DIY Greek Key Trim Curtains

The master bedroom slash office has been my pet project for the past month. It’s still far from done, but I’ve changed more in the last month than I have in the past year. It’s gratifying to get something done, right?

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I’ve had plain white IKEA curtains up since we moved in. When we moved into this house (which has LOTS of windows), I just went with white curtains everywhere because 1) They’re cheap at IKEA, 2) I didn’t have to think about it too much, and 3) White goes with everything. White does get a little bland though, especially in this room where I don’t have anything up on the walls yet. So I decided to glam up the curtains a little bit with Greek key trim, inspired by this image from Pinterest.

Did you know that Greek key trim is expensive? Especially the 3″ wide trim I was looking at, especially enough to do 4 curtain panels? Then, I found this awesome post by Bethany at Dwellings by Devore and I found my solution! She simply ordered a few yards of Premier Prints’ Towers fabric, which has a Greek key-inspired pattern on it. She cut the fabric into strips, folded over the raw edges, and sewed them to the edges of her curtains. Genius!

I ordered 3 yards of navy Premier Prints fabric from Fabric.com (at just $8 a yard) and did just that. Tadaa!

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The office area, which previously looked like this (with my newly refinished desk):

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Now looks like this:

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(I still need to put the closet door back on the wall to the right; please disregard that for now!)

The bland wall on this side of the room is livened up a little by the graphic trim, though much still remains to be done…

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A headboard, for example, would be nice. (Psst, instructions for building the DIY king-size bed frame are here).

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There’s a lot of projects coming up here. I’m switching out the small lamps for larger scale ones (another DIY), and I’m bringing in more navy accents to pick up on the curtain trim and that blue pillow. I’ve also ordered the fabric for the headboard…just need some time to make it now…

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And some art or other decorative element above the bed. But definitely something simple. I like the spare, serene feeling in here and don’t want to lose it.

What do you think of my little budget Greek key trim update? An easy way to bring a graphic element into a room, right?

P.S. My love affair with navy blue shows no signs of abating…

Sharing at VintageRevivals, TheBlissfulBee, TinySidekick!

Refinished MCM Desk

I love January. If only because I feel like I’ve gotten more done in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past 3 MONTHS! We’ve really been on a roll in terms of getting on projects that have been dragging on and finally finishing them up.

For example, this midcentury modern desk was given to us by Chris’ parents several months ago. I immediately loved the clean lines, but I wasn’t so keen on the scuffed and stained desktop.

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I actually didn’t mind the blond wood finish but all these marks needed to go:

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This desk is NOT solid wood, sadly. The desktop is a thin wood veneer. I thought that I could still sand the finish down so that I could re-stain it. It was a very delicate process. In retrospect I should have applied a stripping product to it first, but in my impatience I just started sanding away. I sanded down most of the stains and then applied Minwax Jacobean, a dark espresso stain. It hid most of the remaining stains.

Here’s the final product.

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As you can see, on the drawers I ended up sanding through the veneer at certain points (the darker spots on the drawer fronts). The wood beneath took the stain darker. So it’s not perfect but I really don’t mind the dark spots. They just look more weathered.

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I sanded the main body of the desk and I painted it with an oil-based primer (Zinsser Cover Stain) which in my opinion helps to cover bleed-through better than water based. Its superior sticking power also provides greater durability on an already-finished surface. Then I used Behr Alkyd paint (I can’t remember the color but it is very close to white) for a final two coats. And yes, you can put water-based paint over oil-based primer.

I love Alkyd paint for furniture applications. It’s the same paint I used on the kitchen table:

Painted Round Table

Water-based alkyd paint dries to a super hard finish just like oil paint but it’s less toxic and cleans up with water. It has better self-leveling properties than regular latex and goes on super smooth with a brush. It also doesn’t dry tacky like regular latex paints can. These paints are fairly new, but I think they will become more and more popular.

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I finished the stained portions with oil-based polyurethane (applied with a brush). I love that stuff, even though it is super stinky (be sure to wear a ventilator rated to filter VOCs). It dries so smooth and glossy and is super durable.

So now the little office nook in the master bedroom is starting to take shape. The only problem is that this desk is quite small, and the AWESOME vintage office chair I picked up doesn’t fit under it very well:

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I seriously love this chair and consider it one of my greatest estate sale finds. The faux leather is in PRISTINE condition, and the frame is made of a beautiful wood that looks like teak. The previous owner had it in the den and must not have sat there much. It doesn’t even need to be reupholstered. I wish it worked with the desk but the desk is just too small to accommodate those lovely curved arms. So either I sell the chair…or I change out the desk. And after all the work I just put into the desk, I’m a bit loath to get rid of it!

Oh first world problems…

 

Sharing at TwelveOEight, TheBlissfulBee, SavvySouthernStyle, TinySidekick, MissMustardSeed, Remodelaholic, TatertotsandJello!

Simplifying Mantel

I’ve been busy doing a big January purge this last week, as I’m sure many of you are. I actually cleaned out my fridge for the first time in…well, let’s just say, WAY too long. I purged a bunch of clothes (mine and the baby’s), cleaned out one of the master bedroom closets (and we built shelves for it, which has given us a LOT more storage), cleaned out my pantry, and started clearing out space in the “attic/loft” storage area.

As part of this purging process, I’ve started to crave simpler decor. I mean, having lots of knick-knacks is nice but sometimes the best-looking house is just a minimal, neat one. So for example, in the family room I changed up the decor on the fireplace mantel to make it a bit more monochromatic and simple. This is how it looks now.

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Whereas this is how it looked before:

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It’s quite a bit less busy now and more restful to the eyes.

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I pared down my milk glass collection to just a few favorites.

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I’m not a fan of fake flowers in general but these gold eucalyptus branches don’t even look like they’re TRYING to be real, so they’re ok (plus they were $1 a stem on clearance at Michaels).

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As some of you may have noticed, we got a new chair. The “modern” wingback is from the IKEA as-is section marked down from $300 to $150. It was in great condition and we wanted a chair for that corner so we got it. After several parties where we had people sitting on the FLOOR in that corner we realized we needed to get a chair there.

It is definitely quite a bit darker than I would like, but with a toddler using this room as her playroom, it’s just safer and more practical. Crayon, pen and food stains practically disappear into the dark fabric. The family room is our “comfortable” room, not our “showcase” room haha. Plus I can always sew a slipcover for it someday if I decide I want to brave such a big project =). It is actually a really sturdy and comfy chair.

Chris is totally going to roll his eyes at me, but I’m thinking of switching up the pillow covers to keep them a little more consistent with each other in color. I might head over to Home Fabrics this afternoon to see what they have.

Do you feel an urge to purge in January? What have you been doing?

Sharing at Remodelaholic!

DIY Bed Frame Plans

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After over a year, our DIY Bedframe continues to be one of my most popular posts, and finally I’m getting around to putting plans and dimensions up to help you build it.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be better about providing tutorials and plans when I promise them. I won’t always be able to provide detailed instructions for every project, but when I say I will, I should do so in a timely fashion. I’m finding myself playing catchup from last year’s projects, so please bear with me.

I’ve been pretty intimidated by Google Sketchup in the past but my patient husband is slowly teaching me so I’ll be able to create better and more accurate drawings. It is really an amazing program (and it’s free) that allows you to visualize something you’re building (even draw a 3D model of an entire room to scale).

Anyway, I’m sure you’re all eager to stop hearing me blather on and get to the good stuff.

The Bed that Chris Made

Step 1: Create inner frame

Bed frame 2 interior dimensions

The structure of the bed was created using an inner frame of 2×6″ and 2×4″ lumber (although in reality lumber measures 1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and 1 1/2″ by 3 1/2″, as reflected in the plans). The whole inner portion was put together using framing nails and a nail gun. Most of the nails were shot in from the ends. Some of the middle pieces had to be attached using nails fired in at an angle (toe-nailed).

Step 2: Attach outer frame

Bed frame 2 exterior dimensions

The outer frame pieces were attached to the inner frame using screws drilled through from the inner frame. You may need to adjust the measurements of the outer pieces based on how tightly the inner frame fit together, so you may want to hold off on cutting the side pieces until you’ve measured.

Feel free to adjust the height of the legs depending on how thick your mattress is and how high you want to be sleeping.

If you’re using a foam mattress, you’ll want to cut a piece of plywood or MDF to make a solid platform for the bed.

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And that’s pretty much it! It’s a pretty simple design, so hopefully I was able to communicate how to do it.

Note: Please double check the measurements against your own mattress and adjust accordingly. We custom made this bed according to our IKEA king-size mattress, which may be slightly different from yours.

Sharing at DIYShowoff!

DIY Steel Pipe Light Fixture

My husband is amazing.

I know, gag. Get a room, people! But seriously. He is amazing. Not only because he is an extremely good husband but also because he is an incredibly talented DIY-er, designer, all-round handyman… He is very creative and he has the spatial reckoning skills to really do something with his creativity.

I already showed you the wine rack he built me for Christmas, and this was kind of a bonus New Year’s gift that was installed just in time for our New Year’s Day party.

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Boom! This amazingly awesome industrial DIY chandelier that he made out of steel pipe and fittings.

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Behold the beauty, my friends.

Well, to take a little credit for myself (hehe), we worked on the design of this light fixture together. Chris came up with the long H-shaped concept, which we thought would work well with the length of our dining room table (also a DIY, by the way). I weighed in on the design by making each section a slightly random length to keep it asymmetrical and more modern-looking. But really, Chris was the mastermind here.

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Once the design was hammered out, Chris ordered the fixture parts online (from Zorotools.com, but they’re available at Home Depot too if you want to look at them in person) and simply screwed them all together once they arrived. The assembly literally took less than an hour.

Here’s a diagram if you’re interested in re-creating this chandelier:

diy chandelier diagram

A) Nipple,1 1/2 x 2 In 1
B) Floor Flange,1-1/2 In 1
C) Reducer,1-1/2 x 1/2 In 7
D) Tee,1/2 In 9
E) Square Head Plug,1/2 In 4
F) Nipple,1/2 x 7 In 4
G) Nipple,1/2 x 6 In 2
H) Nipple,1/2 x 3 In 2
I) Nipple,1/2 x 1 1/2 In 6
J) Pipe,1/2 x 24 In 1

 

Of course, wiring the fixture, the switch, and the fixture box in the ceiling took a little longer. I’m not going to tell you how to do that. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone accidentally shocking or electrocuting themselves. So, hire an electrician, or if you want to DIY you will find tons of tutorials online on how to wire a light fixture.

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Me likey.

Chris spray painted the porcelain bulb sockets black before wiring them. We sprayed the whole thing with clear lacquer to protect the exposed steel (after wiping off the protective oil with some mineral spirits). Right now the light sockets are just sitting inside the fittings. We’re not sure how to attach them yet but we’re thinking silicone caulk might do the trick.

UPDATE: An awesome reader who happens to be a house inspector recommended using 2-part epoxy to glue the sockets onto the frame. Here’s what he said:

I would recommend using 2 part epoxy. It actually will set better with heat and bonds almost anything and can handle heat without deterioration.

Thanks, Bob!

The cost for the pipe/fittings was about $38. The ceramic light sockets were free, since we re-used ones from an old ceiling fan that came with the house, but there are similar ones available at Home Depot for around $3 each. The lamp wire is sold by the foot at Home Depot at about $0.40 a foot so about $8 total. The spray paint and spray lacquer cost about $6 total. So for about $70 (actually less for us since we already had the sockets) we have a unique chandelier that costs less than half the price of comparable light fixtures.

Note: We used these budget-friendly lightbulbs. They are incandescent but we figured that since we will only be using this chandelier for meals in the dining room, we didn’t need to splurge on dimmable LEDs.

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Here’s a wide shot of our dining/living room. There’s the DIY dining room table Chris built (yes, I know many of you having been clamoring for a tutorial on that…it will come…someday). There are the Goodwill chairs we reupholstered and that we are planning to refinish soon. There’s the Craigslist sofa and the L-shaped sofa table we built behind it. Far in the left corner there’s the green dresser I painted.

Oh and not to mention the sliding glass door we installed (yes, cut a hole in the wall and everything). This room is truly a testament to DIY.

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DIY pipe chandelier

Sharing at SavvySouthernStyleTheBlissfulBee, Remodelaholic, TatertotsandJello and DIYShowoff!

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