Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Old & New: Decorating with Vintage


If you follow my blog, you know that I gravitate towards vintage items. I particularly love the 1950's and 60's, because I love color. Pops of aqua, yellow and red are some of my favorite things. (Did anyone else just sing "My Favorite Things" in their head?) I also seek out well loved furniture. Old furniture was built with quality materials and is sometimes handcrafted on a level you rarely see today. Don't get me started on old houses. Moldings were often crafted on site and fit together just right.

As much as I love old dishes and furniture, I also like to mix in modern trends. I frequent the sales at One Kings Lane and Antique Farmhouse. One Kings Lane recently rolled out a guide for decorating with vintage items including a break down by era. (I immediately searched through the "Arts and Crafts" section.) You can also get the history of a style you've probably seen a million times, but never knew who or where the style came from.

I was inspired to share some of my favorite vintage items that have been mixed with more modern trends. 

One of my favorite projects was a bookcase my grandmother gave me. The bookcase belonged to her mother. It was just sitting in my grandparent's garage asking for a fresh coat of paint. I gladly took it off their hands. Since the back had been replaced with plain mismatched piece of wood, I decided to add a bit of modern trend by creating a bright chevron design on the back. (Click here for the tutorial.)

Chevron also made a splash on a old chair turned planter. 

A set of old light fixtures are turned around and used as candle holders.

I found this screen door sitting on the side of the road. We are renting right now, but the landlords agreed this wooden door was an improvement on the old one. Are you seeing a trend here? Yes, I am addicted to aqua. Admitting it is the first step, right? (Click here for the entire reveal.)

I found this old crate in a junk pile. It has been a wonderful planter over the past couple of seasons.

An old desk also looks great as a repurposed planter. Bonus: It's perfect for children's sidewalk chalk. (Click here for the before & after)

My son has a vintage inspired hunting lodge theme nursery. I found a vintage Clue game that has a second life as a piece of art. Since my son's name is Finn, I also found a vintage Huckleberry Finn book that was already fall apart. (No proactive book destruction here) A vintage Bingo card rounded out my vintage nursery. I mixed in modern prints with the vintage items I found. (Click here for the tutorials and entire nursery reveal.)

We inherited a desk from my husband's grandfather. It has wonderful lines. A new crisp white paint job and glass knobs moved the desk from hand me down to glamorous. (Click here for the before & after.)

Even our Christmas tree has a mix of old and new. An antique ruler tops our vintage themed tree. (Click here for our vintage Christmas decorations.)

It's no secret I am a Pyrex horder. I have packed up my collection, but have already planned a renovation in our new house that will showcase the wonderful aqua, yellows and pinks.

My current kitchen features some new Amy Butler fabric with some 1950's accessories. A metal stool is a favorite perch for our daughter while we make dinner. I also have a 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook. Our family has a tradition of a mother buying the daughter a Betty Crocker cookbook when they leave the house. My mom knew I loved the 50's and found this wonderful gem. The cookbook is full of all sorts fun advice including how every wife should wear heels and makeup while doing household chores. It includes an illustration of a 50's housewife ala Mad Men in her heels and pearls vacuuming. I would have been a terrible 50's housewife.

My most recent project was taking a old dresser and retro fitting it to hold all our tv equipment. The dresser adds some much needed warmth amongst our new style couch and chair. (Click here for the tutorial.)

How do you do vintage? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Introducing Ugly House

Hello There!

If you have been following the blog or Facebook page, you are well aware we have been house shopping for the past couple of months. I wanted a historic home, and my husband wanted an acreage. We couldn't find anything in our price point that had both items, so we agreed to compromise if we found something that fit one of those (among many other) criteria. 

The market we're looking in is very competitive, and we had two or three houses we wanted that moved off the market just one or two days after being listed. It was hard to move fast when we're 6 hours or so away. Last weekend we went on a house hunting spree. We planned on going to five houses. One of the houses was a repeat for me. It was a historic 1920's home in town. However, it was in a town that was about 20+ minutes from my husband's work and on roads that didn't do well in the winter. It needed some structural work, but the price was okay for that work. I loved that house. Okay. I still love that house. But the location just wasn't going to work for us. My husband saw the amount of work to be done and wasn't as excited as I was. In fact one of the conversations went like this: 
Husband: This house needs all new windows.
Me: We can do that.
Husband: I don't know how to put windows in.
Me: I do. I helped my dad do it.
Husband: *Rolls eyes* You mean you watched your dad do it.
Agent: I'm staying out of this one. 
So, that house got checked off the list. Someone else should buy the house and let me decorate and refinish it. I am still daydreaming about the original built-ins and original pristine condition claw foot tub. *Swoon*

One of the houses we went to see Saturday was a house our agent had brought up a couple of times. The first time he brought it up, I responded, "Oh, I've seen the listing. That's the ugly house, right?" He laughed and told me that it was in the country (husband was happy), and that the house was in good shape minus to the interesting cosmetic choices. (Hey. No fault to the house. We all made questionable cosmetic choices in the 1980's!) I declined seeing it until last weekend. We were, after all, under the wire to find a house. we're under contract for the Ugly House. I reluctantly agreed that it was in a perfect location (exactly half way between my husband's new job and the school we want to send our children to) and yes it was a nice piece of country land that wasn't too much to manage.

The conversation after viewing houses Saturday went like this.

Husband: I really like that acreage. It's in the perfect location.
Me: Uh yeah.
Husband: And it's in good shape.
Me: Yeah.
Husband: I think we should put an offer in.
Me: (sigh) I guess.
Husband: What?
Me: That kitchen. Oh the horror. I have nightmares about that kitchen.
Husband: You can renovate the kitchen.
Me: You say that, but I don't want to keep a kitchen for five years that makes my eyes want to bleed. If you promise me I can renovate the kitchen in the next year and we will overhaul the exterior in the next 5, you have a deal.
Husband: Deal. But I get goats and a jersey cow. 

Goats and a cow will a topic of future negotiations. At least I can pay the large animal vet in brownies. He's a sucker for a good sweet.

I know we're just under contract and after the home inspection next week, everything might change. After the appraisal, everything might change. There could be a freak tornado, and everything might change. But, I think I am okay sharing the house (and cosmetic horrors) with all of you now.

Introducing my Ugly House.

The exterior has a lovely teal color with some sort of upside down check mark overhang. Although the color isn't ideal, the paint job was done exceptionally well, so that's nice. 

Future plans: Add a two car garage to give the house dimension and storage. Remove upside down check mark and replace with a new craftsman inspired deck to camouflage the split entry front. Add a deck off back of house and other outdoor living space. Maybe add some extra windows and of course paint.

And the kitchen. Oh the kitchen. That red tile is quite the statement. In fact, they loved that statement so much they decided to add the tile to the baseboards as well.

Future plans: Take down the wall between the living room and kitchen (doesn't appear to be structural at this point), add an island, new back splash, new faces on cabinets or replace, and new flooring. Plus a new stove and sink.

The rest of the house is nice enough, but bland. Future plans include new doors (or jazzing up the boring hollow ones that are there now), lots and lots of paint, beefing up trim, new flooring, new light fixtures, new vanities and new tile shower in the basement. That work will be done over a period of time though. Most of the flooring and fixtures are in new/like new condition so there's no need to replace right away. I'm hoping to get salvaged materials to add in some old charm to my 1980's split entry.


Why does this remind me of Space Mountain? Or Star Trek?
It will be months until I can get my hands on it, but the Pinterest planning has already started. My virtual shopping list has also grown considerably. And being a first child, I have started making several lists and Excel spreadsheets. At least I will have some good before and afters to blog about, right?


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Show & Tell: Elsa Dress in One Night


I don't know if your house has Frozen fever like our house, but I feel like I haven't gone a day without hearing "Let It Go" in the past 5 months. Every Sunday School teacher and dance instructor is accosted with "Let It Go" requests every class. My daughter can barely remember how to spell her name but knows every word of every song on that soundtrack. Go figure.

I decided to do a craft with my daughter tonight. She likes to help me sew, and I thought it would be fun to do a project with her for her. So, we picked up a yard of satin fabric, a yard of shimmery fabric and decided to create a dress-up dress to match Elsa's.

Since I wanted to whip it up quickly and it's just for dress-up, I just winged it. Elsa's dress isn't the traditional A-line dress like the other princesses, so it was actually easier to make. I kept the satin folded in half, wrapped it around my daughter and sewed it up. I left a opening in the back so my daughter could slip it on and off. I made a slit (although not quite as high as Elsa's). I would have made long sleeves, but I'm terrible at sleeves. Plus, the one dress up dress with sleeves is in the worst condition. I added some detail and sleeves with the shimmery fabric and of course I had to make the train. That's best part...obviously. (My daughter was impatient to add this detail) All in all, the cost was around $9.00, and the work took about 3 hours.

I think for a couple of hours of work (and watching a crazy hyper 3 and 1 year old) it turned out pretty good. I think I might have sealed the deal for more "Let It Go" singing sessions though.

"Let it go!"


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Show & Tell: Dresser Turned TV Stand


We have been quite busy the past couple of days hauling out furniture and other things we sold. The Deep Discount De-Stash was a huge success. Thank you everyone! Only a few items remain (Check out what's still available here).

Before I did the sale, my husband and I sat down and figured out what furniture we would want to move and what we would want to sell. Furniture made by my husband's grandfather would of course stay, but random hand me downs and projects would go. One of those items was a tv stand we bought from Target when we moved four years ago. There was nothing wrong with the stand, but we aren't sure what kind of space we'll be moving into so there's no point to keep it.  We sold it, but then I realized that we had nowhere to put our TV stuff. With a little one running around, it was important we got it off the ground for next couple of months.

Our old tv stand.
I looked through the different items we were going to move, and I found the perfect item in our basement. We had gotten this dresser from our son's godmother. It was her dresser as a kid. I had an idea that I would do something special for our son or daughter after we moved. I figured this was a great opportunity to fix it up now. I should mention there is a super cute beveled mirror that attaches to the top. I have that safely wrapped up ready for the move.

Half way through the clean up. One drawer missing and two knobs missing.

If you have a piece of old furniture you need to clean up, it's fairly easy. These are the steps I follow:

1. Fix all pieces that are broken.

On this piece, I resecured the top with some glue and removed the broken drawer. I saved the drawer front because I might use it later on (either by reassembling the drawer itself or doing a fold down front). I also saved the drawer bottom.

2. Clean.

I tried some soap and water, but there were some stubborn wax like spots and some sticky places. I took a magic eraser to those sections. I was careful to go light on the magic eraser since it can remove finishes and lighten up the wood. Each section got wiped down with clean water afterwards. Then, I used lemon oil. Lemon oil is pretty much my new love. Old wood is thirsty (and not for my kids sippy cup spills). Lemon oil can really make your furniture shine.

3. New hardware. I had picked up a bag of old knobs from a garage sale a few years ago and this was a perfect time to use some of them. The old wooden knobs were fine, but a few were missing. The new(er) clean silver ones look quite sharp even if there is gold features on the drawers.

It's rather easy to use a old dresser for TV equipment. In the missing drawer opening, you just need to create a bottom for the items to sit on. (You could also do baskets or something like that if you wanted to use the dresser in a bedroom). In the future I will replace the bottom I have with a nice piece of wood I finish to match, but since I was just using what I had in my house last night, I cut a piece of scrap wood to fit across the bottom and then placed the drawer bottom on top to make it look a bit more finished. I might add some fun wallpaper or something to add visual interest in the next couple days.

I then had to cut a hole in the back. I was hesitant to do this since I might use the dresser for another purpose down the line. I figured since the back was a bit warped, I might just replace the entire back in the future anyways, so I went ahead and cut a hole in the back.

I did all my cuts with my new toy, a Dremel. This was the maiden voyage for the Dremel. I found it easy to put together and use different bits, although the instructions are pretty much useless. I did have a hard time with control. The cuts are so terrible I think my daughter would have done a better job with her play saw. I think I might need a better work surface (my kitchen chair didn't seem to do the job...imagine that), but it was super easy to cut the hole in the back of the dresser. The size was good for my freakish small hands. I'm bit fearful of cutting tools in general, but the Dremel is small enough that I wasn't scared to use it. It does make me want the Dremel Saw Max though. (Christmas idea for my husband?). Over-all for doing the entire project in an hour, I am very happy with the result. My husband thinks he might like it more than the Target stand we had before. Probably because he didn't have to put this one together!

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