From Thomasville Dresser to Dining Room Bar Cabinet

Remember when I told you that painting a vintage mid-century dresser was on my DIY bucket list? I love how that first project turned out. And then! When I was moving and definitely should not have been accumulating more stuff, I found something I couldn’t resist: a Thomasville faux bamboo bedroom set for free on Craigslist! This included a twin bed frame and a little desk and dresser. The desk had a bookcase hutch, which I put on top of the dresser to make a hutch/ bar for our dining room.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rags
  • gloves
  • TSP or other deglossing solution
  • Sandpaper – fine grit
  • Bonding primer designed for slick surfaces
  • Amy Howard Spray Lacquer. I previously used this to lacquer a small entry cabinet, and I’m really impressed with how it looks and holds up
  • As needed, new hardware or metallic spray paint for your old hardware
  • If you need new holes for your hardware, some filler material for the old holes
  • Wallpaper for the back of your hutch. This Cherry Blossom Peel and Stick wallpaper had everything I wanted – a pretty design that was subtle enough to not be too busy when the shelves were filled, and a little bit of sheen.
  • Hardware to attach the hutch and anti-tip hardware, especially if you live in earthquake country, like we do

Here’s how to do it:

  • Clean off dirt and dust
  • Remove hardware
  • If you are changing hardware, fill in the old holes and drill the new ones
  • Sand the surface lightly with fine grit sandpaper
  • Wipe with surface with deglosser such as Gloss-off or TSP
  • Apply the primer and let it dry thoroughly overnight
  • Sand lightly with 400 grit sandpaper and wipe off dust with a lint-free rag
  • Apply the spray lacquer – Amy Howard has some videos on YouTube with details on how to use this product. Overall, I really like it, but it is a bit finicky. Luckily, the little imperfections aren’t noticeable now that it is inside and decorated.
  • I let the lacquer cure for a week in the garage, and then I applied the wallpaper to the back of the bookcase
  • The last steps were to put the hardware back on, secure the hutch to the dresser and add anti-tip hardware to the top of the whole thing
Here are the cool details from the back of my dresser – it is 55 years young!
Before and after!

This new dining room bar is the perfect place to display our collection of vintage bar glasses. I collected them back when we threw a Mad Men party, and I still love them all!

The days off for New Year’s allowed me to finish this project, so of course, I decorated for our at-home countdown to the New Year!

There is still the bed frame, a little corner desk, and some mirrors that came with the bedroom set. It was a silly indulgence to bring them all home, but I still hope to find a home for them some day somewhere!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Mid-Century Dresser Makeover – How to Paint Laminate Furniture

Do you have a DIY bucket list? Finding a vintage dresser with mid-century details has been on my list for years, and finally, the perfect project came along! It started when I was browsing NextDoor and came across a dark … Continue reading

Anthropologie-Inspired Vintage Mirror Makeover

This project combines so many of my favorite things: vintage furniture (I have an extra weakness for chairs and mirrors), DIY, and Anthropologie! I’ll link to some of my other favorite mirror projects at the bottom of this post! I … Continue reading

My Sunroom Home Office – with a Fabulous Vintage Find!

This post is brought to you by this weekend’s fabulous vintage find! If you know me, you know I love finding vintage furniture – it’s even better if it’s mid-century bamboo or rattan – and it’s best if it’s free! … Continue reading

DIY Felt Pennants – Travel Themes

About once a year, my friend Ariana (of Act 2 Decor) and I get up early go to the Alameda Point Antiques Fair to browse and look for treasures.

I’ve been working hard to clean out the house this year, so I kept my shopping restrained, but I was looking for a vintage felt pennant to finish up a new gallery wall in JJ’s room. I found the perfect piece, and it was definitely meant to be, because it was sold by the family of a former coworker!

When I got home, I was inspired to make some more pennants of my own. I made one for my home town, Toronto, and one for my sister-in-law’s family in New Jersey.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Felt for pennant, lettering, and trim
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Paper for templates
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

Here’s how to do it:

Create a template for your pennant – mine is on two sheets of scrap printer paper. It is 7.5″ high x 21″ long.

Cut out the pennant from a large piece of felt

I sketched the images freehand in reverse on the paper side of the Heat ‘n Bond

For the script lettering, create a word processing document, print out the words, and trace them in reverse onto the paper side of the Heat ‘n Bond

Choose your felt colors for the letters and design and fuse Heat ‘n Bond to one side

Cut out your letters and designs

Arrange on the pennant and iron in place

Cut strips of felt for the binding (optional) and ties and sew in place

Here are my finished pennants. I should make one for San Francisco next!

Here’s a picture together with my vintage find:

And here’s how JJ’s new gallery wall came together!

I had so much fun! What city do you want to celebrate and what image would you use?

Julie aka “Jewels”

Sunroom Funroom!

When we moved into our house, the small enclosed balcony became a place for LEGO, board games, and other toys. Now that the boys are older, I’m excited to reclaim this room as a more grown-up space for reading, lounging,… maybe even napping!

At 5’x15′, there is not much space in here, which made this a quick project! The key elements I wanted to include were:

  • Comfortable seating with plush cushions
  • Side table for books and drinks
  • Plants to bring the outside in
  • Throw blankets to snuggle in all seasons

The look I wanted to achieve included:

  • White paint
  • Light-colored fabrics
  • Natural materials, like rattan and bamboo
  • My signature blue-and-white decor

Here are some pictures of how it has all come together. I did buy this daybed quilt set, but otherwise, everything in the room we already had in our house!

I love this ceramic garden stool, but I have been looking for the right spot for it – what could be better than this indoor-outdoor room?!

This bookcase was my grandmother’s. I repainted it about 20 years ago and added the caning (post coming soon) for this space, to create a tropical feel.

We’ve had this round mirror for a while, and it’s a bit small for where it was hanging before, but it works perfectly here. The walls in this room are crazy hard to drill into (which makes sense, because they are actually exterior walls), so I braided some rope from my macrame days and hung it from a hook in one of the ceiling beams. I like how it adds to the outdoorsy, bohemiam vibe in here!

This room is a win-win with the plants – they love all the light, and they definitely help make me feel like I’m outside in nature!

This daybed is a magnet for people who love to snuggle!

Finn would also like to snuggle on the daybed. This is his mildly dissatisfied face, because he had to stay on the rug…

Last couple of close-ups of this vignette. I love how everything old feels new again, when you find just the right combination!

So excited to read, and snuggle, and knit, (and nap) in our new sunroom!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Recipe Tea Towels

If you’re already familiar with Spoonflower, then you know how amazing their site is. If you haven’t been introduced to them yet, be prepared to be completely addicted! They can custom print anything on fabric, and you can design your … Continue reading

Some Things Never Get Old – Vintage Superhero Wall Art 

Superheroes have been capturing our imagination for decades, and the recent revival of superhero movies shows they are truly timeless. And since everything else with kids changes way too fast, superheroes make a great and enduring theme for their decor. I really enjoyed making these art projects for our kids and our friends’ boys.

My materials for the vintage superhero art were:

The calendar pages look great framed on their own. For our friends’ boys, I made these framed initials:

Looking for more superhero ideas? You may remember the covered mirrors and pencil tins I made a while back!

To infinity and beyond,

“Jewels”

Dining Room Rugs for Families – Form Meets Function

I’ve mentioned before that we use our formal dining room for most of our meals. This was a tradition my mother started when my sister and I lived at home, and I enjoy continuing it with our family.

I’ve posted about durable tablecloths and table runners to give your dining room a more formal look while still holding up to the kids. Recently, I have been debating about adding a dining room rug. I never even entertained (ha) this idea until the last few months, now that the kids are older and (a little) less messy. I really wanted the finished look of a rug, but I need to keep things practical as well.

I’m going to share my inspiration rooms, our current space, and the rugs I’m considering. There are literally thousands of options out there, and I’ve narrowed them down to my favorites.

First, here’s how our dining room looks now, without the rug.

So, you know I have a design crush on Amber Interiors. These are a couple of my favorite dining rooms designed by Amber Lewis and her team.

img_4895

The vintage rugs in these rooms feel accessible, because the complex patterns will hide small stains. This set me on a hunt for a vintage-style Persian rug for our dining space. While part of me would love to find a gorgeous high-quality wool rug, I am just too chicken – or too smart? – to put a few thousand dollars under my table for my kids to drop food on and my dog to lick… so, at least for now, I decided to look for an inexpensive synthetic rug that won’t make me cry every time something falls on it.

Here is my short list of rugs. My color scheme is greys and blues, and I was looking for something that had pattern but was still muted enough to feel neutral.

Rug collage

1 Unique Loom Rockwell Berkshire Area Rug

2 Safavieh Evoke Vintage Oriental Silver/ Ivory Distressed Rug

3 Freetown Distressed Vintage Inspired Gray/Ivory Rug

4 Willoby Vintage Oriental Charcoal Area Rug

5 Benson Bone Area Rug

And I have more rug ideas and inspiration rooms on my Pinterest board.

So, what do you think? Here’s another picture of the room currently. Our mantel is pretty busy, so I don’t want to add more busy-ness to the room, but I think it would really define the space and also show off the base of the table, which is a lovely Craftsman design.

I haven’t made a final decision yet, and I like all these rugs so much, that I might by more than one and put it in the living room or upstairs hallway…

So, whadya think?

“Jewels”