DIY Desk Re-Do

In my last guest room post for the week, I thought I’d share our desk rehab.

I wish I had a better before picture, but by the time I realized I didn’t have one, the desk was already disassembled.Image
You can kind of see the deep scratches and the poor condition of the stain. This guy was in rough shape, but I couldn’t get over how charming the carved wood looked when I laid eyes on it at a yard sale. There is even a hole for an inkwell if you pull the bottom drawer out!It was quite a piece.
Apparently, the lady selling it bought the desk years ago with the idea to refinish it, as her husband did this as a hobby. He never got around to it, so they decided the desk had to go. I actually looked at it for a while, and then walked away. We were still living at the apartment, and were in the process of packing, so I couldn’t quite justify bringing a new piece of furniture home.
We got back in the car, drove for a few blocks, and I immediately regretted not purchasing it. We didn’t have any cash on us, so we stopped at a bank and headed back to the yard sale. The lady saw us coming and said she knew we’d be back. After some haggling, we walked away with it for $7.
It sat unfinished for months, first in the spare room at the apartment and then in the way unfinished guest room at the house. We couldn’t quite figure out what we wanted to do to freshen it up. New stain? Paint?
Finally, we had some teal colored paint left over from another project, and I thought the desk would look great in such a deep blue color. Dan took the desk apart and we got to painting. It really didn’t take as long as I thought – just 2 coats of paint and 2 of sealer. It got a whole new lease on life.Image
I think my favorite part of the desk is our decision to use some leftover Martha Stewart brand gold paint for the carved wood parts and the other cut outs. It really makes the intricate wood work pop.Image
We liked the blue and gold mix so much that it became our inspiration colors for the whole room. I had already bought the blue rug, so we started leaning toward finding a yellow comforter to play off the gold in the desk. Same thing when we were debating what color to spray paint those frames – we kept coming back to gold.
I think the desk and the shelves create a cozy little corner in the room for a guest to get some work done on their laptop or just go online for a bit. I still want to get some cute paper to leave in the desk, and I definitely want to do something with that bentwood chair eventually, but I’m quite happy with it as it is right now.

Golden Painted Ladies

On this second day of guest room posts, I thought I’d share how we made this cute wall art.Image

This is what they looked like when we started:Image

Apologies for the camera phone photo.

What was with that weird oxidized gold on the frames? And, I’m sure some people like these boring drawings of some countryside, but I wanted something with a little more color, and perhaps some personal meaning. Still, I had to buy these when I saw them at the thrift shop for 50% off. They rang up a cool $1.45 a piece. I try to get most of my frames at the thrift store now. You can usually find good ones for pretty cheap, and most of the time, all they need is some Windex and a couple coats of spray paint to fix them right up. That’s what we did here.

I took the frames apart, gave them a good cleaning, and Dan sprayed 2 thin coats of gold spray paint on them. I’m loving the gold on the frames matches the other gold tones in the room.

As for the drawings, I just looked around on Pinterest until I found these cute little houses. They look like the painted ladies that Dan and I visited while in San Francisco for our 1 year wedding anniversary. Image

We thought they were a fun reminder of the trip, and drawings of other houses were cute for a guest room.

I like the way the stamping on the frames plays off the hexagon stamping of the candleholder on the nightstand.ImageImage

Total project cost: $4.35 for the frames, $0 for the drawings, and $0 for the gold spray paint (we had it already).

I’m telling you – hit the thrift store for frames. Worth it.

Be Our Guest

After taking a break for the holidays and to get more stuff done around the house, I’m really hoping to get back onto a regular blogging schedule, like I used to be.

For now, I thought I’d share the quick and affordable update we made to the guest room.

Let me paint you a picture. On inspection day, the room looked like this.Image

Believe it or not, this was not one of the worst rooms in the place when we bought it.

Here it is on move in day. That carpet, those curtains. Oh dear.Image

I was going to post the in-between photos to show you it’s couple stages before we get to today, but I thought it might be better just to show you the finished product.Image

Different, right?

Would you believe me if I told you this makeover was pretty inexpensive?
I did this update on the cheap by trying to use what we already had around the house, and buying only a few new essentials.
Take that desk in the corner. I’ll chronicle how we updated it in another post, but for now, I’ll just say that we were able to score this solid wood, antique desk at a yard sale for $7. That chair was only $5 at a different garage sale. The bed, nightstand (a stool), and lamp were all items we had on hand. And by shopping around and hitting the right sales, I was able to score the 5×8 Mohawk rug from Kohls, and the sheets and duvet cover from Target for around $80 total.
Same thing for the accessories. The shelves hanging over the desk are a kit that included the shelves and frames and cost only $10 on clearance at Target.
The gold plated candle holder on the nightstand was a clearance item from an after Christmas sale for about $4. That gold pencil holder was just an old wire one that Dan spray painted gold. Oh, and that fun screen printed burlap calendar was just $7 from, get this, Land of Nod!

It was really fun to decorate a guest room because I think you get to be a little more bold in your choices. Take the gold accents. I love how shiny and bright they are, but I’m not sure I’d put them in another room since our color scheme is mostly blues and greys. Here though, the gold and yellow in the bedspread is warm and charming – so inviting for a guest room.

I’m sure we’ll still be adding some things here and there, like maybe a proper nightstand, and updating items like the desk chair, but I think it’s looking pretty good for now.

Strawberry Pancakes

Now that our house is starting to actually be livable, I’m going to be able to blog more. Yay!

For my first post of the new year, I thought I’d share a new weekend favorite recipe – strawberry pancakes.Image

For the pancakes:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk, plus a little extra
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar

For the strawberry topping:

1 8oz container of strawberries (diced)

2 tablespoons warm water

2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
Starting by mixing together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the egg, milk, salt, and sugar. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir just until combined. Cook on a griddle until done.
For the topping, stir all ingredients together gently, so the strawberries don’t get mashed. Top the pancakes and if you’d like, add some whipped cream.
Stay warm!