Monday, November 1, 2010

Furniture Rehab Part 1 - Work what ya got baby!

So if you're as strapped for cash as my family often is, you've read my last post and thought "Well, Michelle, buying something distressed looking would be a great design option if I had any money to do that!". Well fear not, gentle reader! Fortunately you can re-design your space in a kid friendly AND very cheap way by rehabbing the furniture you already have. What it takes is often some creativity, some tools, paint and primer, and searching through the stuff you already have lying around and using it creatively.

As a former painter, paint and color is ALWAYS the first place I begin to liven up some of the things I already have. It takes a little know how to do it well, but it isn't expensive.

For instance, I had a huge coffee table/trunk in my living room that I had purchased about 10 years ago.  I loved all the storage and functionality of the piece, and it was solidly made, but the finish had gotten trashed over the years by moving, dogs, and kids. It was an eyesore.  You can see it here in the lower left of the picture.Rather than taking ages to refinish the wood, I decided to give it a new look with paint.

Here it is after one coat of black acrylic paint. Like new! It seriously looks amazing. The can of paint cost me about $8 and there is so much left that I can use it for plenty of other projects. I ended up doing three coats on this table.

But refinishing your stuff doesn't have to stop at paint. What about using glue and decorative papers, newspaper, sheets of music, or family photos to decoupage items? Or scraps of leftover wallpaper or fabric work great for inside of shelving units or applied to small objects. You can use what you have lying around like some old scrap-booking papers or purchase some remnant fabric and the glue only costs a couple of dollars. This also tends to disguise furniture that is pretty badly damaged. You can also do mosaic on pieces with mirrors or broken tiles, dinnerware, or whatever you have lying around or can get cheaply or free! Feeling glizty? Pick up some gold or silver leafing kits at the craft store to apply to items. 

You can also repurpose things like old placemats (try adhering them to cabinet or hutch doors and trim with molding) and woven window shades (cut them up to apply to items for decorative trims or insets). If your piece of furniture has glass, why not change it out for color, or Krylon makes a glass frosting spray - which keeps little fingerprints from showing as much and the unsightly stuff inside better hidden!

Don't stress - Distress!

So let's face it... we want to have a beautiful home with nice furniture, but the common complaint I hear among parents with young (or even teen!) kids is that nice/expensive furniture will just get all beat up. So they continue living with the stuff they have, even though they hate it. So how can you buy better furniture but not have to stress about the toll everyday living can take on it?

Don't Stress - DISTRESS!!! Selecting furniture items that look great with dents and dings can make both your design aesthetic and your family life happy! You won't need to freak out when your expensive new piece is ruined by a scratch or dent. You don't have to keep the kids out of the family room just to keep your stuff nice.

When choosing furniture, parents with particularly rambunctious kids (or renters whose stuff gets dented and dinged in transport and moving) may want to consider how a piece will distress. A piece that is already rusticated will benefit with age from some dents and dings, and you won't have to tear your hair out if your brand new furniture gets damaged - more distress adds to the charm! Distressed furniture is easy to live with and can be incorporated into any design from traditional to modern.

You can purchase "new" from many different sources such as Restoration Hardware, Ikea, Viva Terra, etc. Don't have the cash to buy it new? Look for antique or vintage furniture at your local flea market, Goodwill store, or even curbside on trash day!

And of course, distressed doesn't have to mean wood. These are some GREAT metal twin size beds that would be super cool for kids well into their teen years : Weldhouse Twin Beds 
There are lots of great ideas for distressed items if you are looking to purchase new furniture. Next blog post... finding it used and rehabbing old furniture. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

So... where I have been!?

Oh how long it's been... I've been away from my blog for ages. Well, I was a *bit* busy having a BABY and all.

Desmond James Goertz was born on August 26,2010. He was 6lbs 11oz and 19 inches long. About 15 hours after birth, a nurse was checking his vitals and noticed a heart murmur. Long story short, we have a slightly "imperfect" baby boy - he was diagnosed with an Aortic Stenosis and went through a cardiac cath balloon proceedure on October 15th (at 8 weeks old) to help alleviate the problem. Eventually he'll need a replacement valve, but they are hoping to stave it off for as long as possible. He got through the procedure GREAT and is doing well - eating like crazy and growing ginourmous! So, now that I am no longer pregnant and I am out of classes this year (had to take a year out of school to have Desmond), I can finally resume my blogging and decorating hobby!

Liam is almost 3 now, and with the new addition, the house is in disarray. Yet, more than ever I am designing in my head and have lots to write about here. Looking forward to having some discussions and sharing!