28 January 2010

Bathroom Vanity Sneak Peek

I love me a good before & after, especially when the after involves using stuff that doesn't cost a lot of money. Don't you get more useful ideas from something you could actually reproduce yourself than something that would require a second or third job to finance? Me too.

Remember this table? My mom described it as "hideous, nightmarish, ugly, worthless..." She went with me to buy it after I found it on craigslist & prayed that I would just walk away.

It was quite rustic, but exactly what I was looking for. You can read my first post about it here.

Well, the bathroom isn't finished yet, but the table is prepped for the sink & ready to go. I cleaned it really good, then dry brushed it with some pale aqua paint that I found for 50 cents in the mis-tinted section at Lowes. Perfect! I also took off the rusted zinc top & my dad & I sanded down the wood top so it was nice & smooth. With several coats of polyurethane, it has a nice slick finish that repels water. Then I added some extra feet to raise it to a better counter height. Here's what it looks like currently:

Much better! Before:


Layla & Kevin from The Lettered Cottage have been remodeling their guest bathroom & are using a similar farm table. The top looks almost exactly the same as ours. They are using a more modern sink than ours, but it's the same concept.

I love the way their bathroom has turned out. I hope I love ours when we're finished. We are waiting to put the sink in until we can get the outlet moved. We realized AFTER tiling that if we center the sink under the mirror the sink's back splash will cover the outlet. Oops. So we'll get that moved, replace the three tiles where the current outlet is, then install the sink.

Other projects in the bathroom: fix the gap between the wall tiles & the horizontal board that goes all the way around the bathroom, install lights over the mirror, install transition between bathroom tile & hallway wood & paint the inside of the built-in cabinet & the back of the door.

Always something to do. :)

20 January 2010

Score! at the Thrift Store

hand painted wooden mexican bowl: $1.99

I'm sick today. I feel like poo. My head is full of marshmallows & feathers & dryer lint. I'm sure of it. And I have that deep baritone thing goin' on today. The weather is nasty, in honor of my achy bones & rattly cough.

vintage green writing table: $2

embroidery hoops (to be used as wall decor with cool fabric): $.50/each

But there's always something that will make me feel better.

No, not ice cream. But that's a really good guess.

It's thrifting! There's something so satisfying about finding that one great thing before someone else does. It may be something I've been looking for, or it may be something I didn't know I wanted until it sang out to me. There's an art to thrifting. You have to be willing to be let down. You may paw through every item in the store & find nothing worth buying. But the payoff comes when your trained eye finds that treasure among piles and piles of worthless crap.

reclaimed barnwood frame: $1; new beechwood frame: $3

Liz Claiborn round table cloth: $4

My goal for our little house (which, in a way, was thrifted!) is to buy nothing new for decorating. I will use what I have or I will make stuff or I will buy it second hand.

vintage chenille bedspread, no holes or stains: $5

sweet little limited edition letterpress owl print: $4
(if anyone knows who created this, I'd like to know!)

Here are my rules for thrifting:
  • Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. They will not smell good when you get in your car. But you can't dig if you don't touch. Carry nice smelling hand sanitizer.
  • Don't buy everything that catches your eye. Think about what you'll do with it. Will you wear it? Do you have a place to put it in your house? Will you craft with it sometime down the road? If you're going to take it home & put it in storage or in a pile in the corner indefinitely, don't get it. It's not a bargain if you're not going to use it.
  • Don't spend more than $5 for small stuff & $50 for furniture. Of course there are some special cases, but they are rare.
  • Imagine an item in a different atmosphere. Think of alternate uses for items. Be creative. That tacky ceramic bird figurine might be really cute & current spray painted white & displayed with a few other white accessories.
  • When you're looking through a lot of junk, have something in mind for your eyes to be drawn to - color, texture, shape, etc. Then you to be able to quickly rule out things that don't fit the criteria. For example, when looking through bed linens, I usually look for white pillow cases that have that vintage super-soft high thread count feel. I can quickly scan past all the forest green & mauve pill-y linens without wasting my time.
  • If you love it & it's a good price & you'll use it, buy it. I've had regrets before when I haven't bought something used. You don't always get a second chance at second hand.
new mailbox (which we needed!): $3

wooden lamp (pre-painting): $5

official reproduction of Ansel Adams photo "Georgia O'Keefe & Orville Cox", matted: $4

I went to our local thrift store two days ago & found some goodies. I had to stop looking when I had spent all of my cash. But I found some good treats for our house! I also thrifted last week at the Salvation Army in the city close by. Those are the stores all this cool stuff came from. Happy happy bargains!

18 January 2010

Help for Haiti

Like everyone else has been saying lately, the old bog seems pretty insignificant when you watch or read about news stories coming out of Haiti. The need seems so incredibly overwhelming. Yet in it all, God is in control. I'm not quite sure what He's doing or why, but I know He can be trusted. I also know that people will turn to Him in times of trouble, and I pray that many, many hearts will be open to His love, peace & salvation.

Yesterday in church, we learned that Convoy of Hope, a compassion ministry with the Assemblies of God, has a warehouse in Port-au-Prince that had just been filled with food before the earthquake, and was undamaged. Convoy of Hope feeds 7,000 children on a daily basis, and the food for that feeding program has been being used to feed thousands & thousands of people who are in desperate need. They will run out of food in 12-14 days and need financial donations to continue feeding & caring for those in need. Convoy of Hope is a reputable ministry that is considered a “first responder” organization in disaster relief. If you would like to donate, click here. Donating money is essential, but even more than giving of our finances, prayer is of the utmost importance. Yes, it seems like a hopeless task to restore Haiti, but we do serve the God of the impossible.

16 January 2010

The Beautiful Wood Floors Hiding Under The Glue

They're finished. Finally. After weeks & weeks, our floors are done. The company we used was not big on speed, communication or customer service, but they really did an amazing job bringing the beauty back to our pitiful hardwood floors. Remember this?

Our first time in the house. Carpet in the living & dining rooms, linoleum in the kitchen & hardwood everywhere else. So I tore up the carpet & we did this for 2 and a half days:

We breathed in toxic fumes. Lots of them. The floors looked like this when we were done:

Notice the rectangle in the middle of the floor? At one point there was a giant register vent there. That needed fixed. So here's the before & after of the floors:

Didn't they do a great job of fixing the rectangle in the middle of the floor? You'd never even know anything had been there.

It's beautiful when the sun hits it.

Here's the dining room & kitchen floors. We'll be putting the transition pieces in soon.

The bedrooms & hallway all have painted white trim & I love the way the dark floors look with everything else light!

The only problem besides the time it took to get it done was the baseboards. We painted them before the floor guys came, but apparently not soon enough for the paint to cure completely. Plus, the tape they put on the baseboards was on for around 4 weeks. When I took it off paint flaked off on every single baseboard. I'm assuming they left it on because the didn't want to deal with the flaking paint & have to answer for it! Looks like we'll be doing a bit of touch up.

Honestly, though, at this point, fixing that paint is the last thing I want to do. I'm thinking the tape on the guest room window will be there until spring. I'm just all painted out right now.

On the other hand, I have a dilemma. A paint dilemma. You may have noticed that the dark wood floors do not match the unpainted woodwork in the living & dining rooms. I did that on purpose. Not because I didn't want them to match, but because I don't like the current stain color on the woodwork. It's orange-y and not in very good shape. However, it really is nice woodwork. Here's where my problem comes:

I love painted white woodwork.

I really do. In fact, when we were looking at houses, I was hoping for one where someone before me had already painted the woodwork white so I wouldn't have to deal with the guilt of "ruining the wood." Every room in shelter mags or design blogs that I love has painted woodwork. I love the fresh, clean, bright look of it. With dark wood floors. So when I chose the floor color, I really had it in my head that at some point we would...please still like me...paint the woodwork white. Like this:

Isn't it lovely & fresh & beachy? Vino was iffy about painting until I showed him this photo from This Old House magazine. So I'm taking a poll. Who thinks we should throw caution to the wind & paint the woodwork white? Who thinks that the original wood should be cherished & left as-is? Keep in mind that this is a very small house. We won't be living here for years & years, but we do want it to be "ours" while we're here and not the future buyer's. So please leave me a comment with your opinion about painting the wood. I could really use some good advice!