Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Distressing Furniture

I recently took some furniture pieces that I already had lying around the house and decided to paint them so I could use them in our house for a new fall look.  I have to have a project and have a short decorating attention span, so I'm constantly changing things around.  I bought a sample can of paint from Lowe's Hardware in a teal color for $3 and it was more than enough to paint a mirror and a table and do a little distressing action on the two of them.

I always forget to take a 'before' shot until I'm well under way in a project, so I'll just have to describe the table and mirror for you.  My table came from Daniel's grandmother's barn.  It was a small white farmhouse style kitchen table that we found when cleaning out the smoke house at his grandmother's place.  The tabletop was very warped but the base was in good shape.  Since it was small, I decided to use it for a coffee table.  I took it home, ripped off the top and replaced it with new tongue and groove pine boards cut to fit, stained and distressed the top with chains and hammers to make it look worn, cut off the legs so it was more coffee-table height, and spray-painted the base black.  Then I distressed the black paint using sandpaper so that some of the original white paint could be seen.  After I had completed this project, I was all psyched about my new coffee table until I realized that it was too big for our living room.  Wah wah...  It got stored away in the garage and has sat there for about 5 or 6 years now.  Since our new living room is a little bigger, I was able to use it.  I knew I wanted to re-do the color scheme in my living room for summer and fall without damaging the furniture I already had so I would be able to switch things out from season to season.  Out came the coffee table and some new teal paint, and I started in on her again.  I put a very thin coat on, so you could still see some of the black showing through.

You can kinda see in these pics how thin my layer of paint was and how you can still see some of the black paint showing through.

Then, once it had time to dry, I got to work with the sand paper.  To distress furniture, you simply take your sand paper and sand over the edges, corners, and any other spots where it would naturally get wear and tear until you get your desired distressed effect.  You can go as light or as heavy handed as you like depending on how distressed you want your piece to look.  It's really pretty hard to mess up.

If you have several layers of paint like I did, you will start to see each layer the harder you sand.

I like to sand around nails and imperfections in the wood to really bring out the character of the piece.

Pretty much the same with my mirror.  It also came from Daniel's grandmother's house from a dresser set we found there.  It was a dark brown stain, so I painted a light layer of the same teal paint over top and then sanded the edges and corners to bring out the design in the molding.

Ta da!  Totally distressed and ready to go dress up the room! Here's the finished product in the room with all the other fall decorations:

So easy and it makes such a big impact!  And come Christmas when I want to switch everything around again, I just have to change out my coffee table and mirror, a few pillows, the rug, turn my decorative doors around, and presto-change-o, it's a whole new look!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Living Room Updates

Well, save for a few tiny projects, I believe my living room is pretty much completed.  Yay!  So here's a few before and after pics to update you on our progress so far.

(Builder's beige; dinky curtains; ugly, broken, brick and terra cotta fireplace with VERY crooked/warped mantel; no furniture, no personality, etc...)

This pic you've seen before, it's the 'after' of the fireplace after Daniel and I repaired and painted the brick and added a beautiful new mantel and lovely rock hearth:

Now here's the completed living room all dressed up and ready for fall:

Whew!  It's been a long time coming but I think it has finally come together for the most part.  We painted, added wainscoting around the front door, revamped the fireplace, hung the blinds and curtains much higher to give the windows a little drama (this might've been my most favorite, easiest job in the room... so simple and it made such a huge difference!)  Then of course we added our furniture and decor.  Only a few projects remain such as: 1) adding a back panel to our TV table to hide all the cords; 2) talking Daniel into crawling under the house to relocate the cable cord which is currently running across the floor (a significant tripping hazard); and 3) come Christmas season, I'm planning to change my color palette back to red and change out the decorations and pictures for a whole new look!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Three Small Projects

I've completed a few projects around the house and finally got around to uploading all my pictures.  Here's a few befores and afters for you:

1) My nightstand had these really fancy pulls, and while I like them, they didn't really go with the rest of my decor.  Most of my stuff has a more plain/rustic feel and I have a lot of black in the room and not much gold/bronze. I decided to change out the hardware with more rustic cast iron pulls.  I like that it makes it look a little more casual.



2) The front door is one of the other projects we tackled when re-doing the fireplace mantel and living room. I wanted our front door to have a little more substance in the room.  Since it's in a little alcove, we added white trim and paint to make it look like wainscoting around the door.  




3) Last, but not least, I've been working on re-doing my laundry room and the color palette is very light and airy with lots of blue, green, yellow and white, so my black mail holder wasn't exactly part of the "in" crowd.  I wanted her to be one of the cool kids so I just removed her hardware and gave her a fresh coat of white spray paint, and voila, she's practically prom queen!



Why is it that the 'Bills' section always seems to be a lot more full than the 'Coupons' section??  Oh well, such is life...

Anyway, that's a little sample of what's been going on at my house lately.  Upcoming: revamped living and dining room, laundry room, kitchen, and better-late-than-never Halloween and Fall decorations.  Until we meet again....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paint Swatch Art

I've seen a ton of examples on Pinterest where people have made colorful paint swatch art.  I needed something yellow for my dining room to go with my curtains (since I realized once I hung them that I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE that is yellow in my entire house...still trying to make that work... my custom curtains may have to go come fall in lieu of another more neutral color, but I'll save that for another post).  I decided to try it out so I went to Lowe's Hardware and grabbed all the yellow paint swatches they had... I'm sure the guy at the paint counter thought I was insane, but anyway...

It's pretty easy, I just cut a bunch of them up into little squares and then started arranging them on a piece of cardboard out of an old frame.  I put them lightest to darkest in a sunburst pattern:

Then, I cut off the uneven edges so I could fit it back into the frame:

Voila, paint swatch art!  Price: free :o)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Couch to 5K

After several years of unsuccessful jogging attempts on my part, I have decided to try, try again.  I read an article in a magazine about how this woman downloaded a Couch to 5K app on her iPhone and it helped her be able to jog a 5K in only 9 weeks!  So I've decided to tackle it.  Since I don't have a smartphone, just a regular simpleton dumb-phone, I'm not able to download these cool, flashy things you call "apps", so I just went online and found the schedule and printed it out for myself.  You can find it here:

The concept is simple: ease yourself into running/jogging by working up to a goal slowly over time.  It starts out by having you warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk and then alternate jogging/walking for 20 minutes.  The first week you jog for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds for a 20 minute period.  The second week moves you up to jogging 90 seconds and walking 2 minutes, 3rd week increases your jog time while decreasing your walk time, and so on and so forth...

Shockingly enough, I've actually been able to do it so far.  I'm beginning week 3 today and hoping I will be able to continue without having a heat stroke or a heart attack.  Hopefully by posting this, it will motivate me not to give up since I'm publicly announcing my jogging attempts.  It seems to help having a formula and guidelines to go by for a designated time period.  It also helps to have my 65-year-old dad by my side (who never seems to get tired or out of breath, I might add) egging me on and keeping me company, all while laughingly saying, (as I'm gasping for air) "Okay, now try to quote the Gettysburg Address!" and "Maybe when you get to be 65 you'll be in as good of shape as me!"  I would usually laugh or have some sarcastic retort, but I'm usually so out of breath that all I can manage is a faint wheeze....

There's a 5K in November here in my area called the Turkey Trot, so my goal is to enter that so I have something to work towards.

How about you guys?  Anyone try any new workout regimens you'd like to share?  Goals met that you're proud of?  Tips for getting past the "I'm-so-out-of-breath-and-tired-I-could-just-collapse-in-a-heap-and-pass-out" feeling?  Wish me luck!   :o)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fireplace Facelift

Our new house has a fireplace, which we like, but it was in much need of a little TLC.  The mantel was warped and not very well made and the bricks were coming loose from the wall and missing mortar in a few spots.  It was also sporting some really dated burgundy terracotta tile on the hearth.  Overall, it was really dark and dingy and kind of made our living room feel a bit like a cave.

We decided to update the fireplace by painting the brick a bright, crisp white, changing out the painted white plywood mantel for a natural, solid wood version (which Daniel made from heart-pine salvaged from an old house in Raleigh), and cover the ugly tile with some beautiful stone.  The stone really brings out all the colors in the room from the new paint on the walls (pictures coming soon) and the wood tones in the new mantel and hardwood floors.  I think it looks a lot more fresh and gives the room more of a cottage feel.

Here's a little picture chronology to show our progress to date on the fireplace facelift:




I apologize for not having posted anything in such a loooooooong time.  It seems these projects always take so much longer than you think they will.  I'm currently in the process of painting the living room, (you can see my teeny-tiny paint swatch in the corner on top of the mantel) and Daniel is currently in the process of finishing off the trim around the fireplace and sealing the stonework and putting a coat of poly on the mantel. As soon as we get it all finished and dressed, I'll post an update on our progress. More to come soon! :o)