Category Archives: Furniture

A First Date With Chalk Paint

I’ve seen almost exactly 257 pins and blog posts about different chalk paints and the various projects that folks do with them.  Last Sunday morning I decided I wanted in on the chalk paint game.  This is how that went…

diy chalk paint stool makeover

If you remember (and thanks if you do), I bought a little sample of chalk paint during my visit to Fort Worth Vintage Market Days.  The brand is Oh Lola! Vintage Paint and the color I got was “Antique Egg Blue”.  I really wanted “Marseille”, a delightfully buttery yellow, but Yadi (the owner) said she sold out of that early.  I wasn’t surprised.  That yellow was hot.

Fort Worth Vintage Market Days

Anyway, when I bought the sample, I was already pretty much set on using it to update this pathetic little stool I had sitting around.

chalk paint stool makeover

You know the one.  Most of us have had or even still have one of these.  That sad little $10 blonde stool sold by that one huge retailer.  I actually got mine from the same warehouse sale where I bought my file cabinet that I painted.  It was maybe two bucks or something.  It seemed to have a checkered past, judging by the nicks and paint spills.

chalk paint stool makeover

Chalk paint was the perfect match for this stool.  If you didn’t already know, you don’t need to prep your surface when using chalk paint.  No sanding, no priming.  Just a wipe down to remove dust and dirt.  Also known as a lazy Sunday project dream.

So I broke out my tiny Blue Hawk brush and got to work.

chalk paint stool makeover

The first coat provided awesome coverage.  It was thick but not gloppy, and a tiny bit went a LONG way.

chalk paint stool makeover chalk paint stool makeover

I went ahead and did a second coat (after an hour long nap) since there were still bits of blonde wood poking through.

chalk paint stool makeover

This next part was a random idea that popped into my head after my nap.  I let the second coat dry for a couple of hours and then broke out my hot glue gun and a ball of polished hemp rope.  I marked the middle of the seat, glued the rope down and started working in a spiral from the center, gluing as I went.

chalk paint stool makeover chalk paint stool makeover

Always be careful with your glue gun, kids.  I’m currently sporting a less than sexy blister on my wrist.  Sometimes my arms get flail-y.

The final step was to pad the feet of the stool.  I was going to use some felt from my craft stash, but since I was already in the rope-spiraling mood, I went ahead and made cute little spiraled hemp foot pads.  I really did that part just for me, unless you want to come over and turn my stool upside down and take a look.  In that case, I did it for us.

chalk paint stool makeover

The stool ended up being a little more “farmhouse” than I expected, which isn’t really my style, but I kind of like it’s simplicity.

chalk paint stool makeover

I’m still not sure whether it has a permanent spot in my home, but I did enjoy making it!  The chalk paint was a lot of fun to use, and I’m excited to have another go at it.  I’ve got more than half of my 8oz sample left (I only needed about 3oz for this project) and I’m sure I’ll find a good use for it.

If you decide to try this yourself, you’ll need less than one ball of polished hemp rope (you can get it pretty much anywhere – even the dreaded W), a glue gun and about 20 glue sticks, chalk paint, a paintbrush and a smidge and half of patience.  Definitely doable for the novice and experienced DIYer alike!

What do you guys think about chalk paint?  Love it, hate it?  Do tell…

DIY Mid Century Style Nightstand

For the last couple of years, our nightstand situation has been pretty sad.  We’ve been using two mismatched tables of similar sizes that were way too short for our bed and matched zero things in our room.  For about 18 months, I searched craigslist, garage sales, flash sales and flea markets for an affordable matching pair, to no avail.  So I finally took matters into my own hands and made some my dern self!

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I mean look at our old ones.  The brown one is a hand me down that needs some TLC and the black one is a $5 goodwill purchase.  They’re so sad I didn’t even give them a thorough cleaning before taking this picture… #keepinitreal

Before Adding New Nightstands

Each of them could be restored / refinished / fixed up somehow and be functional and cute, which I may just do one day.  But they won’t live in my bedroom.  They’ve been pushed to the side for our new mid-century style nightstands!  So here’s how I did it…

Wait – first, you should know that you’ll see lots of safety tips in this post.  I used power tools and chemicals when I made these bad boys, and feel a moral obligation to tell you not to cut your fingers off, sand your hand, or breathe in nasty fumes.  So you’ll have to live with that.

Anytime I take on a big project like this, I like to plan it out on paper.  It usually starts with a shabby sketch of what I want the end result to look like, and that’s followed by a series of measurements, math problems, and budget notes.  See?

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I ended up modifying my plans a little bit…  As you’ll see in this post.  Also, I have pretty bad handwriting but since you’re polite I know you’ll look past that…

Here are the materials I used for each table:

  • (2) 20″ x 20″ x 3/4″ pine boards
  • (2) 20″ x 8″ x 3/4″ pine boards
  • (4) 16″ tapered legs (by Waddell Manufacturing)
  • (4) angle top plates for the legs (also Waddell)
  • (8) 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ dowel pins
  • (28) 17 gauge x 1″ nails

Each board got an all over sanding to clean up some of the rough spots.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

As one should, I started with coarse sandpaper and worked my way up to extra fine, using my Black and Decker hand sander.  Here’s where the safety police drop in for a second…

Always be sure you follow manufacturers instructions and take ALL safety precautions when using power tools.  When I use my hand sander, I wear thick rubber gloves, my eyes (goggles), my ears (earplugs) and a dust mask.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I was originally going to try my hand at Minwax Polyshades with these guys, but when I got to the hardware store, I saw a discounted container of Watco Danish Oil in a pretty Dark Walnut and went for it.  I’d heard good things about it before and was eager to try it out.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

Danish Oil is serious stuff, folks.  Again, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you use this or any other varnish.  This stuff can spontaneously combust (yes you read that right) if you dispose of your rags incorrectly.  So read the package, and then read it again and then mind what it says, k?  And for pete’s sake protect your eyes and hands when you use this stuff.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I loved working with the Danish Oil.  You only need two coats of it, and it leaves a beautiful finish.  It soaks in more rapidly than stain, and you have to use a bit more elbow grease, but there’s none of that wipe-off nonsense happening.  Not nearly as messy as stain!

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

Once the Danish Oil fully cured, it was assembly time!  Dowel pins helped to keep the cubby space in place before I nailed it together.  To accomplish this, I busted out my drill.

The safety police are back!  Use protection when you use power tools!  Follow your manufacturer’s instructions!  I wear my eyes AND heavy duty rubber gardening gloves when I use my drill.  Safety is sexy!

Wish me luck as I try to explain this…  Using a 1/4″ bit, I drilled four holes on the top surface (the inside surface?) of the bottom board.  Two on each side, the first was 5″ from the front edge and the second was 5″ from the back edge.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

Then I drilled holes in the bottom of the side boards again at 5″ from the front and 5″ from the back.  From there I was able to stick the pins in the holes, which held the side at a right angle to the bottom.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I used a tiny dot of gorilla glue on the ends of the dowel pins for extra security.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I repeated the same process with the top, so it would be held in place securely when it was time to nail everything together.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I used 14 nails on the top and 14 nails on the bottom to secure the top and bottom to the sides.  The nails when in 1″ from the front edge and were spaced 3″ apart, so each side got seven nails.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I went for angle top plates as opposed to flat top plates so that the legs would have that slanted, tapered look that’s so iconic to mid century furnishings.  I secured the top plates to the bottom of the cubby space about 2 1/2″ from the sides so the legs wouldn’t stick out well beyond the edges of the table.

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

Three coats of Polycrylic later, this little guy was ready to take his place in our room!

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

Now let me be real with y’all for a minute… As I was nailing the top board in on one of the nightstands, the board split.  Womp womp.

See how the board I laid on top of it doesn’t lay flush in the middle (white arrow)?  That’s because the 20″ x 20″ board it’s sitting on is split all the way down the length of it on the inside and is hanging by a thread (yellow arrow).  Major sad face.

Broken Table

I had a little cry about it, and then took a few days off from the project to focus on other things and clear my mind.  The truth is, I noticed the crack as I was sanding it, and thought that if I handled it extremely carefully it would be ok, especially once I got some Polycrylic on it.  The crack was so small that I couldn’t even get wood filler into it.  Sadly, it didn’t survive.  You can’t win them all, though.

DIYing wouldn’t be any fun if there weren’t bumps along the road.  I like challenges and the nightstands were one of the bigger ones I’ve taken on recently.  I’ve bought new boards to replace the broken cubby, and am excited to complete the second nightstand soon, hopefully successfully!

But enough about all that, here’s a good ol’ before and after for ya:

DIY Mid Century Modern Style Nightstand Tutorial

I think it turned out great!  Exactly as I had it in my head.  Nice and simple with a mid century modern vibe.  Way better than it’s predecessor!  We just got a new duvet during West Elm’s online bedding sale, so I’ll post an updated picture when that comes in (it’s on backorder right now – boo).

So what about you guys?  Have you built your own nightstand or table?  Or maybe you had a huge setback like I did?  Did you cry, too (humor me)?  Do tell…

Craigslist Catch: Mid-Century Dining Set

So I’ve been really busy the last couple of weeks between my 9-5 and home projects… I’ve got a really fun DIY to share with y’all soon!  In the interim, I thought I’d show off another of my Craigslist Catches.

I’ve posted about a couple of my gems from Mr Craig’s list, like my mid-century style dresser

Mid Century Modern Dresser

…and the file cabinet that I painted.

File Cabinet Redo After

This find, I am particularly obsessed with proud of. Check out our dining set:

Mid Century Dining Table and Chairs Found on Craigslist

In reality, it’s those sexy cantilever chairs that tugged my heart strings.  Note: we have clearly added a jute rug and rearranged the living area since I snapped the above iPhone pic.

Mid Century Wooden Cantilever Chair Found on Craigslist

The table itself is your standard rectangular dining table. The supports for the leaf somehow became damaged so the previous owner bolted it together underneath, meaning it doesn’t expand any more. But I doubt it would fit in our dining area if it were any longer than it is.

Back to the chairs. These things are in about as good of condition as secondhand furniture comes. There is a bit of paint on one of the chairs but methinks it will be easily removed.  Here is an obligatory detail shot.

Mid Century Wooden Cantilever Chair Found on Craigslist

I’ve spent hours (seriously like 12 total) trying to find information on these chairs online. There isn’t a maker’s mark on any of them. I have only ever found one set exactly like them online, and what I found was an outdated sales listing.  And it only listed them as “mid century style cantilever chairs” which, sadly, was not new information to me.  So these chairs are either extremely rare, or so irrelevant that no one has put anything online about them.

Mid Century Wooden Cantilever Chair Found on Craigslist

But even if that is the case, that’s ok, because I didn’t buy them for the value or their relevance in the design world.  I bought them because the instant I saw them I was in lurrrve.  Are you ready to hear the price?

(drumroll…) $40.  Yep, that’s $8 per piece, folks.  I actually paid $50 for them in the end.  I saw the listing last October (yeah I’m a bit behind sharing this…) when we were in New Mexico on vacation. I offered the seller $10 extra to hold the set for me until we got back to town. Worth. Every. Penny.

The new dining set replaced our old one, a World Market set that we got at a garage sale. It was scraped up, a bit wobbly, and even missing some of the seat slats, so I’m glad to have this sturdy, classy new set in its place!

World Market Folding Table and Chairs

World Market Folding Table and Chairs

I am thinking I’ll refinish the chairs in a slightly darker stain (something in the walnut family), and possibly even paint the table a punchy color, a la this, this and this.  Either way, what we’ve got right now is definitely an upgrade to what we had if you ask me!

Mid Century Dining Table and Chairs Found on Craigslist

Craigslist can really be a great source for secondhand treasures, but it really takes some dedication.  It’s true that I’ve had some great successes with Mr Craig but there have been countless times where my searches have been fruitless.  The key is patience and low expectations, kids!

So, what do you think about this Craigslist Catch?  Love it?  Hate it? Votes on what color I should paint the table?  Do tell…

A Tale of Two Tables

I like to work with what I’ve got.  It’s a budget-friendly way to make fun updates to our home.  And that’s just what I did to two secondhand accent tables!

DIY Accent Table Makeover

Now, the first in this “table tale” actually got it’s original makeover almost a year ago, before I started this little site.  Lucky for you, I have pictures!

What started as a black framed glass-top table (sad)…

Before - Sad Little Glass Top Accent Table

Got a sassy new geometric top thanks to a stencil and spray paint (happy)!

After - Happy Little Glass Top Accent Table

Basically I printed out a geometric pattern that I loved, traced it onto some Martha Stewart stencil film with a permanent marker, used an X-ACTO knife to cut the pattern out of the stencil film (while binge watching HIMYM), and stuck the film to the underside of the glass top so I could paint over the pattern.  Make any sense?  Maybe these pics will help…

DIY Geometric Stenciled Table Top

Tip: I find that using an old gift card to smooth down stick-on stencils really helps to ensure that there aren’t any bubbles and the stencil is firmly in place.

I started with a few light, even coats of gray spray paint…

DIY Geometric Glass Top Table

Then I carefully pulled the stencil off (while the gray was still wet) and gave the entire thing a few light coats of white.  What resulted was a pretty geometric pattern on the underside of the glass!

DIY Geometric Glass Top Table

DIY Geometric Glass Top Table

I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to paint the frame or not, so I resolved to live with it as-is until I could make my mind up.

Fast forward several months later and I am definitely feeling that the black frame is too harsh for our living room and just doesn’t look right.

In the meantime, I had acquired the little orange accent table.  I bought it because the price and shape were right, but I wasn’t feeling the color.  I like orange, I just don’t really have a desire for it in my accent tables.  Plus this little guy had some scratches and dents…  Don’t mind that awkward vase – I have no explanation for it.

Before - DIY Matching Accent Tables

With furniture, color is almost never a deal-breaker for me.  Most pieces can be sanded and painted or re-stained, and it’s so fun to customize something to my own taste!

The funny thing is, these tables got together by pure chance.  I never even considered sticking them next to each other until we put up our Christmas tree.  We stuck them by the front door behind the couch to get them out of the way, and that’s when the light bulb went on above the ol’ noggin.

I decided they both wanted to be yellow since we have yellow in other places in the room, and the (formerly) orange table would get a gray top, so it would play well with the gray and white glass top on the other one.

I primed them both with Zinsser B-I-N (my favorite); the black frame with spray and the orange table with liquid.

Primed Metal Accent Table Frame Primed Wooden Accent Table

I’ve mentioned before that I have a weakness for the Lowe’s Color Studio samples, and the paint used for this project was no exception.  They were part of the Lowe’s Color Studio Fall / Winter 2013 pallet.

Valspar Delightful Moon / Cathedral Stone

Delightful Moon / Cathedral Stone

I ended up hand-painting both tables.  I know what you’re thinking – wouldn’t it be easier to spray the metal frame instead of hand paint it?  The answer to your question is absolutely yes it would be easier.  But I couldn’t find a spray paint that I could be certain would match the Delightful Moon, which I was swooning over.  And I’m a bit OCD about things like that.  I needed an exact match.  The black frame took three coats of paint and the orange accent table only needed two.  No progress pics of the black frame, so imagine me laying on my floor with a foam brush in hand carefully and painstakingly painting the thing, k?

DIY Painted Accent Table

Now before I go further I want to take a minor “non”-stance on something – many people cut their latex paint with a thinner (like Floetrol) or use oil based paint / lacquer to minimize brush strokes.  I don’t mind brush strokes on some things, and this table falls into the “some things” category.  The brush strokes are barely even noticeable.  If it were the focal point of the room I may be singing a different tune…  But it isn’t, so I’m not.

Let me go back a bit, the orange top needed a little pizzazz, since it’s geometric counterpart was so fancy, so I opted to use the same textured wallpaper I used on our media stand, my frame in my cubicle and the frames above our bed (which I’m still not in love with).  I cut the wallpaper to fit the top before I painted the table, and when the table was primed, I soaked it and stuck it to the top.  I waited 24 hours before attempting to paint it, and then this happened:

DIY Accent Table

I must have taken the wallpaper out of the water it was soaking in too early.  I can’t seem to find the instructions, so I suppose I threw them away.  Fail.  But no matter, Mod Podge to the rescue!

I went ahead and painted the base of the table yellow, and then mod podged the wallpaper to the top (I used the gloss finish, because it was what I had on hand and therefore free).  It worked perfectly!

Once the mod podge dried, the top got three coats of Cathedral Stone.  As with many paint jobs, it was looking a bit funky after the first coat.

Accent Table Makeover

But by the third coat it was looking great!  I wish the gray translated better in pictures – it reads really lavender here but its very cool bluish gray in person.

DIY Accent Table Makeover DIY Accent Table Makeover

The tables fit perfectly between the couch and our front door.  I really wish I could put a cute sofa table there, but then the fella and I would be seriously lacking in the walkway department.  These were never intended to be long term pieces, but now that they’ve gotten a face-lift, I may change my mind!  For now, they’re perfect for us to set mail or our keys on when we walk in the door.  How about one last pic before you go?  Here is the final before and after:

Before and After

How do you work with what you’ve got when you decorate or organize?  I do love sharing creative ideas.  Do tell…

Craigslist Catch: Mid Century Dresser

One of my favorite pastimes is browsing Craigslist for secondhand furniture. If you put in the time, use the right search terms and exercise patience, you just might get lucky enough to get your hands on a gem! And so it was for me with my most recent Craigslist Catch.

I’ve been searching Mr Craig’s List for some quality Mid-Century pieces for our bedroom for months now, and haven’t had much luck. Most of it has been out of my budget and the pieces that I could feasibly afford we’re either way too far away or gone by the time I replied. The Atomic Era, she’s popular. But recently the stars aligned. See, both of the fella’s jobs require uniforms (meeeow) which means he has tons of shirts and undershirts. And someone in the house won’t let go of any of her concert shirts and painting clothes. Yeah that’s me. Anyway, the fella gave the green light to look for another dresser on Craigslist and lo and behold:

Mid Century Modern Dresser

I know its a muddy pic, but isn’t she wonderful?! The sleek lines… The original hardware… And my newly found furniture source let this beauty go for only $160!

Turkish (head of quality control in our household) tells me the dresser passed all of his quality tests, so obviously it’s a keeper…

Turkish Conducts Quality Testing

Now what to do with it?  It’s wood veneered.  I really would like to stain it but since its an older dresser I’m afraid of killing the veneer by sanding, even if I go verrrry easy on it.  I’ve been playing around with the idea of painting it green.  Remember that fabric I bought for the bench that didn’t fit?

Retro Style Fabric

I used it for something else in the room, and that’s what steered my brain to green.  Here are the three main colors in the room.

Current Bedroom Colors

And here are the colors I’m currently crushing on.

Greens for Dresser

I’m on vacation as I type this, so I have plenty of time to mull it over in my brain.  I’m just really loving that a green hue is fitting to the style of the piece and also ties in with that great fabric!

Anyone out there have any thoughts?  All opinions are always welcome!  And who else has a story about a Craigslist Catch?  I know I’m not the only one who spends an hour a day on that site.  Do tell…