An Exciting New Room Redo

Phew, it’s been a crazy few weeks…in a very good way!

I guess I should start by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy New Year’ (cue streamers and those roll-out party horn thingos).

Now, I should explain my recent absence. I’ll blame it on the following ten factors….

1. Beautiful weather
2. Pure laziness
3. My parent’s beach house (which forced me to stay in it for a whole week!)
4. Over-eating
5. Over-sleeping
6. The baby in my belly
7. Family and friends (the non-virtual kind :-)
8. Pure laziness (again)
9. PC problems
10. Menial boringness

Okay, so did you notice the biggy I kinda slipped in there? If you’re a bit of a skimmer (like me :-) and missed it per-chance, then for a more obvious visual clue I’m excited to announce that the next of my room makeovers will be along these lines….

Due early July (both baby and nursery reveal!).

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The Painted Hive Christmas Tree

Is it already a little too late in the season to finally share my Christmas tree?

Truth is, I’ve actually had it up since the first weekend in December (truly-ruly I have!) though with my ‘real’ job being in the events industry things can get a tad busy this time of year so sadly my blog’s been on patient pause.

I love Christmas time. Whether for reasons of nostalgia or the promise of new beginnings, to me there’s just something magical about it.

In the evenings, when dusk begins to creep around the corner, I switch on the tree lights and sit content in the semi-darkness, wrapping gifts as old-fashioned carols hum in my ears (yes, I am truly that dorky). And whilst it hasn’t yet eventuated, I’m certain my romantic notion of sipping mulled wine or brandy-laced eggnog will come to fruition one day too!

We bought our dodgy faux tree the first year we moved into our house about a week before Christmas on clearance from the local supermarket for $10, so needless to say, it’s not the grandest of specimens.

This year I used some snowy green garlands to bulk up its central sparseness then smothered it in baubles, silver stars, sparkly snowflakes and pretty lilies to create a glittering ‘White Christmas’ of sorts for our hot Aussie summer.

And yes, the few pressies currently under it are actually real!

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Cabinet Becomes Hideaway Office

Our hive has three bedrooms. The master, along with two other teeny ones currently awaiting revamps – one of which is more of a glorified cupboard (okay, so I’m exaggerating slightly though you get my drift, they are SMALL).

So anyway, the slightly less small of the two currently holds, amongst many other things, this big free standing TV cabinet (found on eBay for around $100).

Because instead of just a neat little laptop we have a hulking great computer with a massive monitor, printer, sound system, hard-drive back-up, broadband modem, etc, etc, there are a tonne of power cords and lots of poxy black plastic I’d rather hide away than have on show so here’s what’s actually living in that TV cabinet.

I know, I know, not too pretty at the moment – see what I mean about the cords? – though I do have beautification plans.

We’ve been using the computer like this for a while now, though to be honest, not very comfortably. The shelf heights are a bit awkward so you need to lean right over to reach the keyboard and mouse.

Well, I’m pleased to say that’s finally changed thanks to the installation of this rolling shelf.

Again, still awaiting beautification though currently practical if nothing else!

I’ve always found purpose-built computer cabinets can be pricey (and usually lacking in character) so here’s a quick little tute covering the basics of how you can turn any cupboard/cabinet/robe/closet into your own mini hide-away office.

Step 1
Find a cupboard. Almost anything will do. Just make sure it’s big enough to house all your bits and pieces and really deep if you also want to leave a chair hidden in it. Like I already mentioned, my cupboard was originally a TV cabinet I bought off eBay for around $100.

Step 2
Install or remove fittings as required. I was lucky to already have some shelves in place though it’s easy enough to add your own if need be.

Step 3
Install your keyboard shelf. Usually this would be hidden under the monitor shelf though based on the height of the existing shelf in my cupboard it needed to sit on top.

Because my cupboard has recessed sides, I first screwed (counter-sunk) and glued in some timber spacers.

Next I attached the exterior drawer slides.

These are just standard roller drawer brackets you can buy from the hardware store for around $10 a pair.

I then measured the depth, length and height my keyboard shelf needed to be and had a piece of MDF cut to size at the hardware store. I attached my MDF to the interior drawer slides by screwing it in from the bottom. To finish I simply inserted the shelf inside the exterior brackets.

YAY!!! We can finally comfortably reach the components!

Step 4
Make your new home office beautiful (and user-friendly :-)

Okay, I already admitted I’m still yet to complete this step though I do have some plans.

 

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Enhanced Natural Timber Furniture

Update: Check out how my timber furniture looks in my refreshed farmhouse style master bedroom here.

Before I began my master bedroom revamp I knew I wanted some rustic timber to keep the space warm and grounded, however finding the right pieces to ‘restore’ rather than ‘refurb’ is easier said than done.

We all know how easy and effective slapping a fresh coat of paint on a piece of furniture can be – not only does it completely transform the feel of an item though it can also hide a myriad of sins. So, when you’re planning on paring-back rather than packing-on, a little more care (and/or blind faith!) may be required.

With that in mind I set about sourcing some second-hand timber pieces which would eventually become my bedside tables and finally found these on eBay.

Deco Dresser ($60)

Kauri Pine Cupboard ($50)

Because my bed doesn’t sit centrally on the wall I wanted two pieces with mis-matched proportions to play off the asymmetry. I also needed plenty of storage.

Remember my inspiration board.

I knew I was dreaming when I included that apothecary style cabinet (lower right) though thought I could somehow transform my crappy old deco dresser into something with a similar feel so I got to work.

First I removed the mirror and handles then stripped back the old varnish using my secret weapon; commercial grade graffiti remover. Seriously, this stuff is awesome! You just pour a layer on, leave it for five minutes then remove it with some soapy water and steel wool. It’s soooo much easier and faster than using a conventional paint stripper.

Okay, so admittedly I get mine from a friend in the industry though I’m sure it’s available somewhere for domestic use (sorry I can’t help more).

I next gave the dresser a light all over sand then stained it dark using a combination of walnut and black. I was careful to get the stain into all the imperfections in the timber to create the look of an aged patina. To finish I sealed it with three coats of danish oil then added some library pulls.

The pulls were originally shiny polished brass so I coated them with some old gold Rub ‘n’ Buff to create a tarnished look. I thought it may not stick given how smooth the surface was though it hasn’t budged. For something different, rather than label each pull with a numerical digit I used french written numbers (un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit) which I simply printed off my computer onto regular copy paper. I then stained the paper with a diluted coffee mixture to give the labels an aged appearance.

My original plan with the kauri pine cupboard was to keep it as is though the blonde timber looked too unbalanced against the walnut of the dresser so I decided to stain it dark too which was fast and easy because it was already so bone-dry no stripping or sanding was needed. I simply mixed up some walnut and black timber stain then gave it three good coats. There were heaps of gouges and grooves in the soft timber from years of love (or neglect!) so, as with the dresser, I was careful to let the dark stain penetrate all the imperfections to create an aged-looking, time-worn patina.

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This and That

Firstly, thanks so much to everyone who sent me concerned comments and emails due to my little hiatus over the past few days. You guys are just too sweet :-) I assure you all I’m perfectly fine, just trying to kick a ‘would-rather-be-in-bed’ bug.

Anyways, on a different note, this weekend spells ONE YEAR since this day…

I can’t believe how fast time has flown.

We’re not doing anything much. Just a mystery overnight road trip in our time honoured tradition – we’ve always loved just jumping in the car not knowing where we might end up (even though it has meant a few nights spent in dodgy service station motels eating pretzels and giant choc chip cookies for dinner, but hey, I love those memories!).

And thirdly, for something completely unrelated, just thought I’d share some pics Luke took tonight of some cheeky cockatoos munching on wattle seeds in our front yard.

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

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