Refinishing a Table For Less (A Colorphobe Tries Some Color)


We found our dining room table – aka “the beast” – at the Pottery Barn Outlet about seven years ago.  It’s HUGE!  And we love it.  They were having a sale, on top of a sale, on top of their already discounted stock, and we managed to score this gorgeous table for pretty cheap.  It had a couple of spots that had some finish issues, which is why I think it was so steeply discounted.  And even so, the company was super helpful and gave us an additional 50% off when the finish continued to peel away after just a few weeks at home.  We ended up paying about $150 for it in the end.  And I am a very happy customer.  (Thank you Pottery Barn!)

So the bottom line is, we bought it knowing that down the line it would eventually need to be refinished.  And we got seven hard working years out of it before I finally caved and came up with a plan to fix it.  Here’s what it looked like before…  (I’ll show you a close up of the finish issues in a second.)


I briefly toyed with the idea of painting it white (enter the ‘colorphobe’ subtitle), but I knew that in my heart of hearts I wanted it stripped.  I wanted it wood.  I just didn’t want to do the work.  So I came up with the ‘lazy girl’s plan’.  I would just strip the top to get my pretty wood tones and then paint the apron and legs.  Maybe someday I’ll strip the legs too, but for now, it was actually the perfect opportunity to try out some ….wait for it…COLOR.

Here are the details on how I did this cheap, DIY table makeover, in case you have a ‘beast’ in your home too.  Instead of replacing it, save the cash and get a “new to you” version.

DIFFICUTLY:  Medium (because of time and energy, not know-how; a beginner could certainly take it on)

TIME:  a weekend of coming back and forth to it.

COST:  This depends on what you already have on hand.  I needed only a few items from the list below and I spent less than $25.

SUPPLIES:  stripping gel, scraper or putty knife, wire brush, paint brush, (bleach, if you want to lighten the tone like I did), paint, polycrylic, some disposable metal trays, chemical safe gloves, painters mask, orbital or palm sander and 120 grit paper (that was just what I had on hand – again with the lazy girl plan)

Here’s the ugly truth.  Instagram doesn’t clearly show the closeups of a battle worn table top that has lived through 5 toddlers and almost a decade of Thanksgivings, Christmases and meal hosting.  You might have looked at that before and think “WHY?”  Well, here’s why:


So I bought some stripping gel and got to work.  I used Watco, which I believe is a Rustoleum product, so you can find it where ever Rostoleum is sold.  I have only used Citristrip before trying this product and I thought it was a lot more effective and easier to use.  You just pour the product into a metal pan, apply it generously with a paint brush and let is do its thing for about 15 minutes. Then scrape away…

The wire brush is for getting into those knot holes and deep crevices that the scraper can’t reach.  The first process was fairly effective, but it needed another round.  So I repeated step 1 and it looked like this…


I let the table completely dry and then it was time for the orbital sander.  It made quick work of what was left.  (Wear your mask!)

Here is a breakdown of what it looked like at each stage:


What a difference already!  I couldn’t wait to see what the room would look like with this new, brighter wood tone in the mix!

But see all the black marks?  Some of these dings and dents were faux aging that was applied to the piece in the factory, but a lot of it was from our kids eating at this table every night and ‘loving’ it for seven years.  So I knew I didn’t want to knock all of that ‘love’ away.  (I’m sentimental that way.)  This was when I decided to bleach what was left.  Bleaching is a process that lifts stains from the wood, evens tones and lightens things up a bit.  But it won’t overdo the job either.  It was just going to give me some color correction and balance.

I used a splashless, linen scented bleach (because the smell just really bothers me).  I brushed a small amount on at a time and rubbed the areas that needed toning using a fine steel wool (made for refinishing, you can find it on Amazon or at the hardware store).  If you are unsure about this process there are youtube videos to boost your confidence.  It’s super easy!


Bleach won’t alter the color of your wood or anything, but it will lighten stain that has been absorbed deep into the fibers of the wood grain.  You can see that the end result was a table that still looked loved, but now at a level I could live with.

For the apron and legs, I gave it a good wipe down and a very light pass over with the sander, just to give the surface a little tooth for the paint to grip.  I love the navy trend going on right now and this navy has some interesting undertones of peacock green.  It’s superb!  And that’s coming from a colorphobe!


I have some Polycrylic on hand, ready to finish the top with an extra coat for durability.  I’m afraid of messing up that beautiful raw wood look, so it’s matte finish.  I picked Polycrylic because it’s clear (won’t amber the wood) and it’s a solid option for handling hot plates.  It’s touchy – it doesn’t like being overworked – but it gives a nice finish.  So my recommendation if you choose this option is to roll it on very thin, with a smooth, 4″ cabinet roller. Work quickly, and only go over each line once.  I haven’t done this step yet, and I’m enjoying the raw wood look for just a little longer.  I like it too much!

A “new” table for $25.  Not bad huh?


Happy refinishing!




Create a Faux Log Inset for an Antique Mantel

You may have seen images floating around on Pinterest of beautiful old mantels (or even DIY mantels) with a faux log inset.  I’ve loved the look from the first time I saw it and I knew that I wanted to do that with our salvaged 1850’s mantel.  So I finally gave it a try and I absolutely love how it turned out.  I think the log slices add a sense of depth to the piece that really makes it pop against the wall, and it’s got texture and contrast galore!  Best of all:  It was super cheap and easy!


LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY:  easy – minimal tool use….(or Moderate if you plan on slicing your own logs and cutting your own plywood)

TIME:  2 hours+, depending on whether you are slicing your logs

TOOLS: measuring tape, drill, 1/2″ wood screws, (table saw if your logs aren’t pre-sliced), (circular saw if you plan to cut your plywood)

SUPPLIES:  a mantel that isn’t attached to a wall (salvaged or built); 1/4 ” plywood cut to size; narrow logs (around 2 to 4 inches in diameter), 1 can of flat black spray paint or a sample size of matte black, 1-2 bags of floral moss, a hot glue gun, Gorilla brand hot glue sticks

COST:  I spent about $20. (about $13 for plywood,$2 for paint, $5 for a bag of hot glue sticks and a few screws that I already had on hand)


Turn your mantel around and determine the best place to secure a piece of plywood on the back.  Measure across that distance.  This is the height and length for your plywood piece.  I took this measurement to Lowe’s to have it cut there.  You could also do this at home if you have the tools.  I chose 1/4″ plywood because it’s narrow and won’t be bulky at the back where the mantel meets the wall.

Spray one side of your cut plywood piece with the can of black spray paint.  You can use the cheap stuff.  A sample size of matte black paint, brushed on, would also do the trick.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t labor over it.

Screw the plywood piece onto the back of your mantel with the black side toward the front.


Above is what it looked like at this stage.  And it stayed like that for a few weeks while I gathered the wood slices.  The slices that I used were primarily collected from the Lowe’s and Home Depot garden centers during the Christmas season.  Christmas tree trunks were the perfect diameter, and they were already sliced for me!  Another big bonus:  they were free!  (Yes, I was the lady rummaging through their bins of branches twice a week – no shame!)  A second bonus:  they smelled pretty!

But even with all of my collecting over the holiday season, I didn’t have enough to finish the bottom portion of my mantel, so a friend let me pick through her wood pile to get what I needed.  The logs I picked from her house were sliced with a table saw (just cut up to the safety point – not too short!  Please watch your fingers!  And keep the diameter small if you do this).  The slices can be random widths – 1-2″ thick seemed like a good size.

Attach the wood slices to the plywood backing.  I used Gorilla brand hot glue and it’s extremely sturdy.  Those slices aren’t going anywhere!  This step was super fast once I got going.  Don’t overthink the arrangement.  I just tried not to have too many little logs in one spot – mix up the sizing – but other than that, glue away!


You can leave a narrow gap around each slice to let the black pop through.  Don’t feel like they have to be butting up against one another perfectly.  And there will be places where you just can’t close that gap enough to make it work.  Don’t fret!  This is where the bag of moss will save the day.  I bought my moss from Wal-Mart for about $3.  Just tear off pieces of the moss sheet to fill in those awkward large spaces, and hot glue them in place.

I absolutely love how it turned out.  I’m crazy about the price too – you can’t beat $20 for this kind of impact in a room!


If you make a log slice inset for your mantel I would love to see!  Tag me on Instagram @the.simple.farmhouse for a chance to be featured on my page.

Happy Creating!



The Art of Finding the Deal: Decorating on a Small Budget While Snagging That Perfect Piece

One of the questions I get asked most often is “Where on earth did you find that?  And how the heck did you get it for so cheap??”  So I thought I would spill the beans in a blog post for you all.  Do you promise you can keep a secret?

Maybe you already use a few of these, but here are some of my best trade secrets.  Guard them closely, okay?

Know Your Style

That might sound like a silly place to start but hear me out.  Have you ever bought an item on sale because that price was just too good to pass up??  You started reasoning with yourself that you are actually SAVING money and that it looked really great in so-and-so’s house.  But then you got it home and found that it just wasn’t quite right for your home, or for you.

Well, before you start buying “all the things” stop to figure out what suits your home and your lifestyle the best.  You can love lots of different styles and lots of different pieces, but they shouldn’t all come home with you.


I love neutral toned spaces and furniture pieces with simple, clean lines.  A touch of rustic wood elements warm things up.

If you don’t know what your style is or how to define it, Pinterest is a great tool to sort out your creative conundrum.  Start tracking what you are drawn to the most.  If you’re pinning 500 shiplap and barnwood pins and 100 mid-century modern pins then its safe to say that you’re a country guy/girl at heart.  And just because you love rustic doesn’t mean you can’t also love mid-century.  Maybe your style is more eclectic.  The bottom line is, I am learning to appreciate so many different styles without bringing them all into my home.  That has made my creative pursuits in home decor a lot less confusing.  When you don’t know your personal style it’s all too easy to overspend on the wrong things.

Put Yourself in the Way of Great Deals

This is the easiest one!  Peruse yard sales, thrift stores, Craigslist, Ebay, or Facebook swap shops every now and then to see what’s floating around out there.  If you are into antiquing, get to know local shop owners, and stop in once in a while to see what’s new in their store.  Build a rapport – They will get to know you and be more likely to give you a deal if they consider you a ‘regular’.

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I bought these 1940’s chairs for a few dollars each because of an established relationship with an antiques dealer who was liquidating.

Know what items are worth (bring your smart phone to look it up if you need to) and be ready to barter, but always do it respectfully.  Do some digging.  Where are the local auctions and estate sales?  Put yourself out there.  Maybe a friend of a friend has an old home they are refurbishing or clearing out… etc.

I think a lot of people do these things and they often find amazing stuff but maybe they don’t think too much about the next tip I’m going to share, and the next one just might be the most important.

Be Content With What You Have

Wait – what?  Listen, there are times in life when we get to do a full renovation…knock down walls, put in new cabinets and get all new everything.  I get that, but when you “need” something and you “need it now” you are less likely to land the deal.  Sure you might get a good price on a few things if you are willing to comprise on that big reno (like selecting an overstock shade of wood flooring instead of the one you really wanted).  BUT what if you could hold out?  I mean, what if nothing in home decor land was urgent to you, and you could just live with what you had indefinitely?  Sometimes we DO have to compromise – yes, you do need a kitchen.  But the reality is, there isn’t too much we really need.  And so it’s like all the old ladies tell you when you’re young and looking for love in all the wrong places.  “Let it come to you, sweetie,” they used to say to me.  “You’ll find it when you aren’t looking for it.”

So maybe landing the perfect piece at the perfect price is a lot like finding true love.  You can’t force it.  You can’t make it happen on your own timeline and you also can’t fill in that gap you think you have in your life with a lousy second or third choice.  (Wait, are we still talking about home decor? haha)

Here’s a quick example for you.  When we moved into our current home we had flipped two previous houses to get here and we’d put all of that equity into the home.  There was no decorating budget after all was said and done.  We had an open floor plan in the three rooms at the front of the house – the living room, dining room and foyer.  It was beautiful, but there was no money for painting, or curtains, or furniture or anything at all.  So a huge portion of our house sat completely empty….for four year.  And I seriously let the little guys ride their bikes inside during the winter…just because we could.  Learning to wait and to be content with what you have or don’t have is so very freeing.  And the truth is, you will appreciate that family heirloom piece that falls into your lap one day all the more.  When I walk into those rooms now, I don’t think – finally, I have some stuff!  I think – gosh, I’m so glad I waited!


Be Open Minded and Have a Little DIY Know-How.

So you’re free as bird, you’re not in a fever to buy something right this second, you’re putting yourself in the way of great deals and you know what works in your home.  NOW….now, my friend, you can fall in love with a perfect piece whenever it comes along.  And sometimes it might catch you off guard.  Often times it will.  You’ll be in the middle of something else and there it is…the church pew you imagined for your entryway, with just the right lines and just the right color.  And if you haven’t spent your money elsewhere or filled up your space with second choices you will have landed the most amazing deal ever.

But, what if that pew is the exact right size and perfectly curved, and the price can’t be beat….but it’s the wrong color.  Well, the last bit of advice I have is to bring a little open mindedness and some DIY know-how to the game.


The bookcase “before”

One of my favorite pieces in our home is a book case that was given to us for free.  It was something I never would have taken if I couldn’t have seen past the rubbed and scratched dark color…  If there weren’t such a thing as paint.  Home made chalk paint cost me about $20, and with a little elbow grease and a weekend of my time, I got those babies looking like a magazine.  And I don’t imagine I’ll ever stop loving them.  They are so functional and beautiful and solid.  DIY came to the rescue, because the ‘bones’ and the ‘lines’ were good.


This less than $20 make-over was so worth the time!

If you feel unsure about your DIY skills, look things up on youtube or find some helpful blog tutorials and don’t be afraid of making a mistake, especially if it’s with paint.  Just try, try again.  Having a little DIY know-how is worth the ‘education’.

There are lots of ways to buy cheap items.  But landing a bargain on the perfect piece that you will love for the rest of your life, well, that is an art.

Happy hunting!



Vintage Book Page Garland

I’ve had some requests for a tutorial on my book page garland, and it’s so easy that I really have to share it with you.  Anyone can do this pretty play on ‘falling leaves’.



COST: free if you have the items on hand, or just a few dollars if you thrift them

MATERIALS:  old book, twine, scissors

TIME: 30 minutes or so

First, choose a book to use.  I found one in our stash of old seminary books that had started yellowing at the edges.


You should use a paperback book because it’s easier (I just wanted an excuse to show these pretty old hardcover books).  You won’t need the whole book’s worth of pages, so just work a little bit at a time.  Pull a small section of pages away from the binding carefully, so that the pages don’t tear or rip off at the corners.  Once out, you’ll want to separate them from any remaining binding glue.

Next take a small stack of about 10 pages or so and bend them ever so gently – without creating a crease! – just to make a very small snip in the center of the pages.  Sharp scissors are helpful.

This is what they look like up close…



Measure a length of twine that suits your desired length for a garland then gently slide the pages onto it, a few at a time.  Believe it or not, this all comes together because of the texture of the twine.  The pages will grip the fuzziness of the twine and stay where you place them if you have made the snips in your pages small enough.

I tied a knot at each end like so…


The knots could stand to be bigger, I think, but it’s held up well.  I made this garland last year and all of the pages stood straight up for the season.  It was very pretty!  After storing it for a year the pages were naturally curved and wanted to lay this way.  I think it looks pretty in this ‘draped’ style too.  And you can play around with it until the pages are spaced and placed the way you like.


I think if I made another one I would make it longer this time.  As it is, there’s just enough to create a swag across the front of our fireplace mantel.


I’m very pleased that I’ve gotten more than one season out of it!  It’s certainly a beautiful garland and it brings a graceful element to a fall mantel.  I think it could work beautifully for Christmas too!

If you try a book page garland I’d love to see!

Confessions of a Former Decor Junkie: Simple Decorating With Style

I have been on a simplicity kick this past year, purging as much stuff from our house as I can and looking for ways to edit at every turn.  Less, less, less is more.  And I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s felt like breathing again in our home.  Now granted, some of this former inability to breathe may have come from having five kids in seven years, three dogs and homeschooling this crazy crew (not the dogs!).  Also, our home is now a temporary church office while our new church building is under construction.  It’s as crazy and messy as it sounds.  We are no different from any other big, loud family.  Promise!  I love our crazy life and I wouldn’t change a thing…other than wanting to do it all with less stuff.  So one day I started to do something about that.

Disclaimer:  I am still a work in progress with this; I have by no means arrived.  But let me tell you what I’m still learning along the way on this journey toward simplicity.

For me, simplicity requires looking at ‘home’ as the people who live here – not the way a house is styled or curated.  And then to look at a house as a building that needs to function well for this home of loved people.  The ‘pretty’ is the bonus that comes when a space is well edited and easy to care for.  I had never looked at home this way before.  I’d always thought that I needed to fill it up to make it feel cozy and pretty and welcoming.  But that line of thinking had led me to make many poor or impulse design choices along the way.  In a way, I was clamoring to create a home without realizing I already had it.  And instead, what I really needed was an approach to living life in our home that de-stressed our movement, our thoughts, our work, our play, and everything else within these walls.  So it’s been a total lifestyle and mindset change, and for me it’s become a goal in all of my homemaking/decorating decisions.

I started on our main floor and I am gradually working my way around the rest of home.  (So don’t ask about the boys’ room or the basement right now. *shudder*). But one of the first questions I’ll ask myself when making a design or decor related decision is – will it clean up easily or will it help to keep the space uncluttered?File Jul 01, 7 54 11 AMEasy Clean Up and Storage: 

I know this is a no-brainer, but storage options are the first, best way to simplify your life.  And there are so many wonderful options out there to suit any style. I have come to adore my crates and baskets.  They are flexible workhorses that allow even the youngest household members to be able to clean up in a jiffy – like those baskets at the bottom of the built-ins (above).  Last year we kept our school books in those; everyone had their own basket and it was super easy to tuck all the messy books and papers away at the end of the day or week.

Forced Editing:

Having open shelving in the morning room area (above) also forced me to make some serious editing decisions.  I needed that visual accountability of everything being on display.  And in the end, the pieces of highest value have remained.  I’m never going to toss my grandmother’s blue and white ironstone bowl, so that meant the pieces that were too trendy (and I mean trendy 10 years ago) or bought on impulse had to go.

And you know….I loved the forced editing so much that I went on to put some DIY $15 open shelving in my kitchen.  And can I just tell you (in utter embarrassment) that my kitchen had six trash bags full of unnecessary items in it.  SIX.  I’m talking about an entire cabinet of sippy cups that we hadn’t used in years, just sitting there, eating up precious space in our home.  And small appliances that had been re-gifted to us at white elephant Christmas parties.  How many waffle irons do you need, woman???  I mean WHY, Laura, do you have these things stuffed away like you’re going to need them someday??  I promise you, you won’t.  Oh, friends, there was something so gratifying about taking those 6 full trash bags out of my kitchen.

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A LOT of people ask how we manage with no upper cabinets in the kitchen.  Well, the dishes we use every day are in the lower cabinets now, so that my little guys don’t need to climb on counters to access them.  And that leaves the open shelving for things that only I need to reach – mostly serving dishes, (or sometimes items from shop before they sell).  You probably won’t believe this, but I edited so much that there is still lots of extra space in the lower cabinets.  A whole cabinet is storing dog food right now.  And all of the small appliances are stored in the island to keep the counters clear.

Something In, Something Out:

These limitations I have put on myself have in effect created a new rule around here.  I have to get rid of an item in order to bring something else in.  And that means I have to REALLY love an item.  It has to REALLY work for us.  And in many cases it needs to be more valuable than my grandmother’s ironstone.  Ya know?

In addition to this, with seven people living in this house, monthly purging is absolutely required.  If I miss a purge, we feel it.  And things can quickly become unmanageable again.

Simplifying with Architectural Interest:

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to add a personal style to our home that maintains the simplicity and does not bring in more stuff, is in the use of moldings and trim work. Adding these touches to your home is a sure way to add charm to a space.  It’s a big bang for your buck and will make a room feel finished even if it only has a table and a few chairs in it. And if you are a DIY-er this can be done on a shoe-string budget. This DIY shiplap wall in our dining room (below) was created with 1/4″ plywood for about $50.  And I enjoy the lines so much I don’t want to hang anything on it.  Simple!

Simple Seasonal Decor:

So now the question is – How can I layer in seasonal decor without overwhelming my newly simplified home?

Well, I love to repurpose items from other rooms and give them a new twist with the changing seasons.  For example, in the summer I tend to tuck away things that are too busy and textural.  I really like the clean and breezy feeling for that time of year.  But with the cooler temperatures I start to bring forward all of the items with depth and texture that may have been doing service elsewhere in the house during the warmer months.  Switch out a crate that you were using to store legos in the kids room to use as an umbrella stand.  Shawls from my closet have been known to make a debut as seasonal throws – like this black Ikat shawl (below) pretending to be a fall throw in our family room.  Repurpose.  Reuse.  Rearrange.

Fresh Seasonal Accents: 

Another clutter free way to add seasonal charm is to use natural elements – branches and leaves are not only free but you don’t need to come up with a place to store them for next year!  That’s a double win!  Clippings from the Christmas tree can be used as winter greens on the mantel.  Freshly budding tree branches make lovely Easter centerpieces.  Pine cones and bare branches have their own charm in autumn and winter.

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Think Big:

Okay!  So you’ve simplified and purged, reworked and repurposed, and even focused on adding character onto the walls with trim work instead of by adding more stuff…. and you still want some more seasonal interest or year round decor.  Well, my best recommendation is to go big.  REALLY BIG.

Wait, what?!

I know.  That may sound antithetical to everything I’ve just told you abut this simplicity journey I’ve been on, but hear me out.  Which is more simplified – 10 to 20 smaller pieces in a space or one big statement piece?

Guys, this was a total light bulb moment for me when I realized this.

So whenever you are ready to add those pieces that are just for show, go with the big beautiful statement piece.  I’ve found that vintage shutters and doors make beautiful large art pieces in a space.  They draw the eye upward, making the room feel bigger.  And having less for the eye to take in is also a very calming feeling in a space.

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A piece like that makes you go “wow!” when you walk into a room.  It’s drama!  And it didn’t require a bunch of shopping and stressing and styling.  It speaks for itself.

Well, if you’re anything like me, simplifying (especially with a big family) will be a journey, not a destination.  I’m still learning as I go, but I hope I’ve given you just a little insight into how we are making things more streamlined and functional over here.  This certainly doesn’t mean we don’t make messes.  By golly – you should see our kitchen after a meal.  We are very messy people.  And truly, that’s why I’ve needed these guidelines for myself.  I can’t wait to have it carrying over into every room of our house.  I’m not there yet.  But even so…

Ahh.  It’s like the house and I can both breathe again.

Happy Simplifying!




DIY Vintage Door Headboard

There are all kinds of excellent tutorials out there on how to make a vintage door headboard.  This will be less of how-to on building one and more of a suggestion on how to secure one.  I determined from the start that I didn’t want to make any major alterations to these doors that are from the 1850’s.  I wanted them standing upright, uncut, and unaltered, at the head of our twin beds.  This accomplished two goals for me – it preserved the doors and it also made for a dramatic focal point in the room.  I love the height!

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These beds are simply metal frames from Amazon.  Nothing too fancy but they fit the budget.  🙂  One thing to consider with a bed frame like this, though, is that there may be some movement, however slight, when the kids are playing or even sleeping.  For safety purposes I did not want the doors attached to the bed frames.  I also didn’t want any visible anchoring from the front of the doors so I settled on hanging them as though they were giant picture frames on the wall.

I used: wall anchors, D-ring picture hangers and some heavy gauge galvanized steel wire.

You’ll also need a drill, a measuring tape and wire cutters/pliers if you plan to do this too.  I started by measure for the location of the D-ring picture hangers from the top of the door.  I wanted them placed fairly high to keep movement at the top to a minimum once it was hung.

After screwing those in I clipped off a length of wire and secured it to both D-rings.  The wire should be pulled as taut as possible, using the pliers/wire cutters.  I secured the wire by wrapping it through the ring a few times, then around the wire itself and back again.

The next picture was taken a little preemptively, so make sure not to follow my example there = the wire is too loose.  But basically, you are going to measure to the peak of the center of the wire (pulled taut) and then, just to be safe, I also added an inch and a half to that measurement when measuring from the bottom of the door.  I figured that the weight of the door when hung would stretch the wire a bit more than I could predict before hanging.  That measurement (including the inch and a half extra) was marked on the wall, measuring up from the floor.

The wall anchor was installed at that mark, and then the door was ready to hang.  Depending on the size of the door you may want more than one wall anchor, but these doors are thin and are fairly light given their size.

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The extra inch and a half turned out to be hardly enough, actually.  The doors still barely touch the floor, so two inches might have been perfect.  I would have preferred if they were fully suspended on the wire but they are still good and secure.  Maybe I will go back and shorten the wire a bit more, if I can.

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Still not finished in here, but we’re getting closer.  Good luck with whatever projects you might be working on at the moment!  I’d love to hear about them!






The Ugly Duckling Chairs

Here’s a little before and after to brighten any Monday doldrums you might be having.  I came across a full set of these 1950’s, saber leg, dining chairs the other day – 6 of them to be exact.  And while they weren’t the prettiest thing to look at – especially with that late 60’s/early 70’s seat fabric re-cover job (*shudder*) – I could definitely see their potential.  There was a pretty swan in there somewhere; I just had to find it.

And here she was:

I honestly hadn’t been planning on writing up a blog post on these guys, so I didn’t take a lot of mid-process photos.  But basically, they received a decent sanding (though not a complete sanding – I’ll tell you why in a second) and also shed those ugly seat covers.

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The next step was milk paint.  I used Miss Mustard Seed’s ‘Mora’.  And wherever I didn’t sand, I got some nice crackling and peeling.  The shellac that was on these guys would have made the milk paint completely peel off and I didn’t want that, (thus the sanding to remove most of the finish.)  But I also didn’t want a completely smooth finish on the whole piece, which is why I didn’t add a bonding agent to the milk paint or sand the entire piece.  Leaving some of that shiny finish in a few spots let the milk paint do it’s thing in moderation.  🙂

After the milk paint dried I used white wax to seal it.  White wax gives a lovely, buttery finish that’s perfect for vintage pieces, and the sun washed quality of it helped to lighten the Mora to a more subtle gray.  A very small amount of dark, aging wax was then rubbed over the peeling areas to highlight their imperfections.  And this is what I got:

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The texture is to die for.  But it’s not overkill either.  It’s just enough to make the pieces look aged and loved.

Finally, I recovered the seats with a neutral linen because I had planned on selling these babies in my shop.  Neutral goes with any decor, right?  But now that they’re done – and I’m absolutely loving them – I don’t know if I can give them up!  And if I DO keep them I think I’ll do a striped linen instead.  We shall see!

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Happy Monday!  May you have a productive week, friends!


PS.  I didn’t forget about the Old Door Headboard post.  It’s coming soon!  I just need the girls to make their beds so I can get a picture of the finished look for you.  🙂