The Antique Table Throwback

It’s #Throwback Thursday, everyone! What better way to celebrate than to show off my latest DIY project? This week it’s a turn-of-the-century table Coach had stashed in the barn. Pretty beat up, lacking polish and pizazz and missing the little finial in the base.

Antique Table Before Restoration B&WThis is the before when it was manufactured by the Denhard Furniture Company of Louisville, Kentucky, sometime between 1855 and 1905. This is the after.

Antique Table Clock and Books Staged PMHere is the how-I-did-it:

1. My first step is always to clean the piece to make sure there isn’t any dust or dirt or mold or mildew-after all, who knows where its traveled in these last 100 years? I wanted to preserve the top to stain, so I flipped it upside down and went to work.

Antique Table Primer Upside Down

2. I painted the base it with my favorite primer: Gripper by Glidden. Awesome stuff. Covers everything in one coat.

Antique Table Gripper Primer

3. Once that dried, I painted the body with a coat of Benjamin Moore matte finish paint in a custom color. And by that I mean that I mixed a couple of different cans of paint I had on hand to create this creamy white color. I will name it Buttercream Frosting. Because I love Buttercream Frosting. And it is a buttery cream color. Hence, the name.

Antique Table Benjamin Moore Custom Color4. I painted all of the raised detail blue-this is why I LOVE redoing old furniture. You don’t find this kind of carved detail at big box stores!

Antique Table Old Finish Detail

And this locking mechanism for the legs is brilliant! A screw-eye is attached to the leg, which then in turn is attached to the brace with the screw. So sturdy.

Antique Table Screw and HookOK, so I painted all of the raised detail with the same home-made blue paint concoction that I used in the Colonial Country Cupboard I recently completed. Love it, want to use it over and over again. But I am almost out, so I’m going to have to find a way to replicate it! OK, so now the detail was blue.

Antique Table Painting DetailThen I repainted the entire piece again with the Buttercream Frosting and wipe away the excess off the blue details.

Antique Table Wiping Off Paint from Detail5. I sanded everything down to give it that rustic, aged look that we like.

Antique Table Sanding DetailAnd by we, I mean myself and Coach. I know a lot of people are not fans of the painted, sanded, stained look, but that’s cool. One man’s trash is another family’s re-loved vintage table : )

5. I glazed the entire piece with General Finishes Brown Mahogany

Antique Table General Finishes Brown Mahogany Glaze

(I was planning on using this for the top, anyway, so this way it matched color tones. I’m kinda smart like that.) Simple process. Paint the stuff on.

Antique Table General Finishes Brown Mahogany Glaze Applied Try not to spill it. But if you do, use plastic drop cloths so it’s easier to scoop the stuff up and put it back in the can.

Antique Table Spilled GlazeI’m using plastic lace table cloths from the dollar store. I know, right? Cheap, pretty and practical (insert joke here). Used a damp rag to keep it workable while I wiped it off until I was satisfied with the results.

Antique Table Wiping off Glaze

Look how the detail pops now!

Antique Table Glaze completed

Antique Table Side Detail Finished6. The base has two cross pieces that meet in the middle. At one time there was most definitely a decorative finial, but that was  missing. I was searching for something suitable when I spotted these curtain rods at the Christmas Tree Shop. (If you don’t have one near you, and don’t know what this store is, let me assure you it does not merely sell Christmas Trees!) These were a glazed, antiqued metal and cost $5.99!

Antique Table Pineapple Rods Christmas Tree ShopSo I removed the finial from the rod,

Antique Table Removing Finial From Polethen filled the finial with glue

Antique Table Finial with glue filler

and also coated the spindle with glue so it would be very secure.

Antique Table Coating Post with Glue7. So now the new pineapple finial is a welcoming addition to the antique table. Is it the original? No. But I would never have been able to find that. This seemed like a sweet solution.

Antique Table fixating pineapple finial to post8. For the top, I used the aforementioned Brown Mahogany Stain to replicate the rich brown of the original color and finish. That was after Coach sanded it down, but I didn’t catch him in the act, so I don’t have a shot of that. But I do have a pic of him cleaning an old cupboard using my kitchen gloves. He worked for a few minutes and then said, and I quote: “This DIY stuff is hard work. I’ll finish it later.) And he removed the pink gloves and left! So I remind him of that whenever he drags home yet another piece of furniture and says “work your magic with this”. Ha.

Coach cleaning the cupboard7. I applied a couple of coats of Fidde’s Supreme Wax

Hope Chest Fiddes & Son Waxto give the top that glowing finish.

Antique Table Top Fiddes Wax Finish

8. Here is the final closeup reveal of the accented details and beautiful wood top!

Antique Table Top Dressed

I think Mr. Denhard would be very pleased with how I have lovingly restored his table. What do you think? Could you love a table like this in your home?! Do you have an old piece of furniture kicking around? If you do, then it’s your turn to add it to the #Throwback Thursday Collection! Susan 

Cabbage Roses to Country Charm

The 80’s called and they wanted their dusty rose cabbage roses back. So I obliged. And our downstairs 1/2 bath, that used to look like this

Before Mirror
now looks like this! (I need to apologize for the not-so-great-pics. Do you know how difficult it was to squeeze into a 5 x 8 bathroom to take these?!)

Bathroom Completed 2

Many of the DIY projects in this tiny bath have been featured on my blog, including the vanity transformation, from boring beige

Vanity Before White Coffee

to rustic navy

After Tile and Vanity

the American flag art piece

Map and Sign on Wall Signed

and of course, my Oh Deer Buck Towel Rack.

Oh Deer Towel Rack
So what was once pink and beige with roses and LLadro dolls and shiny brass fixtures

Before Dolls and Statues

is now all dolled up with the new color palette of navy and green and polished nickel fixtures. The inspiration came from the fabulous wallpaper.

Bathroom Color Palette

This paper, that I scooped out of a clearance bin over a year ago for $10, has the appearance of old barn walls with textured crackled vertical striping. The woodwork, once Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee, is now Benjamin Moore Snowfall White.

After Toilet Side Vintage Vignette
The floor, previously smoky pale blue tiles (many of which were broken or cracked)

Old Bathroom Tile Removal

is now a stunning slate subway tile I picked up in a clearance bin at Lowes for $1.12 per s/f!

Slate Subway Tiles

Love our new faucet from Home Depot, which resembles an old well pump.

Faucet

The sconces used to be shiny brass and hung next to an ornate, floral gold mirror.

Before Cabbage Roses and Brass Sconces

but when I (my daughter found these, actually, but as soon as I saw them I had to have them! She and I installed them together, so thanks Kate!)

Sconce Closeup

found these at Home Depot I knew they would be the perfect complement to the rustic old mirror Coach had picked up at a yard sale. I just cleaned it and added some Annie Sloan Soft Wax for a glowing finish.

Mirror Wall Complete

This cute little tin shelf came from a downtown shop, and its the perfect size for holding tissues, soaps and some reading material.

Tin Shelf Complete

Love this feature wall. Well, this was the feature wall until I was blow-drying my hair the other morning and the needlepoint picture ($1 at a flea market, oak frame from AC Moore with a coupon) that was resting on the shelf got blown off the shelf, taking the brown wood vase with it, smashing them onto the new slate floor. Luckily, the floor was spared any damage.

After Toilet Side Vintage Vignette

So now this is the feature wall.

Toilet Wall After 2

This was a budget makeover, with the only major changes being a new toilet, new faucet and the sconces, all from Home Depot. The towels, candle holders, soap dispenser, toilet paper holder and scatter rug were from Home Goods, of course. Everything else is reclaimed, refashioned and repurposed, like these beautiful Mason Jars, once filled with preserves, now preserving the past while serving as functional containers.

Mason Jars Edited

The only thing I am still on the fence about is the sink. It is old, and has lost most of its shine, but it is granite. And blue.

Sink Wall Edited

My original intent was to paint it white using epoxy paint. But, after reading the scary warning label (my nervous system has taken enough hits lately…)

Warning Label

and knowing that there is virtually no ventilation in the tiny space, I decided to pass for now. So blue it stays, but it does look like a sink you might find in an old farm bathroom, so I’m OK with it. This, by far, has been one of my all-time favorite transformation projects in our home. It captures the essence and stays true to our country design home style, don’t you think? Stay true to your Tuesday style! Susan

Going Green

Since it is almost St. Patrick’s Day, and I just recently did a post on green (it is, after all, Pantone’s Color of the Year!), I thought I would share some eco-friendly products from companies that are committed to “going green”. All of these companies earn our High Five for Friday!!

Going Green Redwood Forest

We hear that phrase in marketing and advertising all the time- but what, exactly does it mean? This quote, from the website Save The World states it perfectly: “Living a green lifestyle – or going green – can begin in small, easy to manage ways. Recycling is a huge, obvious part of helping to save the world through green living. Reducing one’s reliance on oil-based energy sources is another popular method employed in trying to save the world. Purchasing only all organic, chemical free products is another way that many people begin going green, and is considered a very effective method at trying to save the world and all of its resources. Green living is infiltrating all parts of daily life, and the planet is sure to be better for it.”  So, I searched around for some readily available products that do just that- use only plant-based, chemical free and recycled products.

Method Cleaners (available at Target)- Developed by two young roommates- Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, “their powers combined, they set out to save the world and create an entire line of home care products that were more powerful than a bottle of sodium hypochlorite. Gentler than a thousand puppy licks. Able to detox tall homes in a single afternoon”.

Going Green Method Cleaner Orla Kiely

Mrs. Myers Clean Day  “Inspired by Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer, an Iowa homemaker and mother of nine. It all started when one of her daughters was walking down a cleaning aisle, eyeing all the products with their harsh, stinky chemicals. Right then and there, she had an idea: “Let’s make cleaners that smell nice, like my mom’s garden, but still work like the dickens on daily dirt and grime.”

Green Mrs. Myers Soap

Karen Quinn Organics  “…we pride ourselves on our commitment to fair trade and the earth. We use only certified organic cotton, grown using sustainable farming practices that maintain and replenish soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Our garments are made of ultra soft, all-natural, organically produced cotton certified by Control Union Certifications (formerly SKAL), a USDA Accredited Certifying Agent. Our garments are also made using Fair Trade practices under Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). Every little garment supports our vision and hope of a cleaner, kinder earth.”

Going Green Kate Quinn Organic jumpsuit

Bambeco- Hot Style for a Cool Planet  “Bambeco was founded in 2009 by Susan Aplin and Carolyn Wapnick; it was inspired by a trip to Alaska where they saw extreme glacial recession and other impacts of climate change up close. That’s when Aplin set off on a personal quest to understand her impact on the planet, which led to several carbon reduction changes in her life. After making household, energy usage, and commuting changes, Aplin wanted to extend her environmental values to eco-conscious home décor & furnishing purchases and discovered that fashionable, environmentally responsible home products were not available in the marketplace.”

Going Green Bambeco Apron

Of course, you can shop organic at any of your local farm stands or grocers. Just make sure you bring along your eco-friendly bags! This company showcases a wide variety of attractive shopping bags for stylin’ while you’re shopping!

EcoBags.com Cleaning Up the Planet, One Bag At A Time     “EcoBags opened 1989 with a simple goal; to produce quality bags at great prices so that “Reusable becomes a way of life.” We started with the ECOBAGS® Brand Classic String Bag, a simple lightweight, expandable cotton net bag used in Europe for generations, long before paper and plastic bags.” LOVE this French Woven Basket

Going Green Organic Tote from EcoBags

And, of course, for the designers with a conscience, Benjamin Moore makes a NO-VOC paint called Natura– even the label is beautiful!!

Going Green Natura Benjamin Moore

“Natura Waterborne Interior Paint continues  Benjamin Moore’s commitment to providing the most environmentally friendly paint.  Natura Paint emits lower total VOCs than other national zero-VOC products on the market, all without compromise to performance or color selection. Natura is truly “Green Without Compromise®.”  Again, a marketing term we hear quite often, but what are VOC’s? Volatile Organic Compounds that are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and
long-term adverse health effects-yikes!

If you have a favorite, eco-friendly company, drop me an email and I will be happy to share with everyone! The more we know, the more we can help our planet! Have a green Friday everyone! Susan

Capturing Color Palettes

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this week we are returning to Wakefield, Mass to join the throngs of walkers circling the 3 mile path around the lake for their daily exercise. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, with a hint of spring in the air, hundreds-no, thousands-of walkers/runners begin the migration back to the lake to shake off the winter layers (fleece and fat!) and start the annual pilgrimage to beach time fitness. While walking along, the scenery surrounding me constantly catches my eye, and each season brings a fresh new palette. In the fall, it was all about oranges and reds and yellows and golden sunsets.

Autumn on the lake

With the spring comes budding birch trees,

Benjamin Moore Birch Tree

dormant greenery springing back to life,

Benjamin Moore Hartshorne House Exterior

and melting ice floes with gray horizons.

Benjamin Moore Melting Lake

I have a new toy on my Iphone this season: Benjamin Moore Color Capture. You know when you see a house and you think “I wonder what color that is- I love it!” Would you ever put it past me to actually go knock on some perfect stranger’s door to ask what the color and paint brand their house was painted? Yup, done that!  Now it’s a little simpler- I just snap a shot with my Iphone and the Color Capture Analyzer instantly produces all of their paint colors in that particular shot! Then you just go to the Benjamin Moore website, type in the color in the search box and there you have it-brilliant! So the melting ice and the dark sky over the open waters produced this palette in shades of grays with a purplish hue like Faded Violet and creamy whites from the cloudy sky called Chantilly Lace.

Benjamin Moore Faded Violet

As you move the cursor around on the picture, it will pick up the subtle differences in the palettes- this one has more greens like Quarry Rock

Benjamin Moore Quarry Rock

The birch tree scene produced softer blues like Sweet Innocence, more whites and grays with hints of ambers and gold and a touch of coral from the ground cover that is still hidden under layers of mud and dirt.

Benjamin Moore Birch Tree

The Colonel James Hartshorne House , built in 1681, sits on the corner of the lake by the ball field. It is one that I have always admired, and recently they painted it this gorgeous blue-which color blue, you ask?  Well, according to the palette, the closest is Bachelor Blue. But the lighting and time of day changes the hue, so best make sure you take several shots to get the perfect match!

Benjamin Moore Wild Blue Yonder

Even on the grayest, cloudiest day it still stands bright. And what blue house isn’t complete without a cheery red door? The color of this one? I’m going with the sexy, spicy Caliente.

Benjamine Moore Caliente RedWhile I love that red door, which creates its own color palette, my eye was also drawn to the bright green shrubbery in the front that creates a stunning contrast to the rich blue. Dark Celery-the color in the budding shrub tips-is a great contrast to the blues and reds.

Benjamin Moore Dark Celery

As great as that color scheme is for the Hartshore House exterior, wouldn’t it be great for interior space as well? I created this room on the Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer. You know all those colors you just captured outside? Go to the website and you can use them in all types of rooms- using their galleries or your own pics! For this one I used the colors from the lake and house photos: Quarry Rock, Bachelor Blue, Caliente and Chantilly Lace– the possibilites are endless!

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer

 Just make sure that when you are choosing your exerior colors, like the ones on the Hartshore House, you factor in the landscape and background- whether its the sky or water or the surrounding greenery, they all play a part in your palette!  Hope you capture a Wanderful Wednesday everyone!  Susan

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

…I found a mirror for my new front hall!!! With the Hall of Shame project still ongoing, I have been searching for artwork, occasional tables and other assorted items to fill the space once it is completed. (and, yes, it is still a work in progress- but good things come to those who wait, right?) Along with my usual trips to HomeGoods and the various local antique and junque shops I frequent, I do make an occasional stop at my local Salvation Army Store. With a large furniture showroom in the back, you never know what you might find- like my fabulous new $10.00 mirror!

It’s a horrible brown circa 1970’s faux wood grain, but it’s the perfect size and the top detail is exquisite-it actually mirrors the curved shapes of the soon-to-be-hung damask wallpaper. You would almost think that was intentional, right?

Time to hit it with a coat of Kilz to cover that faux wood paint and the faint odor of mildew/smoke that often accompanies a cast-off piece of furniture, origins unknown. Looks better already! So I grabbed my Ipad and started searching on Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs for color inspiration.

Thinking bold and bright

or soft and dreamy

daring (not sure what happens when your toe hits those mirrors!)

or darling

Mirrors can open up your space (Ah,Versailles…)

Reflect your true face

And welcome you into a warm, homey space (hopefully mine : )

And then I saw this Jonathan Adler mirror and this entryway with pieces from Oomph! and that was it-color chosen.

Tangerine Tango is the Pantone Color of the Year, and what goes better with the Smoke Blue I’ve chosen for the walls than its complementary color, orange? So I chose this yummy shade called Mesa Sunrise from Behr. Now, Benjamin Moore is my go-to paint for just about everything, but Behr sells these little custom mixed sample pots for $2.95, with just enough paint in them for a small project. Here is a sneak preview of the Mesa Sunrise Mirror that will soon be welcoming you into my new front hall. And if Pantone comes out with the newest “color of the year” I can always change it! Total investment for this project: $12.95 + tax.

Mesa Sunrise Mirror in the making

Enjoy your Friday- and just remember to make each day a reflection of your best you! Susan

Treasures and Trash-The Reveal!

The big reveal… how’d I do?

After…

So after a couple of weeks of treasure hunting, bargain shopping and using what I already had on hand, here is the finished product! I just love it : ) Hanging cozily in the corner of my dining room, the colorful pieces create a bright mosaic that is soooo eye-catching and country pretty! Although it looks similar in style to my inspiration piece from Country Living Magazine, it has my unique color stamp on it. And isn’t that what decorating your life is all about? Let me know if you like it! (and if you happen to come across and red and white teapot in your treasure hunt, I’m your girl)

Before…Blue Botanicals…my inspiration from Country Living.

(Previous post below)

My first thought was “Ooh, that’s so country pretty!”. My second thought was “Wait, I have one of those plate racks in the barn!”. (I know, I know, who has a barn, anyway?!? And where did I get all this stuff that’s in the barn? Yard sales!!) Time for a recycling project. So I dug out this dusty old black painted rack from the loft, cleaned it off, and then painted it with several coats of Benjamin Moore Atrium White  Regal Aqual Pearl.

Now, realizing that the dining room where the rack will be hanging is red and white, I decided to hit the road in seach of yard sales to find some pretty red platters, plates and cups for my as-yet-to-be-hung plate rack. And since today was Small Business Saturday, I checked out some of our local downtown antique shops as well. First up, the Craigslist resale store. Didn’t know these existed! Apparently you give them your stuff on commission and they sell them on CL. You get rid of stuff, they make money-brilliant! The place was packed with stuff and shoppers, but no luck there, unless I happened to be in the market for a pink car. So, off to check out an estate sale.  Sadly, these typically hold the belongings of a deceased love one, whose life will be measured in the profits gained from the sale of their treasures. I found these pretty little scalloped plates-and I will give them a good home and pass them on to the next generation, who will most likely sell them at my estate sale-hopefully for a profit…

Then on to The Queen’s Vault Antique Shop. Loads of victorian furniture, silver, crystal and blue and white dishes galore! Discovered that although blue and white is quite common for porcelain and pottery, red and white is much rarer and difficult to come across. But I did find a pretty red cup and saucer, and left my “wish list” in case he comes across anything else.  Next up was Wakefield Uncommon Antiques.

(We have a beautiful lake in Wakefield, and at one end is a large common with a gazebo. Hence the clever name…) Score! Loads of red and white to choose from. Didn’t buy anything because the prices weren’t marked and the young lad manning the register had no idea what to charge. Will have to return when the owner is present. I need those dishes! After that, a drive around town to admire the gloriously blooming trees and tulips, a few more yard sales and then all of a sudden I was at HomeGoods! Now I don’t know about your car, but it appears that my new CRV has a Blue-tooth enabled homing device that guides me directly to the nearest HomeGoods. Scored again with two plates in the clearance racks that will add a bit more color to my collection. Tomorrow’s task will be to hang the shelf securely so that it won’t come crashing down with all of my new-found treasures. When you have a home that was built during the James Buchanan Administration, chances are you have walls made of horsehair and lathing. This lathing is small skinny strips of wood, held together with plaster mixed with the hair of a horses mane or tail. Seriously? Every time I hammer anything, all I hear is chunks of the stuff falling out of the wall. This ought to be good…pics to follow.

Hall of Shame-Color Splash!

Saw this poster on Pinterest and LOL. It should say Attention Decorating Disorder! When I am in “home improvement” mode, I move from room to room making mental notes of everything that needs to get done immediately. So I wonder why projects never really get done?!? During the plate rack project this weekend, as I was flitting around town rummaging through antique shops and junk sales, I figured I should stop and get the paint for the hall of shame project at my local Benjamin Moore store. I had definitely decided on the trim color: Snowfall White.

For years I have been mixing  White Dove and Linen White together to create what I thought was the perfect white-creamy white with slightly gray undertones. But, mixing two quarts is quite a bit pricier than purchasing pre-mixed by the gallon. And, who was I to mess with the Benjamin Moore’s color gods?!? So I finally went through all the white chips and found Snowfall White. I believe it is the closest in tone and shade to my self-blended color. 1 gallon please. Smoke was the color I chose for the walls. The description is: “A subtle, sophisticated grey that infuses a space with a sense of comfort and contemporary style.” And, it is part of Candace Olson’s Designer Picks Collection! Loving that! But just not 100% sure, so I only got a quart. In a moment of inspiration, (while I was putting off hanging the plate rack) I decided to just “try a little on a wall to make sure I like it before I do the whole thing and then regret it”. No prep, no drop cloths, no painting clothes. You can guess the rest. I was happily painting away, got distracted (I don’t know, something sparkly?) and dropped the whole freaking can!

Not only did it splatter all over the hall- and me, it made its way into the living and the dining room- thankfully my new beautiful rug was spared! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to grab the camera- had to work fast! The next 1/2 hour was spent scrubbing and cleaning (almost all) the paint out of all the cracks and crevices, off the floor and trim,all the while keeping Daisy out of the way. Don’t need “Smoke” pawprints running through the house.

Rugs were hosed down in the yard, clothing discarded and paint scooped back into the can. At $18 per quart, I wanted to salvage what I could! So the end result is: 1. I do like the paint color and will go back and get a gallon. 2. Now I have to sand and restain the two thresholds leading into the hallway-more work for the weary 3. Time to go hang the plate rack!!!

Happy Painting! Susan 

The Hall of Shame

With Easter coming up next week, it’s time to make my “to-do” list, since we will be hosting the family celebration at our home. Typically, prior to most holidays, my lists look something like this:

1. Make a menu (this one’s not mine, but it looks good!)

2. Re-paint and wallpaper “something”- in this case, the front hall.

3. Clean out and mulch the garden. 4. Wash all the windows.

4. Buy a ham.

5. The night before- prepare the side dishes and desserts, clean the house, set the table, create some fabulous decorations for the holiday.

For some reason, it never occurs to me to NOT do a full-on reno project right before a holiday. So many times, with the deadline looming, the projects are not fully completed, or don’t get done properly. New wallpaper slapped over older wallpaper that never gets stripped, paint only gets one coat, the surfaces not properly prepped and sanded.

On several episodes of Modern Family, Phil Dunphy makes a mad dash up his stairs, tripping halfway up on a loose stair tread. As he mutters “I’ve got to fix that thing”, I think of our front hall. We use it 100 times a day, but at some point, we just stopped seeing it- the scraped walls, the torn wallpaper, the threadbare carpet.

Our “Hall of Shame” is like poor, overworked Cinderella. With some loving care and a glass slipper, it could be the Belle of the Ball, but right now it is the ugly stepsister. It was updated back in the 80’s, with cherry burgundy carpeting that is now thread-bare and worn from years of kids’ cleats and muddy paws. The floor is stick-on faux marble black and white check, with most of the ends curling up. The wallpaper has been changed a couple of times, but always with a nod to the horrible carpet. The bannister and railings? Well, they have been sanded and sanded and stripped and sanded some more, but never completed. I spent one whole summer stripping the paint off of the stair treads, only to find that that the wood was so worn, I went ahead and repainted them. BIG mistake!

So this time I started a week early-lol! But this time I am going to take my time and do it right, from the ceiling to the floor, both upstairs and down. I am creating my “mood board”, choosing my colors thoughtfully and adding the accessories carefully. As this week goes on, I will keep you updated on my progress. And if it is not done by Easter Sunday, so be it.

Hopefully, for my guests it will conjur up lovely images of faraway rustic Italy. I will just pour some wine, carve the ham and no one will even notice my latest work in progress. It’s gonna be a long week…

Happy Renovating! Susan

The Three “R’s” – Re-Imagine, Re-Purpose, Re-Love

Like most working women, I treasure the weekends. They allow us some free time to catch our collective breath and unwind, before gearing up for the upcoming work week. Saturdays are cleaning and errand day, but Sundays are usually saved for special projects that I have set aside, typically involving crafting, sewing or home improvements. Today was a “3 R’s Project”: Re-Imagine, Re-Purpose, Re-Love. I was a DIY fanatic well before HGTV and the DIY Network came along. My mantra? “Sure, I can do that!”

Over the years, I have created extravagent wedding cakes, painted folk art, and more recently, I create and donate T-Shirt Quilts through “Threads Of Hope”– all the while working on refurbishing and restoring my 1850’s homestead. I never shy away from a project, whether its re-clapboarding the front of the house, baking a fantastic cake for a party, building a fieldstone wall, adding wainscotting to a room or crafting a quilt for an auction. I’ll try anything, with the exception of electricty. Attempted to splice some wires once with shockingly bad results. Lesson learned. I love re-using, re-cycling, re-beautifying things and giving them a new purpose.

Today I re-covered two pillows for my living room due to the “decorating domino effect”. Not sure what that means? I’ll explain. My living room is decorated in shades of blues and creams with brown accents. Recently I purchase a new rug for my dining room-red and white and gorgeous! So now the dining room rug has found a new home in the living room. Unfortunately, the transported rug is in shades of blues and reds, so exit the brown accents from the living room and enter the reds. Therefore, the brown and blue pillows needed new covers to co-ordinate-got that?

Now, dropping $50.00 for a new throw pillow is not something I am able or willing to do. My shopping is a constant struggle between want and need, and throw pillows typically don’t fall into the need column within my limited decorating budget. So, having two perfectly good down-filled pillow inserts, it was time to pull from my fabric grab-bag to re-cover them. Disclaimer: In a previous blog, Map It Out, I described my husband as a pack-rat. I want to state here that I do have my weakness when it comes to saving:fabric.

I save left-over fabric pieces, curtains, sheets, bedspreads, pretty dresses, in the event that I might need a scrap or two for a project someday. In my defense, I do a lot of quilt-making, painting and crafts, and fabric scraps are used for everything from rags to ruffles. Today, I pulled a lovely old blue Waverly Toile Valance out of my bin, and with that discarded window treatment I made two new covers for my living room throw pillows-love them! The cost? $1.78 for the covered button kit I purchased at Joanns (using a 50% coupon, of course). Had I gone shopping for those same two Waverly-covered, down-filled pillows, I would have paid upwards of $45 each, and with all due respect, they would not be nearly as pretty as the ones I created today.

So another Sunday gone, another re-purposing project completed-time to go clean up the dining room and gear up for another Monday morning. In the meantime, I can check pillows off the list of things to re-imagine, re-purpose and re-love.

Color My World

As Petula Clark (for those of you unfamiliar with the 70’s pop princess, click on the link)  once sang: “Oh, you can color my world with sunshine yellow each day, yes you can color my world with happiness all the way. Just take the green from the grass and blue from the sky up above, and if you color my world just paint it with your love..” So many of the colors we choose for our homes are culled from nature’s immense beauty, and those colors are a reflection of who we are, and that makes us happy and content in our spaces. My mother always said that when you walk into your home at the end of a long day, it should make you smile.

When I imagine “blue from the sky up above”, I think of a sunny day with brilliant blue skies filled with fluffy white clouds, whereas someone else might imagine a dark, treacherous horizon over a stormy ocean, turning the brilliant blue to a deep gray-green. Nature’s furious beauty provides an unendending variety of colors, well beyond those seven featured in a rainbow.

Recently, my mom asked me to help her re-do her master bedroom. She complained that the lack of color of the walls made it difficult for her to sleep, and that the space felt uncomfortable to her. She is an artist, painting in oils, pastels and water-colors and has lived a color-filled life. She lives in a townhome built in the 70’s, around the same time as Petula released her number one single “Downtown“. The townhomes are very nice, but are essentially devoid of architectural details- neutral beige is the standard color palette. 

Enter Mr. Benjamin Moore, with a gallon of Blueberry Hill (hmm, just wondering if that’s where he found his thrill…). The color description?

blueberry hill 812

Reminiscent of picking sun-ripened blueberries on a warm summer day, this deep, saturated blue captures the purple cast of a bowl of fresh berries.

Yum! Right?! You don’t even need to see the color swatch to know exactly what color this is, but just in case:
So we painted the feature wall Blueberry Hill, the remaining walls White Dove. We transformed her bedroom with many of her existing furnishings and a little help from HomeGoods, from a blah, beige box into a space that makes her smile. And isn’t that what coloring your world is all about?
%d bloggers like this: