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.

I Learned a New Word

Okay, apologies to those of you clearly more learned (that’s learn-ed, like how fancy barristers pronounce it) than I, though I had never heard or seen the word ‘aesthete’ before yesterday.
Alright, this is the part where you can scoff at my ignorance – though please don’t :-)
Whilst scanning through a magazine I happened upon it and immediately stopped in my tracks (confession: a guilty pleasure of mine is spotting editing faux pas…I know, so sad). Surely that’s meant to say, ‘athlete’ or ‘atheist’ I thought, but no, they don’t work in the context of the sentence. Hmmm, what a mystery. So out came Mr Dictionary and guess what he told me (again, those of you who already know, don’t guess – just scoff):

aes·thete (noun) A person who has or professes to have refined sensitivity toward beauty, particularly in the arts or nature.
A person who affects great love of art, music, poetry, design, etc…

Well, how interesting. Of course, now I see it clearly does pertain to ‘aesthetic’.
My point….just wanted to share what I thought was a befitting description for all us design loving girlies!

Now, in the spirit of aesthetics, here are some lovely living rooms. I’m hoping to post some pics of my own next week….fingers-crossed!

Enjoy!

Old Desk to Dining Table

This is one of my favourite transformations so far. Sure, it’s not very fancy and won’t blow your mind though I just adore the unpretentious lines and character-filled patina of this piece.
Here’s the table before, looking very lonely and feeling sorry for itself:

And now:

Originally a teacher’s desk, this old table was missing its drawer and had quite a heavily ‘distressed’ finish after years of service. I found it on eBay for $10 – score!

After an initial tidy up and light all over sand the drawer cavity was filled by gluing and caulking in a piece of scrap timber – much easier and faster than making a whole new drawer. Once dry, two drawer fronts (which I already had thanks to my junk hoarding!) were then glued and clamped over the timber infill to create faux drawers.
One coat of acrylic primer, two acrylic top coats, a light distress and then an acrylic seal coat followed by the addition of two turned timber knobs completes the look of the base.

The honey-toned timber top was badly worn and looked tired though I really wanted to retain its character so I needed to enhance and add depth to the patina. After a light sand, three score lines were added to give the appearance of old boards (you can read that tutorial here) then a diluted walnut stain was wiped on and allowed to seep into all the grooves, marks and gouges before being wiped off.

The stain helps mute the overall tone yet creates subtle variations which gives the timber a tactile appeal. Looking at beautiful old wood like this just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy!
The top was finished with two coats of danish oil. I can’t sing the praises of danish oil highly enough. It’s super easy to apply, provides a protective coating and gives a mellow lustre which is hard to achieve with regular sealers – love it!
Again, just cause I can, here are the before and afters: