Thursday, June 12, 2014

From Good to Great

Before we moved in, we decided to get a new seating for our living room. In our last house we had lots of antiques, which we loved, but it was also not super comfortable. Plus our sofa had long since bit the dust. It wasn't well made nor did it clean well. 

I measured, looked at the space and was convinced a sofa and love seat would fit perfect. Sort've a make-shift sectional but allowing me to use my side tables still. 

They were delivered, I loved them. But there was one problem: they were much bigger than I had anticipated; the rest of the furniture and the new wider doors threw the proportions off. Anyway, we obviously still kept them and the living room looked like this: 

It's hard to tell in these pictures but the room was just bleh. You know. Average. One side was good but the fireplace wall was just out of joint to me. The left side of the fireplace also had this big hole/empty space where junk tended to pile up. Plus, when you walked in the front door, you instantly saw the TV/disjointed corner. That's a pet peeve. I need to see pretty when I walk in a room. 

I enlisted Anna M to help me rearrange it one Saturday morning. She's always up for a challenge. To be sure we can come up with a better option. I also sent Daniel and the boys out. Daniel doesn't do well with changes in his space so it's just better if he was gone. Off we started...first it all looked like this...

A straight up disaster. 

If we moved what has now been termed my "Noah's Ark furniture" (most of it is solid wood and h-e-a-v-y) once, we moved it 10x around that room. Well not the armoire. We couldn't even get that sucker to budge even with our back in to it. 

Finally we lay on the couches, which were in the middle of the room all cockamamie, completely defeated. Time to call in reinforcements. Man down. 

I called plan friend Cecelia to be exact. She came over and told me what I needed (but didn't want to hear), I needed the TV over the mantle. I had a TV over the mantle in my last house and hated it. Not the advice I was looking for but I can always trust C to tell me what I needed to hear. 

So for the time being it landed like this until I could call the electrician. 

Basically we just flipped the TV to the other corner but it at least confirmed that the right side of the mantle was right. A chair, table and lamp was much prettier to see when I walked in. Granted only one person could see the TV but hey, it was a start. 

Finally the electrician came and the room got worse. 

But after hours of labor (we apparently have funky things in our wall) they installed the TV over the mantle and even hid the cables in the wall. Our cable box and DVD player are under the table in the corner, where the TV used to be. Nice and hidden but still accessible. The fact the cables are hidden and run through the walls makes me much happier if I had to put the TV over the mantle. 

Not only do you see a pretty chair and corner when you first walk in but there is also more seating and more lighting. The TV doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. The room shape was just too funky to warrant any other spot with the furniture we had. 

I got a wild hare today and decided to switch out rugs too. The living room rug was a little too small and the dining room rug (found at an estate sale) was bigger. So a quick switch-a-roo and the room looks that much cozier. 

I can't wait until my new set of pillows come in next week to finish it off. And anyone else want to give sweet Jackson a hug other than me? He's such a sweet old man! He likes the rug switch-a-roo too since it's softer. 

Anyone else feel like their space is average and making some changes this summer? Or am I the only weirdo that obsesses over thinks about these things? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Don't toss! Revive!

It's a little known fact that I am not scared of stopping on the side of a road and picking up a piece of furniture or taking what some may call "trash" and turning it in to something beautiful. Daniel may call this one step away from hoarding a sickness but I like to call it recycling. I'm totally doing my part to save the world. One piece of furniture at a time. 

So when we moved in to Schrallville, I really wanted a buffet for our new dining room. Alas, I'm not made of money and couldn't find one I loved for under several G's. That turned my thoughts to storage and I ended up buying this instead. So then that still left me with an empty space. I decided to use my old sofa table turned printer table turned what-the-heck-do-I-do-with-it-now table. 

It was not expensive and didn't really hold up well. The finish was chipped all over the top. Not exactly what you call attractive. Daniel asked me to throw it out. I scoffed at the idea. (that's pretty typical of our marriage by the way...I say yes, he says no...I say "sounds fun", he says "absolutely horrible idea" get the picture.) 

Of course I didn't take a good before picture so let's just pretend you can envision the scratched top. You can at least see the before color of the table here (and after we did a light sand). 

I bought a quart of black gloss paint and Anna M and I went to town one night, disguised as a "GNO". I used Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel in a black gloss. I think they actually carry it already tinted.

Once we painted it, this is the look we had. Pretty but pretty boring. I wanted to add a little element to it that made it less "I just painted this table" and a little more "wow! where did you get this piece?"

In came the stencil. I picked up this stencil at Hobby Lobby with no particular project in mind, more because I liked it and I'm a chronic shopper. I think maybe I was going to use it in the bathroom? Um, yeah. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

It was too big for the table so we simply picked out a portion of it and marked it off with a sharpie then marked off the portion of the table we wanted to stencil. I wanted a little border around it and not the entire top. No reason, just personal preference. 

We used the cheap stencil sponges (seen in the middle of the table above) and bronze craft paint we had left over from another project. Thankfully Anna M and I have similar tastes so we share craft supplies. 

It was just a matter of both of us slowly dabbing the paint through the stencil. I wanted a more aged look and not a thick stencil look so we went very light on the paint. Again, this is all personal preference. I have another table where I used a thicker paint approach so it was saturated. Just depends on what you like. 

This is Anna M

Once we did the main stencil there were still holes in the pattern. We used another small stencil that had a fleur de lis (because I love them) to add a few of those and then just took snippets of the original stencil to fill in blanks. We truly eyeballed it so don't try to be perfect. The fact that it wasn't perfect is what makes it look better. 

When we were done it looked like this...

Once it dried I sprayed it with a horribly old can of clear poly. Note to self: check how old the can is before use. I accidentally used an old can that totally left horrible bubbles all over the table. I was not happy. But once it dried you can't tell and all is right in the world again. 

Depending on the use of your table, I recommend putting a coat of poly finish to further protect it. We aren't so easy on our furniture so I always put a coat of poly on. You know...for when that stray toy goes flying or it's doused in water because I over watered the plant sitting on top.

Here are a few pictures of it finished and in place...

Not bad for a little paint and some creativity! I'd like to get a large tray for the bottom and turn it in to a bar, complete with spots to hang glasses. But that's a project for another day!