Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Coastal Basement Project: Progress Report

Well we're making some progress on the basement. You may remember we started work on the basement earlier this year. If you want to see what it looked like when we started, you can see the before photos here. We still have a ways to go, but here's what it looks like now.

We have some of the furniture in, but we still need to get the love seat to match the sleeper sofa and the day bed to fit in the alcove. I just love the stripes on these slipcovers. It's such a classic coastal look.

I added the mantel I picked up at the salvage yard and look how perfectly it fits the electric fireplace! I still need to paint it and I'm going to add some tile to fill the gap between the fireplace and the mantel.

This is looking back toward the stairs. I'm using our old dining table with the faux zinc top so we have a place for playing games and doing puzzles. Here's a close up of the surface.

I pulled this rug from upstairs. I had it under the dining table, but the texture made it hard to slide the chairs in and out. I think it works much better here.

In order to keep things bright, I wanted to use a light color on the walls. This is Horizon by Benjamin Moore. The trim is BM Super White.

I have a lot of wall space to deal with, although my husband has already claimed the spot over the fireplace for a really big TV. I was out antiquing with my friend, D, last week and picked up this vintage oar for $15. I just love the worn paint. I think it will end up going over the sofa. I also have the vintage signs I worked on recently. Last week I picked up some prints at Luckett's Spring Market that I'm in the process of framing.

I hope to have this finished by the end of June. Stayed tuned for more updates.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Get the Look for Less: PB Coastal Dining Room

Hello everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend. I saw this lovely coastal dining room in the Pottery Barn catalog. Wouldn't you just love to bring it all home? Well if you do, just the table, chairs, and chandelier will set you back about $5000. Throw in some accessories and you're closer to $6000. So what can you do if you want this look but don't have that kind of cash? Well here's how you can get this look for a lot less money.

This double pedestal table from Pottery Barn is made of mango wood and has lovely gray wash. This pine table from World Market has a similar look.

These Ikea chairs with full length slipcovers are great stand ins for the PB version that cost more than four times as much.

This wood bead chandelier from World Market is almost exactly the same size as the PB version. The beads are a taupe color with bronze metal accents.

This table runner from World Market looks like a dead ringer for the PB runner, but it's $14 less.

The blue stripes on these World Market napkins are different than the stripes on the PB version, but they're only 1/4 the cost of the PB napkins.

Ikea is a great source for reasonably priced dishes and glassware. Like the PB version, these white dishes have a clean design, but the PB version cost more than three times as much.

The style of the Crate & Barrel hurricanes isn't an exact match for the PB hurricanes, but they're roughly the same size for less than half the price.

If you're looking for large vases that don't cost a fortune, check out Ikea. They have a great selection.

PB has these cute mini starfish vase filler. But check out what they have on Amazon--three times as many for less money. What's not to love?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Vintage Coastal Sign Tutorial

I've been looking for some art work for our newly finished basement and I've been crushing on vintage wood signs. I thought it would be fun to have some really large signs with the names of nearby places, so I decided to try to make my own. Here's the result. Each of these signs are 48" long and 5 1/2" wide.

Check out this texture. 

This is a project I've been working on for the last two weeks. I had a clear vision of what I was trying to create, but it took a lot of trial and error to get there. I found a lot of ways NOT to do this! I finally got it the kinks worked out and I'm ready to share the tutorial. This tutorial does NOT require artistic talent or a fancy cutting machine. Keep reading.

  • Wood--I used 48" 1x6's that I got from the salvage year for $1 each.
  • Sander or sand paper.
  • Paint--I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, Provence, and Aubusson Blue. This project actually takes very little paint, so if you buy the sample size containers, you'll have more than enough.
  • Water-based matte polyurethane--a small can will be plenty.
  • Mod Podge in matte finish.
  • Brushes
  • Engineering print (from Staples) 
  • Plastic cup with water


Step 1: Prepare and paint the board.

  • Sand the board to remove splinters and rough edges. You don't need to go crazy and make it too smooth. You want to leave some imperfections and texture.
  • Paint the board. I used multiple alternating coats of Old White, Provence, and Aubusson Blue.
  • Distress the board. Sand through the finish until you achieve the look you're going for. It's hard to do this wrong. Just keep going until you're happy with the outcome. I finished off with a wash of Old White after I was done with the distressing.
  • Once the paint is completely dry, seal the board with a coat of water based polyurethane.

Step 2: Create the lettering.

For this step you'll need to use PowerPoint. There may be other applications you can use, but this is the only way I know how to do it. This sounds more complicated than it actually is. I just tried to make the instructions very explicit.

  • Open PowerPoint to a blank slide (no formatting).
  • Under the "Design" tab, click on Page Setup. Change the width and height of the slide to exactly match the width and height of your board.
  • Insert a text box. Choose your font (I used Papyrus) and increase the font size to about 200. You'll need to play around with this depending on the size of the board and the font you choose.
  • Type in the words you want on your sign. Increase or decrease the size of the font until it looks right to you. This is exactly how your finished sign will look.
  • When you're happy with everything, click "Save as" and choose JPEG for the file type. This will save your slide as a picture.
  • Open the saved picture with Paint or with your picture manager. Click "Rotate" and select "Flip horizontal." This will create a mirror image of your lettering. Copy this.
  • Go back to PowerPoint and add a new slide. Paste your reverse image into the slide and adjust the size until the reverse lettering fits perfectly into the slide (which is the same size as your board).
  • Save the slide as a PDF file.
  • Send or take the PDF file to your nearest Staples and have the file printed as a black and white engineering print. A 48" x 36" print costs about $7. You can actually print multiple signs on one engineering print. You'll have plenty of room. In fact you might want to have a back up of your lettering just in case something goes wrong.

Step 3: Transfer the lettering to the sign.
  • Cut your engineering print into strips. Dry fit your lettering to the board to make sure everything fits and is centered. You may want to make a light pencil or chalk mark so you'll know how to line it up.
  • Brush a thick, even coat of Mod Podge on the printed side of your lettering.
  • Place the lettering print side down on your board.
  • Now CAREFULLY press down on the letter to make sure it is in contact with the board.You will probably start seeing the lettering come through the paper.Smooth out any wrinkles. The paper is fragile when it's wet and is easily torn. 
  • Let it all dry over night. 

Step 4: Finishing up.
  • Using a paint brush, generously apply water to the paper. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Starting in the middle (NOT at an edge), slowly rub off the paper backing. Use only your fingers and rub in a circular motion. Always rub from the middle toward the edges, not the other way around. No matter how tempting it might be, DO NOT attempt to peel the paper backing off the board. If you do, your lettering will come off. Do not rush this step. It is tedious and messy, but the results will be worth it. You may have to re-wet the paper several times. When the paper is all gone, your lettering will be left behind on the board. Please note, once dry and cured, your lettering will be firmly attached to the board, but while the paper is being removed, if you rub too hard, some of the lettering may come off. If that happens, stop rubbing in that area, but don't panic. You can always touch up any missing spots with a little paint or a sharpie. 
  • When all the paper is removed, let everything dry overnight then finish off with another coat of the water based polyurethane.
  • Finally attach some saw tooth hangers to the back side and hang up your new sign.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make a vintage coastal sign.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thrifty Coastal Finds

Happy weekend everyone!

If you're done with your spring cleaning, you may be looking for some fresh coastal updates for your home. And maybe you don't want to blow the bank. Well I found some really fun options at great price points. And (surprise!) they're all from Amazon. Check it out. Affiliate links included.

Looking for some new wall art? This pretty 16 x 20 canvas is only $40. Don't you just love the colors?

I love this turquoise console table. How cute would this look in the entry to a beach house? The perfect place to drop off keys and mail. $156.

The colors in this 6 x 9 striped rug are so pretty. It's indoor-outdoor so you know it will hold up well. This would be great under a dining table. $115. Yes, for a 6 x 9 rug!

This caged onion table lamp is a coastal classic. It comes in a set of two for $120 (i.e. $60 each).

Outdoor pillows can be so pricey. These blue and white striped pillows are only $25 for both.

Every coffee table needs some eye candy. This pretty book is from Coastal Living has the best title--and beautiful photos. Beach House Happy $27.

I'm a sucker for glass bottles. This set of three decorative bottles is $30.

Even in the summer I like to have a throw blanket to curl up with while I'm watching TV. This one is a beautiful color and because it's made of cotton it's perfect for this time of year. $23.

I love these flameless battery operated lanterns. They're stainless steel and can be used outdoors as well as indoors. $40 for the set of two.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tips for Shopping at a Salvage Yard

If you're a DIYer, lover of vintage, supporter of recycling and reusing, or just plain cheap, you've probably given some thought to visiting a salvage yard or warehouse. You can find these facilities around the country. Habitat ReStore is one of the best known. My personal favorite is Community Forklift in Bladensburg, Maryland. The idea behind these businesses is to salvage materials from construction sites, building demolitions, etc. and resell these materials--often to benefit nonprofit causes. This beats the heck out of this stuff ending up in a landfill and provides the opportunity to pick up some great materials for very little money. If you're looking for reclaimed wood, this is the place to go, not to mention a kazillion other cool things.  I'll tell you straight up--I love these places.However, if you've never ventured into a salvage yard, you may feel a little intimidated or confused. Hopefully I can provide you with some tips that will give you the confidence to dive in.

There are a few things you need to know before you head out the door. First, these places are not like your average Home Depot. They tend to be messy, chaotic, and dirty. Warehouses are unlikely to be heated in the winter or air conditioned in the summer, so dress for the weather.  Wear work clothes that you won't mind getting dirty. And don't even think about wearing flip flops or heels. Use a cross-body bag or carry your things in your pockets. You want to keep your hands free.

Second, you'll be expected to load your finds in your vehicle by yourself. So make sure you have a vehicle that's suitable for transporting large items. I have a station wagon with a roof rack. I also have a selection of kayak tie down straps (affiliate link) that are the bomb for securing stuff to your vehicle. Consider bringing a helper too. The staff is usually not allowed to help customers load, so keep that in mind.

Third, there are a few essentials to bring: a tape measure and work gloves. Like I said, this isn't like Home Depot where the sizes of things are marked. And unless you're fond of splinters, you need the gloves.

I was looking for pieces of reclaimed wood today, but I love just wandering around for inspiration. There was so much cool stuff! These doors were amazing. At least 10 feet tall.

And tons molding and trim.

A huge selection of French doors, some with original wavy glass.

Check out these pieces of an old tin ceiling.

I just loved this vintage stove.

And what about this sink? It could be so awesome in a farmhouse kitchen.

  I could think of some many things to do with these vintage shutters.

They had a great selection of mantels. This is where I found the mantel I'm using in the finished basement.

 Just so much cool stuff.

These old lockers would be so fun in a mud room.

This was a solid chestnut bed. So sweet.

This little cabinet was all metal. Very cool.

I think this little school desk would be so cute in a kid's bedroom or playroom. The top opened up and would be great for storing art supplies.

And check out all this vintage hardware.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Lighting fixtures, tile, windows, flooring, they had it all.

So what do you do once you find something you want to buy? First, put on your gloves and haul it out into the open to do a full inspection. Returns usually aren't an option, so be sure you're aware of any damage or imperfections. Measure everything to be sure it's the right size. Then go grab a dolly and bring your find to the cash register.

After paying, bring your vehicle to the loading dock (if available) and load up. Be sure to secure everything well.

In the end I came home with three pieces of wood and a lot of ideas. I hope this has inspired you to check out a salvage yard near you. Have a great week!