Friday, September 30, 2011

the DIY picture wall

As soon as we moved into our new place I'd wanted to do a picture wall with family photos. We had so much more wall space than we had had previously and we were far from home, it seemed a really nice smart way to have lots of photos up around us without looking too chintzy.

We knew we wanted the frames to look organised rather than random but we had a mix of colours and sizes. To bring it all together I spray-painted all the non-black frames a matt black which still showed-up the detail of them but looked a lot more together. Love a bit of spray paint: 

When we'd finished deciding what photos were going in what frames, and arranged them on the bed into how we wanted them on the wall, then the fun really began. 

We marked out a horizontal line with a spirit level and tape so the bases or tops of each frame along the line would either hang above or below it and bring a bit of organisation to the chaos.

That was the easy bit. Its too long-winded to go though what we then did over the next 4 hours but suffice to say there was lots of measuring, leveling and hammering plus a few broken frames and sighs of despair. But I LOVE how it looks now and it's the first time any wedding photos have gone on the wall since we got them over a year ago (!)

Pin It Word to the wise DO NOT attempt to do this a) in a hurry b) by yourself c) with a hangover - you will give up and have a lot of holes in the wall to remind you of your failing!


the $15 bedroom bench

So also on the wishlist was a bedroom bench to sit at the end of the guest bed for people to be able to stick their luggage on when they stay and these things don't come cheap...$200 up for nice ones.

And then I found this little beauty in a charity shop for $15. Sweet.

Essentially in great shape, just a little scratched and not in need of much except it was FILTHY 

So I got to work with a some fairy liquid, water and an old toothbrush. My cat even tried to help, kind of...

Then i just touched up the legs with white paint and in less than 1 hour it was good as new and sitting pride of place at the bottom of the bed 

I do like it as it is with the clean white leather but the question is, to reupholster or not to reupholster? Thoughts? 


the $3 balcony side table

I'd been looking a bistro table for our balcony that wasn't a typical plain old expensive bistro table if you know what I mean. After looking on all the usual websites for a new one and I just didn't love any of them. So I ended up with a project instead - this $3 side table from a charity shop:

It was in very bad condition, so I wasn't concerned with making it look 'pretty' and instead opted for something fun and functional until we find/transform another table we really like. 

I had been lusting after all the wonderful vintage union jack cushions on amongst others and was talking about making one myself for one of the chairs when my husband suggested painting one on the table instead... clever that's what i did.

2 coats primer, 2 coats of off -white (dutch boy DB 356-1). Then I masked out with painter's tape the areas I wanted to stay white - I didn't measure anything as I wasn't after a pristine look.

Then i just filled in the gaps with a dark blue and a plumy purple (bit more subtle than pillar box red...) 

When it was (mostly) dry I removed the tape and viola, a cheesy, cute, sweet reminder of home whilst we're sipping beers or Yorkshire tea in the Santa Monica sunshine. yey! 


the $0 kurbside chair

Finding this chair right outside my home was awesome. I had been looking for a chair for the guest room anyways and this was a simple enough classic shape ripe for a painting. Plus the $0 price tag meant if I messed it up, it was no big deal.

so before...
I didn't sand it a whole lot to be honest, just enough to create some roughness for the primer to stick to - 2 coats later it was covered. 

(It was cold on the balcony so had to paint inside dangerously close to the new TV...shhhh don't tell the husband). I was tempted to keep it white but stuck to my original plan and went with dutch boy 'founding father' in a semi gloss and 2 coats later it looks like this....

Not bad i don't think and I really like the semi gloss finish on this one. Just a nice simple lovely blue chair. for FREE. yey. 


a free chair - it's a sign!

So the day after I had bought the nightstand i didn't really like, I was suddenly became a bit doubtful of my ability to a) turn it into anything that wasn't a disaster and b) make into something I actually wanted in my home. I was in need of a bit of confidence and encouragement.

Then right outside my home was this chair, just on the path, waiting to be given a new home. My first kurbside pickup!
Nothing spectacular but 100% free so that was it, I got off my backside and got to work

Results of both are here:
my first project - the $30 night stand /chest
the $0 kurbside chair


Friday, September 16, 2011

my first project - the $30 nightstand/chest

So on my list of 'stuff we need' was bedside tables for the guest room and I still can't believe how expensive these are to buy new.  Plus I couldn't find any I really liked anyway. So the charity shop hunt started and I found this at Goodwill for $30.
It wasn't the prettiest thing in the world - those creamy handles on the top drawer, ewww and its a bit of an odd size - I didn't really like it at all actually which meant for my first project it was perfect. If it didn't turn out well I hadn't ruined anything I liked in the first place. but if I made something vaguely pretty it was a bonus.

I knew I wanted to paint it but didn't know where to start with colours. I have a Orla Kiely duvet cover I was given for a wedding present which I love and wanted a colour to go with that and so picked the blue tone as a starting point. Several paint charts later I chose Dutch boy viridian tint (DB548 -2).
I knew I had to sand and prime (because every blog tells you too) so I sanded. And it took forever to even take the slightest edge off the layers and layers of varnish. So I caved in and bought an electrical sander for about $30. It was SO worth it - about an hour later it looked like this

You can see I took all the varnish off the main body but left the drawers with the surface taken off.
I'm not sure how much you are supposed to sand btw so if anyone has any tips please comment below...

I did two coats of primer because I figured 2 coats were better than one?? and then 2 coats of paint.

I also spray painted the hardware matt black which was the easiest part of this whole makeover...

l liked the finished chest but not the inside of the drawers. I got 2 pieces of wrapping paper from paper source which i cut to fit all 4 drawers, so they went from this to this;

And here is the before once more and the finished chest next to my lovely bedspread and I quite pleased really - not bad for a first attempt;

If I were to do it again; 

1) I would use a semi-gloss paint - the surface of the matt paint is fine but I think a little glossier finish would look better
2) I would also have used a finer finish of sandpaper - 60 is very coarse and whilst it took the varnish right off it also left it quite rough - finishing with a medium or fine paper would have been better I think.

Lesson learnt. Now what next...