Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Great Remodel - Kitchen Demo

For those who don't know, my family relocated back to Chicago in early September from Indianapolis. Simply put, we had to downsize a little and sacrifice lots of finishes to make our dream of living near family again a reality.

For the past five months, our labor of love has been doing our best to upgrade our home as our budget allowed. Since we purchased the home we have put in hardwood floors and new trim, replaced light fixtures and door knobs, bought new appliances, and painted almost every wall in the house just to name a few things. I have dubbed this labor of love #thegreatremodel. 

During this time we have learned to do a lot of things on our own, but we have also learned that there is a time to throw in the towel and hire a professional. The kitchen remodel is one of those times. Not that I doubt my husband's ability to install cabinets, but with his full time job and two kids, I couldn't see us carving out the time to get it done in a timely manner. 

So once we were able to save up for the project, we headed over to Pearl Design Group in Bloomingdale to pick out cabinets and hired Michael Titoni from the Titoni Group Inc to do our install. 

Here is a picture of what the kitchen looked like before we moved in.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Repair Cracked and Chipped Furniture Like a Pro

I hope most of you saw my Goodwill dresser reveal recently. In that post, I talked about how two of the corners of the piece were damaged. It turns out, it wasn't that difficult to fix them. All I needed was some expert advice and a how-to video from home improvement guru, Ron Hazelton.

I followed his video step by step. Check out how it went.

My Goodwill find

Crack #1

Crack #2

I had to purchase some materials, but I am glad I will have them for the future in case I run into another piece that needs some TLC. 

Items I had:
putty knife
wood glue
scrap plywood
utility knife

Items purchased:

My Home Depot didn't have the Minwax brand of wood filler. I ended up finding it at my local Ace Hardware store. I highly recommend getting this specific brand because it worked great and allows for filing just 30 minutes after application. I also suggest getting a 4 in 1 wood rasp/file to save yourself some money. It has four different file textures on it to shape your corner in stages. Start with the coarsest side and work your way down.  

Here is a shot of getting the wood filler on. You have to work fast with this stuff because it hardens really quickly. You don't want to over work it, and clean your putty knife right away with acetone. I didn't do this the second time and ended up throwing it away because there was no getting the wood filler off once it dried. 

Also, I had nice clamps because my hubby is planning on building me a farm table for my dining room. If you don't have clamps, get some like Ron uses in his video. They are only $.99 at Home Depot.

I apologize for the blurry pictures. My lighting was really bad that day.

Here is corner #1 after cutting it out with my utility knife and filing it down with my 4 in 1 rasp. I finished it off with some 150 then 220 grit sand paper.

Here is corner #2. I had a big chunk of this drawer that I was able to glue back on with wood glue before I added the wood filler.

Completed corner #1

Completed corner #2

The finished piece

Again, thank you to Ron Hazelton, for his easy to follow tutorial. I will never be intimidated by chipped furniture again. What about you? Do you feel more comfortable tackling furniture repair now?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Goodwill Dresser Upcycle Reveal

This post contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from products purchased through these links.

Update (1-20-16): You guys love this makeover so much I have created a series of video tutorials to show you exactly how I achieved this look. Check out part 1 and part 2 on my YouTube channel. Part 3, the last video in the series, coming soon!

I am beyond excited to share this reveal with you. This is my first refinishing project with a piece I bought from a secondhand store. The hunting part was challenging, but also exciting.

I found this gem at Goodwill for $24.99. I hesitated to buy it at first because it had a couple of chipped drawers. Keep checking back for a post on how I fixed that problem. This thing was really banged up, too, with tons of dents and weird spills and stains. I almost walked away but my gut told me that at this price, I had to give it a chance. And I am so glad I did. It is the perfect piece for our front foyer.
I started off by sanding down all the spills and giving it a good scrubbing with some Murphy Clean and Shine Spray. This thing was dir-ty.

This is one of the corners I repaired. You can't even tell. Post coming on this technique soon. 

I removed all the hardware and sprayed it with Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint and primer in Hammered Black. This was my first time using this product, and let me tell you, it is amazing! This stuff looks like real metal. It costs around $7 at Home Depot, and it probably saved me about $50-80 in new hardware costs.

This look was created using two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. I tried a new technique and distressed it before I used my Annie Sloan Clear Wax. I used 100 grit sand paper to distress followed by a coat of clear wax and finished it off with a mix of clear and dark wax. I wanted this really shabby because of all the nicks and dents it has, so I used dark wax on the entire piece versus just in the spots I distressed.

With the great price I got for this piece, I am tempted to try and sell. But I think at this point, I am too in love with it. What do you think? Sell or keep?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Top 5 Furniture Picking Tips for Newbies

Let's turn some trash into treasure! So, I recently shared with you my new obsession for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint along with all the cool things I have been refinishing. Well, I have run out of furniture to paint around my house, so I have been out on the hunt for used items around town. Furniture picking for newbies can be intimating, so I have come up with some tips I have learned from my recent hunting trips.

Provided by

Top 5 Furniture Picking Tips

1. Have low expectations.

Go into your picking adventures with no expectations of finding something really cool for a great price- or anything at all for that matter. It took me four trips to different Goodwills and salvage stores over the span of a couple of weeks before I found my first worthy piece. I also emailed about 25 people on Craigslist before I was able to secure a sale. When you go in with little expectation of finding something, it makes it that much sweeter when you do.

2. Set a budget.

Select a top price that works for you and stick to it. My goal is to not spend anything over $50 for a large piece like a dresser or hutch and $10 for a night stand or end table. If your goal is to sell pieces, you want to keep your cost low as possible for a better profit. And if it is something for your home, you still don't want to overpay for something you will ultimately be putting a lot of time and resources into.

3. Learn to negotiate.

I am so intimidated by negotiating prices. I would normally just fork over the marked priced, but when it comes to used furniture- consider it a jumping off point. You have nothing to lose by asking for a reduced price. This is what my guru sales hubby calls "the cost of no deal." If the seller lets you walk away, they are missing out on a potential sale. You, on the other hand, can just move onto the next store and next piece. Remember, you hold the power. 

4. Don't get emotional.

This is another hard one for me. I am super sensitive and can get worked up quite easily. Don't fret when you lose out on a piece you really wanted. You don't  want to get caught up and pay more for something than it is worth. There is plenty of used furniture out there to go around.

5. Be selective.

Don't buy just anything. I go for real wood items not composite, plywood, particle board or veneers. Usually, you will be able to tell by sight and touch if the piece is real wood. When in doubt, use the "lift" test. Wood equals heavy. Also, try to imagine what the item will look like painted. Ornate pieces with a lot of detail will work the best. Stay away from modern pieces with straight lines; they won't distressed well. Lastly, check the drawer or back of the item to see who produced it. If you find a Thomasville or Ethan Allen item, snatch it up. These guys have been around for a long time and make quality furniture.  

Look at this beauty I picked up from Goodwill. Check back on Monday to see the reveal of this refinishing project.
I hope you can use these tips the next time you find yourself at a salvage store or flea market. Happy hunting!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint- I Die

I have been dreaming of using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint since I first started researching it in August. This stuff is pretty pricey (one pint runs around $38 and the clear and dark waxes go for $28), and you will also need to invest in some good brushes and other essentials. 

I finally bit the bullet and bought some in early December. In the words of my girl Rachel Zoe- I die. This stuff is truly amazing. I am having a blast reimagining things all over my house.  

There are tons of great bloggers and small business owners that have great tips and tutorials on using Chalk Paint. Some of my favorites are Blue Egg Brown Nest, Simply Reinvented, and The Purple Painted Lady. There is a bit of a learning curve on how to use the paints and waxes, but I really think there are tons of ways to achieve the look you want. I have pulled inspiration and tips from all these websites to Chalk Paint my way.

Here are some pieces I upcycled from around my house using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Project #1: End table

I painted my first coat with Paris Grey and a lighter second coat with Old White. 

I applied clear wax and heavily distressed it with a 100 grit sandpaper. 

Project #2: Nightstand



Here I used two coats of Paris Grey followed by a coat of clear wax and heavy distressing. 

Then I finished it off with a mixture of clear and dark wax to give it that aged look.

Project #3: Floor Lamp

Before and After

I used one coat of Old White on the base of the lamp and lightly distressed it. I then did a coat of clear and dark wax. The lamp shade look was created with painter's tape and spray paint. Read more about this lamp upcycle.
What about you? Are you dying to try ASCP?

Disclaimer: At the time of this original post, this blog and this post are not sponsored by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I received no product or compensation for this review.

Extra: Behind the Scenes

Photo shoots don't always go as planned. My little J.S. and S.J. wanted to join in on the fun.

Putting down the phone and breaking out the big boy.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Art of Upcycling- Lamp Edition

Before and After

As most of my friends know, I am a sucker for a great before and after. It is the HGTV in me. This lamp has been a long time in the making. I have had this piece since I got my first big girl job after college. I have never been quite fond of it, but it still works so it has made four moves in its lifetime. A lot of people have mentioned to me on more than one occasion that it doesn't quite go with the other things in my home. A polite way to say- this thing is u-g-l-y and why does it keep making these moves?

I hate to admit it, but I agreed with those unspoken comments. So instead of sending it out to pasture, I decided to redeem it. Let's say it- upcycle. I really believe almost anything can be salvaged with a little reimagining. 

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality.

I know chevron is really trendy right now and probably on the downtick of its popularity, but I am a big sucker for it. So I grabbed my painters tape and went for it. I would love to tell you how I did this, but there really was no science to it. I just taped and made sure my spaces were even. I have heard that they are now selling shaped tape and even have a chevron pattern. Good to know for flat surface project. I don't think it would have worked for this odd shaped shade. 

Most projects can be completed with painter's tape and patience.

After I taped this bad boy up, I took it out to the garage and sprayed it with some Krylon Fusion spray paint in White Satin. I had this can from a previous project. I like this particular paint because it even sticks to plastic. I do several light coats of spray paint with about 20-30 minutes in between each coat so it doesn't drip and to get a nice smooth, even finish. Just read the can. Spray paint is really easy to use. Once you have the coverage you want and it is dry to the touch, remove your painter's tape.

Better but not quite right.

My latest obsession in crafting is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. This stuff is amazing. It sticks to almost anything without priming and distresses really nicely. You can finish it off with clear wax and dark wax that gives it a nice antique look. My mom had been telling me to lighten this base up, so I took her advice and used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. Visit the Annie Sloan website to find a stockist near you.

Looking great in her new home.

Here is another lamp upcycle I completed recently. With this one, I spray painted the base after taping off the cord and the top part where you screw in the bulb along with the switch. Again, I used my Krylon Fusion. Then I found the new lamp shade at Lowe's for $4.49. Such a deal.

Before and After

Do you have any lamps around the house that need some reimagining? Send me your before and afters. Like I said- huge sucker for them!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Frenchy Country Wall Collage

While I tend to lean more toward country than french country in my decorating taste these days, this project definitely has some French influence so I am dubbing it Frenchy Country. 

I recently made a jute letter and wanted to incorporate it into a collage for our family room. We have two huge blank walls on either side of our massive television (thank you dear husband) and, I wanted something unique to hang there besides another picture. I was inspired by different arrangements I have seen on Pinterest and in a recent friend's home. After hours of wandering the aisles of Hobby Lobby, I came up with this.

Frenchy Country Wall Collage

This door handle I found in the cabinet hardware/pulls section. Honestly, I love this more than my jute "M." The best part- 50% off. Cost: $5.99

This fleur-de-lis I had in my last home. Like my jute letter, it needed to be lightened up. I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, mildly distressed it and used both clear and dark wax to finish it off. I have two of these and originally purchased them from Hobby Lobby.

I found this key on a table they had set up with "Spring Collection" items. All priced at 30% off. This table was a jackpot. I also got two glass jars and a metal basket. I can't wait to show you how I use those. Cost:  $4.49

I found the frames back in the frame section if you can believe it. These unfortunately were not on sale and were the most expensive items in the collage. However, I always have my trusty Hobby Lobby app which normally always offers a 40% coupon for one full price item. Cost: $17.99 (oval frame after coupon) $14.99 (square)

The cross I found in the cross section (yes, they have a whole section of crosses). I don't think this piece is particular Frenchy, but I liked it. It is rustic and is a symbol of my family's deep love for Jesus. It will be a daily reminder of his redeeming love, so I went for it. I can be very eclectic at times, and that is okay. I don't claim to be an expert. I just do what I like. Another bargain at 50% off. Cost: $4.99

Here is a before and after just for fun so you can see how far we have come in this room. Still more work to do, but not too shabby.


Disclaimer: This blog and post was not sponsored by Hobby Lobby. I hope maybe one day it will be. Wink, wink.
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