Mid-Century Bench Made From 2 Chairs

Lately I've been getting back into the swing of my DIY driveway shenanigans since we're getting pretty settled in the "new" house (it's been over 9 months since we moved in). So, I was excited to hear from the Habitat Restore here in Orlando again this year asking if I'd like to partner up and DIY some goodies for you all to see. When we came together last year I made the DIY Tripod Floor Lamp that is still one of the main sources of lighting in our living room. With $50 in-hand, Kaley and I hit the Restore to see what we could get into.

The Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando Restore offers a wide variety of items from household goods to home d├ęcor, furniture, and appliances. The store also accepts donations of these gently used goods and offers a free pick-up service through its donation hotline: 407-426-7859. And the best part is all proceeds fund Habitat’s mission to help homeowners achieve the self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families through affordable homeownership.

Since the Restore is only about 10 minutes away from where I work, I visit quite often on my lunch break so I know their stock is constantly changing. New things arrive (and leave!) every day. Today we were on the hunt for a headboard (which didn't quite pan out) but found MANY other things instead...

That dresser on the top left was awesome but I really don't have a place for it. Kaley tried hard to get a bright purple sofa for her bedroom. Chairs for days! And I couldn't resist that sweet "mom" needlepoint that I promptly turned into a "wow" needlepoint when we got home. :) I also found a Le Creuset pie plate for $3! If you're one of my cooking enthusiast friends, you probably know how amazing that is ($50 on Le Creuset's website... what?!).

But on to the main event. Like I said, we were looking for a full-sized headboard but ended up with a couple $5.00 chairs and some $1 planks of wood instead. Here's what the haul looked like when I got home (never mind the ever-present soccer stuff).

My plan was to turn these supplies into a bench for my kitchen. Total cost here: $15.

The chairs were $5 a piece and looked like it. However, the frames were a nice shape with the tapered front legs.

So I disassembled almost everything. I took the chair backs off and removed the seats. Then started playing around with what would work best as a bench base. Clamps are good to have in this situation.

This was version 3 I think. I liked the idea of following the curve of the chair frames and rounding the ends of the bench however, if anyone sat on one of the ends, then entire bench would flip over. Probably not a good idea when you know your children will use this as a stage/diving board/gymnastics apparatus at some point.

So this was the final configuration. I liked the tapered legs out to the sides and it was by far the most sturdy. Time to assemble.

First I spaced the top boards evenly using scraps of 1/4" plywood.

Then I clamped, glued, and nailed them together using another scrap of wood from the garage.

After that was dry, I removed all of the legs and added some wood glue to the joints to firm them up. They were a little wobbly.

Then I glued and nailed the bases to the top and trimmed off the ends with a circular saw so they were even.

After that, I sanded for. an. eternity. I'm pretty sure these boards were once bed slats and not intended for a finished furniture look. Anyway, I started with a rough grit and worked my way up to a 220 grit with my orbital sander. Then I sanded the legs mostly by hand and just to rough them up a bit since I knew they were going to be painted.

When staining furniture, my go-to is Minwax. Pre-stain works wonders for giving a smooth, even look and wax is 100% my favorite way of protecting whatever it is I just stained (I used wax when I refinished our bedroom dresser too). However, these wood finishing cloths totally did not work for the look I was going for this time. They are kind of like wet wipes soaked in stain, which is convenient and all, but it ended up going on way too thick and red. Kind of like brownish-red paint. NOT the look I was going for. I resanded that section and went with a walnut liquid stain instead.

I took a pic of the pre-stain going on since I sometimes get questions about that. It really just makes the wood a little wet/oily so when the stain goes on it spreads really evenly. No blotches.

After the stain cloth debacle, I found myself quickly running for rags and sandpaper to correct the red/brown blobs that I had applied. Since I was wearing stain-covered gloves, there are no pictures of the actual staining process that worked. But here's the finished product! This was 2 coats of Minwax walnut stain wiped on with a rag then waxed with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax.

Once that dried (in about 2 minutes since it was 103 outside), I flipped the table over and primed the legs.

After a quick sand, they got several coats of white paint. I usually use exterior paint for furniture because I think it's more durable. But, whatever you have should work fine with the right primer/sanding.

And that's it. My new mid-century style bench has found a new home in our kitchen. By the way, that blue pillow is also from the Restore. It's still had the Homegoods tags on it and cost a whopping $4. :)

The tapered legs are what I hoped to show off with this bench and I think the crisp white helps do that.

And who knew bed slats could look so yummy.

Here's the before and after. I hope this gets you excited to hit the Restore and see what fun projects you can come up with for very little money. If you're local, and mention my blog at the Orlando Restore, you'll get 15% off your purchase too! (Open: Monday–Saturday, 9am–7pm and Sundays, noon–6pm)

And I wasn't alone in this DIY challenge. Two other talented Central Florida bloggers braved the heat and created their own Restore projects as well. Head over to see how Kerri at Shaken Together Life and Elizabeth at Within The Grove came up with their own refreshingly summery ideas. I love how we all had the same budgets and shopped at the same places and our projects are so different! They rocked it. Such creativity by all!


Style: Mixing Old and New

So a bit of backstory. WAY back in September when it looked like our move-in date was near, I contacted Rugs USA about teaming up for a post. They graciously agreed with a discounted rug and I couldn't wait to get my new living room together! Then life and the move happened and well, it took WAY longer to get my act and the house together than originally planned. But alas, we are here! We are moved in and somewhat settled and the living room is ready (mostly) for it's first official close-up... including my new (now 6 months old!) rug from Rugs USA. Come on in. I'll tell you about it. We have coffee and wine.
You know when you shop online for house stuff and they let you filter by style? Traditional, Modern, Transitional, Eclectic, yada yada. I never use those filters. I really never know what to click and honestly, I think my style is just in the "other" category. Like if it were multiple choice I'd be the sad, you-don't-fit-anywhere, default option. But it's cool.  I'm okay with that.

Sometimes I love farmhouse, country, traditional rooms and sometimes I love the saturated jewel tones of a bohemian style. I usually tend to shy sway from ultra modern but not always. I love classic lines and patterns but can be a sucker for a good trend too. I love, love, love form but am reasonably practical and realize sometimes function has to trump. My taste is really a hodgepodge, but for me, and our sometimes crazy, busy, dirty, chaotic house, hodgepodge works.

Our new living room is a total mix of everything. The couch was an epic $100 Craig's List deal that had me and my husband digging through a woman's garage to release it from the clutches of lawnmower parts and old bird cages (I checked for rodent poop... all clear). I'm fairly certain it's a traditional relic from the 1950's-ish (60's maybe?) and I bought it long before we moved. Granted, the color is not my favorite (my husband lovingly called it "pee-vomit"... so sweet) but reupholstering seems silly to me at the moment since the current upholstery is is really great shape. I'll just wait for the kids to spill something unforgiving, then we'll discuss options.

I topped it off with a collection of store-bought and DIY pillows that tie the incredibly desirable couch color into the brand new rug. I think this rug was under "Geometic" on RugsUSA.com so I'm not really sure what style category you'd lump that into. I might venture to say it's a little trendy with the bold lattice pattern but I love how that modernizes my totally old-lady couch. See what I mean!? All over the map.

The drapes are from halfpricedrapes.com via Amazon and honestly are great quality for the money (I already have a different pair in my cart for the guest room). I searched long and hard to find 6 panels in a super long length, that would jive with the rug and couch, and didn't require me to take out a loan. I love how the pattern of the drapes is sort of a traditional play on the trendy lattice pattern of the rug. I don't believe Rugs USA is selling this specific rug anymore but I found a few close matches here, here, and here if ya wanna peek.

The lamp was a DIY project from years past when I teamed up with Habitat for Humanity and I'd call it modern with it's thin sleek legs and large drum shade. It's current spot is temporary as I have big DIY plans for the TV wall. Big plans I tell ya. And the Doberman keeping a watchful eye in the background was a Facebook group deal ;). 

The ottoman is pretty traditional with it's detailed tufting, however I think the nail heads and charcoal color bring it into 2016... plus the charcoal color totally camouflages dirty footprints which really was my motivating factor on the color choice. The chair is a fairly new purchase topped off with a totally trendy chevron throw. Again, probably temporary in this spot until I get the TV wall underway. And, let's be honest... only for this picture was part of my milk glass collection on display for a vintage touch. Those suckers went right back in the cabinet before the kids returned from school. #reallife

The good part about being a little behind schedule on the "settling in" is that I can tell you how the rug is holding up 6 months in... lemons > lemonade: bam. So here's the play by play. Right after we put the rug down I LOVED it. Totally warmed up the space, great color, great thickness, great size. A couple weeks in and blue tumbleweeds had taken over my house! This puppy shed quite a bit there for a while. Turns out, I had a really crappy vacuum also.  haha. Sooo, we just recently got a macdaddy vacuum and a couple canisters of blue fuzz later, this puppy is back in action. It's been spilled on and the dog may or may not have done some bad things on it and you can't even tell! Seriously hard-working rug. I liked my experience with Rugs USA so much that after I got this rug, I purchased another for our office.

While this room is still quite the work in progress, the rug is my jumping off point and I lourvvve it. This is the Beaumont Distressed Adileh Rug in green and it's amazing. It's so soft on your feet... almost like velvet, and the colors are exactly what I was hoping for. Also, it's very low pile so a regular office chair with wheels rolls around with no problems. I may or my not have switched out a more attractive dining room chair for this pic. :) Not to mention shipping was free and it was delivered to my door in days. Also, that desk was $60 on Craig's List. (*Pats self on back) Now for the rest of the room... 

Even though the color is technically "green" online, it's really more of a mix of teals and blues. 

So there you have it.  The first official blog post look at While They Snooze House and all the goodies I've been collecting to fill it with. I've already got a post started on our lighting choices and a few DIY projects in process. Stay tuned!


Laundry Room Gallery Wall - Part 1

Today’s the big day!! It's time for the latest edition of #SwapItLikeItsHot. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, #SwapItLikeItsHot is where a bunch of bloggers (more than 35 of us this time) all go out to a thrift store in their area and spend $10 or less. Then, we MAIL what we find to another blogger who is challenged with repurposing or making over whatever they get.  This entire week all of those bloggers have been showing off their reimagined masterpieces (links to all the the bottom!) and today the last five are up including...

This year my "junk" came from Evey from Evey's Creations. When it arrived my kids thought it was an Amazon surprise for them. Nope, sorry kids. Just junk for Mama. :)

My package contained two things. A small oval wood plate and six matching floral prints. I think.

These lovely floral prints are printed on a type of board, are backed with green felt, and are quite heavy. I think they might have something to do with placemats? I really have no idea. However, I do know that I actually really like them and want to use them just as they are in my daughter's room! Shhhh... don't tell anyone. I'm supposed to reimagine these but I don't want to destroy them. So until I figure out what that means.... on to the wood plate.

Ah, here it is. My first plan was to make this into a small tray using leftover cabinet hardware I had laying around.

So I began by sanding the entire thing.

Then I drilled some holes where the hardware should go and promptly after the holes were made I changed my mind. :)

You see, I've always loved the look of hand-painted old farm-ish signs and decided I really needed one of those more than I needed a tray. And, like I said, I decided that after I drilled the holes. Genius really.

So I painted the whole thing a bright teal and traced the outline of Florida on top avoiding the new holes which add character. Yeah, that's it.

Then I filled that in with black craft paint and added a white heart in the general area of where we live. And since I already had 4 holes just hanging out, I decided to string some ribbon through two of them for hanging.

Tah-dah. Then, I was like... where can I hang this? I know, the laundry room! It's quite ugly in there at the moment.

See what I mean?  Since day 1 I have been planning some sort of hinged panel to cover the breaker box and thought my new sign would be right at home in here.

So I ran around the house and collected things to hang on the wall with my new sign that would make me a less grumpy Mama while doing laundry.

They include... baby shoes (My kids are 8 and 6 and I'm still hanging on... it's cool. They're adorable. I can't get rid of them), a couple photos, a small vintage plate, a J for Jamey (the hubs), and an arrow I got at Hobby Lobby a while back but never found a place for. Then I arranged everything out on the floor and took pictures of my feet.

After that, I promptly Photoshopped my laundry room because I'm not quite ready to tackle an entire room renovation at the moment (slow it down, Sarah). It was only supposed to be a plate! You see what DIY does to you. It's a snow ball I tell ya. :) That's why this post is titled "Part 1". Part 2 will be when I actually paint that wall and hang everything.

But for now I have a plan and a really cute new sign to add to my 'gallery de laundry' when that day comes. I might even clean up that paint tray! Maybe. Now go swing by The Charming Farmer and see what magic Meagan created with the crap I sent her. Please head over to the other awesome bloggers that played along this time and see what kind of creativity they unleashed. 






{Series Part 6} How to Build a House: Interior Beginnings

Heya! Remember me? I'm Sarah. I'm building a house and trying to tell you about it. Spoiler alert, I already built the house and am living in it. Like my bed, and dishes, and toilet paper are all there. For real. And if you follow along with me at all on Intagram or Facebook you knew that because I'm way better about posting a quick pic there than I am about typing out a post. But I'm here today to update my building story in an official real-deal blog post. Yay!

Last we left off we were just finishing up the exterior and now we're going inside. Feel free to grab a snack or take a pee break for a sec.... it's going to take me a minute or 20 to scroll back a thousand pictures or so to find some visual aids. :)

Ah here we are. March 2014. A giant cement shell.

So, I covered the cinderblocks a bit in the exterior post but they kind of count for the interior too. The day they went up I actually got to walk—through the mud, Big Gulp cups, and swearing burly men— into my house. They say building a house is like a roller coaster with its ups and downs. This was an up day for sure (or maybe down? That's the fun part of a roller coaster isn't it? Weird.). Lots of progress in a very short amount of time (such a rarity in house building!) and really fun to experience.

Soon after the cement/block guys left, the framing guys came in along with a ridiculous amount of wood. There were just piles and piles of it in the yard under tarps. (And small piles accumulating in my neighbors' yard. Ahem. But that's a story for another day.)

They began by mapping out all the interior walls on the floor and adding firing strips to all of the exterior walls so the drywall had something to attach to. It kind of reminded me of a really bad maze at a paintball park or something.

And then they continued to frame for what seemed like 12 years.

I must have made 5 or 6 early morning before work trips to the house to meet framers who had questions for me. There were several things on the plans that the architect added that I either don't remember adding or just wasn't aware of.  Like columns down the hallways ala Grecian temple or something. No thanks. Framer guys called that out and were like, "Do you really want this?". They even knew it was weird. Good call nail gun guy. Good call.

I also lengthened a kitchen wall and adjusted some things in the dining room and master bath. That translates to me walking around a construction site in work clothes at 7am with a man holding 2x4's in various locations and asking, "Here?", "How about here?". And then me flying to work while eating breakfast in the car and trying not to spill Cheerios down that crack between the seat and console.

Once all of the wood was up (seriously, FOR-EV-ER) they treated it for termites and the electrical, plumbing, ductwork, and insulation went in. The green stuff is the termite treatment.

Our fireplace also arrived.

And a giant truck showed up to dig our well.

Then the exterior doors began to arrive. By "then", I mean like weeks later. Seriously, no one is in a rush to build a house. It was important for the doors to arrive because we couldn't instal drywall with giant gaping holes in the house.

This is the front door. I hated the front door when I saw it. I couldn't believe our builder just ordered a door without asking me. He argued that this was the door drawn on the plan. It was, however, I just assumed that was a placeholder door and I would get to choose the actual door I wanted when it came time. Turns out you can't return custom doors either. After a bit of arguing I basically caved for the sake of time and they installed this door.  It's growing on me, but certainly not what I would have chosen. Lesson learned... Don't assume anything!

And finally! The drywall arrived! It was like Christmas I tell ya. Like a dirty, dusty white Christmas.

And after they drywall guys finished and cleaned up it was even better. It actually felt like a real house. A real hot real house. Florida in the summer with no AC isn't friendly. In fact it's real sticky. Real sticky... and sweaty.

Once drywall was complete, tile was next. We chose to only do tile in the bathrooms. I shared a few Instagram shots along the way as we were choosing including this one. That dark option on the bottom left didn't make the cut but the other two did. Standard subway for shower walls and marble-look for bathroom floors.

Instead of the dark option, I went with a marble hex tile I found on Amazon of all places and I'm so glad I did! The tile guy just wasn't seeing my vision so I took matters into my own hands and Amazon primed that stuff. :) It was cheaper than home improvement stores and the color was much nicer. I know, because I tried to buy a couple pieces locally when I thought we might not have enough and they looked yellow in comparison to the Amazon variety. I returned them.

We used this on my shower floor.

And in a boarder around the shower along with subway tile and a half round marble boarder I bought at Home Depot.

The tile went relatively fast compared to some of the other steps in construction. So I'm going to leave up there for now on a high note.  Next post will be the rest of the finishes and then finally getting into some fixtures and pretty stuff. The bonus of having me write these posts months later is that I can already tell you how everything is holding up! ha.  Stay tuned.