Saturday, December 28, 2013

Reuse Calendar Idea

This post is a little late for the holiday season, but it's a fun reuse idea that I wanted to share. For 2013(can you believe this year is almost over!)I had this beautifully illustrated calendar from artist Nikki McClure.
It made me sad to toss this piece of art is the recycle bin. That's when I had a lightbulb idea: I'll use the pages as wrapping paper! Instead of buying cheap Christmas paper from the corner store (like I usually do, while envying the cool wrapping paper my sister uses), I'll wrap my gifts in something that shows thoughtfulness, as I think a gift should. Here are some of the gifts I wrapped.
I ended up using white tissue paper to wrap the larger gifts, with parts of the calendar illustrations to embellish. I hope this gives you inspiration for reusing your calendar before tossing it out on New Years Day. Happy end of 2013!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Aged vs. Old: dresser makeover

Now that my frisbee season is done, I'm trying to rev up my design output. I need to get some of this furniture that's been sitting in my hallway on someone else's (lucky!) hands. So, I'm excited to share my newest piece, that I am selling! What's that? Yes, selling, so let me know if you're interested. I found it on craigslist for $20 and when James and I went to pick it up, James looked at me skeptically. "Are you sure it's worth the price?" his eyes asked me. But behind the dry and splintering wood, I knew there was something special.
As you can tell from the before pictures, the wood was not in very good condition and it was saying, "I'm old." With furniture, that's not such a good thing. I want a piece to say, "I'm aged", like well-worn leather shoes, not "old," like food you forgot about in the back of the fridge.
Here's how I decided to breathe an "aged" look back into the piece. I've been wanting to try a pattern on a piece of furniture and this was a good time for it. I sanded the dresser down to the original wood, removing the splintering wood and any remaining varnish, and then conditioned the wood. Then I drew a chevron pattern on the sides of 3 drawers(the top, middle and bottom). I taped off the chevron pattern with painter's tape. Then I stained the rest of the dresser with dark walnut.
Then I removed the tape, let the stain set, and sealed the whole dresser with a polycrylic sealer. I was hoping that the stain wouldn't bleed under the painter's tape, but a little did come through. In the future, I would seal the chevrons first with the sealer, so that they would (hopefully) not take any of the dark stain. But I don't mind the "handmade" quality of it.
I am really happy with how it turned out. It has an aged southwest vibe. I like that the dresser still shows its age, but it doesn't feel outdated.
When I was admiring my handiwork at the end, I looked more closely at a sticker inside one the the drawers. It read, "Cascade Furniture, F.S. Harmon MFG Co, Tacoma Washington." I did a little google research and found that F.S. Harmon was a large furniture manufacturer in the 1900's in Tacoma. The plant closed in 1960, telling me that this piece is probably from the 1950s or 1940s. I couldn't find out much else, but knowing a little of the history makes me like it even more. Worth $20? Oh yeah!(Remember, I'm going to sell it, so let me know if you're interested)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Unconventional Headboard

While grabbing a bite to eat on Fillmore, James eyed this folded, partially broken, wooden screen on the sidewalk. I couldn't help but be drawn to the hints of turquoise paint on the white shutter doors. Hmmm... what could be done with this?
Aha, Headboard makeover! We have a funky design in our bedroom, where there is a shelf that runs along the entire wall about 2 feet off the ground. It actually is quite useful as a built-in side table, that we can put lighting and books on. But it does make it hard to have a headboard.
Anyway, here is a before shot of our bedroom. You can see the "shelf" I'm talking about behind the bed. And you can admire our very college-esque photo display above the bed.
So, back to the screen idea. I cleaned off the dust and grime, and then removed the remaining broken door slats. Then James and I screwed it into the wall above the bed. James has always been nervous about hanging anything heavy above our bed(I guess that's valid when you live near a fault line) so we made sure it was really secure. And voila, we have a free and easy "headboard", made from an unconventional material. Now I need to get the rest of the bedroom in shape. One thing at a time... Oh, and shout-out to my mom for making those plaid pillowcases for us last Christmas!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Teacher's Desk

My fifi(yes, that is my fiancé!) was looking for a new desk for his classroom and I jumped on the opportunity to spruce up his work environment. After cruising craigslist, I found this desk for free and drove out to Pacifica to pick it up. It has cool bones, but the laminate did not look so great.
After getting it home, we realized it was about an inch too wide to fit through our small apartment door. Oops! Always measure those essential areas when getting a new piece of furniture. Luckily, my parents offered to let me utilize their garage and I could work on it there.
Fifi is drawn to this dark grey color, so I used that as the dominant color in the piece. Then, I added accents of this deep red to the drawers and legs. I thought the red was fitting for the school. It reminds me of a red apple (why is that the gift kids are supposed to give teachers?). I decided to paint the pull-out writing surface with chalkboard paint. This way, he can draw or write notes on it, and just close it up to keep it hidden and secret. He's mostly using the pull-out for his afternoon tea.
Now his classroom looks much more snazzy. His old desk fell apart as we moved it. This desk will last a lifetime. And the gnomes you see in the background are actually gifts from his students. Love them!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Laura's Dining Set

At long last, I have finished the dining set for my friend, Laura. I originally got this set on craigslist (one table with leaves and 5 chairs) for $50. Score! The first task was the table. I was thinking it would be nice to keep the table top in a wood finish, but it was too beat up with scratches and white, heat stains. I did test taking those stains out by covering them with a towel and using a steam iron on top. It kind of works! Then I filled the holes with wood putty, let it dry and sanded.
Laura and I picked the colors for the table together, inspired by the posters she has hanging in the dining room already. The table top is painted in paris grey (chalk paint) and the legs and skirt are old white and a turquoise color that I mixed myself. Then Laura ordered this area rug to go under the table. It compliments the colors in the table nicely!
Next came the chairs. Laura helped me pull off the old cushions and we cleaned and prepared them for painting. The chairs got two coats of old white and clear wax to seal them. We found the fabric for the cushions at Discount Fabrics. Laura splurged on the nicer foam for the cushions, which was a good choice, because they are super comfy to sit on.
I'm very happy with the overall look. I think the classic lines of the table suits the architecture of her beautiful, old, SF home. And the light paint colors keep her dining room feeling light and airy.
P.S. I've found two antique chairs that I am going to re-do in the same style so that she can have 6 chairs for larger dinner parties.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Blah to Bam! Dresser Makeover

While on a run, I passed this sad dresser just a block from my house. I was very tempted to stop, but stayed disciplined, continuing my workout. On my return, however, I made sure to pass the street with the dresser. To my delight, it was still there! But how to get it home? Luckily, my knight in shining armor returned from work and I implored him to help me carry it back to the apartment. Behind the sad paint job, I could tell this was once an adorable piece.
I started with sanding the top of the dresser, and loved the exposed wood, so I decided to sand the drawer fronts as well. Already, it was looking so much better.
I decided to stain the wood in a dark walnut finish, and then paint the rest of the dresser, as well as the knobs, in a pure white. I love the contrast of the dark and white. The wood and the paint compliment each other in a way that combines old and new. I'm so glad I went on a run that day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Graphic Chair

Hey All,
It's been a while since my last post, so here's a small piece I finished for a friend. I did a dining table for her and this chair is from the dining set (look for a post with the finished dining set soon).
We picked out this fun graphic print together. I painted the chair in Paris Grey and covered the seat with a new cushion and the durable fabric. She's now using this chair in her bedroom at her desk.