$100 Kitchen Refresh

There are two types of room make-over (well, in reality, there are many, many more though for the sake of poetic licence let’s just pretend there are two, mkay?).

The type you plan for. And then the type which just sorta happens…

…maybe late on a Friday evening…

…after two (or more) glasses of wine…

…whilst you’re still wearing your ‘good’ clothes – or perhaps even your jammies – and something about something suddenly needs to change before your head explodes.

Yep, let’s just say this particular room make-over isn’t exactly the “plan for” type.

This is my parent’s little kitchen.

 

 

As you can see, it’s far from hideous.

Some might even say cute and charming.

And it may surprise you to learn that, although it looks relatively new-ish, it’s actually 25 years old. Yep, quite possibly older than some of you reading this here post!

My mum has always been drawn to enduring interiors which stand the test of time (gee, I wonder where I get that from?) so, when over two decades ago she updated her kitchen, timelessness was first and foremost in her mind – along with budget of course (gee, I wonder where I get that from too?).

For the most part she retained the original 1960’s layout which sees the kitchen as little more than a compact, somewhat hidden, room.

Of course, nowadays we grant kitchens precedence in our homes and mum has plans to undertake a more extensive renovation in the coming few years. For the time-being however she decided a few interim changes were called for.

Mum had mentioned some of her refresh ideas to me though seemingly always in reverie, so just imagine my surprise when I popped over to visit late one afternoon to find her and her sister, still dressed in the nice outfits they’d clearly worn out to lunch earlier, trimming down the breakfast bar with a circular saw. I guess her head had reached explosion point!

For the most part this is my mum’s project and I wasn’t sure whether or not to share it on the blog.

There are things I would have done differently, and for under $100 it’s nothing astounding, though I think there are some interesting take-aways. And, in this crazy world of knock-down re-builds, who doesn’t love a simple little update?

The room is still currently a work in progress however is nearly done. Will share the full reveal next week!

 

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If you follow me on Instagram you might have read that I had imminent plans to refresh my parent’s ensuite, not their kitchen!

As I said, this make-over was a little impromptu and the ensuite update is coming soon.

Vintage-Style Mini Drawer Hack with Latch Handles

I hope you all had a lovely time over Christmas and New Year!

Our days were filled with rollicking children, too much food, lazy mornings, too much champagne, and lots of laughter with friends and family.

Getting back into the swing of things today by posting details of this simple IKEA hack I recently shared as part of my little boy’s bedroom makeover.

Moppe Drawers Before

IKEA Moppe Drawer Hack

Such a quick, easy and effective little project!

This is the MOPPE drawer unit. It comes in a few different sizes and configurations.

I first hacked a set of these around six years ago and was fortunate to have that project go a bit viral!

At the time I bought a second set, with plans to make it over in a similar fashion, though never quite got around to it.

Fast forward over half a decade and I finally had the perfect excuse!

These are awesome in my son’s bedroom for housing all of his mini figurines, though the original blonde wood and modern finger pulls (not to mention abstract toddler artwork!), didn’t quite suit the vintage lodge vibe I was going for in his space.

Luckily, I knew there was an easy fix…

First, I removed the drawers and stained the carcass using Feast Watson Prooftint in Brown Japan.

IKEA Moppe Drawer Hack with Feast Watson Brown Japan

Don’t mind the fact I’m wearing gardening gloves. We were out of latex ones.

I simply applied it with a rag before rubbing it off again, always working in the direction of the grain.

Because this timber is quite porous you could use a wood conditioner prior to staining though it’s not necessary.

Next I stained the rear of each drawer.

Staining the Drawers

Yep, the reverse side of the drawers are solid slabs with no finger pulls which is perfect if you plan to attach handles like I did.

Once dry I applied two coats of Feast Watson Scandinavian Oil.

IKEA Moppe Drawer Hack

As you can see, I wasn’t super neat with my stain. I just made sure I covered any visible areas. Of course, if this was an item I planned to sell or gift I would have been more fussy. 

I love the ease of Scandinavian Oil as a sealer, and the way it gently enriches the stain.

Generally, Scandinavian Oil is worked into the timber using a scouring pad or fine steel wool though I often simply apply it topically with a brush.

When everything was dry I pieced the unit back together again before scavenging through my hardware stash for some handles.

My original plan was to use label holders and little knobs (similar to my original hack) though I happened to come across some brass latches I bought years ago off eBay (unfortunately the seller no longer stocks them though you should be able to find similar. You can even get really lovely ornate ones).

“Hmmm, I’ve never seen these latches used on drawers before. I wonder if they could work?”

Ikea Drawer Hack with Brass Latch Handles

Apparently yes!

Given these drawers are only little and light the turn and catch can operate as pulls though I wouldn’t recommend them for larger drawers.

IKEA Moppe Drawer Hack

I love how unexpected they are, and the way they offer that antique campaign furniture sorta feel.

Cedar Dresser in Boy's Bedroom

On a different note, I wanted to take the time to extend a huge THANK YOU for your readership throughout 2018. Without you this little slice of my life would be lonesome indeed, so I am grateful beyond words for having you here with me.

Thank you.

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Easy Ikea Hack using Moppe Drawers

Upcycling Everyday Items Into Christmas Decor

Berry Christmas Bottles

I know that seasonal and holiday decorating is essentially the inherent duty of any home blogger, though as I’ve admitted several times in the past, it’s just not my thing – even when it comes to the mighty crescendo that is Christmas.

It’s not that I don’t adore the look and feel of Christmas decor, or that I don’t appreciate all of the time and effort it must take, it’s more so that I tend to balk at “all of the time and effort it must take”. As many of my regular readers will attest to, I’m satisfied enough when I can stay on top of ordinary decorating!

And it’s not that I don’t love Christmas. On the contrary, it’s my absolute favourite time of year.

Still, a solitary tree, a nice advent calendar, a knitted stocking or two – and marveling in everyone else’s festive prowess – has always been enough for me.

Until now.

This year both of my kids are at that age where Christmas is the undisputed champion of absolutely everything, and their excitement is contagious!

So, I’m feeling extra spirited, though rather than rush out and spend money on a heap of new decor (destined to be stashed in boxes for most of year), I thought I’d have a look around my own home for some everyday items I could easily upcycle.

Of course, as with any Christmas-related activity, the first port of call is to crank some holiday tunes! Not only does Christmas music work to get those festive feels flowing, it’s the perfect way to annoy your grinchy husband who blames nine years working in retail on his aversion to any song with sleigh bell percussion.

I, on the other hand, can’t get enough! This year the kids and I have been rockin’ this epic Christmas playlist from Sony Music. Nothing better than tying pretty baker’s twine bows while belting out some Mariah Carey!

And here are some of the basic items the playlist has helped inspire me to repurpose so far…

1 | BOOKS

Books Before

I have little stacks of vintage books lying around in most of my rooms.

When wrapped like a gift with some red and white baker’s twine and embellished with a few golden bells and sprigs of rosemary they instantly become Christmas-afied.

Wrapped Books for Christmas

Books Dressed for Christmas

I’ve kept things very simple though you could make more of a statement with thick ribbon and bold accessories, like mini pine-cones, clay stars or generous clippings of assorted greenery.

 

2 | GLASS BOTTLES

Glass Bottles Before

Vintage glass bottles are another of my decorating staples.

Again, with just some simple twine and a few sprigs of greenery they suddenly take on a subtle festive feel.

Christmas Glass Bottles

Simple Christmas Bottles

Simple Christmas Bottles

Or, for something different, a variety of ribbon and some faux berries make for a bright, cheery vibe.

Berry Christmas Bottles

Berry Bottles for Christmas

Granted, they may be artificial berries though having some water in the bottles helps with the illusion…shhhh!

Christmas Bottles

 

3 | CERAMICWARE

Plates Before

Most of us have some plain ceramics scattered about. Here I’m using a set of three white plates which usually hang in my kitchen.

Easy DIY Christmas Plates

To dress them up I’ve simply added some easy DIY stickers!

I found the graphics online for free (you might recognise them from my downloadable Christmas Book Page Signs).

DIY Christmas Sticker Plates

I simply printed them onto a sheet of clear sticker paper before trimming around each one then adhering them to the plates – so quick and easy! And the options are endless. Use mugs, vases, jugs, platters, whatever! And you can embellish them with any style of image you like.

The stickers only cost a few cents each to make and can be easily peeled-off when no longer needed.

DIY Christmas Plate

If you’d like to use the same artwork as me, I’ve attached my file for free download HERE.

 

4 | KITCHEN SCALES

Christmas Scales Before

Just like any empty bowl, there are lots of different ways to dress-up scale weighing dishes for Christmas.

For some reason, mini winter wonderlands first came to mind for me!

Vintage Christmas Scale Decorating

Here I’ve simply used inexpensive table salt, some craft store bottle-brush trees and a few old matchbox cars.

DIY Christmas Scale Scene

So quick and easy…and super cute!

Easy DIY Christmas Scale Snow Scene

As an aside, I don’t really advocate tying an over-sized fir tree to the top of a Volkswagon with an open sunroof – though each to their own.

 

5 | PICTURE FRAMES

Frame Before

This one might seem pretty obvious, though if you’re anything like me you probably rarely switch-out the art in your frames.

I’ve kept things super simple by using just one small frame, though you could easily go totally bonkers by re-imagining all of the frames in your entire house!

Christmas Tree Sign

My art is merely a pretty greeting card however the options here are endless! Design your own, use free online printables, download digital art via Etsy or eBay, or purchase prints, calendars, gift wrap or posters.

If you have any frames in 2:3 ratio (for example, 4″ x 6″, 8″ x 12″, 12″ x 18″, 16″ x 24″, 24″ x 36″) you can grab my free printable Christmas Book Page Signs HERE.

Free Printable Christmas Signs

The great thing about switching-out prints is that you can keep the alternate art in the rear of the frame all year long then simply change things around when the time is right.

Each of these projects literally took less than five minutes and now my house is looking decked for the holidays. And the kids are soooooo excited!

Would love for you guys to crank some Christmas tunes, have a wander around your own home and see what regular items the music inspires you to repurpose.

Have fun!

GRAB THE EPIC PLAYLIST HERE

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This post is published in association with Sony Music. All ideas and opinions are my own.

 

Boy’s Tiny Lodge Style Bedroom Reveal!

Rustic Lodge Style Boy's Bedroom

I never thought I’d be able to create another kid’s space I’d love quite so much as my daughter’s bedroom…but I may have done just that.

In fact, I might even love it more!

Boy's Lodge Style Bedroom Makeover

Cedar Dresser in Boy's Bedroom

From the start I was excited about the rustic-earthy-vintage-collected-lodgey feel I was hoping to encompass in this space. I love moody and masculine schemes though it’s not a look I get to play with often so decorating this room was fun! And I’m thrilled with how everything came together.

Boy's Rustic Vintage Bedroom Makeover

As I’ve mentioned before, Riley’s bedroom is kinda teeny – just 2.4 meters x 2.4 meters (7.8′ x 7.8′). Whilst small spaces can present a challenge, they can also offer relief in terms of decisiveness as certain factors, such as furniture configuration, are immediately dictated. As there was really only one decent position for Riley’s bed this helped determine the overall layout.

I’ve spoken about most of the items in the room throughout my previous posts.

Antique Cotton Reel Bed

The old cotton reel bed was an antique store find. I scored it for $110 though it was missing its rails and slats so we added them. It’s my most favourite bed ever!

Teddy

The antique cedar dresser is also one of my favourite pieces.

Cedar Dresser in Boy's Bedroom

I may, or may not, have been squashed into the back of the wardrobe whilst taking this pic.

I bought it eight years ago to act as a change table in the nursery. Since then it has been used for general storage in both my kid’s rooms. I found it on eBay for $350.

Kid's Desk and Chair

With little floor space remaining, I sourced an old hall table to do double duty as both a nightstand and desk. It was $120 from an antique warehouse.

If you’ve been following along with this room makeover then you’re probably aware of the “painting debate“. After living with the desk in its natural pine state for over a year I decided to paint it this soft blue-grey to provide some relief from the brown of the bed and dresser.

Boy's Bedroom After

It’s hard to grasp the impact in these pics (as I’m shooting directly into a full size window plus it’s impossible to get all of the furniture in one frame) though I’m so glad I painted it. It adds that touch of softness and references the blues in the landscape artworks beautifully.

Kid's Desk Swivel Chair

The desk is teamed with this vintage ochre swivel chair which adds a fun colour punch. It was $19 from eBay.

Boy's Lodge Style Bedroom

Furniture-wise, the only other piece in the room is a basic narrow toy box at the foot of the bed.

Kid's Toy Box

Tractor Toy

We custom built this from plywood because I couldn’t find anything the right size. I was going to dress it up like a trunk with some leather straps, brass catches and carriage handles though as it’s essentially tucked away I decided to save my energy and simply paint and dark wax it.

The latest addition, and the finishing touch I was waiting on to complete the room, are the curtains.

Boy's Bedroom After

My initial idea was for something with a vertical pin stripe though just the other week I happened to come across these for $20 a panel in TK Maxx. I couldn’t say no.

Horizontal stripes aren’t normally my thing, so at first I was skeptical, though now I absolutely love them! They were just standard sheers with a basic rod pocket so I added hook tape and rings and lined them with some old IKEA curtains I had to give them more bulk.

Opposite the window is the built-in wardrobe.

Chalkboard Wardrobe

The frame and doors were originally plain beige however I painted them with chalkboard paint and added the alphabet decals when this room was being used as a nursery. I contemplated making them over again (possibly in a barn door style) though decided it wasn’t necessary. Plus the kids still use the chalkboard and I like its rustic simplicity.

Boy's Room Vigentte

Amidst the decor atop the cedar dresser sits an old (slightly freaky) bath toy which belonged to my Mum, a book titled “Power Tennis” which came from Riley’s Grandpa, and a warrior horse which was a gift bought home from China. It’s always nice to include meaningful items among the purely decorative ones.

Kid's Vignette

The little drawers with the brass latches are a simple IKEA hack I’ll share soon!

On the desk a thrifted brass “pachyderm” bank holds Riley’s pocket money and the desk lamp, which was just $10 from Kmart, adds a touch of modernity.

Kid's Desk Vignette

Chalkboard

Desk Vignette with Lamp

Now, here are some comparison before and afters just for fun…

Boy's Rustic Vintage Bedroom Makeover

Cedar Dress in Boy's Bedroom

Chalkboard Wardrobe

As mentioned earlier, as I’ve already spoken lots about this room in my previous progress posts, I didn’t go into super fine detail here. Feel free to ask if you’d like to know more about anything in particular.

Cedar Dresser in Boy's Bedroom

Boy's Lodge Style Bedroom Makeover

Hope you like it.

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Boy's Bedroom

 

A Simple Desk Makeover

Distressed Kid's Desk

You know that old saying, “Too much of a good thing is never a good thing.”

Well, aside from the fact they forgot to exclude wine…and pistachios…and Friday nights, it’s pretty sound advice, and perfectly apt in the case of this cute little desk.

Distressed Chalk Painted Kid's Desk

As good as its original pine finish was, when teamed with the warm walnut bed and the dark cedar dresser already in my son’s tiny room, it was just all too much.

Boy's Room Vintage Desk and Chair

Here’s how the desk looked this time last year.

I loved the natural rustic timber (as evidenced by my aforementioned collection of unpainted items), however, aside from the fact the ocean of wood made Riley’s bedroom feel a bit dark and dull, the pieces were competing which meant nothing had a chance to shine. It was death by brown!

Something had to give. And the desk lost…or maybe that should be won?

Distressed Chalk Painted Kid's Desk

I’ve seen enough heated debates over painting wooden furniture to know it’s a contentious topic. Personally, I believe both finishes can be beautiful and it usually comes down to context. I’m happy with the call I made here.

Anyhoo, this was the easiest makeover ever.

The trickiest part was deciding on a colour. I didn’t want anything which would fight against the green walls and eventually landed on a muddy blue-grey. Not only is this relatively neutral (and my son’s favourite hue) though it also references the colours in many of the landscape artworks.

Vintage Style Boy's Room

I made the paint colour using some left-overs I already had.

Given the desk was in rough shape, I thought a heavily distressed finish would work best.

Distressed Kid's Desk

My son wanted to help me paint and, whilst I’m always willing to take-on little apprentices, for a project like this I wholly welcome them! In my experience the best distressed finishes come from being entirely haphazard and kids are the absolute best at that!

After masking off the brass castors with some tape we brushed on two coats of paint in the most random manner possible. There were drips and blobs and obvious brush strokes, though that was just how I wanted it (you can find some previous tutorials where I used a similar method HERE and HERE).

Distressed Painted Finish with Brass Castors

To distress, I did something I’ve never done before. Whilst some of the thicker areas of paint were still tacky, I began randomly sanding the desk by hand using medium grit paper. I don’t know if wet paint distressing is actually a ‘thing’, and, to be honest, I only did it because I was being super impatient, though I liked the effect!

The tacky paint balled-up and peeled off with ease resulting in a clean chippy look, whereas the dry paint distressed as per usual for that more scratchy rubbed effect.

Distressed Desk

I like the super matte finish and am obviously not fussed about the desk becoming more disheveled with use so I didn’t bother applying any kind of protective topcoat. A clear wax or water-based poly can help if you’re after a more polished look.

Due to Riley’s room being so small it’s a bit tricky to take decent photos of the desk in place so I had some fun dressing it up in my entryway.

Desk Vignette

Granted, the toile wallpaper makes things look a bit girly though the desk itself is gender neutral.

I used some of my collection of blue-green glassware, vintage books and the stool I hacked earlier this year.

Distressed Chalk Painted Kid's Desk

Although I love both versions of this desk I know the painted finish will suit my son’s room best.

 

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Distressed Kid's Desk