Sunday, May 22, 2016

DIY: Pottery Barn Lookalike Nightstand Lamps

It's no secret that I looooove Pottery Barn! 
The classic styles, always with a little twist; the prints and patterns, both subtle and bold; and the colors, oh how I love the colors, from timeless neutrals to bold trends, PB never disappoints.

That being said, PB doesn't often fall into my budget for small decor items that I don't want to "invest" in. I have gotten some amazing sale finds - usually by stalking items for months until they finally get marked down. Like this light fixture:

From the moment I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for our entryway but it was waaaay out of budget for a small fixture. So I waited. and waited... and waited.
{are you sensing a theme here?} 
And then I got lucky! Marked down to final sale at a fraction of what it started at, I drove an hour each way to pick this bad boy up at the only store in the area to have one.
{after checking to make sure it didn't have any cracks, I drove home like a granny praying it would make it home in one piece!}
I absolutely love how this piece looks in my home. It also reinforces my instinct to wait for the things that really catch my eye because more often than not I luck out in a big way.
Anyways, I digress...

Naturally, my 'pinspiration' for this lamp diy came from an older style of PB lamp that I love.

{these beauties (no longer available on the PB website) were $300 EACH...WITHOUT the shade! 
is this real life?
i definitely cannot afford that...#champagnetastebeerbudget strikes again!}

So I figured, why buy? DIY!

Like anyone who's into thrifting knows, you have to peruse your favorite stores early and often for the great finds. Most of the time I leave empty handed. Since I've been doing this for a little while, I have a good idea of quality, condition and amount I'm willing to pay for any given item. Only every once in a while do I find that diamond in the rough or the exact item meets all the specifications in my mind.
{or i'll tell myself i'm looking for nightstands and then I'll find the dresser of my diy dreams. 
basically i play mind games with myself.
no, really. that happened. 
the dresser is midway through its' stay tuned!}

So there the set of lamps were, at the Goodwill I like to frequent, just sitting atop a cabinet looking

{Before: here they are in my garage atop other thrift finds, patiently waiting their turn}

{even though we've been down enough tangents for one's that same buffet today!}

Back to the lamps!
Upon closer inspection, I quickly realized why they'd been abandoned. They're milkglass and despite being the same style and lot number, one was much darker and more opaque than the other making them more of  a 'miss' than a match.
{don't even get me started on the shades. just...yikes!}

Someone else's loss was definitely my gain because, y'all, these lamps are PB lamps to begin with...and even better than that, they still had their tags on!

These (originally) $90 guys came home with me for the grand total of $5 each!!!
{they were basically giving them away...brand freakin' new!}

I chose this spraypaint from Lowe's:

I removed the bulb, wrapped a disposable glove around the lightbulb socket and harp and taped it off. The glove was thick enough that it wouldn't tear but thin enough to allow the finial to screw back on top of the glove. I did the same thing with the cord.

{very silly looking!}

{y'all know me...i like primer}

All primed!

Coat of paint #1

Coat #2!

{letting them get good and dry}

I found matching large ivory barrel shades at Homegoods for $10 each.
And here's what they look like today:


So, to recap, original PB version: $300 EACH without the shade! {#crazytown}
My version: <$40 total for BOTH! {#winning!}
($10 for both lamps, $20 for 2 shades and ~$8 for 2 cans of blue spray paint)

And, as always, send me your pics of anything you've been working on lately!
Thanks for reading, y'all!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

DIY: Painted armoire for neutral nursery

This piece (and post) is pretty special for me as it's the first piece of furniture I've refinished for someone else's home!

Our sweet friends, N and S, recently became parents to the most adorable baby girl and when they asked me to refinish a gorgeous (but dated!) armoire, I jumped at the chance to create something totally unique for them!

N told me that the armoire belonged to his grandfather and I definitely understood the sentimental value of giving it another life (having just reupholstered my grandfather's bedroom bench).

The piece was beautiful; sturdy and solid...but totally wrong for their sophisticated, sweet nursery. Baby Y has a gorgeous light grey crib and dresser but since we couldn't get the exact color info I decided to paint the armoire to coordinate instead of being matchy-matchy.

When I say this armoire is solid, it's no joke! That thing was not going anywhere so I refinished it in their nursery.
{so, naturally, it took me an eternity. they might've started joking that it was my room instead of Baby Y's. S + N, Thanks for being so patient with me!}

To start, I took off the doors, drawers and old hardware. The armoire was in great condition so I only had to fill a few little holes with wood filler.

{I love this one}
The instructions say to apply with a putty knife, but I just use my finger to push a little into the holes making sure to wipe it in all directions and then use another finger to wipe up the excess.
{i know, i'm basically a caveman...}
 After it dries completely, a little light sanding is all it needs.

I love using chalk finish paint for painting inside and since this piece wasn't going anywhere it was our best option here. I have been wanting to try out Lowe's in-house brand, Valspar's, new 'chalky finish paint' and this was the perfect opportunity.

 I chose the color 'Kid Gloves' for the majority of the armoire. In the recessed trim detail and recessed drawer panels I mixed the 'Kid Gloves' with some Americana Decor chalky finish paint (in 'Relic') that I had on hand to mimic the light grey of the crib/dresser and tie the armoire in with the other furniture.

{I love this brand also - here in 'Relic'}
I really liked the Valspar paint. It went on nicely and evenly and has excellent coverage.

To avoid brush strokes, after I brush the paint on I use these foam rollers to smooth out the coat and to make sure the paint is applied evenly.

{making progress!}
{cabinet doors reattached!}

Time to start the grey accents! This part took a looong time.

The straight parts I was able to tape off, the rest of it I free-handed ever so carefully using a super tiny craft paintbrush for the edges and a slightly larger one to fill in the middle. I like these brushes:
{I used the smallest one - second from the left - for the edges and the left-most one to fill in the middle}
That grey accent seriously took me 3 hours (spread out over several days to allow for drying). It was tedious but well worth it - I love the way it came out!
{and I also learned that had I gone to med school, I would've been the worst surgeon ever. my hands were shaking like crazy from gripping the tiny craft paintbrushes and intense concentration.}

Once the cabinets were finished, it was time to start on the drawers. They were definitely easier since I could tape most of the edges!

{all painted!}
After everything was painted, I applied the sealing wax coat. I brushed it on in small sections with a 2 in" brush, let it sit for a minute or two and then wiped away any noticeable excess.

After letting the wax coating dry overnight, I added the new hardware.

I absolutely love the knobs S chose: these for the cabinets and these for the drawers.
{Hobby Lobby is a magical place, N! #sorrynotsorry}

{After! What a transformation!}
I love how it came out and I know that N and S love having such a unique and personal piece for Baby Y's nursery! N and S, it was such an honor giving new life to a piece that will (hopefully) be with y'all for a long time. Thank you for such an amazing opportunity and I hope you love it as much as I do!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

DIY: Upholstered animal print bench with nailhead trim

 I want to start off this post, the first one of this new year, by saying Thank You to my amazing readers! 
I don't post as much as I want to these days (something I'm going to try really hard to work on this year) but when I do, y'all just warm my heart with your comments, questions and support.
And the most exciting thing for me is when you send me pics of your own DIY projects inspired by something you saw here. So, how about in this upcoming year we both keep 'em coming!
Deal? Deal!

This post was supposed to go up 3 weeks ago but then Blogger decided to randomly delete days worth of work:(
{so I responded by pouting like a toddler and giving it the cold shoulder until I finally forgave it and here we are...water under the bridge, sorta. i might still have a bit of a grudge.}

Anyways, let's talk about this bench:

{Before: behold, the black hole of benches!}
My grandfather passed away a year ago and among the few things we inherited from him was this bench. It was dark and masculine, with shiny faux leather but all I saw was a blank canvas (awesome hidden storage!) and an opportunity to give this bench a second life. I know my grandfather would be delighted to know that this bench has become so dear to us and is a constant reminder of him in our lives.

{don't judge the bedding/ takes me forever to decorate. just lie to me and tell me it's normal to agonize over *every.little.aspect* before making a purchase! even bedding. it's sad. i know.}

But first, some pinspiration:
I absolutely adore the dainty, modern shape of this bench's base but, when you have #champagnetastebeerbudget, free is as good as it gets! Plus, the perfect design could never outweigh the sentimental value. 

photo credit
 So, with this pic in mind, I started my fabric search and decided on this one from and to lighten up the heavy, dark wood base I chose this spray paint in 'champagne mist'.

Image source: I love this line of metallics!

Now to begin the disassembly!

I unscrewed the upholstered part from the base, cleaned the base and prepped the surface with this spray primer.

Image source:
{time to lighten this dark wood up}

I prime everything. It gives spray paint better adhesion and allows for better paint coverage. Also spray primer is cheaper than the spray paint colors so spending a few dollars on a can of primer can save you from buying more cans of spray paint. And especially if the item is glossy or is going to be used outside, primer is a must!   

{all primed!}
Now to remove the staples from the previous upholstery.
There were so. freakin. many hundreds...

{my thumbs are starting to hurt just thinking about it again. 
seriously, I had to bandage my raw, bleeding thumbs a *few* times
moral of the story: I now understand why professional upholsterers charge so much!}

(Those two big holes are where the base connects to the bottom part of the upholstered section) 

I wish I could say that this part was super easy... and it wasn't *that* difficult, it was just incredibly time consuming.
{Don't all of my projects seem to be?! 
I always tell myself I'm gonna start out with something simple this time... the best laid plans, right? So, plug in your headphones, grab a comfy seat and get me, you're gonna be there a while!}

I originally started the staple removal process with the wire cutters pictured above (mostly because it's what I use to remove staples at work in most situations), but about halfway through my sweet friend, J, loaned me her heavy duty staple remover and that thing totally saved my life!
{well, maybe not my life, but DEFINITELY my thumbs!}

{As an's amazing to have a bestie/neighbor as into DIY projects as I am! We troubleshoot, encourage one another and basically have an open-garage-door policy for tool sharing! Love you, J!}

Whenever I take apart furniture I *always* take pictures of the hardware before I remove anything.

{i've dealt with the incredibly frustrating, 3D, metal hardware puzzle that is left over when you don't remember where everything's about as fun as it sounds. take pics!}

I removed the black upholstery underpinning, hinges and faux leather from both the top and bottom bench pieces. The underpinning I got rid of, but the actual upholstery fabric I kept and used the measurements to cut both my white upholstery lining and the new fabric.

The foam on both pieces of the bench was in great condition so that saved me time not having to replace padding.

Being that this was my first real re-upholstery attempt, after measuring the old upholstery fabric I added 2" to all of the new fabric measurements to give myself some room to work with.

Now, to begin the re-upholstery!

{I use this staple gun. it's awesome, but admittedly a bit too big for my small hands. I make it work though...they don't really sell staple guns for grown-ups with toddler hands anyways!}
For the white lining I positioned the top of the bench, foam side down, on top of the lining. Starting with the short sides first, I pulled the fabric taught over the plywood and began my stapling in the middle. Alternating left and right of the center staple, I continued to pull the fabric really tight and then staple just up to the corner, leaving the corner unfinished.

This is where the system breaks down and I forgot to take pics along the way :(

Make sure you are pulling the fabric really tight before each staple. That will keep the fabric from puckering as you go along. I did all four sides first and then came back to the corners.

For the corners, I used this tutorial and was really happy with how they came out.
I repeated the same stapling process for the decorative fabric - sides first and then corners.

Here's where I need to confess something to y'all:
"Hi, I'm Ally and I have a love affair with nailhead trim"
Seriously, though...I *love* nailhead! Chairs, sofas, benches, ottomans, name it, if it has nailhead I love it even more. Our bedframe has nailhead on the sides and it was the final touch that convinced me it was *the one*.
So, as soon as I inherited this bench, I knew that whatever I chose to do with it would involve nailhead. Being a novice, and after reading a bunch of tutorials, I chose this nailhead trim by the yard.

Using the trim by the yard (as opposed to hammering in individual nailheads) is helpful for beginners {like me!}. Having the trim all connected makes it easy to keep it straight and hammering in 1 out of every 5 nails means much less hammering.

Speaking of hammering the nailhead, you will need to use something other than a regular hammer. A regular hammer will dent the nailhead, so use a hammer with a softer metal like brass or copper to protect them as you hammer them in place.

My dad {the original DIYer in my family} found this awesome hammer for me! The interchangable heads are super cool.

{first time using nailhead trim!}
{all finished with the base...also the last "work in progress" pic I remembered to take :/}
Even though I had planned on using the nailhead from the beginning, it came in really handy to hide some of the corner imperfections. Most of my corners came out pretty well considering this was my first real attempt at upholstery, but in a few places I trimmed the fabric too much {oops!} trying to get it to lay nicely and it definitely would've been visible if it were not for the nailhead!
{now it's practical and decorative!}

All that's left to do was the quick reassembly of all the large parts (wood base, bottom storage and top seat) and I'm finished!

So, like every project I attempt, it took much longer than I thought *and* I had to find ways to fix my 'oops moments' along the way...but I learned so much from this project and now every time I walk into my room and see my bench it's a constant reminder of my hard work!

I also love that it's a one-of-a-kind piece and the sentimental value makes it even more special.

{After! So happy with how it came out!}

{I'm also now painfully aware of how bare our room looks and desperately needs some decorations...and some real bedding!}
The next thing for our room will definitely be new nightstands! 
{The height of our bed makes our newlywed, apartment living ikea nightstands look like 'fisher price: our first nightstands'}

The lamps were also 'designer DIY' I hope to post about really soon :)

Have any of y'all done any upholstery projects lately? Upcycled something you inherited? Going to finally attempt that piece you have just begging for a facelift? Send me a pic - I always love to see what my readers are working on!

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