A bunch o’ kitchen and breakfast nook updates

So, remember how one small thing can lead to a bunch of other changes without even trying??

Allow me to introduce you to one two small things…

Yeeeeaaaahhhhh…. I decided that there was no way to get a decent close-up shot without being in the mirror’s reflection (or getting my tripod which seemed like entirely too much work at the time).  So, I chose to maximize the opportunity with a cheesy thumbs up victory pose.   I’ll bet you’re thanking your lucky stars to be reading this right now, aren’t ya?? ;)

Anyways, I had a total score of a trip to my local thrift shop.  It was one of those magical trips where I found these things immediately, paid, and left all within about 5 minutes.    And these items would be a sweet ceramic planter that I got for $4.50 and a vintage shoe mirror which I scored for $8.   Honestly, I had no idea what to do with the shoe mirror when I purchased it, but I thought it was awesome so I had to adopt it.

Once I got them home, I simply washed the planter, and shined up the shoe mirror with a bit of Restore-A-Finish and Feed n Wax.   I dropped a plant I already had into the planter and stuck both items into the corner of our breakfast nook…

Which I loved, but unfortunately, the planter TOTALLY clashed with my bird chairs.   Which were last seen here…

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv35;-2-nu=3396-6-9--78-WSNRCG=363-458-95346nu0mrj

FYI: That orchid has since bit the Big One.

Back when I refinished our Craigslist kitchen table, I mentioned that the chairs needed to go.  They just didn’t mesh with the table and were too busy for the space.   I REALLY wanted to purchase new chairs since these are getting pretty worn (I originally purchased them for $8 from Craigslist and then refinished them), but with the unexpected expense of fixing our rotting wall, that option was (and still is) delayed.   So, my pretty blue and white planter was really the straw that got the motivation flowing as far as making cheap changes.  Or something like that.   ;)

I knew that I had some leftover sagey grey fabric laying around, and while it wouldn’t have necessarily been my first choice for this space, it was free and neutral…

Which meant that it definitely had a leg up on the bird fabric.   So, I got going on recovering the seats.  I won’t go through a detailed tutorial on seat recovering since I posted one back when I initially recovered my bird chairs.  But, if you want more precise information on this process, check out that post.  I will say this, though.   I generally consider myself to be in okay shape.  I try to work out regularly and really enjoy it for the most part.   But recovering seats makes me feel like I’m getting a full-on workout.  Every.Time.Not.Joking.   I was literally sweating and breathing hard as I was completing this project.  Something about the strength needed to wield a staple gun while pulling fabric taut is just too much for me for some reason.  So, I’ve found that the easiest way to get ‘er done is like this…

Now, if I weren’t holding a camera with my opposite hand, I would’ve been pulling the fabric tightly directly in front of the staple gun. So, imagine that.   Basically, you wanna rest the top of the staple gun on your surface, and the bottom of the staple gun on the floor and then use your body weight to compress the staple gun rather than your grip.  This should work as long as your surface is relatively flat to the ground.   It becomes worlds easier.  Trust me.  Now granted, this requires you to rotate your surface much more frequently (or move around your object if it’s larger), but it’s worth it in the end.

Once the seats were recovered, I made a point to Scotchguard them.   Since this is a solid-colored fabric, stains will be much more apparent, so I felt that this was important in making the seats last more attractively until we purchase our new chairs.

As a refresher, remember when we first moved in??

Breakfast nook

And now our breakfast nook looks like this…

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv35985-nu=3396-6-9--78-WSNRCG=364738;6;;346nu0mrj

And our chairs no longer clash with my new planter…

I’m really pleased with how the space is starting to come together.   It definitely feels more grown-up since I recovered the chairs.  Now I’m REALLY excited to replace them.  In the meantime, though, they’ll do.  :)

My plan with the shoe mirror is actually to use it as a dry erase board for messages.   I just need to get some decent dry erase markers that show up better.   You can barely see the ones that we have currently.

Eventually, I’ll add something to the other side of the French doors to balance out the space, but I’m not sure what yet.   Functionality-wise one of the most welcome additions to the nook is this striped runner by the door…

I found it at Target and love the pop of pattern it adds.  Plus, it goes a long way to preventing dirt and wet feet from muddying up the kitchen.  My goal was to find a dirt-colored rug that was still cute.  Mission accomplished.

Now, since we’re in the kitchen anyways, how about an update on the other side of the room??   Now, let me preface this by saying that I realize that a dressed-up turd is still a turd.  And well, our kitchen right now is definitely a turd (what with its mismatched appliances, nose-cabinets adorned with chipping/drip-ridden paint, chipped Formica countertops, etc.).   But, I figure that I may as well style it cutely to better to help us live with it until the renovation starts (which will hopefully be late summer/early fall depending on when we find decent reasonably-prices appliances).

Just as a reminder, last I showed you, the kitchen looked like this…

And this is the current status…

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3833;-nu=3396-6-9--78-WSNRCG=3647475578346nu0mrj

Minor changes, but they all work much better in the space and seem less cluttered than before.   I’m constantly changing things around in here.  Even as I was taking these pictures, I was altering things actually.  So, now for a few countertop cameos.   First, our coffee area (and yup! This picture prompted me to refill the sugar)…

Next…  Anybody remember Larry the Table Guy??  He was my very first project on the blog almost 2 years ago…

Aaaand… Just like in our last house, chunky cutting boards are a mainstay on the countertop (and see how the teapot is tilting???  Our stove is dangerously uneven.  One more reason why it needs to go.)…

Then, I added a stack of coffee cups opposite the coffee bar for easy access.  Plus, I think it looks kinda cool (and you can catch a small glimpse of our dining room in this shot)…

And one more shot.  Simply because Lucas gifted me the rock….

Right now, I’m okay with this space (sortof), but I’m not gonna lie… I cannot wait to get started on this baby.  It has so much potential that it isn’t living up to right now.   I’ll have a planning post on what we’re thinking soon.  But until then, that’s what I got!

So have any of y’all had small changes that add up to many more?  Kind of like a snowball effect??

“I’ve got nice legs.” – Our Nightstand

You guys.  I painted furniture.   And I’m here to admit.  It felt good.  Reeealllyyyyy. Good.

Ever since we moved into our house, we’ve been mainly focused on larger projects.  Taking care of major surfaces.   Correcting wrongs that needed to be righted.  Floors.   Walls.   Windows.  Front doors.   Pool resurfacing.  Rotted wall fixing.  Roof repair.  Basically, trying to set the stage so that we CAN decorate and do it right.  I mean, sure, some decor has crept in there, but it just hasn’t been the main focus yet in the way it was with our last house.  A new construction with no major issues… Thus, decor was really the ONLY focus then.   I feel like we’re getting slowly there, though.   Slowly.   And happily.   :)

But… BUT… I painted furniture, y’all.

I feel like it’s been forever since I did that.

And it didn’t disappoint.

Ya see, I hit up a local antique mall last weekend and found this beaut of a nightstand…
IMG_3999

I’m sorry about this picture.  Somehow in my excitement to make over this badboy, this was the ONLY sad ‘before’ pic that I took.   Oopsie.   As you can see, I thought he would work well in the guest room to replace his dumpier predecessor.  His leggy profile made the space feel lighter which was totally my goal.

I have to say that I was so excited when I found him.   The antique mall that I purchased him from tends to be a bit  of a pricier one, but I thought I’d check it out anyways since it was close to home.   So, when I stumbled upon this little guy and a glance at his price tag revealed that he was only $29 (!!!), I pretty much sprinted to the cashier.   He was in need of some love, but sturdy.  A perfect find for me.

Now, when it comes to wood, many of you may know that I’m usually a purist.  Especially with antique furniture.  I like keeping wood-toned things wood to be true to the piece.  That is, unless the finish is damaged beyond repair or super ugly.   And in this case, the finish was uber fugly.  For real.    I’m sorry.  It just was.  The lines of the nightstand were retro.  The finish… dated.   It’s hard to tell from my blurry before picture, but it was a red mahogany tone.  But not good mahogany.  Fake, bright red mahogany.  And really, really glossy.  But, damaged in spots also.  Some scratches and chips. Wrinkling in the finish.  The whole chebang.  And it clashed with… well, pretty much every other wood tone I have in the house.

So, I decided to paint it. (Gasp! I KNOW!!!)

I gave it a light sanding with a fine grade sanding block, then wiped it down with some liquid deglosser to ensure a nice dull surface that would better accept paint…

I wiped it down with tack cloth (which decided to photobomb in the right-hand corner).  You’re welcome for that. ;)

Then, I gave it two thin and even coats of Valspar’s paint+primer semi-gloss in Ebony Field (leftover from when I painted the back door in our last house).

I sanded lightly with an extra fine sanding block between coats and wiped it down again with my BFF, tack cloth.  And then I let it cure for a few days before moving it.

Now, let’s move on to the brass accents and hardware.   I sort of worked on them throughout the process, so you’ll see some pics from before and after painting the table.  The knobs weren’t in the greatest shape…

That wasn’t just tarnish.   The brass coating seemed to have worn away with time.  Because of this, I doubted that I could rejuvenate them as is.  I wanted them to sort-of match the leg accents, although I knew it wouldn’t likely be a perfect match.  First, I tried spray painting them with some leftover Rustoleum Universal in Pure Gold…

But, the results when compared to the leg accents looked really plastic-y…

Not exactly what I was going for.

So, I decided to try a new product.   I’d read about Rub n’ Buff on several blogs and was intrigued.  Apparently, you simply rub it on to achieve a metallic sheen.  So, I ordered a tube on Amazon for just under $7…

The directions recommended rubbing a small amount onto your surface with a finger or a soft cloth.   So, I started with the legs.

Which is when I started talking to myself.

Which despite popular belief, means only good things.

“Holy WOW!!!”,

“Geez!  This stuff is amazeballs!”,

“Where have you been all my life??”.

All *may* have escaped my lips as I astoundedly rubbed the magical solution on.   This beautiful stuff covered imperfections almost instantaneously with just a tiny amount and gave a gorgeous metallic sheen that I’ve yet to find with paint.

Here’s a before…

And after…

I probably should’ve taped off the leg, but it’s nothing a little touch-up paint couldn’t cure.    That brass piece literally took me all of 15 seconds to do.   I completed all four legs and then treated the knobs as seen in this “after” shot…

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3937;-nu=3396-6-9--78-WSNRCG=36473894-5346nu0mrj

Metallic and lovely.

And what do ya know…. They ended up matching perfectly after all.  The knobs look a bit “rosy” here, but in person they’re definitely more of a gold.  I can’t attest to how well Rub n’ Buff wears, but I’ll keep y’all updated.  In any case, it was such a quick fix, that I’m sure I can handle re-treating the metal accents as needed.

And here’s the table in it’s entirety…

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3433;-nu=3396-6-9--78-WSNRCG=36473894;2346nu0mrj

I chose to simply accessorize with a cute lamp (found at Marshall’s a while back), some books, a shot of me and Lucas when he was only 18 hours old, and one of my easy mirrored planters (which are still rockin’ it, BTW).  This guy was in our bedroom atrium and wasn’t getting adequate light, so I moved him.  I’ll have an atrium update soon since I’ve been an accessorizing fool as of late.   Actually, I’ll have a lot of updates soon.  I’ve been a busy bee this weekend.  ;)

Anyhoo, back to the point.  Here’s a view of the room from the doorway as it stands now…
IMG_9741

So, that’s my little painting project this week.   Like I said, I’ve got more in store including a few breakfast nook, living room and atrium updates as well as the results of moving our fence.  Joey and his dad are hard at it out there and it’s looking awesome.   So, have a great rest of your weekend!  Until next time…