Night Table Upcycle

How I upcycled these FREE Kijiji finds…

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When I see furniture on Kijiji with “free” in the price field, I have to admit, I’m sceptical. But these night stands turned out to be an amazing upcycle. See my post, How to Find the Best Kijiji Deals for my top three tips!

To give these nightstands a refresh I started by removing the old hardware and giving them a light sanding with 220 grit paper. The wood is a composite so I was only sanding to rough the surface and even out any minor blemishes.

I wanted to add some more interest and also raise the night stands off the floor so I bought inexpensive legs from Home Depot (about $2.50 each).

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I drilled holes into the bottom and screwed the legs into place.

 

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I primed both night stands with Benjamin Moore Advance and let it cure over night. I used Benjamin Moore Grey Owl Advance for the top coat (I applied two coats). After it was dry, I replaced the old hardware with brand new knobs.

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These tired, old night stands have new life!

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Faux Barn Beam DIY Mantel

My sister and her husband moved into a beautiful new house, with the perfect amount of projects! I’ve been busy the last couple months with some amazing DIYs. I’m so excited to share what I’ve been up to!

Their family room has a beautiful brick fireplace, already painted out by the previous owners, but the mantel was pretty underwhelming. The proportion was also off and the mantel seemed to sit a little high.

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I wanted to accomplish two things, bring the height of the mantel down visually (without moving the existing brackets) and bring the wow factor!

What would do the job better than an oversized rustic floating beam!?

I decided to create a faux beam that would fit over the existing brackets and be held in place with just a couple of screws – much easier than a real beam!

First, I took my measurements. I needed the hollow space of the faux beam to fit over the existing brackets. The brackets were 6 ½” in depth and 5 ½” in height. I cut the length of my beam boards to the same length as the existing mantel.

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Each beam board was 7” x 62” x ¾”

I brought a very rough sketch to my local hardware store and they doubled checked my measurement before making the cuts for me. Home Depot is also great at helping with projects like this!

I also cut two pieces for the ends. The depth at 7” and the height at 5 ½” (7” minus the thickness of two boards – 1 ½”)

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Assembly time!

I used wood glue and nails and had lots of assistance holding everything in place when the nails went in. A few sets of hands makes it easier to line all the edges up.

While the glue was drying I watched a couple of Youtube videos on distressing wood and gathered my tools!

Then I went for it!

(The tools and techniques recommended in the YouTube video worked really well!)

I gave the entire beam a good sanding with 220 grit then removed all the dust with a damp rag.

I used Minwax Golden Oak for the stain and applied two coats. Be very liberal with the stain so it’s able to get into the distressing marks and wipe excess off after 5-10 minutes.

To keep the wood looking natural, I sealed it with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax.

The faux beam fit perfectly over the brackets and I secured it in place with a couple of screws.

Although the top of the mantel is technically the same height as before, it’s visually lowered and definitely brings the wow factor the room needed!

Faux Barn Beam

DIY Monogram Pillow

Since decorating is kinda my thing, I wanted to live up to my reputation and get super cute Christmas gifts this year. I had my heart set on monogram pillows for my sister Beth and her boyfriend but after a few internet searches I realized they were out of my budget.

Solution? Make them myself, of course, for about $20 a pillow!

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First stop: Ikea

I bought two GURLI cushion covers and in white for $4.99 each (they come in a few colours).

I got my pillow inserts at Pottery Barn with a discount but you can get them at Ikea for $8.00 each.20161209_145033

Next: Michaels

My fabric paint is called Tulip from Michaels (they almost always have 40% off coupons so check out their site before you go). The cost was around $7.00 with the coupon.

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Before starting, I gave the cushion covers a quick iron and put cardboard inside. This prevents the paint from bleeding through and provides a smooth painting surface.

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I searched “monogram stencil” in google for inspiration and then free-handed my stencil. I traced a plate to start and sketched out the initials until I was happy with how they looked.

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I cut out each letter with my X-Acto knife and traced the outline in pencil onto my cushion covers. Pay attention to where the cushion zipper is, it’s best at the bottom.

I filled in each letter with fabric paint, staring with an outline. I did two coats, letting it dry in between.

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Warning: lots of patients / touch ups may be required! It’s difficult to get a straight edge along the outline and there is always a risk of smudging! Slow and steady wins this race!

I let it dry overnight, then erased any visible pencil marks wth a clean eraser.

This is the super cute gift I was looking for  – at a super affordable price!!!

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Let me know your thoughts!

 

 

3 Key DIY Art Secrets

1.       Don’t be Original

I consider myself a fairly creative person but I struggle to paint on a whim. I save tons of ideas to Pinterest and always start a painting with an image in front of me. The key however, is not trying to replicate it; you will drive yourself crazy! At a certain point let your own instincts kick in and see where it takes you.

2.       Be Cheap!

Spending a lot on supplies can add pressure. When you feel like you only have one shot to get it right, you probably won’t.  I buy my supplies from the dollar store as much as possible. This also allows me to change it up as much as I want without feeling guilty.

3.       Stage Your Work

If you’re worried about your DIY art looking…well, like DIY art, the trick is to stage it properly. Spend a little more on a nice, timeless frame. Huge white matting makes everything look like it belongs in a gallery. But it’s also okay to embrace the DIY look and take full credit for your work! I think it always makes a space fun and stylish.

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And of course, have fun!!!

Bathroom Vanity Upcycle

Finally! A chance to upgrade dated cabinets! I’ve been waiting for a good bathroom DIY upcycle for awhile!

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The product I used can be applied directly over existing stain to darken it, but because I was trying to take a bleached oak to a grey – it wasn’t that straight forward.

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First, I removed the cabinet doors and hardware to give them a light sanding with a fine 200 grit paper.

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I worked on the inside of the doors before the front to allow for some trial and error (turns out this was a good call!)

After a couple coats (I followed the dry time on the can) I wasn’t getting the exact colour I wanted but I loved the distressed look the bleached oak was creating when it peaked through the stain.

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To deepen the grey, I bought a dark brown stain called Coffee, and topped off my can of grey stain. After two more coats on the back, the colour was right and I was ready to work on the front.

I lightly sanded between coats and fully embraced the distressed look. I applied four coats in total (on each side) and sanded one last time until I was happy with the distressing and gloss.

I spray painted the hardware a blend of copper and bronze (I may replace in the future but I’m happy for now).

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Next, I worked on the vanity frame. It appeared to be a vinyl veneer so I decided not to use the stain but instead match the stain colour with a solid paint. I cleaned it well and gave it a light sanding to help the paint stick.

TIP: Leave as much drying time as possible between the first and second coat, this allows the paint to cure and reduces the chance of chipping. I left three days between coats.

Not much of the frame is visible and once I rehung the finished doors it blended seamlessly!

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A few more projects complete the look (see my how to post on the DIY industrial light fixture and a how to post for the bathroom mirror frame is coming soon)

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Salvaged Kitchen Cruiser Bar

DIY upcycled kitchen cart

My favorite kind of DIY project is a free one! It’s especially awesome when a project gives new life to things that would otherwise be headed for the dump. This project is one of my favorites because I salvaged everything I used.

To build this charming shabby chic kitchen bar all I had to do was collect 3 items from the trash.

  1. Scrap wood (mine is from the discarded wood pile at a job site)
  2. An old crate (an emptied wine case that was gifted)
  3. Shutters (spotted these behind an apartment complex)

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First, I washed and lightly sanded the shutters and chose to keep the current paint – the distressed look was already perfect! Then I stained the crate to match the shutters.

I scrubbed, sanded, stained and sealed my scrap wood. It was already cut to the perfect size (this project was meant to be!)

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Then it was a matter of using a few screws and a couple more pieces of scrap wood to assemble the cruiser bar.

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I love the look but I am even more excited that I saved a few great finds from the trash!

Let me know your thoughts!

Easy Refinishing Cheat – Dresser Makeover

In need of a more functional night table with tons of storage, I decided to give new life to an old and overlooked dresser buried in the garage.

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This dresser was already primed (a forgotten project from the past) so all it needed was a fresh coat of paint and a hardware update, but I wanted to add some additional visual interest.

My plan was to strip the dresser’s top and stain the raw wood but I quickly discovered that the dresser was veneered and there was too much damage to salvage it.

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Really set on a stained wood top, I bought a piece of 1′ craft pine at Home Depot and had them cut it to the correct measurements to fit over the existing top.

I gave it a good sanding and finished with two coats of stain and two coats of sealer.

I used wood glue to adhere it onto the dresser and the result was the paint/stain contrast I envisioned.

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Please leave questions or comments below!

 

3 Easy Steps to Organize Anything!

Blog Photo Organization Post

Interior decorating doesn’t have to be about big spending. I love to look around a space and be reminded of people I love and places I’ve been. But to allow the things you love to shine, organization is key. Keeping clutter to a minimum and out of view can be easier than you think.

I recently helped redecorate a small condo. In such a small space, organization and storage is crucial!

Here is how I created this…

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From this…
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My tried and true 3 step method!

Step One: GROUPING 

I started tackling the bookcase by creating groups or categories; travel, sports, work documents, office supplies…etc. The categories became obvious as I went and almost everything could be placed with at least three other items that were “similar”.

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One category in this case was sports equipment 

Step Two: PURGING 

Once you’ve grouped it’s easy to see duplicates and excess. There was a lot of dated paperwork that needed to be tossed and duplicated office supplies. Who really needs three staplers?

This is also the time to think start thinking about what should be easily accessible and what can be put away in storage (like travel gear you use once a year).

Step Three: FIND A HOME

Baskets, bins and file folders are my best friend! Grouped items were placed in baskets for storage and paperwork was filed away.  It was also time to upgrade some of the furniture for more functional pieces. I found a new coffee table with storage, replaced the bookcase with a hutch I found on Kijiji for $100 and bought a lift bed from IKEA with storage for larger items such as golf clubs and luggage.

 

The hutch was a $100 Kijiji find I painted – a much more attractive and functional storage option

  A new coffee table added some rustic charm and much needed storage for sports equipment 

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The wall shelf created a little extra storage and big design impact (the brackets are plumbing pieces bought at Lowes and the wood was pulled from a dumpster, sanded and stained)