Roadkill Desk

So my dad used to call my boyfriend in high school Roadkill bc he rode a bike and my dad drove an SUV. My dad loved to traumatize me as a child. Anyway, this post has nothing to do with that. Its actual road kill. Not really but kind of. Last week i was cruisin around a neighborhood down town to meet a friend and i slammed on the brakes because i saw this baby on the side of the road:

Free. Solid wood. Adorbs yellow. And freakin dirty. I HAD to have it. And no, i didn’t take the tv.

So i threw it in the back of my car. By myself. BAM.

Yes, i know… i even impressed myself. I really enjoyed meeting up with Kenny later and saying “BTW, i might have a very large piece of furniture in the back of my car.” I dont know why things like this suprise him anymore…

Can i take a moment to just tell you how much I love my car (Scion TC)? Seriously, who else with a two door vroom-vroom car can fit a 7 drawer desk into their car? By themselves? This girl can. Go buy one.

Anyway, back on topic – so where on earth am i going to fit my brand new dirty but cute desk? Especially in our tiny one bedroom already full of furniture apartment. Honestly who cares? I’ll make it fit or give it to a friend to hang on to. Because when you’re in between apartments and a house – you need all the furniture you can get! Especially the free kind. So i brought her home in search of a good spot. Here she is in the hall. Just look at her dirty self…

So after shimmying things around the apartment, i found a good spot for her right around the corner. And then cleaned the sh*! out of her. Eww. Lets just say it was a bad idea to use paper towel… almost went through a whole roll.  And then… voila!

From roadkill to adorable! Yes, she is in need of new knobs, and yes, she has one really wonky odly placed knob… yes shes still dirty and beat up, but nothing some good TLC wont fix. I’ll keep yall updated with what i decide to do. Step one: get her some pretty (anthro?) pulls… or DIY? who knows?!

Have you found any good roadkill lately? Or bad roadkill? Ok, dont share about that last one if you did…

Till next time!

-Rach

ATX Digs

I love finding really fun and unique homes. I love it even more when they are from my hometown, Austin, Texas! The McCarthys were only in this home for SEVEN months before they almost completely transformed this house. Every room has quirky prints, bright colors and unique design. To see the original article on Design*Sponge and more pictures, click here. Read Bailey’s blog, Peppermint Bliss for design tips. All photography by the lovely Paige Newton Photography!

Image above: who wouldn’t love sailboat wall paper and quatrefoil tile?! I know i would…

A lot of furniture is from estate sales, hand me downs or from her old own in Chicago.

Ok seriously, does this chick love to take chances with fun wallpaper or what?!

I love this kitchen and the two part door… modern feel with older touches. Love it!

This picture definitely tells me these are Austinites. Who else would have longhorns above a guest bed? Hook em Horns!!

Yup, more fun wall paper!

This one would definitely be my husbands favorite part of the house. Freaking awesome shower. I love the unique look of it thats its almost window panes.

So many elements of this house I’m drooling over! Found any cool houses lately?

Have a good weekend!

-Rachel

Feather Your Nest

There are SO many amazing shops in Austin that i never go to but need to. Like Feather your nest.  Its right off of 35th and Jefferson in a busy shopping center. I’ve drivin by this shop maybe 100 times but never went in. So this time i did.

Right when you walk in you get a hit-you-in-the-face amazing whiff of soaps, candles and other yummy scents.

They had about 15 different unique, funky chandeliers made out of awesomeness.

Adored this mirrored antique tray.. but at over 300 bones, its a bit out of my broke ass budget. Yup, i said it.

I definitely had to resist the urge to jump on the oh so cozy beds, but all the 50 signs telling me not to made me think twice. They had so many soft, patterned linens and pillows, i was in heaven.

These suckers were maybe my favorite things in the store. They just remind me of the ocean… like something you’d find in a vibrant reef. Just me? I guess they could also look like a medieval torture device. I’d prefer to think of the ocean though. Especially if they were hanging next to my bed.

It was very hard not to take a few of these babies home. Check it… handmade vibrant frames from India.

I LOVE this front orange and blue one… i need it.

They also had some of the best smelling bath goodies ever. Every bar of soap was amazing.

And heres my final thoughts on Feather Your Nest:

Great quality goods priced a bit high. If you’ve got the budget for it, go crazy. If not, you can definitely pick up some yummy scents or fun accessories!

-Rach

DIY Vintage Trunk / Filing Cabinet

If you read my last post, you know that i hate filing cabinets and also that i decided to turn this vintage trunk into a filing cabinet and coffee table.

Step one was to wrap the leather handles. I waited until after i was done to decide what to do with those…

Here is what i used:

  • Paint – Olympic All in one paint + primer in semi gloss
  • Minwax Polycrylic protective finish
  • Small foam roller (get a high quality dense foam. trust me, its worth it)
  • Paint tray
  • Small angled brush
  • screwdriver

The trick is to do multiple THIN layers. Lay it on thick and you’ll get lots of bubbles and drips. Eww. So here it is after 2 thin layers.  You can see why you need an angled paintbrush… to get in all the nooks and crannies.

Ok so want to hear a funny story? Ok its not so funny for me, but now it is a little bit. So i tend to do all my woodworking on the porch but a lot of the projects i do in my living room. Including this sucker. Its just whatcha gotta do if you have a tiny apartment and no garage. Anyway, i had JUST finished the last layer of paint, id cleaned up the roller and brush, put the lid on the paint and stood back to admire the splendor. I wasnt sure if it would need another layer or any touch ups so i didnt seal the lid to the paint. Bad idea. It was sitting in the living room on the paint drop cloth you see above. Now it was Valentines day so I was eating dinner and enjoying the boob tube when Maggie came in from the porch. Now, shes a pretty clumsy dog. She actually just recently got rid of the “cone of shame” which was even worse… ok, heres a picture because its just too dang cute not to share:

And yes, that is a tree branch stuck in the cone. Awesome. Anyway, Kenny walked to the kitchen for seconds (because im the best cook there is) and he started freaking out and yelling for me to come over. Mags had knocked over the entire can of paint onto the paint drop cloth. Thankfully it wasnt directly onto the carpet… but the drop cloth is meant for drips. Not an entire quart. So i dive to the ground and lift the drop cloth off the ground trying to keep the paint from soaking into the carpet while kenny grabbed a plastic trashbag to put in between it and the carpet (good thinking, hubs!) He then took the trunk off, and wrapped up the drop cloth and threw it on the porch (getting paint all over the porch carpet and pavement). Here is my arm after i had it under the drop cloth trying to avoid getting paint all over the carpet. We then used up an entire roll of paper towel trying to get the paint off the carpet. Miraculously, the spot is actually behind my arm. Where you might ask? I dont know. We should be professional carpet cleaners. We got maybe 98% of it up! Crazy right? Moral of the story… A. Seal your paint when you’re done painting. B. Dont paint in your living room. C. Dont own a clumsy dog.

Now that i went off on a complete tangent, lets continue…

Here she is after a little sanding. I wanted a little more dimension and character so i sanded all the edges, made all the bolts shine a little bit. Some of the white underpaint showed up too which had a cool effect.

For sanding, its best to use a foam sanding block with a fine grain. I used a 220 grit block which just makes it just look more natural. If you use 60 grit for example it will just damage the piece and it will obviously be sanded instead of a more natural “over time” look.

Heres the edge detail. You can see the white under paint and the metal as well. Love that effect!

Once i was done sanding, I decided to go with the minwax finish because its going to be a coffee table. High traffic = lots of paint coming off if you dont. So i did. Threw on three layers on the top for good measure. I chose a semi gloss but you can choose a Satin or a high gloss. It starts off looking almost yellow but it dries completely clear.

Here she is open up with my new file organization. I’ll post soon all about what i did with the files. As far as the plan for the interior, if it was in better shape, I’d love to keep it as is – it has a great texture and a vintage feel to it, but it has sections missing, stains, etc. We could definitely throw a cork board in the lid which would cover up most of the stains, but I’ll definitely let you know when we decide! Theres also a trey that goes on the inside that can hold remote controls, still that needs to be filed, etc.

See? How cool is that white/brown linen texture?

And here she is as our fancy new coffee table! Have you ever seen a more beautiful filing cabinet? The other great thing is, if we decided to use something else as a filing cabinet later, we can jut use this to hold the 57 blankets that we have hiding behind the couch. Hey, i get cold very easily, ok?

I am definitely loving it, the grey really helps balance out all the other crazy colors in the room.

Horrible Ugly Filing Cabinets

First off, i have to vent for a sec. Why on earth are there two types of filing cabinets in the world? Metal, beige, ugly as hell… or 400 bucks? I scouered Craigslist, considered repainting an ugly metal one, considered sanding an ugly metal one, considered building a wooden one from scratch… this went on for maybe a month. I’ve been looking all over the webs to find an awesome filing cabinet for cheap. Let me tell you… its non existent. Since getting hitched three months ago, we’ve had the dreaded filing issue… we both used small accordion folders to hold our paperwork but it just wasnt cutting it. My office started to look like a place where paper goes to die. There was paper piling up on my desk, on the floor, in nooks and crannys. With tax time coming up, we started misplacing W-2s, losing papers, misplacing bills… it was just not going well. I just cant have something looking ugly like this in my pretty office:

Can we say eww? So I had the idea to just bite the bullet and buy an ikea solid wood cabinet and hack it into a filing cabinet. Until i remembered seeing this on pinterest:

This was from the oh so creative Martha Steward and her “office in a chest”. I love this idea because its not a huge metal eyesore in the middle of your living room. Also there is a TON of space… i dont think we would ever be able to fill all of that with our paperwork. It also gives you the ability to have a trey for organization and the pinboard idea is pretty convenient as well.

But that involved buying a large ottoman. Not really a money saver. Until i saw this picture…

Holy cow… i have that EXACT trunk in storage! I didnt even think about it… but i stumbled across Jenna Sue’s design blog and was super excited. I bought the trunk a year ago from goodwill for maybe 10 bucks. I had great aspirations for that sucker but just never got around to it.

So here she is… aint she a beaute? Nope. Not yet. But she will be!

Its actually on its second coat of paint so i should be able to post before and afters soon! A vintage trunk / Filing cabinet is underway! Woot!

How to recycle an old door – Part 2

Heres the second part of how to build a door desk! Now that it’s done, I am more than excited about it and it looks super great! Also, I now have double the work space before which is perfect! So here is how I finished her up…

The door was super dirty by the time i got back to the project, my brother decided it would be a great place to store all of his power tools. Typical. Let lets just say it took a lot longer than i thought to clean this sucker up! Heres the handy dandy supplies needed:

– paint pan

– large paint roller

– smaller sponge roller (not required but came in handy)

-small paintbrush

– Primer. I used Behr Enamel Undercoater Primer & Sealer.

– Paint: I used a white satin acrylic based paint

-Sand paper blocks

Sanding

Maybe one of the most important steps! Before you ever even think about painting; sand, sand, sand! In the picture above you can see there was some filler that needed to be sanded off as well.  This helps smooth out surfaces as well as prepare the surfaces to really hold on to the primer and paint. I also sanded in between the two layers of paint to smooth out any drips.

Primer

Primer is not always necessary but it helps cut down the number of paint layers and really makes the paint stick. Its great on slick surfaces even laminate and really holds the paint. Its also less expensive than paint so one layer of primer might save you from one or two additional layers of paint!

Primer was necessary for my table because i used nothing but scraps – as you can tell there are at least three different types of wood in very different shades; one white(ish) door, red oak and plywood. The primer (top right) really levels out the colors and makes the paint smooth and even.

Paint

I have a small obsession with thick paint. All of my paintings have dozens of thick layers and textures of paint so when painting furniture i tend to go too thick. This time around i made sure to do thin, even layers and it really came out beautifully. All it needed was one layer of primer and two thin layers of paint. So my final desk is perfect! It has plenty of table space, clean, modern design, room for storage (i have a thing for boxes and baskets… so much better than boring drawers!) and best of all, it was free!

So heres my new office – its definitely a place where I sit down and automatically feel comfortable, stress free and ready to be creative. I love it!

Have you guys been building anything lately? Refurbish one man’s junk to make something rad? Speaking of, i have some oh so lovely goodwill finds to share soon! Woot!

-Rachel

Before & After: Door to Desk

Alrighty… its *FINALLY* done! Not that it took long to make, it just took forever to get the time to finish painting! But here we go… the “before” of Mr. Door:

And here is the oh so beautiful after:

Isn’t that just refreshing? And incase you forgot what the space looked like before… yikes! Heres a little reminder:

Eww… i know. Sorry to post such a disaster but it makes the After shot much sweeter…

In this last shot you can see the door knob hole where i run the cables through. I initially thought I’d put the desk against the wall so i didn’t expect to need to fill the latch hole but I’m definitely going to have to do a quick fix!

I will post soon my how-to on the paint! If you want to read about the building process go here, here and here!

Also,  (drum roll please) the main reason why I’ve been so determined to get my office up and running: starting friday at 6pm I am officially a full time freelance artist! I semi blame this book for gettin the fire started… read it at your own risk…  four months later you might end up quitting your job too!

-Rach

How to recycle an old door

Have any old doors lying around? For some reason people have been throwing them at me lately (not literally) but Kennys folks had about three, my brother had 2 and some coworkers even tried to give me some old doors. I suppose one is enough for now! Ana White has multiple projects that include using hollow core doors so i thought i’d try it! And from a recent post here you know that I’ve been on the search for a new computer desk. So i decided to recycle this old yucky door into a new pretty desk!

First step was to cut that sucker down.  A full length door would be better used for a dining table (which I’ve seen done!) But considering i have no need currently for a dining table… here we go. The trick with this is to score the wood first so it doesn’t fray. A circular saw is definitely the way to go. If you don’t have any tools, you can always borrow them from a neighbor or you can just rent them from home improvement stores. Since cutting the door in half weakens the door on the cut side, your best bet is to find a piece of wood to fit and clue and nail her in there. I plan on putting this desk through a lot so the best bet it to make her a sturdy and stable as possible.

Step two: find a piece of scrap wood to fit and glue. Step three: wedge the glue covered wood into the space. And last, staple gun that sucker in there just incase!

Then I used Patch n paint spackling to fill the small holes and then a more heavy duty hole filler for the hinges. I decided to leave the hole for the door knob and use it to hide all of my computer cables.

The next step: legs! Incase you don’t remember, here is the basic table idea that i was trying to duplicate:

This design is from West Elm and you can take a look here. Mine is a lot wider and deeper so I had to make adjustments to the depth and width of the legs so they fit to the door. Instead of an in depth step by step, heres the overview:



Heres the skinny:

A. Select wood – since I was workin at Mr. H’s shop, he had tons of scraps which made this entire project Free!

B. Slightly panic as Mr. H shows me how to use a table saw. *Let me explain. I’m down with power tools. They pretty much excite me. But that thing is just scary… especially for someone clumsy like me! Two power tools i will (hopefully) never use: Table saw & chain saw.

C. View of Mr. H severing a limb cutting the wood

D&E. Sanding all the sharp edges

F&G: Let me introduce you to the BRILLIANT invention of Biscuits!

H: We used a biscuit joint cutter to cut slits in all the wood. Instead of using expensive screws or a Kreg Jig that takes ages to predrill all the holes, you easily cut slits in the wood then a biscuit and some glue. It makes incredibly strong joints and saves cash in the long run.

i: After the biscuits were glued and inserted in the joints, the wood was completely solid.

j: Here i measured furring strips to make cleaner edges and cover the plywood edges

k: I may have gone clamp crazy. since using nothing but glue, you gotta make sure theres no gaps!

l: Next i nailed the furring strips in place (this actually came before K but who is judging?!)

m: used more of the spackling for filler on the edges.

Next steps: sanding the filler, painting and putting the whole thing together! *Hopefully* soon!

-Rachel

Oh, vivre à Paris…

This incredible 4 star hotel in Paris called La Belle Juliette, is a beautiful combination of classic + bold. This is definitely not how i would decorate my house… but there is a lot of inspiration i could take from these images. Who knew i would love a hot pink couch?!


-Rachel

(Found on Desire to InspirePhotos by Jerome d’Almeida)

Sew Rad

Man, i am beyond cheesey these days. Deal with it. Ok so i realized the other day that i never posted about a small little project i did a while back…. my outdoor sectional! Crazy! This was my first furniture build and my first time to sew anything! SO here we go… If you dont already know and love Mrs. Ana White, you definitely need to meet her (and then “accidently” spend 3 hours searching through her site for furniture you  HAVE to build).

Now, I’m a huge outdoor person… always have been. And my last apartment (which i miss dearly now that i live in this yucky boys house) had an AMAZING porch – pretty large AND it overlooked the lake! Seriously breath taking every morning… the issue is… I’d just ahve to stand there. Because again, I’m a recent graduate where the only furniture you have is bean bags and crappy dorm room stuff. Anyway, so i stumbled across this beauty:

*enter heavenly music here*  I HAD to build it. SO i bought wood, borrowed some tools that day and started to build:

And then, voila!

I was super impressed: not only did it look great, it was SUPER sturdy too! So fabric was purchased:

Purchased outdoor fabric for cheap over at Fabric.com.  I then decided to tackle my first sewing project (with the help of Ana again with these outdoor cushion plans, and my mommy, of course!)

Then after about 57 mishaps with staining, sewing and other small disasters, i introduce to you… my first furniture build!:

So then, of course, Ana decides to post an entire outdoor sectional:

GOSH ANA! SERIOUSLY?! But the great thing about this plan, you can build it piece by piece. One end piece here, one center piece there… and you end up with this:

Isn’t she pretty?! I never got a chance to finish the back cushions… and the sad part of the story? Half of her is at my boyfriend’s apartment and the other half is IN THE GARAGE FOR STORAGE! Sad sad sad story…. but this project started my crazy furniture desires to become a reality. This week i refinished an office chair and will finish building my new office desk this week! The key to start building something… just go buy the wood. If you force yourself to do that, you’re just going to have to try! You might suprise yourself….

*All graphics by Ana White

-Rachel