Living Room Reveal

On a crisp, sunny morning the french windows in our little living room greedily catch the first toasty beams of light and spread a gentle warmth throughout the space. When it’s cool and gloomy outside however, they frame a haunting view of dispersing mists rolling over the nearby hills. Either way, a sense of nostalgia is somehow born in me, conjuring feelings reminiscent of childhood which always seem to evoke contentment.

It’s quite amazing how a home can make you feel and to imagine that it may well be the simplest things which will become our fondest memories in the years to come.

Our living room is still evolving and while I’m happy with its calming colour palette and layers of natural texture there are a couple of pieces I’m kinda just making do with for now (I’m writing a separate post dedicated to some of the changes I’ve got planned).
All of the furniture, sofas aside, is second-hand and pretty much everything else was either thrifted, bought on sale or gifted.

To give you an idea of the layout, here’s my hive’s floor plan:
And here are some (very fuzzy – sorry!) before shots from the previous owners mid-way through moving out:

It’s a bit hard to tell though the walls were apple green and all of the trim was natural brown timber. To lighten up the space we painted the walls pale cream and all of the timber gloss white.

The original owners had installed a faux timber floating floor which, whilst it wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice, is nice, clean and neutral.

I would’ve liked to have been able to keep the windows free of bulky furniture though there was nowhere else to put the second sofa and I couldn’t swap the dining room space for the living area cause it’s far too small :-(

It kinda looks like you might be able to put something horizontally between the dining and living rooms as some kind of divider, though trust me, it’s nowhere near wide enough!

As you can see from the floor plan there’s this weird little diagonal wall. The previous owners had a sofa against it though if you look at the floor plan and picture a deep piece of furniture on that wall it’s easy to imagine it leaving a pretty narrow gap from the entryway to the living room. We instead decided to put the TV there and it works perfectly. To the left you can glimpse the little entryway.

Now, just for comparisons sake, here’s some side by side before and afters:


 


 
And here’s some more photos just because I can’t help myself:

 

Retro School Stools

Not sure about you, though typographics always seem to catch my eye.

These stools were originally salvaged from an old secondary college where I assume they were used in woodwork class as most of them have what look like saw cuts, nail holes and chisel marks, not to mention the obligatory “Mark waz ere” and “Sharon luvs Paul’ graffitied on their undersides.

Here they are before:

When I first brought six of these stools home everyone thought I was crazy – myself included to be honest. I loved the pared back industrial feel of them though they were a little too raw for me. I wanted to freshen them up (a bit) and add something eye-catching. I wasn’t quite sure what, however, so the stools sat in the garage for a while until I finally had a brain wave which told me to make three stencils from old x-ray slides (see, there is some use in those seemingly defunct internal photo sheets) and use them to paint some funky looking numbers on the seats!

Before I added the numbers, I lightly sanded each seat before wiping on a diluted walnut stain to add some extra depth and richness. Once dry, I stencilled on the numbers with standard acrylic craft paint. To finish I applied two coats of my beloved danish oil.

I decided to leave the naturally distressed metal legs in original condition. I adore the extra character the old screws provide too.

I recently sold two sets of these stools to a client who has three children and wanted to use three at her breakfast bar and one in each of their bedrooms as little side tables – how cute.

How I Met My Hive

I passed by the then vacant block of land almost everyday, never really taking too much notice.
I absently recall a FOR SALE sign going up, a SOLD sticker being slapped on it, the slab being poured and bricks being layed.
I remember a young couple moving in. At the time, to me, they seemed much older.
They weren’t just a couple for long and soon enough had out-grown their first home.
This time around, almost twelve years on, I definitely noticed the FOR SALE sign go up.
My boyfriend and I were in the market and went along to the open house really just to peek.
How perfect for us though…needs some work of course…the price is right…
SOLD!!!

As a young pre-teen walking home from school everyday, I never could have imagined that one of the houses I passed each time would eventually be mine. It’s so strange to think back, knowing how attached and invested we are now, that I barely even gave my sweet little hive a second glance.

Sometimes at night, Luke leans over and whispers: “I really love our house”. And although we still have a ways to go, it always makes me smile.

Cottage Chair Makeover

I bought four of these second-hand colonial carvers (advertised as dining chairs) for $5 each with visions of using them with my dining table. Though when I picked them up and saw them in person I knew straight away it was not to be….they were massive and waaay too imposing for my little dining space.

So, they sat in my parent’s garage for a while, looking sad and dusty, waiting for me to get motivated (or for my Dad to run out of actual firewood- whichever came first):

I eventually mustered enough creative energy to make-over one of them in a simple white, ticking and toile theme.

The head rest has a wonderful pressed-back.

Given the amount of detail in the chair’s frame I used a spray gun to paint it before distressing the finish and coating it with a clear acrylic sealer.
The co-ordinating footstool was built from scratch out of old timber. It was then upholstered and given four cute little feet made from cut down old side table legs.

The braid trim gives a nice finishing touch.

The plain seat pad was enhanced with the addition of four buttons and to complete the look a new cushion was made from ticking and toile.

Now complete, this charming little ensemble is like a breath of fresh air. What a sweet addition for someone’s living room, reading corner or boudoir.

Faux Plank Table Tutorial

Firstly, thanks to everyone for the lovely comments about my farmhouse dining table makeover.

I received lots of questions, one being how I scored the top to create the impression of old planks. Given the amount of interest, I though I’d post a quick and easy tutorial.

DISCLAIMER – I am not, nor have I ever been, a professional craftsperson (whatever that is).
The following method is simply the easiest and fastest process I could think of to achieve my aim.
Amateur?…probably. Effective?…definitely!

WARNING – Very unsophisticated, home-handywoman technique coming up.
If you’re a carpenter, please look away now!

 

You will need:

Ruler or Tape Measure

Pencil

Spirit Level (or something long and straight to use as a guide)

Prick Punch (or something hard and sharp to use as a scorer)

Sandpaper

 

The process:

1. Measure and mark out in pencil the lines on your piece of furniture. You can create as few or as many ‘planks’ as you like at even or odd intervals.
2. Line up the spirit level against your first line and drag the sharp tip of the punch along the line on the timber using the spirit level as a guide (just like using a ruler and pencil to create a line on paper – only you need to press quite firmly with your ‘pencil’ and hold the ‘ruler’ down hard).
3. Create a shallow score line the whole length of your item by moving the spirit level down as required. Now that you have a starting point, go over the line again (still using the spirit level as a guide), pressing more firmly this time.
4. Once you’re happy, move on, repeating the process until all of your lines are scored.
5. Fold a piece of sandpaper in half and run it along the length of each new score line to smooth out the new raw grooves and remove any possible splinters.

Fini! You are now ready to stain or paint your newly ‘planked’ piece of furniture!

Some tips:
– It’s pretty easy to get off line when scoring so you do kinda have to concentrate.
– The depth of your score will depend on the density of the timber and how hard you can push; softer timbers are much easier to score deeply.
– This effect works best when finished with a timber stain or painted then glazed. The lines can get lost in flat finishes.
– Make sure your spirit level or guide is completely straight. I know, duh right? Though if you’re using a piece of timber they can quite often be bowed. I’m just sayin’ – it doesn’t hurt to double check.
– For added character, I sometimes like to hammer in a row of nails at either end and/or in the centre.