A Quick Upcycle

As we begin Project Lighten Up the Living Room, I was on the hunt for a clear or white lamp base to change up this green one we had on the sofa table. 

  
I love the style of this lamp but it just doesn’t fit the new decor.  As we hunted for new lamps, hubs and I couldn’t agree on anything.  Rule number one in our projects is that no piece is bought or redone unless we BOTH agree on it, so no lamp…

But then while we walked around The craft store the other night, I fell in love with this:

  
Hubs proceeds to say, “Hey, why don’t I just turn this into a light?”  I followed that with a, “Yeah right!”   I mean I know my hubby is good…but that good???

We bought the lantern, took a pit stop by the hardware store, hubs spent a few minutes in the garage…

  
Well well well….I was wrong to ever second guess the mad scientist!

   

    
 
I mean, what!?  You can’t even see the wires!!  Yeah, I am one lucky girl to be married to such a talented guy!  One project down and we are well on our way to lightening up the living room!!

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!

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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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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Hand Crafted Dog Bowls

It’s about time we did another project for the doggies!  Yeah, and we needed to use up some scrap wood….aaannnnddd….we had this ugly thing in our kitchen:

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Yes – that big ole, chewed up, drooled on dog bowl sits right in the middle of our kitchen walk-way…where everyone can see its ugliness.  Of course the girls need to eat, so it is kind of a necessity. But, after some serious complaining, I convinced the hubs that this necessity didn’t have to be an ugly eye sore! 

Here is how the design process went down:

Me:  Sweetie….is it possible…

Hubs:  No

Me:  wait…hear me out…we have a ton of scrap wood right?

Hubs:  No

Me:  Yes we do!  So anyways…I have been in love with this table that I have seen online.  See it here?

Hubs:  Hmmm….that is nice, but we don’t need a table.

Me:  I know, but is it possible…

Hubs:  No

Me:  Fine, I knew you wouldn’t be able to do it anyways.  I will just go out to the shop and build it myself…with YOUR tools.

Hubs:  Wait – what are you wanting again?

Hehe – it works every time!  It is true that I have been in love with a particular table I had seen online and we really didn’t need a table at all.  So I asked hubs if he could shrink it down to dog-size and we could replace the old ugly dog food bowls.  And really people….my husband is AMAZING!  Here is the outcome of that conversation, a little scrap wood, and a boring weekend…

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I mean – stop the train – that is the most beautiful dog bowl I have ever seen!!!  Our dogs are living high class now my friends.

Here is the low-down on how we took that pile of scrap wood and turned it into dog bowl beautifulness:

1.  Check out wood pile and find pieces to work. (See, plenty to work with there)

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2.  Make sure you have a supervisor on site.

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3. Rip the boards to the size you want – we used all 1 x 2 boards.

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4.  Measure, Cut, Measure, Cut

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5.  Glue the top pieces together and put a frame around the outside (the top measured 11 x 23)

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6.  Put a second solid piece under the slats on top for stability.

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7.  Center the bowls, trace them, and cut out the circle holes 1/4 inch inside the line you traced

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Intermission to show you how crazy messy our work table got during the project – whoa!

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8.  Check in with the supervisor. I mean it – just the most precious girl ever!!

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9.  Leave the rest of the building up to the genius, math-minded husband.  He was actually using the Pythagorean Theorem to find the measurements for the angles pieces…wowza.

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10.  Let the supervisor and her co-supervisor inspect the work (actually checking to make sure it wasn’t too tall…got a little worried for a second when it ended up being 16 inches tall instead of 14.  It would be horrible to have a beautiful dog bowl that your dogs couldn’t eat out of!)

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We got the 2dog stamp of approval to move forward with the beautification process.

11.  Sand and Stain to your heart’s content.  No pictures here because this is where the hubs left me to it!

12.  Wa-La – done – beautiful!  I am so so so happy with the finished project!  It turned out more beautiful than I expected.  I am no longer embarrassed by my dogs’ food-bowl – life is good Smile.

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Moving INto the 21st Century

Yeah….soooo….in our living room, we have this…

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It is the biggest, ugliest, piece of 80’s-ugly furniture that we own.  I mean look at that TV stand!  Black lacquer with silver embellishments…ugh…nasty.  Don’t get me wrong, it has served it purpose…for a long time, but it was past time to see this bad boy go.

The problem is that, as you see, this ginormous TV (that my hubs insisted we have) must sit in the corner of our living room.  We looked at some corner TV cabinets, but our corner is not even (much longer on one side than the other), and the corner cabinets we liked cost a fortune!  We are two teachers over here…with two dogs…and a TEENAGER….we are on a tight budget. 

So guess who came to the rescue!?  You guessed it, my amazing hubby!  He said “hey, I have an idea…” and the rest of the story goes smoothly from 80’s monstrosity to….

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I know!!!!  Isn’t it just PERFECT!?  And guess how much we spent on it…guess….$26!  I mean you can’t beat that for a solid real wood – perfect fit for your house – TV stand! 

Hubs had spent some time staring at that old TV stand (after I mentioned how I hated it, and it doesn’t match anything else in our house), and about 3 days later started building.  He started with scrap wood left over from making the wooden chest for our bedroom.

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He measured, cut, measured, cut, and cut some more.  I can’t believe he didn’t even write down ANY measurements!  He kept all the knowledge in his head!!  Crazy smart I tell you!

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(sorry about the shirtless teenager….it is REALLY HOT in Hotlanta these days!)

They nailed a few things together, took my suggestions for how to create the top piece, and did a little more nailing and finally some sanding.

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Of course all of this was done with our supervisor on site.

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Isn’t she just precious!? I just love that chocolate girl!  Anyways….back to the TV stand.

Hubs added some castors to the bottom, and stained it for a beautifully perfect finish!

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I can’t tell you how happy I am!  This TV stand looks beautiful in our living room, matches the rest of our décor, and was made by the hands of my amazingly talented hubby…all in ONE day!  We only paid $26 for the caster wheels and stain!  You can’t beat that deal!

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Yellow Fever

One of the reasons we started working in the “baby’s room” was to get a bunch of furniture out of our garage.  Yep, we have a lot of pieces that are special to us, and we knew we would want to keep them for our future nursery, but they were starting to pile up. Also, they were not being well protected in the garage, so we began the refinishing process and started getting these pieces out of the garage and into the newly painted baby’s room.

Our first piece has a pretty cool story…one of those “this was meant to be” kind of stories.

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Hubs and I knew that we wanted a long, low dresser for our future nursery.  We also knew that we wanted an antique, or at least a dresser that we could fix-up and paint.  We didn’t want a new model, we knew that for sure.  Because we have hunted for a dresser before (see our master bedroom dresser makeover here) we knew that it was a LONG process.  So we have been on the look-out for our perfect dresser for the baby’s room for about a year.  We have looked at the auction, yard sales, and Craig’s list with no such luck.

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About two month’s ago, our look was finally over.  Hubs’ sweet grandmother was moving out of her home and was having an estate sale.  We went over before the sale to see if there was anything we would like (we are super sentimental) before she opened the doors to the public.  You wouldn’t believe how excited I was when I saw this beauty sitting there waiting for it’s new home!

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I immediately fell in love with the way it sat up on legs (so I can vacuum underneath), the simple lines, and the tons of drawers.  It was perfect!!  It belonged to Hubs’ grandfather, and that makes it even more special to us.  We brought it home and it has been sitting in our garage waiting for some love.

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My boys put the dresser up on the work table and got busy creating a masterpiece.  They took off all the hardware, sanded the piece down, wiped it with a tac cloth, puttied the scratches, sanded again, and prepped the piece for paint.

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Of course we always have a chocolate helper while we work on projects, and this day was no different.  Willow found the perfect spot to chill on the lawnmower.  From here she could watch over the boys and keep an eye on the neighborhood at the same time.  Have I mentioned that I love this girl!?

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Back to the boys…a coat of white primer, then the wonderfully beautiful coat of yellow completed the paint job on the boys end of the work. Oh yea, Hubs pained the original handles with a coat of white too!

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I just have to say that I am LOVE with the yellow! Once the paint dried over night, I took the drawers in and used a sponge brush to paint white in the small details on the drawers.  This was very tedious work.  I had to keep Q-tips on hand to wipe off any mistakes quickly before they dried.  I am glad I chose to paint the detail because I think it completes the look perfectly.

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We added the final touch of putting the newly painted hardware back on the dresser, and placed it perfectly in the room.  I love how that yellow just POPS against the grey wall!  I must say that I love giving an old piece of furniture a new life!

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