Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kitchen Table & Chairs 2.0

It's been a few months since we completed this, thought I'd pop in to share! Remember back here when I talked about wanting to upholster my kitchen chairs? Well, I wasn’t brave enough to take that on myself when I have no idea what I’m doing... and I got a quote from an upholsterer - $250 per chair. Ummm... I wish, but no. Might as well buy new chairs! I looked around for chair covers but I knew that they would never look the way I wanted them to (professionally upholstered, obviously). My plans kinda died there.
So, I had been mulling an idea over in my head for the kitchen table too. I never liked the colour or style of the table (Proof: Exhibit A) but it is sentimental to me because it was my grandma’s. I got to thinking... what about a table facade?? Still with me? Basically, build a new table top that fits right over the old one. That way, I don’t have to change the one we have but I could achieve a different look, plus a little more surface area. Well, let me tell you... I searched and searched and searched the world wide web. You’d think someone would have done this before, no? Apparently... no. Therefore, I’d wing it. Plans are for sissies.

My basic idea was to get lengths of 1x8” pine and attach them to strapping on the underside, and then build and attach an apron that would cover the existing table apron. So I bought the pine, cut it to size, sanded it and beat it up. My tools of choice for distressing are a hammer and a bunch of screws and nails wrapped in a towel. That racket was probably really irritating for the neighbours... sorry neighbours. I decided what order I wanted the boards to be laid in (I like to mix up the grains). At this point, we constructed everything - attached the boards to strapping, made the apron and attached that. Because we were working with an existing table that this had to fit over, measurements were really important. We dry fitted the table a couple times and in the end, it was a perfect fit. Like, couldn't be more perfect. So perfect that we don't have to attach it to the table in any way because it's perfectly snug and isn't going anywhere. That never happens!

After that, I gave it a light sand and wiped it down. I applied Minwax Wood Conditioner (always, always use this when working with stain - makes your application so much nicer) and then started staining with Varathane Sun Bleached. Once I got to a colour that I was happy with, I let it dry and then started with Poly. I brushed on 3 coats (lightly sanding between each coat). And that was that!

While this was happening, I also painted the table legs and the chairs. This was nearly an EPIC disaster (something always has to go wrong, right?!).I decided this would be a good project to try out a paint sprayer and I'd been reading lots of great reviews about the Flexio sprayers. I picked one up from Home Depot and (very nervously) started with the primer - I'm just going to say right now, don't ever use oil based paints in a sprayer. In fact, why I decided to use oil based primer (Cover Stain) baffles me in the first place. What a cleanup NIGHTMARE that is. When I started, it was going okay but quickly it started spraying out in horrible globs. All over my chairs. I stopped, took the whole thing apart and cleaned it out, which was insane on it's own. Have you ever tried to spray paint thinner into a bucket. Ya, it doesn't happen quite like the instructions - it might end up all over your face, hair, garage floor and so on. Anyway. It was then that I noticed the nozzle had tiny hairline cracks all around it. Fantastic. I have never returned something to the store so fast, I practically threw it at the customer service girl. Sorry customer service girl. Unfortunately, the damage was done on the chairs. Horrible mottled paint finish. I didn't have it in me to sand it way down so I just started over with a brush. It was super tedious because of all those spindles and chairs have an insane number of surfaces!! I did 2-3 coats of primer and then 2-3 coats of Benjamin Moore Advance in White Dove. I like working with the Advance paint (I've talked about it before when I used it on my hutch), you just have to make sure you follow the drying time instructions and then allow at least 2 weeks of curing time. You will be sorry if you don't let it cure. Like I was after their first use. I had some repair work to do.

I also recovered the chair pads with this cute white ticking stripe. Recovering chairs is super easy and a great way to refresh their look. This is actually the second time I've recovered them. It's a cheap makeover! So, finally, here we are. Funny enough, when I was looking at these photos, I realized I've completely changed what's on the tabletop. There's a couple current photos at the end!
I've cleaned up all that crap in the corner. Embarrassing.
I will be back soon to post about Thanksgiving Dinner in the garage (again) this year. I swear.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Lately... oh, and Hashtag

It's not that often that I check in here anymore... but today, here I am! Super guilty of Instagram replacing blog posts... so you should follow me here if you want to keep up. Also, I'm in a major hashtagging mood - so... beware. Just a few bits and pieces to throw at you (aka #mostrandompostever)... just in case you think I haven't been keeping busy!! Here goes...

We re-organized our coat closet... here's the before #youmaywanttoscrollpast (sorry for the awful photos - such a tough area to get decent light!)
Yes, that top shelf has ripped out of the wall before. Why do you ask?
Rough, right? Eeeek. So, we moved the shelf way up because the closet goes wayyyyy up to 9 feet. If only I could reach that far. That added a bit more space so we could fit a filing cabinet (to replace those awful filing boxes - they ensured that I never filed because they were brutal for me to get at). The filing cabinet is the "Erik" from Ikea. Hard to believe that name is pronounceable considering it's from Ikea but it is! Anyway, it totally does the job. Kris custom built a shoe rack to fit in the left over space (he used pine, no plans and stained it Varathane gray).
Notice that the right side of the shoe rack actually sits on the baseboard so we could use every square inch of space?! He's the best! And now that top shelf only holds cleaning supplies and stuff we don't use often.
We got the deck all ready for Summer...  and my new Home Sense lantern has me aching to switch out the pillows for some neutrals (yes, I have changed them every year #igetbored)... just have to put up the globe lights again like last year! I desperately wanted to get some railing planters and fill them with impatiens but the baskets were going to be a fortune and impatiens are still unavailable thanks to last year's blight problem. Things just didn't go my way! Next year. I would love a rug too, but what's the point in buying a rug if you don't have the right pillows? Oh, the trials and tribulations.
Faithfully visiting my little corner store for flowers (ahem, bunches of peonies for $8).
Totally on the Rose (how do you get an accent on a Mac??) train for summer. So many delicious wines. Isn't this the prettiest bottle (yup, bought it for the label... total sucker for good marketing)?!
Re-grouted our ensuite shower #worstjobever. Next time I'll use a sledgehammer and get new tile. Grout is not fun to remove at all. Our grout has been cracked for some time and that shower gets heavy use so we had to deal with it. Pretty sure the grout consistency you see below is too dry. We also used Grout Renew and painted the grout that was salvageable. We have sealed and now need to silicone. Literally, this job has dragged on for 2 months and we have been living out of our tiny main bathroom. Awesome. Oh, and obviously I wasn't organized enough to take disgusting before photos #badbloggeraward
^^ Not my ugly foot (Kris' gross stomped on soccer toe).

During our re-grouting adventures, I went and bought a bunch of organizing containers. I love me some Dollar Store baskets, but god, they were ugly. So fancy acrylic organizers it was. Small pleasures, people.
Also during our re-grouting adventures, we pulled out the paint. Remember when I asked about this wall? And none of you helped me out?? Thanks for nothing. Except you, Jen. Anyway, I decided to stick with the wall colour on the rest of the floor and leave it at that. Reality is that we are moving sooner rather than later and I don't want to over-personalize the walls. But, I also learned that magic erasers are magic for scratched up walls (as long as you have flat paint). It didn't fix everything, but it sure went a long way towards reducing my painting load. Be careful if you try this... it can still leave stains on your walls and if you scrub too hard, it will disintegrate on your walls which is super annoying to clean up. But it worked for me. 
Also, I am the wall spackling queen. I am soooooo good at it. So good that I was able to spackle walls and patch them without painting the rest of the wall. Want to hear my technique? Of course you do. Once it's spackled, sanded and wiped down, I brush painted some paint on and then lightly sponged it with a dry cloth. It worked like a charm and you can't tell that I did anything. The paint wasn't even bought/matched in the same batch. Seriously. I am a miracle worker. #sendflowers

How disgusting is that wall??
Kitchen wall freshly painted!! No more pencil lines, splashes, scratches, denim stains (no names shall be given) and dents. It is amazing what some fresh paint does to a space, I swear. I painted all of the high traffic or beyond cleaning walls. Obviously, I couldn't stop there... I pulled out the trim paint and did a bunch of that too. SO MUCH BETTER.
I have an aversion to pre-made bouquets of flowers so I make my own... I mixed these bunches of snap dragons and spray roses and wrapped them up with a little kraft paper and white grosgrain ribbon. Pretty right? So easy, and much more personal. Just soak some paper towel, wrap the stems and put a baggie over it with an elastic band. Donezo. This was for my grandma on Mother's Day!
Oh, fresh bedding for $60. Thank you Ikea, I love you. Our white bedding was looking a little less than crisp.
Oh, I citrus stamped some tea towels!! I had a couple of housewarmings to go to and I thought I would do a "my favourite things" theme. These flour sack tea towels are my absolute fave (great for dish drying, big and lint free). I loosely followed this tutorial from Chelsea and made it my own... I used lemons and grapefruit (though I found the grapefruit worked better). Oddly, Chelsea had better luck with drier fruit while I had the opposite experience. My lemons were dry and made the paint go all chunky? Ick. I hand painted some complementary shades in after stamping to add some dimension. Heat seal them with the iron, and repackage - good to go! I think they're summery and fresh... So I made some for myself too. For one housewarming, I added some of my fave soaps with a cute cover from Bath and Body Works. For the other, a favourite bottle of wine since they are doing a winery trip this summer and a soap. I figure that these types of things are always usable!
And I pulled out my acrylic paints and canvasses... I was craving some colour for spring :)
And I can hardly leave you without a photo of some of my peonies!! #obsessed

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Opinions, please!

Okay... so there's a couple little things in the house that I am stumped on right now so I'm looking for your feedback!!

First up, our kitchen/dining chairs:
I recovered the seats several years ago with the material that you can see pictured, but the spindle backs really bug me. I don't want to paint them, so I thought maybe I could cover the chair backs with a linen-like fabric to make them a completely upholstered chair like this...
Pottery Barn London Chair
Restoration Hardware Hudson Collection
Restoration Hardware Martine Upholstered Side Chair
BUT, I can't find a tutorial anywhere, or even anyone who has done it... so what do YOU think? Can it be done? And if so, how? I have a basic idea in my head, but really not sure if it will translate and I CANNOT ruin our chairs!

Next up, this wall in our kitchen:
Previously, you've seen our chalkboard hanging here... But I feel like it's a bit awkward. I actually have wallpaper that I have had since I bought the house, but I've outgrown the style. I would love to make this a feature wall, maybe something like:
  • A black wall (?!?!)... but afraid that it will suck the light out of the room
  • A printed wall like this (I kinda love that it's done with a sharpie!):
via Vintage Revivals

So, pleeeeeease tell me what you think and share your ideas!!