I started refinishing the table

Refinished with a pretty table setting.
Last weekend was very warm. I think it hit 70 degrees, which is surprising for Michigan in November. But I took advantage of the warm weather and took the top of our table out to the shed to strip the finish from it and start refinishing it.

Unfinished table in the dining area of our kitchen
Once we set it up in the dining area of our kitchen, we knew we didn't want to move our old oak table back in. The "new" old mahogany table, which turns out to actually be cherry, just fit the room so much better.  It was as though it had been made the space. The more we looked at it in the room, the more we loved it. We kept looking at it, and we kept saying to each other how nice it look and how happy we were with it.

Unfinished table with the chairs that go with our oak table.
Unfortunately, it really couldn't be used the way it was. The previous owners had partially stripped the top, which left it vulnerable to damage from spills and anything else that might get on it.  That's why when the weather turned warm, I decided to refinish the top...then later this spring, when the weather gets warm again, I'll refinish the rest, but in the meantime, we're able to use it and enjoy it.

Oak table shoved in the corner, blocking my desk and the front entrance.
During all this time, our oak table was shoved in the corner of the living room, not exactly in the way, but definitely taking up space and making life a little more crowded.  My plan was to list it on Craigslist after I finished the other table, because we were still squishing in to eat dinner on it. Which is exactly what I did. I posted it on Wednesday morning, and within an hour, someone emailed me wanting to buy it. She sent her mom to look at it, and less than three hours after I posted it, it was sold along with the four chairs that went with it.

I have to say, I was kind of sad to sell it. I had been a gift from my parents, but even my mom thought we should sell it. Having her blessing made it a lot easier. Still, I felt a little nostalgic when the people drove away with it, because I had had it for 16 years.

The table refinished with the heavier chairs.
After we sold the table, we drove up to my mom and dad's to get our other chairs...the ones that went with Jim's old dining set. These chairs looked so much better with the table than our old oak chairs did. The oak chairs were just a little too contemporary and delicate looking for the table. But these chairs blend with all the other furniture nicely, or at least they will once we paint them.  I think I'll paint them white, but I'm also thinking about green just just to bring in a little more color into the room.  I guess I have a bit of time to figure that out though!

Sitting pretty and ready for company!
Doesn't it look nice?

Craigslist Find: Mahogany Dining Table

So it was a few days before Halloween, and I was checking out Craigslist just to see what was there, and there was a headline that caught my eye.

Maybe Maybe Not Haunted Dining Room Table

I had to check it out. Sure we didn't need a dining room table, but how can you ignore a headline like that, especially three days before Halloween? Let me tell you, I'm so glad I did, because the table is beautiful, or at least it will be once it's refinished.

So why did she think it was haunted? Because every time she took a picture of it orbs showed up in the picture. I don't know if I believe in furniture being haunted, but I might get some holy water and sprinkle on it just in case!  Do you think it's possible it could be haunted?

Table to refinish
From the ad
Jim and I both thought it was a good deal for $75. It has four leaves and it's solid.  The only concern we had was there were some screws in the legs that didn't attach to anything. But once we got it home, we realized that the legs were on backwards. Once they were on the right way, all the screws had a place to go...although there are a few that are missing that will have to be replaced.

Now, I'll admit there is a part of me that wants to paint the legs and the apron, but we're not going to do that. Instead, we're going to ask my dad to strip it and restain it with mahogany stain. Yes, I know, I know. It would look so nice with the white legs, but we both love mahogany. Plus, by not painting it, it will blend very nicely with the library table we bought a few years ago that my dad refinished for us. And then there's the coffee table I finished this summer.

Our library table
Our coffee table
See how everything is going to look nice together? But there is one problem... Mahogany is very formal, and our little house is not formal. We're not formal. Although, I like to think home is kind of an elegant country casual...yes, my own term. Plus, I don't want everything to be matchy-matchy.

So what am I going to do? I actually have a plan. I'm hoping it will work out, because I haven't found any inspiration pictures that look anything like I'm thinking. All the mismatched dining sets I've found have casual tables, and our table will be formal.

Jim's old table and chairs
I think that getting mahogany chairs--although it would look beautiful--would be too formal; plus, finding six matching chairs would be really hard. Like I said, it's just not our style, but we have some chairs from Jim's old dining room set. We've sold the table, but we still have the chairs. They're heavy, and they're totally the wrong kind of wood. So this is what I'm thinking... What if I painted them white, and then got a bench like the one below?

Dining bench
Found on the Kmart website
I found this bench on the Kmart website. It shows the look I was thinking of to go with the table. Between the antique table, the old chairs and the new bench, I think I could get the eclectic country look I want.

The reason I'm thinking about getting a bench is because the dining area in our kitchen isn't very large, and because we rarely have people over.  The bench could be pushed completely under the table, which would open up a little more room to get around the table.

The more I think about this, the more excited I'm getting. I wish I could move it into the kitchen right now!!

So what do you think of my Craigslist find and my ideas?  Do you have any other ideas that might work for the table?

Oh! I didn't show you the picture with all the orbs!  Here it is!

Table with orbs
Picture from the ad with orbs.
We brought the table in tonight to take a look at how it would fit in the dining area.  It's a little larger than what I thought it would be, but I think it is actually going to give the room more of the cottage country look that we wanted. Our other table is just so new looking, and we do like the antique look of it.  So, Jim has been busily replacing missing hardware, and I've been cleaning all the dust and grime off it. I can already tell it is liking its new home. You can see that its already feeling loved again.

Antique mahogany table
Seeing how it fits in our kitchen dining area
Here it is in dining area, with the legs on the correct way. This is before being cleaned up.  We may possibly end up painting after all, because a lot more of the veneer is missing than we originally thought, but we'll know better as we go along. My original bench idea, might not work...

Close-up of legs
OH! and notice... No orbs on the pictures I took. I think it's safe to say there are no spirits attached to this table. But then again, maybe they're just so glad the table is being loved and going to be beautiful again that they've decided not to reveal themselves!

Our Green Front Door

When we resided the house, we also replaced the doors, which was a huge improvement to the curb appeal of our house. We still have a long way to go, a new front porch, a side deck, landscaping, etc. You get the picture; it's a work in progress.

House number on door
Sneak peek of door after
When we bought the doors, I wanted them to be dark. I saw a wonderful picture of a door that looked like oil rubbed bronze with white trim, and it looked so elegant. So, before our front door was hung, I carefully painted it a dark oil rubbed bronze color, and it looked great. That is until it was hung. Okay...gotta admit, elegant doesn't work with our little house. The picture didn't have a screen/storm door, something we can't go without. In the picture the door really stood out, but on our house, the dark door made the front entrance look like a black hole--not very inviting at all!

Siding going on house
See what I mean about a black hole?
Knowing I wanted to make a change, I started looking for other inspiration pictures to choose a different color. I knew I didn't want red, because our next door neighbor has red accents on her house. I didn't think yellow would look good with our sand colored siding.  Jim didn't like the idea of blue.  Then I saw this picture of Maria Killam's front door, and I thought, "perfect!"

Her house is similar in color to ours, she has a storm door like we have, and her door doesn't look like a black hole!  I asked Jim what he thought about a green door, and he was good with that, so then I just had to find the right color green. 

I thought I wanted a clean apple green, because I think that's such a pretty color.  But you know what?  When the door was open, the color looked awful in our house, and I realized in the summer we have the door open a lot. Whatever color I chose, it had to look good with the outside and with the inside. That complicated it.

I brought home a lot of paint chips in colors I thought I would like. Some where dirty, muted greens, others were bright vibrant greens. I asked Jim what he thought, and he liked the muted greens better, but I was drawn to the vibrant greens.  In the end, I decided the muted greens went better inside and outside, so I chose Valspar Olive Garden, and I love it!

Stenciled house number
Newly painted front door.
As you can see, we still have to build the porch, but the door looks so inviting.  The Olive Garden color is just so perfect. It's soft, not jarring, but yet it is still vibrant enough that it's brightened up the front entrance. The other nice thing about it is it goes with everything. See how nice it looks with my fall wreath? Christmas red decorations are going to look great with it, spring decorations will look great... It's a color that just blends with nature, and I think that's what makes it a perfect color. 

This was my first attempt at painting the numbers...
It was temporary, because the paint was craft paint that wasn't permanent. 
I painted the house number on our door, and let me tell you, that was a challenge.  I had to make my own stencil to paint them. I found a font I liked, and printed them in Word. They look cottagy (is that a word?) with a modern twist. Then I had to cut them out. It took a lot of trial and error, but I think the numbers turned out well.  I used the same oil rubbed bronze for the numbers that the door used to be painted. I think it's a great tie-in with our oil rubbed bronze light fixtures.  The final product turned out much better, because I used spray paint instead of craft paint. 

Another view of the door.
Jim really liked the numbers painted on the door. The only issue we have with the placement of the house number is at night, the crossbar of the storm door puts a shadow over the numbers that makes it hard to read them at night. However, I think I have a solution to that, but I haven't shared it with Jim yet, so I'll have to wait to share that with you.

Have any of you painted your front door?  What color did you choose?

My Weekend Project

Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, I just got tired of my coffee table. I had just had enough of the orange colored finish.

I've had this coffee table for four years. When I got it the price was right--FREE! Someone had thrown it away at the apartment complex where I lived at the time. I remember how excited I was, because I didn't have a coffee table at the time, and I loved the curvy legs. I know why the previous owners threw it away, though. The finish was marred all over with white water marks. But I didn't care, because I knew a little mayonnaise, baking soda, and a hair dryer would remove those fairly easily.

Anyway, one thing that I was never terrible thrilled with was the orange finish. It's a pine top, and for some reason, all manufacturers seem to stain pine that icky orange color. I lived with it for four years. I had plans to do a cool design on it like this table that my good friend over at Red Hen Home did. I just love it! I even printed out a large scale print of that graphic to transfer to my table... I love the look, and I admire her ability to painstakingly paint each of those letters and design details, but sadly, I just didn't have the patience to do it myself.

Red Hen Home
So...I had Jim help me carry the table outdoors, and I then proceeded to sand off the finish.

coffee table needs refinishing
Before Sanding
Before Sanding 
Do you see how orange the finish is?  Yuck! You also can't see that the finish was starting to wear off on one of the corners, which drove me nuts to no end.  I was always trying to get that one corner to match, but of course, I never could.

Admittedly, this table would have been perfect for the French chocolate advertising graphic...I'm kind of sad I didn't do it. But, on the other hand, my coffee table is usually used as my desk, so I wouldn't have seen the graphic anyway, unless I cleared off the table.

Sanding the finish was a pain! I used our mouse sander, which made it a bit easier, but factory finishes are killer to get off. Of course, it would have come off faster if I had had the correct grit of sand paper, but I wanted to get it done and didn't want to take the time to drive to the store to get the right paper. It took longer, but it did work.  Sorry, no pictures of the sanding process, because I didn't think about it when I was covered with dust.

Our beautiful mahogany library table--inspiration for our coffee table
 Once it was sanded, I used some stain that we had left over from when my dad finished this table for us. This is the first piece of furniture Jim and I bought together. I've shown it to you probably a million times. But it's solid mahogany, and gorgeous. I decided our coffee table would look wonderful that color.

Here is the coffee table stained.  I was really worried when I finished staining it, because the knots in the pine were so shiny and still looked orange!  Ugh! I had ruined it!  I couldn't sand it down any further, because I had already sanded past the veneer in one spot! The only thing I could do was pray that the clear coat would make it look better. But I couldn't do that until the next day, because I had to let the stain completely dry.

Fortunately, the clear coat made a HUGE difference, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out!!!

Newly stained coffee table top
Finished and beautiful!
Well, as always, I try to give you a side by side so you can see the difference, so I'll do it again!

Pine coffee table to refinish

Refinished pine coffee table
Better, don't you think?

What do you think I should do with our bedroom?

I know you've all felt it... That urge to redecorate and make changes...  Well, I'm starting to feel that urge again, and it's our bedroom that I'm getting the urge to change.  Of course, paint will be involved--that's a given. I have some ideas of what I'd like to do, but I thought I'd ask what you would do if you were decorating our bedroom.

Here are some pictures...

As you can see, the bedroom is so small that the night stands have to face the bed in order to fit. Believe it or not, the drawers actually open all the way, but they're not easy to get into.

The picture above was taken from the doorway. There is a window behind the bed, but it is off-center, so I hung the curtain all the way across so it's not noticeable.

The furniture was purchased by Jim when he had a larger bedroom, so it is really too large for our small room. It's not great quality, but we can't afford to replace it right now. Jim has said that it is okay to paint it though, so if you have any ideas that include painting--fire away!

Jasper loves sitting on the headboard. You can kind of see the window between the curtains. Take a look at the picture on the wall. I absolutely love that picture and it has to be incorporated in any ideas...

This is the bedroom floorplan, so you can see it is oddly shaped.  The green squares are electrical outlets. The yellow square is where the ceiling fan is located. The black lines indicate exterior walls, the brown lines are interior walls, and the white areas are doors or windows....  The bed is against the wall to the right. 

There you have it... Give me your ideas. What would you do? Can't wait to see what you come up with!!! 

New Sofa! It's here!!!

I'm so excited!  We got our new sofa today, and I love it! It looks just like I imagined it would look in our living room.

It's actually the same size as our old black leather couch, but this one has exposed legs that let you see the floor underneath it, and it doesn't have the large arms. It just makes our living room feel so much larger, and it's so much brighter. (I have to get new batteries for my camera, so the picture isn't as clear as I'd like, but I can't change the settings without it turning off!)

New sofa
Isn't it beautiful??? We paid extra for the fabric protection, and we were surprised to find out it was still wet from it when we got it home. There are still a few damp spots, but it's drying out.

Do you remember our old couch? Here's a picture of it.

Old couch.
See how dark and heavy everything looked?  See how large the arms were. Tia's going to miss those arms, because she'd always lay on one of them to look out the window. No room for that on the new sofa! Looking at this picture, I'm feeling a little sentimental. I fell asleep on that couch the first time Jim ever brought me home to his house. The old  couch was super comfortable for naps.

Did you notice that the artwork changed? The dark pictures worked really well with the old sofa, but they would have been too dark for the new one. So this past week I worked on changing them. When Mom and I went to the fabric store, I found this beautiful green fabric in the clearance rack, and I got the idea to use fabric in the old picture frames.

Artwork for the living room
I'm really please with how the picture above turned out with the fabric behind them. I had taken some pictures of how I put them together, but as I mentioned, my camera needs new batteries and I lost them. And, because they were kind of a pain to get lined up evenly in the frames, I'm not going to take them apart to retake the pictures!!! Sorry!

Here's a closer look at the art...

Artwork all finished.
These weren't easy to put together. The fabric kept fraying. The pictures wouldn't stick to the flocked black paper. Everything kept twisting in the frames. They're still not perfect, but I guess everything can't be perfect.  I think what I really like about them is no one else has artwork just like them, and they look so nice with the new sofa.

Wider view of the room.
Everything looks so nice together.  I'm so happy with it!  There are a few more things I want to do. One of those things is repainting the living room, but I know Jim will not go for that for quite some time! So for now I'm just going to enjoy our new sofa!!!

So what do you think of everything?  Looks better don't you think?

Tweaking Artwork for the Living Room

After my post yesterday, I was really thinking about making those prints I made square instead of rectangular. Now I have them both ways.  I think what I'm going to have to do is have them all printed, and then decide which look better in the actual frames.

Here's the final look both ways:


Now that I'm looking at them together, I'm leaning towards the rectangular shape. That just looks more vintage to my eye. They kind of remind me of antique seed packet pictures. But, then again, I did have a suggestion to go with something more contemporary, and the shape of the square ones would fulfill that suggestion.

I don't know. I'm more confused than ever now!  What do you think?

Art for over the sofa... Possibly

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet..." 
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Rather than sharing a quote that I've used in a graphic that you can download, I thought I share the art I've been working on using vintage public domain artwork from various sources.  I'm pretty sure are what I'm going to use above my sofa.

I used a program called Paint.net to create them. It's very easy to use and free to download. I used it to create the header for my blog also. I had a lot of fun designing them, pulling the different elements together. I don't know if this will be the way they will be arranged or not, but right now I kind of like this layout. I had a lot of fun designing them.

I just have to figure out where I'm going to have them printed, because I want them to be really high quality. That means I won't be printing them here at home, even though that would be less expensive. Any suggestions on where I can get them done on the cheap?

Now that I'm looking at them all together, I might tweak them a bit... The frames are 12"x12".  It might be nice to make these pictures square rather than rectangular. I hadn't even considered making them square until now. When I started designing them, I was thinking about using my printer paper. I just realized I don't have to be locked into anything since I was planning on trimming them anyway. They can be any shape I want, especially since I'm not going to print them here.

Well, I have a few weeks to decide, because the sofa won't be here for three to five weeks.  Whatever I decide, I think this is the feel I want to go with. They're cheerful, and I think they will help brighten the room. Plus it's cohesive with artwork that we already have in the room.

What do you think?  Do you like them?

I ordered my green sofa... Now what????

I'm so excited!  I ordered my beautiful sofa in Corey Herb fabric, and it will be here in three to five weeks. Now I'm unsure about decorating with a green sofa.  I've done some searching online, but there's not a lot of advice specifically for decorating with a green sofa.

I'm not sure why I'm unsure about this. In the past, I've had a sofa that was blue, I've had a sofa that was floral with lots of muted colors, and for the past three years, I've had a black leather sofa. Why am I suddenly nervous about having a green sofa that is actually a neutral color?

Here's a picture of the fabric, although this looks a little more olive colored than the actual sample looked. I think it is going to be very easy to coordinate other colors with, because it is a neutral. I am concerned about cleaning it though, as it specifies that it shouldn't be cleaned with water. It's a microfiber, which my research says is good to use with pets.

Anyway, back to my decorating dilemma. I think I know what my problem is. I've been working with dark colors for three years now, and my original plans for the living room were based on dark furniture. Now, all the sudden, all the furniture we're getting is light colored, but nothing else except the furniture is changing.

Jim has already said no the repainting the walls. And I can understand that. They were only painted three years ago, and he likes the TV against the dark color. But something needs to be done to make the light furniture look right in the living room... I was a little worried about the wall color, but I have pillows that are going to tie the color of the walls, the color of Jim's new recliner and the color of the sofa all together.

I think I will need to change the artwork above the sofa... This is what's there now. It looks great with the black sofa, but I think the pictures are going to be too dark once the green sofa is in place. The black frames are okay, because I have other pictures in the room with black frames.

I'm thinking maybe a group of pictures something like the one above. What do you think? I got the picture in the center off GraphicsFairy.com.  If I got some scrapbook paper for the background that pulled had a texture like the background in this picture with the black frames, I think it might look really good.

Well... In any event, I have three to five weeks to figure it out.  Any ideas would be so appreciated!!!

Remodeled Medicine Cabinet

Our remodeled medicine cabinet
When we started thinking about our bathroom renovation, I knew a new medicine cabinet would have to be included, because our old one was beyond ugly.  I also knew that since I wanted the beadboard wainscot higher than standard wainscot, that the medicine cabinet would have to be selected first, because the beadboard and molding would have cut around it.

You can see how Jim cut and fit the molding and beadboard around our medicine cabinet. He did a wonderful job making it all look seamless.

Side that everyone sees. Jim did a nice job! 
Back corner that no one sees unless they look.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before Jim did all that wonderful work on the molding and wainscot, I had to find a new medicine cabinet. I just wasn't finding anything in the budget that came close to what I had in mind. You see, I had seen all of your wonderful custom medicine cabinets, and I really, really wanted something as nice as all of yours.

Dreams of all your beautiful bathrooms were floating through my head when we were taking everything out of the bathroom, and that's when I started to really look at the cabinet we had over the toilet. It was constructed well. It was a nice size. If we added another shelf it would hold all our things. I could probably find a framed mirror that would cover the whole length of it to use as a door...hmmm... That could work... A nice big medicine cabinet with one nice big mirror instead of three skinny doors and mirrors.

Cabinet over the toilet
Unfortunately, finding a standard mirror the right size was next to impossible! We'd have to do something custom to make it work.

I shared the idea with Jim, and let's just say he wasn't terribly enthusiastic about it at first. He couldn't see my vision for it. He did, however, like the idea of saving money and of making the door himself. He likes doing that kind of stuff, and adding the extra shelf was simple enough.

Once he was on board with the idea, he and I did butt heads a little on the design.  I wanted one single door with a large mirror. He said that size door was too big for our bathroom, it would get in the way, and hit the towel ring. I did not want two doors, because then there would be a frame going down the middle between the two doors and both mirrors would be so small they would basically be unusable. However, I could see his point about opening out too far into the room.

While we were debating what we were going to do about a door for the cabinet, Jim hung it without doors to measure for the wainscot. It was taken down a couple times to do the painting and stuff, but putting it up and measuring for it locked us into using that cabinet, and we still had no idea what we were going to do about a door.

Then I found a medicine cabinet online, that became my inspiration. I didn't care for the Greek key detail, but that was inconsequential. The design idea was what was important. If we had two doors that weren't the same size, that would make both of us happy. I'd have the large mirror I dreamed of, and Jim would have the two doors that were more practical. In my mind that would definitely work. I showed the picture to Jim, and again, he wasn't terribly enthusiastic, because it meant more complex measuring to make it work. But he agreed it was a good compromise.

Again we butted heads on the dimensions of the doors, but needless to say, we finally agreed. He made it all work, and he did a fantastic job. We actually worked pretty well as a team on this project, although Jim did hardest part of building the doors.  He's very proud of how they turned out, which he should be!

We had talked about having beadboard in the frame of the smaller door, but we didn't have enough left over, and buying more would have been a waste. Instead, we chose the appliques together, and I think they blend nicely with the applique I added to the vanity cabinet. We also talked about antiquing the cabinet, but in the end, we decided to let the vanity cabinet be distinct in that regard and have the medicine cabinet look fresh and crisp.

Having two doors is working beautifully. You can see how well they're working in the following pictures. We decided to use three hinges on each door instead of two for a little added strength because the doors Jim made were longer and a bit heavier than the original doors.

Small door
 See how the small door just barely hits the towel ring? That was one of Jim's concerns, and honestly, he was right--the mirror could have easily been broken if someone had not been careful about banging it against the towel ring.

Large door
I just added the hooks for Jim's razor this past weekend. There is a cup I want to attach to the door also to hold a daily prescription that keeps getting buried in the back of the cabinet. My hope is by having it right on the door that it won't be forgotten as often as it has been in the past.

Inside with four shelves
As you can see, the fourth shelf really added to the amount of storage we have. We've never seen a medicine cabinet with four shelves, and honestly, I don't understand why someone hasn't thought of it before.  It's so practical. It is really amazing how much better everything is from what we had before...

Shall we take a trip down memory lane?

Old Medicine Cabinet
New Medicine Cabinet
And let's not forget the transformation of the old cabinet that was over the toilet that became our medicine cabinet...  Its transformation was quite stunning with a fresh coat of paint and two new, beautiful doors.

Before Transformation
After Transformation
I cringe every time I look at the before pictures! It's so hard to imagine how awful our bathroom was before now that we've had our nice bright one for a few weeks.  Isn't it funny how quickly you can forget?

I just love our new bathroom. With a few modifications of my vision, it turned it out exactly how I imagined it.