early in our house, so we were all quite tired.

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Before the holiday got into full swing, I was able to finish the antique chest of drawers I told you about in my last post.  Yesterday, with the help of my visiting mom, I hauled it inside to grab some staged photos before taking it up to my space at ACM.

Here is what it looked like before.

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It was a beautiful piece, but was really scraped up and super dirty.  I decided to go with a new color for it, MMS Milk Paint in Dried Lavender, because it just called for something feminine.

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The top was sanded down and got a new coat of stain, and here is the final product after another coat of milk paint and some finishing touches.

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The milk paint went on really well with this piece, and I didn’t do any sanding to prep. For whatever reason I did have some trouble with one side chipping way too much.

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But I just sanded it down with some fine grit paper, and painted two more coats on that area.  This time, the paint stuck without a problem.

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I really like the smoky purple of the Dried Lavender, and how it plays well against the freshly stained top.

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Speaking of the top, it was one solid piece of wood, which is the first time I have found that in a piece.  Usually everything I work on has a top coat of veneer.  It re-stained beautifully.

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I highlighted a few areas with a very watered down wash of MMS Ironstone, just to give some added depth.

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It had enough stunning detail on it already that I didn’t do any distressing, besides the sides of the drawers and a few places where the milk paint naturally resisted.

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It was a great piece to work on and I hope that it will find its new home soon.

Now back to catching up on laundry, dishes, and all that other stuff that was set aside during the holiday!

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Between Naps on the Porch

Savvy Southern Style

/Furniture Feature Fridays

Farmhouse Dresser

I haven’t been doing much painting lately, mainly because I haven’t found anything worth painting! But a few weeks ago I grabbed this sturdy old dresser off a Facebook garage sale site.

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It had great, simple lines but was stained an orangey/honey color and was really roughed up on top.  The weather cooperated this week and so I was able to refinish it in an afternoon on my back porch.

When I started working on it I saw traces of it being painted before.

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 Someone had stripped it and re-stained it some time ago, and it was time for me to give it new life #3.  When you come across solid wood pieces like this, don’t pass them up! Giving them a new style is so simple and they are built to last, so they’ll be a sturdy piece of furniture for years to come.

I sanded down the top to smooth it out and get the yuck off.

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Then gave the base two coats of MMS milk paint, a 3:1 mix of Shutter Gray and Ironstone.  That’s just what I happened to have on hand.

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Those two coats dried nice and quick in the sun, then all I had to do was give the whole piece a good scrape to remove any flaking paint and top it off with a quick coat of wax. I re-stained the top with a poly/stain combo product (again, just what I had on hand) and while I didn’t like the thickness of its application, the end product turned out great.

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I did give the whole piece a quick once-over with my orbital sander before I painted it, so the milk paint stuck quite well and chipped in fine pieces, which is what I was going for.

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The top re-stained really well and compliments the blue/gray.

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I’m happy with it! It was such a quick piece that it may have spoiled me . . . It will head up to my shop as soon as I have a spot open up for it.  Until then, I’ll enjoy it here.

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Embracing Change

Two-Tone Chest of Drawers

I finished one of my projects! Yay!! It is such a great feeling to mark something completely off of your list.  This week started out a little rough because of a nasty cold we had going around our house.  But after a trip to the doctor, some antibiotics, and some Benadryl everyone is feeling better, and more importantly, napping better.

So, before we get going with pictures, I have to admit a blogging fail.  I forgot to take a before picture of this great antique chest of drawers.  I was planning to use  some pictures that were emailed to me by the seller, but in an effort to de-crazy my inbox I must have deleted them.  Ughh.  Sorry.

I will tell you a little about the piece though. It was a find on Craigslist, being sold by a lady who had received it as a gift from her ex-boyfriend (note–people selling things from their ex’s are often willing to make you a good deal just to get it gone).  It was quite creaky and really very primitive, but the finish was overall in good shape.  It did have a trim piece on the top I decided to remove because it just didn’t fit right, and it needed two new drawer bottoms.

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I decided to give it a two-toned look by keeping the excellent finish on the drawers and painting the rest in MMS Artissimo (I am LOVING that color).

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I gave it a light sanding all over, just to help the paint stick.  Milk paint can be a little unpredictable though, and this piece is a great example. It ended up going on more like a wash or stain.  After the first coat I really liked the imperfections in the coloring and decided it fit the primitive feel of the chest well. So one coat and done.

While the paint was curing up, I set to work on the drawer bottoms.  I measured the drawers and went to Home Depot to find some replacement wood (do I get extra points for having all 3 kids with me during this process?)  I was helped by a wonderful Home Depot employee who cut two pieces to size for me at the store.

The drawers have a curved front though, so they needed a slight trim.  I took out one of the old damaged drawer bottoms and used it as a guide to trace the curve of the front.

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Any Lego Chima fans out there?

Then I used my hubby’s jigsaw to cut the curves.

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Again, bonus points for doing it by myself!

I slid the new bottoms into place, nailed them into the back drawer piece, reinforced the joints with wood glue, and let them set overnight.  On this day my two youngest kids were in a Benadryl induced super-nap, so it was a productive afternoon.

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Now that the drawers were done, it was just a matter of giving the chest’s body a coat of clear wax.  It did this awesome thing where it gave the milk paint some great depth and brought the wood tone through.

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On went the awesome knobs I found at Hobby Lobby …

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And here is the final product:

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It’s quite elegant and grown-up.  Here is a closer look at the imperfect, wash-look:

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I’m having a hard time letting it go . . . I really like the way it looks in my house.  I would like to introduce some darker blues into my living room, so I’m considering using it to replace my Henry Link chest that’s in my entry.

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One will have to go, I’m gonna sit on it a few days and think it over.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Artissimo Sideboard

My husband is finally back from his looooong international trip, so we are all celebrating here! I had one major project I wanted to do while he was gone, and with my mother-in-law’s babysitting help I was able to knock it out last weekend.  I found this great vintage Basset sideboard at an estate sale around the corner from me about a month ago.

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It is a really solid piece and overall in good condition, but that honey-colored wood is just . . . ughh.  I was lacking in inspiration for awhile, not sure what direction to take it since it’s a little more mid-century-modern than what I usually work on.  So, I posted a picture of it on my Facebook page asking for ideas, and got a ton of feeback.  It was a fun process, great to see everyone else’s creative styles come out.  All of that discussion got my creative juices flowing, and I decided it needed to be dark and sleek.  I have been wanting to try Miss Mustard Seed Artissimo milk paint, and this looked liked the perfect project.

Another byproduct of that Facebook post was that a friend and local blog follower decided this was the perfect piece for her entryway! So, it quickly turned into a custom project, and after some deliberating, she decided the dark blue Artissimo was the way to go also.

I don’t have any in process pictures because my hubby had the camera on his trip, I hope the afters suffice.  I did do some light sanding to help the milk paint stick, but other than that, there was no real prep.

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The color turned out just as fabulous and I imagined it would . . . The sanding helped the milk paint to stick overall, except for that one door.  But that’s what you get with milk paint! And I think it adds a unique and custom touch–no piece will ever look the same.

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The deep color highlights the brass hardware well.

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The detail on the legs stands out better now.

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One of the great things about milk paint is the depth and texture it adds because the color isn’t flat throughout.

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My friend comes to pick it up tomorrow evening, and I hope she loves it as much as I do.

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Dining Table #2 Reveal

A month ago, I accidentally bought an antique dining table and 4 chair set.  I say accidentally because I made someone on a Facebook garage sale site a really low offer, never thinking they would accept it, and they did!  Whoops. I broke the news in a car ride to the store with my husband . . . “Um, honey, I know I just got a dining room table out of our garage, but I kinda accidentally bought another one today, and I’m going to need you to go pick it up, pretty pretty please?”  He chuckled, and as always, gladly offered his help.  What a great man.  Also, I think he remembers how early on in our marriage he accidentally bought a laptop off Ebay . . . so my low budget dining room table seems like chump change compared to that.  Even though it was a somewhat unintentional purchase, I am glad it came my way.

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It had some great potential, and after having such a great time working on the French Provincial dining table, I was anxious to try another one.  It was sturdy, although very dingy and covered with a super glossy shellac.

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The seat covers were some kind of thick paper, almost like wallpaper . . . strange.

I decided to go the same route as my last table, so I set about to sanding down the top.  With my new orbital sander, this was a much quicker process, although it still took me several days of working on it on and off.

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I really don’t like sanding, its much too dusty for my liking.  But I’m always glad I did when I get to this point.  Look at that beautiful wood!

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This is just the pre-stain conditioner, and it’s stunning . . . by the way, do you all know to always use a pre-stain conditioner? It makes the final stain come out much more even, rather than splotchy. I use  a Minwax product that is quite inexpensive.

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After staining the top with a Mixwax Dark Walnut, I decided to go with a light grey for the base and chairs.  I had some ASCP French Linen on hand, and lightened it up with a little Pure White.  It hit a very light sanding on the high points, and some actual fabric for the seats.

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Instead of spotty shellac, the top is now buttery smooth and a great contrast to the light grey.

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I highlighted the flower detail on the chair backs with some white.  They have some great texture now.

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Updated, modern, yet still petite and a little whimsical.  I’m happy with it.

Next up is this great Basset sideboard I found recently at an estate sale.  I was lacking in inspiration for a bit, but I think I know now what direction I’m taking with it now.

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It’s gonna be great, stay tuned . . .

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