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 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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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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Weekend Pinterest Project

I work with the most amazing people on the planet – every single one of them!  I work especially close with my little team of teachers that I think hung the moon!  The art, music, and PE teacher are my heroes!  They work with every little body in our building, teach them skills to make them well-rounded little humans, and love them the whole way there. 

I wanted to make sure that they know how much I appreciate them, so I put together a little “You Rule” gift for them (with inspiration from Pinterest of course!).

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I know!  Super cute, right!?  Very teacher-esque Smile.  I saw these ruler vases on Pinterest and decided to put a few together. 

You would be surprised how hard it was to find old-fashioned wooden rulers.  They have florescent ones, rubber ones, see-through ones, but no old-fashioned wooden ones!  I went EVERYWHERE, and finally found them at Target…for 30 cents each!  So I bought every one they had! Smile

We started by pulling out the small metal piece on the edges. Actually, I started by trying to just cut the rulers with the metal in there…bad idea…when metal went flying, almost in my eye, we decided to pull them out before cutting any more.

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Then I cut them to size with the miter saw.  I knew I wanted two small containers for pencil holders, and two larger ones as vases.  So I cut them on the 4 inch mark, which gave me one 4 inch piece and one 8 inch piece from every ruler.

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I used the hot glue gun to glue the rulers onto clean spaghetti jars (I love to recycle).  I had these super cool, square jars for the pencil holders – don’t you just love them!?

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My next step was to put painters tape about 1/3 of the way up the container and paint the bottom white or blue.

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Finally, I cut out and put together the pieces for the “My Team Rules” cards.  I used my silhouette, which we all know I LOVE!  I made sure to write a personal note for each of my teammates on the back of their cards.  Didn’t they just turn out perfectly sweet!?  I am so excited about delivering in the morning…I hope they love them!

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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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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.