DIY Plank Wall Mantel

Pallet Mantle

The mantel in our house has more or less been a giant eyesore since I can remember. It didn’t always look as bad as it does in the before picture, though. It had a bunch of cheesy square mirrors on the top and sides. We took those off, and it sat in that sad state for longer than I’d like to admit. The stack of wood was purchased probably two months ago. I had the idea for a plank wall and we saw a nice bunch of wood in the discount pile in Home Depot. In total, all of the wood for the project was less than $9. There was a few things that I had to do, before cutting and mounting the wood…

IMG_1376

There were giant holes where the shelf was bolted to the wall, and also one of the fake bricks was missing from the framing of the fireplace. I used Rock Hard to fill in the holes, and (more or less) made a fake, fake brick to blend in the gap. The “bricks” around the fireplace aren’t actual bricks, so that’s why it’s a “fake, fake brick.”  It’s not perfect, but it did the trick for now. Before painting the bricks, it’s also important to vacuum and wipe down all the crevices. It’s easy for dust to hide in there and ruin the paint job.

Cutting the wood was surprisingly easy. I give 100% credit to the nice miter saw that I got at an estate sale for $20. I got the idea for the chevron shape of the wood from a friendly older gentleman at Home Depot. I was telling him about why I was collecting all that wood and he said, “You know there’s a really simple way to make your wall look really fancy…” You just set the miter saw to a 45 degree angle, measure and cut. All I needed to attach the planks were 1.5in finishing nails and voila! It was up!

Next came the caulking…

Caulk

Then the paint…

6X0A5229

The bare wood looked great, but I wanted to try the white wash treatment. We’re also supposed to install some marble on the bottom, so I thought the raw wood and the marble might be too busy. I didn’t use an official measurement for the paint, just a plastic cup with some paint and added water until the mixture seemed about right. Very precise…

DIY

I’m in love with that incense jar…

6X0A5236

So that’s that! I’m not brave enough to try to do anything with the marble right now, but I’ll post pictures of it when it eventually gets done. If you’re thinking of doing a plank wall, do it! It’s easier than you’d think and they look fantastic. For another great tutorial on planking an entire room, check out Domestic Imperfection… Leave me some comments with questions or suggestions. It’s always appreciated!

Dome Top Trunk part 2

Collage

It’s finished!! I already did the first post on the exterior, and now the interior is done. I’m so happy with it! This is how the inside started…

6X0A0226

It was covered with several layers of awful greenish grey paper. Surprisingly, all it took to scrape that off was wetting it with a sponge and scraping. Lots of scraping..

IMG_1049

I didn’t really have a plan for the interior. Well, actually I had several plans, but I wanted to wait and see what exactly I had to work with when I was done with the scraping. I toyed with the idea of modpodging an old map on the underside of the top, or using some of these sheets from Home Depot..

IMG_1080

But the wood was looking pretty decent on it’s own..

IMG_1076

Not too shabby! I thought I’d try a little stain and see how it turned out…

IMG_1304

I always think that natural wood is prettier than any painting or paper. Also, the curvature of the inside of the top would make covering it with any paper or vinyl tiles very tricky (ain’t nobody got time for that). Natural wood it is! Lastly, I added the side bars back on, where they were previously, and made a box for the interior.

IMG_1327

(I’ll do a separate tutorial on making the box, don’t want to cram too much in one post.)

…and the finished product…

6X0A5216

A few side notes….

The wood in the top of the trunk was definitely different from what was used to make the rest of it. Before I stained the interior all the wood looked the same, but after the stain, the top turned a yellowish brown while the rest was reddish. So, if you look at the tray insert in comparison to the top, it won’t quite match, while it does still match the rest of the trunk.

It took three coats of two different stains to get the new wood on the tray and sidebars to match the trunk. There could have been a stain that matched it identically, but who wants to buy more cans of stain when I already have so many sitting in the garage? One coat of Sedona Red and too coats of English Chestnut, both by Minwax, and it matched almost perfectly. Close enough for me!

It looks fantastic in the office where it’s sitting. Once that room is complete, I’ll post pictures of it in all of it’s pirate-y glory.

Bathroom Facelift

I’ve expressed my feelings before about the unfortunate peachy two-toned tiles in my bathroom. It’s too much of an undertaking to replace it right now, so I’ve been left to try about 5 different paint colors in an attempt to find a color that makes the tiles tolerable. My last color was a step in the right direction, but it ended up being way to dark. The whole room felt closed and tiny…

IMG_0892

I also learned the value in sampling the paint before painting. I always pick up any good paints I find in the oops paint section of home depot, so I had plenty of options already in the garage. The light in my bathroom is apparently very bizarre though, because none of the paint looked like it should have once it was on the walls…

IMG_0893

The two samples at the end were supposed to be grey, not brown and the one that looks grey was supposed to be light blue. So… test your colors. Anyway, I chose the second color from the right, which was the color left over from my bedroom. I was impressed, as I normally am with Behr, at how outstanding the coverage was. It only took two coats of Behr paint to cover up the really dark teal color..

IMG_0899

The left side is two coats and the right is after one. Another problem I had, that you can see from the picture above, is the paint lines. After so many coats of paint, the paint lines are just ridiculously bad regardless of the use of painters tape and edging tools.

IMG_0901

You can see the lighter color, the old teal color and even some of the dark green from two colors ago. My mother had the perfect solution, as mothers often do. Turns out a little line of caulk fixed everything…

IMG_0903

Tada!! I hope the tip about the caulk lines was helpful. That is certainly going to make my life easier in the future! Thanks, Mom.

Chalkboard Everything!

Has anyone seen the little cartoon on Pinterest where the person is at their computer looking at pinterest and saying, “oh this is pretty cool.” then by the last frame their going crazy and saying “PIN EVERYTHING!” I think people do that with chalkboard paint. I have seen entire walls or closet doors online covered in chalkboard paint. I actually think it’s a cool idea… But anyway, I haven’t gone quite that crazy yet. I started with my chalkboard frame, and then I did this:

6X0A2851

It started like this…

IMG_1979

It was cute before, but it had some weird splotch from when I Windexed (Can Windexed be a verb?) it a while ago. I guess it stripped away some of the shiny top coat. I taped off the edges and painted the center, easy as that!

6X0A2849

Follow the steps on the can and see the tips from my chalkboard frame and it should turn out just fine!

Swiss wood stacking… It’s an art…

I have been to Switzerland twice and of all of the places I have visited, I can easily say Switzerland is the most beautiful. It’s hard to compare different places, because each one has a different kind of beauty, but when I think back about my time there the first thing that comes to mind is how I spent every waking moment in this haze of wonder at my surroundings. Everything is so lush, green and alive! It’s really indescribable. Even the way they stack wood is a form of art.

446

070

160

161

088

I promise I have more to say about this exquisite country, but as I was scrolling through my pictures thinking of different things to post, I realized how many pictures I had of wood stacks and that even they had that pristine “Swissness” about them. I figured that was as good a place to start as any. A few posts with more substance will follow, I’m sure. 🙂

Vintage Steamer Trunk Repair

I found this steamer trunk at an estate sale a few months ago. I really liked the dark green and brass colors, but it had this big glob of tape residue on the top and a water ring.

IMG_1354

IMG_1355

I thought I could get the white stuff of with some Goo Be Gone, but apparently the tape residue was as vintage as the trunk and it would not come off. It didn’t even think about coming off. It was pretty discouraging, actually. I didn’t originally want to sand it, because I was worried about messing up the finish that was still good. At this point though, the rest of the finish didn’t matter if there was a huge white chunk of ugly on the top. I had pretty much given up on restoring it, so the whole thing turned into more of an experiment. After a lot of sanding and scraping most of it was gone and the top was still really smooth. Unfortunately I slacked on taking a picture of this step. I found a paint color at Home Depot that was almost an exact match to the green, so painting was the next step. I wanted to paint the bottom side of the trunk first, so I could see how close of a match it actually was and if I would still like it.

IMG_1702

The bottom had some wear too, so I sanded it a bit and then painted. I thought the color was great, so I set about doing the most annoying part of this whole project, taping off EVERYTHING. UGH! So tedious.

IMG_1703

This is the bottom again. I used a little bit of filler to get rid of a few scratches and dents. Again, it’s always best to experiment on the side where no one will see it if you’re displaying it in your house. I did this same thing on my dresser though, so I figured it would turn out fine.

IMG_1704

Much better right? I intentionally didn’t want the paint to be 100% perfect, because I like the worn look. After I repeated this whole process 5 MORE TIMES, to finish all the other sides, It was a huge improvement. Something was still missing for me though. I decided to try something I’ve seen on Domestic Imperfection, she calls it the “Dirty Cowboy Treatment.” Basically, you just add some stain or glaze to it, to give it the nice worn look. I put it across all of the painted surfaces, with extra in the edges and corners. I think it’s perfect now!

IMG_1717

Somehow I wrote this whole post without noticing the cat in the picture below… it’s so nice to have company when I’m working outside! You can also see Keen ears poking up on the right side of the box… silly animals…

IMG_1715

IMG_1951

Right now it’s just stacked in my room as a make shift end table. I’m not sure where it will end up, or if I’ll even keep it, but it was a good learning experience!

Vintage Phone Table Redo

So I found this little table by the side of the road. IDespite my mom’s objections, I picked it up. I thought with a little TLC it could be adorable. As you’ll see from the pictures, it was covered in about 25 different layers and colors of paint. It was wobbly and it was sad.

DSC00100

DSC00104

The first picture shows it in all of its peely glory. In the second one, I had already painted the legs with a brown base boat and peeled off A LOT of the paint already. What’s left is what I couldn’t get off aka it was too much work.

DSC00101

Ignore my feet please!

DSC00102

I glued the joints to make it a bit more sturdy, and because I didn’t have clamps at the time,  I used bungees. Yay for improvising.

DSC00106 DSC00105

So my laziness cost me in the long run. After the base coat, you could still clearly see the chunky old paint showing through. So I had to go back and peel it off and paint over it again. Don’t cut corners!

IMG_1002

It was my plan to distress it when I was done, so I thought it might be kinda cool to add some gold between the brown and blue to add a little sparkly effect. There wasn’t a science to it, just slapped some on there before the blue coat.

IMG_1004

Once I finished with the final blue layer and the distressing, I wasn’t really satisfied. It needed a little something else. I’ve been in love with this stencil table over at Domestic Imperfection and it gave me an idea…

6X0A4287

Tada! A few coats of polycrylic and it was finished.

6X0A4284

I think it’s perfect! I use it as a little hallway table with candles and a picture. The lighting is terrible though, so getting a good picture is near impossible. That’s what’s great about blogs, you see other people’s great ideas and make them your own!

IMG_7721 2