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!!

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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!

A Quick Rainy Day Upgrade

Yesterday we decided to do a quick upgrade to our basement.  Yes, our basement is pretty much done with any updates we can do, but we still have the stairs…ugh…the carpeted stairs.

IMG_5092Our ultimate goal is to get the carpet off the stairs and change them over to wooden, but right now we just don’t want to make the mess. One little thing we CAN go ahead and do is take down the ugly railing…and give it a facelift!

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“What!?  What are y’all doing now?  No – you can’t do anything without the three of us in tow.” 🙂  My crazy photo bombers!

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So the hardware got a coat of spray paint and a little time with my dear friend the DeWalt Sander, a coat of our favorite stain, and the final coat of varnish on the wooden rail…

And you have a beautiful little upgrade.  It just adds one more little piece of character…a little piece of us!  We love it!  Now to dream for what’s next!

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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!

5 MInutes that will Change your Holidays FOREVER

I am really not joking!  I just completed a project on the fly that will change my holidays forever!!

So if you are like me, every year you get all these amazingly beautiful holiday cards from all your family and friends.  I love looking through them, seeing their beautiful families, and displaying them for the season.  But then I have this huge internal struggle every year right around January 1st.  I start to take my decorations down, pack them up oh so carefully, and store them away for the year.  I always save the card holder and cards for last because I just don’t know what to do with them.  Some years I threw them away…feeling guilt all along the way because I also send out cards and know how much time, money, and love was put into the effort of sending them out.  I finally couldn’t take the guilt any more and just started saving them in gallon Ziploc bags, telling myself “I will find a way to use these in a purposeful way”. 

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So that was great – no more guilt about throwing away holiday cards…but now I had a new problem.  I now had three years worth of holiday cards starting to take up a shelf on my craft table.  Um, Hubs already gives me crafting boundaries so these cards had to find a purpose…today!  I mean I really need that highly valuable craft retail space for other projects!

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So here comes the 5 minutes that will change your holidays.  I literally made this little project in 5 minutes, start to finish for BOTH years!!  I started by stacking all my cards from the same year together.  I put the largest sized card on the bottom of the stack, and my personal family card (I always keep one copy) on the front (as the cover so-to-speak).  And then I just hole punched them all!

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I punched holes in ALL my cards from that particular year, the family pictures, the bi-fold cards, the child-made cards…all of them.  Then I just lined up the holes, put book rings through them, and set them up on small plate holders!  Ta-da!  A perfect way to display our cards from year to year.  Now we can go back and look at them like a book each holiday when we get them out for display.  It will be so fun to see how our family changes on the cover, and how all of our other family and friends have as well.  I even know the perfect spot to start displaying them!

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Oh yeah – and as an after-thought I noticed that I am the only looser that doesn’t put the date on my personal holiday card!  So I just flipped over the first “page” and wrote the year on the back.  This way when I am super old and can’t remember anything (like this Christmas probably) I will be able to know when each group of holiday cards were very first enjoyed.

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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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