Decorating for fall and Mr. Jinx....

Since it is time to decorate for fall and Halloween I thought I would take a minute and formally introduce one of my “rescues.” Mr. Jinx…

All fall decors should include a black cat…right?

I shared pictures of him last year at Christmas…black cats are super tough to photograph. When I look at pictures of him I understand why black is a “slimming” color…he is WAAAAY bigger than this picture reveals. The kids say he is fat…I argue he is just big boned and really fluffy.

Half the time his little fangs are showing…he can’t help it…he has big fangs. Kinda scary looking but super cute when he is stretched out on his back asleep with his little fangs and tongue sticking out…

I have more than a few pictures of him on my Iphone!


Funny story about how I acquired this kitty. He hung around the apartments for months…I knew he wasn’t a feral kitty because he was super friendly. He would rub against your legs and then roll over for a tummy rub. He loves to have his tummy rubbed!

One day I was sitting in my car talking with my manager and mentioned that we should probably take him to the shelter since he was a super friendly and beautiful kitty and someone would certainly adopt him. About that time he jumped in my car and made himself at home on my shoulder.

What was I to do?

Naturally I couldn’t bring him straight home since I didn’t know what I would be exposing my other cats to…so I took him to my vet and had him tested for all kitty diseases. Clean. My vet thought he was about 2 years old and because of his size probably a Maine Coon.

I told the vet to neuter him and give him shots.

At that point I had a small fortune invested in this cat…so I couldn’t very well take him to the shelter.

What was I to do?

Brian was NOT happy that I brought home another cat…

So I told Brian we would foster him. I promptly named him Mr. Jinx…because, well, he’s black…and black cats are suppose to be jinxed right?

This was two weeks before Christmas so with the whole family and their dogs here and all the chaos that goes with the holidays, Mr. Jinx’s nerves kicked in.

Another visit to the vet, a few nights stay, a staggering vet bill…now I REALLY had a small fortune invested in this cat.

What was I to do?

I couldn’t very well just GIVE him away…right?

Brian was still not happy there was another cat in the house (seriously, I only have four…that isn’t TOO many, right?)

But after the holidays, calm was restored and Mr. Jinx settled in…and promptly fell as madly in love with me as I was with him.

Two years later we are still “fostering” him…truth be told, you would have to pry this cat out of my cold, dead hands.

EVERYONE loves Mr. Jinx…even the dogs. He is the coolest, most chill cat I have ever owned…and while Molly was a tough cat to top, he ranks right up there with one of the best cats EVER!

Even Brian has fallen in love with this kitty!

What was he to do…lol!

DECORATING FOR FALL!

It is really tough for me to break out the fall decor when it is still in the 90s every day. But it’s my rule…the week before we leave for our annual trip to Colorado, I decorate for fall.

HOPEFULLY, when we get home it will be a bit cooler. Rarely. Usually I have to put the jeans and Ugg boots back in the depths of the closet for a few more weeks. But the decorating is done and I can sit back and enjoy my favorite time of the year!

Not much changes from year to year…a few years ago I painted these little pumpkins and changed up the window decor…

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Refurbished pumpkins, deer antlers, fall picks…nothing fancy! Still like this little vignette so it won’t change this year!

A few weeks ago I changed out the dining room light fixture

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I love the new fixture and I love even more that I can still add the fall garland!

I’ve added a few new elements to the den mantel…a tall vase and new candle sticks….

…but the garland and Mr. Owl are still the focal points. The same but different!

The entry…usually void of much because I still haven’t “decorated” it after it’s little makeover…but it’s a great place to infuse a little fall decor…

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The seasonal box I featured here…still one of my favorite super simple projects!

I changed out a few pillows and throws….

Even grandmother’s chair got a little pop of fall…

Every year I find pieces of garland, wreaths and picks at the bottom of my storage tubs…I just scatter them here and there for little touches of fall!

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Again, little changes, but I love it all the same!

So many don’t decorate for fall because of the cost of buying “stuff.” As I have mentioned before, I usually hit the home decor stores at the end of the season (which seems to be before Halloween these days) and pick up a few things here and there for pennies on the dollar! You may not get to enjoy it for a long time this year, but you will get to enjoy it for years to come!

This is also one reason I strongly recommend sticking with “traditional” vs. “fad” seasonal decor. As much as you might love those teal pumpkin pillows and chevron throws, I promise you won’t love them in a few short years.

I actually bought teal pumpkin pillows this year…

….knowing that I will tire of them quickly. No biggy…they have good forms I know I can reuse in the future!

There is no harm in spending a little money on the latest “fads” but be selective and thrifty. Create small vignettes with the latest trends but don’t blow your entire seasonal budget on it! And check out the blogs and Pinterest…there are thousands of nifty ideas for inexpensive seasonal projects that take little time, effort or money!

Fall may not be “in the air” just yet, but it is certainly “in the house.” Maybe this year it will actually feel like fall outside when we get home!

Finally...painted walls!

I finally did it...I painted the walls in the main living areas! 

Over a year ago I seriously contemplated painting the downstairs living areas. I called my painter friend and set up a time for him to paint while we were on vacation! I painted samples all over the walls...and promptly cancelled the painter and painted over the sample spots with the same ole' "Cream" paint color that has been on the walls for 19 years.

I just couldn't pull the trigger! I know one of the issues was my inability to commit to a paint color. The other issue is my inability to admit I am just getting too old to tackle these big projects.

But last year I painted my master bedroom SW Nuance (a much smaller project, but a butt-kicker all the same!) I then used the same color in the guest room makeover.

I really love it. It contrasts nicely with the Swiss Coffee trim but it's not so dark that it over powers the room. It seems to be the perfect back drop for any decor accent I want to add in a room.

After living with this new paint color in my bedroom for a bit, I kinda sorta thought I might like it in the living areas. I called my painter friend and rescheduled.

It is no secret that major changes are tough for me...so the fact that I picked a paint that wasn't TOO different from what I had before isn't surprising.

While it isn't a HUGE difference, it is indeed different. The original color was "SW Cream" and it was definitely on the "yellow" spectrum. The Nuance is more of a very light "griege" ...one shade lighter than Useful Grey on the color chart! 

You can really see the difference on the walls side by side....

When it was all said and done, I really love it...it looks clean and fresh. While I had everything off the cabinets and walls I took the opportunity to deep clean (OMGosh there was some nasty gunk lurking behind and beneath!) and rethink all the stuff I had adorning the walls and cabinet tops! 

I removed the "heirloom china" from the dining room walls and pass throughs and a few knick-knacks and china plates from the cabinet tops...not huge changes but enough to open it up a bit.

One of my favorite changes was the dining room art...

Several years ago I painted the frames and changed the mats...but I was never a huge fan of the actual prints. 

A few weeks ago I bought some botanical prints at an auction. They are numbered prints by Kate Nesslar (Google her!) and they really are beautiful! I removed the not-so-pretty black and gold matting and they fit perfectly in the red mat! And they look awesome!

I don't know why picking a paint color is so hard for me...paint is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to make a big change...and the best thing is if you don't like the color, no biggy...just repaint it. 

Hiring something to do what I could have easily done myself ten years ago is another toughy.

But in the end, I can't believe I waited this long to make this change and I certainly don't regret hiring someone else to do it for me!

The next big chore on my list of home improvements is the tub/shower in the master bath! I want to take out the whirlpool tub (that I have literally used MAYBE 3 times in 19 years) and add a large walk in shower. And that my friends will get hired out as well!

Getting older has a few advantages...

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Gel stain tutorial on table makeovers...

I did it again...dove head straight into a project without taking a "before" picture. But at least this time I got an "inbetween" picture!

These little tables were simple makeovers. I picked up the side table at an auction a few weeks ago. Got it for a few dollars because, well, it was nasty, the color is pretty putrid AND the top had come unglued.

No biggy for me. I glued and clamped the top, then I sanded off the old finish on it. Yes, you heard me right, I sanded it. Two reason...first, I got glue on the top when I repaired it and stain will not adhere to glue. Second, it is solid wood and I knew I couldn't do a lot of damage to it. Light sanding...220 grit! Just enough to remove the old finish and glue residue.

I got the drop leaf table from my neighbors. I told you I am the dumping ground for neighborhood furniture...it just "appears." Again, the top is solid so I gave it a light sanding.

I knew I wanted to paint both tables but as always I have to have my fix of stained wood. So I used gel stain on both tops. 

Gel stain is SUPER easy to apply IF you use the right technique and product. As I have said before the ONLY gel stain I will use is General Finishes. It is not a brand the big box improvement stores carry so I usually order mine on Amazon. I have tried other gel stains and have not been happy with the results. The General Finishes brand never disappoints. I have used both the Java and Brown Mahogany colors.

I am going to share how I gel stain...it is a super easy application process and perfect for real wood or even that cheapo fake stuff you find on the ends of cabinets. Since it goes on fairly translucent, the wood grain (real or fake) will show through.

I have used this process on cabinets, tables, dresser tops and drawer fronts....some I have stripped down to bare wood, others I simply applied it over the existing finish.  It is a great process to use on any project where you want "stain" but know you might not get a good result by completely stripping the piece and applying penetrating stain!

First step for ANY makeover (after repairs of course)...give the piece a good cleaning. In this case, since both tops were solid wood, I also gave them a good sanding. Sanding is NOT necessary but you want to make sure that any old finish is stable and somewhat smooth. So if your old finish is flaking or a bit rough, sand it smooth with 220 grit paper.

You will need....

The gel stain...again, I ONLY use General Finishes. A quart will cost you around $30+ but it seriously goes a loooong way!!! If you just have a small project, get a pint. I have found that it doesn't store well.

The gel stain top coat...in this case I used the GF Poly wipe-on top coat. But I have used a spray on Polyurethane and Polycrylic and they work just as well. 

Disposable rubber gloves. I always have those on hand. Just the cheap latex gloves you buy in a box so you can toss when finished.

Old athletic socks. Again, I keep a stash on hand. Any time I find old socks at thrift stores or garage sales I buy them. They are perfect for applying any type of stain or finish and I can toss them when I am finished.

That's it...a relatively short list of supplies!

The trick to applying gel stain is to remember it is suppose to be somewhat "translucent." Put on a rubber glove, then an old sock over the glove...dip you finger tips into the gel stain and wipe the gel stain on the piece with the grain. The first coat will look like crud so don't try to get perfect solid coverage! Just wipe it on LIGHTLY WITH THE GRAIN....do not "glob" it or apply it thick...it is NOT paint. I usually wipe it on, then use the clean side of the sock to give it one final wipe WITH THE GRAIN...working edge to edge. 

THE FIRST COAT WILL LOOK LIKE CRUD!!!! I can not stress this enough...you are better to go light than to try to make the first coat look decent. It is not going to! If you can't see the grain through the coat of stain, it is WAY to thick.

Now, let that dry over night. Then do it again. New glove, new sock. Wipe on a second LIGHT COAT! The second coat will look a tad better, but not great. THAT IS OKAY. Keep it light and translucent! 

Let the second coat dry over night. Then with a new glove and sock, apply the third coat. NOW it should look good. The stain should allow the grain to show through!

If you feel like you have messed up....too thick, too streaky, just don't like it...you can still wash this stain off with mineral spirits if you haven't applied a top coat! 

Let the third coat dry overnight. If you are happy with the look, apply your top coat. Again, I used the GF gel wipe on poly on these tables...super easy to apply. Rubber glove, sock, wipe on. As simple as it sounds. You may want to apply 2-3 coats of the finish...especially on tops or cabinets that get a lot of use...just make sure you wipe it down with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between coats. You will get a nice smooth finish that way!

Presto, bingo! This really is an easy application IF you don't overthink it and try to get a decent looking finish on the first and second coat...if you do, you will put the gel stain on too thick and I promise you won't be happy with it! My neighbor, Tammy, tried this process on a little side table...and sure enough she put the stain on too thick...it did not turn out well! Each coat should be light and "translucent." 

After I let the top coat dry well for a few days, I painted the rest with chalk paint...a light distressing with 220 grit sand paper and sealed with a spray on polyurethane. Again, sometimes I use polyurethane, sometimes polycrylic. I find that the urethane tends to "yellow" and give the piece a bit of an aged look...which is kind of what I was going for here. The polycrylic is a true clear coat and won't alter the color of the paint or yellow with time.

(As you can see the sun was very bright the day I tried to get decent pictures of these two tables...trust me that was the ONLY day this past week that it wasn't dreary, raining or cold as crud. I even had to cover my hostas this week to protect them from a freeze...and they are predicting another freeze this weekend...grrr!)

My recipe for chalk paint is 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris, 3 tablespoons of water, mix well then add two cups of flat latex paint. I usually paint two thin coats, then sand and seal.

Cute as a bugs ear and ready for another generation of use!

This week I decided I am getting too old and tired to paint my own house. I actually hired someone to paint my living room, kitchen and den! Ten years ago I would never have paid someone to do something like that! 

But just the process of getting ready to paint creates a mess and is exhausting!

This, my friends, is the reality of home improvement...normally we bloggers only share the beautifully styled and perfect "after." Truth is, most projects make a mess!

I'm a pretty clean person...or so I thought until I moved things that haven't been moved in years...yuck! 

I'm painting my living areas the same color I used in the master bedroom and guest room....SW Nuance. I'm a little nervous about painting these rooms a different color...I told you, change is hard for me. But I have lived with this color in those two rooms and I THINK I will like it! The painter will be here around 10 so there is no turning back now!

Hopefully the weather will take a turn for the better and I can finish and share a few fun projects I have waiting in the wings next week!

Until then....

The couch saga...

As I mentioned in this post, I custom ordered a new couch...in MAY...after MONTHS of shopping!!! (And we all know how much I hate to shop!) It was suppose to arrive in 8 weeks, but it took 10 weeks because my sales person went on vacation for two weeks and no one submitted the order. Thank goodness patience comes with age.

So it arrived in August....

I REALLY loved this couch...evident by the fact that I was patient AND I paid a small fortune for it.

HOWEVER, it had one major flaw. Because of the fabric choice, there were seams in the cushion and on the front of the couch.

One of the main reasons I special ordered an expensive couch was because I wanted the "seamless and clean" look of a single cushion. 

So for over two months I went back and forth with the store and the manufacturer. Fortunately for me, the digital "mock up" of the couch with that fabric did not show any seams...which gave me grounds to return it. But I didn't want to return it, I wanted THIS couch. It was super comfortable and the fabric was the perfect "creamy" with just a hint of "sparkle."

So I had the manufacturer send me several yards of the fabric to see if maybe I would like the fabric weave running "vertical" vs. "horizontal" which would eliminate the seams.

It only took two months to get the fabric sample. Only....

And then...hum...I just didn't know. So I went back to the store and looked at more fabric. Couldn't find one I liked so I decided to bite the bullet and have them rebuild the couch running the fabric "vertical," eliminating the seams. 

And then I waited...for over three weeks I waited THINKING the couch was on re-order. When I called to get an ETA, I was told they had not even ordered it yet.

This, my friends, is what they call "the end of my rope." 

Needless to say, I returned the couch and started over.

Which means I was not going to have a couch for the holidays. 

Several weeks before Thanksgiving I ordered a couch, "butt unfelt" (you know what I mean ladies!), that was suppose to "5 day quick ship.". While it did in fact ship in 5 days, it took the shipping company 3 weeks to deliver it. No, I did not have the couch for Thanksgiving.

The new couch? Well, I can't say I LOVE it...I love the style and have admired this couch many times online...it is the Younger "Michael" couch. A tad retro...single cushion, a tiny bit of tufting. The fabric selection was limited on the "quick ship" option so I picked a neutral fabric I could live with. Only the "standard" seat cushion was available in the "quick ship" and honestly, It's not as comfy as I would like. Again, I can't say I am madly in LOVE with the fabric and feel of the couch, but I certainly don't hate it. 

The upside is that it wasn't terribly expensive... and since I am not "in love" with this sofa, I won't feel terribly guilty about giving it to one of the kids in 5-6-7 years.

This week Christmas goes back to storage and then I tend to "hibernate" for a couple of months. It is just too cold to get much done. But I have already eyed a few projects I want to do inside...and I have a few projects I haven't shared. 

Happy New Year! Celebrate smart and stay safe!

 

 

 

The miracle chairs...

Even after years of proving I can turn just about any "trash" into a little "treasure," I think Brian still raises an eyebrow from time to time.

Such was the case with these chairs....

We went to a farm auction and these chairs had been tossed into an old barn, only to see the light of day when the auctioneer dug them out and sold them...to me!

What would possess me? They were literally caked with nastiness and two were in pieces. But I saw the potential (and of course the old mud dauber nests and spiders and bugs!). 

Rarely will I take a hose to a piece of wood furniture...but I had no choice. Even then I had to scrub them with a strong detergent and steel wool.

Then I pulled nails, scraped old glue, cut out broken spindles and removed splintered veneer.

Then I had to clamp and glue everything back together. One chair was missing a side apron so I cut a new one and secured it in place with glue and my Kreg jig! 

My original plan was to prime and paint them. They still had a few rough spots and I knew I wouldn't get a pristine finish I would be happy with so I decided to do a chalk paint and distress finish on them! Always a good choice for a piece that has a few "boo-boos!" 

I think the boo-boos and the distressed finish give the chairs "aged character." After recovering the seats on the two Duncan Phyfe style chairs and making a new seat for the other, I think they turned out pretty sweet.

My plan is to stage them with this trestle table I will be taking into 410 Vintage this week, just in time for the holidays! 

Just in time for Brian and me to take our annual trek to Colorado! I can't wait...two days of fly fishing, several days of sight-seeing and maybe even a day of gambling in Central City! The forecast shows the temps in the 50s and 60s so I will be packing my coat and Uggs! One thing is for sure, I always come home recharged and ready to enjoy my favorite season

I made a few changes to my fall decorating this year...one being these little pumpkins...

I added a few silk sunflowers, a fall garland, fall picks and deer antlers (yes, my kids killed them....ick!).

Not sure I am loving this little vignette but I have a few more months to make changes and additions!

 

Mirror, mirror, on the wall....

I gave up trying to come up with clever blog titles a loooong time ago, but I just couldn't resist!

Mirrors are the simplest way to add wall decor, light and depth to a room. In other words, if you have a small dark room, hang a mirror!

My master bedroom is a pretty large room and it gets tons of natural light but I am in the process of making a few changes. I have a really awesome antique mirror hanging out in my garage that may fit into the plan.

I use mirrors in just about every room of my house....

The living room (featured here)....

The den...

My home office....

And this fun little mirror hanging in a small corner of my room...

The change? Well, I am finally getting around to buying new chairs for my master bedroom. I originally intended to reupholster the chairs I have...

But as you can see, they are very large...and they are "matchy-matchy" which is something I am moving away from. Truth be told, I just don't like them any more!

While I was hunting for a new couch for the living room, I looked at a few chairs that might work in this space.

First, let me explain "this space." When the kids were younger, I added the den so we would have two living spaces. When they got a bit older (and louder), I added a large master suite with this awesome sitting area so we would have someplace to escape to.

Of course, now the kids are gone and we have this amazing sitting area in our bedroom and two living spaces. Um, no, we don't need all this space. Truthfully, we rarely use the sitting area in the master bedroom these days...but my oldest daughter really wants these two large club chairs...and well, it's just time to make a change!

So the hunt for the perfect chairs commenced.....

Two caught my eye, so this week I went back to the store and ordered them both....

This one is a leather recliner. A little bit of information about myself...I DO NOT do recliners. First, they are usually very bulky and unsightly. Second, I have an unfortunate history with recliners...hence, they seem to set off a form of PTSD. I don't really want to share, but suffice it to say, I swore there would never be a recliner in my home.

But I kind of like this one...it is very different from your typical barcalounger recliner and I really didn't find it the least bit offensive. It has a USB port and Brian thinks it is super comfy, so this will be "his" chair.

My chair is actually a "feed me a grape" kinda thing....

Perfect for those nights when my back won't let me lay in bed any longer or cold winter afternoons when I just want to curl up with a blanket and a good book!

I really didn't need an ottoman since Brian will have the recliner but I wanted to be able to stretch out.  This one fits the bill...and it is super comfy!

Which brings me to the mirror in the garage (see, I eventually get around to my point!) 

Months ago I bought a MCM dresser with a mirror. It had obviously been exposed to heat from a fire because the finish had a little bit of "bubbling" and it was covered in soot. I took off the mirror, cleaned up the dresser and sold it. 

These days dressers WITH mirrors just aren't the "in thing" so I kept the mirror and gave it a little makeover with the intent to sell it. The finish was damaged...and of course it was pretty "dark and dank."

I chalk painted it with an off-white paint and distressed it a bit. But I really didn't like the look of it...it just seemed too "white."

So I decided to give it a little "glaze" treatment with some stain. I wiped on pecan stain and then wiped it off. It gave the finish a nice "aged" look. After glazing the entire frame of the mirror, I sealed it with polycrylic and reattached the little medallions.

The mirror is "not my style" (again, whatever the heck that is! Eclectic?) and of course I will have to hang it higher...right now I just stuck it up where the old picture was to see if I MIGHT like it there...don't know. Truth is, I will have to wait until the new chairs are in place.

But my whole rambling point is this...you don't have to live with "dark and dank." Mirror frames can easily be painted. Even if the frame isn't quite "your style" a little paint can go a long way to making a simple cast off mirror a nice statement piece for your room! And trust me, if you have priced mirrors lately, you might want to rethink that thrift store gold framed mirror or that old dresser mirror!

Whether you paint it a bright, solid color or give it a little "aged look" treatment, mirrors are easy to change to fit any decor!

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More painted furniture projects and how you can get perfect paint results!

I know I share a lot of painted furniture projects. There was a time when I was a "paint snob." If it is wood, no paint.

But I have learned in my resell business that paint is often the best way to "enhance" a piece and give it new life. 

We all have "that piece." The one mom gave us or maybe we bought at a thrift store or garage sale because we needed a dresser or side table. A maple dresser from the 60s or one of those fake wood "cherry" tables from the 80s. We still need it for the storage or even to fill a space and buying new just isn't an option.

As I have said before, life is too short to live with ugly furniture and even the ugliest piece can benefit from a little "makeover" 

Updating an old dresser or bedside table isn't difficult. Yes, Pinterest is filled with precious stenciled and glazed projects...and we all envy. But simple is easy and the impact can be huge.  I have shared hundreds over the years and every week I complete at least 2-3 pieces that often do not get shared...either I forget to take pictures or they sell so fast I think "why bother." 

So today, again, I'm going to share a few simple little projects and how to get the best results.

Mini makeovers that can make a huge impact in any room!

This campaign dresser had seen it's better days....

As you can see, it had been seriously abused. But even the ugliest piece has potential....

Not the best "after" picture, but I didn't think to take a picture before I took it into 410 Vintage so I snapped one with my phone...but you get the idea. (If you haven't been to 410, GO!)

It sold the day I took it in! These "upcycled" dressers are perfect for a bedroom or even a tv and storage cabinet in the living room.

You might have noticed one piece of the hardware was missing. I happened to have one of the pulls from this project so I used the same method to retrofit it. You don't have to do anything that complicated...most home improvement stores have tons of hardware options. All the hardware was solid brass so I cleaned it up with some Brasso, steel wool and elbow grease. The point...the hardware doesn't have to be all matchy-matchy. 

This little bedside table had seen it's better days!

A simple little makeover...paint and new hardware....new life....

This is a typical hard rock maple dresser you can find for next to nothing at thrift stores and garage sales...

Usually sturdy as the day they were built, but seriously ugly and dated!

They obviously can benefit from a little love and attention...nothing fancy just a little paint and hardware update....

An inexpensive little "fake wood" side table......

And AGAIN...

I liked the brass hardware on this one so I just cleaned it up!

Sooooo...what do all these projects have in common. 

KSTP...Kilz (or any good primer!), sand with 220 grit paper, wipe down with a tack cloth and paint.

The two dressers were painted with latex paint using a 4" foam roller and paint brush. I used spray paint on the two little side tables.

So, here are a few TIPS for getting the best results when painting furniture.

1) Always clean the piece of any dirt or debris. Just wipe it down with a damp cloth and make sure you get all the "ick" off! If the piece is super grungy, you might want to clean it with ammonia or wipe it down with mineral spirits! (If it has a lot of flaking paint, you can sand it down a bit or better yet, strip it using this process...just make sure the existing paint or finish is stable!)

2) Make repairs. DO NOT waste your time making it pretty if it needs repairs. And remember, glue and clamps are your friend!!!! If you don't know how to repair something, google it or email me. MOST furniture repairs aren't that difficult...but if you do it wrong (or not at all) you will be wasting your time making it pretty! 

3) Primer....always a must if you are going to paint with spray paint or latex or oil paint. I swear by the oil-based Kilz. If you want your paint to stick and not chip or peel, prime. For smaller projects I use spray Kilz. For larger projects I roll on Kilz with a 4" foam roller. Even if your paint says "all in one paint and primer"...use primer.

4) Sand smooth after the primer has thoroughly dried. A 220 grit paper should do the trick...FEEL the surface...if you can feel it, the paint won't hide it. 

5) Use tack cloth. Most tutorials will tell you to wipe the piece with a damp cloth. That won't cut it! Tack cloth will pick up the finest grains of dust and debris you can't see until you paint the piece! Use it!

6) If you are going to brush on latex or oil, use a quality brush AND TAKE CARE OF IT! I have brushes I have owned for years because I am religious about cleaning them thoroughly after use. And don't even think about using those cheap disposable brushes (chip brushes). They are great for many things, but not for getting a smooth paint finish on furniture!!!! 

7) ALWAYS use an additive....Floetrol for latex, Penetrol for oil based paints. 

8) Use quality paint. Especially spray paint. I know it is cheaper at discount stores but pay the extra few dollars and buy a quality spray paint at your home improvement store. Cheaper will NOT be better if it doesn't hold up to wear and tear! I do 2-3 light coats (spray or brush) rather than trying to get solid coverage with one coat...trust me when I say, there is NO paint on earth that will get good coverage with just one coat!

9) Cure time is important. Seriously, I know they style their pieces on those HGTV shows within hours of painting a piece of furniture. Just don't! Just because the paint feels dry to the touch DOES NOT mean it has cured. Latex...a few days...oil...a week. Give your paint time to cure or it is going to peel or chip if you try to use it right away! Put the piece in place and chill!

10) Spray vs. Brush/roller. For me, it all depends. I have learned that large flat areas are tough to get an even coat of paint on with spray paint...and of course there is the expense factor for large pieces. A dresser can take 2-3 cans of spray paint. So it really depends of the piece. Sometimes I will spray the drawer fronts of a dresser and roll the top and sides. 

11) Keep a little spare paint for chips and dings...if you use latex or oil, just put a few tablespoons in a little container and stick it in the back of the drawer...just in case! If you are using spray paint, keep a can with a little paint. Manufacturer's change paint colors and you might not be able to find that awesome color in the future. Keep spare paint in the house...not the garage or storage shed!

Regardless of whether you spray or roll/brush, you have to follow the first rules of KSTP....Kilz (primer), sand smooth, then tack....then paint!

If you follow these simple guidelines, you can update a dated piece with just a little time and effort. 

Again, life is too short to live with ugly furniture...

Change is a coming...again

As much as I like to think everything stays the same around here...things do change!

Change came when Brian and I combined households. One of the many additions when he took up residence was his very large and very brown leather couch....

I featured the club chair makeover here

BB (before Brian) I had a light and bright couch....this couch went to the den....

(My daughter now has this living room...the couch, the leather chair and the rug!)

...after I gave away the hulking "mustard" couch! 

The simple yellow couch went to my daughter's so for now the big brown couch has moved to the den  ....

...to make room for the NEW couch I ordered two months ago...

...and as you can see, it has still not arrived.

There was a time when I probably would have ordered off the floor because I was too impatient to wait. But wait I have...and waited and waited and waited. Fortunately, it is due to be delivered today.

The biggest problem I have right now is the "matchy matchy" of the big brown leather couch and big brown leather chair in the den...

....so the new couch may go to the den and the big brown leather couch may go back to the living room. 

Who knows...all I know is I am grateful for furniture movers and Brian's strong back and endless patience!

One disadvantage (or advantage, depending on your perspective) to going to auctions and having a resell outlet is the never ending supply of relatively affordable furniture. This Duncan Phyfe table was a fixture in my dining room for 15 years....

Then I found this really nifty antique table and shared how I refinished it here....

Then I found a really nifty trestle table and shared it's little makeover here....

I held onto this table for a time only because I thought I might follow the "farmhouse fad" and try to infuse a little in my dining area. But truth is, it always seemed a tad big...and honestly, it just isn't "my style." 

A few weeks ago I snagged this cute little antique draw leaf table at an auction....

Not sure I am in love with it, but it suits the need for a smaller table nested against the wall and it can be expanded once a year for Thanksgiving dinner. 

So, change is coming...when the couch gets here. It has been over two months since I ordered it so I hope I still LOVE it when it is delivered. Couches are one of those things I really need to love...because they are big and they are expensive and for me they are the anchor for the room. Rugs, pillows, tables and wall decor can easily be changed out to completely change the feel of a room...couches, not so much! 

Drexel Accolade Nightstand makeover....

I cringe when I even think about painting any MCM piece but occasionally I bite the bullet and paint. Painted this MCM dresser and chest and have never regretted it...yet.

These little Drexel Accolade campaign "nightstands" are described as "MCM" but my research shows they are from the 1980s...so at best they are "vintage." (I cringe even more describing anything from the 80s as "vintage" since I graduated from college in the 80s!)

These little tables vary in "value." Originally my intent was to sell both as-is. But one had some serious "splash marks" all over it and as much as I tried I could not get it off. My only option was to completely strip and refinish the piece...or paint. 

Since I am AGAIN working on the final stages of my den makeover, I decided to paint the one with the serious flaws and use it as a side table. I started to strip and stain it, but I really need a painted piece rather than stained....just my preference. I believe it is important to have a balance of paint and natural wood in any decor and in this case the scales tipped toward paint.

(I will remind you to use extreme caution when painting "vintage" or "antique" pieces...do your research and know what you have FIRST! Make an informed decision before you refinish or paint...you don't want to find out later that you slathered paint on a 1796 colonial side table or spray painted a Hans Wegner chair...just watch "Antique Roadshow")

You can use ketchup or lemon based cleaners to clean brass. Just Google!

The brass hardware on these little tables needed some serious attention!

One interesting tidbit I ran across was how to determine if you have solid brass or brass plated...a magnet...magnets won't stick to solid brass...if it sticks, it is plated...interesting. Mine are solid so that determined how "aggressive" I could be cleaning them.

I'm not sure if a "clear coat" was sprayed on this hardware or age had taken a toll (maybe both), but even my 1/2 and 1/2 mixture didn't cut it. In the end I used a toothbrush, 0000 steal wool, a heavy duty brass cleaner and a ton of elbow grease.

Then I gave the entire piece a little KSTP treatment...Kilz, sand, tack cloth and then paint. 

I really like the look of "high gloss" so I went with a high gloss lacquer white...I think the brass really pops against the gloss white and hopefully it will look good with whatever couch I finally set my sights on!

One word of warning I hope all will take seriously...give paint time to "cure." Nothing is more frustrating than spending time and effort making a piece pretty with paint, only to mess it up by putting doo-dads on it too soon! Cure time IS important!!!! 

I cleaned up the other and it may be sold...I may hang onto it for the time being to see if I can use it in the den...but I am not really into "matchy-matchy" so I may not use it...who knows. And besides, that brass is a booger to shine up so I'm not really looking forward to doing that again any time soon!!!

You may notice I have a mix of MCM and "traditional" in my den...and that is honestly how I would describe "my style"....eclectic or maybe "transitional"...a little of this and a little of that. It allows me to add elements I love without having to worry too much about the actual "style" of each piece. 

Until next week....

Settee makeover...

As you probably know by now, upholstery is one of my least favorite things to do. One, because it requires me to do my VERY least favorite thing...sew.

Second, it hurts. Seriously after a day of pulling old fabric, staples and nails, my hands are killing me. Which is why it usually takes me weeks to complete a project.

A few weeks ago I shared a club chair I reupholstered for my living room.

I hardly had time to recover from that before I started on this Eastlake chair, and then it was time to tackle this camelback settee!

This thing was seriously hideous. But it had really good "bones" and well, it was free!

This little piece is exactly why I have vowed (time and again) to NEVER take on upholstery projects...just too much work. But how could I pass up such a neat little piece. I'm sick I tell ya! 

So I decided to pace myself and tackle a bit at a time.

First, a day of stripping stinky old fabric and a few billion staples and nails.

Then I made a few minor repairs. Then I chalk painted and distressed the little bit of wood that was showing. Then I covered the entire thing with fresh new padding and batting. Then I made the cushion covers. Then I spent 2-3 days recovering the frame. All in all, this "simple" little project took me a good week to finish.

AGAIN, I could give you a blow by blow tutorial on upholstery. But AGAIN, there are a billion really good tutorials online and your best bet is to find a piece similar to the one you want recovered.

Then be smart and take it to your local upholstery shop and don't complain about how much they charge you...trust me, it is worth every dime!!!

Course I say this EVERY time I reupholster a piece...and next thing you know I am hauling home another battered and abused couch or chair. This strange illness I have may explain why I keep hauling home abandoned cats...who knows.

I just know that occasionally I see a piece that is so different and my vision for what it COULD be is so clear, I can't help myself. 

When it was all said and done, it really was a little gem....

I threw in a few pillows I made several years ago for my den.... it sold the day after I took it to 410 Vintage. The fact that someone will love it and use it makes all the aches and pains worth it! 

Fortunately, as much as I love these pieces when they are done, I have a venue to sell them. 

The cats...well, that's another story!