26 November 2011

Pirate Ship Chic (Ikea Hack)

I don't, in general,  like dressers, but I needed a dresser. In August, I spotted this dresser on Pinterest and thought it quite lovely:


Shortly thereafter,  I saw this dresser in an Ikea catalog and I thought to myself, "ooh!  I can make that dresser look a lot like the other dresser! Yay!"  A visit to the store confirmed my suspicions that the dresser could be quite lovely if changed just a bit.  I stood in the showroom knocking on it and poking it and peering inside it to confirm that it was solid wood (I'm not a fan of veneers).

The Mandal Dresser was, for a little while, out of stock at the store, but last week, when I check the Ikea website, it said that they had a few on the shelves, so I zoomed out there and picked one up. 

My plan was to stain the wood on the outside and change out the legs to some sort of pedestal + round tapered leg (á la the mid-century dresser that I had admired).

Now here's where I was a bit foolish:  I thought it would be easy to sand off the polyurethane finish (polycrylic? lacquer?) and stain the wood a darker shade.  Ha!  So foolish!  I tested out my little idea on a piece that would be hidden once the dresser was assembled.  And...


I was a bit distressed by how distressed it looked.
I tried again on another piece that would be hidden.
I sanded and sanded and washed and stained.
And the result was no better.

Things got busy at work, so I just let the wood sit out for me to gaze at over during my morning coffee and my evening banana.
I knew it would easily take primer and paint.
I knew it would look just fine the color it came in.
I figured I could probably buy some crazy chemical to peel the seal off.
I had options.
And then on Friday afternoon when I came home from work and looked at it, I realized that I loved it.
"You look like you've been on a pirate ship," I told the board.  "And I dig that about you."

Plus, a little voice in my head interjected, you can always paint over it if you change your mind.
I took the wood out to the garage.
I sanded.
I built a little pedestal.

I stained.
I waited for it all to dry.
Then I assembled.
And now?


Trés Pirate Ship Chic, no?
I don't blame you if you hate this.
I've been there.
But I love it.
And so I'm going to post more pics!





06 November 2011

Home Goods

I was giving myself a hard time about not finishing up any quilting project lately and then happened upon this to do list on my fridge:

I realized that I have been getting things done...just not quilting things.  So, today I'm going to share my recent decorating-on-a-budget triumph.   When I moved into my new place, my living room was empty. No furniture!


I had given away or sold almost all of my old living room furniture (a beat up futon was the best item...you get the gist). The only thing I had left was my round coffee/side table.

After a few weeks of vigilant Craigslist-checking, I scored a pretty sweet leather couch for $50.
houseproud-07  And I spent $30 on the curtains (TJMaxx) because the horizontal blinds were driving me nuts.

But then I went over a month with just that one piece of furniture in the living room.  This, of course, results in having to sit next to people when they visit, which can be awkward.

In the photo above, there's a carpet from my bedroom because I was trying to figure out how big of a rug the room needed. You'll also see that I made a mock settee out of storage tubs and cushions.  I was trying to figure out what my options were for that space. How big did the furniture need to be? How big would be too big?

Also, what colors would work? I wanted to go with a scheme like this...

Because over the summer I had noticed that I continually pin this color scheme on Pinterest.  And I knew I already had a number of things (accessories, art) that would go nicely with these colors.

I had even begun down that color scheme line; I found an awesome mid-century coffee table for $30 at the Salvation Army store. The top was damaged and since some research determined that this is an table from Lane's Acclaim line (which have very thin veneers) I knew that once I sanded it, I'd have to paint it.

I sanded and painted a few weeks ago. 
Out shopping, I was looking for an accent chair to match my color scheme.
I was also looking for a rug for the room.
I kept looking around and not finding what I wanted.

Many items were close, but not quite right.   This chair from Home Goods was the closest I came to buying a chair.  However, the scale of it was a bit wrong (pretty sure it would look too big) and I would have wanted to switch out the legs (costs money) and it was already quite expensive ($299).

Then, on Thursday,  I got the feeling that Home Goods was calling to me (like a psychic thing, pulling me to the store...this is often an accurate feeling).  I went to Ann Arbor's Home Goods...and didn't find anything I liked (wah wah wah).

Then, Saturday, I realized that maybe it was the other Home Goods (up in Brighton) that was calling to me.  It's twenty miles up the highway, but they have a stellar Salvation Army in Brighton, so I decided to make a little trip of it.   I went to Salvation Army first, where I quite liked a pair of orange chairs they were selling for $60--the scale of them was perfect and they were comfy and just the right amount of stylish.  Of course, orange wasn't in the plan, so I left the store without them.

Next, I went to Home Goods, where I admired many chairs, but they were all too bulky and/or leather (I didn't want more leather).  Then I went through their rugs and found THE ONE.

It had all my selected colors except for having orange (THE EXACT SAME ORANGE AS THE CHAIRS) instead of the mustard color I had been envisioning for the room.

Bing, bang, boom, bought the rug, ran back to the Salvation Army for the chairs and drove home triumphant!

10 minutes later...


Reverse view....(planning to get those boxes taken care of this week!)


There's a titch too much old-ladiness in the room right now, but I think that once I get some art up the place will look generation-appropriate. I'm loving where this is going...


And I love that I did it fairly cheaply.  Rug ($299)+Chairs ($60)+Couch ($50)= $410.

The next project for this room is going to have to be a revisit of the curtains...the silver looks fine by day, but horrible at night.  They are also more see-through than I would like given that this window looks out onto a busy street.


Another project for this room:  framing the two paintings on the left (by my great aunt Evelyn):

As for the yellow coffee table?  Don't worry, it's happily living as a bench in the bedroom...

And that is the story of my living room. I hope to have a report from the craft room soon!