Category Archives: Furniture

Jo-Jo Gets a Makeover

First up, thanks to everybody who participated in our (lively!) discussion on Monday’s post. I appreciate your feedback, whether or not we agreed with each other.

Today’s topic is a liiiiiittle bit less fraught, unless you just have something against furniture discussions, in which case this post may not be for you.

Speaking of furniture. Do you know what’s addictive? Selling it.

And, no, I haven’t gotten a part time job at my local Ashley Furniture store. Quite the opposite. I’ve started a rather hopping little furniture business out of my own home. Okay, so that’s not strictly true either. But, every now and then, when I have multiple items for sale on a local Facebook page and two people show up at the same time to buy separate items, it sort of looks that way.

It’s so much fun to style and post something and then see the little red notification numbers pop up on my screen as people leave comments. I think that’s the addictive part. If I post an item on Craigslist, I have no way of knowing how many people are interested unless they contact me. But this is much more immediate and interactive. And the best part? Even though I live in the boonies, people come to my front porch to pick up the larger items, and, because the group I’m a part of is relatively small, I can Facebook stalk research my buyers before they come.

Shaun loves all of this.

He’s less thrilled when I find things to buy.

Things like this fun hutch I scored for a major deal (as long as you don’t factor in future repairs to my van’s bumper when I banged it against an unexpectedly high concrete driveway border when I was picking it up. Doh).

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Remember Jo-Jo? Last fall, she was the proud resting place for my yellow framed DIY chalkboard. But then, the glass broke after we used it outside for the twins’ 2nd birthday party…and the frame has sat empty atop Jo-Jo for the past 10 months or so.

I honestly didn’t have a purpose for the hutch, but it came with a desk I wanted for the boys’ room, so I figured I would make it work…somewhere.

I had planned to paint it, but more and more, I’m loving the look of stained wood as long as it’s in great shape (isn’t it funny how these trends ebb and flow? I like to think I’m not subject to their whims, but I’m sure I am more than I know). So, I left it alone.

It languished on my front porch for months (so glad I live in the country, and only the UPS guy–oh, and my new stream of “customers”–are witness to my redneck ways) because I just couldn’t quite wrap my brain around where it needed to live.

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{You can see evidence of its sojourn on the front porch in those cobwebs that I missed when I wiped it down}

And then, all at once, we were selling this hall-tree, and the hutch and desk, which had temporarily been moved inside, were in the way, and the ONLY place I could think to perch the hutch was on top of Jo-Jo.

At first, I didn’t think it worked at all. It was too brown. And boring.

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{Cobwebs and unmopped floors, oh my!}

But then, I remembered a cache of funky plates I’ve been collecting slowly for my plate wall over the past year. They were the “extras,” if you will (because, let’s face it: having a plate wall is a great excuse to nab a fabulous $2 plate when you happen across it).

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{Okay, so the bird plate is from Anthro, and it was $7. I confess!}

But now they, and my hutch, have a home. And I think they get along just swimmingly.

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The hutch plays off of the brown tones in my floors. And the plates tie into the Jo-Jo’s playful yellow knobs and curvy lines. And the cake plates + funky faux teacup stack? Well, they just make me happy.

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If I know anything about myself, it will probably sit, untouched, like this for about another 10 months before I get another wild hair to change something up.

But for now, I’m pleased as punch (or plates, if you prefer).     jojo5

So, what do you think? Does the hutch work for you too?

Have you ever sold anything on a Facebook swap ‘n shop? I’ve bought a few things in the past but only recently gotten into selling. But now…watch out! My husband’s probably worried we’re going to be sleeping on the floor soon!

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A Tale of Two (well, technically three) Couches

For as long as I can remember (well, at least as long I’ve been interested in decorating and design), I’ve had this thing for tufted furniture. We’re not going to call it an obsession or anything cray-cray like that, but I was always inexorably drawn to every tufted wingback at Goodwill, no matter how battered. My knees get a little jelly-ish at the sight of a worn-in tufted leather sofa, and my DIY Tufted Ottoman is still the most pinned item I’ve ever made.

It’s real love, folks.

So, you can just imagine how my heart went pitter-patter when I did a rather lazy craigslist search for “Tufted Chesterfield sofa” one day–expectations extremely low–and an entry popped up that looked–if not promising–possible.

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It was a dark, grainy, ugly-McAwful picture of TWO linen tufted Chesterfield sofas in a drab furniture store showroom. But despite the picture’s ick factor, I could see the potential. Especially when I looked them up and discovered they were the well-reviewed Gordon Tufted Sofa, 32″HX91X38″D, NATURAL LINEN that Amazon carries for $1,200.

The furniture dealer was only asking a little over 1/3 of that price, and the listing was 2 weeks old, so I was sure it was already sold, but when I called, it was still available.

HUZZAH for terrible, dark, grainy, ugly-McAwful pictures that had most assuredly scared off all of the other potential buyers!

We emailed back and forth and exchanged a few phone calls, and that Saturday evening, after we had attended a birthday party for Shaun’s family, halfway to Dallas, we ended up driving the rest of the way up there to see the couches in person.

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The showroom wasn’t much better in person than it was in the pics. It was in a strip of “furniture outlets,” and I couldn’t quite tell what I thought of the couches at first because their surroundings were–ahem–not quite my style.

When I’d first called, I had discovered that not only did he have the two full-sized couches, but he also had one matching love seat.

Sadly, when we got there, we discovered that the love seat had two little slits in the right arm from careless box-opening techniques.

Not that that was going to stop me.

And so the haggling began.

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In the end, we got both the couches and the love seat WITH TAX AND DELIVERY (two hours away, mind you) for less than the cost of ONE of the sofas on Amazon.

BOOM.

I was ecstatic. I hadn’t been planning on replacing our couches, which were comfortable and hid stains like a toddler hides the remote. My tufted linen Chesterfield sofa dreams had been just that–distant maaaaaaaaybes if I happened upon a good deal at an opportune time…one day…possibly.

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{Can you spot the thing that I forgot to hide in this shot?}

And then, within two whirlwind days, I had sold my old sofas (y’all, proper styling is everything. I used pretty pictures from my blog, and people on a local FB site were clamoring over those perfectly fine but certainly not super-exciting gray herringbone couches like I was selling some sort of prized heirloom for 95% off), and my dream couches were in my living room.

And I do mean dream couches, people. Because, not only did they look about a trillion times better once they exited that cluttered “showroom,” but they’re a) comfortable b) well-made and c) a HUGE bargain…which means that, even if (when) they don’t stay pristine, I won’t feel sick to my stomach for dropping $2,700 on one little ol’ couch. (Because, yes, that’s what the fancy versions of this couch cost, and no, I was never going to go there).

Have I scotch-guarded the daylights out of them? Yes. Do I keep a blanket draped over the one that sits in the main thoroughfare between our kitchen and living room, much to my husband’s eye-rolling amusement? Mmm Hmmm. Have I already had to wipe up a few marks and greasy spots? Yup. (They came right up, in case you’re wondering, thanks to this magical cleaning solution).

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But you know what? As I told a reader who was wondering how in the world I would cope with light-colored furniture and so many kids, I would rather have furniture I love with a few stains than stuff that I really don’t like with the very same stains…that you just can’t see.

As long as said loved furniture doesn’t cost very much, of course. ;) (I’ve already paid for my couches by clearing a few more items that I didn’t need out of my house. Feels SO good).

Oh man, does finding exactly what I’ve been looking for for at a tiny fraction of the price make me giddy!

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Gilded: A 7 minute chair transformation

A few years ago, I bought this chair (plus another just like it) from the back room of a furniture consignment store.

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The store owner wasn’t even done spray painting them black, and one of them was missing a rung and another was missing a spindle, but I still paid $30 for both (even though if I’d found these same chairs at Goodwill, and they had wanted $15 each, I would have choked) because I loved the lines of the bamboo, the store owner thought she was doing me a big favor by coming down from $40, and—oh yeah—I never find chairs like this at Goodwill.

They’ve been living in my, well, living room (fitting, no?) for 3 years in the state in which I bought them…not completely finished and a little rough around the edges.

And then, the other day, I just couldn’t take it anymore (apparently, my moratorium on gnarly chairs hanging around my house is a mere 36 months). I was over the black finish, and all I wanted to do was paint them GOOOOOOOOOOLD.

So, I did.

And, y’all. Let me just say that if I could marry a spray paint, it would be this one:

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It literally took me 7 minutes to go from black to gold when I was painting my chair. SEVEN. MINUTES. ONE COAT. People. That’s ridiculously awesome. (And, no, this is not a paid post for Rustoleum; I actually did get this excited about spray paint).

The color goes on super-even and covers completely with no drips (even though I over-sprayed several sections because I was in a hurry). And it is such a pretty shade of gold.

Want proof? Here’s the chair after seven minutes of spraying (okay, plus a little bit of dry time) and after I snagged a pillow from our bedroom to spruce it up.

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What’s that? You need a side-by-side of the before and after? Of course you do!

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(FYI: for any of you who are not into gold and are thinking, “I liked it better black,” I get that if metalics are not your thing, but let me assure you that if you saw it in person, you would not  have liked it better in black).

I snapped these pics with my phone since I was in quick project mode, so the full effect of just how dull and uneven the black paint job was compared to the new, oh-so-shiny gold is not coming through very clearly, but I did take a few more close-ups so you could appreciate how smooth my 7 minute paint job was (with no credit due me at all).

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{Look, Mom! NO drips!}

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I don’t think the chairs will be staying in my living room. In fact, I know they won’t, and I’ve got the perfect spot in mind and will be showing you where my gilded beauty ended up next week.

Until then, y’all have yourselves a wonderful weekend! I had the most interesting junking trip ever that lasted until almost 1 AM last night, and—wouldn’t you know?—I found something else to spray paint gold!

So, now you know what I’ll be doing this weekend. What are you guys up to?

P.S. Don’t you love how I just slipped that reference to an epic, middle-of-the-night junking trip in there and then left you hanging? Don’t worry. I’ll share soon.

P.P.S. The floral pillow was $7 from Ross.

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Try-it Tuesday: How to paint a desk GREEN—an Annie Sloan paint review

I’ve got something FUN to show you today!

But first…the back story:

For quite a while (like 6 months), my boys’ room décor consisted of blank walls and a mattress on the floor.

No joke.

Poor little guys.

Of course, they didn’t care at all.

After all, it was almost like a slumber party or a campout on their bedroom floor every night.

Then, finally, we found a set of bunk beds on craigslist, and I bought a comforter set (cowboy-themed in neutral tones) and coordinating curtains, and…

That was it.

I didn’t like it, but my boys were really into horses at that point, so I thought I was doing them a favor.

I’m not sure they ever noticed their mother’s clever nod to their equestrian obsession, but I sure did.

Every time I walked in the room, I shuddered a little.

See, I’m not a big fan of themes.

My least favorite are of the “bedroom in a bag” variety where everything comes prepackaged and has the Disney logo emblazoned on every last pillowcase and wall decal.

But my “subtler” cowboy theme wasn’t doing it for me either.

Problem was, I didn’t have any better ideas.

Seriously, my mind was a total blank.

I can plan girls’ rooms.

But how do you make a fun room for a couple of small males whose idea of stylish home décor is hanging socks and mittens on every single one of their dresser knobs? (Not that that’s ever happened at our house or anything).

And then it hit me: COLOR!

I already love it. And I am already a firm believer in its transformative powers. And I certainly ain’t skeered of it.

So why not go a little crazy with it in their room?

Which is exactly what I did, and I’ll show you more of that next month.

But for today, I wanted to show you one piece that I had in mind from the moment the word “color” became my inspiration for their room makeover.

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Ain’t she a beaut? And so colorful too, right?

Um, no.

Truth is is this beast is one of my mom’s Goodwill scores for practically nothing that she let me steal from her and make-over.

With a little of this:

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Clearly, I was so eager to get at the paint that I did just that before I ever remembered to take a picture.

Now, I know I’ll probably get at least one comment saying something like, “Why in the world are you redoing furniture when you have newborn twins?!!!”

And it’s a fair question.

But they still do a whole lotta this these days:

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{See how I managed to work in a gratuitously cute twin picture?}

And, quite honestly, projects help keep me sane.

So when I got the chance to try out Annie Sloan’s famous chalk paint, I jumped at the chance.

Especially since they had one shade—Antibes Green—that just so happened to be about an exact match for the funky, fresh color that I’d had in mind for a desk for the boys’ room.

Now, I am no furniture whiz—mostly because I’m too lazy to do all the prep necessary to make the end product really turn out well (I am not a fan of sanding or priming or any of that other business).

But that was the best part. Because word on the street was that you didn’t have to do any of that mess when working with the magical properties of Annie Sloan’s paint.

Just paint, wax, and—voila—instant furniture genius-ness!

And you know what?

That totally would have been true if it hadn’t been for this:

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Yup, that would be all the glue left over from an ugly veneer top that we pulled off.

To remedy that eyesore, I started out with this:

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Yuck.

Eventually, though, I got a brain and transitioned to this:

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Aaaaah. Muuuuuch better. Especially since power tools = FUN!

And then I got to the really fun part and start brushing on the paint.

And you know what?

It really is magical.

This stuff goes on super-smooth (I used a 2 1/2” angled Purdy brush like they recommended) and dries with zero stickiness.

Again, I’m not much of a painter, but even with a rather beaten up piece to start with and my uneven brushing, the brush-strokes were minimal, and the application couldn’t have been easier.

It dried quickly and only took two coats to completely cover the wood tones underneath.

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{Here’s the green without any wax and after only one coat}

The wax was just as simple to apply because it was super-soft and pliable and wiped off easily.

They recommend using a 1” brush or a rag for the wax.

I chose the rag approach, beginning with the dark wax and applying it to all the desk’s creases, crevices, and corners, wiping off the excess as I went.

Then, I smudged it all over the desk for a bit of a distressed look.

At which point, I had this:

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Finally, I sealed the entire thing with a layer of clear wax and buffed it with a soft cloth.

And then, I did a little styling (because that’s the FUN-NEST part of all!) and came up with this:

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Color galore!

Be still my heart!

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No themes here. exactly, but—really—what little boys’ desk would be complete without a dino or two to watch over the joint?

A huge thanks to Annie Sloan for sending some of their fabulous paint and wax to try! I’m a huge fan and would happily redo another piece using their products.

So…

What do you think of the boys’ green desk?

Did it make you curious to know what I’ve done to the rest of the room?

You’ll have to be a bit patient for that one, but I’m pretty excited about how it’s all coming together, and I can’t wait to show it to you!

P.S. Stay tuned for Wardrobe Wednesday tomorrow! I’ve done some {FUN!} retail research for you that you won’t want to miss.

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Feature Friday: A Dresser Transformation—from Goodwill to Good Golly Miss Molly!

A couple of months ago, I spotted a dresser at Goodwill.

It was dirty, musty, and ugly.

Here’s proof:

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Nothing like an adorable little helper to make a nasty task (see that grimy pink scrunchy from 1973?) a little more fun.

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Lots of dings, lots of dinginess.

But also, lots of potential.

Did you see the curvy lines, carved floral details, and those fantastic keyhole plates?

The minute I saw her, I knew that this sad, neglected hunk of wood could be revitalized with just a little love and, of course, a lot of paint.

Plus, when I asked Tamara—the super-nice manager at the Goodwill I frequent—if she could lower the price, she said, “For you, honey? Sure!” and then knocked it down from $25 to $15.

$15 for a potentially fabulous piece of furniture? Sold!

There are definitely benefits to showing up every week or so to rummage around—one of which is that the managers now recognize me on sight and are quite willing to knock a few dollars (or 10) off of my bill.

Of course, there are also downsides (check out #3). 

So, I loaded Collette (yup, just decided that now) up in our totally gnarly van (also #3), scrubbed her down (Collete, not the van; Sienna, the van, stays dirty most of the time), and gave her a good coat of Kilz oil-based primer.

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Then, I sprayed the keyhole plates with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White (it’s the shade that Kate of Centsational Girl paints most of her furniture, and, after seeing all of the amazing pieces she’s transformed with it, I just had to give it a try!) because I wanted a little contrast and focus on the details:

Next, I hauled out a half-empty can of Sherwin Williams Quite Coral—the same shade that I used to transform the garage sale chandy in my master closet makeover—and got to rolling and brushing to my little heart’s content (okay, so my heart would have been a little more content with eating cookies and drinking milk while paging through the latest issue of Anthro, but none of that would have gotten get the dresser done, so…).

Here she is, all gussied up, better than new, if you ask me:

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I put Collette in the craft room to house my ridiculously massive fabric collection. I got her finished up just in time for Della’s party, and once I’d stuffed her full of fabric, I used her as a sideboard for the party treats.

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Two of the drawers weren’t salvageable, so I made little “drawer curtains” out of Premier Prints zigzag fabric + some clearance lace I had in my stash.

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I also bought these fantastic knobs for 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby. 6 of them still cost more than I paid for the entire dresser, but in my opinion, they are sooooo worth it!

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Here’s a shot of the whole birthday vignette (man, I wish I’d dropped that banner a little lower!).

These shots are not actually from the day of the party, though it looked essentially the same. I took these pictures yesterday after I’d baked up a bunch of treats to take with us to Thanksgiving, but this is what my cake stand would have looked like if I’d managed to cram everything I wanted to get done into the the prep time I had before the party.

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Here’s the cost  breakdown for the whole project:

Dresser: $15

Knobs: $27

Primer (I used maybe 1/2): $3

Spray paint (I used 1/4 of a can): $1.50

Paint (already had it): $0

Fabric (already had it): $0

Miscellaneous other supplies: 4.50

TOTAL: $51

So, what do you think? Worth it?

I’m pretty smitten, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

I’ll be soaking up every minute I can get with my man before he heads off on another work-trip. : (

P.S. Don’t forget:

 five days five ways | because every day is different

…only 6 more days to enter and/or give to win!

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