Our Living Room

I’m discovering that Winter time poses an additional challenge for me, besides just trying to get through the short, dark cold days.  The lack of daylight hours that I am home has proven difficult in trying to get photos for blogging.  My photography needs all the help it can get, so when the sun was shining recently I took advantage and snapped some pictures around the house of areas that I have not shared yet.  I did show you the Odd Corner in the Living Room, so I thought it was time to share the rest of the living room.

Below is the view of the living room from the odd corner.  The kitchen is off to the left, the foyer is the opening in the middle, and the view on the right is into the guest room.

Living Room - View from chairs

This is the view standing at the patio door.  Our living room is heavily used since it is the central part of our home.

Living Room - View from Patio Doors

Overall, the room is decorated pretty simply.   I always think it feels better with some fresh flowers.  I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my spray painted vase.

Living Room - Flowers in spraypainted vase

I had the sectional before we got married, so its been around for a while.   I’ve already added extra poly-fil to the back cushions to give it a little more cushion.  At some point, we’ll get a new couch, but I think we’ll have to replace it with another sectional, since the corner of it is where Puddy spends a lot of his time.

Living Room - View from Kitchen with Puddy

I had to close the curtains on the patio door to get the picture below since it was so sunny.  This angle shows you the dining room, the kitchen bar and a sliver of the breakfast room in the background. I love that we get such warm sunlight in the hub of our home.

Living Room - View from Hallway

As we are beginning to consider a new couch, do you have any recommendations?  Should we stick to a sectional?  Or, is there other furniture we should consider for a better layout?

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Bamboo Chairs – Before and After

I took my mother-in-law on one of my recent thrift shopping adventures.  We were actually shopping for her, she wanted to find a new nightstand.  But, of course I had fun looking as well.  We both lucked out at Charlie’s Used Furniture in Lancaster.  As she was checking out nightstands, I was just browsing the store.  I found a pair of bamboo chairs.

They were definitely used, but in good enough condition for me.  I didn’t really know where I would put them, but I inspected them and knew they could easily be reupholstered. I still wasn’t sure until the owner ventured over to see how we were doing, and informed me that the pair were half price.  So, instead of $19 each, I could have the pair for $19.  SOLD!  Meanwhile, my mother-in-law also found a nightstand she liked, so we did good on our first stop of the day.

I had flipped the chairs over to see how they were put together, so when I started my disassembly at home, it was a pretty easy process.

There was only 1 screw in the front and 2 on the rear of the chair holding the seat to the base.

I removed the seat and was left with the fabric staples to remove.

I found a surprise after removing the fabric, which I just use a flat screwdriver and then pliers to pull out the staples.

There was another layer of fabric under the first one.  I’m sure this was the original fabric, and the previous owner had just added new fabric  on top of it.  I wanted to make sure that the foam was in good condition, so I also removed this layer of fabric.  Once all the fabric was gone, I found the foam in very good condition.

I had some batting on hand, so I just added that as an extra layer to maintain the condition of the foam and hold everything in place before attaching my fabric.  I purchased 1/3 a yard of fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics, on sale for only $14.99/yd, so my cost was $10.  The fabric is called Signoria Harvest, and it was in the 55″ rolls of home decor fabric.

The batting and new fabric are secured only with the staples.  I do one side at a time, then the opposite side and then repeat the same steps on the other two sides, saving the corners for last. I didn’t want a seam to show on the corners, so I rounded them the best I could and stapled.  That part took two hands, so I don’t have an in-process picture.

To make sure I was fine with the corners, I tested it by putting the seat back on the chair.  Looks good to me.  I also used some wood glue to secure sections where the accent details (not sure what they are called) were coming loose.  Then, I had to get Bob’s help to secure the seats back on the chair, as it was much more difficult putting the screws back in than taking them out.  I held the seat in place and he used his drill to make them really secure.

 For now, the chairs have found a place in the basement beside the console table and under the sconces.

Puddy gives his approval by testing them out in their new home! 

While I was rearranging, I started to take down some of my Fall decor and change up the look on the console table.  I still feel like it needs something else.  I seem to always struggle with getting the right look on tablescapes and vignettes….it takes me a few tries before I get it right, and I have to live with it a while in between the tries to decide what I think about it.   Any suggestions on how to finish off this spot in our basement?  Am I the only one who is ready to take down all the Fall decor and start decorating for Christmas?

Not the look I was going for…

I purchased this little table for $5 during our neighbordhood yardsale.  I posted this picture of it before saying it was in process, which was quite a while ago, but DIY does not always go as planned.

It had definitely seen better days, but since it was so rough looking I thought it would be an easy makeover.  I was definitely wrong on that one!  The sanding was simple enough with my power sander.  I got it down to the bare surface and ready to be stained.

It was missing one of the screw covers in one leg, so I applied a stainable wood filler to it.  I had never used the product before, but I thought it was worth a try.

After that was dried and set, I got started on my staining. When I took “Paint and Stain 101” at the Haven Conference, I learned that when I was staining I really should use a pre-stain wood conditioner.  This product prepares the wood to accept the stain equally, so you don’t end up with a blotchy stain.  So, this was my first time also trying that product.  I followed all the directions on it, then got to work staining.  And, this is where the good progress stops!

Despite all my direction following, I still ended up with blotchy stain.  I can overlook blotchy spots if the overall look is still good, but this one really was not the look I was going for.  The picture above is the table still in the garage, because I just can’t decide what to do with it.  I tried applying a darker stain overtop to see if that would warm it up a bit, but that didn’t change it much at all.  And, the stainable wood filler did not really work either….I didn’t take a picture of it, because it looks really bad! 

So, does anyone have any recommendations for how to save this piece?  Should I accept the current stain and just put a satin poly on it?  Should I throw in the towel on staining and paint it?  What would you do?

My FREE Corner Shelf

So, I teased before about the free corner shelf that I found when I was out yardsale shopping.  This is what it looked like the last time you saw it.

In order to keep it a free project, I had to use what I had in my supplies already.  Fortunately, I won a quart of Annie Sloan Chalk paint at the Haven Conference.  And, I also got a new Purdy brush in my swag bag at Haven too!

Chalk paint is great because you do not have to prime, so I was able to just get to work painting the shelf.  I did give it a quick sand just to make sure it was smooth and it had some grit to it for the paint to adhere.  I did my first coat with the brush, but unfortunately it had too many streaks for my liking.

Since it was all flat surfaces, I decided to use a little 4″ foam roller for my second coat.  It looked much better, and it was a faster process.  Bob ended up helping me out and he put a line of caulk down the back corner where the two upright boards met.  It helped it look more complete.  Then, I just shopped the house for items to put on the shelves, and this is the current look.

Puddy seems to think that anytime I get out the camera that he needs to be in the picture!  I do think he makes them look cuter though, and since the blog is named after him it only seems right to include him!!  I used random pictures that we had in other places in the house and also some that had been stored in the closet.  The bottom “picture” is just another piece of scrapbook paper in a frame.  The only new item is the clock on the wall, and I did have that I just hadn’t found a spot for it in the basement until we rearranged for the corner shelf.  The Fall picture on the wall was taken by one of Bob’s co-workers, so he gets artistic credit for that one.  It used to hang in our hallway upstairs, but after trying a few other pictures in that spot, Bob thought of that picture and said it would look better…and he was right!  I used some real pumpkins and some fake ones to complete the look for Fall.

Anyone else score some curbside freebies lately?  What did you do to give them a new life?

Be Our Guest

Our guest room is a good example of working with what we have.  Puddy says, “Come on over and be our guest!” Of course, you might have to kick him out of the guest room….that bed is one of his favorite spots, mainly because he can see right out the front windows and bark at anyone who walks by.

When Bob and I bought our house, I didn’t have much furniture to contribute to it, outside of the living room furniture, because most of my furniture was hand-me-downs that were on their way out.  Bob fortunately had more furniture that we could use in our new home.  Since we had decided on purchasing a new bedroom set for our bedroom, we used Bob’s old furniture for the guest room.  He had a queen size bed on just a frame and a set of dressers and night stands.
Just like many other rooms in our house, it took a while before I decided on how I wanted to decorate the room.  Finally, I decided to paint it a nice cheery yellow.  I can’t recall if that was before or after I completed the headboard makeover.  I knew I wanted an upholstered headboard, but wanted to make it as inexpensively as possible.  I finally found one on Craigslist that I thought would work.

I can’t remember exactly how much I paid for the headboard, maybe $45.  I know the person was trying to sell the whole set of matching bedding to go with the headboard, so I negotiated the price by buying only the headboard.  I took off all the old fabric and then used a white duckcloth to reupholster it.  I used a white trim to hide my staples in the seam, because I have not yet mastered welting.  I’m still considering using nailhead trim in that space to give it a little more interest.

The rest of the guest room has some other small projects of mine, as well as yard sale finds and Home Goods/TJ Maxx purchases.  The quilts are from Home Goods/TJ Maxx, as well as the flower pillow.  I bought the yellow pillows at a church thrift store.  The 3 pictures are Monet prints that I bought at a yard sale with the intention of just using the frames and painting them and adding my own pictures, but one day I held them up in the guest room and decided that they will work for now.

The only other projects are the “vases.”  I took a wine bottle and some vases that I either got for free or 50 cents or less at yard sales and decided to spray paint them.  The wine bottle got a nice yellow color, while the vases were painted a metallic silver.

Anyone else reupholster a headboard?  Or maybe spraypainted vases for a new look?

Current Projects

I keep saying that I am working on some other projects around the house, and I am, but I have come to realize it takes me much longer to have them ready to share than I thought it would.  So, I thought I would give you some hints of what I have in process, so at least there is some proof that I’m working on it…slowly.

I bought these sconces for $2.99 each during one of my summer trips to Salvation Army.

This is when they were prepped in my spraypainting station, aka my backyard with a drop cloth and some boards.  They are now a new color and hung in the basement, I just need to find the perfect candles so I can take pictures and share.

My second project in process is a $5 table that I bought during our neighborhood yardsale.  It needs a little makeover.

It has been stripped, sanded and stained.  I just have to give it another coat of stain and some poly…oh, and decide where it is going to go in the house!

My last project has been completely FREE!  I found this solid wood unfinished corner stand when I was shopping a neighborhood yardsale…the person had packed up everything else, but left this corner stand and some baby items at the end of the driveway for free.  I walked back to my car as fast as I could and pulled up in front and loaded it up.  I also got a high chair and exersaucer for free for my sister.

I used chalk paint for this piece.  I won a quart of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White at the Haven Conference and decided to use it to give this corner stand a new life.  It worked well and as soon as I get the shelves decorated, I will take some more pictures and share.

Until then, I should step away from the computer and spend some time on my projects. Does anyone else underestimate the time it takes to complete a project?  Any other yardsale freebies or good deals?

Breakfast Room Conversion

When we first looked at our house, my only concern was it felt like there were too many eating areas.  With just two of us, I wasn’t sure how we would use a kitchen bar, breakfast room, and dining area.  Here is our floor plan, so you have a point of reference for the multiple eating areas all within very close proximity of each other.

But, we loved the house and since it was my only hesitation, it was nearly a forgotten thought shortly after I said it.  We ended up purchasing a new dining room set, because neither Bob nor I had one that we felt suited our new home.  Bob did have a small table and set of chairs that we thought could work in the Breakfast Room, as well as an antique buffet.  So, we moved in and set up the room with what we had.

This was the state of our Breakfast Room around Christmas time 2007, just weeks after we moved in.  Bob and I actually used the small table quite often to eat, until we got stools for the kitchen bar.  Once we purchased our bar stools, eating in the Breakfast Room, even if it was for dinner, became a thing of the past. 

I kept picturing the room as more of a sitting/sun room.  But, with the rest of our decor and style, I knew I couldn’t furnish it with really light and airy sunroom type furniture.  Fortunately, I make it a habit of popping into Goodwill and Salvation Army, which are the common thrift stores in our area.  One day at lunch, I decided to go to Salvation Army and lucked into 50% off furniture day.  I spotted two of these chairs.

I liked the chairs, and since they were 50% off, it made them only $25 each.  I wasn’t positive that Bob would like them, so I snapped a cell phone picture and texted it to him.  I didn’t have time to wait for a  response, so I went back to work.  He checked out the picture and decided they were good.  So, I rushed back to the store after work and snatched up the two chairs. I had never done any reupholstering with tufting, but I figured I would give it a try.

I offset the cost by selling the old table and chair set on craigslist.  With cash in hand, I was able to purchase the supplies I needed:  fabric, a button kit and trim, and still have some money left.  I knew the room needed something else besides the two chairs, so I kept searching the thrift stores.  One Saturday, as I shopped with my thrifting friend, Judie, I spotted a $20 side table.  It was ugly, but it had potential, and it matched the measurements I was looking for, except it was a bit tall.

When Bob saw the table sitting in our Breakfast Room, he really thought I was crazy!!  I explained my plan to convert it into an ottoman…he still doubted me, but for $20, agreed it was worth a try.  I needed his help though, because at the time I was not using power tools, especially not a saw.  I gave him the measurements I was looking for and he sawed off the bottom portion of the legs.  I purchased foam and attached it to the top of the table and secured it with batting by stapling it underneath.  I used the same method for the fabric and Bob had drilled holes in the table top so that I could use them as my guide for the buttons for the ottoman.  That may have been the most challenging part, getting the needle through the thick foam and securing the buttons in place, but Bob helped and we made it work.

Today, our Breakfast Room is more of a Sitting Room, and it gets so much more use.  The sunlight streams in the room in the morning and its a great place to sit and read, chat, or just relax. 

And, the wonderful sunlight is also the reason I tried taking twilight pictures of the room.  Its not the best, but it gives you a truer picture of the colors.  The bright morning light washed out the pictures too much.  The side table has a marble top and wooden legs, and was a later addition to the room when I found it at a yard sale for few dollars.

Anyone else have successful thrifting and repurposing projects to share?  How about rooms that were transformed into a different use?

The Odd Corner in our Living Room

Decorating and arranging furniture in our living room has been the thorn in my side from day one.  These pictures are the best I could find with no furniture in the space.

Our original plan was to put the large sectional that Bob had in his house in our living room.  It is four pieces and we thought it would fill the room nicely.  We were definitely wrong on that idea.  On moving day, my Mom and I tried every possible arrangement of the four pieces in the living room and it did not work at all.  Fortunately for us, I also had a sectional from my previous house.  It was a smaller two piece L-shaped sectional.  In desperation to try to get some furniture in the room, we tried it.  It worked in the space, but it also meant we needed to place our TV in the corner to the right of the fireplace and partially blocking the window.

Not long after we our wedding, we upgraded to a flat screen TV, so we bought a corner stand and the corner of the living room was on its second look.

It stayed like this for several years, because we really did not know what else to do to rearrange.  The only other option we considered was placing the TV on the wall above the fireplace.  Bob and I were both hesistant to make the change, but eventually decided it was the way to go.  It bothered both of us that the TV was blocking the window.

We finally took the plunge and hung the TV over the mantle when we moved the larger TV to our basement, which at the time was just finished.  So, we purchaed a slightly smaller TV  and hung it over the mantle, which  left the odd corner in the living room with needing a new purpose.  It has now had many looks, as evidenced in all the pictures.  And, I know there was at least one other arrangement in that corner that we don’t have pictures to prove it existed.

This is the current state of the odd corner in the living room.   It definitelywill not be the final look, as I think it needs bigger, more comfortable chairs.  But, I am pleased with the current state.  Especially since I bought the little table for $5 at a yardsale. It was painted in a pretty pastel purple, and I stripped it and then stained the top and spray painted the legs to get the current look.  The chairs were bought at a used furniture store and I reupholstered them and added the trim.  I sewed the pillow covers as well. 

Does anyone have any suggestions for improving the odd corner in our living room?  Or, any other layout suggestions?