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Posts Tagged ‘DIY projects’

Yep! I’m back to the old blog format. I’m sure I’ll change it again… it seems the grass is always greener when it comes to blog themes. But, it’s back to basics for now.
Look what I did today!

That’s because it was doing this outside today.

I know I should be disappointed, given my last post, but I will take a snow day any time, any day, any month. And, it give me a chance to finish this little project that I’d picked up supplies for yesterday at Target.

Every night before I go to bed, this is what I look at.

Not horrible, but just kind of abandoned and unfinished. I am already the type of person who goes to bed at night thinking of everything I didn’t get accomplished that day and everything I have to do tomorrow, so the last thing I need is a visual, albeit subconscious, reminder that I have left things unfinished at the end of the day. So, this corner of my bedroom/ mind had to change!

I pulled out these fabulous prints I bought last summer in Bethany Beach, DE by local artist and photographer, Jon Olsen, that I hadn’t found the right place for yet. I found two terrific frames at Target to emphasize the sparse nature of photographs.

On a whim, I picked up a trendy sunburst mirror to round things out. It has an oil-rubbed bronze finish (or ORB as YHL would say) which is a subtle compliment to the black frames and softens the grouping up a bit.


I’m so on a black/ white/ tan kick right now!

All the materials for this project (minus the cost of artwork) cost less than $60. One more reason to sleep easy tonight!

 

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There’s not too much going on these days, so I thought I’d share a few updates I made to my living room a few weeks back.

In the June issue of House Beautiful, a gorgeous Victorian row house was featured that I just adored. The interior design, by Ken Fulk, was so fresh, unfussy, casual, and organic, with just a touch of glamour. A lot of the overall pieces in the living room reminded me a little bit of my own living room: a white sofa with navy pillows, mix of dark wood and lighter pieces. Too bad I don’t have a crocodile wall paper fireplace, though, or that fabulous geometric pendant.

Wow, that side-by-side makes my place look like a dump, but let’s chalk it up to bad lighting and bad photography, shall we? One of the little details I loved about the Ken Fulk room, is the hurricane lamps on the coffee table.

I felt like they were just the right amount of bling. Too bad, these babies are made by Ralph Lauren and cost at cool $550 for the three of them. Luckily, as I was browsing in Target a few weeks ago, I came across these bad boys.

Yep, cheap-o replicas. I played around with a couple different combinations of candle sizes (if I remember correctly, I believe there was one more size even larger than the two pictured). I originally wanted to exactly recreate the inspiration pic with the staggered, three-different-sizes look (papa-bear, mama-bear and baby-bear, if you will). But I decided that on my more narrow coffee table, a combination like that might end up looking a little uncoordinated and overgrown. So I finally settled on three of the small hurricane lamps (on the left) which were $9.99 a piece.  While I was at it, I scooped up a rattan tray and some plain white candles, so I would have everything I needed for the complete look. And, here’ s the finished product.

Not bad, for a little over $30, huh? I love how the silver detailing picks up on the handful of other metallic tones I have in the room, like the lamp on our side table.

And, just for a side-by-side reminder.

It’s been an interesting journey—these past two years of having my own place with Ryan—of making decorating mistakes, being afraid of making decorating mistakes, being too ambitious with color and palette, being not ambitious enough. For some reason, I’ve always felt weird about taking someone’s exact design and copying it… maybe because it feels a little like plagiarism? Maybe because it wouldn’t feel like a home if you just took someone else’s furniture and plopped it into your house?

But, I’m beginning to understand that it’s ok to learn from and even copy the best (wow, how underwhelming does that revelation sound). But, yes, this is just clicking for me. In this case, for instance, even though I set out to replicate the original inspiration exactly, by my not having access to the original materials, because the houses are completely different, because all the pieces in my room are different from the original’s, it makes this little arrangement unique to me.

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I had a great night last night at the MRC Battle of the Bands (check out this link if you want to see a news story done on the event). But, right now, that’s not what’s on my mind. Since I got home last night around 10, all I’ve been focused on is sinking into my couch and lounging around my house. So that’s what I’m gonna write about!

Let’s start with this.

That’s right. It’s banana, almond frozen goodness. This is gonna sound weird, but frozen bananas are amazing. A few years ago, I discovered that frozen bananas are the trick to good smoothies (because the banana’s frozen, it acts as a built in ice cube, so you get a cold, thick froth instead of bits and chunks of ice that ultimately water down the flavor). I even talked about frozen bananas in my Green Monster post. But, this frozen banana recipe might top them all.

I saw Claire Robinson make this peanut butter and banana ice cream (link lets you check out the full video of her making it). So I decided to give it a try this morning. She only uses peanut butter and banana but I substituted almond butter for peanut butter, and I used a splash of almond milk to thin it out (I found it wasn’t mixing enough in the food processor). Here’s what it looked like after I added a little milk.

It’s like eating ice cream for breakfast but in reality it’s a really healthy, protein packed breakfast. The only problem might be when you scarf it down in under a minute and want another!

We also finally put up some curtains! Remember me complaining about needing a little extra something in our our living room? Well, I finally decided to do some DIY curtains that I found instructions for here on younghouselove. I pondered different patterns, but I ultimately realized that the curtains in almost all of my inspiration pics were white (and most of the pics had white walls, too). Take this room for instance (that I spotted in Elle Decor) that has somewhat of a similar theme as mine: white(ish) sofa, big blue pillows, metallic lamp, white walls, camel-colored accents, and wicker chairs.

I love how the curtains help draw the eye up and fill in some of the vertical space without adding any heaviness or noise to the room. So, that’s what we went for. Also, please note, in the interest of keeping it real, I did not clean up before taking these pictures, so what you see if what our house looks like on a day-to-day basis. Complete with Ryan’s golf clubs in the foreground.

I don’t know if it’s the most dramatic change ever, but for under 100 bucks, it’s a nice improvement! I’m also looking at getting a big planter and little tree to go in the back right corner of the room.

And, I couldn’t end this post without showing a pic of the beautiful roses my sweet husband brought home for me! Have a great week everyone!

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Man, I have been blog crazy recently. Not only have I posted a lot this week, I have been embarrassingly, incessantly stalking the Petersiks (of younghouselove) while they renovate their new house.

So, I’ve decided to put up a few pics of our house (which I haven’t really done before) because I want to see if anyone has ideas as to what we can do with it. Ha! Ryan and I have been here a year-and-a-half and, if Brent has his way and we are lease-abiding residents, we will be here another year-and-a-half— definitely enough time to change things up and have enough time to enjoy it! Before I start with the picture show, I’ll say it’s amazing how much perspective you can get from taking a photograph. It’s such an incredible way to “step out” of the room and see the big picture, without actually having to leave the room.

First room…. drum roll!!!

So, here’s a pretty basic shot of our living room. I’m, generally, pretty happy with this room, given what I have to work with. We can’t paint the walls, we are required in our lease to have that awful (big) blah rug, and we have yet to cough-up $1,000 to get our sofa (which we LOVE by the way) recovered, so we are stuck with A LOT of beige.  The wicker chairs and (little) rug are hand-me-downs, as is the coffee table…  again, working with what we’ve got!

What’s so laughable in this picture is the eye sore that is the big-ass plain wall behind the couch— fortunately our couch faces the other way, so we don’t have to look at it for too long. Our original idea was to cover the walls in art, but after a year-and-a-half, the only art we have amassed is a cut-out Louis Vuitton newspaper ad featuring Keith Richards. Yes, this amazing print, which we someday hope to acquire and custom frame.

dailymail.co.uk

I’ve much debated it and I think I can no longer deny it: I need curtains! Any ideas on color, pattern, or texture? Initially, I’m thinking something light and airy, but that has little pops of color, maybe draws in the blue?

Moving on to the dining room.

This room perplexes me the most for several reasons. 1) We use this room for a lot of different functions: eating (obviously) but, for example, right now, I’m typing at it, and I often play guitar in here, so it’s kind of a dining room plus activities room. 2) We’ve basically taken all the pieces that don’t fit anywhere else in our house and put all of them in this room. Note the large, antique, roll-top desk in pic #1 and the full-length dresser in pic #2. Both of these are pieces that we are unwillling to part with right now because they are sentimental and we feel like they could have nice places in our future homes, but right now, I feel like they are dragging our dining room down!

I’ve toyed with the idea of painting the dining room chairs and/ or the base of our table (not necessarily to match) and reupholstering the cushions, but I don’t know if that will do much to affect the overall look of the room. Thoughts? Ideas? We also like the idea of changing up the layout to possibly get more use out of the room, but we don’t know where to start.

Last, we have our bedroom. Speaking of, I don’t think I ever posted final pictures of my headboard makeover, so you’ll get to see it… and I’m talking to you here, Mom.

Here’s a view of what our bedroom looks like when you enter it (minus the usual piles of clothes!). Note the Circa dresser, mirror, and chair!

And here are the ol’ DIY fabric art I made and baby blue— still lookin’ good!

So here’s how the headboard turned out. If it looks a little wobbly, that’s because it is. We have yet to secure it to the bed frame and we’d ideally like to saw a few inches off the bottom… this headboard is unusually tall!

We’re still trying to figure out what to do with this wall. I’ve been thinking about framing some vacation and honeymoon pics (8×10’s or larger), and arranging them in grayish frames to sort of draw in some of the tan and linen colors. Black might work, but I thought it might make this corner of the room look unbalanced and heavy compared to the rest of the room that doesn’t have much black. Any thoughts?

Well, there you have it. Most of our house. We love this apartment dearly and want to make the best use of it, so if you have any fun ideas… shoot them my way!

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So, after watching about a dozen episodes of Sarah’s House on HGTV online last week, I was officially sick of my apartment. The way I looked at it, I could do one of two things: a) dig myself deeper into a hole of disgust with my apartment and begin to look at houses or b) redecorate. After weighing pros and cons and doing a little fast math, I came to the (fairly obvious) realization that there would be a cost savings of about $300,000 if I redecorated instead buying a use. Redecorate, huge debt, redecorate, can’t afford to eat. Redecorate it is!

Out of fairness to myself (and current furnishings), I should say that the word redecorate is not exactly correct. When Ryan and I moved into the apartment together, I was about to quit my job and so our decorating philosophy was simply to make best use of our hand-me-downs. And, I must say, we have some great hand-me-downs to work with. But, there really was no money to pick out new furniture to really customize our apartment to our taste. So, really, when I say redecorate, I mean, for the first time, throw a little money at purchasing a few pieces that we I want and making the apartment feel perfect.

So, where do I choose to  start my journey? Puh-lease, where else? Circa. And, what do I find there on my first try?

This little gem, fresh off the auction trucks. Made in Italy with hand-carved detailing. For $45 it was mine!

I had visions of this chair (which I planned to use as an accent chair in our bedroom) looking like this beauty of a chair from Jayson Home and Garden.

Black, but with a hand-rubbed feel and a burlap seat. I have a big, beautiful mirror in our bedroom (that incidentally came from Circa that my brother refinished for us) that needed some grounding and I thought a black chair would be just the thing to do it. (Note to self: do a post in the future about the mirror!). (Note to reader: this chair is listed at $495 on the Jayson Home and Garden Web site!).

So, here begins another adventure in furniture refinishing with Dan Kosut. My dad was excellent— filling in chips in the wood, sanding and smoothing them out, and ultimately doing all of the work (including taping up the pesky, yet beautiful, wicker backing) while I sat and gave directions. So, here’s the chair after being sprayed down with black, satin spray paint.

Loving how the black looks against the caramel of the wicker!

Then, we took same paint thinner to bring out some of the original wood stain on the hand-carved detail. Like this.

Then, we reupholstered the seat with some basic linen/ burlap fabric that I got for less than $10 at Williams & Sherrill and voila!

Here is our finished masterpiece. All for a grand total of $55 (because my dad had the spray paint and provided the labor).

And, here is the artist with his masterpiece.

I have to say, the finished product of this chair so vastly surpassed my expectations for it. I couldn’t have predicted how the contrast of the black against the wicker would bring out its beautiful color. In fact, I was worried that the black would overpower the wicker, but I think it did just the opposite, it brought it out even more.

This project didn’t just leave me wanting to do more for myself, though, it left me wanting to do more… for a profit! I neglected to mention that, while my mom and I were picking out fabrics at Williams & Sherrill, we spotted this chair.

A nearly exact replica of our chair, painted in a gray/ green wash, priced at a cool $489! I look at fancy design magazines all the time and am used to seeing ridiculously priced furniture, but the stark contrast of this chair next to our find really shocked me. So, who knows, maybe you’ll see me and ol’ Geppetto (aka Dan Man) selling our refurbished finds online somewhere down the line. Screw this whole helping kids thing… I want to be like Sarah Richardson!!!

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Must be this fresh, fall air— we got so much accomplished this weekend! The main goal of the weekend was to start reupholstering this very traditional headboard that Peggy “donated” to me and Ry. Apologies! All photos in this post were taken with my iphone, so they’re a little grainy.

For the longest time, I have been pining over custom, upholstered headboards from places like Ballard Designs.  But, new and custom-made, headboards can easily cost between $300-500, so I had kind of put the thought of getting one on my back burner/ major wish list.  I had envisioned a rounded top or an interesting cut out for my “dream headboard”, but when Peggy mentioned she had this rectangular headboard sitting in her basement and offered to give it to me for free, I couldn’t say no.

I mentioned to Alli that I had this project on my hands, and she jumped at the chance to come along with me to u-fab to find a piece of fabric for it. And, we thought, while we’re at it, why not make a day out of it and hit up all the Cville diy stores that we’ve been meaning to visit? So, drawing inspiration from blogs like younghouselove, three men and a lady, and brooklyn limstone, Alli and I hit up Goodwill, Michael’s, Lowe’s and Circa to comb through Cville’s hidden treasures.

Getting back to the headboard. Going into the project, I had in mind a natural, linen fabric, but at the last minute, I decided the linen might look a little too french country and I opted for a basket-weave fabric that looks like this.

It’s very natural and organic looking but also has a really terrific sheen to it. So, with the fabric determined, I started to get the headboard prepped. I decided to leave the original fabric of headboard on (instead of stripping it down to just the foam) but I wanted to make sure we removed the decorative trim so we had a flat, smooth surface underneath.

After lots of pulling and plying (and Ry coming behind me as clean-up crew for the really stubborn staples), we finally ended up with a clean surface. Those are Ry’s hands in the picture above, by the way. Just wanted to clarify :)

The first thing I did was lay my fabric out over the headboard and align it exactly how I wanted it— making sure that the very faint lines of the fabric were not crooked. Then, working one side at a time, I began to staple the underside of the board, pulling it taught as I worked. Instead of flipping the entire headboard over (which I thought would make it harder to ensure that the fabric was still aligned), I just positioned the board off the side of my bed, so that whatever side I was working on was about 10 inches off the side of the bed. Like this.

Then, I wrapped up the corners at the top, almost as if I were wrapping a Christmas present.

That should be the end of the project, right? Oh no. I couldn’t stop there. Because this headboard is so massively tall and I chose a solid fabric, when I “finished” it, it just looked a little blah. So, taking a few tips from this three men and a lady post, I decided I’d try my hand at adding a nailhead trim.

At this point, I feel I should mention that my account of today’s events is heavily edited. This whole process wasn’t quite as easy and abbreviated as I’m making it sound. For example, once I got the headboard positioned and I was ready to start stapling, I realized that I had bought the wrong brand staples. Right size, wrong brand. Come on, give me a break! But, I guess I wouldn’t be a true Kosut if I could make it through a  home improvement project with less than two trips to Lowe’s. So, back to Lowe’s I went. But, on the bright side, it gave me an opportunity to pick up 200 nailheads.

200. Wow, I severely overestimated myself. Michelle, from three men and a lady, warned that it would take about 50 tacks to get the hang out of it, and, man, she wasn’t joking. Out of the first 25 tacks I tried my hand at, only 12 were successful. Even though they are a royal pain in the butt and it’s going to delay me getting my project done, I am already so happy with the preliminary results.

It will eventually be a solid line of tacks, but I wanted to create little “mile markers” that will help me split up the long line into manageable segments.

With the grocery shopping, laundry and fun time with E&A and Ry this weekend, this was as far as I got. If you were hoping to see “final product” pictures at the end of this blog— well, I guess you’ll just have to check back later in the week. More fun details from this weekend to come later, too! And, it’s the week of Melanie’s due date! Hopefully, in the next week we’ll have pics of the new little baby and, of course, the big name reveal.

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My friend Allison Dodson, who it seems I talk about a lot on this blog, shared this really great blog with me the other day. It’s called younghouselove.com. If you go to their site and click on “House Tour,” it will show you the before and after of their little ranch home in Richmond. Warning: you might want to make sure you have about 45 min. to kill before you go to their site– it’s impossible not to get sucked in! It’s really amazing what they’ve done with it and it’s practically all DIY. I’m definitely not as crafty as they are, but their blog reminded me of this great project that my dad and I tackled a while back that I thought that I would share.

Ryan and I have a pretty small bedroom, so, when we moved in, I decided that I wanted to have all white furniture in our bedroom to make the space feel as airy (and not cramped) as possible. I found this beautiful dresser at Anthropologie and the bedroom of my dreams started coming into focus.

Beautiful isn’t it? The only problem was that the price was $2,667 (before tax and shipping!). Considering I wasn’t working at the time, (and even if I were, I could think of a lot better ways to spend $3,000), that option was out. Also, I have a thing for one-of-a-kind pieces. And, as beautiful as the Anthropologie dresser looks online with their ethereal bohemian staging, I’m sure it would feel much more commercial once I actually had it in my home (and my bank account had been reduced by $3,000).

Fear not! I’ve never had a problem spending a Saturday afternoon at Circa scrounging for deals. Luckily, between a few vigilant, scouting weekends, I found this beautiful, nearly 7′ long dresser. Hello, amazing storage!

This solid wood dresser with a custom glass top was only about $225 at Circa. I also found two little side tables (probably from somewhere like Crate and Barrel originally) that I snagged for about $40 a piece. The only problem with all of the pieces that I bought was that they were all a very dark brown.

Enter Dan Kosut. My dad assured me that we could take the pieces that I found and turn them from drab to fab. So, here’s what we did on a mild day back in March that gave me and Ryan a one-of-a-kind, not too matchy-matchy bedrom set.

1. We moved the furniture outside to a sunny, well ventilated spot where the furniture could dry quickly. We took a bucket of water and poured a cup or so of ammonia in it. Then, we put on gloves and took a very fine scouring pad and rubbed the furniture down with the water and ammonia mixture. So, it was a two-in-one cleaning/ sanding. We put a little elbow grease into it, but really didn’t spend to much time on it (between the two of us doing three pieces of furniture), maybe 5-10 minutes tops. Then we wiped the furniture down with paper towels.

2. After the furniture dried, we took a primer (which we diluted a little with water) and sprayed it on (with a spray gun that my dad had bought at Lowe’s for about $30). However, if we could do it over, we just would have used a little roller brush. The spray gun was fussy, expensive and ultimately a waste of time.

3. After the primer dried, we painted everything an off-white. My dad rolled on the paint with the little roller brush and I kind of went behind him, while the paint was still wet, and made a few brush strokes with a paint brush, just to make it look a little more hand-painted. This may not be  a necessary step for everyone. It just depends how sleek vs. rustic you want it to look.

(Sorry, there’s no picture for this step! I guess I was a little busy actually helping with this step!)

4. After the paint dried, we took another kind of fine sand paper (this one had more of a foam backing and was soft and a few inches thick, so that is would sort of bend and mold around the furniture as we sanded) and we brushed the specific areas that we want to look “distressed” until some of the paint came off/ the wood came through. When you rub it down, there’s a fine grit and residue that comes off that we wiped away (with a paper towel) as we went along. One thing we noticed, was that as we sanded, the color of the paint changed from an off-white to more of a cream. If I’d known that the paint would yellow a bit as you brushed it, I might have started with a more traditional white paint, rather than an off-white.

5. The last step was spraying a coat of polyurethane on it. My dad just bought a can of it (like a spray can) at the hardware store. After the polyurethane dried, we put on new hardware that I got at Lowe’s. I know there are places that have fancier and more expensive hardware (like Anthropologie) but the pulls and knobs I got at Lowe’s suited this dresser just fine.

And here is our finished product:

Some details:

And, here is one of the bedside tables. We decided not to distress these, as we wanted to avoid all the pieces looking too matchy-matchy.

We accomplished all of this in less than a day’s worth of work and honestly, what takes the longest, is waiting for things to dry. The amount of time that you are actually painting or sanding something is probably less than an hour total! I estimate that I probably spent about $80 on new hardware/ paint/ rollers, etc., which means that for this huge bedroom makeover, I only spent about $385 (including the cost of the furniture) which is a fraction of what it would have cost me to buy that one Anthropologie dresser. Let’s do a side-by-side comparison.

What do you think? I think ours looks pretty darn close to the original. Maybe even better!

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