Friday, January 29, 2016

A Craiglist Hutch Tutorial

I love when the days turn warmer because it means that people start spring-cleaning! (Not me, of course, but other people.) They want to get rid of the old and freshen things up. What do you do with all the stuff then? You have a yard sale, naturally. The trouble is it is not warm weather here in Massachusetts and waiting through the cold months used to be torture. With the advent of the internet we now have access to year round yard sales, estate sales, ect.  I love Craiglist, Freecycle and local yard sale facebook sites!

Since we bought our home in 2003 I have had a love/hate relationship with the old steam radiators in our home. Some of them are gorgeous and because of that I do not mind terribly that they take up space in a corner of a room. At times I have placed a piece of marble or tray on top and made them into make shift tables.

U G L Y!
Neither of the two radiators in my living room are beautiful. They are short, squatty little things with no decoration at all. They weigh a ton so to try to bring them outside for a good cleaning and spray paint is impossible. They stick out from the wall about a foot and they are both placed in stupid locations. The one that caused me most trouble was between the two front windows. So this is the maybe-too-detailed story of what I did to deal with them. I have alluded to parts of this account in other posts but thought maybe I should just put it all out there.

My solution was to build display shelves of some sort to house collectibles, table lamps and whatever else I feel like. So the brain started thinking. It had to have an open bottom because Mister is insistent that we not block the heat in any way. Pedal back about a year or so before when I spied, with my little eye, two porch pillars being thrown out by my neighbor. After she left for work and before the garbage man came I, with cat-like maneuvers, made my way to her garbage pile and snatched the pillars stealing them away to the safety of my back porch. In hindsight they were in no danger from the garbage man as they would never have fit into little compressor thing but no doubt some crazed DIY nut would have snatched them up for some cockamamie idea! ....What?

Yes, you know when Mister saw them he rolled his eyes and asked about them. At the time I had no plans other than to hoard them like they were water and it was Y2K! Okay back to the present time. So now, I had a plan for those pillars. They were going to be the front legs to my shelving. But, what about the shelves? That is when I became obsessed with checking Craigslist in three different areas for like a week. One day, boom! There it was a top to an Ethan Allen hutch that some woman did not want anymore. I immediately emailed her. She forwarded the measurements and I was thrilled that it would fit into my SUV. Off I went with my $40 (either $30 or $40 I forget which).

A little too country rustic for me.\
My daughter was with me. In theory the top would fit into my car....if I could get it through the opening which is smaller than the inside cabin area! I was not letting it go. My daughter and I put it on top of the luggage rack but had only a few bungee cords to try to keep it in place. I drove back roads home 10 miles or so with the sun roof open, our hands sticking up through it holding tightly the top of the hutch. That my friends is determination! Once home I took it quickly to the basement until I could draw up a plan. Mister does so much better with things he can see.

Mister caught the vision and the whole family got involved. The girls washed the cut down pillars readying them for paint.

Mister cut the top from a piece of pre-packaged wood at Home Depot. He built the skirt out of 1x6 and used the corners of the posts to tie the skirt in,

Mister mounted the base onto the wainscoting using it as a sort of cleat. Then the top was placed onto that. Everything got a fresh coat of December Starlight from Lowes to match the trim in the living room.

I painted the top using paint from around the house. Now, please don't fuss that I painted a piece of Ethan Allen furniture. I did not pay $2000 for it and in order for me to have it the way I wanted it the color was going to have to change a bit.

And, done for about $80 in materials, including the hutch top and wood. The decor changes seasonally and it has become one of my favorite diy's.

Kinda makes me want to go see what I can find on Craigslist....and no, I have gotten no farther on the office.
                                           Thanks for spending time with me today!

Linking up:
DIY Vintage Chic, The Pin Junkie, AKA Design, My Flagstaff Home, Life With Lorelai, French Country Cottage, Chic on a Shoestring, Shabby Art Boutique, My Romantic Home, The Cottage Market, The DIY Village, Blooming Homestead, A Tray of Bliss, Pieced Pastimes, Funky Junk Interiors, One More Time Events, Reasons To Skip The Housework, DIY Crush, Tornadough Alli, DIY Show Off, Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home, Finding Silver Pennies, Thoughts From Alice, Pink When , Inside the Fox Den, Coastal Charm, I Should Be Mopping The Floors, Creatively Living, Plucky's Second Thought, Karen's Up On The Hill, Create With Joy, Strangers and Pilgrims On Earth, Stone Gable, Flamingo Toes, Cupcakes and Crinoline, Home Stories A to Z, Sand & Sisal, Lou Lou Girls, A Stroll Thru Life, Elizabeth & Co, The DIY Dreamer, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Ladybug Blessings, Our Home Away From Home, Cozy Little House, Savvy Southern Style, The Blissful Bee, The Newlywed Pilgrimage, Simply Designing, Gingersnap Crafts, The Dedicated House, DIY By Design, Crafty Allie, Lambert's Lately. Blogdacious, The Curator's Collection, Imparting Grace, Too Much Time On My Hands, My Repurposed Life, The Charm of Home, Craftberry Bush, From My Front Porch To Yours, My Flagstaff Home, Joyful Homemaking, A Cup of Mrs. Olson, Blesser House, Must Love Home,Up To Date Interiors, A Vision To Remember, The Pin Junkie. Life With Lorelai, Remodelaholic, Patina Paradise, My Repurposed Life, Shoestring Elegance, The Chelsea Project

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Office Reno in Progress

I am not one to make New Year's resolutions. It is not that I am against resolutions or attempting to do things that will improve one's character, health or lifestyle. I do not like to disappoint people, least of all myself. If I make a resolution and do not follow through then I will have to come up with excuses why I did not keep the commitment. I will feel the regret and guilt of not having accomplished what I set out to do. Honestly,  I do not even want to put the required energy into whole-heartedly pursuing some lofty goal after all "I am too busy", I lie to convince myself. Yikes! Way too much pressure! And (seeing as we are three weeks into the new year) I obviously procrastinate on just about everything.

The day I took down the Christmas tree was the day that Mister (who does not procrastinate about anything, ever) decided it was time to finish up the three bedroom shuffle that we had started in October. It all started with the desire to clean up my youngest's room but that led to shuffling around my middle child to the office...blah, blah, blah... you can read about the work here, here, here and here.

That left us with a dumping ground of an "office". The room is where Mister works on music for our church and where the girls practice at the piano. Copy machines for homeschooling reside in that room as does the family filing cabinet. An old chest holds photo albums. The room also serves as my dressing room. My clothes are housed in the new closet Mister built for me and the chest of drawers holds clothing that for the past 19 years lived in a trunk Mister had built when we were first married. This room has a lot of different functions. To say it is multi-functional would be a gross understatement! To add to that we want to put a tv screen and dvd player for the girls and we want it to be a place for studying. Whew! Did I mention the room is like 11x13?

So, here is where we stand as of today; the closet is done.
Add caption
Mister installed track lighting that is set to highlight the closet, the keyboard, and the third light illuminates the far corner. It is close to the ceiling, imperative for ceilings 81 inches tall!

Purchased at Lowes. 
This weekend we (meaning Mister) will paint. After asking for suggestions on my favorite decorating page on facebook we have chosen Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams. It reads like a mix between beige and gray.

The carpet and chairs are staying put. We have not decided on window treatments yet.

I have drawn up a plan for the wall that houses the keyboard. I love the look of a gallery wall but have not yet pulled one off successfully. I want a curated look, not one you purchase all done for you and want to use some things I already have.  This is what I am thinking...

The frame in the middle above the keyboard will be a wall-mounted sheet music stand to save space and a shelf underneath, the length of the keyboard. I plan on doing a piece of sheet music for artwork in the large frame above the chest.

I have screens that belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother. I was thinking of taking one panel and attaching it to the outside closet wall, facing you when you walk in the door.

As I proof read this post it is really depressing me! There is nothing pretty to see here!

This is a close-up picture of Mister's and my first furniture makeover 19+ years ago. It was a chest found in the attic of a home I used to own. I didn't ever think to get a good "before" photo.

We stripped it down, replaced the hardware as some was missing. It was also missing some molding that Mister was able to match up. We stained it and then, in true 90's fashion, I stenciled it. I do wish I had not done that now but here it is. We will be using it in the new office.

Whew. That's a little better. Now I can publish this post. Next week will be  a lot better, I promise.

Linking up to the parties:
Shabby Art Boutique, Imparting Grace, Too Much Time On My Hands, Lambert's Lately, AKA Design, The Charm of Home, Craftberry Bush, My Flagstaff Home, Joyful Homemaking, Have A Daily Cup Of Mrs. Olson, Blesser House, Must Love Home, The Pin Junkie, A Delightsome Life, Shoestring Elegance, Up To Date Interiors, French Country Cottage, Life With Lorelai, Chic On A Shoestring, Remodelaholic, Just Us Four, My Romantic Home, The Cottage Market, DIY Vintage Chic, A Tray of Bliss, The DIY Village, Blooming Homestead, The Girl Creative, Pieced Pastimes, One More Time Events, Funky Junk Interiors, Reasons To Skip The Housework, Finding Silver Pennies, Thoughts From Alice, Pink When. DIY Showoff, Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home, Coastal Charm, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Skip To My Lou, Creatively Living, Plucky's Second Thought, Karen's Up On The Hill, Create With Joy, Strangers and Pilgrims On Earth, Stone Gable, A Stroll Thru Life, Elizabeth and Co. A Bowl Full of Lemons, Ladybug Blessings, Our Home Away From Home, Cozy Little House, Crafty Allie, The DIY Dreamer, Savvy Southern Style, The Blissful Bee, The Newlywed Pilgrimage, Simply Designing , The Dedicated House, Handy Man Crafty Woman, DIY By Design, DIY Crush

Friday, January 15, 2016


Just piddling around the house. We have been trying to get back into the routine though I am keenly aware that the word 'routine' is a lot like the word 'normal'. They are both fluid and subjective depending on who is using them and depending on the week, day, or moment.

I took the Christmas tree down this past weekend. It had been un-decorated for a week sitting naked in the corner. When we put it up this Christmas there were lights that did not work. It is a pre-lit tree and I couldn't figure out which bulbs were keeping entire sections dark. We worked around it this year but when it was over I cut all the lights out of the tree.

 I am too cheap to want to buy a new one and after cutting out all the lights I will never again buy one pre-lit! I hope when we set that puppy up next year that it doesn't look like something that should have been tossed.

While I was working on the lights Mister decided it was a good time to start working in what will be the office, lounge and music room. It also houses my closet. Remember, I lost my closet when we switched rooms around and I was left with a small 3 foot closet.

Fancy flooring found under the carpet in the new, enlarged closet.
 My stuff was scattered everywhere! Mister set out to make me a bigger closet and wire the room for an overhead light and switch.

Yes, there is a door inside my closet. It is a door that accesses the small closet in the master bedroom. One closet, two doors connecting the two front bedrooms. My girls had a blast with that when they were little!

I must say I am stuck when it comes to this room. I know it needs to be done, Mister wants to get it over with.

I am feeling that pressure and still trying to get things back to some sense of order and normalcy. (A term coined by Warren G. Harding after World War I-home schooling rocks!) Picking paint colors and figuring out how to configure things in the room to give us maximum function in a small space is taxing my pea-brain.

While I work that out I am turning my attention to much smaller matters. I put together this arrangement for the living room coffee table after seeing something similar at Stone Gable. I've tweaked it a bit to my liking.

Painted and glittered pinecones

I elected to use plain ones instead.

Small steps and sense of accomplishment! It really is all I can handle right now but I am conscious that Mister is ready to work and I can't take that for granted.

It's Party Time:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

White Picket Fences

Christmas and New Year's seems like a months ago already! The decorations are down, except for the tree and wreaths outside and the house seems bare and naked.  I miss our home being all decked out and I miss the anticipation of guests and joyful gatherings. So what is a girl to do? I decorate, on a much smaller scale of course!

The chair is still out of place because my tree is still up-undecorated but up. I have to cut the lights out of it and haven't found time.
Growing up a military brat made me jealous for large family gatherings that included aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. I grew up watching The Walton's Christmas specials and the like, earnestly desiring those family Christmases. That way of life was so appealing to me. I dreamed of "one day" when I would have a home for longer than three years where my family would gather around. I imagined candles in the windows at Christmas and white picket fences. 

A transitional vignette from Christmas to winter.
At times, I do romanticize about days when there was no television, internet, or even electric lights! When a candle in the window was really a candle and lanterns were the source of task light at night. Stores did not entice one in at ridiculous hours or on days that were considered sacred, holy or meant for family gatherings. There were no cell phones on dinner tables or relatives texting someone from the safety of a corner somewhere. They were quieter times when  "noise" was made by many voices talking to one another...nice to imagine but not our reality these days.

I still have to have some of the ocean represented so I left the starfish in the cloche with boxwood and a pinecone

I left the greens on top on the hutch. They are dry as all get out but not being bothered up there.
 A few days after Christmas I stopped at Joann Fabrics for thread. I never make it out the day after Christmas in spite of what I try to tell myself. By the time I get out everything is well pick over but this year I found some good stuff on sale! 

One of mom's Thomas Kinkade prints with greens and painted pinecones.

These cute little cardboard houses were meant to be ornaments. 

Cardboard tree ornaments with a little sparkle.
They light up and warmly bathe the houses and the white picket fences with a welcoming glow, bidding the passerby to come in and rest from the cold. 

Simple construction....maybe I should make some...

Don't you want to go inside?
The next aisle over I found glass cloches; ideas were formulating!

Mister is the music minister for our church and each year at Christmas the congregation graciously gives him a gift in appreciation for his work. This year the gifts were attached to a little birch tree that lights up on a timer. I did not know what I was going to do with the tree afterwards but now it was fitting into my plans nicely. 

I couldn't decide to use one or two cloches. I like both for different reasons.
Last Christmas my dad sent a painting that had belonged to my mother. She had found it a little shop up north. It is a scene of a New England village covered in snow. It was painted on an old bread board and I have admired it from the first time I saw it. In the painting are little houses and bare white birch trees and a wooden, picket fence and a quiet stillness that only winter seems to possess.  

I put the elements together: the houses covered by the cloches, the painting and the birch tree along with a miniature Christmas tree strung with lights. and suddenly now my house doesn't seem as barren and I get to hold onto my dreams a little longer. 

At night.
We do not have the huge family gatherings I had hoped for as a young girl. Life has not afforded me those times here in this life. Mister and I both lost our moms to cancer and family is spread all over. I am blessed with great church family, though.  Maybe it is all meant to push my eyes heavenward when one day there will be such a home-coming and family gathering that can never be matched here on earth. Maybe God intends that the hunger for such things cannot ever truly be fulfilled this side of glory. I look at the painting and beckoning lights and dream of the one eternal day when the house of God will be eternally filled with His Light and filled with all his children, finally home...
                                                                      while I linger.

Linking up to these parties:,
Shabby Art Boutique, My Flagstaff Home, Up To Date Interiors, Lambert's Lately, AKA Design, Imparting Grace, Too Much Time On My Hands, The Charm of Home, Craftberry Bush, From My Front Porch To Yours, Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson, Blesser House, Must Love Home, A Delightsome Life, A Vision To Remember, Life With Lorelai, McCall Manor, Olives n Okra, French Country Cottage, Pin Junkie, Chic On A Shoestring, My Romantic Home, The Cottage Market, DIY Vintage Chic, Blooming Homestead, Pieced Pastimes, One More Time Events, Finding Silver Pennies, Thoughts From Alice, DIY Showoff, Coastal Charm, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Sand & Sisal, Creatively Living, Plucky's Second Thought, Karen's Up On The Hill, Create With Joy, Strangers and Pilgrims On Earth, Inside the Fox Den, The Dedicated House, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, A Stroll Thru Life, Elizabeth & Co, Ladybug Blessings, Our Home Away From Home, Cozy Little House, Kathe With An E, Savvy Southern Style, Blissful Bee, The Newlywed Pilgrimage, Simply Designing, Ivy & Elephants, Crafty Allie, Handy Man Crafty Woman