Friday, April 29, 2011

Starting The Weekend A Day Early...

The combination of a family emergency - everyone will be fine - and my dear friend Megan's impending nuptials had me up past midnight, and left me with no energy to post. So I am calling it and beginning the weekend one day early (even though it won't officially start for me till the afternoon).

The speech is written, the duds have been picked, so now all that's left to do is get that bride hitched! I'm off to beautiful Marin. Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If It's Too Good To Be True...

I was hoping against hope when I decided to use Howard's Restore-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax to gussy up my coffee table instead of refinishing it.

Sara at Russet Street Reno recommended the products so heartily, that I had my self almost convinced that they could erase all nicks, scrapes, cloudy finish, and flood damage done to our coffee table, making it look at though it was newly refinished.

The good news is that the table looks better, but let's be honest, we still need to bust out the sander and refinish the poor thing.

Here's the before:

You can see how high the Carmel River flooded in 1994 (I think). It always amazes me to think about it when I look at the coffee table, but since it wasn't my house that flooded, I think it would be better just to have an even finish...

I followed the directions on the Restore-A-Finish, which I got in "Walnut;" I used rags to rub the polish into the furniture and then I wiped it off a few minutes later with a fresh rag. I let the Restore-A-Finish cure for about a half an hour, and then I applied the Feed-N-Wax using the same technique with clean rags. 

Again, I wish I had some incredible after pics to wow you with, but alas, here's the finished product: 

You can see that the top of the table looks a little better, darker and shinier (maybe even a bit cloudier), but there's not a huge difference. However, the finish on the legs looks much more even. Look, you can't even see the flood line anymore! 

Was I disappointed that Howard's products didn't give me a completely refinished looking table? Yes. But I knew from the start that it was a long shot. The revived look of the legs, though, do give me hope that I can use these products on our other mid-century furniture that's in much better shape, with much more dramatic results. 

This dresser in our master bedroom is next on the list for a Howard's treatment. 

I think a little refreshing will have it absolutely popping again our new soft aqua bedroom walls. I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Eye Candy: Starbursts Galore

Lonny, the online shelter magazine, teamed up with Tradition Home magazine to launch TradHome, an online collaboration, last week.

It's a behemoth 347 pages of pure design goodness, and I am only halfway through, but something has already caught my eye...

It's a home Jeff Andrews did for a client. I love the combination of deep greens and golden yellows. I flatter myself by saying that reminds me of a living room I used to know. Don't I wish?

But what really makes the room in my opinion is the wall of starburst mirrors. Ah, yes please! They take a room that could otherwise feel too stodgy and serious, and inject it with a serious dose of fun. And those gilded coffee tables and wood owls don't hurt either.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Repurposed Planters Part II

My third and final spring break project is also completed. We repotted the lemon tree that came with the house into this copper barrel (purpose unknown) that we found at our last house.

Only when we brought it over to our new digs, it looked more like this:

Albeit it's not perfect, a little smacking around with a rubber mallet had it less bent out of shape. In my mind, the imperfections and the weathered patina make it really charming and special.

Then it was time to line it with mastic, basically roofing tar, since copper is not conducive to plant grow (according to our green thumb friend). Two sticky coats of the stuff later and plenty of time to dry, and our repurposed pot was looking like this:

You can see in the pic above that Ryan built a little base for it out of the former bench wood to allow the water to drain out.

Then it was time to repot the lemon using the last of our black gold topsoil, and marvel at the finished product.

It's perfectly positioned on the severe angle that was left after we jackhammered up part of the patio. The lemon is in full sun now, completely out of the way, and it really softens up that awkward patio corner. Here's the view from the living room.

We couldn't be more pleased with our almost-free lemon tree and copper pot; for the cost of roofing mastic, we have a flowering lemon tree in a unique and beautiful custom planter.

Is it just me, or are you repurposing everything you can get your hands on these days?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Repurposed Planters

When we moved into our house a little over two months (!) ago, there was this odd little bench hanging out by the hot tub...

(Look past the fuzzy behind.)

Oh, and the front door looked like this:

Now the bench has gone and the planters holding it up have been painted and moved to either side of the front door to make for a cheery entry.

These two hardwood planters were in bad shape; they were faded, falling apart, and the seen-better-days electric blue inserts had to go. The first step was getting new inserts, which we did at OSH for under $8.00 total. (Their cool grey-green color should disappear once the succulents planted inside take root and sprout up.)

Next, I had to clean them of the spiders that were calling them home, which, as anyone who knows me understands, was the most formidable task. (I am irrationally afraid of them, despite my husband's attempts to cure me of my arachnophobia.) A hand held brush, some gloves, and a few deep breaths did the trick. They went from looking like this...

 to this:

Better, but not great. The next order of business was fixing the loose/fallen off boards, so the hubs busted out the trusty nail gun and fixed 'em up.

One coat of oil based primer, and these babies were ready to be spiffed up with some paint. I chose a punchy chartreuse color because it makes me happy, ties in to the new doormat, and hopefully detracts attention from the horrible roof/paint color/texture of our home.

After two coats of Glidden's Extra Virgin Olive Oil they were looking less yellow and more green.

After 24 hours or so, I moved them into position, planted the succulents that we already had from a friend's wedding (two per container), and...was disappointed. See, they looked too severe on either side of the doorway. They needed something else to create some softness. So I scoured the yard and found some smaller round pots from our old casa that Ryan had thought to pack up and bring over. Perfect! I ran down to Home Depot and grabbed a lavender and rosemary plant for $3.99 each, and stuck them between the painted planters and the entry. Viola! 

Now there's so much more visual interest with the varying heights and textures, but the neutral color of the round pots don't compete with those bold yellowy-green planters.

There's still a lot of room for improvement in the curb appeal department, but the house is starting to look cared for and more welcoming. (Weed whacking the knee high weeds in the front didn't help either!) Now we just need to put up the house numbers I already purchased. Oh, and I want to paint "Welcome" on that little stone in front of the lavender pot (that we found while weed whacking) in the same fun color as the planters.

Here's a quick price breakdown:

  • Planters - free! 
  • Planter inserts - $7.99
  • Paint (Glidden's Extra Virgin Olive Oil) - $9.99
  • Lavender and Rosemary - $3.99 each
TOTAL = $25.96

Not too bad for an entryway makeover if I do say so myself, especially when smaller versions of our wood planters were running 30 bucks each (!) at OSH. What about that chartreuse? It is just me, or is that not the happiest color ever? 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fashion Friday: Furry Fashion

I was wondering the other day, why do us humans get all the attention on the weeks that I actually get around to writing Fashion Friday posts? So today I thought I would write about what we do to keep the pooches looking posh. No, there will not be any ridiculous pictures of 100 pound dogs in sweaters or rain gear. I am talking about the basics: collars, cute dog tags, and how we keep them relatively clean and shiny.

Here they are last night sharing a bed. (Zoe is the more redder of the two on the left, and Azlan is on the right.) Too precious!

When we moved, both pooches needed new dog tags with our address. I didn't want to spend $10 a tag on the janky looking ones from the big box pet stores, so I went with these beauties from Amazon for almost the same price: $10.95.

Zoe got the purple paw, while Azlan got the black (see him modeling it below). The have a million colors to choose from, by the way.

Zoe also scored a new collar with the move from Pet Co. She has some serious behavior issues - dominance and a recycling campaign that is not appropriate to talk about, even on Earth Day - so I thought a lotus flower collar might make her more Zen and help her embrace some Buddhist philosophies. No luck so far. But it does complement her fiery orange fur. (That should have been a sign people, it should have been a sign...)

Here's another shot of her with her new collar. Don't be fooled by how sweet she looks sleeping; she is playing the princess and the pea on two beds (which you can see in the background of the Azlan pic above).

Azlan's collar is totally faded, but we haven't found another with a design we like half as much, so until we do, he's keeping it. Poor pooch.

Lastly, to keep them smelling so fresh and so clean (for a day), we use the following products:

Buddy Wash is my favorite. I like the Green Tea and Bergamot (the green bottle on the right), although the Lavender and Mint (on the left) is pretty pleasant smelling too. In the middle is a special shampoo for Zoe that we use because of her sensitive skin. It doesn't smell so great, but it works on her doggy dandruff.

So there you have it. A little fashion roundup for our canine friends.

Happy weekend and Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Master Bedroom Makeover: Paint

After a long day of painting (9-6 with a one hour break to run out and get my new BFF), the master bedroom is fully painted and looking lovely!

I used Benjamin Moore's Crystalline from their Affinity line, which I color matched to Olympic's No-VOC paint (from Lowe's). I got two gallons (it's a big room!), and each gallon ran me about $23. Yes, it's a bit more expensive than regular brands, but we were able to sleep in the room last night comfortably and without worrying about what we were inhaling. And less than $50 for a room makeover is not too shabby, in my opinion.

The color is a soft aqua, which reads as either more blue or green depending on the light. (It looks much more grey in the colors I snapped because my camera sucks.)

Here's some more glamour shots.

I am so happy with the final product; it's really serene and beachy feeling in the room now. And let's face it, anything is an improvement over Navajo White. Oh, how I loathe you Navajo!

Now that the room is painted, I have a list of other projects I want to do to complete the room:
  • Make a DIY headboard
  • Make a linen bedskirt
  • Paint fireplace white
  • Rip out paneling
  • Do something about the shelves on either side of the fireplace...
  • Replace baseboard with something sexier
  • Crown moulding
  • New light and electrical plates
  • Get a round or quatrefoil mirror for over the dresser
  • Art, art, and more art
  • Find some nightstands and bedside lamps
How come every project just kicks off about 10 more? Oh well. I do want to bask in the glory of having painted my first room. (Only 8 more to go!) And I thought I would share with you what got me through 13 hours of painting in 36 hours.

First, and most importantly, something to distract me and keep me entertained. My top pick is This American Life - I think I caught up on every episode since we moved - but a good Pandora station will do in a pinch.

Second is a good roller. I like Purdy rollers, along with a 10 gallon bucket with a painting grate to roll off excess paint. My husband turned me onto this, and it is a huge improvement over painting trays.

This little guy is a welcome addition to my painting repertoire.

The hubs scored it for free, but I saw it at Home Depot yesterday. It's a great tool for painting around our windows and in between doors and walls.

Oh, and meet my new best friend. (Sorry, Jack.)

He's the Premium XL Tight Spots 2" Angle Short Handle Brush. He comes highly recommended by YHL, and you can get him at Sherwin Williams for a mere $5. Seriously, it's the best $5 I have ever spent! It took me 2 hours to cut in the same room that it took 5 hours to cut in the day before! The bristles are stiffer than the 2" brush I had been using, and the short handle did not make my hand cramp up like all the other brushes I have used. I refuse to paint anything without it now, and I am not dreading painting the rest of the house the way I was on Tuesday.

So what do you think?