Decorator look on a budget!

Since our addition/renovation started, I have been trying to find ways to get the look I want and save money at the same time. I purchased eight French chairs off Craigslist for $20. It was a great deal if you don’t mind putting in a lot of work. Each chair takes about six hours to strip and sand by hand. When all is said and done. I will have spent about 48 hours working on these chairs. For me it is well worth the effort. A similar chair would cost about $350 each. By doing the work, I am able to have beautiful French chairs at a fraction of the cost. Saving money this way is not for everyone. I happen to love what I do. Over the years I have found other ways to decorate on a budget without all the work. One way is the high-low price game. For this game you have to mentally give up your high priced dream item. Open yourself up to something similar in style, size, shape but at a lesser cost. The hardest part of this game is giving up the dream item. But once you do, you would be surprised how you begin to look at things differently. This has happened to me many times, but one of my favorites was side tables for my front room. I was looking at a Ballard Design catalog and fell in love with a metal side table with a mirror top.

metal atble mirror This is the table. I would need two, one for each side of the sofa. I could already see them in the living room. At $200 times two, it was way out of my price range.

So I started the game and a few months later I found an alternative at Home Goods.

20200217_095908_resized (1) Compared to the Ballard Design table, they both have metal bases, round tops, and are small in size. But wait a minute, where is the mirror you say?

faux side table When I was looking at the table, I noticed a space between the wood insert and the top of the table. I thought this might be enough space to fit a mirror.

I purchased two of the Home Goods tables knowing full well I could return them if a mirror could not be installed. I took them to a glass shop and was very happy when they said there was enough room to put a mirror in. Hurray!

IMG_7310 (2) This is what it looked like after the mirror was inserted. I love the way they look! By opening up my mind to other possibilities I was able to find two tables for a little less than $150 versus $400.

Artwork can be another expensive décor item. I for one, will likely never buy an original piece of art, but prints of an original can be just as beautiful.

IMG_7338 (2)

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These are just two of the prints I have. The children on the beach is by Mary Cassett and the woman and child is by Renoir. I always get my prints framed at Michael’s. It takes the print to another level and besides, they always have coupons.

What is the saying “Go big or go home.”  Another way to save is by using one large piece of artwork instead of several.

IMG_7330 (2) This piece sits over the couch in my family room. It not only draws you into the room visually, it covers a lot of wall space. If I had chosen smaller pieces of art, I would need several pieces to get the same impact of this one.

Thinking out of the box can also produce beautiful art at low cost. I like to use plates to hang on walls. I found some melamine plates from Pottery Barn with a Shibori print on them. When I hung them on the wall, it just didn’t work. They were too small and got lost on the wall. I was not sure how to fix it. So I went to Michael’s to see if anything jumped out at me. What I found were shadow box frames that I thought would work perfectly.

20190331_132905_resized (1) Because the plates were light weight melamine I was able to hang them with velcro.

20190331_132922_resized I centered each plate. The backing in the frame came with a linen matte. How great was that!

plates in frame Hung them up!

There are so many ways to decorate your home on a budget. Let your perfect item go, open yours eyes to alternatives, think outside the box. But most importantly have fun!!

Finally understanding what was on paper!

It is not easy for me to look at our plans for our new addition and visualize it spatially. I can’t just look at a piece of paper and envision the room sizes and how everything will fit. It probably has to do with my arch nemesis measuring. As construction continues, and the outline of the rooms have become visibly real, my excitement is hard to contain. This is it for me. I can now physically walk into a space and see what it will be. I will eventually talk about all the spaces that are being added, but today I am starting with the laundry/mud room. I personally have never had either in my home, so designing one will be extra special! I am going to share with you some ideas I have, and eventually, I will need to make decisions.

This is my interpretation of the laundry/mud room area. Don’t laugh! It is hard to draw with the edit tool on my laptop. There will be a space to tuck my utility sink in. As you walk in, the washer and dryer are straight ahead with a collapsible folding table to the left. To the right of the entry will be an area to drop shoes, hang coats, umbrellas etc. Even though it is a small space, I will be able to get everything I need and even some space for my paints and brushes. Yay!

laundry wallpaper

I am thinking of putting wallpaper behind the washer and dryer. Maybe something bold since it will only be on one small wall.

utility sink whimsy I am not sure if I will be doing any whimsical signs? I do like this one painted on the wall though.

I love these benches and the board and batten detail on the wall. The wall detail is an inexpensive way to add texture.

Flooring is another decision. I really like the classic gray tile in a chevron pattern, but I have always wanted a patterned tile.

shiplap laundry 2

Then of course there is Shiplap!

So many decisions, but I welcome them all!!

Some new updates:

Trusses have begun to go up!

I am closer to finishing the Pantry Door! After it was sanded I felt it needed a little something. I decided to add molding to dress her up! Unfortunately, after all the repair she needed, I will not be able to stain the door. But I will be able to paint it a fun color! Coming soon I hope!

Addition update and fun renovation buys!

If you did not know it already, people in construction work very hard. The different crews we have had working on our new addition usually arrive around 7:30 am and leave between 4:30 and 5:00 pm. Each group has a specific task to perform in order for the next group to take over. The excavator dug out the hole with precision detail, so the masonry group could put in foundation footings, build a cinder block wall and pour a concrete slab for the crawl space. After they were done, the framers came and put in two huge steel I-beams, floor joists and sub-flooring. They framers came back today and started putting up walls. They said the trusses are coming on Wednesday. I was not sure what a Truss was, so I looked it up.  Definition: A framework, typically consisting of rafters, posts, and struts, supporting a roof, bridge, or other structure. I thought that was a little confusing so I included a picture below.

Roof Truss_1

IMG_6959     Excavator (my husbands lawn was so nice)

IMG_7025 Concrete came for foundation footings.

IMG_7022 All smoothed out.

matts photos 4

Foundation wall built.

Next came the crew for the concrete crawl space floor. It was a sight to see. They worked fast spreading the concrete evenly over the space. (Did I mention it was over ninety degrees that day, whew!) They used a really cool machine to even it out. They also got down on their hands and knees to do the corners. Did I mention they work hard! The attention to detail and pride in their work really shows!

matt photos 2

Never saw such a beautiful concrete floor!

IMG_7155 Lumber delivered for framing!

IMG_7160 Two I-beams had to be installed.

IMG_7163 So cool!

IMG_7172 The I-beam was too big.

IMG_7175 Not a problem, they just cut the cinder block so it fit right.

IMG_7209 Fits like a glove now!

IMG_7186 I-beam number two. Nearly 40 feet long.

IMG_7210 Ready for the floor joists.

IMG_7213 In case you did not know what a floor joist was ( I did not). Floor joists are used to give support to a floor, that is over an open area. In our case a crawl space.

IMG_7219 I give you floor joists.

IMG_7216 Next step sub floors.

matt house photos

Sub floor done, the walls come next!

IMG_7222 (2) You always hear them say on HGTV shows once the walls are in you can visualize the space. Let me tell you its true!!

IMG_7224 (2) See, I know he just walked into my mother-in-laws room through the door way.

Today was a fun day! Not only were there walls going up, I was finally able to go to ReHouse Architectural Salvage in Rochester, N.Y.  I love architectural salvage and really want to try and bring some into the renovation. I was looking for large corbels for the kitchen island. I did not find corbels, but I did find a 100 year old cast iron utility sink and a gorgeous frame.

IMG_7233 (2)IMG_7230 (2)

I have been looking for a utility sink forever. They are really hard to find and the really good ones are just too expensive to buy new. I will be using it in the laundry room. When we were designing to addition, I was able to eek out a space in the laundry room to paint my furniture. I really wanted a deep durable sink to wash my brushes. I love that it is old and has been used for 100 years. Don’t worry I will make it sooo cute! Wait and see!

IMG_7229 (2) I plan on putting a mirror in the frame and using it in the powder room. I am not sure if I am going to refinish it or leave it as is. Once the mirror is in that should help me decide.

So much going on. So exciting! Stay tuned!

 

50 posts and Counting! My First Milestone!

It is hard to believe I have written 50 posts! I started this Blog in June of 2019. What a journey its been! I built a rock wall, solved what to do with a six foot fence, visited many wonderful places, was a vendor at The Purple Painted Lady Festival, met Annie Sloan, showed you my furniture refinishing projects, room transformations, and my ideas for gardening and holiday decorating. I am so happy I was able to share what I love! Can’t wait for the next 50 posts!

It all began with a rock wall!

img_2742-1 I dug!

img_2741-1 Tossed!

img_2752-2       And dragged. It took hundreds of rocks and many weeks to build this rock wall.

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img_3209                                     But in the end, the hard work was well worth it!

 

Some of the great places I visited!

IMG_5406 (2) I went to Rochester Public Market during the Christmas Holiday. It was cold, but a lot of fun!

Lots of great food!

IMG_5387 (2) Carriage Rides!

And of course plenty of crafts and holiday décor!

 

George Eastman Museum in Rochester, N.Y.

IMG_5316 (2)                                    I attended the Annual Gingerbread House display.

IMG_5083 (2)            I was blown away by the creativity and detailing of the gingerbread creations.

IMG_5050 (2)                                                    It is not just Ginger Bread Houses.

A whole lot of whimsy

 

Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

IMG_3479 Yado is an artists’ retreat. Katrina and Spencer Trask bequeathed their fortune and estate to establish a residency program for artists. James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Leonard Bernstein and John Cheever were some of the artists who stayed here. The grounds are open to the public to view. They are spectacular!

It was exciting to think some of the talented artists I mentioned above walked these same grounds.

I also saw the Horse Racing Hall of Fame and Saratoga Racetrack.

 

One of the most exciting events for me was the Purple Painted Lady Festival. I had the privilege of being selected as a vendor. It was a tremendous experience and I got to meet Annie Sloan!

ppl-festival-booth This is the culmination of months of work. After the show was over, I was the most tired I have ever been. It took me two weeks to feel rested again. Would I do it again? Absolutely!

me-and-annie-sloan-3                                                                  Me and Annie Sloan!

 

Furniture Refinishing and Room Transformations!

I purchased this table for $5. I saw it and knew I needed to save it!

My old outdated bedroom dresser updated.

Old Music Sheet Cabinet turned into a bar.

Foot locker reimagined.

 

Room Makeovers

Master bedroom redo.

Hallway refresh.

 

 

Gardening!garden-1                                          peony-chair-1

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Holiday Decorating!

 

Tablescapes!

These are just a few of the things I shared with you last year. I love what I do and am honored to have people come back weekly to see what I am up to! I will continue to share my adventures, new ideas, successes and missteps with you. Lets continue this ride… next stop 100!

$20 French Chairs and Fabric choices!

Fabric to me has always been a great way to express myself. It is a way to push your comfort zone by bringing in a pop of color or bold pattern. By using a mostly neutral background (wall color and furniture) fabric can make a statement while simultaneously tying it all together. Fabric is the icing on the cake. It can take an okay room and make it spectacular! That’s not to say I have not made mistakes in the past. Through my missteps, I learned two ways to find the perfect fabric. One is to order fabric samples and the other is to expand your fabric choices. Samples are a must in finding the right fabric. The reason is simply, what you see, is not always what you get. I have ordered fabric and been disappointed in the pattern, color or texture of the material. After this happened a couple of times I decided to take the time to order samples. What a revelation! It was like night and day. Some fabric that I thought would be amazing, turned out to be just so-so, and other fabric I thought would be so-so, turned out to be fabulous. This actually happened recently. I ordered a sample thinking it would be nice for accent pillows. When I received it, I was blown away with how beautiful it was. The colors, pattern and texture needed to be featured in some way. Instead of pillows I will be using this fabric for roman shades in the new kitchen addition. If I had not ordered a sample, I would have missed out. The other way to find fabulous fabric is to expand your choices. I love Joann Fabrics as much as the next person, but their fabric choices are limited. I started exploring online options. I was pleasantly surprised by the vast amount of sources available. This did pose another problem though. There were so many to choose from! I have to confess this part took some time. I learned so much about fabric though. I was introduced to many patterns I was not familiar with and now, they are some of my favorites. Ogee, Shibori, Suzani, Quatrefoil and Ikat to name a few. Where to start? First do not stress! Take some time with a cup coffee or glass of wine depending on what part of the day it is. Have fun with it! I usually begin by doing a general search using the color and use of the fabric (drapery, upholstery etc.). By doing a general search, you will get a large selection of fabrics. At this point, take a sip of coffee or wine and start scrolling. This is where you explore the different patterns available. Once you find a pattern you like, redo the general search using this specific pattern and color. There will again be a lot of choices. I usually pick out several fabrics and go to the website and order samples. Some of the online sites I have had a lot of success with are, Fabric Guru, House of Fabric, Decorators Best, Etsy, and of course Joann Fabrics. I also keep all my samples. The fabric may not be useful for todays project, but maybe in the future. It can also keep you from ordering the same sample again! Oops!

This is the fabric I chose for the roman shades. it is gorgeous!

I found eight French chairs. This is how the chair frame looked before the refinishing began.
This is how it is looking now after stripping and sanding.

I pulled some images off the internet of ways I am considering upholstering the dining chairs. At this point I have not begun my search for fabric. I am just exploring French chairs and the different ways they have been upholstered.

This chair from Pier One is covered in a solid Indigo fabric. I really like the way the fabric looks with the light wood, which is similar to mine.
Miss Mustard Seed https://missmustardseed.com/blog/ one of my favorite Blogs, upholstered the chair with one fabric on the front and a different pattern on the back.
I am showing this one because it is the same finish I will be attempting on my chairs.
Lastly, the colors are not what I would use, but I like the playfulness of it!

I am definitely narrowing down the direction I will be taking. Soon the search for fabric begins!

Addition progress, it beginning to take shape!

The Excavator has arrived!

The Excavator has arrived!

After six months of waiting, ground has finally been broken! Who knew having a big hole in your backyard could be so exciting! There is no going back now! I have to say my poor husband handled the tearing up of his beautifully manicured lawn very well. I think maybe all of us are a little in awe of big machines tearing stuff up! We watched from the kitchen window, as Glen from ( Glen Amesbury & son) handled the excavator. He was so precise and squared the corners perfectly. Glen has definitely done this before! It took just a day and a half to dig out the area. Big trucks hauled all the dirt away. Again, very cool to watch! On Friday, two men came to set up the wood forms for pouring concrete for the foundation. I have no idea what that means. I am just repeating what they said. The rain kept them from finishing. They should be back on Mondayto complete it and concrete will be poured on Tuesday!

Glen heading to the backyard!
There goes the lawn!
That night, the two bunnies that frequent our yard came by. They were like… What!

It took eight truck loads to remove all the dirt.
After all the dirt was removed, they started assembling the wood form to pour concrete.
This is a view from the back. It definitely helps with envisioning the space. Next week, concrete will be poured and who knows what else!

French dining chairs painstaking revival!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Weekend! We remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we have today. We are very thankful for their service!

Guess what did not happen this past week? Ground was not broken on the new addition. Not all of the dig approvals were received. In case you do not know what that means (like me), it is the okay from gas, electric and cable to dig in that area. They will start on Tuesday! C’est la vie.

I had plenty to keep me busy, as in eight French chairs to refinish!

IMG_6860 (3)                                            The $20 dollar chairs themselves!

I began stripping them using all of my favorite tools. Klean Strip stripper and odorless mineral spirits along with steel wool and a small wire brush.

IMG_6902                                        Look what was hiding under that dark finish.

IMG_6898      The intricate detailing took a long time. I used a tooth brush to get into the crevices.

IMG_6896                    After it dried, I used a pointed stick to dig out the leftover residue.

IMG_6927 (2)                                  After all the dark stain was removed, it was ready for sanding.

IMG_6892                               Because of all the little niches I had to hand sand it.

IMG_6917  I carefully sanded and used my hand to feel where the rough spots were. It was truly a Zen moment for me!

IMG_6925 (2)   The three stages: 1st)Removing upholstery 2nd) Stripping off stain 3rd) Sanding smooth.

IMG_6929IMG_6930IMG_6931

IMG_6928 (2) After I get this far with each chair, I will put it aside until all eight are done. Then I will decide on what finish I will use. I am thinking maybe some kind of lime washed look?

New construction site and deal of the day!

For the past six months or so we have been in the planning stages of doing an addition to our house. The reason we need to add on is so my mother-in-law can come live with us. I know some of you are thinking this, so yes it is a good thing. I adore my mother-in-law! The plans had been approved and we were waiting for construction to begin when the Coronavirus struck and everything was shut down. We all understood and had no problem putting everything on the back burner until it was safe to start.

As of Friday however, New York State has had a partial reopening. This includes construction, manufacturing and some retail stores. Our contractor let us know that he could start breaking ground on Monday. If everything works out, the project will take about four months. In order to add on the space for my mother-in-law on the first floor, we will need to also bump out our kitchen to connect the new space with the existing house. Another consideration for us was to create space for our washer and dryer on the first floor so my mother-in-law will have access to it also. Most importantly, we need to build in all of the things that will make my mother-in-law’s new space feel like home for her. Lots of moving parts and pieces to say the least.

Over the next few months I will be sharing the transformation of our home. In preparation, I have been transferring plants to the back of our yard to protect them during construction. I have moved six bushes, three hydrangeas and two rose of Sharon plants. Whew!

I do want to share with you my deal of the day! I have been checking Craigslist every week or so for years in hopes of finding French style dining chairs. It started when I actually found four French chairs and purchased them. Ever since I have been on the lookout. When I say years, I mean years. Probably 10  years but who’s counting? They are hard to come by. As I found out, I am not the only one looking for them.

Last week, I was checking again and there was an add for eight French dining chairs. It only showed one, an arm chair, and that seemed like it was in great condition. And they were still available! The seller and I discussed social distancing, and we agreed that she would put the chairs in garage, and open door when we arrived. She wore a mask and so did I. When I got there and saw the chairs, I was so excited. They were in great condition, except some of them needed new caning. The chairs themselves were solid and well built. I asked the price and she said twenty dollars. I thought she meant twenty dollars for each chair, which would still have been a great deal. But, she was only asking twenty dollars for all eight chairs. She said they needed repair and she already had a new dining set. I took them and if I say I was beyond excited, that is an understatement!

IMG_6860 (2) Here are the chairs. They need work, but they are beautiful! There are only seven in the picture because I started to work on one already.

IMG_6881 My tools for taking off upholstery. This job is on par with painting the ceiling as one of my least favorite jobs to do!

IMG_6876                                                 Look at all those staples to be pulled!

IMG_6878 (2)                  The beauty of the chair, and the results at the end will keep me going.

The next weeks and months are going to be so overwhelming, exciting and unbelievable. I can not wait to share the step by step progress with all of you along the way!

Master Bedroom Reveal!

I think a lot of people are guilty of redoing every room in the house, except their master bedroom. It is only natural to want the part of the house that people see to look good. The problem with that is you have to see the master bedroom every night. We have lived in our house for twenty five years, so that is a lot of nights. I am not going to say I hated our bedroom, but it has never been a tranquil place for me. Before we were married, we were given bedroom furniture that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Don’t get me wrong, we were extremely grateful at the time. The furniture was in great shape and very good quality, but it just wasn’t our taste. The other problem in the room, is the king bed. It is super comfortable, but it is also too big for the room. With the furniture not being our taste and no room to move, you can understand why it is not my favorite place. The push that finally gave me a glimmer of hope was the time I moved the bed. My husband was away for business, and that is when I usually try things. It is not that he prevents me from trying new things or doesn’t lend a hand. The issue at times is his analytical mind (which I love). His mind doesn’t understand moving things just to see how they look. He questions the move, I explain my reasoning and then it takes longer than it would if we had just moved it. So when he was away, I decided to move the bed to another wall. To my surprise it made the room seem more spacious. It was great except there was only one window on that wall and the room seemed unbalanced. My mind started working right away on how to solve this problem. The first thing that came to mind was somehow creating a faux window. So that is exactly what I did and the rest morphed from there! I hope you like the final result. It has taken months to accomplish and I am so excited to share it with you! I will start with a recap of the transformation…

faux 5                                      Starts with the frame for the faux window.

IMG_5797 (2)                                   Finding gorgeous fabric to make roman shades.

IMG_6099 (2)                                          Dying existing drapery to go with shades.

 

Refinishing bedroom furniture.

IMG_6506 (2)                                                           Upcycling old lamps.

IMG_6759 (2)                                                        And, here it is…the final result!

IMG_6758 (2)              You don’t know how exciting it is to have a headboard and night table!!

master 7   I love these lampshades from Ballard Design. They bring in the texture I was looking for.

master 11                             The furniture makeover was the icing on the cake.

master 13        This print is of a painting by Mary Cassett. She is my absolute favorite artist.

IMG_6742                     Those of you that have been following remember “the beast”.

master 15 (2) I purchased this picture a long time ago. It evoked a feeling of calm and tranquility.   Everything I was looking for in a master bedroom.  Mission accomplished!

There are still a couple more things to do. Add crown molding, refinish floor and put up a ceiling fixture. But with the situation right now, those will have to wait. In the meantime I will be looking forward to going to bed every night!

A little of this and a little of that!

I was planning to reveal the master bedroom makeover this week. Unfortunately, everything I needed to complete the look did not come. There was a delay in shipping and it will not arrive until next week. In the meantime, I will share some other projects I completed or am in the midst of doing. The first thing I tackled was a bench in the backyard. It had definitely seen better days and needed some TLC! I also began work on one of the antique doors I purchased a few months ago.

IMG_6631           This is the bench I was talking about. It has been in the backyard for a long time.

IMG_6632                         I decided to spray it with some leftover blue paint but I was not feeling it!

IMG_6636                                           Maybe a good cleaning with a wire brush would help.

IMG_6635                                                          Starting to look better!

IMG_6644 (2)              After all of the guck was removed, I turned my attention to the bright blue color.

IMG_6638 (2)             I used Klean Strip Mineral Spirits and steel wool to try and tone it down.

IMG_6641 It not only toned down the blue paint, it also exposed other layers of paint and rust, giving it a beautiful aged look!

IMG_6643                      That is what I’m talking about! Look at those delicious layers!

IMG_6648 (2)                             “Voila”, she is ready for a new life! Now where to put her!

I often wonder what my neighbors think of me. I dragged ( literally, it weighs a ton) this bench all around the house stopping to try it in different places. Stepping back, walking around, then moving to another space and repeating the process. Maybe, I do not really want to know what they think! Yikes!

IMG_6666                                   After all that, she found a spot in my front garden.

IMG_6663 (2)                   When the flowers start to grow around her it will look amazing!

doors This is one of the doors I purchased off of Craigslist. This particular door I have earmarked for my pantry, if all goes well!

IMG_6356                                           I started by scaping it with a putty knife.

IMG_6358                                       It was incredible how easily the paint came off.

IMG_6365 After scraping the entire door. This is what was left. I am not going to lie I was freaking excited! It was perfectly aged with a whitewash look. I was in love!

IMG_6367 Then I flipped it over…not so easy. I applied stripper and ran into layers and layers of paint. It became more and more difficult to remove the paint. Sander here we come!

door sand                                                     This is after an hour of sanding!

sand door 1                            You can see the layers of paint. I kind of like the blue-gray.

IMG_6667 (2)

Viola! The completed door. It took about five hours of sanding over two days. It was so worth it!

These are some examples of finishes that I am thinking of for the pantry door. The first is a light stain with polyurethane. The second door is done with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Duck Egg Blue or Provence) and clear and dark wax. The last is a whitewashed look. It is going to be tough to decide. I like them all