A Restored Farmhouse Table

I’m not ashamed to admit I’m A LOT in love with this table.

With its cute castor wheels….

Antique Castor Wheel

With its gorgeous turned legs….

Turned Table Legs

With its charming original hand crank…

Antique Hand Crank

With its dents and dings and dimples which tell the story of its life….

Antique Farmhouse Table

And, maybe most so, with its wide kauri pine panels whose mild separation over time now flaunt the obvious spanning joins of charismatic farmhouse planks.

As mentioned in my last post about the living-dining room makeover I’m working on for my parents, I found this old table on eBay for just $80.

Farmhouse Table Before

Sorry, terrible pic taken from the eBay listing.

The seller, who had begun restoring it, acquired the table from relatives of the original owners who had personally commissioned its construction back in the early 1900’s! Doesn’t knowing the history of a piece just make it that much better? He informed us that this antique farmhouse table had graced the dining room of a family homestead in country Victoria for over 100 years!

Despite some effort, it was still in need of quite a bit of work. I would love to take credit for this refurbishment, though all praise needs to be directed to my dad who spent four weeks (on-and-off) revitalising this baby.

All the timber was taken back to raw (though not back to “new”), some small structural repairs were made, then the table was drenched in danish oil. I’ve worked with danish oil extensively in the past and know from experience that depending on the application either a soft lustre or glossy sheen can be achieved. I was a little worried the natural raw quality of the timber might be lost though I think dad got just the right amount of shine. The table now walks that perfect line between rustic and refined.

Although a typical eight seater (including the extension leaf which will be left in permanently) six of our eight cross-backed chairs seem to fit more comfortably so we’ll leave two in an adjoining room to be pulled up as required.

I’m still yet to source a small cabinet or dresser to complete the dining space though I do have my eye on a few. Oh, and we’ve made a decision about the pendant light. I’ll share more deets soon!


Sorry for the cheeky sneak peeks – I don’t mean to tease. The table in its entirety will be revealed once the room is complete :)

If you missed my first few posts about the living-dining room makeover you can find them here…
Part 1: The Plan
Part 2: Progress and Pieces




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Living-Dining Room Makeover | Progress and Pieces

Well, hello there.

Sorry I went missing over the whole of December. Yikes!

And thanks so much to everyone who asked where I was at.

Things just got a little hectic, as they do for everyone at this crazy time of year, though clearly I’m less adept to multi-tasking than most of my more efficient blogging counterparts.

I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and is looking forward to an amazing New Year! Thanks soooooo much for your e-friendship over 2015!

Anyhoo, I’ve made a surprisingly (for me!) good start on the open plan living-dining room makeover I’m currently working on for my parents.

A few purchases have been made, some refurbishing has commenced and we’ve even narrowed-down options for most of the ‘still-to-be-obtained’ items.

So, I thought I’d share where we’re at.

Remember, you can read more about the room plan, and see some before photos and additional pics of the concept rendering, in my first post here.

Here’s the virtual plan…

Room Rendering Before

Room Concept Before

This baby needs to be pretty big – around 2 x 3 meters (7 x 10 feet). I would love to use a herringbone sisal (as shown in the rendering) or an over-dyed traditional though they are just too pricey so we’re thinking of going with the Ikea LOHALS.

Ikea Lohals

This jute rug has a lovely nubby weave and natural tonal variations which will add texture and warmth to help break-up the hard surfaces in the space. From experience, it’s also an easy rug to keep looking clean.

The room already had two ottomans though with the narrower coffee table some larger ones are required to help balance the center of the seating area. I want these to be pieces of furniture unto themselves, not merely pokey boxes meant for little more than supporting lazy feet. After lots of searching, and even taking repurposing into account, we couldn’t find anything quite the right size (which didn’t cost a zillion dollars!) so decided to make our own. This is a relatively simple process of constructing a timber box, attaching foam to the top then sewing a slip-cover to fit (or attaching fabric directly).

We’re yet to finish these though the bones are complete. Although I’ve used a green fabric in the rendering, Mum is leaning towards a neutral instead. The great thing with slip-covers however is that they can be easily interchanged, so we can always make a few different ones and switch things up from time to time.

I used a pale turned-legged table in the rendering though recently came across this stretcher style one on eBay for just $10 and couldn’t say no.

Teak Stretcher Coffee Table

It reminded me a bit of the larger, more primitive table in this lovely living room I have saved on Pinterest.

Primitive Living Room

Our table is genuine mid-century and made of solid teak. Dad has already removed the metal rosettes and cleaned and oiled the wood to improve the colour consistency, conceal the scratches and add a soft lustre. It looks quite orange in the sun-drenched photo though in reality is more of a golden brown. Ordinarily I would probably be tempted to stain it walnut though in this case I want to steer away from anything too dark due to the brown sofas. Hopefully the warm toned wood offers a nice contrast.

Upholstered items are always the trickiest for me. I struggle with the concept of buying brand new furniture (mainly due to the expense) which is fine when it comes to timber pieces which wear their age well and can be easily refreshed with a simple coat of paint. Though most second-hand upholstered items simply look worn, tired and dirty and need to be completely recovered, a task which for me takes A LOT of time, patience and swear words.

Luckily, I was introduced to Ned’s about a year ago. I’ve mentioned this store before. They have some super affordable stylish furnishings and homewares and offer free national delivery on lots of their items. We couldn’t go past these taupe wingback armchairs.

Taupe Wingback Armchair

Normally retailing for just $350 each, I was super fortunate to be able to negotiate a two for one deal!

We’re toying with the idea of painting the feet or maybe even switching them out for something a little more sleek. We’ll see.

The same day I published this blog post, Ned’s ceased selling online. They are still retailing from their bricks-and-mortar stores which are all located in South Australia.

I’m still hunting for some kind of small storage cabinet for the wall behind the dining table. I think I’ll probably end up using an old chest of drawers, painted in a soft white or warm grey to contrast all the wood.

I’m currently tossing-up between using a gallery, grid or one statement piece above the sofa. I’ve actually fallen a bit in love with the Rex Brasher illustration I have used in the rendering (Harlan and Alaskan Redtail Hawks from Birds and Trees of North America).

Rex Brasher Hawks

It has perfect proportions and the subtle colours and masculine edge are just so beautiful to me. I’ve found a few sources for acquiring a digital copy I may be able to enlarge though all up it could be a little pricey. I just cant track down a free printable version even though I believe the illustration is now out of copyright. It shouldn’t be outlandishly expensive or anything, just a tad extravagant for this budget-conscious decorator.

The problem with wanting to use cross-back chairs is that they’re just so timeless and versatile. Doesn’t sound like a problem? Well, having those qualities means they hold their value really well so picking-up a cheap second-hand set is difficult – especially when you’re looking for eight! In fact, most of the used chairs I found were priced similarly to the brand new ones!

After searching for a few months, we decided to bite the bullet and purchase some from a store.

Oak Cross Back Chair

Mum chose these oak ones from Early Settler. Usually $150 each I was lucky to get our set of eight for around $700. I know that doesn’t sound super cheap though for these chairs it is an incredibly great price and mum is super happy – she has always wanted some!

This piece is proving difficult. The main issue being the general size we’re after, particularly the height. The rendering shows a table which is quite a bit shorter than the sofa however we’ve decided we need a taller piece which can be viewed upon entering the room (the main entrance is through the doorway you can see on the far right in the above rendering). However, whilst we want something taller, we don’t necessarily want something bigger overall – which will protrude too far beyond the armchairs into the ‘dining area’. Because the sofa arms are quite high this means we’re looking for a piece with unusual proportions. Of course, if we were to go to a few furniture stores we would probably find what we need, though as I’m trying to buy used items our options are somewhat limited. That said, I’ve only been looking casually and am confident I will find something when I step-up my search. Failing that, we can always look into making something custom.

To introduce some farmhouse charm, the idea was always to use a rustic old table. Large ones can be pricey though with some patience I found this one on eBay for just $80.

Farmhouse Table

Please excuse the crappy photo – taken from the eBay listing.

It needs a little work (cosmetic and structural – nothing too major) and isn’t quite as long as I would like though is full of character and is a genuine antique farmhouse table. It has gorgeous turned legs, cute original castor wheels, an extension leaf – which we’ll leave in permanently – and it even came complete with the original charming hand-crank! It is tempting to simply stain the top walnut to match the legs though, as with the coffee table, due to having brown sofas in the living room I want to stay away from any more dark furniture so we’ll probably strip the original varnish off the legs and leave the whole thing natural. I like the idea of having an un-coated scrubbed surface though I think my parents would prefer to seal it. Hopefully applying a sealer doesn’t diminish the lovely raw quality I want to retain.

Although this is an eight seater table, and I’m confident it will seat eight, maybe even ten, if need be (for dinner parties and so on), I’m not confident that eight cross-back chairs will neatly push in around it, mainly because their back rests are so wide. So we will probably end up with only six chairs around the table ordinarily. The additional two might go around a small table in an adjoining breakfast nook, to be pulled up as required.

These are my parents existing sofas (you can see them, for real, in the before photos).

I came across this gorgeous canvas case ages ago.

Canvas Trunk

It was being sold on eBay through the Schots clearance store for $130. I did a bit of research and discovered that was a really great price so decided I needed to have it. Sadly, I couldn’t conjure up a place for it in my own home so turned to my parent’s house. I figure it should sit beautifully beside one of their sofas.

As previously blogged about the electric fireplace has already been transformed.

 Fireplace Makeover

Sadly, it won’t be styled like this due to the placement of the TV. Dad has actually already mounted the TV above it, and as suspected, the fireplace is completely dwarfed! Oh well. My Mum has a thing for fireplaces and bought it months and months before we even started planning the room makeover. It was on sale from one of those ‘deals websites’ so it’s not like she had options in terms of size, though a slightly larger one would have been better. We might look into using some flanking shelves if needed. Otherwise, meh.

The room already has sheer white curtains, which are okay, though I want to upgrade them to something a little fuller with a bit more warmth and texture. Mum usually makes her own curtains though is a bit time-poor at the moment so we’re thinking of maybe going with something off-the-shelf from Ikea.

Mum has already installed roller blinds to do the actual work – light blocking, privacy, climate control – so the curtains panels will be merely decorative. Their main job is to hide the ends of the roller blinds. Adding some softness and movement to the windows is a bonus.

We’re not totally sure what we’re going to use here.

A little while back I found this amazing pendant on eBay for just $40.

Pendant Light

It was being sold as “display stock” as part of a lighting store clearance and after some research I couldn’t believe the actual retail price!

Hepburn Pendant Light

Yes, this is the exact same light!

Although it’s fine as is, and we’re open to incorporating a bit of bling, in person it actually looks a little tacky. It’s also perhaps a bit too blingy for the natural feel we’re going for so I have plans to give it a slightly rustic makeover (don’t fret, despite the hefty pricetag all the ‘crystals’ are simply plastic and the metal is only lightweight aluminium). Unfortunately though, the dimensions given with the eBay listing were inaccurate so it’s quite a bit larger than we wanted. Hopefully we can make it work. If not, it’s back to the drawing board on the light fixture.


So, that’s it for now. I’m still undecided on most of the general decor – soft furnishings, lamps, other wall art, accents pieces – though that’s fine. I always find accessorising the most flexible and fun bit.

What are your thoughts? I’m super open to ideas and suggestions.




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A Famous Bird Illustration…and where to get your own (for FREE!)

If you follow me socially you may have already seen a little snippet of this project.

Print Your Own Free Audubon Flamingo | The Painted Hive

I wasn’t going to dedicate a whole blog post to it, though in the end I decided it really does deserve one.

Ages ago you might recall I published a post about the work of naturalist James John Audubon which included a link to a great website where you can download high-res digital copies of his stunning illustrations for around $14. That’s a bargain.

Printable Birds (High Res Large Scale)

A little while later however one of my lovely Facebook friends informed me that the Audubon website also offers large-scale digital copies of his illustrations. For FREE. Now, that’s really a bargain!

I had already purchased my $14 digital copy of his American Flamingo though decided to download one from the free source too (see the end of this post for full instructions on how to find and download your own). There were some slight differences (size, colour, noise) though nothing major.

Large Scale Free Printable Flamingo | The Painted Hive

I LOVE this illustration. It’s probably one of his most iconic works. And my little Charlotte loves it too (hey, flamingos are pink, what’s not to like?) which is the main reason I acquired the digital image in the first place – to print a copy for her bedroom wall.

Audubon American Flamingo Free Printable | The Painted Hive

I was leaning towards creating a wall chart with it though decided instead to make use of a large gilt frame I already had (found for $30 on eBay a year or so back).

To format my image and have it printed I used the same process I always do for large-scale art (you can read about it in detail in my post here which contains a full tutorial).

Basically, I measured my frame opening, re-sized my image to fit (which included some cropping), made a few small edits (just to clean it up a bit) then ordered a print through the Officeworks online service.

It would have cost just $22 (for a 59cm x 84cm/23″ x 33″ full colour poster) though for an additional $10 I up-graded my paper from 160gsm Coated to 200gsm Satin. In my opinion it’s totally worth it for a print like this which isn’t behind glass.

I’ve seen much smaller Audubon reproduction prints being sold for triple the price of mine so please don’t pay too much!

When it arrived I was blown away. The quality is superb! Really.

Audubon Flamingo Printable

To frame it I simply removed the reproduction painting which was already in the frame and used it as a template to trim my flamingo print to perfect size. I then attached my flamingo to the rear of the existing artwork (that way I can always flip it over again if I feel like a change) with strong double-sided tape. You could also use spray adhesive or decoupage medium.

Note: If your frame is empty you can simply cut your own new backing sheet from a panel of thin MDF or thick card (or similar). I have a simple tutorial for filling “naked” frames here.

Vignette Collage

To hang it I avoided the need for any nails and screws by using some Command Hanging Strips. I love these things! There were no studs in the right place anyway so it saved me a headache.

I’ve styled the print with a copious amount of antique books, some old tin globes I’ve collected over the years and a pair of thrifted brass swans from my local op shop.

Tin World Globes

Brass Swan

Only one more big-ish project and a few little details to go then Charlotte’s room will finally be complete. Yay!

Free Printable American Flamingo | The Painted Hive




1 Go to the Audubon website.
2 Hover over “Birds” in the horizontal menu (to the right of where it says “Audubon”).
3 Click the option you want (for example “John James Audubon’s Birds of America”) and a new page will open.
4 Scroll down until you see thumbnails of all the illustrations.
5 Click the illustration you want and a new page will open.
6 Scroll down a little and click “Download high-resolution file” (in blue text beneath the small version of the illustration) and a new window will open.
7 Click the image which opens in the new window to enlarge it to its full size then right click and save it to your computer.
8 That’s it!

You may be asked to subscribe to the website in return for downloading the image. This isn’t a requirement though is a nice way to say thanks.

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Kick Butt Lighting…and an awesome giveaway (open internationally!)

This is a sponsored giveaway in collaboration with Parrot Uncle and the Mom It Forward Blogger Network.

More than mere thwarters of darkness, light fixtures are among some of the most decorative elements we can use to adorn our homes.

And they are one of my fave things to drool over! Problem is, they can also be super pricey.

Which is why I was excited to learn about Parrot Uncle.

This online lighting store offers thousands of gorgeous fixtures, from table lamps, ceiling pendants, flush mounts and wall sconces, in a huge range of different styles. Prices are incredibly reasonable (like, hold-up reasonable – which, as a budget-focused decorator, is incredibly important) though the absolute best thing is that they offer FREE international shipping on all orders over $50! Yep, this company wires all of their fixtures to meet the electrical requirements of the destination country and then they ship for FREE worldwide (oh, did I mention that already?). And there’s no risk because returns are offered for FREE too!

Here are a few of my faves (judging from my picks I think I have a soft spot for their industrial style light fixtures)…

Lighting Under $100

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Lighting Under $200

1 | 2 | 3 | 45 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12


With their inexpensive range of wall scones, economical flush mounts and discount home pendant lighting, Parrot Uncle offers-up real alternatives to those glorious high-end fixtures which used to either render us poor or hold us at arm’s length. It’s so exciting! I even had a little fun scrolling through my Pinterest pins and trying to find comparable fixtures to those in some of my fave rooms…

Industrial Arm Wall Sconce

Glass Shade Wall Sconce $62 | Bathroom Image


Dome Lantern

Three Light Bucket Lantern $134 | Dining Room Image


Glass Orb Pendants

Glass Orb $63 | Kitchen Image


Box Pendant

Industrial Box Pendant $387 | Dining Room Image


Rustic Wood Chandelier

Rustic Wooden Chandelier $178 | Dining Room Image


Box Lantern

Lantern Pendant $224 | Dining Room Image


Industrial Pendant

Simple Industrial Pendant $31 | Living Room Image


Honeycomb Sphere Pendant

Honeycomb Sphere $179 | Kitchen Image


Industrial Dome Pendant

Industrial Dome Pendant $68 | Dining Room Image


Industrial Chrome Pendant

Industrial Chrome Pendant $202 | Kitchen Image

Prices in $AUD.


Ready to win your very own light now?


 Simply head on over and check out all the affordable light fixtures from Parrot Uncle then come back here and leave a comment letting me know which is your favourite.
Easy as that!

Giveaway commences 4 November 2015 and concludes 13 November 2015.
Open internationally.
One winner drawn at random.
Prize is one Rustic Slender Industrial Cage Pendant



And, in addition to giving away a beautiful light fixture, Parrot Uncle also wants to offer all my lovely readers some further discounts…

10% off all new products (CODE: 10%)
5% off all vintage lights (CODE: Numberone5%)
5% off all wooden lights (CODE: Numbertwo5%)

Discount codes valid until 25 December 2015.

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Living-Dining Room Makeover | The Plan

I always feel a little hesitant publishing posts like this.

Posts which open a chapter on a new room makeover with the implicit promise of ensuing chapters culminating in a somewhat timely finale.

Finales are not my strong suit.

In fact, over the past few years, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about projects in progress. If I wait until I finish something first at least then I can feign efficiency later on. Right? And no-one will have died from boredom (or collapsed with anticipation ;) in the meantime.

Though, enough is enough. This era of procrastination needs to end! So, I’m throwing caution to the wind by blogging about plans for this new room re-do. The idea is that sharing the journey will help propel me to the finish line! You with you?

Anyhoo, here’s the plan…

This makeover is for a space at my parent’s house: their open plan living-dining room. Mum and dad don’t want to make any major changes or spend too much cash so as usual I’ll be focusing on making the most of the space using furniture and accessories.

Here are the before shots…

Room Before (3)

Room Before (6)

Room Before (1)

Room Before (2)

Room Before (4)

Sorry they’re not the best (taken with mum’s phone).

As you can see, it’s a long-ish, narrow-ish room with a nice, neutral canvas. The main catalyst for re-doing the space is the fact the billiard table will be going (after 20 years!) so the proper dining area can be reclaimed. For the past two decades the dining table has been in the breakfast nook off the kitchen (which you can just see in the above pic) which has always been too squishy. We will be retaining the couches (which are only a few years old) though most of the other furniture (all of which mum has had forever – and now isn’t quite right for the space) will be replaced – with a focus on finding second-hand bargains.

Here’s my rough virtual plan…

After Concept Rendering

After Concept Rendering

fter Concept Rendering

After Concept Rendering

And here’s an overhead view to give a better spacial indication…

3D Concept Rendering Overhead

The general layout will remain the same because it just makes sense, plus mum and dad don’t want to have to re-wire for the TV. I have convinced them to re-wire the lighting however. You can’t see the ceiling lights in the before shots though there are three in a weird zig-zag configuration which doesn’t help with zoning the room. Instead, we are going to position four recessed downlights above the living space and one feature pendant over the dining table. I already have a cool DIY plan for that one!

The flooring, walls and ceiling will remain un-changed. I have persuaded mum to paint her old-fashioned lead-light door though.

The fireplace was mum’s idea. She has a thing for them though no desire to install a real one. She actually already bought an inexpensive electric unit, complete with surround, around six months back. I know some people have a massive aversion to electric fireplaces. I don’t hate them though I’m not sure if I would use one in my own home. Maybe.

Anyhoo, you may have seen my recent post where I gave hers a mini makeover (click the preceding link to see it before)…

DIY Marble and Brass Hearth | The Painted Hive

It’s perhaps going to look a little lost on that big, blank wall and maybe a bit small in comparison with the TV though we’ll make it work. I voiced the addition of some kind of flanking shelving, though mum and dad weren’t keen on that idea – and as you might be able to tell from the overhead rendering, there’s not really that much space for more furniture. I think we’ll wait until everything’s in place to decide if the fireplace needs company. Maybe we’ll use some surrounding artwork or something.

Speaking of artwork, I’m not decided on that yet either. Once again, I’ll probably wait until the room begins to come together to make final decisions on the placement of any wall decor. Same thing with the cushion, ottoman and curtain fabrics.

Soooo, that’s the general concept. Remember, it’s just a rough plan, though what do you guys think? Would love to hear any suggestions.




PS I’m in the process of upgrading my RSS feed and email subscription service. There may be a few bugs during the migration so apologies if you experience any issues. If you’re not already subscribed, now would be an awesome time to sign up! There is an email subscription bar at the end of each of my posts and in my sidebar :)


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