Friday, September 30, 2011

Fleur-de-lis coffee table

A couple weeks ago I showed you the bed and lamp I made over for our cousin Molly's first college apartment.  I also painted a coffee table for her living room, and was hoping to show you a photo of it in its new home ... but while I'm waiting on that, I'll share with you the finished table and the makeover process.

Here's the finished product, for those of you that like to see the "after" photo first!


I had actually found this mod coffee table at Goodwill a few months ago for just $3.  It had a laminate top and a bum leg, but I figured I could fix it up.  The table was in my queue of projects when I heard Molly needed some furniture for her apartment, and I knew it would be perfect for her budget.  ;)


I had no idea what color her other living room furniture would be, so I decided black would be a safe bet to coordinate with other things, and would help hide scuffs.  After all, college students are known to be rough on furniture sometimes.  Even if the furniture owner is careful as can be, you never know what crazy friends will do!

I started by sanding the whole table thoroughly, giving the laminate top a good scuff-up.  After wiping it down, I sprayed on a couple light coats of black spray primer.  Next I sanded it lightly with fine grit sandpaper to prep it for paint.  Normally I use my paint sprayer, but I had some Polycrilic left in mine from the bed I had just finished for Molly, and I didn't feel like cleaning it out for black paint and then cleaning it out again to put more Polycrilic in.  Instead I decided to use a small foam roller to apply the black paint, which would help me avoid brush marks.  I thought about using a brush and mixing in some Floetrol with the paint to help avoid brush marks, but I was on a super-tight deadline to get the table done, and didn't have time to try that method out for the first time.

Unfortunately the foam roller did cause some brush strokes, so I ended up adding Floetrol anyway.  I keep reading that people use foam rollers to avoid brush strokes, but the two times I've used one (both happened to be with this very same can of black paint), I had brush strokes.  Do I just need a higher quality foam roller, or what?  Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Anyway, after several thin coats of black satin latex paint (sanding lightly with fine grit after each coat dried), it was time to add something extra.  Since the table's shape is so simple, I thought a graphic pattern would make it more exciting than just a blob of black.  I considered stripes or some sort of allover stenciled pattern, but when I found out Molly is a big fan of the fleur-de-lis pattern, I decided that was the way to go.


I found a clip art version that I liked, inserted it into a Word document, increased it to the largest it could be for a regular sheet of paper, and then printed it out.  I cut out the inside of the shape to create a stencil.  I measured the stencil and the table, and decided that three across would look best.

Originally I had planned to paint right inside the stencil, but I was afraid it wouldn't last through all three times, since it was just a sheet of computer paper, and the edges would get wet with paint and might curl up.  Instead, I traced around the inside of the stencil with a pencil, then used an artist paintbrush to paint over the pencil outline and then fill in the inside.


I used some white latex paint I had on hand (the same paint I had used for Molly's bed, actually) to paint the stencil.  One thing I didn't like is that the paint wasn't flat to the table.  Because I had to use lots of small brush strokes, the stenciled areas have dimension to them, whereas the surrounding black part of the table is very flat.  Would this have been the same if I had used craft paint?  The only thing I could think of was that I could've used a stencil brush and used my fleur-de-lis printout like a regular stencil.  Any suggestions on the best way to paint a graphic on furniture?  I plan to do it again in the future (different pattern, different piece of furniture), and want to make it look the best I can.

I did try to sand down the dimensionalized white paint a bit, but didn't want to smudge it, so I gave up on that and decided to put my perfectionism aside and be happy that it looked great!

Coffee tables get a lot of use, so I used my paint sprayer to give the painted table several light coats of Polycrilic (lightly sanding after each coat dried).  It was still curing when Molly's "movers" came to pick it up, so I snapped a quick pic before it got loaded carefully into the truck.

 

I've asked Molly to send me a photo of it in its new home, and will share that when it comes along.  I hope she's enjoying the table in her new apartment living room!

Hollie

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fun finds: Z Gallerie

I have been avoiding my favorite mall for months.  When I gave up my full-time job last spring, I also gave up our disposable income ... and the need to purchase nice clothes.  After all, our cats don't care how many times I wear the same t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops!  But I was "in the neighborhood" yesterday, and had a $10 t-shirt to return to American Eagle on behalf of The Teen.  So I had an excuse to stop in my favorite shopping mall in Louisville -- Oxmoor Center.

The first place I stopped in was Z Gallerie.  I can always find great things there, most often when I'm not really on the lookout for anything.  Yesterday, in particular, I was particularly taken with several items and wanted to share them with you.

Cute turquoise garden stools

The three-panel wood piece in the back would be a great way to fill up a large or 2-story wall 

Both of the paintings at the top caught my eye

I've always wondered what all the phonetic alphabet words were

The art at the top left was a moody abstract cityscape;
the pair at the right was a drippy abstract of trees

Leggy elephants, anyone?

A silvery faux camera would be a cute addition to a table or shelf vignette

This silver-leafed table is made of resin, cast from the root of an old Acacia tree

Love nailheads, love gray leather, love the updated wingback shape

This mirror is taller than me, and would totally bounce some
light around a room with its varying facets

These old grape vines would bring a natural element into a room

A silver branch bowl would bring some dimension to a dark coffee table or dining table

Need some height?  Add something like this ring sculpture to your vignette

These turquoise ikat pillows had me at hello

Lovely pattern and color combo

The pattern on these pillows would coordinate well with the pillows above

The gears are a fun take on a coffee or end table

I passed up all those other lovely items to take home this colorful specimen:


Well, I tried to take it home.  It wouldn't fit in my car, so I measured The Mr.'s car when he got home from work, and he's heading to Z Gallerie today to pick it up for me.  Can't wait to try it out above the sofa!  It's exactly what I wanted -- various colors of blue (including turquoise), plus white and black, and pops of other bright colors like red/coral, yellow and green.  Woo-hoo!

The only downside is that it's not original art.  I was totally prepared to drop down some real money for a real grown-up piece of original art, so I'm still headed to the St. James Court Art Show tomorrow check things out, but I'm totally stoked about my find at Z Gallerie!

Do any of these items make you grab for your wallet?

Hollie

Monday, September 26, 2011

Get Me Motivated Monday

Here are the projects that are getting me motivated this week!

1.  Natalie at Beach House in the City has wowed me time and time again.  This time she has revealed her basement makeover.  I told her when I first saw it, I thought it was a Sarah Richardson project.  I love everything, from the painting over the fireplace, to the pefect color/texture of the sofa, to the pops of coral and turquoise.  It's so light and bright that I can hardly believe it's a basement.


To boot, Natalie's family recently got a hedgehog as a pet ... and a few days later, it had babies.  I couldn't help but to goo and gaa over her hedgehog video!

2.  I think it's so cool when items are used for a non-intended purpose.  Maybe you don't like to eat lima beans, but would you use them for a cute wreath?  Hope at Seasons with the Sewells will show you how to do it.


3.  This chest looks like a long-lost sibling of our white Hepplewhite dresser.  Sue from Uniquely Chic chose a blue-gray color for the base and she re-stained the top deep walnut.  Beautiful!


4.  So many people have a sofa table, coffee table or end table in this design.  Alicia at Thrifty and Chic has a great before & after, exemplifying how something outdated can so easily become current with just a little paint update!


5.  How about this cozy outdoor daybed for a relaxing spot?  The mix of colors and patterns is along the lines of what I want to do in my living room.  I've got a big black leather sectional, but I want to punch it up with color and pattern.  The yellow-painted mirror on the wall is just perfect for this space.  Check it out at Tres Chere.


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I hope some of these projects will help get you motivated if you're a procrastinator like me!

If you were featured here, thank you for the inspiration, and please grab my button!

Photobucket



Hollie

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sixth Sense, anyone?

This is what I came home to at 11:40 tonight.



 


The Teen forgets to close cabinets in the kitchen frequently, so The Mr. and I are constantly on his case.  Every once in a while, The Teen gets a wild hair to go all Sixth Sense on me when I'm not around.  He thinks he's pretty funny.  What do you think?

Hollie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Artwork quandaries

Sir Octopus is in the house!  I've been eagerly awaiting his arrival, as several other decorating projects hinge on which wall he ends up presiding over.  Here he is leaning on the back of the black sectional in our living room.


He doesn't fill up the wall as much as I'd like.  I figured that would be the case, but I wanted to try him out there just in case.  The other two possibilities are the one empty wall in our bedroom, or at the bottom of our stairway landing.


Let me know if you have any opinions.  Oh, and please ignore the person holding the art in the photos.  I'm trying to get this blog post done so I can get in the shower and then head to the grocery.  I wasn't planning on posing for photos today, but I thought you might like to see all the octopus hanging possibilities.

There's another piece of art that has been considered for those same three wall positions.  I bought it online from Haute Look a few months ago, but haven't decided on a permanent location for it yet.  It's called Atlantis, by Artists Guild of America.  The problem is the wall above the sofa, which I showed you above as a no-go for Sir Octopus.  Here's Atlantis in the same spot.


I like it a lot, but I'm trying to move toward peppier colors in the living room (hence the Matrix-like colorful pillows), and this piece of art has more muted colors.  I'd also prefer to have something larger, to really make a statement on that wall, which you see right when you come in the front door of the house.

Here are some artwork photos I've pinned on Pinterest as inspiration.

from Elements of Style
from Dwellers Without Decorators

from Houzz
by Michelle Armas
by Emma Coulter

When I said peppy colors, I meant peppy colors!  I'd love to find something with coral and/or red, turquoise and other shades of blue, black to pull in the sofa color, white for some brightness, and maybe a bit of yellow.  Additional colors are optional.  And it has to be abstract, possibly even funky.  Cortney and Robert Novogratz always come to mind.

Luckily we have a huge art fair coming up soon in Louisville.  It's called the St. James Court Art Show, and it's held yearly in historic Old Louisville on the first full weekend in October.  I usually go every other year, or when I'm on the hunt for something specific.  Usually when I finally find a piece I like, it's way out of my price range.  But I think I'm finally at the point that I'm willing to plunk down a hunk of cash to buy a real piece of art.  But it's got to be the perfect thing for me to obtain The Mr.'s approval!  The show runs Friday thru Sunday.  We're busy Friday night and Saturday, and I'm afraid the perfect piece of art might be gone by Sunday, so I'm trying to convince The Mr. to take the day off Friday so we can go.  It's much more likely to get his buy-in if he could see it in person, rather than a photo I text to him.  Wish me luck!

So back to the artwork I do have in my house.  First, I have to decide on a location for Sir Octopus.  Then, if I can find a new piece for the living room, I can move Atlantis to another location, either the bedroom or the stairway landing, depending on where Sir Octopus ends up. 

The rest of my living room decor is in limbo awaiting the wall art decision too.  I've found several pillows I like, but I want them to complement the style of the art.  I've also got an old 2-tier side table that I've been waiting to either paint or cover with wallpaper, but I don't want to pull the trigger until I know what's going on with the art. 


I'm heavily leaning toward wallpaper, but I don't know whether to go for graphic classy, or graphic funky.  Right now I'm using the side table as-is, and it's not-so-pretty up close, so I'm dying to move on with pulling the room together.  Let's hope St. James will be a winner for me this year!


Hollie

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Painted bed and lamp for a college apartment

Yesterday I told you about the bed I painted for The Mr.'s cousin Molly, a college sophomore who just moved in to her first apartment.  I asked her to snap a picture of the bed in its new home.  I had no idea what her bedding looked like, only that her accent color was lime green, so I was totally curious.


Now that I see the bedding is mostly light-colored, I might have preferred for the bed frame to be black, but white still works.  And if she's anything like me when I was a student (or, who am I kidding, like me now), she'll want to change her bedding up now and then for a new look.

You can just barely see the lime green in the flowers of the bedding, which, I assume, is how she chose lime as the accent color for her room.  You can see she has a lime green lamp and trash can. 

The lamp is actually another piece I repainted for her.  I had purchased it for $4 at Goodwill in the spring.  It had no shade, and the base was a rust color.  I forgot to take a photo of it before I started spraying it with primer.  For small projects, it's easy to forget that step because they're usually much quicker to get started on than big projects.


You can see that before I started priming, I covered the cord and the light fixture parts with painter's tape.  I also used an old can as well as some lids from spray primer cans to prop up the lamp off the floor so I could get to all its surfaces that would need paint.  I actually use spray paint lids a lot to prop up items, like chairs and accessories, off the floor for painting.  For heavier items, I use painter's pyramids, because the lids bow and crack under too much weight.
I believe I ended up with three (maybe 4) light coats of lime green spray paint.  I thought about coating it with spray poly to protect it from the paint getting scratched, but without the poly, it would be easier for Molly to respray it down the road if she wants to change up the color.

I bought a simple white drum shade from Target for $15.99.  If she wants to dress it up, Molly could easily cover the shade with fabric or trim it with ribbon.

Here's another shot of the finished project, before it got loaded onto the truck headed to Molly's new apartment.


I can't go into a thrift store without checking out the lamps.  The prices some retailers want for lamps is just ridiculous.  I mean, it's one thing when the lamp has some awesome, intricate, or hand-crafted design.  But when it looks the same as this one that I bought at Goodwill for $4, and a retailer wants $250 for it, I just don't understand.  Is anybody else with me on that?

Hollie

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bed makeover for a first college apartment

Once the basement overhaul was complete, I started right in on a time-sensitive project.  The Mr. has a cousin named Molly who is a college sophomore and is moving in to an apartment for the first time.  A little birdie told me Molly needed furniture, preferably free from family members.  Because, you know, she's a poor college student!  We happened to have a twin bed frame and mattress set we weren't using, so I was glad to let her have it.  I had also recently picked up a coffee table and a lamp from Goodwill that I had been planing to fix up and sell.  They cost just a few bucks each, a price she could afford on her college student budget.

Her classes start at least a month later than most colleges, so I thought I had plenty of time.  But ... I found out she was moving in to her apartment much sooner, so I had just a couple weeks to get everything done.  I do work better with deadlines, because there's less time for procrastinating!

I had hoped, with Molly being a fun young gal, that she would want the bed to be a bright color like coral or kelly green or yellow, or maybe a graphic design like stripes or a stencil.  Of course, I had no idea what her bedding looked like or any other accent colors she wanted to use.  Much to my dismay, she chose to keep all her furniture in black and white so she's not tied to one design and could change up her bedding and accessories whenever she liked.  Since her desk was already black, and her walls are light gray, I decided to go with white for the bed.  I guess I'll have to save the bold colors and graphics for another project!

Here's the bed frame before:


We actually had a pair of these from when The Teen was younger and had two twin beds in his room -- one for him, and one for friends.  They are solid oak and had been passed down to us by my father-in-law, but I never liked the outdated finish.  One bed of the pair is currently set up in our guest room, along with the matching dresser, and I had been planning to paint them for some time but hadn't gotten around to that project yet.

Since the weather was unusually nice, I took the bed frame outside to sand it.  I used my palm sander on most of the surfaces, and touched up with a medium grit sanding block.

Ahh, fresh air!

As usual, I used Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler in any visible cracks or dents in attempt to create a smooth surface.  I sanded again after the wood filler was dry.  After that, I brought the bed parts back in to the workshop to wipe it down before priming it.

I had planned to paint the bed frame while it was taken apart, but quickly realized it would be easier to set it up so I could paint all sides at the same time.


I started with one coat of Kilz Odorless spray primer.  Once the primer dried, I could still see too much of the open grain for my liking.  I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but I usually find all kinds of things after the first coat of primer is on that I couldn't see when just looking at the original wood finish.  Since I wanted to have a smooth finish for this project, I used wood filler again, this time covering most of the headboard and footboard surfaces, plus a much of the rails.

Look at all that wood grain still showing through the primer

I've never used this much wood filler!

After the wood filler dried, I sanded it down, then sprayed another coat of primer.  I used my paint sprayer to put on a coat of soft white paint.  It's Behr indoor satin in the color Toasted Almond.

I already had the paint on hand from the Hepplewhite dresser I painted for our bedroom.  I just love the paint name Toasted Almond, because it's the same name as my favorite adult beverage.  [Edit 10/8/13: It must have been a Freudian slip that I called it Toasted Almond. The paint color is actually Toasted Marshmallow!] Have you ever had one?  It's a frozen blended drink made from amaretto, Kahlua, and ice cream.  (The non-frozen version has milk instead of ice cream.)  It's like a dessert in a glass!  I first had it at a restaurant called The Cooker (now closed) in Cincinnati.  Mmm, good stuff.  But I digress.

Now back to the bed frame. ...  After the first coat of paint dried, I noticed an issue.  I had used so much wood filler trying to cover the open grain of the oak wood, that I inadvertently created a new surface on the headboard and footboard.  The lighting is so bad in my basement workshop that before the paint went on, I couldn't see that I hadn't sanded the surfaces flat after the last (and major) application of wood filler dried.  I got the palm sander back out and went to town, but couldn't get the surface as flat as it had been before I started.  Because of my tight timeline, I wasn't able to spend as much time as I wanted getting it perfect, so I sanded it as flat as I could before several more coats of paint with my sprayer.  For any furniture painting newbies, I also need to mention that after each coat of paint dried, I lightly sanded with a fine grit sanding block and then wiped off the dust before spraying on another coat.

After the last coat of paint dried, I used my paint sprayer to apply three light coats of Minwax Polycrilic in a satin finish.  Like with the paint, I lightly sanded and then wiped the surface down between each coat.  When it had dried, I moved the assembled bed frame aside so the Polycrilic could continue curing while I worked on the other pieces for Molly's apartment.

I only had a few moments to set up the bed on the lawn with the mattress set that I was sending along with the bed, as well as a quilt and pillow sham I had The Teen grab from our guest room for a staged photo.


The movers (aka Molly's brothers and grandfather) were literally waiting for me to snap a picture so they could load the bed on the truck and be on their merry way.  They must have thought I was nuts, but then again, they don't know anything about decorating blogs.  I mean, if you're a blogger, the cardinal rule is that you have to take photos.  I may not always remember to get a before photo, but wouldn't let the bed leave my house without an after photo!

I asked Molly to take a picture of the bed in its new home in her apartment, so I'll share that with you next time.

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