Category: Home Decor

Another Refinished Table (This one’s a Pedestal)

It’s so funny. A month ago, we were eating off the coffee table in front of the TV because the dining room table that Chris built was not quite done (the top needed to be bolted down and we were waiting for the polyurethane to finish curing). The kitchen table was also MIA. We had sanded down the top and it was sitting in the garage waiting for its new finish.

Now, we have not one, but TWO newly finished tables. I am kind of in heaven.

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This oak table was passed down to us from Chris’ parents. Honestly, I’ve always loved it, even in the original finish. But after having it for a while in the kitchen with the honey oak floors, it was just looking too oaky. I wanted to have an airier, lighter feel in the breakfast nook.

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It started out like this. Pretty typical oak furniture from the 70s. Solid oak top, solid oak pedestal. The only thing not solid wood was the apron around the tabletop, which was plywood with veneer.

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I held out for a long time because I felt it was a shame to paint solid wood, but I eventually decided to go for it. Life is too short to hold on to something that isn’t working. The color just wasn’t my favorite. I also knew it wasn’t worth much because I’ve seen almost identical dining sets on Craigslist for $100.

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I waffled back and forth on the finish I wanted. Originally I was thinking of doing the whole thing in white paint, but we were worried that a painted finish on the top wouldn’t hold up as well as a stained one, so we decided to sand down and refinish the top.

It was so awesome that the tabletop was solid wood because we were able to sand the heck out of that thing! We rounded the lip of the top and sanded the whole thing down to raw wood with the belt sander. A belt sander is a powerful tool. There was still a tiny bit of stain stuck down deep in the grain but it just turned out to add extra dimension to the finish.

I used one of Minwax’s new colors, Weathered Oak. It’s a slightly grayish oak stain, not as yellow as before. Finished it with 3 coats of Varathane oil-based polyurethane in satin for a strong finish.

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On the apron and pedestal I brushed on two coats of Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain Primer. I needed something really stain-blocking to keep the old finish from bleeding through. Then one coat of Behr’s Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel. I can’t remember the color but it is very close to white (Update: The color is Rushmore Stone). It probably could use another coat of the enamel but that’s a job for another day. The Behr Alkyd Enamel went on super smooth and is not tacky at all, which I love.

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As you can see this table is meant to be pulled apart and there are a couple extra leaves that can be inserted. However, we’re only really going to use it as a round table since it’s in the little breakfast nook. And now we have the new dining room table if we need more room.

I was thinking of painting the chairs too, but now that the table is painted, I kind of like the darker wood finish in contrast. What do you think? I’ll leave them as is for now until I decide what to do with them. I am not a huge fan of the shabby chic look and in every picture I’ve seen of those pressed-back spindle chairs painted, they are distressed and too shabby for me.

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Oh yes, the table is sitting on cut-up Trader Joe’s bags because I don’t want the paint to stick to the floor. It probably wouldn’t (the alkyd isn’t tacky) but just in case. I’m going to get felt feet for it one of these days.

This weekend I’m planning to tidy up around the house and decorate for fall. Then maybe I can show you some full room pics, haha.

Have a great weekend!

Camilla

 

Linking up at TatertotsandJello, MissMustardSeed, TheShabbyCreekCottage, DomesticallySpeaking, Remodelaholic

No Closet Doors, No Problem!

Although Baby Brownie isn’t in school, there’s something about Fall that makes me want to organize. To start things over. To make a place for everything. To nest. During the summer we’re so busy doing things, going out, enjoying the weather and freedom from routine, that the house gets cluttered and at some point there’s a breaking point. I start to actually get ON the organization projects that I’ve been putting off.

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I’m not a naturally organized person. I like to call my house situation “creative chaos”. I tend to accumulate clutter so it’s nice when I have places to hide them away from plain view.

Baby Brownie’s closet was one problem area where the clothes, boxes of wipes, diaper pail refills, etc…were starting to pile up, and you could see it all. This is an old picture from over a year ago, even before it started getting messy.

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Eventually we want to get real doors for the closet but in the meantime there are so many other projects (new insulation and siding for the house, fixing up the loft guest room…). I picked up a shower tension rod from Walmart and hung it up with some outdoor curtains I bought last year from Lowe’s on clearance (for $6 a panel!).

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The grommets allow the curtain to go all the way to the ceiling, making it look a little more natural and less “hey shower curtain!” Now my little munchkin has a new hiding spot. Which can be kind of worrisome when she’s completely quiet in there and I can’t find her. She usually comes out and says “boo” when my voice starts getting frantic.

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I asked Chris the other day when we were putting the baby to bed, “Do you think her room is too colorful?” I thought maybe there are just too many colors; perhaps it was overkill. His response, “She’s a kid, of course it can’t be too colorful”. Ah well, that’s all right then. Tee hee. I do love colors.

See the rest of the colorful nursery tour here.

Inspiration for the Loft / Attic Bedroom

When we bought our house, one of the selling features was a loft space above the family room that was advertised as a “fifth bedroom”. In reality, it was not a usable space. It smelled of urine from an animal that had been living in the eaves under the roof, it had hideous stained carpet, and it had two open “holes” hemmed in by pony walls that looked down into the family room. I know, I just totally grossed you out, but that’s reality when you buy a fixer, folks!

We fixed the animal problems and now it’s a matter of ripping out old drywall, re-drywalling, framing in new closets, and then putting in flooring, paint, all those things.

While trolling Pinterest, I’ve been taking note of inspiration photos of attic bedrooms. Our loft is right under the roof (although it was an addition on TOP of the original roof) so it is technically an attic space, with dormer windows and sloped ceilings. Here are a few of the ones I’m drawn to.

cottagey guest room

via Pinterest

Attics tend to be dark and lack windows because they were never meant to be bedrooms, but I love the skylights in this one above that flood the room with light. I also notice that many attics are painted white, keeping the space lighter and airier.

rustic sweet attic

via Pinterest

This room is so rustic, sweet and whimsical. I can just imagine a little girl climbing out the window, down a tree, and on to magical adventures. (Though that would be totally unsafe, says the mom in me.) I love the different shades of wood tones that bring so much texture and warmth into the room.

twin beds in dormer

via Prairie Perch

A great use of space in a dormer. How fun would this be for two little girls?

all white attic

via Pinterest

I think an all-white space is a little too stark for me. I love color and warm natural wood. But there’s no denying white makes the space seem brighter.

yellow and white attic

via Pinterest

Again, a little monochromatic for me. I like a little more warm wood and more colors. But I love the oil-rubbed bronze metal and I like the board and batten on the walls. An easy way to get a more cottage look without having to go all-out with planking the walls.

And I can’t forget the awesome attic renovation by The Natos.

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From The Nato’s

An awesome real-life attic renovation on a budget. I love the secret little mini rooms hidden in the dormers.

white attic with chandelier

via Country Living

I actually love the idea of putting a chandelier in the attic. Why not?

So after looking at all of my favorite attic pictures, a few elements seem to be consistent. White walls. Some kind of cottage wall treatment (either battens or planked walls). Warm wood floors. Layered wood tones. Oil-rubbed bronze. Small pops of color.

I’m excited.

Toy Organization in the Family Room

The other day I had a little mom date with a friend after the babies were asleep (the dads stayed with the kids) and we went shopping at Daiso, a Japanese discount store that’s pretty common in Orange County (there are 3 that I know of). Yes, because that’s where we go for fun now. To a Japanese dollar store! I picked up these three cute little bins for $1.50 each.

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I don’t know if Daiso stores are common in the rest of the country, but I love them! They have so many cute items, many of them are much nicer than what you would get at a regular dollar store, and everything is $1.50 unless otherwise indicated. Cute little food containers, Japanese-style bowls and plates, adorable stationery, and pretty much every functional molded plastic item you could imagine. I also got a pair of baby chopsticks for Baby Brownie, a pinwheel, and a few Japanese drinks (cans of green tea were $1)…

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I had kind of been wondering for a while about what to do with the short cubbies in the Expedit media unit in the family room. We don’t have a whole lot of electronic components, just a blue-ray player, so I wanted to fill up the rest of the space with toy storage so Baby Brownie could reach. These bins were perfect for storing small toys and balls that would otherwise get lost in her big toy bins.

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In the left bin, I store a few diapers and a small package of wipes for when I need to change the baby on the go. Like when she’s playing and she’s got a full diaper and she refuses to have her diaper changed in her room because she doesn’t want to stop playing. She will literally run away and hide! At least now I don’t have to drag her kicking and screaming back to her room.

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In the tray on the right I have her peg puzzles stored as well as her magnetic drawing board and some sticker books. It helps to have them right there at eye level. Baby Brownie can see them and get them out herself and play independently. The baskets also hide the unsightly cords from the TV. I’m still figuring out what to do on the top shelf to hide the cords. The blue-ray player does get quite hot so I don’t want to put anything on top of it.

So now the family room is a little bit more organized. This room is pretty much Baby Brownie’s playroom so it’s nice to have it be a bit easier for her to access her toys.

(Under $100) Flush Mount Lights That Aren’t Ugly

The ceilings in our 70’s-era tract home are just under 8 feet. So one of the challenges we’ve discovered in renovating is that we have had to replace a lot of flush-mount ceiling light fixtures. Specifically, a lot of brass ‘boob’ lamps. Kinda like these, but imagine them in shiny 90’s brass:

boob lamps

Why is it so hard to find flush mount ceiling lights that aren’t ugly???

In my search for flush mount lighting I’ve been dismayed at the lack of cute flush mount fixtures out there. Almost everything is a boob or a version of a boob, and most of them look dated and/or boring. That, or they cost several hundred dollars. Hmm…under $100 is more my cup of tea. So I thought I’d bring together some of the fixtures I’ve been considering in case any of you are looking for cute flush mounts on a budget too.

So here we go — stylish flush mount ceiling fixtures under $100!

flush mount light fixtures collage

1. World Imports Schoolhouse Semi-Flush Fixture (Amazon,$49.06): Schoolhouse style lights are classic and are really trendy right now, and luckily they’re not expensive. This one is available from Amazon but I’ve seen it at Home Depot too. It would look totally cute with a couple stripes painted on (perhaps with nail polish, a la Little Green Notebook).

2. Hampton Bay Edgemoor Semi-Flush Mount (Home Depot, $89.97): This may be technically a semi-flush mount but it seems pretty close to flush, so this might work in a space where you’re tight on clearance. I’ve seen this at Home Depot in person, and the black finish looks a little cheap, but I think the Moroccan trellis shade would look awesome if you could spray paint it a warm antique brass.

3. Hampton Bay Oxnard Nickel Flush Mount (Home Depot, $44.97): I love how this light can look clean and modern in the original brushed nickel finish, but imagine it spray painted a vintagey brass (I know, I have a problem) or even oil-rubbed bronze? Suddenly it would look totally vintage steam-punk. Check out how The Hunted Interior transformed hers.

4. Vanadin Flush Mount (IKEA, $39.99): I was so excited when I saw this new fixture at IKEA, and at such a great price too! I picked one up for our front entry. It has a great vintage-modern look with its white glass shade — almost like vintage milk glass reinterpreted into a lamp. It’s a little blah with the white base but I plan on painting that…you guessed it — vintage brass.

5. allen + roth Castine Outdoor Flush Mount (Lowe’s, $79.98): Who says you can only use exterior lights indoors? For some reason outdoor flush mounts have more variety — you’re not just stuck with endless variations on the boob lamp. Plus, the more industrial look is in now. I love the seeded glass and oil-rubbed bronze finish on this one.

6. Simple Classic Pendant (West Elm, $69): I think these simple white round lights would look awesome in a midcentury modern-style home, especially in a series. They totally have a Saarinen tulip table vibe.

So if you’ve been discouraged because you’ve been looking for a flush mount fixture for your low ceiling, there are some stylish options out there! Don’t settle; go out and get yourself one!

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