Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Sneak Peak

I bet you think I'm going to reveal a sneak peak of what the store is looking like these days, in its state of near readiness. But, no. I have another sneak peak of a project that isn't finished yet! I just love how it is turning out that I couldn't wait to share some pictures of what I've been working on over the past few days. Remember this:

I wrote about this great french style dining room set that I snagged up a few weeks ago and had mixed feelings about whether to paint it or re-stain it. I asked for some opinions and comments and the response was an overwhelming..."you can't paint that." But, who are we kidding. I paint everything. So, I opted for a compromise on the paint/stain issue and decided to do both. To complete this daunting task, first I started by purchasing a brand new paint sprayer. For a project this big, I figured I could cut my paint time by 75% if I could spray each piece rather than brush paint it. But, to keep that brush painted look, I had a plan (more to come on that matter).

Next, sanding. I did something very risky to soften the varnish and prep the set for sanding. I think everyone knows that weather has adverse affects on wood. If wood gets wet, it absorbs the water and becomes warped. A problem which can never be repaired (if you know of way to repair warped wood, please tell me because I have yet to find a suitable solution). If wood is exposed to extreme heat, it becomes extremely dry and cracks. A problem that can sometimes be repaired but never looks the same. Here, in beatuful So. Cal, it has been hot during the day, but still a little damp at night. So, I crossed my fingers and left the set outside for 2 weeks. YIKES! Scary, right? I was hoping that the daytime heat (like 85-90 degrees) would cause the varnish and stain to dry out and start chipping while the nightime moisture would keep it from cracking. There wasn't enough moisture to cause any warping so I wasn't too concerned about that happening. And, with careful monitoring, the varnish on the china cabinet and hutch began chipping away, leaving the sanding job a piece of cake. It only took me 45 minutes to sand the top of the china cabinet and hutch.

Hardware removal came next and took about as much time as the sanding. What, with seven drawers, six doors and six chairs, there were a total of 201 screws to remove.

Then, on to the paint spraying. Since this was my first big scale spray painting job (and not with the cans of spray paint but an actual paint sprayer), I want to share some tips and tricks to making the job a little easier. 

1.    Do make sure you have plenty of space to spread out and work. In my case, I had to take it to my front yard.

2.    Don’t worry about what the neighbors think of all the noise and mess.

3.    Do cover your grass or surface with a blanket, sheet or canvas so you don’t leave spray marks all over the place.

4.    Don’t cover it with an old Little Mermaid sheet otherwise you will hear your one year old saying, “look mommy, Ariel…look mommy, Ariel…look mommy, Ariel…look mommy, Ariel…look mommy, Ariel.” Yes, over and over and over again.

5.    Finally, do wear latex gloves, otherwise this will happen,

6.    Don’t wear your wedding ring…oopsies. Looks like a trip to the jeweler is in my future.

After two days of hard work, this is a sneak peak at one of the doors on the china cabinet, which is nearly complete.

I know it doesn't show much, and I can't wait for the final reveal. Which, unfortunately won't be in the store on grand opening. I just don't have enough space to set up a full dining room set. So, you'll have to come back on a Friday when all of the new furniture will be set up as more space becomes available. In the meantime, I will certainly share pictures of the final piece when it's all done. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Head Injury, Busted Lip and Two Stitches

This week has proven that you can patch up, repair and make over children just as well as furniture. The cost, however is far more expensive, just as time consuming and way less fun! Not only did we get to visit the ER once, but we got to visit the ER twice. And, in less than 24 hours for two entirely different reasons-all linking back to prepping the new store for its grand opening. 

ER Trip #1-Wednesday. A 3 foot fall off of the U-Haul truck ramp where head meets cement. Not cool.

ER Trip #2-Thursday. A fall off of one of the chairs in the store caused a split lip and two stitches. 

Even in the midst of the drama and medical issues of the week, I got a heck of a lot done! The floors are finished, the walls painted, the ceiling tiles decorated (thank heavens...that was a horrible project), all of the furniture and accessories moved in and sorted, and the knot too shabby infommercial running around the clock outside of the store window...phew! I'm suddenly very tired thinking back on all of that. 

I also managed one furniture re-do for the week!

Not too bad, right? This was a really cute frenchy style dresser or hutch set in a nice shade of blue. A little dirty...a little dinged up but otherwise an easy project. And I knew exactly how I wanted to change out the hardware to give it way more style!

Remember these? One of the four handles on this dresser was broken so I had to replace them, knowing that eventually I'd be able to re-use them for another project. I seldom find furniture pieces that have three drawers, so I was ecstatic to be able to re-use all three for a single piece. 

Unfortunately, they weren't the right size for the existing holes so I had to fill the old ones and drill new holes. 

The existing paint was in overall good shape, just needed some touching up. I just so happened to have a left over can of slate blue spray paint that would help clean this piece up nicely. So one quick coat gave it a fresh, clean look. I sanded the entire piece with super fine (220) sand paper to bring some of the original blue out and soften the spray paint look, making it look more like it was brush painted (Typically, I only use spray paint on detailed chairs that would be impossible to brush paint because it covers the wood grain and takes away a lot of the charm of painted furniture).

I spruced up the old handles to make them look new, and...

Ta Da! Staged and all!

Grand Opening of knot too shabby...less than two weeks away! The store is 90% house on the other hand...torn apart from using a lot of my personal items and furniture pieces to stage the store. So, this week I do some major make-overs on my own home! I'll share some of the results later!

Monday, June 20, 2011

To Paint or Not to Paint

I got this AMAZING dining room set this weekend. In fact, it is probably the nicest set of furniture I've ever come across yard saling. If I had a dining room of my own, I'm pretty sure I would keep it and not sell. But, alas I don't have a dining room so bring on the profit. Anyway, it's been sitting in my driveway since Saturday and I've received several comments on how beautiful it is from the neighbors. Except they cringe when I tell them I'm going to paint it. "You CAN'T paint that!" "It will lose it's value." To which I respond, "of course I'm going to paint it." But, now I can't decide. 

What do you think? Paint or Stain? Paint or Stain?

China cabinet with french flair
Matching hutch-the wood decoration on the glass can't be painted
Matching table comes with six chairs and two leaves

So, what's the verdict? Help me decide! 

A bit on the store front, this is the last picture I am sharing until the Grand Opening on Friday, July 8th! 

Kids have more fun playing in an empty store than a room full of toys

The floor got cleaned today and tomorrow it is getting painted! And, after three hours of labor, I have 15 ceiling tiles decorated. So far, I am liking the result. Can't wait to unveil the transformation. In the meantime, I made a short infommercial. It's a little bit of flavor of what is to come! 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ceiling Sadness

I hate the ceiling in the new store! I know it's just a ceiling, but I can't shake the blah-ness of it in it's current state.

Looks like a hospital ceiling, right? So, some of my ideas to remedy this problem are:

1. Dry wall over the ceiling. Best option...errrrr...horrendously expensive. Not gonna work.
2. Get rid of the ceiling all together adding height to the walls and painting all of the conduit and ducting black. Better option and much less expensive, but the landlord didn't go for that idea.
3. New ceiling tiles with decorative design. Easy option but at over $10 per tile + shipping it is even more expensive than new drywall.
4. Decorate the existing tiles so that they look less bland and more...well, decorated. So, that is what I'm doing. At a cost of about $75, I am going to remove the individual tiles and add some pizazz. I can't wait to see how it looks and how it changes the overall appearance of the store. Cross your fingers that it works well!

An Antique Re-do

I loved the uniqueness of this antique telephone table, but it was in a bit of disrepair. The wood on the seat backing was falling to pieces and the legs of the seat were wobbly, a problem which I was never able to correct because the wood was so old that the screws wouldn't grab onto the wood and hold it together. The repair that I mustered up was merely cosmetic, so I was sure to let my buyer know that this better served as a decorative occasional seat. 

This was the result of my re-do:

New upholstery for the seat cushion, a fun and contemporary bright color, repair the seat back and glue/screw the legs into place so that they were less wobbly. Plus, a little bit of distressing.

More Before and Afters to come this week as I continue cranking out refurbished pieces and prep for the fun job of staging everything! Check back and let me know what you think of the additions to the site!!! 

Decorations Galore. This is all I have...I think I need some more.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Frozen in Time

If you have kids, you will be able to relate! They (meaning the kids) come home from school, church, play dates, friends houses, etc. bearing gifts of art and other hand made creations. They get thrown onto the refrigerator until there is no room left and then mom (maybe dad) throws them out (unless you are the hoarder sort and will keep them FOREVER to re-gift when the kids are like 30). The problem is, it is often times heart-wrenching to toss these keep sakes that symbolize this moment in time.

So, in the midst of the furniture chaos of my backyard and now front driveway, I decided to take a break from store prep and fix up a recent pick just for me. In fact, other than a few items in my house from before my "picking" days, I have very little of my own work. My goal with this particular piece was to capture a bit of my life right, etc...aka, "this moment in time." I have a lot of big things going on and I feel like time will fly by and (hopefully) in 3, 5, 10 years down the road I'll look back at my store and say..."I remember when this all (children) were so itty bitty."

I picked out an old desk from the pile that I wouldn't be able to sell because it was cracked down the middle. No big deal, though. It didn't really bother me.

Nothing special, but great functionality. I am going to need a place to stash office supplies and important receipts, accounting stuff, etc. I wasn't sure what color to go with, so I drew from one of my projects from earlier in the day. I repainted a side table with a home made paint mix this morning.

I needed to get my paint to match that enormous knob. Anyway, I had some of the aqua color left over, but not enough for any one project, so I decided to use the rest of the aqua with a little bit of sage green left over from a dresser I painted today. 

This was the result...

Yet, another shade of sea foam green. I like it well enough. I painted the entire exterior of the desk this color with barely enough paint. And, the icing on the cake...I had both my girls imprint their hands and feet on the top of the desk. 

The drawers, I painted white since I'm really into that two-tone look right now. I lightly distressed the drawers and added a heavier distressing to the desk. I decided to keep the original hardware, which I think add so much character.

Then, in the drawers, I modge-podged mementos of significant things going on right now. The store logo, pictures of the girls and eventually some added artwork from the kids. I like the idea that I won't see that every day amidst the junk that will be stored in the drawers, but every once in awhile, I'm gonna have to clean and organize. And when I do, I'll pause momentarily to remember. 

Geez...I'm feeling a bit sappy right now. Let me snap out of that. 

Here is a pic of what the store looks like today!

Fresh paint on the walls, baseboards painted and ready for installation and next on the list...the floor. Take a good look because the floor in the store is going to be a masterpiece! I can't wait for the transformation! ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's Fun to be Fancy

I can hardly believe it's been only a week since I took possession of my new storefront. And, what a busy week it has been. I have gotten rid 1100 sq. feet of green carpet (posted for free on craigslist), 20 feet of peg board and shelving (craigslist), window shades (craigslist) and other leftover "treasures." The walls are painted, the base board is painted but no yet installed, the floor is scheduled to be cleaned and painted and by this time next week I should have a fair amount of furniture moved in! In the meantime, I am on a roll with new purchases and projects. Like this one..

I loooove the handles. Too bad one of them is broken. This dresser was in great shape, just a bit boring. It is the perfect height and length to be used as a changing table for a nursery. So, I used that concept as my guide. But, I needed new hardware.

I used these handles. I know...UGLY! It's what I had that fit the existing holes, though. So, I was bound to make it work. 

I saw this dresser in pink...or, partially pink.

I primed the dresser with pink paint. I didn't want the entire piece to be pink...a bit much in my opinion. So, I opted for subtlety. 

Topped off the pink paint with a coat of white. But, I still had the problem of dealing with that ugly hardware.

Spray Paint. Not good enough though. Still ugly.

Fake flowers and left over swarovski rhinestones from my sisters wedding (I bejeweled my girls flower girl dresses for her wedding by hand! Each embroidered flower had a small crystal in the center that caught the light.)

Completely new hardware! I don't love it but it definitely works for this girly girl and fancy dresser. The flowers on the handles are hiding the screws holding it in place. 

Pink spray paint ties the new knobs in with the new handles.

Light distressing along the edges brings out the coat of pink paint that I used as primer. 

The Finished Product

Later this week, I am going to post some pictures of the store transformation along with a sketch of what it is going to look like on the inside. Imagine sipping fresh espresso on a french or tuscan terrace.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Excuse me sir, but how much is your hand?

Today, my hubby and I spent a glorious morning and afternoon at the monthly Pasadena Flea Market, one of my FAVORITE places to go (his, too...and if you don't believe me, just ask him)!

Normally, when I go swap meet shopping, it is with my dearest friend (and daughter's godmother), Dr. Sally, who left today for Virginia to change the world. :( However, Virginia has AWESOME antique shopping and I'm completely jealous that she will be living with minutes of the nations largest garage sale...some hundreds of miles up the east coast once a year (I've only heard about that but never actually been).

Anyway, I considered this to be a R&D trip. Browsing for inspiration, hot finds, pricing ideas and more specifically burlap, grain sacks, glass door knobs, rotary dial telephones, antique clocks, type writers, globes, linens, hardware...and anything else with a good price! At one of the booths, these hands caught my eye.

I'm not sure why, I just thought they were interesting. Sadly, when I asked the man if his hand was for sale, he said "no." 

One of my favorite booths had some great furniture, but I LOVED how everything was set up. I'm pretty sure I will be stealing this display idea. The table runner is burlap with lacey fringe (hence the burlap...though I hadn't thought to use it as a table linen), and I just the love the simplicity of the silver bowl with balls of twine. Topped off with some bird prints on top of an awesome two-toned coffee table that had heavy distressing. 

Another two-tone dresser. Evidently, variations of aquas and greens are the new shabby chic and I LOOOOVE it! I was all over those vintage clocks but didn't buy any today. Way toooo expensive.

So, the chandeliers are OK but I'm all over that lattice (not for sale). You'll definitely be seeing that in the store. I have a great idea to incorporate the distressed lattice! ;)

This was cool too...rusted wrought iron fencing with no apparant function. $75....WHAT!!!? Who would pay that much. I gotta get me some of this, though...for like, $5.

My favorite find of the day! This awesome dining room table made out of a door. For a mere $750, it could be yours. Nothing more than an old door (refurbished), wrought iron base and (what I am guessing is custom) glass top. I'm pretty sure I could replicate this idea and sell it for half that! I loved the re-purposing on this piece. 

So, what did I end up with today? An old metal clarinet, some lacey linens, rotary dial telephone, and three burlap sacks...oh, and a $40 lunch in the new and improved (i.e. highly over-priced) food court. Next time we pack a lunch! 

This weekend, I came home with a ton of new furniture and finished a bunch of projects so I'm shooting to do another before and after blog post of one featured items for the store. Here is a little peek...

Until then, I keep you guessing as to how I used fake flowers and left over swarovski crystal jewels to transform an old piece of furniture! "It's fun to be fancy!"
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