Posts Tagged ‘Furniture’

Many months ago, I painted the first of two bookcases white.  I got them from a colleague when he moved, and I planned to paint them and put them in the living room.  I promptly sanded both, primed/painted one, and decided I hated the project.  Not the outcome–I liked that–but the actual doing of the project.  It was annoying to do so many coats, and it was uncomfortable work reaching into the corners.  There wasn’t a great place in the house to do it, either (i.e., well lit, spacious, and not requiring me to drag a bookcase up and down stairs).  And so, once I finished the first one, there we sat like this for more months than I will count for you:

In fact, I disliked the project so much that <confession alert> the shelves in the above pic were actually only primed.  Christmas was coming, I ran out of time, so I slapped them up for the holidays with just primer on them, all “oh, I’ll paint them in January when things die down!”  Yep.  Two or three Januarys later… ahem.

Anyway, this spring I finally got myself in gear to finish things up, and I enjoyed measurable success.  To wit:

DSC_0160Ta-da!  I promise, all the shelves are actually painted now.  I even ordered new hinges and pulls for the doors for the lower portions.  But after I finished the bookcases themselves, I got involved in painting the front door purple, and then painting a bunch of trim in the house white, and I still haven’t primed or painted the doors to the bottoms.  You can see them leaning against the wall and against the piano.  I think I deserve maybe 85% credit here?  Maybe 90%  Roughly a B?

I would tell you I’ll definitely have those doors on by Christmas 2014, but I don’t like lying.  So I’ll just say I hope to have the doors on by Christmas 2014.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying the product of my baby steps!



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Our second guest room has a real double bed now – no headboard, but box spring and mattress.

I look forward to eventually replacing the carpet – so much green! – but hopefully our guests are here to see us and not our carpet anyway.  This puts us to two guest rooms with double beds, plus the air bed that used to be in here.  Like I said in the last post, looks like time to host a party 🙂

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It occurred to me that it’s been a while since I’ve posted any pictures of our family room. Although none of the updates are brand new, I figured it’s time to get around to showing them off!

1.  Media cabinet

The biggest change happened in December, when our media cabinet was delivered.  Ta-da!

For all the furniture in our house, it’s the first piece we’ve picked out and bought because it was exactly what we wanted.  Exciting.

We’ve intended to buy a media cabinet to house the receiver, cable set top box, Blu-Ray player, etc. since we bought our current TV and wall-mounted it.  That was, ahem, almost 3 years ago.  We finally decided to start seriously looking when we knew Marcy would be joining the family.  All those accessible wires under the sofa table seemed like a puppy dream – and a puppy parent nightmare.

We shopped pretty extensively, online and in store, across a variety of price points.  We ended up splurging a little on the piece we chose.  It is an Ethan Allen piece, the Jason buffet with glass on 2 doors (it’s also available with 4 wood panel doors) in the caraway finish.  It came about 2 weeks sooner than promised when we ordered.  In an ideal world, we might have found a piece that sat flush with the floor rather than on legs, so tennis balls (and paws) wouldn’t find their way under.  But such a piece was not to be found.  The legs on this piece are removable, but there’s a support piece under the rear middle that prevents it from sitting flat on the floor.  Unless we have as yet unforseen trouble with the legs, we’ll leave it as is.

2.  Pillow covers

I used leftover fabric from re-covering the dining room chairs to cover the throw pillows on the couch, two each in hounds tooth and paisley.

3.  Table runner for the media cabinet

I found enough of the hounds tooth fabric still at Joanne Fabrics (on sale, woot!) to sew a table runner for the top of the media cabinet.

4.  The puppy gate

The gate was a custom made birthday present from my dad.  We’d been keeping a baby gate leaning in that corner for the occasions on which we needed to keep Guin in one room – because we were brewing beer, moving groceries in/out, painting, trick or treaters were at the door, etc.  That gate became a full time thing when Marcy came home, until she gets a little older and a little more reliable with the house training.  I thought a permanent gate would be a useful thing to have, but I didn’t want anything that would restrict the width of the doorway.  Dad made the sliding gate out of cherry, and mounted it to the studs under the cutout.  Permanent puppy (and little kid) boundary!

5.  Recessed lighting and surround sound wiring/speaker installation

These were actually two separate projects, that happened a couple years ago.  I started a post on the project a long time ago, but I never got around to finishing it.  So, white flag.  In brief, since there is attic space above the family room, we were able to go up and relatively easily run the wiring for 5 recessed lighting cans, and rear and overhead speakers.  The 5 lights are on 3 switches – one for the row over the TV/media cabinet, one for the row nearest the exterior glass door, and one for the one spotlighting the fireplace.  The lights are all on dimmers, which makes for great “movie theater lighting.”

Eventually, we’re looking forward to a new sofa (brown leather?) and coffee table.  The ones we have are serviceable, but they were hand-me-downs and are showing their age a bit.

We’re going to hold on new leather furniture, though, until Miss Marcy outgrows some of the fiendish puppy chewing.

I’m also feeling a little undecided about whether the walls need something.  Looking at most of the photos above, I think they do.  But I like keeping the fireplace the center of the room, so we’ll see.

So there you have it, that’s our family room these days!  To wrap up, since today is Sunday,

Happy Sundogs!


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In the last almost 4 years we’ve been married, we’ve never really gotten around to buying bedroom furniture.  For the most part, that’s been fine.  It’s not a room that most people see (well, except blog readers and us!).  We bought the essentials, a queen mattress and box spring, and a metal frame to pick them up off the floor, an inexpensive dresser, and a freestanding full length mirror from Target.  Combined with a handed down armoire and nightstand, and we had the basics.  Other rooms ranked much higher on the furnishing priority list.

As the last few years have gone by, though, my satisfaction waned with the situation.  I really wanted a bed.  A real bed.  With a headboard to lean against to read, and a footboard to keep the comforter off the floor (and ahem, out from under Guinness’ lounging furry self).

I tried really hard to convince myself not to give in, to wait until we were ready to buy an actual bedroom set.  It’s inefficient to bring in an imperfect piece of furniture only to replace in a few years.  But the last couple years since we’ve been in this house has made clear that we aren’t getting much closer to shopping for that bedroom set.  New priorities – house related, and non-house related – keep cropping up.  And that nagging want for a real bed remained.

So, after months of trolling Craig’s List, and a few listings that I lost out on to someone faster, this weekend we found, saw, and bought a bed frame!


I’d been looking for a slatted mission/shaker style bed, preferably with an arched head- and footboard.  Those don’t seem to come up very often.  I saw this one, though, the price was right, and it was awfully close to the target.

After we got it all set up, I was really glad we did it.  It is delightful to have side rails that take the place of a bed skirt.  What with sharing a bedroom with this character:

ease of vacuuming is a big plus.  The too-long bedskirt that we’ve used for the last few years was not a win on that count; it needed to be hoisted up to vacuum under.  Plus, it just looked sloppy and too big.   It just wasn’t working for me.  The footboard keeps the comforter from slipping off the foot of the bed and becoming a de facto dog bed, and the headboard keeps the pillows from doing the same thing at the head.  Reading in bed is a lot more comfortable, too.

There were a few things that surprised me, though.

– the headboard is really tall!

– it’s a lot bigger than the bare metal frame was.  There’s less room to walk around, even though it’s exactly the same mattress & box spring we’ve always had.  I was not anticipating that.

– we’ll need even tinier night stands than I’d expected as a result.

All in all, though, a very exciting second hand purchase!  Another score for Craig’s List.

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As I posted last spring, our collection of dining chairs has been a little mismatched and worn.  We had 4 with faded velvet upholstered seats in generally good condition, and 3 with vinyl seat covers (2 red and 1 white), and at least their fair share of cracks and chips in the wood:

…neither of which matched each other or in here:

especially post re-decoration.  We also had two smaller maple dining chairs without any seat coverings.

I bought fabric to redo the chairs back when we were picking out paint and curtains, and finally got around to recovering them for the holidays.  The figure-8 chairs were fine with just a fabric swap.  The other 3 needed a little more work in addition to the new fabric:  they needed new foam padding, a few wood repairs, and a paint job to hide the repairs.

The sanding, repairing, sanding, priming, and painting went smoothly enough.  It was just a huge time sink.  I used adhesion primer and satin finish enamel, and did it with a brush for corners, and a 2″ foam roller for straight pieces.  Each coat took about an hour per chair.

For the seats, rather than upholstery tacks, we stapled the material to the underside of the seats.  We ended up needing to go with smaller sized staples (smaller gauge and shorter) to get them sunken in far enough, but it wasn’t hard.  Having 2 people helped too – one to stretch the new material over the padding and seat, the other to staple it down.  You want it to be as tight as possible to avoid creases when people sit on it later.

The end result was pretty exciting:  something I could allege in vague terms looks like a “set” of 7 chairs!

Whee!  And I didn’t actually buy any of them!  Awesome.

I confess I cheated, and only got to one coat of black satin finish enamel before the holidays.  The chairs had to be pressed into service, so I put them back together as they were.  I’ll need to take them apart for a 2nd coat after the holidays.  I discovered that I would’ve needed to do it anyway, though, because I think I need to do a coat or two of polyurethane over the paint.  There were a couple spots where the black paint left marks on my newly painted white chair rail and molding, so I obviously need to add a protective coat to keep that from being an ongoing issue.

All in all, though, it was one of those “why didn’t I do this sooner?” kinds of projects.  Pretty good bang for the buck (and the effort!).

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Continued from here and here

The legs of my end tables took 3 coats of paint to cover the primer completely.  Partway through the project, it occurred to me that it might not have been a well thought out decision to use a high gloss black paint and a satin finish polyurethane.  Alas.  I decided to finish them, bring them upstairs, and see how I liked them once we’d lived with them for a while.

Amerock  Antique Nickel 1-1/4" Leaf Knob

Once the enamel paint hardened, I replaced the knobs on the drawer fronts with new nickel pulls, and we were in business.

Admittedly the tables spent a couple weeks in the basement while we worked on the living room that they’d ultimately go into.  Now they’re upstairs, so it’s time…

Ta Da!  World, meet our “new” end tables:

I think the verdict is that I probably wouldn’t combine the high gloss and satin again, but they’ll be fine as they are.  Overall, I’m happy with how they came out, and very pleased with my first staining project.  This part makes me even happier with it:

Total cost of the project:

  • 2 end tables listed on Craig’s List – $30
  • 2 antique nickel pulls – $8
  • 1 half pint stain – $5
  • 1 half pint polyurethane – $5
  • 1 quart primer (to be shared with other projects) – $15
  • 1 quart black paint (to be shared with other projects) – $15
  • sandpaper – about $8 worth

So we’re looking at a total cost, excluding hours of my time, of about $86 for these tables, or $43 each.

Then and Now

Beat that, overstock.com:

L to R: Talisman 1-drawer End Table, $146.99 each; Yarra One-drawer Side Table, $159.99 each; Mission Solid Oak End Table, $327.99 each.

or Target:

Unfinished End Table with Drawer, $159.99 each (!!)

Game, set, and match to Craig’s List and my refinish job.  Sweet!

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It’s been a works-in-progress weekend at Guin’s Yard!

On Saturday, the dining room project started in earnest.   The wallpaper came down, making it a little less “off to see the wizard!” in the unflattering Emerald City kind of way.

For 25 year old wallpaper, it came off pretty well, and I’m pretty psyched to offer that anyone who wants my wallpaper steamer, let me know – because we now have a wallpaper-free house!


…and after:

At least in person, it looks strangely larger without the dark wallpaper.  There will be some wall repair; in a number of places the wallpaper took the underlying primer with it, but not too terribly much sheetrock damage.  It should be ready to prime and paint in a week or so’s time.

Speaking of painting, we’re making progress on settling the colors for the dining and living rooms.  We have big squares of test colors on the walls to help us decide:

From here, we narrowed things down:  the green in the upper right (SW Willow Tree) is out; the pale blue gray in the upper left (SW Sea Salt) is in for the living room and top of the dining room.  One of the two bottom colors (SW Silvermist, right; SW Oyster Bay, left) will go below the chair rail in the dining room.  But which one?

I couldn’t decide, so I painted more squares.  (Silvermist is on the left; Oyster Bay on the right.)  Guess what?  Still can’t decide… so I guess I can’t make a bad decision.

That little fabric square in the middle is the curtain swatch.  I ordered the curtains for the living & dining room, plus a fabric-bordered bamboo roman shade for over the kitchen sink on Saturday.  They should be here in 10 days or so!

Since I haven’t shown off the fabric draped on the back of the couch yet, I’ll do that now:

Three cheers for Joann Fabrics sales.  These four coordinating fabrics will be used to re-cover the seats on the dining chairs (set of 4 and set of 3), cover throw pillows for the couch (living room?  family room?  both?), and re-cover the stools that tuck under the sofa table (in the family room).  I’m excited to see them redone!

I also got the first coat of black paint on the legs of my end table project.  After six coats of polyurethane, I deemed the tops done:

and set up shop in the basement with primer and then black paint:

It’ll be another ?2 coats of black paint to finish, but they’re well on their way.  I’m really happy with how they’re coming along.

Finally, since the weekend wasn’t full enough (!?), we went to look at carpet for the living & dining rooms.  We’re finally getting around to doing that — although maybe just these two rooms for now.  We brought one of the sample boards home to stew over.  We’re still thinking berber, to hide traffic patterns (read:  Puppyapolis 500 loops) a little better than plush.

Since we want to use the same carpet throughout the carpeted rooms in the house, that knocks a lot of the colors out of the running.  “Golden retriever neutral” is the plan.

I’m thinking “Ecru,” 2nd from left in the top row.  Maybe.  (Since I’m doing so well with decisionmaking this weekend.)  I need to stare at it in a couple of different light situations to be sure.

At any rate, I didn’t finish a darn thing this weekend, which can sometimes be frustrating.  The house looks worse now than when I started, because the living room is piled with dining room furniture, the lamps are on the floor (because the end tables are belly up in the basement), and things are generally running amok.  But it still feels nice to be making measurable progress toward the rooms that I see in my imagination.  It also feels nice, when the world gets a little crazy, to be able to pick up a paint brush and just go change something.  I like having the space (and the to do list!) to do that.

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