DIY Vintage Wood Wall Treatment with Amy Howard at Home

Before: Blank, painted wall

As a blog affiliate for Amy Howard at Home, I had the chance to try a new product  — Vintage Wood Pallet Wall in a Box.  I knew right away when I learned about this kit at The Haven conference this past summer that I wanted to create a shiplap feature wall right outside the entry to my powder room.   Here’s the space before. Just a blank wall painted Sea Salt from Sherwin-Williams.  I had a full length leaning mirror here.  It’s about an 8′ x 4′ space with no cuts for outlets, so for a beginner like me, it seemed like it would be a doable project.

Before I got started, I set up eight foot tables covered with old sheets and towels in my garage.  And, I watched this how-to video .

The Pallet Wall in a Box comes with unfinished solid red oak planks enough to cover about 20 feet.  Here was my first glitch…I didn’t order enough wood. Thankfully, I have a super sweet relationship with Jabo’s Ace Hardware and they were able to help a girl out by expediting another box to me within a few days.

unfinished red oak planks

I laid all the wood out on the tables and set up my supplies.

First, you start with the Vintage Wood Better with Age stain. Open the can and stir with a stir stick.

 

Better with Age stain

Dipping the 1.5 inch flat paint brush into the stain, with long strokes, I painted each plank of wood.

brushing on the stain
stained planks

After I was finished, I let the planks completely dry for a few hours while I worked on laundry.  The planks will darken as they dry.  You could stop here if you wanted to, but I wanted a white wash look to the planks, so I moved to the next step the Venetian Plaster application. It’s a plaster made of lime and powdered marble and gives a beautiful textural aesthetic to the wood.

mixing venetian plaster with water

I poured the powder into a plastic bowl and added water until I got the consistency of a milk shake, stirring until smooth.  Using my paint brush I painted the stained wood with a generous coating of the plaster. Note:  I worked with one plank at a time, first applying plaster, then troweling it off.

applying the venetian plaster

Then with a plastering trowel, I skimmed off the coating of the plaster leaving a deposit of the plaster in the wood grain.

troweling off the plaster

It’s amazing how the plaster seemed to know exactly where to stay to show the beautiful detail of the wood.  I let the plaster sit overnight.  Tip: I watched the weather to make sure there were no freezing temperatures to affect the wood while it cured in the garage.  Be sure to plan accordingly if you attempt this project during cold weather by moving your wood inside.

applying cerusing wax

The next step was to apply the Cerusing Wax which is a soft wax that gives a satin patina of protection on the wood.  I first applied it with a lint free cloth, but I switched to a brush because it seemed to go on easier with a brush.  After I applied the wax, I let the wood dry for about an hour, then I went back and buffed it with a soft cloth.  You could feel the softness of the surface and it did give the wood a very light satin finish.

Then came woodworking school.  Because I have zero experience using power tools, I asked my two guy friends from church, who are skilled at a chop saw and nail gun, to help me.  They got the project started for me and once they were half way finished, they walked me through how to install the wood planks myself.  You can see in the photo below how they marked the studs in the wall with a pencil.  Those marks showed me where to nail the boards up first.  They showed me how the wood is installed with no specific pattern.  Look at this photo how each plank is different, some whiter than others, some more distressed.  The ends don’t match either.  Some rows have two planks, some have three planks.  They were great teachers to show me how to determine what plank we should pick for the next row.

initial installation and marked space showing stud location
Yes, I am amazing with my saw skills

Then, came learning how to use a chop saw.  It’s amazing how empowering you can feel the first time you use a power tool…as demonstrated on my face here!

We went back and forth with cutting, nailing, cutting and nailing.  The install took about three hours.

The last bit that needed to be done to finish was the strip right above the baseboard.  It wasn’t quite wide enough for the plank to fit, so the church guys took it back to their shop to use the table saw. Once that cut was made and installed, it was finished. I couldn’t believe how it transformed this small space and made it so fresh and clean looking.

finished wall
view from the powder room
I added the mirror for now
view from the family room

The total for the wood and supplies was about $272.  That was because I needed two boxes of wood.  If you are just needing one box you’d spend around $171.  In terms of time, I broke down the project over several weekends because that was what worked for my schedule.  I think you could easily stain and plaster the wood one day, wax and install day two.

I am considering doing this again for the small area under my kitchen counter so that when you are sitting in the family room the two areas will tie together.

I would totally encourage you to try this project on your own.  It is really fun when you can look at something and know you made it.  As Amy says, “Enjoy the bragging rights!”

To purchase the products listed in this post click here.  Amy Howard products are also available through Amy Howard at Home and through Jabo’s Ace Hardware.

Home Tour: My Creative Space

office-quote

I like to refer to my home office as the “Honeycomb Hideout.” Reminiscent of the 70’s television commercial with the Honeycomb cereal, the kids hung out in their tree house talking about grown-ups and ate cereal.   Unfortunately, if you look it up on Urban Dictionary they define Honeycomb Hideout as a “place to smoke weed and hide until the cops come.”  Clearly, I use my space for something totally different.

My office walls are painted “Dragon Fly” by Behr.  The color and the wall quote are a carry over from when Miss Bee used this as her bedroom before she migrated to another bedroom in the house.   I wanted the inspirational quote to be the last thing she saw each night before she drifted off to sleep.  The wall color plays well with orange, yellow, lime green and teal.

books-on-shelf
books can be the best source of color for your room
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I love the unexpected touch of the fern

business-cardsThese little glass boxes were popular back in the 70’s and I am enjoying seeing them on trend right now.  It’s the perfect place to tuck my calling cards.

I used Mother’s collection of milk glass to display Sharpies and other office supplies.

 

colorful-pens
I am giddy over colored ink pens
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use milk glass as vessels for office supplies

Surround yourself with things that tell a story and give inspiration. The shells came from Gulf Shores, the place I found refuge the first Christmas I lost Mother.  The sea glass was found on Orcas Island in Washington during a trip with my girlfriends.  My niece gave me the succulent and it loves sitting under my desk lamp.  The “hope” rock was given to me by a member of the grief support group I lead at church.

office-trinkets

I have a stack of Nancy Drew books from childhood.  The vintage windup clock I found in an antique store.  It is very worn on the back from winding it up.  I like to imagine it was used by Doris Day.

clock-and-books

Which leads me to Doris’s phone… See the blue one in the mirror, too…

shelves-with-telephone
i found the light box at Ace. I love it.

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yellow-buddha

The yellow paperweight and turquoise perfume bottle were Mother’s.  The other paperweight is vintage.  All sit atop a mirrored tray.  I love the peacefulness of the meditating Buddha statue.

The last touch I want to share is a little plaque Mother found for me. It hung on the door to my childhood room on 4617 Meadowbrook Drive.  She saved it when we moved from that house when I was a senior in high school.  I found it in her things after she passed away.

 

melissas-room

All of these touches — some new, some familiar, evoke the energy and calm I want in my blogging retreat.  I’ve got some other fun finds in this room I will share another day. I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Home Tour — Ladies Lounge

Ladies Lounge with peonies
hot pink peonies in a cream pitcher

Almost 10 years ago, we were searching for a home where we could live as two families — me, Mr. and Miss Bee and my parents.  We weren’t quite sure how we could make this home work for us, but we did.  Our home had the typical set up with formal and separate dining and living areas but we knew these spaces would not be used in the traditional sense.  I put a twist on the dining room and turned it into my “ladies lounge” – a place for a small group of my friends to meet and gather while the men are in the family room.

ladies lounge
Ladies Lounge

I also wanted there to be an essence of a dining area by adding two Emerson bookshelves from World Market to house my cookbooks and serving pieces.  I took inspiration from open shelving where you can go right to the shelf to get what you need to set the table. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest.  Just type in “Open Kitchen” in the search field and photos like this from Oak House Design Company will pop up.

open kitchen
Oak House Design Company
open kitchen2
Oak House Design Company

I love stacked glassware, utensils standing up in tumblers, a variety of cake stands, and assorted plates and bowls.

dishes on shelves
Emerson Shelving from World Market

If you are considering shelving, I highly recommend the Emerson bookshelves. You do have to assemble them, but they are very sturdy and high quality.  Look at the fun hardware on the front and a kick bar on the bottoms.

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Chalkboard Bin from Magnolia Market

I had my friend Megan from Cleggraphy Designs letter the fronts of these chalkboard boxes from Magnolia Market.  I use the boxes to hold a variety of my cookbooks into categories like French cooking, baking and cookbooks good for weeknight dinner recipes.

 

lets bake boxfrench cookingwhats for dinnerRemember to take the covers off your cookbooks to expose the beautiful colors publishers use for the spines and covers of the books (you can tuck the covers away in a storage box or file if you don’t want to throw them away).ladies lounge 2

The wall color is Sherwin-Williams Quietude.  It’s the perfect blue for this space.  I had the sofa recovered into a fun animal print.  The Erin Cute-as-a-Button chairs are from World Market.  The tufted chairs have colorful buttons that add a touch of whimsy.

cute as a button chairs
Erin Cute-as-a-button Chair

The chairs are neutral enough that I can move them around the house to different rooms depending on my mood.  That gorgeous Chiang Mai pillow on the sofa was made by Stuck on Hue.  Hollie does beautiful work.

ladies lounge with curtains

Yes, there are three different types of animal print going on in this room and I love it!  I had the orange animal print bolster pillows made from left over fabric from this chair in my family room.  The blue animal print pillows I purchased at Target, but I don’t think they are available anymore.   The beautiful antique library table is made of tigerwood.  It’s been in our family for years.  The plant stand has a marble insert and belonged to Mother. The cream ottoman is from HomeGoods and is perfect hidden storage to hide out-of-season decor.

Shelves in Ladies lounge

The prints on the top shelf are by Janet Hill Studio of my favorite things — cake!

janet hill cake
Janet Hill Studio

I love my Ladies Lounge.  It’s filled with light, fun colors and is a perfect spot to read through my cookbooks and have iced tea with friends. Thanks for taking the tour!

Calendar Girl — Making Art from Old Calendars

rifle paper frames in gameroomHere’s an easy project I did a few years ago to re-purpose a wall calendar from Rifle Paper Company, one of my favorite paper sources.  I didn’t want to stop enjoying the lovely, floral botanical images so I made them into artwork.

Calendar art how toI already had frames of a similar type with large mats, a style I prefer, and for the frames that didn’t have a mat I took them to Michael’s and they cut the mats for me to my specifications.  I went through the calendar and decided to use pages that meant the most to me — months representing the birthdays of my parents and siblings and our wedding anniversary — February, April, May, June and August.

I am really not a DIY gal so I tend to do things in a less scientific way. When it came time to figure out the correct size for each frame, I just laid the glass or mat from the frame on the image I wanted to highlight, traced around the edge of the glass/mat with a pencil, then cut the image with scissors and put the page into each of the frames.

rifle calendar framed (2)

Some frames weren’t big enough for the calendar portion of the page, so I just focused on the month or the flowers.  Something I didn’t do, but would be fun, is to circle the important dates on the calendar.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  The gallery of art is soothing, beautiful and meaningful to me.  Plus this DIY project cost less than $30 for a few pieces of mat board and I recycled a perfectly good calendar. As we near the end of 2016, now would be good time to find clearance calendars to do this project for yourself or as a wedding, baby or housewarming gift.

My Six Tips for Antiquing

doris day 3

My friends at Invaluable asked me to share my favorite ways to shop for home decor and furniture.  Anytime anyone gives me a challenge to shop, I gladly accept!  There are so many great ideas out there, but here are my “Top Six” that work for me when shopping at antique malls and consignment stores:

Number One:

Make a list of what you need or want for your space.  This specific shopping trip was to find some pieces for our outdoor entertainment space that “tell a story” and create conversation.  Walking into an antique store with tons of booths is fun, but can be overwhelming without a vision of what you’re searching for. You’ll get distracted anyway with the epic space of nostalgia staring back at you, but at least you can reign in the focus with your list.

On my shopping list:  1)  Something long and narrow for our dining table that I could multipurpose for the seasons; 2) A tall cart on wheels for pool towels and beverages; 3) A drop-leaf, small dining table for extra seating on the patio near the bar; and 4) A schoolhouse chalkboard.

me and amy

Number Two:

Go with a friend.  I enlisted the help of my friend Amy.  She has a great eye for home decor and I thought it would be a fun way to get to know each other better rummaging through stuff. Friends can help you stay focused, be your second set of eyes because she spotted things I didn’t see…and she was my photographer!  In fact, most of the things I purchased on our excursion were inspired by Amy.

chalkboard
Be willing to dig, the chalkboard was behind all this.
me studying chalkboard
Serious contemplation. Closely look at your treasure.

Number Three:

Think outside the box.  One item on my list was an over sized, schoolhouse type chalkboard. Amazingly, we found one pretty quick in a booth at the Montgomery Street Antique Mall. The proprietor of the booth, Patsy, told us it used to be on the wall at her church.  It was pretty retro with a green background, but the shape and size were not going to work in the space I had in mind.  It was fun to hear from Patsy the chalkboard had a history — that for sure would have been a fun conversation piece.  However, we did find a 1920’s glass cabinet door in another booth and we thought it could serve the same purpose for writing a menu or message.  And, the size was spot-on (see why tip five is important?).

Number Four:

Study Your Space Before You Go. One day I stopped in Buy Consignment to see what they had.  I spotted a dresser, but my first thought was that it was too large.  I took measurements and a photo.   The covered patio has vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace, brick and dark cedar ship lap walls — so it’s a space with a lot of presence. This meant the piece I selected needed to be on a bigger scale to balance the strong structural features.   I sat back away from the porch and really studied the spot the furniture would be placed.   Another good trick is to tape off the area where the furniture will go to see if it works.  I realized it was the perfect size and the scale was proportionate to the space.  Something smaller would have been lost and looked out of place. And, I get the bonus of the nine drawers to store entertaining essentials like napkins, plates, cookware, decor.  One project I am going to add is a metal cap for the top using an Amy Howard aged, zinc patina product. Stay tuned for that.

cabinet
Already distressed with perfect hardware

detail on dresser

Number Five:

Measure your space and take a tape measure with you.  This sounds obvious, but the only way I knew if the chalkboard and dresser I was interested in were going to fit was to take measurements before I left the house.  I also measured my dining table so I knew I could get a large bowl for the top.  Luckily, I always have my hot pink tape measure in my bag that I received in my swag from Haven!

Number Six:

bar cartDon’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller.  I found the rolling cart in Patsy’s booth, the same lady who I chatted with about the chalkboard. She knew I was sincere with my purchase because we had built a rapport. Vendors love for you to ask questions about their pieces, because it shows you have genuine interest.  I told her what I was going to use the cart for and she shared that it was made from reclaimed wood using an old utility cart for the base.  I love the layers of paint colors.  When it came time to make a decision, I looked at the tag and asked her, “what’s your best price?”  This puts it out there, but in a way that respects her and the value of what she felt was important.  We agreed on about 10% off the price. And, if you buy more than one thing from a vendor, by all means it’s appropriate to say, “since I am buying several things, what can we work out on the price?”

me and patsy
Me, Patsy and the cart

In the end, I ended up with everything on my list.  I didn’t find the drop leaf table I was looking for, but something better.  On the way home from the antique store, we stopped into that same furniture consignment store where I found the dresser.  I have purchased, and sold, several things there.  If you find a store like this, make a point to walk through once a week.  You never know what you will find.  I walked in looking for a table, sat down at this looking around while Amy and I chatted…

game table

It’s a game table with a removable top.  Checkers on one side and plain on the reverse. It even came with a wooden checker set and four bar stools that nestle into the table, a perfect space saver.  This meant I didn’t have to purchase more stools because these can scoot up to the bar.  Remember tip #3, to think outside the box?  It dawned on me that this served all the purposes I was looking for. While the finish is a little formal for my outdoor space, I think I will ponder a paint finish for it to make it more casual or I may change the covering on the stool tops (think animal print!).  I styled it with my copper serving pieces, playing cards and a bowl of popcorn.  I can’t wait for our first game night.

cards and copper

popcorn cards and copperHere’s where tip #6 came in.  The top had a few scratches.  It was already marked down to the lowest price, but I pointed out the imperfections, that I was a frequent shopper and could take it right then.  The owner gave me an additional 10% off.

I did find the wooden bowl and candle holder.  Amy suggested I get both so I could change them out, or bring one inside the house for another look. They were perfect for the spaces I had in mind and can be multi-purposed for the seasons.

carved bowls

candle holder 3
Tuck some moss around the candles. I like LED candles because there’s no mess.

Booth of goodnessHere’s an example of things I didn’t notice when I was there that day. Look at that green grocery cart, the coke bottle holder and in the bottom corner the wooden rolling pins.  I may have to go back.  This was the booth I got the wooden bowl.

bowl of balls
Remember the Bakelite Billiard Balls
wooden bowl with shells
Imagine this bowl filled with pumpkins in the fall…

So, there are my six tips.  Be sure to stop over at Invaluable to check out their on-line sales of art, collectibles and antiques.  I’ve got more to share from my shopping trip, but I’ll save that another day.  Remember, I said I got the chalkboard…

Note:  I was not compensated for this post.  Just sharing what I’ve learned along the way…

Wednesday’s Weave — Copy What you See

cover of bookLast fall when I went to visit Sister Bee, all I wanted to do was be cozy in her mountain home and read books.  She had this book Style & Simplicity by Ted Kennedy Watson on her coffee table.  I immediately fell in love with his book and ordered by own copy right then and there.

This book is an “A to Z Guide to Living a More Beautiful Life.”  Every letter of the alphabet is represented in a how-to guide to decorate your home and entertain your friends.  Years ago, Sister taught me to copy what you see in magazines and books.  She was the original Pinterest.

Something struck a cord with me when I saw this photo in the book.  It was listed under Hydrangea…

book with page of balls

pool ballsA bowl of billiard balls.  How clever.  I tucked the idea away in my head.  A few days later, Sister and Miss Bee and I went antiquing in Capitan — home of Smoky Bear.  We were rummaging around and I saw a milk crate full of vintage billiard balls.  Heavy, nice ones with soft colors and not plastic.  I lugged the crate to the owner and asked her real kind how much. “Oh, how about $20 for the crate.”  Sold!  Of course, it cost about $40 to ship them home with the other treasures we found that day, but it was worth it.  I have been doing a little research and I think the balls might be Bakelite!

We’ve been adding covered entertaining space on our patio and I wanted to fill the space with fun, vintage, quirky finds and these billiard balls are perfect conversation starters.   All they needed was a good wipe down with a damp cloth. I found a carved wooden, long bowl at Hobby Lobby and filled it with my treasure. It was like it was meant to be because there were just enough to fill the bowl!

close up of balls

bowl of balls

pool balls and chair

I’m still searching for things and will be showing you more unexpected finds soon.  So, next time you look through a magazine or coffee table book, slow down and really take in the possibilities for your own home.

Home Tour — The Powder Room

By definition, a powder room is a small bath for guests with a sink and toilet, but not a tub or shower. My powder room has gone through the most makeovers in the house.   A tiny bath for just one person is hard to keep light and airy.  I’ve painted the walls, the ceiling, tried different art work, mirrors and finally I decided the only solution for this room was wallpaper.  And, not demure paper, but the type of wallpaper Blanche Devereaux would have (you know, the gal on Golden Girls?).

Powder Room

Growing up, my mother loved wallpaper.  At 4617 Meadowbrook Drive, my childhood home, we had a distinctive bamboo green and white paper in our entry way.  So it was probably imprinted on my brain since birth to have bold wallpaper in my own home.

It’s a light aqua blue, with a grass cloth texture and shimmery gold, bronze palm fronds.  I knew the minute I received the sample in the mail it was what a I wanted.

Powder Room above toilet

Powder Room (2)I added Mr. Bee’s collection of water color prints, each painted by his father of his childhood home in the Cotswalds of England – one large print above the toilet and four more prints on the entry wall.  I framed them in matching gold frames with a light blue mat.  It’s lovely to walk into the room and see my father-in-law’s signature on his art.

We installed a sink and cabinet from Home Depot.  A brass towel ring and toilet paper holder from Pottery Barn, a candlestick lamp, and fringe hand towels.  The mirror was Mother’s and is probably 50 years old.  I love the gold, ornate features.

But, something fun as an unexpected treat for your guests…

Powder Room Candy Dish

I placed a blue and white ginger jar on the counter and had my friend Megan Clegg calligraphy “Take One” on a tag sale sign..and when you open the lid…

bowl of cherries

A bowl of sour cherries!  One of my favorite things.  I thought it would be a nice gift for my guests – kind of like after dinner mints.  And another conversation piece…A bathroom guest book from Knock Knock — please sign in while sitting down.  My friend Terry has this book and I couldn’t wait until I got one for my powder room, too.Knock Knock Guest Book

It’s the funniest book…guests can rate your amenities, leave comments and doodles.  After a party I love to see what messages people left.

So, that’s the powder room.   Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Shelf Life

20160616_104539I had the fun opportunity to visit my friend, Jess, her husband and 10 month old baby for a few days and see her new home.  Jess was my personal trainer and we developed a wonderful friendship.  Sadly, for me, she moved away to be closer to her family in Missouri, but we have stayed in touch.

While I was visiting, she enlisted my help in decorating her new home. We decided to style her built-in shelves in her great room.  This room is one big room with her kitchen and dining area.  It will be the perfect space to entertain and gather for family meals.

One of my favorite things to do is style shelves.  I think it comes from growing up on Meadowbrook Drive.  Mother always had built-ins and she loved to stack books and treasures.  Jess was a willing participant and had an idea of what she wanted the finished product to look like.  We decided to go with items that had texture, varying heights, and looked like “found” pieces.  It was really important to Jess to use neutral, minimal color.  She is going to pull in color with pillows, a throw and flowers.

We started with the shelves like this…

Jess shelf start

Jess has only lived in the house a few weeks.  So what was put on the shelves was literally unpacked from a box and placed so the boxes could be disposed of.    Before we went shopping we snapped pics of the bookshelves to help us make our choices at Target one evening and Hobby Lobby the next day.

Once we got home with all the purchases, we cleared everything off the shelves and adjusted each shelf so they were varying heights.  We unwrapped everything and laid it out on the floor.  I also shopped her house for other items, in particular books.  A very simple trick for bringing color into your room, is removing the paper covers off your books to expose the spine.  I like to group books into color categories.  If it’s important to you to retain the covers, then put them away in a file folder to reunite them later on.  Jess didn’t care so we threw the covers away.

Here are some beautiful vignettes from her shelves…

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20160616_103808These gold pineapple bookends from Hobby Lobby were only $24.99.  Set upon a lucite base, they look very high-end.  See how we grouped the books with all the dark spines together?

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This was one of Jess’s books, a gift from her mother.  I loved it because each page held a different quote.  Another fun tip is to open your coffee table books to a beautiful page to add interest.  Turn the page when you want a new pop of color.  When her mother comes to visit, it will please her to know her gift is on display.

The mirror is actually for the wall, but in this case we used it as a tray. She can always change it up and hang it on the wall later.

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The frame (which Jess will fill with a photo later) was from Target.  We liked the wooden base.  I loved the message in a bottle and gold feather we found at Hobby Lobby.

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20160616_104200The galvanized “C” we will hang on the wall. Don’t be afraid to hang items on the backs of your bookshelves.  I placed a fun wooden sphere on a stack of books.  The lantern is one of my favorite pieces.  It’s chippy and looks like a found piece.  The best part is we bought a set of LED battery candles.  With a switch of a remote she can get beautiful candle light without the worry of a real flame.  The clock is also from Target and she will hang it on the wall, although, I like the unexpected touch of it leaning on the wall.  We grouped it with a frame and gold votive tea light.  When you are arranging decor, try to group items in odd numbers, like 3s and 5s.  If you look back at the beginning photo you will see we adjusted the shelves to be seven compartments.

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Anytime I can, I love to add the warmth of a lamp.  She had a outlet so I knew we could add this hammered lamp she spied at Hobby Lobby.  It’s silver, but don’t be afraid to mix it with other metals. Jess’s favorite piece of everything we found is the marble pear (which actually isn’t marble, but resin) placed atop a black candle holder from Target.

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The pottery plate and bowl, the vase and sculpture were shopped from her home.  Jess loved the idea of an orchid and it fit perfectly in the shelf as the tall accent piece.  I love the arrow candle holder we found at Hobby Lobby.  Again, we used battery candles. Jess is going to fill the bowl with green apples for a pop of color.  The beautiful, framed scripture came from Hobby Lobby.

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We found the gold sphere at Hobby Lobby, put it atop a stack of blue books. The LOVE print Jess already had and we grouped it with the coordinating wooden sphere.

Jess and her husband loved the finished product and I have to say I do too!  The room looked so put together and zen.  It will be the perfect space to relax.  I am really proud of well Jess did carefully selecting things and embracing the change of her space.  I can’t wait to return in the fall to help her again with another room.  Welcome home Jess!

Creative Uses for an Armoire

My friends at Chairish asked me if I would come up with ideas for creative ways to use an Armoire. That was a challenge I happily accepted!  I love re-purposing furniture and coming up with new ways to take something traditional and put a modern twist on it.

Let’s back up a little…what is an Armoire?Chairish Chinese Light Blue Storage Cabinet

 

By definition, an armoire is a tall free-standing cabinet typically used for clothing and storage.  It’s very popular in European countries to have an armoire instead of a closet.  In the 90’s, we saw a resurgence of using armoires for the television and media storage, before wireless brought the wall mounted television.

Chairish.com makes it fun and easy for design lovers to buy and sell vintage furniture and decor
to one another. Their shop exclusively features curator-approved treasures in a full-service and trustworthy
environment.  I had fun looking through all their armoire choices and I narrowed it down to three I really like.  I can’t decide so I am making this a three-part series…

Armoire Pool Side….

 It occurred to me that often times in the summer months, we stash things in those plastic pool benches, or have to lug everything from inside outside, then inside again.   Wouldn’t it be fun to organize all your outdoor entertaining needs in a stylish, pretty armoire?  Obviously, you need to make sure you have a covered space so this gorgeous piece will be protected from the weather.  This is just a concept to embrace.  A coat of marine varnish on an armoire could protect it from the elements.
  • Roll up your beach towels and either stack them on the shelves or stuff them in this fun Rugby-Striped Bin from The Container Store.  The beach towel is from Lands’ End.
  • Store noodles upright in the umbrella stand from The Container Store.
  • Pottery Barn is having a great outdoor entertaining sale.  Melamine is perfect for dining al fresco.  A jug of fruited water placed on the shelf inside the armoire means you won’t have to make trips inside for beverages for the kids.  Your friends can sip this recipe for a Pear-Basil Sipper.
  • Porch Parties is a charming book full of recipes and inspiration for outdoor entertaining.
  • Always make sure you have a generous supply of sunscreen available for guests.  You can easily store extra bottles and a first-aid kit in the armoire drawers, along with pool toys.
  • Lastly, I thought a chalk board would be fun hanging from the door knob letting guests know the pool is open!
Check back soon for Part-Two to see what armoire I choose next…Thank you Chairish for the fun homework!

 

Dressers: Not Just for your Bedroom Anymore

I love to paint furniture.  Since I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint a few years ago, I have several pieces in my house that I have restored using her fantastic paint.  But, I have to say, I am most proud of the restore I did on this dresser…


The French Provincial dresser belonged to Sister Bee and was part of a bedroom suite of furniture.  Then, it was used by my grandmother when my parents set her up in a little apartment.  Over time, it had yellowed and the paint on the top was peeling away.  But, I didn’t care.  I used it in all our bedrooms around the house.  It was always in the back of my mind to repaint her. Then, one day I was thinking to myself why do we always relegate the dresser to a bedroom?  Look at all the unused storage space just sitting in a guest bedroom.  So, we moved it downstairs to the entry way.  I plan to fill it with party essentials and seasonal decor.  The top right drawer houses all our pet supplies such as treats, leashes, meds, and their sweaters for walks.  Making it so convenient to be right by the front door.

Here are some before photos.  You can see how the furniture had yellowed over time.  My grandmother was a smoker and when I cleaned the piece with 409 before I painted it you could see years of dirt, smoke and just yuck coming off the furniture.

 Peeling paint on the top. 

I sanded the top where the peeling was happening just so I could smooth it all out. After I cleaned the furniture, I wiped down everything again with a damp cloth. Then, I gave it a light coat of Annie Sloan Pure White paint. I let it dry overnight.  The next day I gave it another light coat of paint.

For the hardware, I didn’t remove it and painted around it being careful to get just the right amount of paint on the hardware.  This photo shows a little of what I mean.  The first photo is just after I painted it on…

 The second photo is after I wiped it off with a damp cloth.

This is Mr. Wilson helping me.  The smaller the container, the better the fit.

After I finished painting, I let it dry for several hours.  Then I went around and sanded the piece where it would get normal wear — around the edges of dresser top and legs and by the drawer pulls.  I wiped the piece down again with a slightly damp cloth, and then I waxed it with Annie Sloan clear wax and buffed it with a clean, dry cloth.  The only feature that isn’t present anymore was the golden paint that ,when the piece was brand new, was in the crevices of the legs.  I may try to figure out a way to replicate the gilding without it looking to “perfect.”

Then, came the fun part!  Styling the top.  I plan to use this piece as a showcase to change out the top with the seasons.  Right now, I am feeling a blue rhapsody with blue and white pottery I have started collecting.

Add a candle and a pop of green with tiny apples.

I moved some lamps around and decided my Target Threshold beehive lamps were perfect for this dresser.

 I’m just really excited about how it turned out.  Now, to find something else to paint!