Vintage Metal Chair Remodel Reveal

Our outdoor furniture is a variety of hand-me-downs. We started with redwood furniture from my parents’ house, which my husband reinforced with additional wood screws and braces. Now we have replaced the redwood chairs and side table with wicker chairs and a marble table. A few years back when my aunt passed away, my father brought us these vintage metal folding chairs. Their paint job has been a long time coming.


IMG_6609 My eldest daughter and I used to watch Bewitched DVD’s together. Eating at a restaurant in Paris became a thing. Fancy Nancy helps keep the concept alive. Moving into our home, I gathered into my mind Paris references and the idea of an outdoor cafe. When I reference something or am inspired by something, it functions as a guide, not a road map. Metal folding chairs on their own do not reference Paris, but the inspiration led me to choose blue and white paint for the chairs (Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint, Napoleonic Blue and Pure White) to go with our round white dining table outside.

I hope to find another round blue and white stripe table cloth like the one I saw in a Ballard Designs catalog, but I may have missed the boat on that one.

A glimpse of what’s to come.

IMG_6610Eventually I made the trip downtown to purchase the blue paint. I decided to wait before purchasing the white. It look me a long time finish this. I sanded a little, painted and then thought about things.

Rather than go through the painful process of painting the legs with a brush, I taped plastic over the freshly painted blue metal and used Rustoleum Primer for metal in white. It went so quickly!

I’ll what I had left of a sample pot of pure white to finish off the arm rests.

Although I loved the matte look of the chalk paint, with this being outdoor furniture I succumbed to the interior pressure and used a spray on polyurethane.

This is what we have now.

IMG_6886Compare and contrast.


IMG_6887We’re one step closer to Paris.

A little more painting and we’ll be there.

The Office…reveal

It was some time ago when I wrote about our effort to overhaul our office. It became a dumping group for all things not baby-toddler friendly. Because of that, it looked like a dumping ground, ever tempting those three foot and below persons who live in this home. I do not have many pictures of it before. We started with me using a dining table as a desk, Ikea Expedit shelves for bookcases. Kyle had an old computer desk from my parents, flanked with two more Ikea Expedit bookcases to house all my book plus file storage boxes.



This is not a large room. The round table was too much. Out it went and in came an antique wood desk. This was better, but we still had little floor space and many problems with the kids. Because I often use my computer standing up, not sitting down (because I’m holding a baby of course), and because my other projects usually involve a sewing machine, I realized I needed a standing desk. My husband just needed anything with more surface space, plus cubbies to stick instruments. I hated the idea having such high ceilings and not utilizing these walls for upward storage.

Now, with the exceptions of a few small things, our office is finished. Already I am experiencing the fruits of a workstation built to serve the activities I have, from sewing craft projects to uploading photos to writing for this blog. The children are able to be in here without causing any distress. Our eldest has a school desk where she can work.

Without further adieu, the guided tour. This is the view when you walk in the door.

IMG_6658Using black track and brackets, my husband mounted four tracks along the wall you see when you first walk in. We used magnets, lightly dragging them along the wall, to locate the nails which connect the drywall to the studs. The man put it well when he said the house would have to fall down before those tracks fall down.

We used 1 x 12 boards found at my father’s farm. My husband sanded them down with his new random orbit sander. We chose to keep them different lengths with a few rough edges.


IMG_6661 He intentionally sanding the edges very lightly to keep the texture.

To prevent the books from overwhelming the space, some designers recommend grouping them by category, or making book covers. If you are being paid by the hour to do this, make book covers. I’m morally opposed to grouping them by color unless they are purely for decoration, and I don’t believe in owning books for pure decoration. I recognize the beauty of leather binding, but I firmly believe it’s the stuff inside that makes them valuable. If the stuff inside makes them valuable, that’s how they shoudl be organized. The other trick to breaking it up visually is have other objects on the shelves. Since we do not own enough bookends, other objects were a necessity.

IMG_6684IMG_6676We turned the Expedit shelves on their sides, installed drawers and a couple cabinet fronts (on mine) for closed storage.

IMG_6668Currently we’re borrowing barstools from my father’s bar, which is in his remodeled barn, which were sort of buried in things not related to bars or barstools. I actually really like how they look and may hold onto them for a while. They swivel.

IMG_6670We removed one shelf in the Expedit to accommodate my sewing machine. My husband screwed in six 6-inch Ikea Capita legs to raise my desk. We acquired a workbench top from my father for my desk top. He really does just have this stuff lying around.

IMG_6673IMG_6675I kept the shelf above my desk for my current reading (or reading list books) and to keep other things accessible to me, but out of reach of children.



Another thanks to my family of origin for our vintage pencil sharpener. Why do it electric when you can burn calories? It’ll last longer anyway, and if the power goes out, we can still sharpen our pencils.

I finally have my diplomas on the wall, plus a bulletin board. Pinterest is a dream, but some times you need to pin things that aren’t digital (paint chips, fabric swatches). You can’t beat the real thing.

IMG_6688For storage we purchased a tall cabinet from the Habitat for Humanity Restore. We discussed finishing the side with reclaimed redwood siding but with the desk there, I’m thinking sheet metal and chalkboard paint (= chalk board and magnetic board) might be just right since this will be a school space.

IMG_6669 A filing cabinet from when my grandmother moved replaces the old cardboard file storage boxes.

IMG_6672There is a gem that came with the house, a house which had nothing but standard lighting.

IMG_6690It fits perfectly with our decor and I’m so glad the light bulbs aren’t exposed!

Let’s put the room to work.

IMG_6674    IMG_6679     This has been a wonderfully satisfying project, done on a budget but done in such a way that fits us, without taking short cuts on what we wanted out of the space. There are still little things to be done, like a desk top for my husband. But for the most part, we can sit back and consider this a job well done. What do you think?

Master Bath Daydreams

It’s one thing to paint a wall, add a rug, hang some pictures. Decorating a bathroom or a kitchen are entirely different animals. And they cost money! I believe in the utilitarian purposes of the kitchen and bathroom, and, as I learned from Genevieve Gorder, everything used to decorate these spaces should be functional. That said, that is not the situation in our master bath.

The master bath became the space where I put the things that were in the large box on the floor in our master bedroom labeled “decor.” I knew I wanted candles in the room, but everything else was a matter of finding a home.

We like the concept of an all-white bathroom. We do think it’s silly to have a bath and a separate shower. Why not just have a larger tub with a shower head? I toy with ideas of how to remodel and what would be affordable (meaning, within reach). With the right plans, it could be a tax time sort of project as our office and kids’ bedroom was/is.

Some ideas thrown around…


Currently we have a large double sink with good storage.

DIY projects abound. I like the idea of taking a vintage dry sink bought cheaply. We have an antique dresser that would be stunning, but the large over-sized drawers are not very functional, and I don’t think I could bring myself to cut it up. With certain pieces, it seems wrong. Using a dry sink without sentimental value (I bought the dresser just before getting married), would be like updating a piece, keeping it within its intended purpose. In my preliminary search, I found this one online for $65. In person, we quickly saw it was too small (would make a perfect toy kitchen!). We’ll go with it for the sake of the day dream though.

A ceramic vessel sink would keep the original spirit of the thing, and go with the vintage drawer pulls, which I really like. We could paint or re-stain in darker, depending on the preferences of the man.

This plan would be a downgrade in storage, which could be remedied by bringing cabinet solely for storage. In my perspective, going down to one sink would not be an issue, but it is a discussion point with the husband.


Currently we have a much too large, spans the length of the vanity, mirror without a frame.

I’ve thought of framing a mirror with reclaimed wood from my parent’s house or taking an ornate vintage frame and having a mirror cut. There are so many options out there for a mirror. I would probably decide after the more expensive details are determined.

The Tub

Currently we have an average side tub, next to a nice size shower stall. I don’t understand having both since I grew up with a tub that had a shower head installed in the wall.

Once we decide the direction to go with the vanity, the other styles would be determined. A vintage piece of furniture re-purposed would yield a tub similar to this, depending on the level of fancy detail on the furniture.

Imagine a shower curtain in a vintage ticking stripe wrapping about this.

Such major projects. I could hunt craigslist for bathtubs, and make it a built over time project since nothing about it is pressing. We would just have to live with floor disorder for a time. A quick search yields several clawfoot bathtubs for around $500, we’d have to be willing to travel a bit to get them, but they’re out there.

image 1

I’m sort of drooling as I daydream about this and the surprising affordability. I must remind myself of the installation costs.

The floor

There would be nothing heartbreaking about getting rid of the peel-and-stick linoleum tiles. I actually really like the simple look of subway tile. Seeing it applied in a herringbone pattern is attractive and dynamic.

Or we could use large tiles.

Or dark wood or laminate flooring. I think all other details considered here, I like this one best. That storage cabinet it pretty nice too.

The skies the limit for the floor.

Light fixtures

We already replaced the center light in the bathroom with the light we took from the entryway. The vanity lights are terrible, 8 light bulbs all in a row. If we went with the dry sink vanity, clawfoot tub, a fixture in this style would be about right, I think. Simple, vintage style, with a little schoolhouse feel.

The rest

The toilet would not need to be replaced and the shutters on the windows are standing up better than anywhere else in the house (because I don’t actually move them, just leave them as is).

It’s a dangerous thing to think about these things, more dangerous to search online and see how possible it really is. I hope I can keep my hat on and wait. None of what I have written here are plans, none have been discussed with the man of the house. But it’s wonderful to dream!