A dresser makeover and a few changes to an "heirloom"

As I mentioned here I am no longer doing the whole “resale/flea market” thing. I am still working on a few projects here and there because it is what I love to do!

This piece is one I bought eons ago and has sat in my garage waiting on inspiration and time.

I bought it and the matching chest of drawers at a barn auction. Yes, it had been sitting in a barn…yes, I could tell it had been infested with mice at one time. No, I was not expecting to find two mouse carcasses while cleaning it. GAG!!!!

The ONLY way I have found to rid old furniture of old furniture smells (mice, cigarettes, moth balls, etc) is to first scrub with ammonia and then vinegar (do not do them at the same time!). Sometimes I will spray the inside of the piece with diluted vinegar and just let it dry. If that doesn’t do it, then I suggest you prime and paint the inside of the drawers. Fortunately, the heavy duty cleaning on this piece worked and I did not have to paint the drawers!

The top and drawer fronts are cherry veneer. The veneer was in pretty good shape and really just needed to be stripped and oiled…I used THIS process to strip the old finish. Tried and true! I know I link to this tutorial a lot, but it works!

After stripping the veneers, I applied three coats of tung oil finish and chalk painted and distressed the cabinet!

The hardware was in pretty good condition…just icky. So I primed them with metal primer and painted them with flat black paint.

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AGAIN, another example of how a very few dollars and some elbow grease can turn the ickiest piece into something pretty awesome!

While I had the “farmhouse white” chalk paint mixed up I decided to give some old frames a little makeover.

When I visited my uncle this summer he gave me two old framed portraits of my great-great grandmother and my great-great-great grandmother.

They do tend to be on the “goulish” side…but I NEVER turn down family heirlooms. When he offered me THIS china cabinet….

…I knew it wasn’t “my style” but as I said, heirlooms trump everything. So I made a few changes to make it a little more appealing…I removed the red paper on the back, added glass shelves and cabinet lighting. Then I filled it with the great’s and grand’s china…it is what it is…and heirloom piece filled with heirlooms.

I decided I might be able to make the portraits a little less “goulish” by painting the frames…they were just so “heavy and dark.”

I hung them in the GUEST ROOM….

Meh…not swooning over them but again, they are family heirlooms. (I think they need to be closer together!)


Another new dining room table and the greatest Mother's Day gift....

ANOTHER dining room table…obviously I have a soft spot for chairs and tables. When I saw this pathetic trestle table at a barn auction a few weeks ago, I just knew she had some serious potential….

The top was in pieces and the finish was crud…but oh the potential. And it wasn’t until I got her home that I discovered her little hidden secret…

She has this super nifty fold out “leaf.”

Just too fricking cool!

In spite of the fact that I have been up to my earballs in work at the apartments, I couldn’t wait to start working on her. The first thing I did was strip all the old finish…HERE is the process I used. This is a tried and true process that makes quick work of a daunting task!

After all the old finish was stripped off I had to glue and clamp the table top back together….

I always make my repairs AFTER I strip but before paint or finish…and I always make sure I make all the necessary repairs. No sense in making it pretty if it is just going to fall apart…glue and clamps!!!

The top was solid (vs. veneers) so the pieces were a tad warped…no biggy…I clamped it as well as I could and then I sanded the joints smooth…starting with the finer grit (220) and working my way down to a rougher grit (150) and then back up to a finer grit, before applying a tung oil finish.

Tung oil finish is my “go to” finish for many reasons…it is super easy to apply, it is super durable and it is super easy to reapply when the finish gets scratched or begins to dull!

So, when all was said and done, this little table will now take her place in the dining room….at least for the time being….it is no secret I swap out tables on a regular bases….here are just a few I have featured over the years…

A Duncan Phyfe….I gave it a little makeover HERE before selling it….

An antique trestle I featured here

An oak farmhouse table featured here…..

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The most recent…an antique draw leaf table…

All these tables have one thing in common…they are relatively “compact” but can be expanded to handle Thanksgiving dinner. Basically once a year I need a large table…and these all fit the bill.

The newest little trestle table is compact, expands, and beautiful!

So get ready for a few pictures…..

I just LOVE the new light fixture from Wayfair I featured here….

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I love how it can easily be expanded. No more having to find a place to store leaves or hauling them out for one dinner…just slide open the top and fold out the insert…simple (especially after a little WD40)

One huge problem….I REALLY dislike the Duncan Phyfe chairs with it…they just don’t look right…and sadly I know exactly what chairs I want for it and I have had them and sold them a few times over. The good news is I will eventually find what I want….

Until then I bought this little piano bench at the same auction. Again, pretty cruddy…

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…but I stripped and oiled the top, scrubbed up the brass feeties and painted the base with my new favorite blue…the same one I used on the buffet (here)

Meh….not really “swooning” over it, but it will serve the purpose for now…until I can find the chairs I want or another pathetic little table catches my eye. I wouldn’t take bets on which happens first!

THE GREATEST MOTHER’S DAY GIFT

This year I received the absolute best Mother’s Day gift!!! Another college graduate.

My youngest daughter, Katie, graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Bio-Engineering.

She is beautiful, smart, and talented…and I could not be prouder.

She, as well as her brother Matt (Masters 2015), are fourth generation Arkansas graduates….my great grandmother graduated in 1920, my grandfather graduated in 1943, and I graduated in 1987.

Brian and I are now 5/5….five kids, five college graduates. And the fact that all five were here for Katie’s big day, which happen to be Mother’s Day weekend, made my day extra special!

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Visiting history...

This past week we traveled to Phoenix to visit my oldest son. While we were there we decided to do a little sight seeing.

First we headed north to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

I’ve seen pictures but no matter how beautiful the photos are, they do not do it justice. It is one of those places you have to see in person. And while you stand on the rim of this vast canyon and TRY to wrap your brain around the fact that the lowest level of exposed rock is TWO BILLION years old, you suddenly realize how “minute” your time on this earth truly is. My mind just can not comprehend that span of time but it can certainly appreciate the beauty of this marvel.

If you have not seen it, go.

We spent one day shopping around Old Scottsdale…okay, so I am not big on shopping so we walked around peaking in windows, exploring the history of the town! We pretty much ran through the Phoenix zoo while killing time before the Cubs game. Brian is from Chicago so he thoroughly enjoyed the game and his Chicago hot dog….a treat from his past.

Tuesday we drove south to Tombstone. The movie “Tombstone” is one of our all time favorites so it was fun to see the Grand Hotel (now the Big Nose Kate Saloon)….

Boothill Cemetery, where the McLaury brothers and Billy Clanton, killed during the OK Coral Shootout, are buried.

The old county courthouse has been beautifully preserved as a museum.

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One thing I found interesting was this display of ironstone and old scales, considering today’s decor trends….

Compared to TWO BILLION YEARS, the 140 year history of Tombstone seems like it happened yesterday. It is a time in history that interests us and we enjoyed exploring the little town.

Which brings me to MY history. The day we came home, a friend posted on Facebook that an old building downtown was being torn down. It is the building that first housed the company my dad worked for from 1972 until his death in 1995.

This old building is part of MY history…I was 7 when we moved here in 1971 and this is company my dad worked for through out my childhood and for much of his adult life.

It is soooo sad to see old historical buildings disappear….

….this one is being bulldozed for a parking lot.

I knew I wanted a “momento” from the old building so I contacted the company that was hired to demolish it.

Frank from SSi Construction was SO helpful…much of the building had already been torn down but he patiently picked through the piles of ruble and pulled out a few splintered boards. I pulled all the nails and cut off the splintered ends and hope to clean them up and make a table or bench out of them…reclaimed wood with some serious “sentimental value.”

Forty years…140 years…two billion years. History is relative. Regardless, it is fun to explore. Most importantly, cherish and preserve.

Funky little chair makeover and a few upholstery tips....

Another auction buy that languished in the garage for months until I pulled it out and thought..."Hum, I kinda think that is cool!"

It may not LOOK cool, but it is a funky little chair...and I like "different." Not really my style (Hollywood Regency maybe?) but since my style is "eclectic," I can find a place for it! 

I'm not sure exactly what wood it is...my guess is walnut. But the finish was the typical dark stain with black flecks I see on a lot on furniture from the 70's...not really attractive...

 

After I stripped all the old fabric, I used my 1/2 and 1/2 mixture and stripping process to strip the old finish and stain...then I applied 4 coats of tung oil finish (no stain)! I like the warmth of natural wood.

As always, if one comes in, one must go out. So this little chair in my office was moved upstairs into the guest room until I have room in my space at 410 Vintage! I bought it 25 years ago at an estate auction and it was my first real reupholstery project.

Fabric is always a tough one for me...maybe because I know how hard it is to reupholster a piece and I don't want to do something I will tire of and have to redo. I found several fabrics I thought I might like, brought samples home and did what I always do...stare at it for a few days. In the end I went with this fun but somewhat conservative "geo" pattern...I like that it is relatively neutral and could be spiced up with a pillow or throw...

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And spice it I did. When I was looking at fabrics I found an awesome pink velvet. I was briefly tempted to cover the chair in the fabric but I knew it would be a "fad color" I would later regret. But I couldn't stop obsessing over the pink so I decided to find a pink accent pillow.

Naturally, I couldn't find a pillow I like so I ended up buying a little bit of the pink velvet and made a little pillow. Instead of cording, I decided to go with tassels on the corners but couldn't find any I liked...so I made little "tufts" out of feather cording...just too stinking cute!

A simple but fun little detail that brings in the pink I was drooling over without the huge commitment of covering an entire chair in it! I would advise taking this approach on all "big ticket items." Couches, chairs, bedding...keep them neutral and add the "fad" details and colors with pillows, throws, curtains and rugs...accents that are relatively inexpensive to change out when the color falls out of favor in a few short years!

By the way, you may have noticed I changed the curtain...I went with white just to lighten the corner a bit!

I could never post a good tutorial on how to upholstery YOUR piece of furniture...there are so many great video tutorials online for just about any style of chair/couch/ottoman/etc and I strongly suggest you do a lot of research before you start your project. Find a tutorial that best suits YOUR needs.

I will share a few tips that will make your job a tad easier. It doesn't matter if you are recovering a chair or couch or ottoman...these rules apply!

First, learn to sew. Every DIYer should know how to use a sewing machine if for no other reason than to sew pillows or curtains or do basic upholstery or even hem a pair of pants. If you don't know how to sew a straight stitch, learn! I was fortunate that my mother made me take sewing lessons when I was young but I know a lot of local county extensions and hobby stores offer cheap (if not FREE) lessons! Take them...learn! And don't think you need an expensive sewing machine...I have a basic cheap machine that is at least 30 years old! 

Start simple. Before you tackle an heirloom wingback chair with expensive fabric, try something simple like this ottoman....

The drop cloth material I used was relatively inexpensive and super easy to sew. And I used a premade bias tape for the cording.

Take your time! I always think a project will take a lot less time than it actually does...so know that reupholstering anything isn't a "rainy day project!" Maybe a rainy WEEK...but deconstructing alone will take time and a lot of patience and you want to do it right!

Take LOTS of pictures while you deconstruct! Just snap random pictures as you strip the piece. If you are like me you THINK you will remember, but you won't...and you will find yourself sitting there wishing you knew how in the world it was originally put together. So take pictures!

It is always good to have a visual reference!

TRY to keep the pieces of the old upholstery intact so you can use them as a pattern for the new. If the old is really stinky and ewwwy, make a "pattern" with them out of butcher block paper or old newspaper. Make sure you label each pattern piece or old fabric so you know where it goes! And keep in mind that the fabric you remove has been trimmed...so add a few inches on each side of the piece...you can always trim after it is attached!

If you are going to strip and stain or paint, do it after you strip the old upholstery but before the new! 

Take time to make repairs! Make any repairs that need to be made BEFORE you start painting/stripping/staining and reupholstering! Do not spend the time and money reupholstering a chair if it wobbles or needs new strapping. If you don't know how to repair something property, Google it! Or email me! And remember, glue and clamps are your friend...not silicone, not sheetrock screws, not nails. Do it right or you are wasting your time!!!

Remove ALL the old upholstery nails and staples...all of them. And honestly, I have bought every tool on the market to make the job easier and I always revert back to a plain ole' flat screw driver, a hammer and a pair of good needle nose pliers!

Which reminds me...wear shoes! I don't care how careful you are, those nails and staples fly all over the place and you WILL find them with your bare feet!

Speaking of tools, I think I have tried every electric and manual stapler on the market. I have found that MOST will not set a staple flush or securely. So now I use a pneumatic stapler, similar to this one.  Best. Stapler. Ever!!!!  But word of warning...don't make a mistake and don't plan on recovering the piece any time soon because those staples aren't coming out!

Alway cover old batting with new. Even if the old batting seems to be in good condition, cover it with new batting. Always! If it has old horse hair stuffing replace it...if it has old "strapping," now is the time to replace it!!! On a few chairs, I have actually stripped everything down to the bare wooden bones and added new everything. Trust me, that is better than getting it all back together and discovering that the seat still sags or is lumpy and it smells!

Buy enough material! When you buy material make sure you account for any piping (welt cording) you might have to make. You can buy premade cording, but if you are going to make it out of the upholstery fabric it MUST be cut on the bias...in other words, diagonal across the fabric. To give you an example, on this little chair, I needed less than two yards for the seat and back, but I needed another yard just so I would have enough to make the welting. Again, google welt cording/piping and you will find great tutorials that will show you exactly how to make it. 

Make sure you have enough fabric to complete the project before you start. Lay ALL your "pattern pieces" out on the fabric and account for the welting before you start cutting. Nothing is worse than getting half way through the project only to discover you don't have enough fabric...and you bought the last bit of it! If all else fails you can always use two different fabrics on the project like I did on these little tuffets...but PLAN for it!

 

Google, google, google. I learned a lot at the elbow of my dad but today we have the world at our finger tips and you can find a good tutorial for just about any project...even upholstering furniture! I always advise watching as many tutorials as you can find and use the one that makes the most sense to you and your project! Watching DIY tutorials is also a great way to decide if you even want to tackle the project...advisable before you buy a wingback chair at a garage sale for $20 with the intent of "learning to upholstery!" 

Until next week when I hope to share Matt's entry makeover...

 

 

 

Practicality beats heirloom...

It certainly doesn't happen often. If you have been around awhile you know I will take heirloom over just about anything.

This stool was my great grandfather's drafting stool and I featured it here.

It is oak and it really isn't "my style." (whatever that might be!) But because it was an heirloom piece I carefully refinished it and recovered the seat.

But when it came right down to it, the little guy just wasn't very practical. First, it was kind of heavy and difficult to move around...truth is, if you lift up the seat it comes right off. Second, there is a good chance the thing was going to kill me! Since popping my cabinets up, I often need a little boost to reach the upper cabinets. The top of this stool spins and more than once I found myself dang near snapping a limb just to get to a spare can of coffee when I tried to use it as a "step stool!"

It was my great grandfathers and I seriously love it...but it just wasn't functional for the kitchen! 

I have been on the lookout for an old "cosco" type step stool. I found several, but all were too tall...so every time I would need to open a drawer I would have to move the stool...again, not practical! 

I FINALLY found the perfect stool...and naturally it was a mess!

Covered in paint, ripped vinyl seat, and minor rust spots on the legs. 

NO BIGGY!!! Fortunately the paint was latex so I was able to scrub MOST of that off with a little detergent and elbow grease. I have found that 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits will take rust spots right off of metal...then I just wipe it down with vinegar to neutralize any lurking rust. I recovered the little seat with some fabric I had on hand, and.....

Not sure I am a huge fan of the olive green step, but the fabric has a little olive green in it so for now it will do! 

But the awesomest thing about this stool is it's size...perfect fit for the corner of my kitchen and perfect height for a little boost when I need it!

I'm a little bummed that I had to give up my heirloom piece in the kitchen, but I will no doubt find a functional use for it somewhere, sometime!

Waterfall armoire makeover....

This week's project is a classic example of "OMG, can I really paint an antique!!!???"

This is a pretty little vintage waterfall armoire I picked up at an estate auction a few weeks ago. It wasn't in terrible shape, but it really didn't have a lot going for it aesthetically...kind of plan and boring!

It did have some really pretty bakelite hardware, which is classic on waterfall pieces. The problem was the condition of the hardware. One was completely missing the bakelite, and the other three were broken and chipped....pretty much unsalvagable! 

The "design" on the top drawer was not a true inlay...and the general construction was pretty simplistic. I did a little research online to make sure it wasn't something of great value! Sometimes, when there are no makers marks, you just have to make a judgment call on the value as a "restored antique." 

In the end, I decided to give the piece a little KTSP treatment and give it a new life. Hopefully it will make a perfect little dresser/storage cabinet for someone! 

I removed all the hardware, taped and papered the drawers and insides and sprayed it down with Kilz. Since one of the pulls was toast, I puttied the holes so I could add a single pull. After sanding it smooth and wiping it down with tack cloth, it was time to paint.

Unfortunately, it is that time of the year when temperatures don't always cooperate. So I had to haul everything into my dining room and use a brush and roller instead of spray paint. 

No biggy IF you do it properly...make sure you use a quality brush, a 4" foam roller and add Floetrol to your latex paint! (Penetrol for oil based) The additive will give your paint a longer dry time and more time to "level," eliminating brush and roller marks. 

I found a pretty blue and tried it on the drawers..ummmm...no. Too babyish. So I mixed a little black in some green and came up with a greyish-green I kind of liked.

I removed the broken bakelite from the pulls and sprayed them with metal primer then sprayed them with gold paint. Kind of pretty!

All in all, it turned out kind of cute. While it was a nice "vintage" piece, I think the paint and new hardware gave it a nice little "update" and a chance at a new and useful life....

If you are certain a piece is not a valuable antique, don't be afraid to give it a little face lift! 

As I mentioned last week, I have been working on reupholstering the club chair and ottoman in the living room. Unfortunately I had to order a little more fabric so HOPEFULLY I can finish it up this week and share next week! 

Until then....

Super simple DIY wall decor....

As I look around at my wall decor, I realize that MOST of it is thrift store, garage sale, vintage market pieces that I have collected and "upscaled" at some point in time.

Here I shared a quick update to my little gallery wall of favorite family photos....

Simple, inexpensive frames spray painted and new matting. I didn't even have expensive "custom" mats made...I cut bulk matting to fit the frame and then mounted the pictures on top of it!

I spent a fortune on these dining pictures 17 years ago and in my quest to transition from "dark and dank" to "light and bright" I gave them a little make-over....

I did spend a little more on custom matting, but I chalk painted the frames and deconstructed and changed it all out myself. A tad more expensive but faaaaar less expensive then going out and buying new matted pictures! You can pick up frames like these for pennies at thrift stores! Maybe the picture is ugly and the frame is "dated" but it really is a simple little DIY project that can make a huge impact! 

This super cool mid century dresser mirror was another DIY project I shared here

I love the fact that I can change out the wreath for the holiday seasons...I have one for fall (pictured) and Christmas, a Valentine's wreath and a cool little metal thing for the 4th of July! For "off-season" I have a simple boxwood wreath!

Now this is where I admit that I am a bad blogger....because AGAIN I failed to take any "before" pictures. So close your eyes and imagine...inexpensive little brown frames with pictures of a goose...or something stupid like that.

Again, a little KTSP treatment, a tiny bit of spray paint, a little inspirational quote printed on stock paper and PRESTO....

When I was at an auction last week I picked up two unfinished oak cabinet doors. Here I shared how easy it is to turn them into cute little chalkboards...perfect for a kitchen, mud room or the kid's room! 

Chalkpaint, chalkboard paint, a little cup pull to hold the chalk and again, PRESTO! 

(I even painted the cabinet doors in my garage with chalkboard paint so I have a place to write down supplies I need to pick up or projects I need to work on!)

My point? If you don't like your wall decor,  change it! Paint it, change out the mats, change out the picture. 

Make it pretty! Cuz life is too short to live with ugly wall decor! 

Making the holidays a tad easier...

"Its the most wonderful time of the year!!!" It is, but man, can it put a strain on our bodies, time and finances! 

Over the years I have found a few ways to make my holiday season just a tad easier and economical.

Today I want to share a few of those things....

LIGHT REMOTE

I bought mine at Lowe's....

This nifty little gadget allows you to turn on your indoor Christmas decor with the touch of a button. I have one on my big tree, one on my small tree in the den and one on the big wreath and trees in the den. Just plug anything into this outlet, plug it into the wall and punch a button...on or off...simple as it sounds!

TIMERS

Definite must-have for outdoor lighting! No more going out into the cold and unplugging the lights before you go to bed...or worse, FORGETTING to unplug the lights! I set my timers to 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. and know that my lights will automatically turn on and off! (Most home improvement stores carry them!)

STAR SHOWERS

These were pretty much out of necessity. Brian has been the official "outdoor light" guy for 16 years...but a few years ago he fell off the ladder and last year he had a hernia. So I had to find a way to light up the outdoors without killing him. Hence the Star Showers! One...mehhhh. Two...so-so....but two on the house and four pointed at the tall pine trees....WOW!!!! Beautiful. I almost don't miss all the colored and icicle lights...almost!

I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond and I have seen them advertised online and on TV.

WRAPPING TABLE

Again, out of necessity. I'm too OCD to leave wrapping stuff strung out on my dining table for the entire season...and sitting on the floor wrapping presents for hours on end was more than my knees and back could handle. So now I set up this little table in my room and load up my wire baskets with paper, bows and boxes. Not only do I have a perfect spot for wrapping, I have the perfect place to stack gifts that need wrapping. Pens, scissors, labels and the tape dispenser are always at my finger tips!

WIRED RIBBON

I love this stuff...it makes beautiful simple bows for packages but the great thing is you can reuse it year after year. Just roll them up after all the gifts are open, thrown them in a box and you will have beautiful ribbon next year! Pretty and economical! 

STORAGE UNIT

This one is new for us this year. I have always stored my holiday decor in the attic. But as you get older, climbing up and down the rickety attic stairs with bulky boxes gets a little dicey. When Brian moved this year, we decided to get a storage unit big enough to hold some of his stuff and ALL our seasonal decor...both fall and Christmas. And there is A LOT! Yes, it is kind of a pain to have to go get the boxes and then take the empty boxes back, then go get the empty boxes, and then take them back. But honestly, it is easier than hauling it all in and out of the attic...and far safer! 

HEIRLOOM ORNAMENTS

I've shared this before...and it bares repeating...it is never too late to start a "tradition." When my oldest daughter was a baby my mother started giving her several special ornaments every year. She continued this "tradition" for all my children, who are now 35, 28, 27 and 19...2-3 ornaments times all those years! You can imagine how many I now have. My oldest daughter now has all her and her children's ornaments and they fill her tree. I still have the boys' and my youngest daughter's and will keep them until they have their own Christmas tree. Each ornament has some meaning...the year they went skiing, their first deer, high school and college graduations, glass ornaments created from the ash of Mr. St. Helen's...so many ornaments... enough to completely cover a 9' tree. I don't need ribbon or balls or "fillers"...I have a tree full of memories, each ornament marking a milestone or special time in our lives! Priceless...and beautiful! 

 

These are just a few little things that have made our holiday season a tad easier...and economical...and safer! 

Enjoy the season!

Heirlooms trump everything!

I have said it time and again....family heirlooms trump EVERYTHING!!! So when my uncle dropped off a china cabinet this week that had been my great-grandmother's, everything was rearranged to make room for it!

It's not "my style."(very traditional) It's not "my wood." (oak) It's not "my finish." (white-wash/pickled kinda look)

But it was my great-grandmother's and that is all that matters.

I even have a picture to prove it!

This is my maternal grandmother, great-grandfather and great-grandmother gathered at a holiday dinner in the early 80s....the china cabinet is in the background and the dishes on the table are my great-grandmother's china I recently acquired.

I vaguely remember this piece in my great grandparent's dining room when I was a child. They lived in a charming little post-war neighborhood in Dallas and during my childhood it was the family gathering spot for holiday's and special occasions.

While I was looking through my family photos for a picture of the cabinet, I also found this awesome holiday photo of my mother's entire family taken in 1948 at their home in Houston.

My mother is the sullen looking teenager in the red gingham shirt, my uncle to her left. The woman to the far left in the picture, in white, is my great aunt Judy. She inherited this china cabinet after my great-grandmother (woman far right) passed in 1986...and now it has come to me!

On the table are my grandmother's dishes I also acquired recently! 

These pictures are pure treasure!

Sooooo...now I have a china cabinet that is not my style, not my wood and not my finish.

I'm not sure what I will do with the finish...if anything. Right now I am just going to let it sit and mull it over. This is one of those pieces I will not touch until I have a very firm game plan in place. I know it needs a few small repairs but the beveled mirrors were replace in 1986...seriously, I found the receipt in the cabinet....$15 for two beveled mirrors. I just spent $130 to replace two mirrors that broke when my living room wall mirror fell off the wall!

I do know I would like to replace the wood shelves with glass...maybe add some interior lighting....and I couldn't wait to remove the metallic red paper inside the cabinet!

Had I picked this piece up at an auction, I would have immediately slathered it in paint. 

Not that I am opposed to making changes to family heirlooms. Sometimes you have to make changes to a piece so it will serve your family for many more decades. But when you are dealing with family heirlooms you should proceed with respect and caution! 

Little projects that can make a big impact!

While my garage is packed with projects I should be working on, the heat and humidity are just too much. This past week I worked on a few little projects inside!

The first is a "not so little project" but one I have been putting off for a loooong time! I shared the new living room chair I reupholstered here. I also had a little MCM chair and fabric ready to go but I could not bring myself to start the project. Upholstery is one of those things I do ONLY because I like the final results.

I was hoping duck egg blue and mauve would miraculously come back into vogue so I wouldn't have to mess with it, but that's probably not going to happen anytime soon! (Those who remember the 80s will understand this!) 

A teal club chair was one element of my den makeover plan I shared over a year ago. As I mentioned in the reveal post, not all elements of a makeover happen overnight...some may take years. Case in point!

Anywho, this wasn't technically a "little" project. I pretty much had to deconstruct the entire chair, strip and reoil the wood (beautiful!) and then reupholster. 

Once it was done....BIG impact.

But I really did accomplish two relatively "little" projects that have been on my "to do" list and that made a big impact.

The first was changing this little "gallery" wall....one of my "Things I Love" features. Family photos.

Honestly, these have not changed in 16 years but I want to change it up in my quest to "lighten and brighten" elements in my house. Since I am transitioning from the "warm" blacks and burnt reds to "cooler" reds, off-whites and teals, I decided these frames would be easy little elements to update with a little paint and new mats. Still love the pictures...just not how they are displayed

Here I shared the changes to the pictures on my dining room wall....

Just painting the frames and adding new mats made a HUGE difference in this space and cost very little.

I removed all the matting, photos and glass from the frames (good time to REALLY clean the glass!) I had mounted these pictures ON TOP of the matting so all I had to do was cut new teal matting using the old mats as a template and then reattach the photos using double sided tape. Frames are super easy to paint...a little primer and a little spray paint (Valspar Riviera Dune...my favorite off white spray paint) 

Perfect! (Um...yeah...I need to do something about the nasty looking thermostat!)

The other little project was super easy as well. I have wanted "modern" type house numbers for some time. I even painted some on my front door several years ago.

The actual house numbers that can easily been seen from the street are in the gable above the garage door...just cheapo, boring black numbers. Right now they are covered up with the "ivy" that is creeping all over the front of the house and at Christmas they are covered with a huge wreath (that warranted a visit from the code enforcer one year!) 

In my defense, this stuff usually doesn't get THIS out of control. Brian usually pulls it down every year when he puts up the Christmas lights. But last year we used one of those "star shower" thingies and didn't put any lights on the house...so...well...it is out of control! 

I have a plain "ho-hum" brick column on my tiny front porch that I thought might be perfect for a number display!

I ordered the "modern" style 4.5" numbers from Amazon. 

Somewhere along the way I picked up a plank of walnut. I've kind of been hoarding it for the last few years waiting for the perfect project and this was it.

I laid out the numbers on the board, measured and then cut the board the length I needed. Not sure how well tung oil finish will hold up outdoors, but that is what I used to seal the wood (3 coats).

Then I measured and marked where each number was going to go, drilled holes, secured the numbers using hardware screws, and then mounted it all on the brick column.

I used masonry screws to attach the board to the column. Since I didn't want the screws to show, I drilled a hole 1/4" deep with a 1" paddle bit, then pre-drilled in the middle of that hole for the masonry screws and then covered it all with hardwood plugs.

Dabbed a little tung oil finish on the plugs....cute as a bugs ear!

Doesn't look like the heat is going to let up any time soon so I have hauled several pieces into to the dining room to chalk paint! Maybe I can get a little bit of projecting done and get some room to breath in my garage! Maybe....