I have a backlog of posts for you someday but have been having some issues with the blog mechanics (namely being unable to post photos) and mostly having time to sort it out. I’m working on changing the hosting and getting things back up and running and will deluge you with updates about things that happened months ago. I can tell you are super excited.
Let’s talk chairs, shall we? I recently admitted to my sibs over some beverages that I have a serious chair problem. Now that they know, the interwebs is the next obvious place to say this. A chair problem? You ask. A chair problem.
Several years ago I had an old dining room set with tall chairs that weren’t really my style and they made the room seem smaller. Eventually the table needed refinishing and I realized I didn’t like it enough to spend the effort to re-do the set. So I sold it on Craigslist and started looking for replacements.
My elderly neighbor sold me two chairs for $5 each. I loved them the minute I saw them. They needed repainting but these things were solid, elegant, had nice legs. Mmmm chairs. I scoured garage sales, thrift stores, and craigslist for weeks looking for more chairs to finish out the set. I found three that were fine but I didn’t love, but at $5 a chair, they seemed to do the job. I actually ended up passing those on to a friend who bought a dining room set that matched them almost perfectly!
After weeks of searching, I finally found a set of four that I couldn’t walk away from. Well I did at first because I thought they were asking way too much for them. But then it got awkward when I stopped 4 or 5 times to check on my chairs. As luck would have it, they went on a half off sale and they came home with me! Silly me thought I was just putting together a new dining room set, not the beginnings of a serious problem. I painted all six of the gray and reupholstered the four with seat cushions. I love these chairs. I use them constantly and still absolutely love them.
Last summer I wanted to find a couple chairs for the sewing room, to use as overflow, and another one for the desk. My friend and I went to a large and wonderful neighborhood garage sale and I left with 4 chairs for $8. Not chairs that made me drool, one is going to be a project / barn chair, the other three I could repaint and use for the desk and sewing room. Good plan, right?
…… and then I saw three of these at a thrift store. Drool. These weren’t just “oh I guess we could sit on these and make them work” chairs. These were gorgeous, old, sturdy, and lovely chairs. Where have you been all my life???? Again, I visited the overpriced chairs twice and then they went on sale. You’re mine at last!! Because I may have a chair problem, but not an overpriced chair problem. Once they went on sale, these were the chairs. So the cheapo make do chairs in the barn will be repainted and sold off because hello gorgeous! These ones are staying with me.
Six weeks later, I came across these two at a garage sale for a steal of a deal. Be still my beating heart. Two for $15. These beauties are rock solid and the wood detail. Sigh. As I told the woman I was buying them, she said her husband really didn’t want to sell them. “I understand completely,” I said and promised to take good care of them. As I was walking out of the garage with them, the husband said wistfully “Take care of my girls.” I will sir, I will.
The heart loves what it loves. And apparently mine loves sturdy, old, nice legs, curved bottoms, and some kind of interesting old detail on the chair backs.
I am learning some important lessons: Never settle for chairs you don’t love. Because girl, you will find some you LOVE and can’t leave without. Save yourself the trouble and buy no more “meh” chairs.
I’m also putting myself on an official chair ban. I’m not allowed to buy any more chairs until I fix up and get rid of those spare chairs in the barn. #chairban2016
Perhaps this is where I should also mention I am a single woman who lives alone. It does seem that 11 dining room chairs is probably enough until I fill those ones up. It gives a whole new meaning to this song . Maybe I just allow myself one more for an even dozen. That’s how many kids I want someday…
While I’m at it, I’m trying to figure out if I could make a living as a curator of beautiful chairs and petite china cabinets. Let me know if you hear of any openings– or if you need any chairs!!
And now you know.
I’m Reenie. I have a chair problem.
Friday night I was having three of my nieces and nephews over to sleep over. It had been far too long and everyone needed haircuts. Their mom brought us dinner, thankfully since I’d been in project mode and haven’t been grocery shopping in far too long. We ate around the stack of luan planks on the dining room table. The weather was nasty – cold, snowy, freezing rainy. Ick. I informed the kids that they’d be put to work on Saturday because at Aunt Reenie’s house, it isn’t all fun and games (I’m not sure they believe me). I considered trying to get a jump on things Friday evening, but it was too complicated considering needing places for people to sleep. So we did haircuts and played Settlers of Catan with much shenanigans. I sure love these goons.
Saturday morning, the kids were down shortly after 7. We ate breakfast and then got down to business. Geno was the official sander, sanding down the edges of the boards just enough to smooth them out and get rid of the splinters. Jane was my official spackler. Once I removed the trim that was glued to the wall, there was a fair amount of spackling to do. Jane was very proud of her work and being able to help. Love that kid.
I’ve been dying to plank the ceilings upstairs for a long time. I am not a fan of the old ceiling tile squares and to make matters worse, they are badly installed and the lines aren’t straight and there’s an inch gap on all sides which is wonky and used to allow dead bugs to fall down (before I caulked them). It is a Type A nightmare for sure. (And no, we are not surprised that something done in this house was poorly done).
Let’s take a moment though to talk about a little thing I call the “Project Spiral”… if you’ve ever done any sort of project, this may sound familiar. The situation in the yellow bedroom upstairs is a perfect example of the project spiral. I had a short term roommate for a couple months. It should have been fine but ended up being kind of weird and complicated. Regardless, she didn’t spend much time at the house and when she did, she spent most of that time shut in her room. When she moved in at the end of October, I moved out of that bedroom and into the “kid” bedroom figuring it is easier to displace myself for guests than a roommate. I love that little yellow bedroom. It gets great light and though it is tiny, there’s something very cozy about it. It has the old textured plaster walls but I painted it and put a new laminate floor and thought it was pretty great.
Righto. So the roommate moved out and I was having house guests coming so I thought I’d just clean the room, maybe rearrange furniture, swap out the dressers, and call it good. Of course I actually want to plank the ceilings and thought maybe this would be a good time- seeing as no one is living in this room or staying in this room. Plus it is a tiny space to try the planking in and very budget friendly. Maybe…
Around this time, I overreacted to the incredibly busy-ness of the last three weeks and scheduled myself at home. Every night. Because burn out, people, burn out. Work is insane. I had overscheduled my evenings for several weeks. And I needed home time more than anything else. So there I was, at home, in my paint sweats, and decided to paint this old Craigslist stool to turn it into a bedside table for the guest bedroom. A nice low key paint project that I could do in my living room, surrounded by dogs, while watching Fixer Upper. Hard to go wrong really. I paint the stool one night, wax it the following night, and then take it up to see how it fits into the bedroom.
I should mention that the bedroom is 10 feet by 7 feet (about the size of an average walk in closet). A full size bed takes up the entire width of the room. There’s not a lot of room to play with. But being the eternal optimist, of course I think I can rearrange things and find space that isn’t there. So I’m scooting the bed to put the newly painted stool turned bedside table (to hold the newly painted lamp). And I notice the walls look really dirty. You can see the outline of all the places the roommate had put up pictures. On closer inspection I realize it is soot. I knew she was burning candles up there– fine– and never opened the door– fine– but I wasn’t expecting this! Sigh. I decide to see if I can rotate the bed so I have to remove the mattress and box spring. When I do, I notice there are coffee spills on all sides of the bed– and coffee stains running down the wall where the bed was. Really?? We can’t wipe up coffee when we spill it all over the bed and wall?? I go downstairs and get some cleaner and rags and start scrubbing down everything.
It is while scrubbing down the walls I notice there is a bunch of adhesive gunk on the wall and in several spots it has actually pulled the paint off. What?? I mean, who glues stuff to the wall?? Particularly knowing you’re only going to be there a couple months? Now I’m just annoyed because I am going to have to repaint. On the other hand,, this room was originally painted with one gallon of unknown clearance yellow ($5 baby). Naturally there’s a bit left for touch up but not enough for repainting the whole room. Ugh. And touching up walls that have been covered in soot is not going to work.
And thus the spiral…
Paint a stool to use as a bedside table =>
Rearrange furniture =>
Find soot and coffee stains all over the walls =>
Scrub walls =>
Find adhesive and peeled paint on walls =>
Must repaint the walls…
and if I’m going to repaint, I might as well go ahead and plank the ceiling amiright? That also leads to upgrading the window trim and painting that too, and while I’m doing trim, I should probably swap out door trim too so it all matches…
The project spiral.
I decide to pull off one ceiling tile to see what is underneath, fully aware that this is the point of no return. The tiles are very solidly glued to the original plaster ceiling. (Maybe I was secretly hoping to find old planked ceilings already there– alas old plaster ceilings covered with adhesive holds far less appeal for me). I see no reason to remove the ceiling tiles and will just glue and nail the planks over the existing ceiling tiles. Let’s call it extra insulation, shall we?
So I went to Home Depot after work on Thursday. I got sheets of luan board (very thin plywood often used as underlayment). A whopping $12 per 4×8 sheet. I need 3 sheets for this room but decided to get 4 since I know myself well enough to know I may need it. I asked the nice man at HD to cut it down into 8″ strips (the long way). He said they have a new minimum of 12″. Darn. I thought for a moment. I mean, I do have a table saw and could cut them down myself (other than the fact that I can’t transport a full 4×8 sheet in my CRV). Honestly I don’t want to. I ask the guy how wide his blade is (1/8″) so I ask him to cut the sheets down to 11 7/8 (so they will all be evenly sized) and I decide to just go for the wider plank look. Anything is going to be better than the ugly ceiling tiles.
Once I got home, I notice he cut the planks 11 5/8 instead of 7/8. Meh. What is done is done. I could cut these all in half at home– hmmm– I opt to just go with the wider boards.
Next Up: Actually planking the ceiling…
You may remember my last go at chickens in 2012 back in my city backyard with the awful neighbors. Mmm hmm. You may also remember that the only chickens that survived that experiment were the roosters I gave my mom (and I’m pretty sure they were eventually eaten by coyotes). Never one to learn lessons from a gruesome past, this spring I started thinking about chickens again.
This is one of those home projects that is entirely about embracing the reality of my life. It isn’t Pinterest or magazine worthy. It simply accommodates my life, in all of it’s glory (note the sarcasm). I am person that lives with two large dogs. This means dog bowls in the laundry room, dog hair in the corners, dog toys littered on the floor, and dog crates that need to be part of my living space. Big unsightly dog crates are not my favorite part of dog ownership but they are a very real and necessary part of my life.
At my old house, I found an ikea cabinet door in the clearance section that served as a crate table to hold my house plants. It was never perfect but we got by with it.
In this house, I have two crates that are part of my every day living and I’ve found the best way to incorporate them into my living space is to hide them so I don’t feel like I live in a kennel. So the crates are behind the couch in the living room and I put plants on top of them. It works out rather nicely because the doors open and close and there’s space on either side of the couch for the dogs to get in their beds. And best of all they are nearly invisible.
Last fall I bought the 2x10s I needed to create a dog crate table for this space and had them just laying across the crates waiting to be connected and finished. Note: Next time, go ahead and make the table when you buy the lumber. Otherwise you may get really frustrated that they did not warp evenly and make finishing the table much more complicated.
This past Saturday was gorgeous out – mid sixties and sunny. I needed a project that I could work on outside (while the puppy ran around the yard like nuts and the old dog hid under my project for protection). I dragged the boards out to the deck, got out all my tools and finally did the project.
- Measure boards – Since the dog crates would supply the base for this table, I wanted it to overhang on the sides by at least a half inch. I cut the 2×10 boards 1.5 inches short of the overall length so I could put a 1×2 at the end for a more finished edge.
- Connect long boards boards with kreg jig pocket holes on the back side (I put pocket holes and screws every 8 inches). This was my first project using my kreg jig and I love it! Admittedly, I made a couple rookie mistakes but wow, I love it!
- Nail 1×2 end boards with ryobi nailer to hide rough edge
- Sand the whole table top down
- Apply wood putty in the cracks (If I was going to paint this, I would have used caulk to close the seams and hide the imperfections. As it was, I would be staining it and wanted the wood putty to blend in. So I put wood putty in the seams and then sanded again once it was dry).
- Wipe down table with tack cloth to remove all dust
- Apply wood conditioner
- Apply first coat of stain + poly (letting them dry completely between coats)
- Move inside to avoid the rain
- Sand lightly, dust with tack cloth
- Apply second coat of stain + poly and let dry completely (I gave it 24 hours before putting anything on top of the table)
- Hide the dog crates
- Add plants
- Check that one off the list!
As I mentioned earlier, the boards did warp unevenly over the last six months and the table top is far from perfect but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. (And yes I realize I have a houseplant problem).