Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Dining Table and Chairs - Check!

Hi Cottage Friends,

Thanks for joining me today. 

There's no end to the many decor projects I have on my list in this, our latest home. When we left Oregon for Texas we sold everything except some clothing, Dennis's artwork and supplies, and personal things individual to each of us. It was a great decluttering project, however now comes the challenge of creating a comfortable, welcoming cottage on a budget. (So many ideas. . .so little money.) 

As I mentioned in my last post, we brought a few things from the apartment we had rented the past year, including these two Duxbury dining arm chairs we discovered in a resale shop. Great lines and very comfortable. They had just been painted white before we bought them.

We used them with a table that we didn't really like all that much, so when we began preparations to move we gave the table away, figuring we'd find another table to replace it. One that we'd like much better. 

And so the hunt was on for a 48" round table, which I felt would work perfectly in our small dining area. Of course it had to be cottage style, and reasonably priced (translation: "pretty cheap"). There are plenty of resale, vintage and antique stores around us, so I was pretty sure we'd find something in a short amount of time. Turns out my hunch was correct.

In the back of an antique/vintage/used furniture store we found a rather odd dining set. The four chairs were way too big for the table, and everything was painted a dull brownish, tannish color that did nothing for the set. The table held promise though, so we talked to the person on duty and asked him to find out if we could buy just the table. He called us later that day and said the woman who was selling the set said she'd sell us the table for $75. We said "okay" and the deal was done. We were able to take the table apart and fit it into our Subaru Forrester, which saved us a delivery charge. So far, so good.

After we got the table home I set to work on a makeover. 

Of course you know I was already into the project before I remembered to take a before photo. I did manage to get these two before I went too far.

See what I mean about the colors? These photos are not touched up. The top really did look exactly like that before I started sanding. 

I think the woman who did this was going for a contrast look with an attempt to antique the tannish top with the darker brownish paint used on the base to somehow tie it in. Or maybe not. I really have no idea what she was thinking.

I had sanded about a quarter of the table top with my palm sander before I discovered that the top is laminate with a wood trim. Huh? No!

Ugh. Double ugh. 

Everything was solid wood except for the top. My plan to stain the top dark walnut (and paint the base white) was now shattered. 

Note: This is the risk every DIY'er takes when making a bargain purchase, and it's a lesson learned. Always ask what's under the paint. "Is that laminate, or is it wood?" Because, honestly you can't always tell. In this case the underside of the top was wood and so I made an assumption (and you know what they say about the word "assume") it was all wood.

Fortunately, I'm not easily deterred. 

Enter Plan B. . .I'll just paint the whole table white. 

It took some effort to get the top smoothed out (cuz, no, I was not going to sand all those layers of paint to get down to the bare laminate), but eventually I finished the top, and sanded the base enough to smooth it out (because, really, the paint job was horrible). Also, fortunately, my preferred paint type is chalk paint and laminate receives chalk paint very well. 

So, yes, my bargain purchase turned out to be a real pain in the neck. But! It was worth it. Because look how it turned out.

Isn't it pretty? And, honestly, I'm glad I was forced to paint the top white instead of staining it. The all white looks so good with the gray walls.

Normally, I like to do a bit of distressing on my painted pieces, but this time I decided to forego it and let the table distress naturally with use. The chairs are already showing some wear around the edges of the arm and seat, and I like the way they look. 

So the dining room is coming along. It just needs some accessories. 

With Project #1 out of the way I was on to #2. Next time we meet I'll share my makeover of this piece. (Hint: baskets are involved.)

Joyful hugs,


Sunday, June 9, 2019

A Place to Call Home

Three weeks ago I imagined a much different home than the one we're in today. I thought I would be blogging about a little cottage we were planning to close on May 30. 

The Little Cottage that Wasn't

But that didn't materialize. The appraisal came in $32,000 under the contract price, and after much consideration Dennis and I decided to pull out of the deal. That left us with ten days to find a place to live, as we had to be out of our apartment by the end of the month.

Immediately we set to work to find another place to lease. Whether it would be a temporary or long term resolution to our housing need didn't seem to matter. We just knew we had to do something. And so we sought God's wisdom and set our feet in motion. I won't go into all the details of this move, only to say that God provided a home for us that fits our needs nicely, and we were able to move in June 1, right on schedule. 

Here are the realtor photos of our new nest: a two bedroom, one bath duplex with an attached two-car garage.

The home was upgraded two years ago. It's on a quiet cul-de-sac just outside the city (four hours from our previous residence).

The walls look dark in some of these photos, but they're really a light gray throughout the home. All the woodwork has been painted white. The tile is white, too. Living room and hallway are planked laminate, which I'm finding is really easy to care for.

Overall, I'm happy with the decor. I wouldn't have chosen the lighting the landlord chose, but that doesn't keep me from liking everything else, and honestly I don't spend my time fixated on the lights (or the popcorn ceiling, 'nuf said). There's so much more I do like, such as the kitchen.

Though the ceiling fans aren't stylish, I'm grateful they're there. I have discovered in a warm climate it's essential to have them.

I love this bathroom. The kitchen and bathroom were huge "selling" points for me.

Behind these double doors is the laundry center. We've already ordered a new washer and dryer, and they'll be delivered on Tuesday. After a year of lugging laundry baskets up and down a flight of stairs every week and traveling to and from a laundromat, I'm thrilled and thankful to once again have laundry appliances in our home. 

We'll be using the master bedroom as an office/study for Dennis, as it's right off a tiled room that will be his studio.

The studio has access to the garage, and to the side yard, which is private.

We have a bed, a few chairs, a small table, a floor lamp, and Dennis's office furniture. It didn't take me long to set up the kitchen because, frankly, I didn't have much to unpack. We sold everything when we left Oregon and I bought just a few things to get us by for the past year. It's pretty amazing how much one can do without. I really don't need all those gadgets to cook a good meal. (Someday I may write a post about that.) We've already begun the hunt for new furnishings, and have found some real bargains. 

So, although things haven't worked out the way we had planned, and my joyful cottage is now a duplex, God is still on His throne, He still loves us, and I have to believe that everything we've been through is for our good and for His glory. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding, 
in all your ways submit to Him,
    and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Joyful hugs,