Guest Room Update: Paint Reveal!

img_5712-TIMG_6596-TBlue bedroom makeover on a budget.

To read this saga from the beginning, see Trial and Errors in the Guest Bedroom and Inspiration for a Bold Blue Bedroom. Otherwise, press on!

Consider this scenario: You meet a guy (or gal) in a bar. Maybe you flirt a little, but it’s nothing serious, just a little chatter with a guy (or gal) in a bar. No real potential there. You go home, go on with your life, meet someone new. Things are going well, and you are thinking it could be the real thing this time. But in the back of your mind, you still sometimes think about the guy (or gal) from the bar. It’s ridiculous, yes, but it’s there.

Then, one day–maybe it’s New Year’s Eve, or the first day of spring–you bump into that guy (or gal) somewhere totally unexpected–maybe the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, or the top of the Eiffel tower as fireworks burst over head–and you live happily ever after, forever, THE END.

If you’re thinking that was a plot recap of about 80% of all romantic comedies, you’re right. But it’s also what happened to me and paint color #5 (remember paint #5?)! So, you see, these things can happen in real life. They can happen to you and the paint color of your dreams!

Bright blue bedroom. Mixing rugs. Eclectic vintage style.Hanging large art above the bed.

I changed up a few other things besides paint, but paint was the only thing I bought since the previous pictures were taken. Then, using stuff we already had, I switched out the matching glass lamps for taller, mismatched lamps that bring a little more presence and interest. I also rethought the bedding accessories. The printed pillows and blue throw were too busy and didn’t look cohesive, so I decided to go with a set of red plaid pillows Justin brought home from a yard sale ages ago with a set of yellow striped lumbar pillows I made for our TV room in the old house and a simple white lambswool.

There is a lot going on in this room, so I think bringing red and yellow more prominently into the bedding helps convey the color story in the room much more clearly. That awesome yellow mirror helps, too. Justin sweetly gave me that mirror for Christmas after I admired it in a vintage shop. I rudely gave him nothing for Christmas for the second year in a row. We had just bought the new house, and I thought we weren’t giving gifts! I have a lot to make up for this year to say the least.

Mixing patterns for bedding. Ikea duvet  and cover.IMG_6683Bookshelf styling. Yellow decor.Decorative glass hand. Croton indoor plant.

I did, however, give Justin that glass hand for Valentine’s day. Because nothing says love like a decorative severed limb.

Cheerful eclectic vintage decorIMG_6687-1

Sorry for cheesing out on you for a second there! I can’t help but give in from time to time…

It’s amazing how much bigger and brighter the room feels with this paint. Any trace of regret that I couldn’t find the matching paint for the original color is gone now for sure, and the two-tone window looks really great, too!

We still have a few things we need to do in here, like install white trim and baseboards, replace the doors (eventually), and replace the kooky ceiling fan, but it’s back to being presentable, and it’s definitely now a room I’m glad to wake up in.

Sources
All furniture, decor, art, rugs are vintage/thrifted/Craigslist except the following:

  • Duvet cover – Ikea
  • Faux lambswool – Ikea
  • Curtains – Ikea
  • Swimmer printed canvas – Ikea
  • White/woven basket – Target

As per usual, vintage + Ikea are practically the only two sources I need.

What do you think of the new paint? Cheerful, right?

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Upholstered! Mid-century Loveseat

Back in August, I started reupholstering a yard sale loveseat I thought would be great for our small TV room._MG_7867

As it turns out, the process took a little longer than I thought, and we ended up getting a different couch for the space in the meantime. Things taking longer than I  expect is pretty much a constant theme of my upholstery projects, but at four months, the loveseat was still completed faster than these chairs, so I’m going to call that progress.

Here are a few pictures from the process.

Down to the springs.
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With the deck (upholstery term for the part of the couch underneath the cushion) padded and upholstered.IMG_3386

With the arms attached and back padding in progress.IMG_4434

Since this was my first couch, and I wasn’t really able to use the previous upholstery too much as a pattern for fear of rooting out more hidden brown recluses, there were many challenges and hours of re-work involved in this project. There were a few times when I wanted nothing more than to find the nearest dumpster and heave this sucker in. One of the hardest parts, though, was that I did all the work in my living room, and having a couch on sawhorses in the middle of your main living area is not a great way to operate for months at a time. This picture above is how I spent many evenings after work, and I think the off-center (but not side) ponytail and random bobby pin securing I-don’t-know-what pretty much say it all about my mental state.

I learned lots during the process that I’ll put to use on the next project–and there will be a next project, though I don’t know if I’ll take on another piece of this size until I can find somewhere to work that is not also where I’m supposed to eat dinner.

But for now, I’m proud to have completed this loveseat! It’s super cute, comfortable, and great for enjoying with furry friends.

Reupholstered mid-century loveseat IMG_5176

IMG_5181IMG_5219 IMG_5224

Coming Soon! Mid-century Loveseat Makeover

If you bet your Christmas gift money that I was never going to finish this upholstery project, boy are you going to be sorry now. Only sixteen weeks after I first posted about taking this couch down to the springs, its upholstery is finally FINISHED (cue angelic chorus). Stay tuned this weekend for pics of the final product!

Don’t remember the dramatic story of how I stripped this couch and what goodies I found inside? Catch up here.

_MG_7867

How to Clean and Polish Brass

A few weeks ago, I found an awesome brass Chinese drum stool in a flea market. It had at least four things going for it that I loved: vintage, metal, unique pattern, eclectic vibe.

Brass drum stool before polishing

What it did not exactly have going for it was condition. Chinese drums stools are also called garden stools, and I’m pretty sure this one was being used in some kind of outdoor capacity, because the bottom three inches or so was covered in a pretty thick green tarnish.

Green stuff on brass

I actually left the store without it that day because I just wasn’t sure what kind of condition I could restore it to. And also because I’m an extremely indecisive shopper, so I rarely buy anything that cannot be returned with out very serious and measured thought. This is why if you eat at a restaurant with me, I’m probably going to ask the server come back two or three times before I’m at all prepared to place an order. After doing some research and sleeping on it, though, I was ready to commit.

It turns out there are a lot of different methods for cleaning and polishing brass, and they range from so natural you can eat them  (ketchup) to so chemical they would probably eat you (a product called Descale-It, which boasted some amazing before/after pics, but also cost $35 online).

In the end, I went with the combination of items that seemed most reasonable to me, and that I already had in my house. They included soap, water, vinegar, Brasso, and Bar Keeper’s Friend. Here’s the process I followed:

  1. Wash with hot, soapy water. The stool was pretty dirty, both inside and out, so it needed a good scrub. I used a plastic bristled brush to wash away the dirt and get in all the crannies.
  2. Soak in vinegar for between 30 minutes to an hour. I was doing all this in a utility sink and didn’t have enough vinegar to fill the sink with it, so we put the vinegar in a spray bottle and applied it repeatedly over this period of time.
  3. Lightly scrub with fine steel wool. The vinegar started to break down the tarnish, but the steel wool was really helpful for getting it off. The key is to be sure you have a very fine steel wool so that you don’t scratch the brass. This means you probably shouldn’t use the old S.O.S pads in your cabinet, but you should be able to buy fine steel wool at most hardware stores.
  4. Rinse! Man, was that vinegar stinky.
  5. Polish with a combination of Brasso and Bar Keeper’s Friend. After the washing and the vinegar, the stool was really water stained and almost looked worse than when I started. The polishing was when the end result really started to show. Both Brasso and Bar Keeper’s Friend are metal polishers, each with pros and cons:
    • Brasso is the gentler and has about the same consistency as lotion, so it’s easier to apply.
    • Bar Keeper’s Friend is more powerful, but it’s a powder that has to be mixed with water, so it can get a little messy, and it definitely feels like you’re using a chemical.

    I used Brasso on the majority of the stool and Bar Keeper’s Friend on the areas around the top and the bottom that needed a little extra help. You can see a big difference in this picture between the side that had been polished and the side that had only been washed.
    Polishing brass using Brasso and Barkeeper's Friend
    Side note: you see me wearing gloves in this picture, but I did not wear gloves when I washed it, and I am here to tell you, YOU MUST WEAR GLOVES THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS. I got tarnish under my fingernails that is not totally out even as I type this. I had to paint my nails immediately so that people did not think I had a rare disease, but that couldn’t conceal it. Learn from my mistake and avoid this nasty state of affairs.

Back to the point, the end result is about as good as I could have hoped.
Polished brass Chinese drum stool

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Removed green stuff on brass with vinegar

It hasn’t found a permanent place in the house yet, but it’s tried out a few spots, and proven itself pretty versatile.

Vintage brass Chinese drum stool

Vintage brass Chinese drum stool

I think I’ll keep it.

Room Tour: TV Room

Before:

The second bedroom in our house, which we use as a TV room, started out as one of the strangest rooms I’ve ever been in. There were lime green and orange walls, a room divider/”art” installation with hanging metal panels (you may remember me complaining about the damage this did to our floors), a built-on desk, and a few other very special touches I was only too happy to tear out/paint over:

Before our reno. Lime green room with wood and metal room divider.

Before our redo. Lime green and orange walls.

Before our redo. Built on desk and shelving.

Intermediate:

We updated the bedroom when we first moved in by painting the walls, trim, crazy door, and removing the room divider. In short, we made it livable.

Mid point in the redo. Salmon walls and chevron rug.

IMG_2285

Broyhill Brasilia two door chest. Brasilia gentleman's chest.

The truth of the matter, though, is that I was never too crazy about what was going on in this room. It felt like a storage space for a lot of the furniture I didn’t like enough to put where people would see it. But since our one bathroom is a Jack-and-Jill accessible through this room, people did see it, whether I liked it or not.

Finally, I decided to paint. When I decided to paint, Justin suggested we go ahead and refinish the floors while we were at it. In the end, it turned into a totally new space (even though many of the furniture and decor items are the same or came from other places in the house). I’m just crazy for the finished product, so without further ado…

AFTER!!!!:

Cream walls, mid-century furniture, symmetrical mirrors.

Mid-century tufted bench, pink Kroehler chair, starburst mirror, pink, yellow, and blue Oriental rug.
Vintage wood frame couch – estate sale
Mid-century tufted bench – Vintage shop
Pink Mid-century Kroehler chair – Craigslist
Mid-century side table (at left) – family hand-me-down

Broyhill Brasilia two-door chest. Black leather couch with wooden frame.

Broyhill Brasilia two-door chest (gentleman's chest).
Broyhill Brasilia two-door chest – Craigslist

Broyhill Brasilia chest with colorful fringed runner.

Adrian Pearsall jacks side table
Adrian Pearsall jacks side table – flea market

Mid century serving tray.
Vintage serving tray – Yard sale

I didn’t intend for it to become the inspiration for this room, but coincidentally it now matches perfectly.

Pink, yellow, and blue vintage Oriental rug
Vintage Oriental rug – Yard sale

This is the other item that really ties the room together. I already had the pink Kroehler chair, but I was planning to reupholster it down the line. Then this rug walked into my life, and together they are just perfection.

Vintage Oriental/Persian rug.

Hope you like the transformation as much as I do! I had tons of fun putting this room together, and I think it shows.

Room Tour: Kitchen

Before:

You may think on first glance that the old kitchen color here bears some resemblance to our current living room, but you’re going to have to trust me when I say all greens are not created equal. Our living room color is painted in “Extended Olive Branch,” making it the color of world peace and harmony. The kitchen color could better be described as “Aging Celery,” a light green with brown sponge painting that did not exactly whet the appetite:
Green kitchen with wood cabinets and stone tile
The kitchen also continued the trend of interesting lighting choices: on one side of the room, track lighting with bright blue shades and on the other a kind of sad-looking ceiling fan with a hummingbird pull, presumably to make it look less sad.
Green kitchen with sponge painting before pass through was installed

Updates:

Despite some of the design choices, there were good things about our kitchen. It’s a nice size, the footprint works well, and it was recently updated, so we were able to achieve a big impact with pretty low-budget updates.

Changes included painting the walls, trim, and cabinets, replacing the cabinet hardware, installing new lighting and a new back splash, and of course the opening up the pass-through, which made an equally big difference in this space as it did in the living room.

The longest-lasting and most labor-intensive project in the kitchen was definitely the back splash. First the old tile got knocked out:
Knocking out back splash tile
During the course of the demo, we uncovered some of the kitchen’s past looks. Behind the tile there was wallpaper from two different eras. There was large area of yellow floral wallpaper over the stove:
Uncovered vintage wallpaper in kitchen
There were also a few other smaller areas that covered with this green geometric pattern. Here’s a close-up of both designs:
Vintage yellow and brown floral wallpaper Vintage green geometric wallpaper
There are lots of times I wish I could peek in on my house during different periods in time just to see what it looked like, so finding this wallpaper got my imagination going. After all the tile and plaster was removed, we were left with just the lath showing:
Bare lath after back splash was removed
And actually, we lived with it like this for a while. It wasn’t bad in a raw, industrial kind of way, though of course the new back splash tile is way better.

After:

Gray and white cabinets with granite counter tops and glass mosaic back splash
The back splash came from Lowe’s, and I snagged the hardware on eBay.
Kitchen pass through, Sears and Roebuck vintage atomic barstools
Vintage atomic bar stools by Sears and Roebuck – Craigslist
Blue, gray and brown glass mosaic tile back splash
The tile kind of makes the whole room, in my opinion.
Neutral glass mosaic back splash tile from Lowe's

Planned updates:

One of our intentions when adding the pass-through was to create a breakfast bar that would allow for extra seating close to the table. That plan is still in place, but there are a few items in front of it in the reno queue, so it may be a year or more down the line.

Dream updates:

We bought our house with the short term in mind and promised ourselves not to made costly updates if they were unnecessary or purely for cosmetic reasons. That doesn’t mean a girl can’t or doesn’t dream about what she might do if a million dollars did casually fall out of the cushions of some couch. I’m a simple girl, though, and my kitchen wish list is pretty simple, too:

  • New flooring – I’m really not a fan of the the multi-color stone tile. It’s not that it’s that bad, but it’s just about the last thing I ever would have chosen. I would have opted for a cork that looks similar to wood, or maybe a rectangular tile in a nice herringbone pattern.
    https://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/fb/02/fb/fb02fbfb58d8ec48cfbfd00e919561a6.jpg
  • Stackable washer/dryer in the pantry – Our pantry has oddly configured storage that is really only being used to house tools, dog stuff, and other miscellaneous items that could easily be moved into the basement.
    IMG_3081
    Our current laundry set-up is a small washer and dryer in the basement–small because they are the only units that can fit down our 27″-wide staircase. I would LOVE to have plumbing run to the pantry and give myself a roomy main floor laundry space. Maybe it would even cut down on the size of my laundry piles? Indeed, a girl can dream.

Room Tour: Living/Dining Room

Before:
For whatever reason, we only took one before picture of our living room area:Green living room before updates
My guess is that compared to some of the other weird things going on around the house, there didn’t seem like a whole lot to see here. Just your basic grass green walls with gold sponge painting (it’s hard to see in the photo, but trust me–it was there). Then, of course, the table lamp in the middle of the floor completes the look. The only oddity in the room was a built-on shelf in the corner behind the front door, which you can see a little bit in this photo:
Arched door way in a bungalow
These were in several rooms, and we called them built-ons rather than built-ins for the simple reason that they were just kind of hanging off the walls.

Updates:
The biggest change we made in this room was to add a pass-through to the kitchen. This really helps the space feel larger and brighter.
Kitchen pass through, stainless steel pendant light
Justin and his dad installed the pass-through (un-installed the wall?) in one of those quintessential men-bonding-with-powertools kind of situations. Our walls are plaster, which means the demo was a two-step process involving 1) knocking out the plaster and 2) cutting through the lath, a set of narrow wooden strips nailed horizontally behind the plaster. There was lots of dust and a few shallow flesh wounds, but in the end they did a great job, and the pass-through is one of my favorite changes in the whole house.

Other changes consisted of tearing down the built-on, painting the walls, sanding and painting all the trim, cutting out and patching bubbles in the plaster, and installing a new stainless steel pendant light over the dining area. All throughout this process, we failed to take a single picture. I recall a conversation taking place a few times that went something like:

“Wow, you should really be taking pictures of this.”
“Yeah, I know.”

And here we are today.

After + Furniture:

Green living room with platform couch, Noguchi style table
A white dog adds a touch of elegance to any room.
Green living room with platform couch, Noguchi style table, Buckstaff chairs

1960s platform couch reupholstered in brown tweed
1960s platform couch (reupholstered) – Craigslist
Red velvet mid century Buckstaff chairs, Noguchi style table, Broyhill Brasilia commode side table
Vintage Buckstaff chairs – yard sale
Broyhill Brasilia side table/commode – flea market
Reproduction Noguchi coffee table – Craigslist
Vintage rug – yard sale
Mid century credenza
1965 credenza – Craigslist
Bookcase – Ikea
Mid century chrome and glass dining table, stainless steel pendant light
Vintage glass and chrome dining table – flea market
Rug (not vintage but still fabulous) – yard sale
1964 RCA Victrola Record Player Console
1964 RCA Victrola stereo/record console (it works!) – yard sale
We actually found an advertisement from a March 1965 Minnesota newspaper showing what this particular console went for back in the day:
victrola_ad

Planned updates:

No large-scale plans for the living room area. Until recently, I’d been on a mad hunt for a new set of rugs (the rug now in our bedroom was previously in front of the couch), but that ended about three weeks ago when I found both rugs pictured at the same yard sale. Now, my main goal is to finally get some stuff up on the walls. That, and throw more parties.