Taking the Old and Refreshing (One-Year Challenge*)
It’s amazing what a little paint can do!
This house hadn’t really changed in over 40 years; same curtains, ugly brick decor, yellow accent wall, carpets, and furniture arrangement. Being a creative type of person, I always rearrange, change, and improve the environment around me. Just ask my husband how many times the furniture has been moved or new pieces of art decor has changed walls. I guess I haven’t changed since I’ve been on a journey to improve this old house and make it fresh. Paint does wonders and a little bit of deconstruction.
For some reason I’ve never been attracted to bright colors and this yellow was constantly screaming at me to change it. So one day I just painted it.
This is only the beginning. I had to paint the ugly brick in several parts of the room.
There was pink mortar between the bricks. It didn’t show up as well in the picture below.
A little bit of effort and vision can go a long way to make things like new. What project will you take on? Be bold, look around to see things as they could be, with a bit of imagination and labor – the possibilities are endless.
Now I’m half way done, on to the other side of the room.
Painting tip: to get that precision straight line of paint between the ceiling and the wall – use masking tape on the ceiling at the edge, then paint the ceiling color paint on the wall overlapping the tape. Next paint the wall and when its dry pull the tape off for a crisp, clean edge.
*One-Year Challenge: Part of my 2016 goals were to improve as many parts of this house before the year’s end. Keep looking for more home improvements!
I have lots of time on my hands during the week and I chose to not let them be still, always working, always trying to be productive and creative. In one day I got all of these projects done:
Changing my winter motif vase into spring
Fixing a Lamp
I found this lamp at a garage sale originally priced at $15, but I got it for free because of some chips and scratches (and no one wanted to buy it…I saw the potential). It was easy to fix with some sandpaper and paint to restore it back to new.
Painted a Wooden Box
When I visited my sister a few weeks ago, we separated out and planted a variety of succulents.
Watered My Favorite Bonsai
I took a wooden box, added “fake” candles and “fake” boxwood for the centerpiece of the coffee table.
I love those creative, busy days, they actually feel like you accomplish so much and then you have new things transformed in your home. Everything new!
I love to decorate and change always inspires me. How many of you go to your friend’s or family’s homes and start to imagine how you would change things up to make it a much more beautiful space? I do. Every space can use an upgrade at one time or another and sometimes it is just changing the furniture around to different places in your home. My family has seen our home(s) constantly changing over the years, they are surprised when I give myself a rest in moving. I think it’s my creative side and I love change…it makes everything seem new.
Here is just a little journey of how I found what I truly love in decorating.
I got a big, old binder and everything I could find on the internet, in magazines, and books and I made a compilation of everything that inspired me. Paint colors, pictures, vignettes, furniture, wall decor, rugs, and how tos began to fill up every page. When I went out treasure hunting at thrift stores or yard sales I would know exactly what I was looking out for and after a while it all came together, finding just what I wanted.
Pages from my binder filled with the things I love.
Paint and fabric samples fill another page so that I can get exactly the right color.
Another section filled with notes and exact room dimensions.
Pages filled with art and samples to inspire me when I paint my own pictures.
Cutouts of furniture and items I already own, and how they are displayed or finished differently.
Pictures of things I definitely want to do and making plans.
Inspiration of things I already have done…I’ve made these boxes for my home office storage.
I made these blue ticking balls for decoration.
Take a field trip for inspiration:
One day I wanted to get inspired and I knew of a great decorating store close by, so I went to go “eye-candy” shopping. The following pictures were taken in Nantucket Home store in Chico, California. The pictures really don’t do justice to the awe-inspiring atmosphere of this entire store.
Broken plate chips made into refrigerator magnets.
Take time everyday to be inspired by new and different things that you may have not imagined before. Keep a portfolio of all the things you like and it will help you find your own style by the consistent things you add to it. (That’s how I found my personal style of decorating, because I loved so many individual things. I had a mish-mash of all kinds of styles, but nothing concrete to build a foundation on, until I made my binder.)
While cleaning out the “back house” (a solar alternative studio), I found these treasures. One was a high quality desk that was dirty and the external finish neglected for decades; covered in dust and spider webs. The other piece is a mid-century modern chair, also of superior quality and super sturdy; just waiting to be rescued and given new life.
Details of the desk. Notice the dove-tailed joints and solid wood craftsmanship.
All finished and beautiful once again! (please ignore the cable wires)
One rule of thumb concerning painting furniture or not, according to my mom who was an antique dealer….Never paint or refinish pieces that have a stand alone beauty, the value of the piece rapidly declines. (Just watch Antiques Roadshow on PBS!) I decided to let this one just be cleaned, oiled (the wood was very dry), and waxed, no poly acrylic sealer of any kind. Sometimes I literally freak out when I see beautiful pieces that have been painted on Pinterest, just because it is a fad to do so. Let the beauty stand alone.
Next: The Chair
This piece was a toss up as to what to do with it. I really don’t care for modern furniture, though I do like the simple lines (my family-in-law has a house full). Mid-century modern only keeps its worth pretty much in its original form. The yellowed Varathane that they used to finish most of those pieces is sad and dated. While taking this chair apart I am trying to decide what to do with this 1951 treasure. Keep your eyes open for the reveal soon.
Christmas in September
Since I am not at my real home for the next few weeks I was having withdrawals from not doing any artwork, and decided to go hunting for a scrap booking store to just look at the beautiful papers (sigh!). I found a pretty amazing place close by, and after hunting around I felt very inspired and all giddy thinking I needed to get going on my Christmas craft projects and so I bought some supplies to try something different. Check out some of the things I bought, now lets see what I’ll create!
I finished the dresser I promised. I have been working on so many projects right now; besides the busyness of having a plethora of out-of-town guests, planning our vacation (more on that later), remodeling the kitchen, bedrooms, baths, and updating baseboards and paint, and dealing with emergency trips out of town due to a loved one’s failing health. I think this has been the busiest summer ever!
This is a totally grainy shot though it gives you an idea of how the “after” turned out. You notice my 2014 Vision board (from the post:http://www.theonething1721.org/vision-2014/ ) and some other things dear to my heart in my office; the framed menu from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki from the 50s, (my favorite breakfast there was the pancakes with coconut syrup – yum), my grandmother’s shadow box, and my carved marble lamp.
This dresser wasn’t that hard to refinish; just some sanding, primer, and paint, but the hardware makes a huge difference on the upgrade, don’t you think?. My biggest problem was time, I’ve had to work on projects either early morning or late at night, though I am determined to finish all my plans by the end of my September deadlines. Then it is off to finding “new treasure” to work on!
Hope this is an inspiration for you to try new things. Enjoy!