The desk wasn’t in terrible shape, it just needed a make over. It was actually easy to sand and prep for paint, which isn’t always the way it works out; some pieces can be a real pain in the a$$. Once I had it all sanded and cleaned up, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. In fact, it has been sitting up in the guest room naked and afraid for months, haha. You know, when I work on pieces I tend to spend some time determining what I want the piece, in this case the desk, to express.
So I got to thinking… the desk wasn’t worn or in rough shape, and it made me realize it probably wasn’t used much. Isn’t the purpose of a desk to be a comfortable place to foster work or inspire ideas? Well it saddened me to think this desk’s purpose wasn’t fulfilled. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Each piece of furniture has a story, beginning, middle, or end. This desk is old but only at the beginning of its story- cheated out of love and affection.
My gift to the desk was to provide it a seemingly fulfilled life with a makeover. I decided the piece would look overly worn, by also showcase elegance. Great contrast in design ideas, but lets imagine it’s story:
I picture the desk sitting in an upstairs room of an old beach house. It was painted blue to compliment the white worn walls, sandy beach, and blue skies. The top was finished with a deep stain to look solid, sleek, and elegant.
The atmosphere in the room felt like the beach sand and sticky air was actually inside. Remembering the piece is old, I pictured a pile of papers with handwriting, postal mail, and an old time clock on the desk. It looked hectic, but still felt organized. Lengthy amounts of time were spend at that desk. Perhaps an author used the desk to write a novel, and was inspired by the beach; like Earnest Hemingway’s “Old Man and The Sea.” Over the years, the sticky air inside the room of the old beach house brushed paint off the desk, showing the dark wood beneath the color blue. It felt like the incoming of the crashing waves caused the paint to appear distressed. However, the top remained dark , in tact, and elegant. How could this be? Taking a closer look, you would notice that the top of the desk was protected by stacks of papers and mail. The stack of papers was not comprised of bills. receipts, or unnecessary mail; instead they held much greater value. The papers were pages written by some one that was inspired to write a book; demonstrating hard work, dedication, and re-writes to create perfection. The mail on the desk consisted of saved love letters; each one tucked into it’s envelope in order to keep it safe. One day the family passed the old beach house down to the next generation, but the desk remained. Having served its purposed, and relishing in its fulfilled life.
When I first purchased my home I was so excited to have found a place with a fenced in yard for my dogs. It was all mine, but it was an absolute eyesore. Well, here I am, 5 years later, and it has finally come to fruition. Yes, a long time, whatever! Each year I focused on a little something.
Problem #1: Back landing/stairs:
I started with the back stairs: or lack thereof. These stairs were comprised of cinder blocks with bricks laying inside. There was nothing holding it together but prayers. I knew this was the first thing to be resolved- how the hell would the dogs, or myself, get in and out with out feeling like we were walking the plank? Here are the before pictures:
As soon as my father and I started pulling away the bricks we saw that the whole inside was pretty much hollow, and the cinder provided no structural support.
A friend of mine from high school does masonry work on the side, and he installed the most beautiful blue stone stairs. The landing was wider, safer, and well- better looking:
Problem #2: White Stones
The back yard was filled with white stones; apparently the previous owners had an above ground pool and used these stones around it for drainage. It was labor intensive to remove them. Actually it was a b*tch. My father and I sifted for days just to try to get some of them out. These stones, although mostly gone, would continue to pinch my feet as I walked around.
Problem #3: Fence
As you can tell from the previous photos, the fence was barely standing up straight. A new fence went up with an awesome new gate (that worked).
Problem #4: Patio
The brick patio wasn’t very attractive and definitely needed an upgrade. It didn’t expand out towards the bulkhead, which left this open space. I was left scratching my head.. umm, what the heck do I do with this?
Again, my friend from high school helped me pick out the cobble stone, and he crated the most beautiful patio for the space, and even incorporated some of the brick for an extra touch of flair. The patio extended all the way to the bulk head, which provided a perfect space for the grill. He re-used the brick to fill in the pathway to the gate. By using the brick I already had, it was cost effective and really cleaned up the narrow space between the house and fence.
Problem # 5: Grass
Ok, so all these things look great together, but the greatest eyesore of the whole backyard was the lawn. Excuse me I stand corrected: there was no grass, just desert scrub that existed in patches. Now this was difficult, because I have two big dogs, and I knew my choices for laying down new landscaping were limited.
Option #1) Seed: It would be almost impossible to put seed down- the dogs would walk through it and destroy the seeding and bring mud in the house. Thus making more of a mess with little results.
Option #2: Hydro-seed: well apparently I didn’t have enough square footage for “it to be worth it,” as I was told from a few companies. I say “to hell with them!”
Option #3: Sod. I was terrified to put sod down, I know it can be temperamental and difficult to maintain in its early stages. I figured I could replace pieces here and there if need be, but it made the most sense: I would get grass immediately and the dogs wouldn’t be able to inhibit its growth or bring in a hot mess! I hired Dorabella’s Landscaping, and they were wonderful! They took what was left of those damn white stones, grated it all, put fresh loam down, and perfect laid out the sod.
As you can tell the dogs are quite happy. The whole dogs peeing on the lawn and causing yellow spots is another problem, but it will all work out.
I purchased new cushions to go with the really beautiful patio set I already had. All in all, it was a lot of work, but now the backyard is done, and it’s a space I enjoy spending time in.
Ever find home decor you LOVE, but then see the price tag and run far far away? Well sometimes you can have it all- the decor you want at a cheaper price.
I was at Jordan’s Furniture with my mother the other day (she was mattress shopping- a detail you didn’t know, but there it is anyway). I wandered around, looking for inspiration. I came across these gorgeous prints with blue designs. I zoomed in to look at the price tag and my eyes bulged out of my head- very cartoon like. Are they beautiful? Yes. Are they worth the money? Debatable. Here they are below:
Gorgeous right? Well I moved on rather quickly, but then I got to thinking….. I’m an avid Target shopper- you know that store where you go in for ONE thing and you leave $200 later not knowing what happened? Yeah that store. Anyway… I remember strolling through the aisles and coming across something similar.
For the purpose of my research, I went over there after my Jordan’s Furniture trip. Low and behold I found what I was looking for. Granted these are not the same size and a little different in style, but man they are pretty damn close!
Here is what I love about the ones at target. First of all- it’s a set of TWO! Second- the set comes in at:
So let’s to the math….
Jordan’s Furniture VS. Target:
That’s a savings of: $499.95!!!!
Say whattt? That’s a score! So my message to you: if you see something you like but it’s over your budget, don’t feel defeated, just keep hunting!
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A while back, my father and I picked up this hutch at a yard sale. It was green (or some sort of “green”), with ridiculously ornate doors and hardware, but beneath the ugly I saw some beauty. It’s a rare sized hutch, perfect for small spaces, which is often hard to find. Unfortunately, I can’t find the pictures of it untouched with the doors on and everything. What I have below is the piece after sanding, and a considerable amount of patching.
Once it was all set for paint, I opted for a light cream color. While I was painting out front, a neighbor drove by and said she had been “eyeing it” in the garage, and was waiting for me to start it! I love when things like this happen; people see a piece I am working on, and have the same mutual respect for it. Right then and there we made a sale, but she asked me to paint it black.
Now, at first I didn’t think that black was a good choice because it can be a rather unforgiving color, and harsh, but when we she showed me the space she was putting it in I knew it could work quite well. Black would work well for a number of reasons 1)it would match well with what else she already had in the space, 2)it complemented the other colors in the space, and 3) the color made the piece stand out, but small enough to not be an eyesore.
I decided to keep the original hardware. Although ornate, it brought out some beautiful detail that was lacking with solid black. Check out the finished product! Please note the shadows and lighting affected the image quality.
What can I say? Black always looks good!
This particular custom order came to me… a bit… well… looking for a serious make-over. A gorgeous piece- just “struggling” a bit. There was plenty to work with: a tall back that supported a swinging mirror, a unique shape, and original black porcelain handles, which were in good shape! The painted design on the drawer fronts were probably beautiful at one point, but most of it had chipped away.
I started sanding off the painted design on the front of the drawers, but I could see how dry the piece was. I decided to sand the whole piece down to the original wood, to breathe some fresh life into it. It’s funny you know, having a conversation with a piece of furniture like: “Stop that fussing, you’ll look better in the end,” but I didn’t receive too much back talk. When the piece wall sanded, it looked alive again.
Pretty good right? Yes, yes indeed. However, I knew that the wood was so dry that it was going to completely soak up the paint. I used KILZ primer to give a solid first coat, which also covered up any stains.
If you follow my blog, you will notice that I try to name the pieces because it’s just more fun that way. I titled this entry “Civil War” for a couple of reasons:
- It was a battle for beauty
- My client provided me with the paint color. Benjamin Moore’s “Confederate Red.” (Although Benjamin Moore has recently changed the name to “Patriot Red”)
The color is so rich and vibrant, it was a perfect fit for this piece. Anyway, with a few coats of paint and sealant, a bit of re-assembling, and freshly polished hardware, this piece turned into a beauty!
I think it is important to note, that not all pieces need to be “distressed,” and sometimes I feel like distressing is the go-to nowadays. Personally, I think you need to get to know the piece you are working with. I felt that because this piece already had such a unique shape, ornate mirror, and black porcelain handles, it didn’t need distressing. I felt it would be too “busy.” You may disagree, but I’m sticking to it. Here is the finished project:
Since I love being so crafty- I created a lot of the decorations used at our wedding. One of my favorites was making our card box. I wanted it to fit in with that antique feeling I was going for, but was looking for just the right piece. One day, my husband and I headed up to a vintage store, and there we found an antique dining flatware box. It had seen better days for sure. I always try to envision what the story is behind each item. When I came across this box my mind ran wild with ideas. Perhaps it had been in a husband and wife’s home for years, and it is where they stored their fine china flatware, and maybe they received the box at their bridal shower or wedding. How fitting since we were getting married. Immediately it was a must have- “This is it” moment. Here is how we found it:
I started by ripping out the inside of the box:
I sanded the box and painted it with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. Once it was dried I distressed it and used antique wax to add some depth and seal it. I used fabric I already had, and then used the thick card stock from a gift bag I had lying around in the closed. It provided the perfect lining for the drawer.
Now- to accessorize….. For our wedding I wanted to put this on display and stage it. Here’s how I staged it:
By: Renewed Reloved
When I was moving into my new home, I needed a new bedroom set. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I figured I would use my sorcery to bring old pieces back to life. I don’t usually do pieces for my own home, but I was excited to start…
I had done work for a client, and she had a dresser she was looking to pass on. I absolutely took it with me! The problem was…I needed end tables to go with it. Some were too short, to wide, or just ugly. I’m not goldilocks, but I wanted them to be perfect nonetheless. One day, on the hunt, I found two (in rough shape) matching end tables. What made it even better was the engraving that had a design similar to the dresser! I didn’t care how ugly they were, I had to have them!
Here is the set BEFORE it had been renewed and reloved:
You’re probably wondering- “uuummmm I am sure she could have found something better than THAT!…” Well just you wait and see friends! It started with sanding, it took quite some time to get the finish off, especially the end tables. You can see how glossy the end tables were from the picture above. Sanded and washed, I decided to engrave the wood a little more around the design that was barely peeking through. I chose two colors- one for the base, and the other for the decorative design. I was very satisfied with the result:
The dresser’s knobs were all there, but different, which is usually a problem (when you want to keep it authentic). The bottom ones needed to be adjusted, so there were different knobs on it, but luckily the original pieces were in the drawer! Really simple fixes- they look like door knockers and the knocker piece fell out of the holder. Pliers and some strength fixed that real easy! Here was the final outcome! I love it, and I love how I got two separate pieces to match and become the perfect pair!
By: Renewed Reloved
I can’t express to you the time I spent on this bathroom. Much of the delay was due to poor timing and personal things going on, but this bathroom was put on the Earth to haunt me. I absolutely love this client, and she is so incredibly kind and flexible. This bathroom needed a complete overhaul. We decided to work with most of the pieces that were in the bathroom: the pre-existing toilet, vanity and tub. We wanted to keep this project in expensive. Here is what the bathroom looked like before:
There was a very outdated wall medicine cabinet, with the old 1980’s light fixture, which needed to be removed to bring this bathroom up to date. It was the first thing to come down!
As you can see there is wallpaper…. everywhere. This was both good and bad. The Vinyl layer of the wallpaper came off very easily HOWEVER, the paper underneath was adhered to the wall with superhuman powers. It was evident that they had used wheat paste, and the paper was put up 30 years ago….. needless to say the paper and glue would not budge. It required A LOT of products, scraping, and sanding. This prep work took up most of the time. Another problem I ran into was the border that was laid on top of the wallpaper. It was double duty at the top of the walls, and I had to be extremely careful not to ruin the edge that ran along the ceiling.
Once the walls could breathe they were patched, washed, and ready to go, paint went up! In order to pull in the grey tones of the toilet and tub, I chose Benjamin Moore “Timberwolf,” pictured below. It was important that we used the kitchen and bath brand of Benjamin Moore to reduce mildew build up on the walls.
Timber Wolf is a very popular color by Benjamin Moore, and works well with a variety of color tones. Since the baseboard looked quite old, I thought it was best to paint the baseboard the same color as the walls. This allowed it to have a facelift of its own and it also blended in with the wall, which made it less of an eyesore.
The vanity was in excellent shape, and its countertop worked well with all of the colors. I thought it would be best to paint the vanity to give it a new look. For this I used Annie Sloan chalk paint “Graphite.”
I actually HATE this image (above) because it is not a black. It actually has a lead pencil look to it. This image has it coming across as black. Here is what it looked liked once I painted it, used a sealant, and new hardware:
So there you have it. Issues aside, the bathroom came out great, and the client was happy!
A new client (who found me through Google… very exciting!) reached out to me to help her with some pieces for her babies nursery. She has two boys, and this time around she is having a girl, and she wanted to make the room special. She found an incredible dresser that she wanted to serve as the changing table, and down the road would also function as a regular dresser! She already had a rocker and ottoman, that was an espresso color, and wanted it painted an antique white. The color combination for the nursery is precious- antique white, a soft gray and a peach color. Here are the colors she chose:
Benjamin Moore Farmers Market: 054
Sherwin Williams Alabaster: SW 7008
The glider was in really great condition. It took a long time to sand because of all the spindles and different angles, but it didn’t put up too much of a struggle. The paint had no problem adhering to the surface either. Once painted, here is what the piece looked like:
My client’s Mother-In-Law made cushions with a beautiful damask pattern to compliment the color of the dresser. Here is the rocker all dressed up:
The dresser on the other hand, was in rougher shape, but that is expected considering its an older piece. It had lots of little dings and bangs in it, and it had a very heavy varnish on it. It was very glossy.
Because of the finish on it, I knew that the paint wouldn’t adhere well (regardless if it was a high quality paint and that it had a primer in it). I decided it would be best to sand the entire piece down to the bare wood. It was a struggle, but I definitely made the right choice. I removed the hardware, and put them aside.
I wanted to keep the interior of the drawers wood, so I (very creatively) wrapped the base of the drawers with plastic bags and secured them with painters tape… yes yes, I know, that’s pretty brilliant! On the inside I taped off the holes from the hardware so paint would be sprayed through.
My boyfriend and I brought the pieces to my client and set them up in the baby’s nursery. They really came out beautiful. I encouraged them not to paint the hardware. We left them as they were, which was a great choice because the hardware really is timeless.
Please be sure to check out my website: RenewedReloved.com