Monday, June 27, 2011

Living Room Ideas and a New Desk

My husband came home with a gorgeous chair a couple of months ago that sparked a desire in me to build a writing desk to accessorize it.  Knowing I was going to put that desk in our living room, rather than our den, I decided to give the whole space a redo. 
First, the desk.......I used table legs that I salvaged from an old table, so, no cost for those.  The top is constructed of four 1 x 6 planks that were 4 feet long.  I used inexpensive pine from Lowe's in the lower grade section.  This is good wood, you just have to look through it and make sure you don't get warped boards.  It has more knot holes than the more expensive pine, but if you are going to paint it, that isn't a concern.  The entire desk cost me just under $30 to build.  A very similar version of this desk sells at Pottery Barn for $600!!  I don't know about you but that's a little out of our budget.  :)

To build the desk, I followed the same plan as my rustic kitchen table.  However, since I wasn't going for a rustic style with the desk and instead, a more polished look, I attached the apron (sides) to the inside of the legs at the joint (instead of the outside) using L brackets, as shown in the photo below, very similar to how I built my dining room table.
For extra stability and sturdiness, I also inserted 2 large screws down through the top of the table into the top of each leg, pre-drilling the holes first.  Since this would be a painted desk, I sunk the screws, filled with spackle and sanded the entire piece, after completely dry, for softer edges.  This is how the table looked before I painted it. 
The table legs were previously stained a dark walnut, so before I painted them white, I primed them with spray primer so I wouldn't need so many coats of white paint.  I painted the entire piece with Valspar ultra white paint.  It was a pretty easy desk to build and we are so excited with the results!
It fits perfectly into the corner I visualized it in, and I love how it pairs with the vintage chair.  This bookshelf was previously black and I didn't care for it.  It made the corner feel like a big black hole.  I primed and painted it with Valspar ultra white and now it really makes our favorite books stand out, I love that, and a room full of books is a cozy one.  And the large basket I picked up at a yard sale for 3 bucks crowns the top perfectly.
The accessories on the desk came from my wonderful hubby from one of his "picking" trips.  The antique wood box is very old and a great place for note cards and stationary.  The envelope holder holds, well, envelopes and some of my vintage post cards from 1905.  The little blue green bowl is perfect for snacks.  Most of the other things in the room I already had.  The wood crate also came from hubby.  They are great for storage.
The curtains and pillows I made from canvas dropcloth.  I stenciled the G on the pillows by combining black craft paint with textile medium to create a washable paint that is also soft and doesn't harden your fabric.  The center pillow I made from an authentic burlap coffee sack that I ordered after Carla at Hammers and High Heels mentioned a great place to buy them in this post.  Thanks Carla!
About this coffee table......it used to be a dining room table!!  I picked it up at a garage sale but it was too small for us to use as a dining table, so, I cut the legs off so that we could use it as a coffee table instead.  Perfect, huh!  The set of hand carved oars were another picked item from hubby.  I like the element of fun and energy they add to the room.
Here's the other side of the room and the wall art I made for hubby for Father's Day.  What do ya think?
I am loving the retro surfboard console table so much that I didn't want to put anything on it, other than this fan cause I didn't want to cover it up.  It's so fun!
I'm so excited to finally have a desk to write and blog at instead of the dining room table.  Thanks for stopping by today!  And thank you for your kind comments, I truly do appreciate every one of them.  Have a great day!

P.S.  If anyone is wondering......the paint on the walls is Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore. Also, linking up with The Lettered Cottage today! Come join the fun!
The Lettered Cottage

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vintage Chair

Hi!  Just a quick post to show you the cool chair my hubby bought for me that has had me busy building a writing desk to accessorize it....lol!  Nothing fancy, just a simple, pretty place to sit and write or blog that I'm constructing out of wood that we already had.  I just love this chair......
Everything about it is gorgeous.......
The caned seat is probably my favorite part.  It's a great detail.  Love it......
I also love the three spindles/stretchers joining each leg on the three sides underneath.  Usually there are just one or two, but three is eye catching.
And the carved detail work on the back is lovely.  Plus, it is in fantastic shape!
It's just a beautiful chair!  Has anyone seen one before?  Can't wait to put it with it's new desk and post pics.....

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Console Table Redo

Hey there!  Over the weekend, my hubby and I were on our way to a movie with our youngest when we came across a yard sale.  A yard sale in the evening?  Yes!  He told me he had driven past it earlier and noticed a solid wood console table for only 7 bucks that I would probably like to redo, so, we stopped.   Here's the table....I was instantly drawn to the shape of it.
We also picked up this HUGE basket for $3.  I love everything about it.  It. Is. Gorgeous.
To spiff it up, I sprayed it with a shiny coat of polyurethane and that's it. 

Here's what I did with the console table after staring at it for a while.  This may sound a little crazy, but, the top reminded me of a surfboard, sorta, and it also had a retro vibe going on.  So, I decided to have some fun with it.  :)

After sanding it down, I gave it two coats of a really pretty, very light aqua paint color called Icy Teal by Glidden.  Then, since it reminded me of a surfboard, I taped off a 6 inch wide section down the middle and painted that white, then stenciled the number 5 in the center of the white stripe with the aqua color.  No reason for that, really, other than I like the number 5 and I thought that would go with the theme of the table.  After everything was dried, I sanded it down quite a bit so that it would look very distressed, you know, like a retro surfboard!  LOL.....  We love it!
What do ya think?  Fun, huh?  I loved the original drawer pull that was there so I kept it, spray painted it white and roughed it up with sandpaper.
It's something fun and cheerful, and an unexpected surprise, behind the couch in our somewhat coastal inspired living room.  I just finished painting our book shelves white and wow, does it make all our favorite books stand out nicely.  I'm also building a simple writing desk to pair with a beautiful wood chair that my hubby bought for me to add to the room.  The basket we picked up will also be making it's home in there, so, check back soon for pics!  Have a great day!  Linking up with Thrifty Decor Chick today!  Come join the Goodwill Before and After party!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Gift - Inspiration from 1951

There are so many qualities about my husband that I admire.  He is a wonderful, dedicated dad to our kids and would do anything for each of them.  He is thoughtful, supportive and he is, without a doubt, the most selfless person I know. 

I really wanted to give him the perfect gift for Father's Day.  A gift inspired by something he loves.  He is a HUGE baseball fan and loves to collect memorabilia.  A few of his favorite things; vintage baseball programs and concession menus from the past.

When I came across this wall art over at TLC a few weeks ago, to me, it was so reminiscent of a concession menu in the look and shape.  So, I decided to create my own version using this 1951 vintage baseball program that my hubby loves.
via
I think the Visalia baseball team was mentioned in the movie Bull Durham, which also happens to be one of our favorite summer baseball movies.  Not sure if they were talking about this one or not but I thought it was pretty cool anyway. :)
I followed Kevin and Layla's easy how to for the frame.  Then for the words, I used an old stencil that came from a box hubby bought at a yard sale that contained all kinds of vintage stencils, numbers and vinyl decals.  So cool!  Here's how it looks.....
He loves it so much!  And he was really excited that I displayed some of his collections on the ledge with it.  His reaction made me so happy.  I'm loving this, not only because it made him so happy, but because when I look at it, I'm reminded of all the years he coached our two oldest boys in baseball and all those summer afternoons and evenings of playing catch in the backyard, while I watched out the kitchen window as I did the dishes, smiling at how much fun they were having. 
This white storage chest was built for me by my dad.  It's one of my favorite pieces around our home and I thought it would go perfectly.  I made a cushion for it out of painters dropcloth so that it could double as extra seating in this room.
There is nothing better than a project with a special meaning behind it.  Hope all the amazing dads out there had a fantastic Father's Day doing what you love!

Coming up........hubby brought home a very cool chair that has inspired a neat building project.....stay tuned!  Have a great day all and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blueberry Crisp with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Hey there!  This is another one of our favorite uses for blueberries.....Blueberry Crisp.  But, to make it extra special for your dad or hubby, bake them in individual ramekins and put a dollop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the top of it.  When the creamy, decadent ice cream melts into the warm, buttery crust on top of the sweet blueberries, it is pure heaven! 

For this recipe you will need 6 ramekins and an electric ice cream maker.  Click here to see the kind of ice cream maker I use.  For 40 bucks, it will pay for itself in a month or so if you buy a lot of ice cream for your family and I really like to make my own so I have more control over the ingredients.  It's simple to use and is ready in half an hour.

To make the ice cream, combine the following ingredients in a bowl:
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pulp from 1 vanilla bean
Mix with a hand mixer for about 3 minutes on low until sugar is dissolved.
Pour into the bowl of the ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions.
You will have homemade delicious ice cream in about half an hour, sometimes sooner!
See!  Look at that thick creamy ice cream and the little flecks of vanilla bean!  So fun!  And so good!  To save time, you could make the ice cream the day before you make the blueberry crisp.  That's what I usually do so that I don't have to rush around making several things at once.

I store mine in those glass refrigerator containers you can buy anywhere and pop it in the freezer, usually we eat it up right away, though.  :)

For the crisp, grab a bowl and add:
2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup of flour
1/2 cup sugar (sometimes less, sometimes more, depends on the sweetness of your blueberries)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cinnamon and blueberries together.......so good.
Combine everything and set aside while you make the topping.  It will look like this.
For the crisp, get your food processor, or a bowl and a fork, if you don't have a food processor.  And preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 stick cold butter chopped into pieces
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt
Put these ingredients into the bowl of your processor and pulse until it resembles this:
See the little pieces of butter in there?  So good!!  Set this aside.  If you don't have a food processor, you can use a fork and just mash the mixture until the butter pieces look like this.  It doesn't take very long at all.  You can even use your clean hands.  I've done that before when I didn't want to lug out the food processor and have to clean it.  It's fun!

Now take your ramekins and place on a baking sheet.  Spoon the blueberry mixture into the ramekins about 1/3 of the way up making sure the flour, sugar and cinnamon get evenly distributed in each ramekin.
Next, take your topping mixture and spoon plenty on top of the blueberries in each ramekin.  We like lots of topping around here.
Pop that into your 400 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Those pieces of butter melt into the oats and brown sugar creating the best mouth watering crust ever!  That combined with the blueberries and the hint of cinnamon and the creamy vanilla ice cream melting on top of the warm crisp and it is heaven!  Try it!
Check back Monday for pics of my hubby's Father's Day gift!  I'm so excited about it!  He's gonna love it!  Wishing all you dads out there a super Happy Father's Day!  And even though my dad is no longer living, there isn't a single day that goes by that I don't smile remembering what a great dad he was to me.  I love you, Dad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Thrift Store Table Redo

Made another quick trip to the thrift store this week and picked up this bedside table for 5 bucks!  It definitely wasn't my style at all but I just couldn't pass up a $5 table.  And I knew I could turn it into something I loved.
It was missing some drawer pulls, however, it had really nice bones.  And I can't walk away from a $5 table!  I primed and painted it a plain white and the molding on the front of the drawers got a couple of coats of Cloudy Morning, the paint I had left over from the master bath.  Then I added some glass drawer pulls I picked up at Lowes. 
After I finished painting it, I decided I didn't care for the scroll work trim on the bottom of the table, so, off it went.
And I replaced it with a piece of scrap wood I already had.  I just measured the piece I removed and then cut the scrap piece to be the same size, then I attached with nails.
After that, it needed some roughing up so I took a piece of sandpaper and distressed the edges.  Here's a close up of the detail.....
Here's how it looks in our room!
Love it!  Simple, pretty, matches our blue TJ Maxx quilt and does it's job of hiding our junk by the bed.....for 5 bucks.  Can't beat that!

Stay tuned for an awesome gift I made for my hubby for Father's Day, inspired by a piece of 1951 memorabilia, our favorite summer movie and this.  Can you guess what it could be?  And I'm gonna share another fun recipe perfect for Dad! Have a great one!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Master Bath Redo Featuring Reclaimed Barn Wood

I love to add warm, rustic wood to rooms with a mostly white color scheme, as you saw in our kitchen makeover.  The two colors, as well as the texture of the wood, pair together beautifully.  White rooms have a tendency to feel cold and sterile but if you throw some wood into the mix, it instantly warms it up and creates a cozy feel.  

Our master bath was boring, a sea of white.  The countertop, which consisted of white/cream ceramic floor tiles, had no personality and drove us crazy.  So, with an abundance of reclaimed barn wood, the idea of incorporating it into a countertop, and a couple of other special things, was born.  Here's a before pic.
First thing we did was remove the large generic mirror that seems to come with all bathrooms.  This is where the project went from fun to a stressful nightmare not so much fun.  Behind the mirror was a patch of mold.  After quite a bit of wailing calm investigation, we were relieved to find out it was from condensation getting trapped behind the mirror (no exhaust fan installed in there), not a leak.  What a relief that was.  So, after cleaning up the mess, we continued on.  

Next we pulled out the sink and removed the tile back splash and tile countertop, but left the existing plywood that the tiles were attached to, in order for us to have a base to attach our boards to.
I had already sanded and prepped the reclaimed boards with my palm sander and some 150 and 220 grit sandpaper.  So, the next step was to fit them to the plywood on top of the countertop and cut out a space for the sink.  

To do this, I simply laid them on the top, crawled under the countertop and traced the already existing circle for the sink onto the boards.  Then cut out the circle with a jig saw.
It's starting to look like a countertop!  So exciting!
To attach the boards to the plywood top, we used Liquid Nails and the nail gun for extra stability.
We used three planks of barn wood for the top.  For the trim in the front and on the side, I took another piece of barn wood and ripped it on the table saw to be 2 1/2 inches wide, turned it on its side and then attached with the nail gun.  It creates a nice finished edge. 
And that's it, as far as building the countertop goes.  To seal the wood, I used Tung Oil, which prevents water from penetrating the wood, but also brings out the beauty of each piece.  I applied it with a dry rag.  This stuff has a strong odor, so, I opened the windows and used gloves.
Next, we put the sink back into place, reconnected the pipes and turned the water supply back on.  And that's it.  Isn't that wood gorgeous?  So much character.....
I didn't want to put that giant mirror back on the wall so I bought a smaller plain beveled mirror at Wal-Mart for 10 bucks and attached it to the wall with the hardware provided.  I used some extra barn wood to trim out the mirror and to hide the hardware.  

Then I extended the bead board that was already surrounding the claw foot tub, around the countertop as a backsplash.  I installed that just like I did in my kitchen makeover.
I love our claw foot tub but it needed a rack across the top.  I didn't want to pay a lot of money for one, so, I just made my own by preparing another piece of the reclaimed wood, attaching two blocks of wood underneath to prevent it from sliding or falling and coating it in tung oil.  

I used a saw drill bit to create two holes halfway through the wood in each side to hold candles.  This tub used to have a shower but since we have a shower in another bathroom, we decided to remove all the shower parts and let the beauty of the original vintage tub be the focal part of the room.
I got these cute little robins egg soaps from a local shop called The French Hen.  I think they add a special little touch and I just love 'em.  So fun.....this picture doesn't really do them justice.  They are the perfect shade of blue and the little specks are so charming.
My hubby found this soap rack in an old home that is in the process of being renovated.  He knows the owner and got permission to take this little treat home.  Another fun detail.  I have no idea if it is vintage or not, but I sure love the lines and patina.
And here is the other side of our master bath which includes the faux vintage ladder I built just for this room.
We couldn't be happier with the results in here.  And the best thing, the only amount of money I spent was 10 bucks for the mirror, since we had all the other materials.

I've had lots of questions regarding my paint colors, so, if anyone is interested, the paint color in this room is called Cloudy Morning and it's from the Color Place selection at Wal-Mart.  Hope you like the result as much as we do!  Thank you for visiting..... :)  And have a great day!! Linking up at The Lettered Cottage!
The Lettered Cottage