Tolix Chairs for the Dining Room!

Have I mentioned my complex? The one about buying furniture brand new?

Seriously, I mean complex. The whole concept is just an enigma to me.
Don’t get me wrong though, I know second-hand is not always the best way to go though if I happen to spy you buying something so generic they sell one every five seconds on eBay for just fifty cents please forgive me for wrestling the credit card from your hand!

My sister does it all the time and it drives me nuts. Luckily she’s my sister so I’m allowed to wrestle her.

Anyhoo, I faced my fears last week and couldn’t be more pleased with the result….

Four brand new tolix replicas now grace my dining room, making perfect companions for my rustic farmhouse table.

With their low slung backs, sleek lines and robust gal finish not only are they beautiful, though as one of my readers pointed out, they are also perfectly child proof!

I did a fair amount of research to find a local supplier with the best price and ended up getting all four chairs for around $450 AUD. Not too bad.

The hammer hasn’t yet fallen on the eBay auction for my previous IKEA chairs though whatever they sell for I’m gonna mentally take it off the total price of the new chairs – it just makes me feel better.

So, here’s my dining room around this time last year…

And here it is today…

Last year…


Did you catch a few other new details in there too?

I’ve been tizzy-ing up a storm over here lately and will post further details soon.

In closing, as a self-confessed new-furniture-neurotic who’s not overly convinced that buying pre-loved can’t be applied in every instance, in this case I reckon brand new was the way to go.

And until the tolix replicas make their way onto the second-hand market it’s a heck of a lot cheaper (if not quite so prestigious) than forking out for the current pre-loved ones on offer (I’m not saying I wouldn’t love some gorgeous Xaviar Pauchard originals though!).

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Dining Chairs Anyone?

After almost five years it’s finally time to let go of my beloved IKEA dining chairs.

And when I say beloved, I do mean it. I really adore these chairs with their strappy crossed backs and charming striped seat pads, but…

…with my new leather sofas and timber top coffee table the conjoined living-dining room is just looking all too ‘brown’. Sure, I could paint the chairs any number of delightful shades though…well, let’s be honest, I just want something new. And that’s okay, isn’t it?

Something different, a little industrial, even metal perhaps…

I know these tolix chairs are kinda everywhere at the moment though dismissing something just because it’s popular seems a little illogical to me. Besides, I have loved them for ages.

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The Nursery Reveal!

Before Charlotte actually out-grows her cot I thought I’d better finish off her room! Well, for that reason and also cause it’s about time I finally shared it on my blog!

Of course it would have been completed four months ago, before she actually arrived in the world, if it hadn’t been for my pesky eight week hospital sojourn (giving it a sweet name derived from old French makes it sound so much more appealing!).

The nursery is predominately neutral with nothing too flashy or poppy so for those who have been waiting (far too patiently!) for the reveal, I hope its simplicity doesn’t disappoint.

Here it is before….

The nursery was originally our unfinished study/junk space/I-collect-too-much-furniture-and-have-nowhere-else-to-put-it room. It’s teeny tiny, which made it a tricky little space to decorate (and photograph!).

If you’re new here and feel so inclined you can catch-up with all the previous nursery posts here.

To give the room some dimension, charm and crispness we dressed the walls with simple white board and batten. I didn’t do a tutorial on this (mainly because there are already a squillion out there though also because we kinda just made it up as we went along). I will say however, that if you’re considering a similar treatment it’s actually pretty straight forward – especially if you’re willing to make spak your new best friend.

To save extra painting (and because it’s already nice and neutral) we decided to retain the original colour on the upper walls. It is Dulux Chalk USA as per the rest of our house.

The generic old wardrobe doors had to go though rather than trash ’em we decided to rehash ’em, offering salvation in the form of chalkboard paint and custom alphabet decals.

The process was similar to how I transformed the built-in doors in my master bedroom here.

We just removed the doors, bottom rail and fascia (which simply unscrewed) took them all outside and painted the metal beige areas with black enamel spray paint. Once dry, we gave the doors two coats of chalkboard paint. After a few days curing time I attached alphabet decals which I had custom made in Poor Richard font by Leen the Graphics Queen. They remind me of a classroom blackboard – I really love them!

I picked up the cot (crib) off eBay for just $40.

I was umming and ahhring for ages about what colour to re-finish it in though eventually settled on a warm grey.

I used organic acrylic (so it’s safe when Charlotte decides to start munching on it) and mixed up the colour myself. I finished the cot with a subtle glaze and light distressing.

I also replaced the plastic castor wheels with antique porcelain ones taken from an old Edwardian chair.

For some weird reason the window in the room sits slightly to the right so I hung curtains centrally, covering the frame to create the illusion of symmetry.

I needed a blackout solution (for obvious reasons) though the linen drapes from IKEA were merely light filtering so I also used a textured blockout roller blind.

I knew from the get-go that I wanted an original antique chest of drawers to use as the change table and with some patience eventually found a reasonably priced set on eBay. I adore the patina and proportions. We keep all the change-time paraphernalia in the top drawers so it’s completely accessible when needed though otherwise kept neatly hidden away.

I have previously posted about my eBay rocking chair mini makeover here. I decided to enhance it a little further with some subtle burgundy grain sack stripes.

The light fixture is a repurposed old zinc basket. You can read the full post and tutorial for that here.

The gallery wall was basically free. I wanted it to have a slightly quirky, vintage feel so used a mish-mash of frames (some I already owned and others are from charity stores).

The art is made up entirely of free printables I found on The Graphics Fairy, Vintage Printables and the NYPL Digital Library.

The lamp stand is actually a repurposed brake fluid drum! You can read about it in this previous post.

I made the mobile using hand-carved timber birds, laser-cut metal leaves and some twigs from my backyard. You can read my previous post about it here. I think it adds a lovely organic feel to the room.

To finish, here are a few side-by-side before and afters just for comparisons sake.





Linen Curtains (IKEA Aina $79)
Textured Blackout Roller Blind (Lincraft $80 on sale)
Antique Chest of Drawers (eBay $300)
Cot (eBay $40)
Rocking Chair (eBay $100)
Lamp Stand Drum (DIY Project $5)
Lamp (Sokol $110 wholesale)
Cane Storage Baskets (Kmart $14)
Wire Basket Ceiling Light (DIY Project $15)
Wicker Waste Basket (The Reject Shop $10)
Fitted Ticking Cot Sheet (Target $15)
Damask Throw Blanket (Spotlight $20 on clearance)
Bird and Twig Mobile (DIY Project $15)
Custom Alphabet Decals (Leen the Graphics Queen $14)
Sheepskin Rug (Gift)
Sunburst Mirror (Repurposed from Master Bedroom – originally from Oz Design $60)
Wire Basket Ceiling Light
Bird and Twig Mobile
Faux Pressed Tin Lamp Stand
Rocking Chair Mini Makeover
For details relating to the Cot Makeover, Gallery Wall, Wardrobe Door Makeover and Board and Batten Treatment please refer to the post above.
Wall Art: The Graphics Fairy, Vintage Printables, NYPL Digital Gallery
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Faux Pressed Metal Brake Fluid Drum!

I was visiting my parents recently when I happened to glance over and see this beside their garage…

Hmmm, a cruddy old brake fluid drum, how fascinating, right? Well, yes, I mean, it is cruddy and old and whilst I had probably looked at it a hundred times before for some reason that day I really saw it for the first time.

You see, my nursery lamp (shown here temporarily sitting on picnic baskets)…

…is too tall for a regular side table yet too short to stand on the floor and I figure my brain was subconsciously scouring for a solution when the proportions of the drum jumped up and slapped me square across the face.

I took some quick measurements and sure enough, proportions…tick!

Appearance…ummm, not so tick.

Luckily that is easily fixed! The fact it was tin gave me some immediate inspiration so I followed my instinct and began an experiment to create a pressed metal look.

Firstly, I gathered my supplies….

One meter of plastic table runner lace (if you’re in Australia I got mine from Spotlight though it should be readily available from most haberdashery stores and is super cheap).

A can of gloss enamel spraypaint (I chose ivory for a vintage cream look).

Strong craft glue (I used PVA).

Something to use as feet (I decided on these vintage castors I already had).

And the process….

To begin with, I made sure the drum was empty and gave it a thorough all-over clean. Next, I turned it upside down because I wanted the bottom to become the top and played around with the positioning of the plastic lace. Because the lace in its original form was too wide for the drum I created one new decorative edge at the right width by trimming around the pattern in the existing design with scissors.

Next, I wrapped it around the drum to work out where it would meet and trimmed it so it would neatly overlap just a little. To adhere it to the drum I applied a reasonably generous amount of glue all over the drum’s sides (using a paint brush) then I rolled my lace into position. I applied some additional glue to the ends to ensure they were well bonded to the drum.

I also added lace to the top of the drum (to hide a number which was pressed into the tin. I would probably have left it plain otherwise).

In the above photo you can see a faint outline where there was a slightly raised sphere though it’s far less obvious in person.

Once the glue was thoroughly dry and I was satisfied the lace was well adhered I gave the entire drum three coats of gloss enamel spray paint.

This was the moment of truth – it was either gonna look okay or like someone had just stuck some plastic lace to a crappy old tin drum….

Well, whilst beauty is subjective I gotta say that to me it actually looked kinda cool!

Once the paint dried I flipped it over and simply liquid-nailed on my castor wheels.

This project was purely experimental so I was pretty pleased with the result. Obviously, it’s a reasonably unconventional (or, as I prefer to think, ‘innovative’) makeover, and certainly not to everyone’s taste though it was fun to push the boundaries a bit.

Plastic lace and a brake fluid drum hey? Who woulda thought….

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Bird and Twig Nursery Mobile

When I woke this morning I noticed a soft golden glow creeping in from beyond my bedroom curtains and when I peered out the window saw the tree limbs dancing in the type of gentle breeze which makes you want to hang fresh white sheets on the clothes line. It was one of those mornings which reminds you of childhood holidays and made me think that Spring has finally sprung here in the lower Southern hemisphere – yay!

Just the motivation I need to finally shorten my looong ‘to do’ list – starting with the nursery of course! Though whilst it waits for some final touches before the full reveal I thought I’d share the latest addition – a sweet bird and twig mobile.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use twigs and timber birds and was inspired to add some filigree leaves when I came across these charming hand-carved songbirds on Etsy with this accompanying photograph of a mobile created by Hayley Duggan…

Along with the hand-carved birds I found a selection of affordable filigree leaves on Etsy too.

And I picked up two twigs from outside my back door (well, that’s putting it simply to be honest. It actually took me a good half hour to make my final selection. Being surrounded by gum trees I guess the choice was a little overwhelming!).

I decided to paint my birds musk pink. Before I attached them and the leaves to the twigs I used little round eye screws and fishing line to hang the twigs how I wanted them.

I did this first to determine their natural horizontal position (thus knowing where to place the birds so they were upright and the mobile stayed balanced). As an extra precaution I also tested the birds positions with blu-tac before I adhered them with hot-glue for good.
I know this may sound fussy (and, yes, I am fussy :-) though it was actually a real pain getting everything aligned properly. It all needed to be pretty precisely weighted and whilst I’m sure there is probably an easy way to do it, I sure as heck couldn’t figure it out! It just took trial-and-error and by the end I did almost grab the whole thing, screw it up in my hands and throw it in the air (almost).

To finish, I simply hot-glued on the filigree leaves in little sporadic clusters – thankfully that part was easy.

The completed mobile is really quite adorable (if I do say so myself!) and although I’m not a ‘pink’ person the little musk birds seem just perfect.

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