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My Little House Design: April 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ottoman Makeover: Part 1

Progress on the ottoman makeover has begun!

For a recap, here is the original post where I purchased the ottoman: here.

It was $25 and it looks like this:

Not the most beautiful thing in the world, but dang it if it wasn't a great price for such a big nice piece. My original plan, as outlined in the post, when I bought it was to reupholster it. But then I grew a few brain cells and realized that is waaaay beyond my skill set. Actually, I could probably do it but by the time I spend money on fabric and spend all the time reupholstering it I don't think it would be worth it.... so I changed my game plan. It was actually from a recommendation in the comments of the original post. My friend suggested that I paint it. Yep, paint the fabric. 

I haven't started that part yet, but I did start another part of the project so I'll start with that. 

Not the best picture I've ever taken but it at least shows you what I was working with. In the time that I bought it and brought it home the lining on the bottom fell off part-way (the strings are from the tufts).

Since the lining was still intact (it had just pulled away from the staples) I decided to reattach it instead of completely replacing it.

All I did was pull the lining tight.

And since I don't have a stapler, I just used small nails and a hammer. 

 It only took a few minutes and a handfull of nails to complete this part. If at some point in the future it falls off again I'll just get a new lining and borrow a stapler, but I don't see why this wouldn't hold.

The next thing I did was tackle the legs. My original plan was take the legs off and stain or paint them, but it turns out that however they are attached is beyond my strength to remove (I tried with all my might). Oh well, on to Plan B. I used a sanding block to rough it up a bit. The sanding block worked great because it went into the crevices really well.

After a good sanding, I Frog Taped around the leg so that I wouldn't ruin the fabric.

Here is a decent (if slightly blurry) shot of the leg (albeit upside down). Kind of a country style but not so bad that I couldn't work with them. At the tip of the leg you can see how it's a lighter color and there is a hole in it, that is where a wheel used to be attached. By the time I got the ottoman only two of the wheels had survived. I decided to just remove them and leave the ottoman immobile. I kept the wheel if I decide in the future to put the wheels on again (I could take the wheel into a hardware store and match it). The main reason I decided against wheels is because I like being able to sit on it and wheels make me nervous to sit on. But having it movable would be really nice so maybe I'll change my mind. 

Anyway, ...

After sanding and taping, I filled in the little holes from the wheels with putty.

I debated about painting or staining, but I decided to leave them wood and just stain them. I had stain left over from my semi-disastrous IKEA Rast dresser makeover (here and here). I found out that the reason the stain didn't work on that project was because I used a paint brush, apparently you are supposed to use a foam brush. Since I already had the stain, I figured it was worth trying again. Of course, this time I used a foam brush instead and it worked much better! 

Here is a side-by-side. It isn't a major difference but it blends in the tip of the leg so it looks better. 

This is after a one coat.

Here it is after a second coat:

Part 1 complete! Next phase is painting the fabric. Let the fingernail biting begin!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Brief Interruption

I really love doing this blog, but some weeks or days I just don't have it in me to do projects or compile the posts. This is one such week. But don't worry, I'll be back next week with my regularly scheduled programming (which I attempt do on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday around noon)!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Exterior House Tour

I've showed a few pictures of the exterior of my home, most notably when I had the exterior painted, but not too many. So how about a little exterior tour?

For your reference this is what the house looked like when I first bought it:

I saw the potential but that ugly blue paint that was decades old really wasn't helping. It may not show in this picture but the house was really dirty (side note: isn't it weird that you don't have to clean houses? I get my car washed once a month but I've never 'cleaned' the exterior of my house.). So when I finally saved up the money to paint it six months after I moved in I chose the paint colors in five minutes flat because I was so ready. The vision was long in coming, but having the house painted made a world of difference:

Soooooo much better! I called it my little blue shed before but now I call it a bungalow because the paint job makes it look like a respectable place to live.

Here is the right side of the house. Nothing fancy just the AC and a tree. It is a simple thing but I'm really happy I decided to have the foundation painted white. The painter said most people would just continue the siding color all the way to the foundation but I saw a house with a white foundation and really liked it so I'm glad I went with my gut on that. It looks a little dirty here, but after a good rain it is a nice crisp white.

The next three images are the view from the porch. It's not much to look at but it's my favorite place to sit. I want to screen it in soon so that I can sit out there all summer. I also want to get more seating and 'decorate' it. But I mostly took these pictures as a hate-letter to those bushes because I hate those dang bushes.  

They are overgrown and big and ugly and unattractive. I can't really describe how big they are but they are huge, like 4.5' tall and between 5-8' wide. Thankfully, there aren't any weeds in the landscaping which is nice, but ugh, those bushes. Last summer I tried to trim them with clippers but I was no match for their size and strength. 

As you can see they are so overgrown that they cover up my little sidewalk. This year I'm going to have to buy or borrow electric clippers to cut them back. My long term plan is to pull those suckers out and replant Forsythia there. I'm obsessed with forsythia. For your reference here is what forsythia looks like:

Magical, right? I nearly get in a wreck every time I see one because I am so enamored by the color. They don't bloom for too long, but wouldn't they look amazing in front my gray and white house??? Ah, someday.

Here is the left side of the house:

Yep, that is how close my house is to my neighbor. Gotta love city (alright, city adjacent) living! As you can see it is where I park the trash and recycling bins so not a whole lot else happens over here. 

Here is my backyard: 

If you can look past the fact that I really need to mow, it's a pretty big backyard. I love having a fence despite the fact that it is barely standing in some places. Bob has used the decrepit state of the fence to his advantage... He popped out one of the posts so he can peek at my neighbors!

I think it's hilarious - it's like a doggie TV, he just watches the neighbor kids play for hours.

The back of the house is pretty plain. You can see from this angle how small the house really is. Only 950 square feet on the main level (there is about 700 more square feet in the basement). 

This tree below is a beautiful redbud tree which unlike it's name blooms a deep, bright pink. It hasn't bloomed yet but when it does, it's lovely (if you scroll up the first picture you can see it in bloom behind the house). 

This little shed is nice to have. I store my lawnmower, weed-eater, and a few other lawn supplies in there. Also, there is a shopping cart in there. Yep, straight up, there is a random grocery shopping cart in there! I don't know where it came from but I have no idea how to get rid of it so it's just hanging out in there. 

All of the sidewalks and paths at this house are in terrible shape but I doubt I'll ever replace them. I don't want to put more into this house than it's worth, although it would like so nice if I did. I'm much more likely to replace the fence which is in crazy bad shape. My amazing friend came over when I first moved in and did a lot of little repairs to the fence so that Bob could play out there and not escape, but it will definitely need to be replaced at some point. I could pull the whole thing over with just my hands if I wanted to, it's that wobbly!

At one point this house had alley access thus the old cement car park. Now there is no access from the back so I just randomly have a busted up cement pad in my back yard. Maybe some day I'll remove it and plant grass but it isn't even on my radar right now. I'd like to get a table and chairs and fire-pit at some point too. It is worth noting that those vines on the back fence are literally holding the fence together and bonus, they flower at some point in the year!

So that is my little house from the outside. Painting the outside made the biggest difference. The next thing on my list is to break out the mower and take care of the grass but after that I want to screen in the porch. Overall, the outside doesn't require a lot of maintenance for which I'm grateful!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to Hang an Old Window

On Monday, I shared my little dining room corner make-over. Here is the process I used to hanging the large old windows on the wall. 

A few summers ago I bought two large windows. Why did I buy windows? I don't really know. I had a moment where I was feeling very shabby chic-y apparently. Actually, I think I had just gotten Pinterest and I was in that fever of seeing all these new projects with old windows for the first time.

Anyway, for several months the ones I bought just sat around doing nothing. Then I got an idea. What if instead of putting small pictures behind each pane (which is the most common thing people do with windows like this) I printed one large picture instead? I thought maybe it would look a little more modern that way. So I found two pictures from my trip to Paris that I thought would work and had them printed. I used Snapfish and got the pictures printed in the 20"x30" poster size for $18 each. That seems expensive now but at the time I thought it was reasonable. When I got them I taped them on the back of the frame.

I like the overall look. But the reason it took me so long to hang them is that there was no hanging hardware on the back. 

It is just a simple wood frame window but for several reasons I was nervous. For one it is really old window so I wasn't sure how solid the wood was and so I hesitated to drill into it. And secondly these windows are pretty heavy like 15 pounds so knew I needed heavy duty hanging hardware. But you know what, you can't wait around forever so I just did it.

Here is what I did:

1) Measure and mark a spot 1/3 of the way down the frame. My frame was 30" tall so I marked a spot at 10" on either side.

2) Screw in hardware. I used these hooks from a hardware store. I screwed them in at an angle toward the center of the frame. 

Like I said I was nervous to drill into the old wood but I found that using a screwdriver worked find. The wood was pretty soft (not falling apart soft, just not so hard that I needed a drill) and the screw went in easily. 

 3) Attach the hanging wire. I used 9' of hanging wire on each frame. That sounds like a lot but these suckers are heavy and I wanted to be extra careful. I pulled the wire through the loops three times.

On each side I wrapped the end of the wire around all three strands. 

After wrapping the end around several times I stuck the end through the last loop to make a sort of knot. 

After trimming the ends, the back looked like this.

Admittedly, that looks a little wonky but here I demonstrate how it looks when pulled taut. 

4) Put a screw in the wall and hang them up. The rest is pretty basic picture hanging. I measured and marked where I wanted them to hang and then got out my drill. I have plaster walls so I pre-drilled holes and then drilled my screw in. 

They've been hanging up for several days now and no major catastrophes so I think they are good! If you are hanging a window in a hallway or somewhere where they might get knocked often I would consider using bracing brackets on the bottom corners. I'm not worried about these since they are in a corner but they can move pretty freely with the hanging wire so just keep that in mind. 

Budget Breakdown:
Window - $5
Poster - $18
Hanging hardware - $5 
= $28 each (not too bad for a 30"x25" piece of art!)

I love it when projects go this way, when I think they are going to be hard and then they turn out to be pretty simple. I'm glad I knocked this project off of my mental to-do list and I'm happy to say that I conquered a fear of hanging heavy objects, win-win! More pictures and info about the corner makeover here.

Are you into the old window look? Have you ever had to get creative when hanging stuff on the wall?

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