Things that make you go… “Umm…yeah, NO.”

We’ve known for a bit that our dining room is going to under go some changes to become more our style.  We started with getting a new dining table and chairs a little earlier this year and have plans for added crown molding and shadow boxes beneath the chair rail and things like that.  I’ve always thought having a sideboard in this space would really help with serving and laying out pretty pieces and decorations.  Truth be told I also fell in love with the idea of having a space to layout a little Christmas village too! We found this piece online and I pinned it to my dining room board loving it immediately.


But there’s no way we can afford that… it’s about $2,000 on sale and I reserve  that amount of money for things I can get more personal with … like a sectional sofa or something!  It’s also incredibly long at 105″ and would fit, but would take up the entire wall end to end, and I wasn’t sure we wanted to get something quite that big.  BUT a few months ago, we came across a piece at Home Decorators that reminded us of this piece in shape and style.

sideboard / cabinet

We just waited until it went on sale with free shipping and decided we could swallow the $550 price tag much more easily.  We have some changes and additions we’re going to make to it which I’ll share down the line, though.  So we have it and the boxes look fantastic!  We have the matter of our current hutch and getting rid of that before we can set this piece up and get started, though.

Dining Room

I love this hutch, but that’s the wall I really want to place the sideboard on.  It’s got awesome wood fretwork details on the glass doors and we added puck lights to the inside so we have accent lighting in it at night.  It’s from the 1920’s and in pretty great shape as well, after I gave it a spruce up with Howard’s Restora-finish years ago.

Anyway, I thought we’d try to move it to see if we could keep it.  So we emptied it out and slid it to the nook where the secretary desk is in the picture above and moved that to the basement for the time being.

Dining Room

The result was a pretty instant, “Ummm… NO!” from both Jake and I.  I pretty much knew in my head it wasn’t going to work there, even without the extra furniture we have in here like the floral chair (which we’ve since sold) and the dresser, which is waiting to be relocated to the front room.  I didn’t even care that I was taking blog pictures with all that mess… just ick. It looks all squished there and closes the room in entirely.

Dining Room Dining RoomDining Room

Yuck yuck yuck.   So it has to go, unfortunately.  I love it, but it just doesn’t fit with our future plans for this space or style we have.  I know it won’t sell quickly since antiques can be so particular, but I couldn’t even leave it here for a while.  This room was making my eyes hurt, so I unpacked it all and we moved it right back to where it was before!

Dining Room Dining Room Dining Room

Sometimes you have to move some things around so you can see it and say, “Yeah, no… no way”.

Anyone else moving some furniture around or trying to make some spaces work better for you?

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Recovered Chairs (& the dreaded sewing machine)

I actually started this project back in early November and it took me until right before New Years to finish it.  See the two chairs in our office?


They are a great height and shape for the space and I loved that we had two and they matched.  Would I like something else later on like a neat wicker chair like this?  Sure!  But for now these are perfectly fine except for the color.  As I mentioned, we had gone out and done some revamping to the master bedroom duvet and got some new curtains (still working on that!).  Well the ones that we had in there for a short time actually appeared to work really well as covers for these two chairs.  The only problem – some sewing would have to be required. (gasp!)

First things first I took the chairs apart with an allen wrench.  If you don’t have a set of these at home, get one – especially if you like IKEA.  Small lazy puggle for this work is optional.Before

Deconstructed Then I took a pair of scissors and cut the bottom hem and the grommet top off the curtains so I would have a rough cut of fabric.

Fabric 2

Fabric Layout

So then I was able to cut the pieces out for the seat and the back.  The seat was the easy part.  All you’ll need is the fabric and a staple gun.  I’ve got a light duty stapler that I picked up at Joann’s for another project.  Just pull tight and staple away!

Fabric Staple

I stapled the front and back of the cushion first then went for the corners so I could get them done tight and clean.  I just trimmed and folded the fabric until I had a nice clean line and stapled it into place.

Fabric Edges

And repeated in the other corners and edges until I was done.  Piece of cake!

Seat Done

The back is where I got held up for the month.  I’ll head out and grab a nail gun, a miter saw, a jig saw or whatever, but a sewing machine seems to scare me beyond all other mechanisms.  And all I had to do was sew two straight seams per chair!  Once I gathered my courage up, my sewing machine and me sat down and had a little chit-chat about tension strengths and correct bobbin threading and finally seemed to be on the same page.   Since I was so concerned about this step however I have no pictures.  I got so wrapped up in making sure I didn’t mess it up too badly.  But here’s what I did.

Think of this type of chair back as a pillow case essentially.  All you need to do is fold the fabric around one side and sew a seam at the top and along the side like noted here.

Before 2


I managed to do just that and the fit was nice and snug once I pulled the “pillow case” over the chair back.  A few more trimming and staples on the bottom being sure to work around the chair legs and I had me some newly covered chairs!

DSCN3436 Sewing LinesThey look much better in the room together now.

Office After

These curtains were $25 for the pair, but since I had bought these for another room and turned out they didn’t work, this was essentially a $0 project for me.  All I needed was a little courage to face the sewing machine!

Any of you have a tool you dread using?  Tips for other sewing novices?

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Dressing it Up!

Well, I fffi-iii-iiiinnneeely finished off that dresser and here it is!

DresserI actually am really pleased with how it came out!  I’m normally not one for such an antiquey looking antique, but in this one instance this is what the vision in my head was grabbing at and I went with it for our mudroom / entry room.  We’ve yet to put it in it’s final resting place because we have some work coming in that room (more on that later), but it’s all done and ready to move in when the time comes!

To finish the dresser off and get the chippy look,  I used a product that is actually very old, just new to me: Milk Paint.  I read Miss Mustard Seed‘s blog quite a bit and purchased one of her signature paints in Mustard Seed Yellow.  Milk paint is a powder that you mix with equal parts water to break it all up and get the consistence and color your looking for.  Marian has all sorts of tutorials on her blog, so check her out to learn more.

Milk Paint Milk Paint Milk Paint

I had a little trouble getting it to be a good consistency, but in the end it all worked out ok.  Milk paint will naturally chip away from your surface wherever it’s little heart desires, so you don’t always know how it’s going to look.  This is after the first coat:


And after a few more, you can start to see how it’s chipping off. Dresser Dresser

To get the look you want you can just rub at it lightly with a putty knife and it’s just rain little flakes on you.  The paint dries quickly and you can put multiple coats on 30-60 minutes apart, so this is a relatively quick process.  I painted, flaked, painted, flaked…and swept the floor.  A Lot.  If you have a shop or outdoor space to do this I would recommend it just for the flaking.  There were little paint chips everywhere.


You can see the difference in some of the progress photos vs the finished product that the paint didn’t always chip off in the same places each time.  After 3 coats of painting and scraping to the bureau and the drawers, I stained the top of the dresser using Minwax Dark Walnut that we have on hand from the bed project we did earlier this year.


As a finishing finish to the finish of the furniture (say 5 times fast), I applied a coat of Furniture Wax to the entire piece.  Since I was trying out Miss Mustard Seed’s product I purchased her wax for this as well.

Furniture Wax

Furniture Wax

It went on very easy with a clean cloth and then you just buff it to a shiny protective finish with another cloth after 5-10 minutes.  I put 2 coats on the top and one on the body of the dresser.  The furniture wax will also stop the paint from flaking any more, from what I understand.  It really gave the wood a nice rich tone afterwards and a little shine without poly or something.

The knobs I picked up on Joss and Main and I really liked how they complimented the style of this little makeover.



Ready for a before and after?



Dresser DSCN3263 Milk Paint Dresser | Mustard Seed Yellow

So what do you think??  Not bad for a little relic from the 1880’s, huh?  I’m not sure I’d milk paint anything else in the house, but I promise you it’ll be charming in our little entry room/mudroom when it’s complete!  Every use milk paint or restore a piece of furniture?  It was sorta fun and therapeutic, almost!

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