Archives for category: DIY

My latest before and after project was salvaging this old, dilapidated Victrola.  It was really in rough shape – deep cracks, missing a door, broken hinges. But, the label on the bottom said it was made in 1924, so I could not resist trying to salvage it!

victrola before


Step one was cleaning the entire piece (it had many, many years of “I’ve been sitting in a garage” grime).

My good carpenter friend helped make a new right door and found a vintage hinge online that would fit.  Once the new door was in place, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to just sand a restain it – the cracks on the body of the piece were too deep, and I wouldn’t be able to easily color match a new door.  So, I opted for paint and moved forward with priming the piece. I chose a gorgeous gray paint and accented with bronze metallic paint (from Martha Stewart’s line at Home Depot). Added new hardware, reconnected the crank, and voila! A gorgeous record cabinet!  Plus, as a bonus, the turntable actually still works. I imagine some industrious person could find a new needle and actually make it play.  Currently, I am selling this piece for $375. More information at

photo 1_editIMG_5779_edit IMG_5781_edit IMG_5783_edit IMG_5785_edit IMG_5787_edit  photo 2_edit



So, we’ve worked hard this week and added the cabinet doors AND took up all the Ram Board so we can finally see the gorgeous floors!! (FREAK OUT!)


Are you just dying? I’m dying. And, let me show you a little secret on the other side of the cabinet: a built-in wine rack.  This was just a spur of the moment decision – we had a skinny opening that we were planning to just close off and not use for any purpose at all. And, well, that sort of waste of space just does not fly in a small older house like mine! So, I went into my closet and grabbed an empty bottle of wine (I’m not a wino who has empty wine bottles everywhere, I promise. I just use wine bottles to stuff my tall boots so they don’t fall over in the closet).  The empty cupboard was the perfect size for a wine cabinet – truly meant to be.  What do you think? Adorable, right?


Next post I will show you the new counter tops –  We are getting there!

We ended up having to totally restructure the fireplace, which was sad but has led to two good developments in the project:

1) We are going to repurpose the old mantel and use it as a decorative piece on the front porch – so excited.

2) We are going to use an unfinished-edge piece of vintage lumber as the new mantel!!

We started thinking about the possibility of using a vintage piece last week, and my brilliant mother knew exactly where to go: Woodstock Vintage Lumber. After wandering through the yard without any pieces really speaking to us, the owner Brent got a funny look on his face and disappeared. He then came back with the most unbelievably gorgeous piece of Tennessee Red Cedar. It was the perfect size, shape and color for the mantel! Here is what it looked like before sanding and planing:


It was love at first sight, so we purchased the piece. Billy, one of the Vintage Lumber geniuses, took the piece and planed one side so it would fit against the wall and sanded the whole thing. Here he is showing off his handywork:

And a closer look at the finished mantel:


And my cute mom (who hid from the camera), holding the piece over the unfinished fireplace:


So thrilled about this find!!

Oh, you guys, it is happening. Today was demolition day in my kitchen!  You can see in the before pictures, it wasn’t a bad kitchen. But we really wanted the island to be an actual island rather than a peninsula, and I’m dying to have two-tone cabinets. So all of this had to go:

ImageImagephoto 4

And after demolition today…

ImageImageImagephoto 1

Look at those stunning vintage tiles we found beneath the old fireplace hearth!  Not sure if we can salvage them yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

I recently acquired an antique brass lamp, and it is in great condition and a beautiful shape. But, I wasn’t really feeling the brass finish. A little too brassy, pun intented (feel free to roll your eyes). But, in only an hour, I was able to give the lamp a great, oil-rubbed bronze look that I LOVE.  Here’s how:


Step 1: Gather your supplies. For this project I used Minwax Color Express in Walnut. This is a great, easy-to-use stain that adheres to all kinds of surfaces. I used a small plate as a palette and applied the stain using a small paintbrush.  I then used a stencil brush to get the faux-antiqued look.


Step 2: Messily apply one coat of the stain with a brush. It doesn’t have to be perfect because we are going to use the stencil brush to get the finish we want.  I did this step and the next step one section at a time so that the stain wouldn’t dry before I had a chance to use the stencil brush.


Step 3:  Using the stiff stencil brush, pat the stain to remove brush strokes and get that antiqued look. This step felt to me like I was a pointillist artist going to town on a canvas. The nice thing about this step is that you can’t really mess it up – if you accidentally rub off some stain or get a thumb print, just dot over that section again with the stencil brush.


Step 4: Let it dry and you’re done! Super easy project. This lamp took less than an hour to complete. You can use the same process for antiquing cabinet hardware or even an old mirror.

I’m selling this lamp on Etsy – Go check it out!

Flipping a house is a challenging, exciting, and potentially very lucrative undertaking. I recently completed a big renovation on my current home, and I am looking for a new property to flip. I will be taking on this project with my fearless mother, designer and project manager extraordinaire. She has a lot of experience in real estate and really KNOWS the market and what will work and what won’t. She’s also amazingly accurate in her budget estimations – I’m pretty sure that is a skill that can only be acquired with time. But, no matter if you are looking for your first house to flip or your fiftieth, there are a few lessons my mom has taught me that are crucial when choosing the right property:

1. Structure – The very first thing you will want to know is: How structurally sound is the house?  Major repairs to the foundation or adjustments to the load-bearing walls require a structural engineer and are very expensive.  For example, we have looked at a house that was a great vintage, and that we thought had lots of potential until we found out it had been hit by a tree several and the foundation was cracked entirely in half. The repairs were only cosmetic and it would have taken a lot of money to truly fix that house. Enough money that flipping the house wouldn’t have made any profit. Pass!

2. Footprint – The next thing to take note of is the overall footprint of the house. How big is it? Can you add square footage without majorly changing the footprint?  Building up into an attic or finishing a basement can be a lot more cost-effective than a massive addition, which totally changes the house’s footprint.

3. Roof – Not only do you want to look at how old the roof is to see if it will need to be replaced, but also note how high the pitch of the roof is. My current home was a one-story, 1400 sq. ft. house when we bought it. But, the pitch of the roof was extremely tall – in fact, the tallest point of the attic was about 19 feet!!  So, we were able to build up into the attic and add about 900 sq. ft. – two bedrooms and two full bathrooms!

4. Neighborhood – This is one of the more obvious things to consider when buying a house. Particularly a house you plan to flip. Generally these houses will be in up-and-coming neighborhoods where real estate is still affordable enough to make the flip worthwhile. But, in these types of neighborhoods, you have to be very careful that 1) Your renovation does not price you out of the neighborhood. If you buy a house for say, $50k and then spend anywhere between $50-100k to renovate, then you need to make sure that similar houses in the area are selling for more than what you put into it. That seems like a “Duh” statement, but it is always so tempting to see a diamond-in-the-rough and think that the buyers will see it the way you do when you complete the renovation. But, even if it’s the most gorgeous house in the world, a buyer won’t want to have the most expensive house on the block.

Hope you find these helpful!!  Any other tips you would add?

Found these LOP (lots-o-potential) chairs at a yard sale recently, and I was so glad to have the long weekend to fix them up!


The first step was to clean the spider webs that had infiltrated the chairs, then I did a quick vacuum and OxyClean of the upholstery.  It was actually in great shape, it just had a couple of small stains that came out quite easily.

I then sanded down the varnish and prepped the chairs for painting by taping off the upholstery sections. I don’t always use painter’s tape, but when it comes to upholstery, I take no chances. An ill-timed sneeze could ruin everything.

I then painted the chairs using Annie Sloan’s Old White – two coats. I only did one coat on the cane side panels because I sort of loved the shabby chic look that gave. After the paint had dried, I sanded corners and edges for an even more cottage-shabby look, sealed the paint with clear wax and that was it!! So thrilled with how they turned out:



To purchase these or see more of my pieces – visit!


Before…plain side table – gorgeous shape.

Found this great little side table on Craigslist in truly perfect condition…solid wood, sturdy. I love the shape of the piece, but I was not a huge fan of the faux leather top and honey oak color.




But, I had some Annie Sloan chalk paint left over from an older project – a can of French Linen and a can of Graphite…


Ta-da! Two tone table.

side table

I kept the two-tone top, used graphite for the center section. Please ignore the pug.

side table1

I also used the Graphite to fill in the grooves and highlight the details.

This piece, along with some of my other work is available via my Facebook page:

After some strategic yard-sale-ing last weekend, I found myself in possession of three vintage farm chairs. They were each in fairly good shape, just in need of some glued joints and a coat of paint. I have always wanted a mismatched chair set painted all in one color, and this was my chance! I chose a very pale mint green for the chairs, and I think they turned out beautifully!  Here is a step-by-step how-to on painting these vintage chairs:


First chair, before.


Second chair, before.


Chairs Before.

Third chair, half-primed.

Step 1: Assess the structure of each chair and glue joints with wood glue when needed. Each chair needed a little bit of glue on the legs, and the second chair needed some wood-filler on the seat. You could also glue any gaps together and clamp the entire chair, but I decided to go the wood filler route since it would be faster, and I am impatient.

Fill in gaps with wood filler.

Fill in gaps with wood filler.

Step 2: Sand and prime. I always do a light sanding before and after primer. My favorite primer to use is Glidden Gripper because a) you can get it at the Home Depot around the corner from my house and 2) it seems to stick to everything. And when I say everything, I really do mean everything. Case in point: I primed these chairs a few DAYS ago, and just YESTERDAY when I went to get my hair cut, my stylist starts looking through my hair and asks “Have you been painting?” because there was STILL PRIMER STUCK IN MY HAIR. Days later! After multiple showers and hair-washes. I promise I am hygienic. Gripper just sticks. to. everything. forever.

Step 3: Paint!  I painted with a latex mint paint (also Glidden, also from Home Depot). I had the color mixed specially from a sample I brought in. Two coats should do the trick, if you have primed.


First chair drying.


Two chairs drying.

Two chairs drying. And a pug butt.

Voila! Three mint chairs!

Voila! Three mint chairs!

Would love to know your thoughts! And, I’m now in the market for a fourth chair to paint to complete this set…send me any leads you can find!

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were walking down the street to go to a party. We hadn’t even made it a full block when we came across a coffee table on the sidewalk wearing a ‘Take me, I’m free!’ sign. It was in pretty good shape, and my boyfriend was already in position to lift the table when I looked at him to ask if he would mind if we took it home.  Needless to say, we arrived about 15 minutes later to the party than we intended that night.

Here is the table as we got it: solid wood, subtle filigree along the edges. Sort of boring.


I decided the table needed a slight lift, so I opted for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in “Old White.”  I painted the filigree by hand and then painted the entire top of the table and sides. After it was painted, I sanded the edges and spots on the top to give it a rustic look before finishing the table with clear wax. I am very pleased with the results!