A Little Beauty

As we are starting to grow our little hobby business, we got the privilege of taking on the restoration of this little beauty.

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This piece stole our hearts the second we laid eyes on it!  Such beautiful detail, solid wood, and lots of years of love shown through on their little beauty.

This piece was also super unique in that it opened as a desk on the top!  Super cool!  You can tell from the images above that she needed a little love…

Her owners really didn’t know what they wanted to do with it, they just knew that it needed a little help.  They left the restoration in our hands (I know, super trusting right?!).  As we worked on bringing her back to life, we keep saying “Man, we should offer to buy this piece from them!”

We sanded and re-stained the top, and slide out pieces.  We gave her a couple coats of gray paint, and finished her off with an antiquing glaze.  Gave the original hardware a coat of paint and put her back together.  Still in love!

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Wow!  We have to deliver her back to her rightful owners this week, but man we sure did enjoy working on bringing this beauty back to life!

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If you have a piece that needs a little love, we would be happy to take care of it for you!  Check out our For Sale page to see how to get in touch with us!

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Trying Something New (for us)

If you know us…or have even read part of our blog…you know we LOVE antiques!  I am especially in love with antiques that have a family history.  Take a peek at this beauty…

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Hey – be nice!  Yeah, so she is a little worn and torn, but that is what makes her so beautiful!  She has a long history and many stories in those scratches.  This dining hutch belonged to my paternal grandparents, and was then passed down to my parents.  This hutch is part of the dining set that I remember growing up with!  She held all our precious things like grandmother’s china, my first tooth, my brothers first haircut clipping, our piece of the original UGA hedges, etc.  She has been moved from state to state, house to house. Hubs and I think she is PERFECT – she just needs a little CPR to be brought back to life!

The poor gal was covered in scratches (from kids and cats and dogs and who knows what else) and the handles were falling off from her move up here from Florida.  She was definitely looking a little rough, but Hubs and I could see the beauty underneath it all.

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We started by taking out all the drawers, taking off the cabinet doors, and taking off the hardware.  When I pulled a drawer out, I saw this beautiful company stamp and stopped to do a little research (don’t you love smart phones?! – get answers to your questions right away where ever you are).  The Temple Stuart Furniture Company began in 1910 and ramped up production of furniture after WWII.  This particular factory closed down in 1960. We are not sure the exact age of this piece, but we don’t really care.  We are more in love with the memories that she holds in that beautiful wood grain….now to bring her back to life!

We started with the belt sander to get all the varnish off the top.  We then used the hand sander to bring back the beauty of the original wood grain.

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We chose to go with a Dark Mahogany stain on the top of the hutch to bring out the beauty of the natural wood grain.  Then we covered the top with three coats of a spar varnish.  I plan to protect that pretty wood…I also want to use this piece as a serving hutch in our basement and need a durable top to protect it when we put food and drinks on it.

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Once we stained it, there were a few nicks and scratches that didn’t come out, but I am IN LOVE with them!  It leaves a little character to the old lady.

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Now for the bottom – um, we were nervous about this one!  This is the first time we have tried to refinish an antique and actually give it an antique look.  We usually give our pieces a nice clean finish that makes them look new, but with this one we wanted something a little different.  We were worried about getting started because the top looked so beautiful.  We didn’t want to mess up the bottom…but there is nothing you can do but just dive in…so that’s exactly what we did!

We started by lightly sanding down the doors, drawers, and sides.  The goal was just to get the “gook” off and scuff up the surface, not to take it all the way back down to the original wood since we would be painting it instead of staining it.  (Above:  2 pictures on the left are before sanding, top right is after sanding)

Next came the paint…Ugh…this was a difficult decision.  You can see that we bought paint + primer to hopefully take less coats (we did two coats), and you can also see that I changed my mind after we already had the paint mixed!  Thank goodness the paint guy was in a  great mood today.  He remixed my “Touch of Grey” to “Saddlehorn Grey” because I thought the first mix was way too light.

The paint went on great!  Truth:  At this point in the process I still think the paint is too light.  You can see the nice contrast between the dark stained top and the lighter bottom, but I was hoping for more gray.

Now for the super scary part!  We bought two types of antiquing glaze and tried them both on a scrap painted piece of wood first.  We have never used this type of product before, so Hubs had spent hours researching how to use it.

Both products went on easily and achieved the type of look we were going for, but the Rust-oleum was a brown tint, and the Valspar was a black tint.  We went with the Valspar for this project.  Sorry there are no pictures of the process to apply the glaze…we were nervous…and it is a FAST multi-step process.

  1.  Apply the glaze all over your product with a foam brush, making sure to follow the wood grain and get in the nooks and crannies.
  2. Use a shop towel (no lint) and wipe off the glaze.  Leave the glaze where you want it…like in the edges and creases.
  3. Use a damp sponge to clear the large surface areas of excess glaze.
  4. You have 15 minutes to work with the glaze.  If you wipe away too much, just re-apply and re-wipe.  The hardest part was trying to keep each piece somewhat consistent on the “look” and amount of glaze left on the piece.

Here is a before and after of one of the drawers with the antiquing glaze:

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I was so worried, but in the end I really love the overall look!  We continued on glazing and wiping to finish the drawers, doors, and cabinet.

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After the coat of antiquing glaze went on, I am actually kind of glad we went with the lighter grey.  It darkened it up a little and added so much character that I don’t think we would have seen on the darker grey.  Plus I have a happy husband that didn’t have to go back and have the paint remixed a third time.

Hubs wanted to give the top of the hutch an over-the-top finish.  He wet sanded the dry varnish and gave it one last coat, then buffed it to the perfect shine…the result was a glass-like finish on the top!

 

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We sprayed a protective satin finish clear coat over the entire piece.

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The hardware was our final dilemma.  At first we liked the natural patina look of the handles and we were just going to clean off the hardware and reattach it.  But once the drawers were finished and we held the hardware up to it, we decided the color was way off.  So off we went to 3 stores hunting new hardware…no luck.  Nothing would fit the pre-drilled holes (of course).  So we ended up with a can of Rust-Oleum spray paint, and back to the original hardware.

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We are so pleased with this refurbished piece!  I just love that with a little bit of elbow grease, you can take something old and tired and turn it into a beautiful piece that will last another 70+ years in the family! (sorry for the bad lighting in the basement…these pictures really don’t do the finished piece any justice!)

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If you are looking to have a special piece of your own refinished, check out our For Sale Page to see how you can get a quote for us to do the elbow grease work for you!

And just because….Don’t you just love my little blogging partner?!  He has made his own little spot on my grandmother’s chest in my office.  It took me a long time to heal the heartbreak of loosing my Enzo, but I have finally let Gauge into my heart…man oh man I love this wild child!

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A Bathroom Overhaul + a Barn door Bonus

Since we were on a remodel roll, we decided to re-do the upstairs bathroom before Nina’s arrival.  (Nina is a foreign exchange student from the university in Germany that will be living with us and studying teaching for a few months – we are super excited she is here!) We started with this regular old builder grade bathroom.  If you keep up with our blog at all, you know that builder grade just isn’t our style…at all.  So we demoed it!

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We wanted to model this bathroom after the spa bathroom we did downstairs, but this bathroom is MUCH larger and needed it’s own look.  We did use the same flooring (because I love it so much) and the same shower curtain and white towels, but everything else turned out a little different.  In the end we kept the same “spa feel” in our thoughts as we redecorated, and I am thrilled with the final outcome!

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This sink bowl and faucet are probably my absolute favorite thing in this whole bathroom.

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Decorating this leaning shelf was so much fun!  I got to put so many awesome memories in this space, along with some perfect little antiques.

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This is my hotel soap bowl, and a super sweet, super special gift that Nina brought us from Germany.  This is a little stuffed lamb that she said is exactly what all the lambs in her area at home look like (with the black face and ears).

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I have a weird obsession with blue antique mason jars…not the new dyed ones, the real deal faded ones from back in the day.  In this one I store cotton balls, and the jar next to it holds sand from one of our couple of vacations to Cape San Blas, Florida.

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Joe picked out this super beautiful Koi fish. (Many of the attributes of the koi symbolize several lessons and even trials individuals often encounter in life. The koi fish has a powerful and energetic life force, demonstrated by its ability to swim against currents and even travel upstream. Some of the characteristics associated with the koi include:  Good fortune, Success , Prosperity, Longevity, Courage, Ambition, and Perseverance)  I love all the wonderful meaning behind having a Koi in your home, so we are proudly displaying it in our new bathroom.  Next to the koi you see another blue mason jar with my Q-tips, and a jar full of sand from Jamaica. 

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You may recognize this precious  little bird candle from the antique store in Cleveland.  Yep, I love the smell so much of the one in my office that I made Joe drive me all the way up there to pick up another one for our bathroom.  And this antique medicine jar holds sand from the Bahamas.

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When it was all said and done, I couldn’t have been more happy with the final outcome of the new upstairs guest bathroom.

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And because we can….

We went ahead and completed another small project for the basement.  Our laundry room door has been a pain in the patoot because it opens up into our outside door and causes a big ole door traffic jam!

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So I have wanted to transition it to a barn door for a long time.  For Christmas last year the hubs got me the track for the barn door and we just needed to build a door….so today, with Nina’s help, we did!

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Pretty awesome huh??  I mean, I am pretty much in love with the new laundry room door!!  A big thanks to Nina for jumping in on her first home improvement project!

Bathroom Overhaul

As most of you know, this winter we had a water pipe bust and flood our basement.  The entire basement had to be gutted and redone.  The room with the least damage was the bathroom, but we figured if everything else was getting an overhaul we might as well fix up the bathroom too! 

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This is mostly a guest bathroom so I wanted it to have a spa feel…a lot less “college dorm room” than it was before.  My absolute favorite part of the new bathroom is the wine crate shelving Hubs made out of a couple of crates we picked up at the local antique store.

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Antique Treasures

A few weeks ago, I shared with you a fun little antique trip that we took with our dear friends.  While we were there, we picked up two super fun little antiques to add to our home.

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My first, very happy, find was the large tractor spring.  I have been hunting for one of these for a long time!  I wanted the spring to hold incoming and out-going mail.  This bad boy weighs a ton, and I lugged it around in my purse for the day, but it was totally worth it!

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Our second find was super cool, but definitely not something we were looking for.  Hubs had been eyeballing these old copper fire extinguishers, but they are very pricey.  And to be honest, it is one of our few antiques that doesn’t really serve a purpose other than decoration.

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BUT, when we came across a vendor that had it marked as half the price of what we usually find…and then had her whole booth marked another half off of that, we couldn’t pass it up.  And it actually makes a pretty great cup holder 🙂

We love finding these little treasures that we can add to our home to make it our own.

Big Reveal ~ Wine Closet

**It’s a long one…with lots of pictures…get ready :)**

I have a problem…a pretty big one…and I am ready to admit it to the world.  I am addicted to the blogosphere!  I see so many cool ideas and I have such a talented husband, that I have no problem trying to recreate them in my own home.  Some people say that it’s kind of cool that I actually follow through and complete projects (big and small), but my husband my think otherwise. 😉

So I shared my plans for a wine closet with you a while back.  I have seen so many cool wine cellars that were transformed from small closets and I just had to have one in my house!  I had the perfect place to do it too!

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At the top of the basement steps, in our main hallway, we had this mess of a linen closet.  Really you could call it a “catch-all” closet!  It was a waste of space and I could see the wine closet fitting perfectly there.  We started, of course, by cleaning out the space and starting with a fresh slate. (We won’t talk about where everything went…)

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While I was cleaning, Hubs started by building the bar-top table.

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After installing the bar-top, we lined the center of the closet with cedar tongue and groove planks.  This isn’t smell-a-blog, but I wish it was right now!  Every time I open the wine closet I get a whiff of cedar and I LOVE it!

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The main focal point of the wine closet was the large wine-rack.  Hubs did a lot of research to try to figure out the best plan for our little space.  I was pretty pleased with the design he finally came up with.

He started by building the basic box, then fitted the diagonal inserts.  Having the triangle shapes makes it easy to stack and organize my bottles.

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I worked on staining the wine rack to match the bar-top.

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Now it is time for the finishing touches.  Do you remember this wine bucket and pulley that we picked up at the antique market?  Well, it makes the perfect set-up for holding that special bottle of champagne.

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We also picked up this beautiful sterling silver bowl at the antique market, and we are starting our collection of corks.  On each cork I write the date and occasion for consuming that bottle.

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Hubs added a glass rack under the top shelf to hold our new and antique wine glasses.  We also finally found a special place for the sterling silver Wine Cooler that we used in our wedding.

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We are very proud of the final look!  Now we can’t wait to travel around the southeast, visiting and touring wineries, and growing our collection. 

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Antique Inspired Handmade Custom Lighting

Hubs and I are so super excited to share this spontaneous project with you.  When I say “spontaneous” I am not even joking!  This past weekend, we were introduced to an amazing antique experience in Monroe, GA.  This 55,000 square foot Cotton Mill (originally built in 1892) has over 400 booths and even the floors make me drool over everything old, rusty, and beautiful!

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While we were there, we picked up a couple of little treasures (which I will share with you soon).  We also ohhhed and ahhed over the super cool and unique lighting that was all over the building.  The problem was that a single pendant light costs upwards of $75 – $80+ each.  So as I pouted, Hubs came in with his usual “I can make that!” statements….yeah right, I thought. I should have known better…

On Sunday, we took a little trip to the Home Depot (on a whim – “just to look”) and Hubs came out with a couple lengths of black piping, some fittings, three cheap pendant light kits, and a vision.

On Monday night, Hubs came home from work with the basement lighting over the pool table looking like this (booo builder grade!).

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And by bedtime….it looked like this!

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OH MY GOSH!!!  I LOVE IT!!! First off, can I just say that I have THE MOST AMAZING and TALENTED Husband in the world!!  He really has so many talents and I am so blessed!

So after you ignore the stupid stickers that I haven’t gotten off yet (I was so excited to share the light that I didn’t get to that yet), don’t you just love it!?

Hubs took the three lighting fixtures, spliced and connected wires, and measured everything to go through the pipe exactly how he wanted.

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Then we hung the light fixture, and it was nice and all….but the middle light wouldn’t work….uh oh.

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So we took down pieces and re-worked wires.  It started getting a little tricky when the sun went down and we were running out of light….in comes the head-lamp to the rescue!

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I spent a lot of time on the pool table holding everything in place…my arms are killing me now, but the final outcome was totally worth it!  We added antique-looking light bulbs and rusty old bed springs to complete the look.

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So – what do you think!?  When we priced fixtures like this online, they were upwards of $400….we came out of this project for less than $150!  We think it is the perfect little touch of our style to the basement!  Not bad for a project on the fly!