Category Archives: Designing Home

Vintage Kitchen

White pitchers, old glass bottles, wire baskets and glass storage add vintage charm to any kitchen.    All these things are easy to find and usually inexpensive.

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Old Trunk Rehab

One of the reasons I love repurposing is that all the pieces have a story.  An old trunk is a great example.  Where has it been?  Who has it served? How many generations has it met?

I graciously accepted this trunk when a family friend downsized.  She used it to house her kids’ dress-up clothes.  That was about 30 years ago.  Although I am not sure of its actual age, I know it has seen many more years than that. Wonder where it was before.  Did it originally belong to her mother, her grandmother???

This trunk needed some serious TLC. The top was sanded with an orbital sander, wiped down, and a coat of Early American stain applied.  The letter and numbers were added with stencils and black craft paint. The “A” is for Anderson, our last name, and 32 is our street address.  After sanding the black paint a bit, the entire trunk was sprayed with a satin finish polyurethane. The result is such a huge improvement.

The orbital sander I use is from DeWalt.  These go on sale around the holidays so keep an eye out and a good deal can be found.  Sometimes the best buys can be found at your local Ace or TruValue.  I just love power tools and ask for one almost every holiday.  Asking for tools as gifts is a great way to amass your building powerhouse.  My dad and father-in-law just love it!

Have fun finding your trunk to rehab. Once you start looking you’ll find them everywhere…usually on the curb just waiting to be rescued!

Before the Rehab

The Shabby Nest

DIY Slate Countertop

slate countertop

Reusing materials can save you tons of money on any room redo.  This cabinet and countertop added NOTHING to our kitchen budget.  Gotta love something for nothing!

We reused all the original cabinets in our kitchen remodel. With some paint and glaze, they were transformed. Visit this previous post about our cabinet finishing.

Putting the slate countertop together was super easy (considering we had already learned how to tile by doing the floor).  All the materials were leftover from other parts of the kitchen.  We cut a 3/4 inch piece of plywood to size, picked out the slate pieces we wanted to use and decided on the pattern.  We cut the slate using a wet saw.  This may sound a bit scary, but it is so easy once you get used to it (just very messy!)  After the tiles were set and dry, we grouted the seams and the front.  The front edge is just grout, but it looks like a thick piece of stone. After all was dry we finished with a food grade mineral oil.

This countertop is a workhorse. It can handle anything we throw at it including hot pots and spilled spaghetti sauce.

It is amazing what you can do with leftover materials.  Our best ideas come to us over a glass of wine:)  Give yourself kudos, repurposing is great for the environment and your wallet!

slate countertop mineral oil  slate countertop close-up

Wall Air Conditioner Cover

Wall Air Conditioner Cover

An uncovered wall air conditioner can be quite an eyesore.  Looking at ours in our main living area used to drive me nuts, especially in the winter!

This cover was built from an old cabinet door and pine boards.  I honestly do not remember where this door came from, but it has served me well through many projects.  Think it has finally found its calling.

Old cabinet doors are great because they are lighter and easier to work with than larger interior wood doors as they are usually only 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Scoring some with vintage hardware is a huge bonus.

Vintage hardware is something worth collecting.  If you see an old hinge or knob that you like, just buy it.  Adding vintage hardware enhances any project.  This cover still needs a latch, but haven’t come across just the right one yet:)

For this project and most of our trim, we use Behr Premium Ivory Lace.  Love the antique white color and it covers really well.

If you would like more info about building one of these, just let me know.  Would love to help.

hinge aire conditioner cover open


Game Table

Dust off those board games and give them a new home…

I love small tables.  Just can’t resist them…they take up little space, are very functional, and come in so many shapes and styles. Small tables can be used for end tables in the living room, as nightstands, hall pieces, and the list goes on. The best part is you can find them inexpensively at yard sales, consignment stores and thrift shops.

We were lucky to receive this table from my aunt and uncle when they moved.  Just love the shape, but the top was a bit worn.  After a little sanding, some leftover paint (Behr Baja), and a satin finish (Minwax Polycrylic), our little table has a new look.

The game board and pieces were part of an old set given to us by my in-laws.  It fits so well on this table.  The best part about using what you already own to create a new look is that it cost absolutely nothing!

You would be surprised about all the hidden treasures you have around the house.  Need an idea about what to do with a piece of furniture you have at home?  Just ask, I’d be happy to help.

checker table before


Sewing Machine Sink Base

Sewing Machine Sink

Remember the powder room…

A little character in your powder room can be an unexpected surprise for guests visiting your home.  SInce this room is usually the smallest in the house, little details go a long way.

The area for this sink is very small (about 16″ deep and 20″ wide). Painting the original cabinet and changing the sink top and faucet would have been a big improvement.  But, since were changing the floor and everything had to come out anyway…might as well put in something fun.

Metal sewing machine bases can be found a lot of places…thrift and consignment shops, garage sales, even on the curb on trash day. They are usually inexpensive (sometimes free) and are so versatile.  They serve as great bases for sinks and tables of all sizes as they are well-built and sturdy.

This sink is from Ikea and the plumber added the iron “rails” on the front and back for the sink to sit on. The faucet looks like an old pump. To find one, just google “faucet open spout” . There are lots to choose from.

When we took the original cabinet out, the wall next to the sink was a mess. We added the bead board wainscoting and love it.  Barn wood floors, wider moulding, and a bit more bead board round out the vintage feel.

More to come on this bathroom redo…

powder room before

Mason Jar Markers

Do we have to use EVERY glass in the house by the end of the day???

I only have two kids, and they would go through about 12 glasses a day. They would take one out, fill it, drink half, leave it on the counter, and forget which one was which.  God forbid they drink out of the other one’s glass, so next time they were thirsty…just grab another glass.

These markers are free and so easy.  Cut an old t-shirt into quarter inch strips (I used a rotary cutter, but scissors work just as well).  Thread the strips through the button holes. If you need help, use a paper clip.  Put it around the glass, pull as tightly as you can, tie in a knot, and cut off the extra.  For the ones above, I used two buttons on each to make them a little more interesting.

We use Ball jars for everything…dry storage, leftovers, and drinking glasses.  These are wide mouth pint size jars.  At about $10-$15 a case, Ball jars are very inexpensive, easily replaced, much sturdier than most glasses, and just fun.

If you don’t have a button collection, try starting one.  You can usually find containers of them at yard sales and thrift stores.  They are great for little home projects and crafts for the kids.

Have fun!

Chalkboard Pantry Menu

You gotta love quick and easy changes that make a big impact.

In my ongoing attempt at organization, I have been trying to better plan the weekly menu.  This is helpful for two big reasons. First, as a self-proclaimed not-great-chef, it just feels great to know what I am going to make everyday and that the ingredients are actually in my refrigerator. Second, less trips to the grocery store means spending less money…always a good thing.

So after planning the menu and having all the ingredients on hand, thought I was on the right track.  Silly me would forget to write down the plan (or write it on a post-it or scrap of paper that would get thrown away) and the planning time and effort just went out the window.

With a little chalkboard paint and extra wall paint from the kitchen (Behr Perfect Taupe), our weeks are suddenly better organized.  Since the menu is on the inside of the door, the outside still looks clean and uncluttered when the door is closed.

Here’s the bonus…when the “what’s for dinner” questions start rolling in, I just point to the menu.  The kids now know what to expect for the course of the week, which somehow translates into less complaining about the dinner choices. And, for some crazy reason, Friday pizza day doesn’t seem far away when they see it in writing:)

Try this out at home. Can be anywhere…in the pantry or behind a cabinet door. Chalkboard paint dries unbelievably fast, so you can be done in about an hour…even with three coats of paint!  A quart of chalkboard paint goes a long way, so maybe share with a friend.

Have a great day!

UPDATE: Thanks so much to Kelly from LilyPadCottage for her inspiring chalkboards designs.

Here is our new version:

Menu close up

Touch of Red Throw Pillows

Inspiration can be found anywhere, sometimes in the most unlikely places.

I owe this week’s inspiration to a good friend.  C has many passions, but, by her own admission, decorating is not one of them.  Even so, over the past couple weeks, she made simple changes that had a big impact.  She cleared a bit of clutter and added colorful pottery to a couple shelves, added new throw pillows, and replaced a “well-loved” ottoman.  The room looks fantastic.

My friend reminded me that the feel of a room is in the details.  Changing throw pillows is a fast, inexpensive and very effective way to add a new color, change decor with the seasons, or just have a little decorating fun.

Now inspired, I set off to create a couple pillows.  These red fabric scraps were plucked from a plastic storage bin and put to work.  There weren’t any pieces large enough to cover a whole pillow, so they ended up as a bit of patchwork.  Love how they turned out…even got a compliment from my better half.  Well, he asked, “Can we keep those?”  That’s a compliment, right???

If you don’t sew, Home Goods, Target, Ikea, and Etsy have adorable pillows for an affordable price.  Here are some suggestions: Red Stripe, Fun Floral, Linen, Monogrammed Vintage, French Country

Also found these fun blue scraps and vintage tea towel…more pillows to come.

Happy Friday!

Vintage Cabinet to Sink

You never know where you might strike gold….found this piece of furniture in my friend Mary’s garage.  Her only stipulation was that I could not bring it back.  Sold!

You should have seen the original sink…a not very exciting oak stock cabinet that was put in quite a number of years ago.  The sink was small, but I did not want to pay for a double sink plumbing upgrade. Found this amazing wide sink at Ikea for a great price. Both kids can brush their teeth without hurting each other (most of the time).

The cabinet was sanded, painted an antique white and sealed with a water based polyurethane (so it won’t yellow).  The glass knobs and handles are from Target.

We obviously have a very understanding plumber who is never surprised by the projects I throw at him.  He did a great job installing everything.   A sugar and creamer pair found a home in the old cup and toothbrush holders that are permanently tiled to the wall. They keep our cotton balls and q-tips handy.

Will fill you in on the rest of this bathroom redo later….enjoy your day!