Monday, October 21, 2013

PB Project Table Knock Off

Since I always seem to have some kind of "project" in the works, having a dedicated work space is a real luxury. It makes life so much easier to have all my materials and supplies close at hand and a comfortable surface to work on. And if it can be aesthetically pleasing--so much the better! 

We had a room in our house that we weren't using for anything but a repository for unwanted junk that we hadn't gotten around to getting rid of. A total waste of space. I decided it would be the perfect spot for the project room I wanted. There were just a couple of obstacles. First, I'd have to get rid of all the junk in the room and then I would have to furnish it to meet my needs.  I needed plenty of storage for supplies and a work table for projects. Storage space was a no-brainer--Ikea Expedit to the rescue. I purchased two white units that fit perfectly into the space for $70 each. Off to a good start. 

Then I found this Whitney Project Table at Pottery Barn. It was just the look I wanted. Perfect, right? Right, except for the $999 price tag. So much for that idea.

At the same time I was looking for the new furniture to outfit my project room, I was trying to get rid of the old crappy stuff that was in there taking up space. Case in point: this desk: 

We no longer needed it and I wasn't keen on the dated rustic/Mexican/Tuscany-ish vibe it had going. I couldn't picture using it anywhere in our house. So I posted it on Craig's List for $40 and (surprisingly enough) there were no takers. More frustration!

Then suddenly it hit me--my two problems had one solution. I could turn the old icky desk into the project table of my dreams. Skeptical? Well take a look:

Not bad, huh? And instead of spending a thousand bucks, it was practically free. Keep reading for the how-to's.

I wanted to emulate the PB table as much as possible, so I decided to paint everything but the table surface and then try to figure out how to get the surface to look like the inspiration. The painting part was beyond easy. I had some left over white paint, so I just removed the hardware and slapped on two coats.

The table surface was pretty bad. First it was not in great shape. It was made out of soft pine and had plenty of dents and scrapes. Plus it was a weird yellowy color. 

I decided it would be hopeless to try to create a smooth, perfect surface, so I opted to go with a rougher, reclaimed wood look. On a whim, I picked up some Watco Danish Oil in dark walnut for $8. I used an old rag to wipe it on. After letting it soak in for a while, I wiped off the excess. It looked so much better!

Next I needed to deal with the hardware. I really hated the original drawer pull and I wanted something more like my inspiration. The only problem was I needed to cover the holes left by the original hardware. I ended up finding this bin pull at Home Depot for $2 that completely covered the existing holes.

And that was pretty much it! I was very happy with the way it came out and with the fact that I was able to recycle a piece of furniture that I would otherwise have gotten rid of. 

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Shopping Outside the Box

I've noticed that there are certain stores I hit on a regular basis (Home Goods, World Market, Pottery Barn, Ikea). Whether I'm looking to buy or just shopping for inspiration, those are my go-to spots. I keep going back because I know there's a good chance I'll find something I like that fits my style. I tend to forget there are lots of other possibilities out there.

Last weekend, a friend came to town for a visit. On Sunday, we decided to do a little shopping and she requested that we hit some places that aren't on my usual short list. I figured it would be fun to check out something different, but I really didn't expect to see anything that would fit with the relaxed, coastal style I'm drawn to. Boy, was I wrong. Here's a selection of my favorites.

DWR was our first stop. Although the aesthetic is ultra modern, the exquisite design and quality of these pieces would appeal to anyone. There is an emphasis on natural materials and beautifully grained wood. I was immediately drawn to the Easy Chair (top left). The frame is solid oak with the seat and back of woven cord ($3395). Out of my price range, but I'd sure love to have this in the living room of the beach house. The large Oval Bulkhead Light in natural brass (top right) has a classic nautical look. I think it would look great in a stairwell or on a porch ($395). The wool Thatch rug (bottom right) has great texture. In addition to gray, it comes in ivory, mushroom (taupe), and bear (dark brown). A 6 x 9 rug is $920, 8 x 10 is $1380. I am IN LOVE with this 100% Mohair Blanket (bottom left). Available in cream and charcoal, it's a generous 72" x 57".  Give me a glass of wine and a good book and I'd be set ($200). (FYI: DWR is now having their semi-annual sale. Everything is 15% off, including the items listed here).

Our next stop was CB2. Although I usually think of CB2 as being a little too trendy and modern for me, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot to like here, too. I really love this Zinc Hurricane (top left). At 12" tall by 9" wide, it's big enough to make a real statement on a coffee table ($39.95). I was also taken with this Victory Pendant Lamp (top right). Made of iron with a galvanized finish, it's 24.5" in diameter ($179). I spotted this Square Hi-Gloss Swoon tray from across the room. It's a beautiful dark teal color. I think it would work well on a coffee table or a night stand ($29.95). I'm always looking for small side tables. How cute is this Acacia Dot side table? With its 18" stained wood top and the steel base with an antiqued zinc finish, it has a bit of an industrial vibe. It can also pinch-hit as a stool ($199).

West Elm was our final stop of the day. I particularly liked the "Emmerson" collection, which includes tables, bedroom furniture, cabinets, and sideboards handcrafted from reclaimed shipping pallets. The wood is a lovely weathered color, reminiscent of driftwood. Items in this collection would look right at home in a beach house. The small sideboard (top left, $1099) and the coffee table (bottom right, $499) are just two of the items in this collection. Honestly, the pictures don't do them justice. You really have to see these in person to fully appreciate the texture and patina of the wood. West Elm also has a great collection of accessories. I couldn't decide which of these vases was my favorite, so I decided to include them both. These Waterscape vases have a frosted texture like beach glass (center). They come in several shades of blues and greens and in a variety of sizes ($24-$44 depending on size). And then there were these Recycled Glass Jugs (top right). They come in clear, turquoise, and emerald and in two sizes (small $19, large $29). Finally, I can think of about forty different ways I could uses this Oversize Seagrass Basket (bottom left). At  15.25"w x 14.5"d x 18"h it could hold a ton of magazines and newspapers. Or how about by the front door to stash flip flops? Or beach towels? Or laundry in the bathroom? Or firewood in the living room? OK, I'll stop now ($129).

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tips for Buying DIY-able Furniture on Craigslist

I buy most of the furniture I use for DIY projects on Craigslist. I can almost always find what I want at a price I’m willing to pay. Many people, however, are intimidated by Craigslist. They don’t know what to look for or how to find a bargain. They aren't sure about the rules of the game and they’re afraid of making a mistake. So I put this tutorial together to help alleviate some of that anxiety.  I hope you find it helpful. To give you an idea on what's out there, all of the items shown in this post were listed on my local Craigslist today. 

Vintage Dresser with mirror--$50

1. Know what you’re looking for.
Start by envisioning your finished project.  What are the important elements that you need to make your vision a reality? Pay attention to the overall lines, size, and shape. If you’re looking for a dresser, what size? How many drawers? A dining table? What shape? How many people do you need to seat? Check the space where you plan to use the piece. Measure carefully so you know the maximum and minimum dimensions. Keep these dimensions in mind when you peruse the listings.

2. Decide on a price range.
Pricing on Craigslist is all over the place. Most Craigslist sellers aren't professionals and they have no idea what the things they are selling are actually worth.  Price tends to be driven by desperation. When a seller needs to get rid of a piece by tomorrow before the moving van arrives or the new sofa is delivered, the price will be low. On the other hand, when a seller has owned a piece for a long time and has some sentimental attachment to it, the price will be higher. What this means is that you can find very similar pieces at a wide range of prices. I've seen almost identical dressers listed at $40 and $300. I found the three night stands below on my local Craigslist today. As you can see, although the designs are very similar, they differ significantly in terms of price. If you’re willing to take your time, you should be able to find a bargain. Just don’t jump at the first thing you see. I routinely find solid pieces for under $100. It’s a good idea to filter listings by price so you won’t be tempted to go over your budget.  Some sellers are open to negotiating price, but this is more likely to be the case when you’re buying something for $500 than something for $50.

3. To buy or not to buy?
Carefully inspect the piece you’re considering. Recheck the measurements to be sure it will fit. Avoid anything that seems unstable like wobbly chairs and rickety tables. Also avoid dressers with drawers that don’t slide smoothly. They are almost impossible to fix. On the other hand, don’t be concerned about a finish that’s scratched or a weird color—you’ll be changing that anyway. Do check the construction of the piece and the quality of the materials. Avoid anything with particle board or laminate veneer. I always look for older furniture rather than something more recent. The reason? Most furniture, even less expensive pieces, manufactured before the mid 1960’s were made of solid wood. The quality was much better than the moderately- or lower-priced furniture made today.

4. Closing the deal.
Bring cash and don’t expect the seller to make change. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, when you purchase something on Craigslist, you’ll be expected to pick it up and transport it home.  This includes carrying your purchase out of the seller’s house and loading it into your vehicle. Don’t assume that the seller can or will help you. Always bring someone with you to help (a good safety precaution anyway).  

Solid oak chest of drawers--$90

5. General tips.
  • Communicate with the seller. Ask questions about measurements and condition before you commit to seeing an item. Don’t, however, ask for a price reduction before you actually examine the item. If you do ask for a lower price, be reasonable. Don’t offer $10 for something listed at $75.
  • Be responsible. If you contact a seller and arrange a time to look at a piece, don’t be a no-show. If you change your mind, contact the seller and let him/her know.
  • Use common sense. Don’t go alone to a stranger’s house or reveal too much personal information about yourself. When I contact a seller, I use an anonymous email that I use only for Craigslist dealings. I don’t give my last name or address. If I get a weird feeling about a seller I’m communicating with, I drop it and move on.  
  • Bottom line: don’t get discouraged if you can’t find what you want right away. Be patient—it will come along eventually. Happy hunting! 
Vintage chest $40

Solid Oak Pedestal Table with leaf $99
© Salt Marsh Cottage 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cottage Dresser on Knock off Decor

I'm excited to tell you that my Maine Cottage Dresser knock off has been featured on Knock Off Decor! Thank you, Beckie! I'm honored! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Cottage Porches

Is there anything more inviting than a cottage porch? Yes, I know it's October and summer is really over. But before we move on to fall, let's linger for few moments and imagine sitting on a lovely porch with the sun shining, a light breeze, a good book, and a cool glass of lemonade. Here's some inspiration from Pinterest. Enjoy!

Porches don't need to be fancy or expansive. Porches are all about simple pleasures.


And speaking of simple pleasures, it's hard to beat a porch swing.

In addition to swings, there are plenty of other seating options, from chaises to classic Adirondack chairs.

Screened porches create an indoor-outdoor room that can be used comfortably during the day and well into the evening.

Of course, having a porch with a fabulous view doesn't hurt either.


© Salt Marsh Cottage 2013