HOUSE TO HOME: DECORATING ON A BUDGET.

When my husband and I moved into our house a little over two years ago, it became our chance to mold and define our style together – other than a bed, an armoire (which I hate, by the way!), a couch, a chair, and an entertainment unit, we were starting fresh. And while there has been plenty of compromise and concession (ehem, like that armoire…), our house is finally evolving into a home that reflects our life and lifestyle together.

It’s a never-ending process, of course. The fact that we try to do as much as we can ourselves and by hand has slowed us down drastically! But this is something that I can’t help but appreciate (although sometimes not  until after the fact…) – a lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this home so far!

So as someone who very much cares about the look of her home, has made an attempt to decorate said home on a budget, and as a self-taught DIY’er, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

1. Use what you already have.

Game TableKitchen Island 2

Ever heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Well, it’s time to start shopping your own trash and rediscover those hidden treasures! This entertainment unit, for example, was such an eyesore in my home. I hated it, despised it, and very badly wanted to trash it. My frugal husband, on the other hand, could see no logical reason in getting rid of it and since it was only purchased a couple years prior, insisted on keeping it. That’s where a good ole can of paint and a paintbrush come in – if you can’t toss it, then paint it! In just a few hours, I was able to transform the entertainment unit to something that meshed with our home décor and didn’t offend my sense of style. Is it ideal? Not quite, but it works for now. Which leads me to…

2. Be patient! Transforming a house into a home doesn’t – and shouldn’t – happen overnight.

When we first moved into this house, I wanted everything to be perfect immediately. I wanted every single room to feel complete, with rugs and curtains, a full set of furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and all the comforting details of a room that has been lived in. Problem was, the rooms hadn’t yet been lived in, not by us at least, and by trying to create something that only time and patience and living can create actually created nothing more than a stressful and artificial atmosphere. Take the time to find the rug that really appeals to you, a paint color that makes you light up every time you walk into a room, artwork that truly reflects your personality, and a dining table that you can imagine sitting at with friends and family for many, many years to come. Until then, get creative and make what you have work. Believe me, it’s worth it. This patience is also much easier on the wallet!

3. If you can’t find what you want at a price that you want it, then build it.

Bedroom Console 2

My husband and I love the look of original, distressed wood but this kind of furniture often comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily, we had the fortune of discovering old pallets and naturally weathered wood behind our shed when we moved and over the years, have put it to good use. So far, we have built a giant chalkboard, a console table, a sofa table, and a patio table and still have wood to spare! Don’t have weathered wood sitting behind your shed? Craigslist is the perfect place to find some. If weathered wood isn’t your thing, your local Lowes or Home Depot should do the trick! You can find the plans to build practically anything online.

Chalkboard

4. Flea Markets and yard sales are your friend!

Pie Safe 1

Going right back to that phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”….it’s so true! I have found some amazing pieces for pennies simply by taking the time to scour thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. Sure, there are a lot of misses, but that one, perfect hit makes it all worthwhile.

Bench & Crate

(PS…crates are great for storing puppy or children’s toys!)

5. Paint your walls!

This is the first thing my husband and I did when we moved in – we painted our hallway and dining room in a color we love, and then we painted the living room, and the library, and then the kitchen; we painted an accent wall in the guest room and painted the nursery (once my office) twice. It’s amazing how something as simple as painting a wall can completely change a room, brighten it up, or add drama.

6. Create your own art.

Hats

Art is expensive and I am still in the process of finding the right pieces to fill my walls. However, one way I have managed to fill the empty space is simply by creating a hanging collection: a gallery of photos, a collection of hats and scarves, wall shelving filled with ironstone, even coats. Have a few old windows or empty frames laying around? Gather them together and layer them up! If you have scraps of pretty patterned material from your sewing supplies or old shirts, frame them and hang them. You can even collect a variety of leaves and flowers during your morning walk or afternoon hike, dry them for a few days between a phonebook, and again, frame them and hang them. Get creative!

Dining Room Ironstone

In the end, a little creativity goes a long way and not only creates a home with a lot of personality, but also gives your wallet a little break. And believe me, I still have a long list of tips to share so stay tuned – I’ll be continuing the series next week!

Have some suggestions and home decorating tips to share? I’d LOVE to hear them!

NESTING & NURSERY PROGRESS!

Well hello my friends – I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last blogged! (Time flies when you’re having fun). Yes, I’ve been in full nesting mode and have been working on a handful of projects that I’m excited to share with you.

First, I have finally made progress on the nursery! You see, I’ve had an idea in my head from the moment I realized I was expecting, but have been dreading the process of actually bringing it to reality – specifically, the painting process. Sure, I do paint for a living, but painting multiple stripes on multiple walls does not sound the slightest bit appealing to me. Add to that a 100 year old home with crooked walls and floors and it’s a recipe for disaster!

But one rainy day I decided to go for it – if it didn’t work out I could just paint over it, right? And after much measuring, taping (a roll and a half of frog tape, to be exact!), and more than a few hissy fits, things finally began to take shape…

Nursery Progress 1 copy

(ps…I love, love, LOVE this diaper bag I got from Skip Hop!)

A day and a half later, the straight-ish lines were complete and the crib put together…

Nursery in Progress

And now comes the fun part – the details! I can’t wait to start shopping for the baby blankets, artwork, and pops of color…10 more days until I find out the gender!!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Obviously, I’ve had baby on the brain, but I have also managed to complete a few projects not at all baby related.

Like this dresser that sold in less than a day, and it’s now very lonely counterpart…

Dresser & Nightstand Set

Or this outdoor table (built by my wonderful husband) that I painted in ASCP Old White and stained using an aged vinegar and steel wool mixture…

Patio Table

Thank goodness I put on multiple layers of spar urethane before the downpour! Now to purchase new chairs….

And as usual, I have a few other projects that I’m working on simultaneously that I hope to finish after this non-stop rain!

Projects Galore

With a little help from the dogs, of course!

But back to baby….almost 21 weeks (on Wednesday)!

20 Weeks copy 1

20 Weeks copy 2

20 Weeks copy 3

Obviously this was taken on a productive painting day!

DIY THURSDAY: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STRIPES.

A few weeks ago, I purchased my very first quart of CC Caldwell’s chalk/clay paint. I’ve been anxious to try it and compare it to Annie Sloan as I heard there were a few noticeable differences. So I picked up a beautiful shade of Green (Tundra Green) and waited for the perfect project to begin my experiment.

When I stumbled upon this adorable antique dresser while browsing Craigslist, I knew it had to be mine. I loved the original castors, the lines, and the engraved detail and immediately envisioned what I was going to do with it – it would look beautiful in a tundra shade of green!

Antique Dresser copy

Of course, in my excitement, I forgot to take before pics but the gal I purchased it from was kind enough to email me one of the pictures she had posted on Craigslist.

So on the first good weather day (what is going on with all this rain ya’ll?!), I went to work. As I began applying the CC Caldwell paint, the first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t quite as chalky as the Annie Sloan paint. CC’s is also a noticeably darker shade when wet (due to the clay in it) so you can easily see how quickly it is drying. This may initially freak you out as it did me – your masterpiece will look awful and quite blotchy until the paint is fully dry!

As I continued painting multiple coats, I also happily noticed the lack of odor in the CC paint. Don’t get me wrong, Annie Sloan paints have little odor but it seems to be non-existent in the CC paints! For a pregnant woman, this was a huge plus.

Once I painted on several coats of tundra green, I realized that the dresser needed just a little more oomph. So I pulled out my measuring tape and frog tape, and taped away. For the stripes, I fell back onto my beloved Old White (Annie Sloan). And what a difference the stripes made!

Antique Dresser Unfinished copy

Not the best picture – taken with my phone….

Once the piece was fully dry, I lightly distressed with 180-grit sandpaper, and began waxing. Now, I have used multiple waxes, from Minwax to Miss Mustard Seed Beeswax, to Annie Sloan’s waxes. So I thought I’d give the CC Caldwell wax a try this time around and I must say, I wasn’t disappointed! The can could be a little wider in order to fit in a wax brush, but instead I just used a cloth and it went on nice and light – not streaky at all. And again, there was practically no odor! As you put on the wax, you’ll notice the paint become a darker shade, but again, once it is dry it will go right back to its original color so don’t freak out!

To be quite honest with you, I’m not the biggest fan of the Annie Sloan wax, although I use it often. It’s a little too gloppy and…waxy for me. It seems to streak just a little more than some others. Plus, there is most definitely an odor with the Annie Sloan wax. So far, my favorites have been the MMS wax and now, CC Caldwell’s. Both go on incredibly smooth, have very little odor, and leave a nice streak free sheen. But to each there own!

And voila, after a little buffing of the wax, the dresser was complete:

Antique dresser Macro

Antique Dresser Green

Yep, it’s definitely all about that stripes. This lovely dresser is now in the shop so stop on by 7572 Greenwood Station Rd. in Greenwood, VA (540-456-4681) if interested!

DIY THURSDAY: ANTIQUED EMERALD SIDE TABLE…

Well, I’m obviously a little late in the game today. After my post on the 2013 color of the year, I felt inspired to add a little emerald to my own life and had the perfect piece to begin my experiment. Unfortunately, that piece took a bit more sanding, filling, and gluing than initially expected! I’ve spent the last day and a half refurbishing a piece that should have taken no more than a few hours. But it was fun, nevertheless, and kept me entertained far into the night last night.

Side Table Unfinished

You can see how beat up the table was!

A large chunk of the laminate was peeling off, so I tore the whole thing off and power sanded the top:

Side Table Sanded

I then used a quarter of a bottle of wood glue and almost an entire bottle of wood filler fixing and filling miscellaneous cracks and holes! Once the glue and filler were fully dry, I wiped down the entire piece and finally began painting the base layer in Annie Sloan’s Graphite

Side Table Graphite

(It was getting dark and cold outside so I had to lug the table into the warmth of my home for the paint to dry!)

With the base coat on and without any sanding between coats, I began applying Valspar’s Green Suede…

Side Table Green Suede

Emerald loveliness!

A single coat of the Green Suede over the Graphite actually looked fabulous – something I’ll keep in mind for the next project! – but I had a different vision with this piece so I applied a second coat, allowed it to fully dry, lightly distressed with 180-grit sandpaper, and then started applying the wax.

First, I used a small amount of Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture wax (just my preference these days, but any clear wax will do!), allowed it to sit for about 3 minutes, and then applied Annie Sloan’s dark wax. As usual, I always work in small sections using the dark wax, brushing on, and then buffing off with another coat of clear wax.

After the table was fully waxed and buffed, I decided to add in a little gold (you can’t go wrong with emerald and gold!) so I spray painted the drawer pull and also added a bit of gold paint detail…

Side Table Macro

And voila!

Side Table Complete

Side Table Macro 2

I love its style and the pop of color it brings. And as much as I’d love to keep it for myself…I have no more space in my house for miscellaneous furniture pieces! So come January, this little gem (get it??) will be in my space out in Greenwood.

LINKED TO:

HookingupwithHoHKatie's Nesting Spotshabby creek cottageMade in a DayFurniture Feature FridaysFrench Country CottageCast Party Wednesday

KITCHEN UPDATE + THIS CHICK’S HAD IT!

I  hope everyone had a great weekend. I know I had quite the productive one, but I still only finished a quarter of what I wanted to accomplish! With my entire family coming into town in just a couple of days, and only a small house to contain them all, I am doing my darndest to get things organized, finish up last minute projects, clean, and get as much food prepped as possible. Whew (and I’m sure many of ya’ll are in the same boat and feeling my pain!)!

My husband and I also decided to take on a new project over the weekend. Remember this kitchen…

Kitchen 2012

Well, we finally decided to repaint it per the upper right hand corner sample color – Benjamin Moore in Silver Sage. I was hemming and hawing over the color for a while, but I’m actually thrilled with the outcome – it really brightens up the kitchen, brings the outdoors in, and makes certain pieces pop:

Kitchen Repainted 2012

Kitchen Updated 2012

I also added a little character that expresses my sentiment exactly…

Amen!

Amen!

What do you think? Do you like the new color (Team Kristen) or do you prefer the original brick-ish red like my husband (Team Tom)?

ps….I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just 2.5 days away! Are you as stressed as I am?

BRAINSTORMING: KITCHEN RENOVATION…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions the love/hate relationship I have with my kitchen. It’s cute, but in an adorably dirty little kid kind of way. Yeah, it’s small, it’s in need of a new paint job and a good scrub, it desperately needs more cabinet and counter space, and frankly, it’s just a bit embarrassing.

I’m not kidding! Take a peek for yourself…

Kitchen 2012

Eek!

Obviously, per the upper right corner, we will be repainting very soon – as soon as my husband and I can actually agree on a color….(he actually loves the color the kitchen currently is, but considering that I spend far more time in it than he does, I put  my foot down and demanded something a little more mellow!).

Kitchen Window

This window is one of the rare things I love about the kitchen. It brings in so much natural light and manages to keep me fairly entertained while I cook.

Kitchen Pantry

But this is where things truly begin to go downhill – oh, the horror! I love open cabinets otherwise, and our kitchen has many of them, but this pantry needs to be behind closed doors, period.

Needless to say, a renovation is necessary, so over the last few months, I’ve been collecting ideas that we could incorporate into this less than ideal kitchen. Here are a few things that I found:

Kitchen Changes

Images via here and here.

image

Images via here and here.

image

Image via here.

image

Image via here.

With this in mind, let’s go back to the current state of my kitchen with a few plans written in…

image

With a roof to replace and a studio shed to build, we are probably going to renovate a little at a time, starting with the painting and the bead board, but I’m certain even that tiny bit will go a long way!

What do you think – good start? Any suggestions?

DIY THURSDAY: OLD COAT RACK = ARCHITECTURAL DECOR

I’m a huge fan of those old, chippy, and occasionally rotten wooden architectural pieces. In fact, I’d like to have far more of them in my home. Unfortunately, it just so happens that they often come with a hefty price tag, or they are so rotten that they simply fall apart in my hand! So until I stumble upon those pieces that speak to me – without instantly crumbling into dust – I have to settle with what I have or simply create something similar…

Aha! Some of you may remember the barn door turned coat rack I put up in place of this piece:

Old Coat rack

Well, today I finally decided to do something with it. A few swipes of paint and a dab of dark wax would transform this piece into the perfect architectural décor for my French door frame. So off to work I went…

Coat Rack Before

First, and quite obviously, I needed to remove the hardware, so I grabbed a Phillips-head screw driver, removed all the screws, pulled off the hooks, and put them to the side for use on another project.

Coat Rack During

I then sanded down the holes a bit and filled each one with wood-filler. After allowing the filler to quickly dry, I lightly sanded again, wiped down the entire piece with a damp cloth, and began painting in…you guessed it, Annie Sloan’s Old White!

Coat Rack During 2

With two light coats of chalk paint, I gave it time to fully dry, and then once again lightly sanded the piece down, distressing at the corners and along the edges.  After wiping it free of dust, I began waxing the entire piece with Annie Sloan’s clear wax. Once the clear wax was buffed, I then began applying dark wax, making sure I really worked it into all of the nicks and grooves:

Coat Rack Waxed

With the dark wax, I tend to work in smaller sections – this piece was small enough for me wax on half the piece with dark wax, and then wax off with clear wax before the dark wax fully dried. I then repeated the process on other half. This process removes the majority of the dark wax, leaving behind a light stain on the majority of the piece, and a darker, almost dirty-like stain in the nicks and grooves. The final product looked like this:

Coat Rack Complete Macro

It took me a while to hang it above the French doors – I really could have used a second pair of hands! But after struggling with it a bit this morning, I finally managed to get it in place, and fairly straight too!

Coat rack Completed Hung

It’s a little more brown than I would typically paint, but I think it mirrors (pun intended) this piece directly across from it quite nicely:

Mirror in Dining Room

What do you think? Do you have miscellaneous items laying around that, with a little TLC, can be transformed into architectural décor? Time to start rummaging around in your garage!

LINKED TO:

Furniture Feature FridaysMade in a DayKatie's Nesting Spotshabby creek cottage

DIY THURSDAY: MILK PAINTED DESK.

I’ve been waiting with bated breath for Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to arrive (via Red Posie) and the big moment finally arrived yesterday afternoon. It was a bit like Christmas morning opening the box and a shiver of excitement came over me as I peered down at my powdered paint. I couldn’t wait to use it!

Unfortunately, it was already late in the day and since I was only 85% recovered from the bug I had caught earlier in the week, I decided to give it one more day….but come this morning, I popped out of bed and went straight to work (well, after a cup o’ joe or two, of course).

Now, I’ve been saving a particular piece for this paint – a piece small enough to finish quickly and cheap enough that if I screwed it up, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.

Student Desk Unfinished

A cute little student desk!

I’m embarrassed to say, but this piece has actually been sitting in my kitchen – sort of as a kitchen island – for almost a year while I’ve been (very patiently) waiting to repaint and lightly renovate the walls and pantry. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures! Needless to say, when I got wind of the MMS line of paint, this was the first piece that came to mind.

So, with the powdered form of milk paint in hand, I happily began the  transformation.

Before I get into the details of the project, however, I must give you a pre-painting tip that is particularly useful if you’ve never used milk paint before: I would highly, HIGHLY recommend watching the MMS milk paint tutorials! In my excitement to use the milk paint, I decided to forgo this and immediately regretted this decision when mixing the paint. Frankly, I had no idea what it was supposed to look like, what consistency it was supposed to be, etc. It is very different than your typical latex, acrylic, or chalk paint!

With this said, I added just a little more water that I should have and ended up with what I like to call “skim” milk paint rather than what should have been “whole” milk paint. Hence, when applying the paint, it was a bit runny.

I went with it, nevertheless, and after sanding the top of the desk to its original grain (which took a heck of a lot of sanding!), I painted the base with the first coat of my runny milk paint in Ironstone

Student Desk Half Finished

You can’t quite tell from the above picture, but when the milk paint begins to dry, you can see areas in which the paint doesn’t fully adhere and actually begins to chip. If this is an affect you’d rather avoid then make sure you mix the bonding agent in with the paint mixture! I happen to love the chippy affect, so I left the mixture as is.

I allowed the paint to dry for approximately 30 minutes then took a putty knife to very lightly remove the chipping pieces. I then added a second coat of milk paint and repeated the process. Once I achieve my desired “chippy” look, I added one coat of MMS clear wax to seal the paint and give the piece a nice, natural sheen. Finally, I brushed on a coat of Danish Oil in medium walnut…Student Desk Almost Complete

One coat of Danish Oil down, which you can see is still a little wet.

…allowed it to dry for 30 minutes before applying a second coat, and voila! After allowing the second coat to dry for another 15 minutes and wiping the whole piece down with a cloth, it looked like this:

Student Desk Finished

Student Desk Finished 2

Did I mention that we’ll be repainting soon?! As you can see, it’s much needed!

Student Desk Macro

I actually love how it turned out (I’m still working on my photography so the piece looks a bit better in person…) and particularly love the chippiness of it, but it’s definitely important to be aware of how milk paint works before applying it! What do you think?

LINKED TO:

homeworkPhotobucketFurniture Feature Fridays

DIY THURSDAY: MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL…

Call me vein, but I love mirrors. They can add light and depth to any room; they can be an architectural element, an intricate detail, or a bold surprise. So when I come across large, framed mirrors on my pickin’ trips (for a good price, of course), I immediately snatch them up.

Take this guy, for example…

Gold Mirror

I came across this mirror while at a junk store out in Richmond, VA, and I couldn’t resist the amazing detail – but the color was this gaudy, spray-painted gold that hid those intricate details. So in my typical DIY fashion, I broke out my paint brush, a can of Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, some sandpaper, and Annie Sloan’s clear AND dark wax.

When working with details like this, the dark wax works wonders – truly! It gives the piece that aged, antique look while really making every little detail pop with that perfect patina.

So after painting the piece entirely white (two coats), I hand distressed it with 180-grit sandpaper, waxed the piece first with the clear wax, buffed it, and then added the dark wax (*unless you want to attempt to use the dark wax as a stain, ALWAYS wax the piece with clear or natural wax before using the dark wax). When using dark wax, you really want to get it deep into the grooves and details – don’t be shy!

Gold Mirror Waxed

Typically, it’s best to work in sections, dark wax on, clear wax off, allowing the dark wax to stay in the nicks and grooves, but waxing/buffing the majority off with the clear wax, leaving only a tinted patina behind. See how the details really begin to pop?!

After rubbing in the dark wax, and buffing off with the clear wax, I ended up with this…

Large Mirror Styled

Large Mirror Macro

Not too shabby, eh?

Any mirror can be painted, and with just a little TLC, you can change the whole dynamic of a room. A few more examples:

Tuscan Mirror

BEFORE: I’m just starting to paint the piece in Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey.

Tuscan Mirror After

AFTER: Hand distressed and with a hint of Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg

Tuscan Mirror Macro

Or, here’s something that has no intricate details at all, but still turned out pretty awesome…

Large Mirror

Unfortunately, I don’t have a true “BEFORE” picture – this is the mirror painted in Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey.

Reclaimed Bookshelf copy

AFTER: hand-distressed, dry-brushed with Old White, and dark waxed.

Large Mirror Macro

What do you think – do you have a mirror needing a bit of an update? If so, I’d love to see before and after pictures!

Linked to:

Furniture Feature Fridays

CH,CH,CH,CHIP IT. CHIP IT REAL GOOD!

Ok, perhaps I’m a little behind the times on this one, but I recently discovered Chip It! by Sherwin-Williams, and I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty darn addictive! With this fun little tool, you can turn any picture into a Sherwin-Williams paint palette using over 1500 Sherwin-William paint colors. Simply create an account, pin the “Chip It” button onto your toolbar, and viola! You’re ready to start chipping. Here are some palette examples from a few of my favorite interiors…

Joe Nye Living Room

This is a living room designed by the eclectic L.A. interior designer and party planner, Joe Nye. I love the neutral base of grays and the layered pops of color.

Pinned Image

I LOVE the bright colors that make up this room! Somehow, it all seems to come together to create something elegant, beautiful, and fun. This living room is from the Doheny Estate, designed by one of my favorite designers, Kelly Wearstler.

Pinned Image

This is a living room I had “pinned” on Pinterest via Tumblr. I usually wouldn’t go for such a modern look, but mixed in with this modern furniture is such an airy, old-world feeling. I love the natural woods, the old brick, and the pops of color. (and I love Sherwin-Williams “Ablaze”! It’s not quite red, not quite salmon, but just right.)

If you’ve now become addicted to Chip It! like me, you’ll be happy to know that Apartment Therapy is having a Chip It! Challenge! Simply “chip” your favorite vacation photo, upload it to your favorite photo sharing website, “pin it” onto Pinterest with hashtag #chipit in the description, enter the URL of the pin into the Apartment Therapy Chip Challenge form, and you’re done! Challenge ends on July 20, 2012, 11:59 ET. For a little inspiration…

Dubrovnik, Croatia. #chipit

Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik, Croatia. #chipit

Also Dubrovnik.

Ambergris Caye, Belize. #chipit

Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Not get chipping and good luck!