Inspiration: Before & After kitchen nook

So some fun news… we officially have a dining table and chairs! Woot! “Where on earth would you fit it?” I know you’re asking. Lets just say, me and the hubs spent all day rearranging every piece of furniture in our entire apartment. So hopefully I’ll take some pictures to show you.

So i adore the table. It’s a classic “farmer” table with the wood top and white painted legs. Perfectly fits 6 and its just too cute. And then theres the chairs. They definitely match but they just don’t match us. So we are on the hunt for our first piece of furniture purchase as a married couple: dining chairs. I know what else you’re thinking; “Umm, didn’t ya’ll just buy the whole set?” Nope. Randomly hanging out with some friends that were trying to figure out which goodwill to dump their table. Then I said “our apartment”.  And done. How sweet is that?! Now we can eat at a table instead of on the couch! You guys have no clue – i would make a beautiful steak dinner… and then serve it on the couch. Oh it was just sad. But no more!

Anyway, when i eat at the table, I’m usually there a lot so i definitely need some cushion for the tush. I’ve been looking around everywhere for some chairs that we could afford on a mini budget. And of course, I’m 98% sure they are from ikea. I’ll let you know when we cross that road but until then. Check out this AMAZING before and after from Liz at It’s Great to be Home.

YES! That is the same nook. Can you believe it?! Such an incredible difference. I love the flooring, the built ins got a beautiful facelift… and just look at those chairs. So cute!

Can you believe they are PAINTED? Yes. Liz painted her kitchen chairs. And they are stinkin cute! Check out the whole step by step on Liz’s blog over here.

The more i read about these chairs, the more im pretty sure its a done deal. You will find out soon though! Until then, check out Liz’s blog all about her 5 house flips in 3 years! Its one of the most incredible stories on the interwebs. So read it.

Pin Post!

How many times have you drooled over some easy DIY project on pinterest and just left it at that? I loved these paint dipped cans and thankfully i had a few different sizes just lying around! Yay recycling, organizing and designing all in one. Woot!

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First off, let me just say the paint part was an epic fail. Without the right colors, this project will look pretty lame. So i suggest picking your colors wisely first. Wish i had a picture for you guys, but I’ll spare you the sight and show you the finished product. To cover up the hideous paint I used some lovely Washi tape!

I just made this purchase last week from PrettyTape on Etsy. I can’t even tell you how confused my husband was that i bought tape off of Etsy. He is still confused but I am excited about all the different options with usin this stuff. Hopefully more projects soon!

Memorial Day Sales!

Well, its memorial day and of course that means great sales! Yesterday me and a buddy, Amy headed over to one of my all time favorite stores in the world. West Elm! Because of Memorial Day, everything thats already reduced is on sale another 15% in addition to whats already marked down! On top of that, they were trying to sell their floor models so a lot of items were marked down by 100s of bucks! Halla!

This table I’ve been eyeing for a while… our ourdoor table isnt so much an outdoor table. Its more a cheap $10 target temporary that is falling apart with all the moisture. But at 70 bucks, i just couldn’t make the purchase. BUT there was a floor model on sale for 30 plus the 15% off! Still suprised I didn’t snatch that up… so cute!

Amy was eyeing these pillows for her living room. But i thought it would be fun to find just a plain white pillow cover, get some fabric paint and paint it yourself! That would be so much more fun (and cheaper!)

Can’t wait to have a sweet dining room and dining table! Love the mix of the cozy chairs and the bench!

You know i have a love for succulents, I’m diggin them as a centerpiece…

I am definitely lovin this centerpiece – definitely a little messy for Memorial Day weekend but the mix of silver and teal just makes me happy…

Love this guy. Definitely approve of the faux animal head mounts. Always creeps me out to have an actually dead animal head on the wall. So sad. This is a very agreeable alternative.

Though this would be a horrible idea in my house (Im pretty sure I’ve mentioned how horribly clumsy I am, but i just loved those dozens of bottles all clumped together. Please dont do this at your house either. I think it works for West Elm, but not a home. Maybe pick up half a dozen. Not 100.

LOVE the mix of white lacquer and whitewash of these dressers and bed frame. It just has a beachy spa-like feel to it. I dig it.

I laughed out loud when i saw this cute lil owl in his cage. Poor lil guy.. his friends are free but he is not.

I ALWAYS love the displays… this would be awesome! Just paint one fun wall with chalkboard paint and add frames! Such a fun idea!

I love paint. Having “painted” bedding is definitely my idea of a good time. Plus i love the blues!

Amy crashed after a long day into one of the most comfy, absurdly expensive outdoor chairs in existence. Pretty sure its around 1,300. But its on sale! (for maybe 1,200…)

So go out and get you some cheap ol furniture. Also, did anyone notice the Room Store going out of business? So sad but you can definitely grab a great piece of furniture for super cheap!

Happy Memorial Day, Y’all!

-Rach

DIY Mini Artist Canvas Magnets

I got these lovely mini 3X3 canvases from my mama for Christmas – yes, its been that long! What a great stocking stuffer idea, huh! Anyway, they jsut sat there begging to be painted but I was pretty torn on what to do with them exactly. Yes, they were cute but what the heck would you actually do with mini canvas?

You make Bad A refrigerator magnets, thats what!

I hand painted them with paint markers.

On the back i attached a square of magnet sheet. It is Avery Magnet sheets.

And voila! You can hold up all the dozens of wedding save the dates you’ve been getting.

I ended up leaving them set up like this… just like the simplicity of it!

I also made a mini version of my painting from the lake!

These guys were super easy and very fun so go grab some and try them out.

-Rach

Lake Painting

Nope. Not a painting of the lake. Rather a painting i did at the lake. Back in this post i shared my wonderful vacay with my bff. Here is a shot from my set up on the deck overlooking the beautiful lake!

We decided to hang it over our couch and my husband actually loves it! I thought the pinkish hue and purples wouldn’t be his idea of awesomeness but he said, and i quote “I like the meshing. its all like… bluuuhhh… colors!” all while attempting to “mesh” with his hands. Thats my lovely husband! The art critic.

See the meshing? And the “bluuuuhhh… colors!”?  I know i do.

Its up on Etsy now if you wana see an identical beauty above your couch for your husband to critique!

-Rachel

Planty McPlanterson

I love roadkill. Not the animal variety. More like the free stuff variety. I was cruisin around with a friend the other day and found a bunch of crap scattered around two awesome pots! Well one awesome small one and one less awesome large one. Enter spray paint. Makes a not so awesome pot into super rad one.

First off, i primed the piece with white. The maroon was so dark it would take 57 layers of blue to hide the dark undercolor.

Speaking of road kill, i was leaving my church the other day and they were getting rid of old plants and updating. Of course i asked them what they were going to do with the old ones.. once i heard they were headed to the trash, i grabbed them! So now i have ANOTHER tree on the porch and a few other little bushes and odds and ends. Even the aloe i got for free from Kenny’s mom. She had a pot that was getting out of control so i stole a few lil dudes and planted them. Its been slow going getting those roots to stick but I’ve started to see some new buds coming in! Whoot!

Aint she pretty? Not bad for a free pot with a free tree in it.

Here is the already super awesome pot. Its ceramic in a funky green with a rounded square top. Love it! I figured i should throw a new mint plant into the mint green pot!

Speaking of plants, i LOVE me some Mountain Laurels. When those trees start blooming its officially the announcement of spring. If your state doesnt have them, its a shame. They smell GLORIOUS. Seriously. In fact, all while they are blooming, i always grab a bloom and throw it in my car for the best air freshener ever. This year, i decided if my car gets to smell amazeballs then our apartment should too. I just grabbed a bowl and threw a few in there. It seriously smells like grape soda… but like 50X better.

And they are just so pretty!

In fact, i love mountain laurels so much, i bought one! Its a mini one and they are slloooooow growers, but check it! I already got some buds! It was pretty funny to come home and walk in with a tree. Pretty sure Kenny didnt know what to say on that one.

Oh how i love the spring!

-Rach

Decorating 101: Walls

So Ive had multiple people tell me this week that i need to come over and decorate. First off, heck yes! I love to decorate, especially when its with someone elses credit card. What I’m realizing is how hard it is to move into a house with horrible paint color… throw your furniture wherever it best fits and then to be overwhelmed with how the heck to start decorating. So i put together a few tips! The most important thing to know is that its going to take time. Its not going to change overnight unless you have the money to do so. Even then, its better to just gather pieces you love, pillows you adore and random crap to make your house (or apartment) a home!

So first up, we are talking about cho walls. This is the easiest way to change up the feel of the room. And sometimes drastically. You can add paint, wall paper, shelving, pictures or art… this is a great way to add some color and have a little fun!

Paint

My first advice is not to go too crazy. or too boring. I’ve been house hunting and some houses are completely white… not a single hint of color on a single wall. And theres other houses where you feel like you’re walking through a rainbow. And thats not a good thing. Feel free to go bold on one wall, but not 20. Not sure about what color you want? Check out My Colortopia! This is a great new website where you can import an image and it comes up with multiple corresponding colors for you. For example, i uploaded this image from Desire to Inspire.

I uploaded the image and then it asked me to select a part of the room that i love in particular. It came up with a few selections of colors. Pick each of those colors and it comes up with a full color palate for you. This is a great option when you have no clue or maybe you like one rug or accessory in particular but youre not sure what colors would go great as paint colors. So definitely check it out, its a great resource!

A coat of paint can do wonders to a space. West Elm turned this boring office into a cozy space with a great deep ocean blue.

Your color choice always determines the mood of the room. If you want a calm, relaxing “spa-like” environment, go for lighter colors like sea green.

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Also dont be afraid to try some crazy colors. Maybe a bold yellow, green or even purple. I wouldnt suggest your whole house be eggplant, but one accent wall in the bathroom would bring out a nice relaxing space to come home to.

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Wallpaper

How about some wallpaper? Theres a ton of really great new modern wall paper like what MadebyGirl used in her office over at Graham and Brown. Isnt this so cute?!

Stencils

What about stenciling? I love the look of a high glossed stencil over a matte paint color. Does this look classy or what!? I’ve heard it takes a while but its always worth it. Image from Cutting Edge Stencils.

I love everything about this shot. Such a pretty wall!

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How about a chevron accent wall? How can you not love this!? Adorbs.

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Shelving

The best way to keep your house from feeling like your home is to have big blank walls. I know that you’ve got a ton of really cute pictures that need to be printed and framed. How about a cute mirror to add some depth. Even an old poster could be spruced up by throwin a fancy frame on it. Put up some floating shelves and add some decor, frames and accessories.

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Frames

Over at Young House Love they snagged some inexpensive frames from ikea that are huge and square. Then they simply added colored paper! Its really that easy to get a fun pop of color.

You can always change it later to polaroids or photos.

Art

You dont have to be a millionaire to have some great art. Etsy has really made some incredible art accessible. If you know me, you know i love Mae Chevrette. As must as I’d love an original piece, you can grab a high quality, archival print for less than 50 bucks (depending on what size you get!) $42 bucks for a 16 x 20 of this “Always” print would look just lovely on my walls.

How about 42 bucks for a large 18 x 22 print of this Boston skyline:

And one of my favorite “Bloom” paintings:

All four images above are by Mae Chevrette!

Just get on Etsy and dig around. You can find tons of amazing artists selling either originals or inexpensive prints! Go find YOUR favorite artist!

DIY Art

You could also always make your own art! I am no painter. Read here and you know i just like to push around paint… its more fun than anything for me. But just sometimes i come up with something i enjoy enough to put up on my walls. In this case, my best friend’s wall:

Or these recent fun, small little paintings that add a great splash of color to my office:

Or this piece that i put up in our bedroom. Love maps? Paint one! What do you love? What colors do you love? Its definitely the cheapest way to bring some art into your home.

I’ve even got a piece in my kitchen. If you cant paint walls while in an apartment, a large blue painting is a great way to add some color:

Wall Decor

Theres also other things you can put on your wall other than just paintings. I love adding dimension. Like these wall sculptures that are remarkable affordable bring nature inside and add a lot of fun depth to your walls:

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I also love these antique wall tiles i found for  a few bucks a piece at the City Wide Garage Sale. Just find fun things like this that are interesting or pretty to you and throw them up on the wall. I love the texture and interest those two tiles create.

How about just throw some freakin plants on the wall like here from West Elm. Just make sure you have a ton of light in this space or else you’ll have a lot of dead plants on your wall.

How about a chalkboard and 3D letters. I love this space because the walls are covered… but somehow its still not too much. Love it!

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So get to it! Go grab a bucket of paint and add a little character to your walls.

Also coming up, I’ll be posting Decor 101: Furniture and Decor 101: Accessories. Stay tuned!

-Rachel

Drink and Draw*

*CAUTION! I do not promote intoxication while making art! There are many dire consequences including hangovers, horrible art and a waste of paint! Also, this post is only directed at the 21 and up crowd… Otherwise when i say “drink” i mean orange juice.

I love to paint. Im not super great at it. I did sell a painting over here, and i love my DIY Map Painting. But for the most part, i paint because i love the consistency of paint and just love mixing the colors around. I feel like a 2 year old when i paint and i just love it! The part i love the most is to paint with my mommy. Pretty sure i sound even more like a 2 year old. Its true though. My mom is an incredible artist… her art is inspiring. There are so many pieces that i would pay a lot for! Last friday i went to her place where she redecorated her art studio and helped break it in 🙂

Drink and draw is just like it sounds… have a beer and get to painting! Again, im not promoting getting plastered but i do love a drink or two especially when im spending quality time with friends and family and paint!

Here is one of my moms painting experiments. Shes definitely taught me instead of running to a huge piece, to slow down, experiment with color, texture and layering.

The steps to creating a fun piece of art:

  1. Experiment with colors. Use colors you usually wouldnt consider
  2. Use texture. It adds dimension and interest.
  3. Layer, layer, layer. If you havent heard of medium, it has many different uses. In this case, it helps add dimension. Take a quarter size of medium and add a drop of paint. It makes the paint translucent so you can see the other colors below it really adding depth. Medium can also change the consistency of the paint. Theres matte, fiber, coarse, crackle, iridescent, etc, etc, etc. This makes texture super fun.

Heres a few upclose shots of 2 experiments i was playing with…

How cute is she?! She made this mixed media piece for my sister for her birthday.

If you need any suggestions on what could… loosen you up… try a Caramel Baileys milkshake… absolutely delish. Or try Leinenkugel’s anything… best beer ever.

So here they are on my shelves…

I have to admit i love them. Im obsessed with the color blue… teal, navy, aqua, love them all… its hard for me to dabble in other colors especially painting. So i kept the color palate to yellow, red, purple and orange! I dig it.

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.