Thursday, January 29, 2015

Painting and House Hunting

Hullo! How y'all doing this fine Thursday? It's been a weird week here with the much-dramatized winter storm turning out to be a dud, and then busy looking at houses (more on that later in the post).

Project-wise, bit-by-bit the low dresser that I started painting is coming along nicely! I'm using General Finishes "Coastal Blue" for the first time and it is so pretty! You can really play with the look you want with this color.

For example, here it is after one coat:

it's like looking at the different hues one sees in ocean waves - so lovely!

Then two coats:

still some cool variance in color coming through

I wanted a nice and even-toned navy, so I've ended up doing 4 coats to get it looking how I want.

All that's left is to do the top-coat, line the drawers with paper and finish the fixtures, so expect a full reveal next week! Wooo!

In other news with life, we heard back last week from the seller's bank on the short sale we made an offer on (see bottom of post if you click the link)...and it wasn't what we'd been hoping for. The bank came back asking $30k over what the seller had even listed the house for (yeah, we were a tad gob-smacked), so we had to walk away.

It was disappointing and a bit frustrating, but after 2 months of waiting for an answer, we finally had one and could move on (silver lining). For one reason or another it wasn't the house meant for us, so we're content knowing that "our house" is still somewhere out there. We just have to be patient and keep trusting God and that His timing is perfect. It's times like this when we don't always know why things happen or that test us that draw us closer, and that's always a good place to be.
Heb 11:1

Monday, January 26, 2015

9 Ideas for that Blank Wall Behind the Sofa

It seems to always be a conundrum, myself included, for what to do with the huge and empty wall behind your sofa. Do you try a gallery wall? Shelves?

In other words, what would make a statement?

As usual, Pinterest is the magic genie resource for ideas and inspiration, so I've pulled together a collection that will hopefully get your gears turning and give you some direction on what you'd like to do.

Because really, blank walls look so lonely.

- Gallery Wall -

A gallery wall can be framed art, mirrors, word art, or a mix of all three. Anything goes, but do spend time to get it right. If you'd like to learn a way I've found for making a gallery art wall look good, check out my tutorial here.

- Large Art -

This is an easy fix and can be quite inexpensive as well if you keep an eye out on craigslist, thrift stores, yardsales, Facebook yardsale groups, and auctions. We found our large art piece for over the sofa at a yardsale for a whoppin' $1, and it adequately fills up the once-blank space.

Tip: If you rent, this is definitely a way to go as you only need 1-2 nail holes or Command hanging hooks.

via Pottery Barn

large framed leftover wallpaper art

- Eclectic -

You don't need frames and pictures to make art. Get creative and use items usually found at flea markets and craigslist, such as old windows, shutters, doors, china plates, wooden paddles, name it!

via Apartment Therapy

- Shelves -

Shelves help break up the walls and allow you to use framed art, mirrors, potted plants, wood art, figurines, etc. - Basically you have the freedom to use what you have and create multiple eye-catching interest on the wall.

- Bookshelves -

If there's one thing we're always lacking, it's more bookshelves. To me, they always seem to add an instant coziness and interest to a room, especially when they are floor-to-ceiling. The beauty-part is that you don't have to fill them only with books, but other pieces of art can pop up on the shelves.

via Horchow

photo via Jamie Beck Ann Street Studio

- Mural -

For a big impact, consider painting or wallpapering a full-wall mural.

via thewallstickercompany

- Wallpaper -

Wallpapering just one wall and making it your focal point in the room can add instant charm and drama.

via Kate Hughes

- Board & Batten -

There's lots of different styles for board and batten walls, but all are symmetrical. You can go half-wall, 3 quarters, or floor-to-ceiling. With so many options, you can have a lot of room to play around with what you think would look best for your room.

via Apartment Therapy

via 4inspireddesign

obviously not with a sofa, but I just love this full-wall board and batten design

- Mix It Up -

You don't need to stick to one thing or another when decorating. Feel free to use multiple ideas together that work in harmony.

framed art gallery wall and mirror

board and batten, mirror, and wall lamps

wallpaper focal wall, shelves with interest pieces, framed wall art - via villa tretton

bookshelves boxing in the sofa (anchoring it), large art, wall lamps - via design crisis

Which of these inspired you most? I know I love the bookshelves, board and batten, and mirrors, but now I'm also eyeing the wallpaper idea...hmm...

Have any clever ideas to add?

P.S. If you liked this post, check out my guide How To Design Around A Brown Sofa and the budget-friendly Redecorating With Your Existing Sofa Pillows.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How To Prep Furniture for Painting

A lot of you who visit this blog seem to enjoy DIY and painting furniture (you're my kind of people!) - some of my most popular posts are the ones about painting with milk paint and gold-dipping. One thing that I've realized is missing from the equation though is: what must you do before slapping on the paint?

As with many projects, the most important part of ensuring a great looking end-result for a painted piece comes in the prep work. I'm still learning as I go, but let me pass along what I've learned and practice as of now:

Cleaning: especially if you thrift your furniture like me, your piece may need a good cleaning. Any sticky residue or spots on the piece can be cleaned with a mild cleaner (soap or vinegar with a damp rag works). This step alone can sometimes take me an hour - I seem to be a glutton for punishment have a knack for picking out abused furniture and wanting to make it dashingly handsome again. If your piece is in good condition, just give it a good dusting and vac the insides of the drawers.

Get A Few Screws Loose: Once cleaned, take any drawers out and unscrew all fixtures with a screwdriver ("lefty loosey").  Be sure to keep the screws together with their fixtures if you plan to re-use the fixtures.

Tip: it helps to take a picture before you start so you can remember later what it looked like when putting the fixtures back on.

Test Strip: Look closely at the piece and see if the piece looks like it was previously painted. If so, it is a good idea to do a test strip of your paint in a small, out-of-sight area on the piece. If it dries and looks smooth and normal, then proceed to the next steps. If the paint bubbles or has streaks in it, you may first need to sand the paint entirely off of the piece.

Fill 'er Up: now is the time to find any chips or gashes in the piece and make them smooth again using wood filler. (I use Elmer's wood filler)

Simply smear the wood filler into the gash until it is filled-in.

Follow the directions for drying time and let it set. It's ok if the area looks messy - you'll be smoothing it soon in the next step.

True Grit: When all wood filler has been given adequate drying time, lightly sand down your whole piece with a sponge sander or fine sandpaper (120-200 grit). Make sure the areas with the wood filler are smooth and even with the rest of the piece by running a finger over the area.   Though sanding the whole piece is not usually necessary if you are using milk paint, I still like to do it to ensure that the paint will stick better to the piece, especially if the wood is "shiny" or has any kind of laminate-looking surface on it. (Need a break yet after all this muscle work? Feast your eyes on this beautiful bit of music and film - one of my faves to relax to).

Shake Off the Dust: Clean the fine grit left over from sanding off of your piece using a cloth.

Stick Till the End: Now for my favorite tool - Frog tape. This tape will ensure that as you paint, you leave crisp lines with no bleeding, giving the whole piece a more professional and polished look.

Using the Frog tape, run it across areas that you don't want the paint to go beyond for a nice-looking finish.

On pieces with drawers, be sure to know where the drawers sit so that you do not miss any areas. On the first piece I ever did, I had to do touch-ups because I did not paint inside far enough; when the drawers were placed back in, bare wood showed through on the sides. As you can see in the pictures above and below, I'm lining the drawers for this piece with the tape so that when I paint, the paint line will go back approx a quarter-inch.

With your piece now cleaned, filled, lightly sanded and taped off, you are now ready to get painting and transform your piece! Have fun!

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