5 ways to decorate with family photos

Today we’re enjoying Family Day here in Ontario, so I thought I’d mark the occasion by sharing some of the ways we feature our family when we’re decorating the house. (Happy President’s Day to my American readers.)

I recently updated the display of family photos on the sofa table in our living room. My brother and sister-in-law gifted us with a new family picture from their fall wedding, so that went in the centre. Then there was a pair of photos of my Mom and me when we were both six years old. I finally printed my favourite photo of our newest nephew. And best of all I dug out this blond cutie in a mini RCMP uniform (Matt was the ring bearer at his uncle’s wedding, who is a Mountie).

How to decorate with family photos

You all know that when it comes to decorating, I’m all about keeping it personal and affordable. One of the best ways to do both of those things is with family photos.

Here are five ways to decorate with family photos, including some favourites from our house.

1. Go for quantity – Don’t limit yourself to just a few pictures. You have lots of memories–and possibly lots of family members. Pick out your favourite photos and print them all. Get a variety of frames–thrift stores, the dollar store or Ikea are good sources–and display all of your photos at once. Display the photos in a gallery wall, on picture ledges, or set them on a table, as I did on the sideboard behind our couch.

Family photo display

2. Go back in time – Family photo displays don’t have to be limited to the current generation. Dig through your family archives to find pictures of your ancestors. In our guestroom, I have two photos that I love: one of my great grandfather driving a team of horses pulling a sleigh full of huge logs, the other of Matt’s great grandfather with his own team of horses in front of a wagon loaded with hay. They fit in perfectly with our farm setting, celebrate our ancestors, and–with scanning at home, printing at Walmart and framing from Ikea–they’re super affordable as well. So dig out those old albums and see what treasures await you.

Vintage family photos displayed in the guest room

3. Go big – The family photo shoot has come a long way since the stiff studio portraits. (Did anyone else get dressed up and pose with their parents and siblings?) How you display your photos should be upgraded as well. Technology means that pretty much any image can be printed on canvas or you can run off a large scale print at your local copy centre. A large picture makes a great statement and celebrates your family at the same time.

4. Go beyond the frame – Just like photo shoots have come a long way, so have albums. Customized, personalized photobooks are the upgraded version of albums . These can be great art on your coffee table, or propped on a bookshelf–like our wedding album–can be a photo display on their own. There’s something really special about flipping through a book of photos, rather than clicking through a hard drive.

Custom photobook

5. Go offline – Instagram has taken off as the place where we “publish” our digital photos. Part of the beauty of those Instagram shots is that they capture everything from special occasions to everyday life (sometimes… let’s not get into perfectly curated feeds that are more about branding than they are about life). Don’t limit those great memories to just online. There are lots of services for printing Instagrams–even Walmart is in the game. Print them as mini-prints and use washi tape to affix them to the wall. Or string a piece of twine between some pushpins and use mini paperclips or clothespins to attach your pics. Or check out one of the many online services that offer cute magnets and stickers (and lots of other options).

Family photos are one of my favourite go-tos when I’m looking for special art. How about you? Do you display family photos around your house? What’s your favourite way to decorate? How do you balance between digital and print?

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Refinishing a vintage metal bed frame

Thanks everyone for your good wishes on my last post. Matt seems to be recovering well from his surgeries. We’re hopeful that our follow-up appointments over the next few months give us more positive news.

The guest room has become Matt’s treatment room where we can lay out all his drops and ointments, and the patient can receive them. You may recall that back when I shared the finished guest room nearly, oh, a year and a half ago, the room was missing a key component–a bed frame.

Well, we’ve finally managed to remedy that.

Metal bed frame in the guest room

We had an old metal bed frame that was in my cottage bedroom growing up and then Matt and I used it in our first house. This style of frame has become pretty trendy, and I’m seeing various versions all over the web, so I wanted to keep it. Plus it was free.

However, the finish was in rough shape. During the cottage days, it was a greyish, pinkish flesh tone. Matt and I repainted it cream, but it was our first foray into spray paint and the finish was drippy and chipped (and dusty after living in the barn for several years).

Vintage metal bedframe painted cream

One of my home goals from 2016 was to strip the frame. I had hoped that the metal was in good enough shape that it wouldn’t need to be painted and it could just go right into the guest room.

Stripping paint off metal is very similar to stripping paint off wood. I used my usual chemical stripper, scrapers and wire brushes. It was a fiddly process because of all of the spindles and layers of paint (and as usual my sidekick was no help).

Baxter helping to strip the paint off the metal bed frame

The original finish on the bed was a faux wood treatment. It was not what I expected to find at all. I had seen glimpses of this stenciled basket through the subsequent layers of paint and thought it might be embossed into the metal. That was not the case, and it was a feature of the original finish.

Faux wood grain paint on a metal bedframe

Stripped metal bed frame

Unfortunately, the metal was not in great shape once I got the paint off. There were scratches and pits and rust and the welds were obviously different colours. I knew I would have to repaint the whole bed. Faced with that reality, I stopped stripping. I had removed the paint from the headboard and two siderails, but I had visions of simply adding another layer of paint to the footboard.

Stripping paint off a vintage metal bedframe

But I knew that wasn’t what I really wanted. If I’m going to do the job, I might was well do it right and take the footboard back to the original metal. Plus the footboard is the most visible part of the bed, and I was worried that the chips and goopy layers of paint would show through my new finish.

So this summer I returned to the bed frame and finally stripped the footboard. Then I waited for the weather to cool off enough to paint–and to figure out what colour I wanted to paint.

So many of the metal bed frames I see are black. I love the look. But between the trunk that’s already in the room, the chandelier and the curtain rods, I already have my pops of black. I didn’t feel like I needed more.

Rustic black chandelier

The second place colour seems to be white, but there’s also a few white pieces in the room, we’d kind of already done this with the cream paint and honestly I wanted something more interesting than white.

I sampled a bunch of colours, but that didn’t help. Finally, I went to the store and just picked a colour. I chose Antique Brass by Rustoleum. I liked the idea of echoing traditional brass beds. Plus some of the hardware in the room on the desk and the chest of drawers is brassy.

Rustoleum Antique Brass spraypaint

I figured, if I didn’t like it, I could always repaint. At least I now have a smooth surface to do so, and I wouldn’t need to strip again.

We set up the bed on the driveway, and I went to town. Given the state of the metal, I think I could have used a primer, but after a brief sanding I went straight to paint–and ended up having to run to the store to get more cans. In the end, all of the scratches were covered and the finish looks good–much better than any of the previous finishes.

Metal bed frame set up on the driveway for painting

After a week of airing out in the driveshed, we brought the bed in and set it up.

Antique brass metal bed frame

And now, I can finally say the guest room is done. Ready for our next patient guest.

Looking back at Home Goals 2016

I have to be honest. I’m on the side that is glad to see the end of 2016. It was not my favourite year.

But there were some bright points. And before I look too far ahead into 2017, I want to take a look back at my Home Goals 2016.

I really enjoy laying these goals out at the start of every year. And I find them very helpful throughout the year to keep me on track.

This year was kind of a mix. We accomplished a lot, and I am really happy with what I can cross off the list. However, some little finishing details continue to hang around, and I couldn’t summon the motivation to finish them.

Here’s my review.

Start to plan for the big reno

I started last year by sharing some of the floorplans that we’ve been playing around with for our long term vision for this house. Through that process, I think we landed on a plan that will work best for us.

We also met with a contractor, got his input on the plans and got some very rough numbers from him about how much things will cost.

We also realized that we can easily break our plans–and our budget–down into several phases. I like knowing that we don’t have to do everything and spend all the money all at once.

The big reno, even just phase one, is likely still a little ways away, but it seems more real now that we have some drawings and numbers.

Guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

You know I love crossing a whole room off my list, and the guest room has been one of my favourite projects so far.

A few family members visited us in 2016, and they all liked it too. My one nephew said it was like a bed and breakfast–the kid knows how to make his aunt happy.

This is a project where one niggly finishing detail is still hanging around. I stripped the paint off the old metal bedframe way back in the summer, but I never repainted it. So this will have to go on the list for 2017.

Finish the basement

Built in shelving in a small bathroom

The basement was our very first project when we moved to the farm, but four years later I still had some niggly finishing details hanging around. The biggest detail was Matt’s bathroom, which is alllll done–and so, so pretty.

The basement ended up being the focus of an unexpected reno this year when we had to waterproof the foundation in a few areas. It was tough to redo already redone areas. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we don’t have any water seep in this spring.

While I had planned to focus on just a few small things, after redrywalling the areas that were waterproofed, I also built a new closet in the laundry room. Closets were a theme of the basement. We added a tonne of new shelves to the cold cellar and built shelves in the closet under the stairs. These areas have given us a lot of extra storage. It was great to dig out the Christmas decorations without digging through a pile of boxes first.

So there was some good productivity.

But on the niggly details front, I continue to struggle with art to finish off the basement. I know what I want and I even have frames. I just haven’t taken the time to find the pieces I’m looking for. I did make 16 personalized Scrabble tiles for the pingpong room. Having each of our family member’s initials is a touch that I really like. The rest of the art will come in 2017. I promise!

Furniture

90s bookcases as china cabinet

I didn’t buy a whole lot of new furniture this year, but what I did has been on the list for a loooong time.

Finding a third matching cabinet for the dining room was definitely the thrifting score of the year. I think it will be hard to top that one.

A close second, though, is finding a china cabinet for my office. I’ve been looking for a pretty specific piece for a long time. This hunt was a lesson in persistence and the importance of carrying furniture measurements with you everywhere.

The two other pieces of furniture on my list for 2016–making a new coffee table for the living room and reupholstering a slipper chair for my office–will carry into 2017.

Vegetable garden

Vegetable garden

The garden was a huge project this year. We invested a lot of time in it, and we saw the results.

In fact, everything that I wanted to do on my original Home Goals 2016 list, save for planting rhubarb, we did.

2016 was about a lot of the infrastructure for the garden. We finally hung the gate, put in curbs around the outside edge, built raised beds, built trellises for raspberries, tomatoes and squash, planted some perennials like grapes and asparagus, tried our first cover crop of winter rye, experimented with a deep mulch of straw, and last but absolutely not least ran a waterline out to the garden.

This year’s harvest was again fabulous. I feel like we’re starting to settle into our gardening groove.

And thanks to all of the work that we did in 2016, I feel like 2017 will get off to a much faster start and we can focus on growing, not building, the garden.

Outdoor clean-up

Burned lawn

When I look at the farm, I feel like there’s so much that needs to be tidied up. In adding outdoor clean-up to my list last year, I knew I was going to have to pick a spot.

However, when I reflect on the last year, I realize that we actually ended up doing better than just one single spot. We cleaned up a scrap lumber pile behind the barn and another big one at the edge of our centre field. We picked up rocks, so I’m able to mow along the north side of the house, although I would still like to add some more topsoil and pick up a couple of patio slabs.

And the biggest area is the one pictured above on the south side of the garden, which was cleared for the first time this year–a controlled burn is the way to go–and then mowed by Matt all year.

There’s still a lot more clean-up to go, but I have to remind myself that we have a 129-acre property and we have made good progress.

And that’s a good word to sum up 2016 as a whole. Progress.

I feel good about what we accomplished, and, even better, I continue to enjoy the process of making the farm and the house ours.

What were your accomplishments in 2016?

Summer to-dos done

Is anyone else mourning the passing of summer like I am? While it seems like summer ends with Labour Day, I’ve been holding on to my favourite season. However, as of yesterday, I can no longer pretend. Fall is officially here.

Three months ago, I posted four projects that I was hoping to accomplish over the summer. You know how I like to hold myself accountable. So let’s see how I did.

Project #1: Build a closet in the basement

Done. This one felt so easy it surprised me. Doing the drywall in the basement the first time around was a massive job. I was not looking forward to doing any drywall at any time ever again. However, this time around I was doing such small areas that it seemed like it took next to no time to put on a coat of paste.

This area has given Matt a tonne of extra storage, and the basement is (almost) tidy and organized. I’m only sharing a progress shot because the closet holds Matt’s stuff and I like to give him his privacy. But trust that it is done.

Drywalling the laundry room

Project #2: Sand scrabble tiles

Done. I can’t wait to share these with all of you. Sanding 16 wood tiles was the definition of not fun DIY. However, the end product is (spoiler alert) awesome.

Weekend craft project underway

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Project #3: Strip paint off the guest room bed

Done. Okay I’m calling this one done, but it’s more like I gave up halfway through. The metal underneath the drippy, chippy spraypaint is not in good shape. So after stripping the headboard and side rails I decided to skip the footboard and just repaint everything. I’ve just been waiting for the weather to cool down enough to be able to paint (not a project for the summer to-do list).

Stripping paint off a vintage metal bedframe

Maybe project #4: Makeover office cabinet

Not done. This was a maybe project from the beginning, so I don’t feel bad about not finishing it. Although I do really, really, really want to put my office together.

Perhaps a project for the fall to-do list…

However, I’m still in denial about it being fall, so I’m not prepared to write a list quite yet.

How are you feeling about the changing seasons? What did you accomplish this summer? Are you thinking about fall to-dos yet?

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Home Goals 2016 mid-year report

Six months ago, I shared my Home Goals for 2016. We just crossed the halfway point of the year, so it’s time for my mid-term report.

Beyond sharing my Home Goals, I also started the year by sharing some of my ideas for the major renovation that we want to do… someday. And the first goal on the list was to get an idea of how much the reno is going to cost to help us figure out when that someday might be.

We consulted with a contractor, got some feedback on our plans and got some numbers. They’re big numbers… as in not any time soon numbers… but it was helpful to give us an idea of where we’re at.

In terms of specific projects, here are the rest of our goals.

Guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

The guest room was our first project of the year, and I’ve already done the official “reveal,” so I’m feeling pretty good about crossing this project off. However, there’s one task left on my original to-do list, which has also made it onto my summer to-do list.

  • Paint the walls and trim
  • Replace the light fixture
  • Make window treatments
  • Refinish the desk chair
  • Strip the paint off the metal bedframe (and maybe repaint)
  • Decorate and personalize

Finish the basement

Building shelves in the closet under the stairs

The basement was essentially finished a looong time ago. However, those niggly finishing details are still hanging around. Plus, we have two new summer projects, one that you know about and one that you don’t yet. (I’ll be talking more next week about things that are going to affect our basement progress).

  • Trim around the cold cellar doorway
  • Finish the built-in storage area in Matt’s bathroom
  • Make/buy art to finish off the space
  • Build shelving in the closet under the stairs
  • NEW Build a new closet in the basement
  • NEW Mystery project (more to come next week)

Furniture

Vintage china cabinet

I’m always on the hunt for a few key pieces of furniture. So far this year, I’ve found one piece–the china cabinet for my office–but it’s still awaiting its makeover.

Vegetable garden

Centre axis of a round vegetable garden

My all-consuming summer project every year has become the vegetable garden. Thanks to Dueling DIY this spring, the garden is in really good shape.

  • Hang the gate
  • Edge the garden
  • Build raised beds around the perimeter
  • Build trellises for the raspberries, tomatoes and squashes
  • Plant perennials: grapes, asparagus, rhubarb, more raspberries
  • Run a waterline out to the garden
  • NEW Spread hay mulch over the garden

Outdoor clean-up

I ambitiously added another outdoor goal to the list, although I realized I’d have to pick my battles in terms of which area I chose to clean up.

Thanks to a bit of distraction at the start of the garden Dueling DIY, I’ve cleaned up the large lumber pile on the north side of the centre field and burned the long grass and weeds on the south side of the garden. Matt’s been mowing the burn, and it almost looks like a real lawn already.

Burned lawn

I’m feeling pretty good about what we’ve accomplished so far. Work on a farm never ends, but I love seeing the progress we’ve made.

How are things going at your house? Do you feel like you’re making progress on your goals?

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Summer to-do list

Summer officially arrives this evening. While I have grand plans of sunshine and hammocks and hikes and gardens and lots of time outdoors, I also have a handful of projects that I’ve been saving up for my favourite season.

Build a closet in the basement

Enamel basins and infant sleepers hanging in the laundry room

Our house has fabulous storage. However, none of it is a match for my husband. I’m not sure Matt’s office ever successfully contained all of his stuff. Over the winter I had a brainwave. Remove some of the cabinets that are tucked between the dryer and the freezer in the laundry room (they’re already filled with his stuff anyway) and replace them with a full height closet. I think I can just about triple his storage space. And it should be a pretty simple build with some basic framing, drywall, bi-fold doors and shelves.

Sand scrabble tiles

Scrabble art for the basement

Source: insideways

One of my Home Goals for 2016 is adding some art to the basement. Going with our fun and games theme, I want to DIY some Scrabble tiles. I’ve had the wood cut for months. Months, I tell you. I just need to sand them and then paint the letters. Sanding sounds like a good way to enjoy some time outside in the sunshine, doesn’t it?

Strip paint off the guest room bed

Robin's egg blue country guest room

The only thing missing from our beautiful guest room makeover is a proper bedframe. I have a great rustic metal frame in the barn, but the finish isn’t the greatest. I’m planning to strip it back to bare metal and see what it looks like. Paint stripping is an outdoor job IMO, so another good way to enjoy the outdoors.

Makeover office cabinet

Vintage china cabinet

Last week, you saw the china cabinet I’ve bought for my office and heard about my plans to rebuild the upper hutch. I’m so excited to have my office organized that I can’t wait to get started on this project. However, I have to put this lower down on the list, as other projects have been hanging around much longer. So this one’s a maybe summer project.

Puttering on some projects, keeping up with the gardens and relaxing on the farm. That’s my recipe for a good summer.

What’s your recipe? Do you have a summer to-do list? What are you looking forward to this season?

Country style guest room details

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Today I’m diving deeper into the guest room makeover to share the details behind some of the pretty pictures you saw last week.

Pretty much every project we do here at the farm is a budget challenge. But this guest room is budget to the extreme. Hand-me-down, redo, thrift and even scavenge were the name of the game. The only things I bought new were picture frames, window treatments, a blanket and towels. Even the paint was reused from the mudroom.

Designers talk about jumping off points. For me the jumping off point in this room was the fake wood paneling on the walls–not the most favoured design feature. It may not be shiplap, but it was definitely country, so I decided to play up the farm factor with pine, white paint, rustic elements and pretty robin’s egg blue paint.

The colour is Wythe Blue from Benjamin Moore. Because the walls are paneling and not drywall, there are little trim pieces in each of the corners and against the ceiling. I decided to play these up–like in my inspiration image–with white paint (Cloud White also from BM–our standard trim colour at the farm). Precision taping paid off with really, really crisp lines, and the white corners add some neat interest to the room.

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Matt helped me scrape the ceiling, and now it’s beautifully smooth to showcase the thrifted chandelier I found. I think this had been painted black at some point in its past life. The only change I made was to remove the glass shades and shorten the chain (our most frequent guest, Matt’s brother, is 6’4″).

Rustic black chandelier

The pine comes courtesy of the armoire and desk from Matt’s childhood bedroom. I’d like to style the top of the cabinet somehow someday. Maybe a small collection of books and magazines for guests?

Robin's egg blue country guest room

The trunk in the corner is my scavenged find. My parent’s neighbours put this out for garbage. My Dad and I carried it home–approximately 20 years ago.

This trunk is an example of choose what you love and you’ll make it work. At first, the trunk played a nightstand role in my teenage bedroom. Then it was a very handy side table in the living room at Matt’s and my first house.

Now it’s returned to its nightstand function in the guest room. The clock, lamp, water bottle and drinking glasses are all thrifted from Value Village.

Vintage trunk as a nightstand

Above the trunk is my favourite feature in the guest room, vintage family and country photos.

The top photo came from the city archives collection. It’s the blacksmith shop that is still standing in the little town that’s closest to the farm. Below that is a photo from my family archives. It’s my great grandfather on a sleigh loaded with huge logs. The neat story shown in the photo is that the sleigh is so heavy it has actually broken through the ice that my grandfather and the horses are crossing.

Vintage family photos displayed in the guest room

On the other side of the window, the top photo is the general store where Matt worked as a teenager. However, it’s another archive shot with a horse and buggy outside the store–not the common conveyance when he worked there. Below that is a photo from Matt’s family archives. His great-grandfather with a team of horses and a wagon loaded with hay.

You know I’m all about personalizing my spaces, and these old pictures are a really meaningful way to do that.

The rustic frames that look almost like barn wood are a score from Ikea. I brightened the mats with a coat of Cloud White paint.

Vintage family photos displayed in the guest room

This side of the room has two more hand-me-downs from Matt’s childhood bedroom: the painted dresser and the pine desk. The painted glass vase and the hydrangea are from my MIL and work perfectly in this spot.

Robin's egg blue country guest room

The dresser is super cute. Each drawer is decorated with an illustration of a nursery rhyme scene. (The wicker waste basket was another thrifted find).

Vintage dresser with nursery rhyme illustrations

Jack and Jill nursery rhyme illustration

Our welcoming crew of Bax and Ralph are on duty on the desk along with a thrifted organizer (that I repainted) that holds pens and notepads.

Guest room desk

My distressed chair was a freebie courtesy of past owners. Its red stain was splotched with mauve and mint green paint. Adding a coat of white paint was a big improvement, and I think the distressed look works here. The log cabin pattern pillow is a made-by-me from way back when I was a teenager. I was surprised how well the pink and blue tones in the pillow cover work with the quilt I chose for the bed.

Distressed painted chair in front of a pine desk

I bought the quilt when we first moved into the farm. It was about the only thing I did to establish a comfortable guest room back then. Fortunately, it works well with the blue-green paint, so I’m keeping it.

The curtains and curtain rods are new–although the curtains are a DIY, so I’m not sure they entirely qualify. The rods are my go-to Hugads from Ikea. The curtains are my go-to dropcloths from Home Depot (see my tips for making dropcloth curtains). Maybe because it’s my second time around, these curtains weren’t as tedious as the last set I made. Still not my favourite thing to sew, but not quite as painful as before.

This final corner beside the desk was the one spot I wasn’t sure about. My original vision was to hang a vintage painting by Matt’s grandpa and below to have a weathered little ladder where I could drape extra blankets. However, this corner was the best place for a mirror, and I felt that the mirror would be more appreciated by guests than the painting.

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Plus, when I saw this unusual mirror in the thrift store on Friday night and spent all weekend thinking about it and when it was still there on Monday afternoon, I knew it was meant to be. A coat of white paint freshened it up, and I still have a place for extra blankets and towels in a large thrifted wicker basket set on the floor (the towels are the other new purchase in the room).

Robin's egg blue country guest room

There’s one thing that’s missing from the room, and that’s the bedframe. I have a great metal headboard and footboard from my bedroom at our old family cottage. Matt and I repainted it before we moved into our first house. However, the paint has since chipped, and it really needs to be stripped.

The bedframe has been living in the barn since we swapped rooms in our master bedroom switcheroo last spring. If the weather ever warms up, I’m planning to bring it outside and remove the old paint. Once it’s stripped (and potentially repainted), I’ll set it up in the guest room.

Even without the bedframe, I think we have a beautiful room that’s welcoming for guests. It was really fun to pull all of the details together for this space, and I feel like we ended up with a room that’s perfect for our farm setting, our family and our guests. This was the first item on my home goals 2016 list, and I’m crossing it off.

Robin's egg blue country guest room

How do you save money when you’re decorating? Who else is reusing childhood furniture? Do you have a vintage family photo collection? What have you picked out of the garbage and reused?

Country style guest room before and after

The day is finally here. You’ve seen sneak peaks already, but today you see the whole thing–the brand new guest room.

Let’s start with the before. Going way back into the archives, here’s what the room looked like on day 1 when the farm became ours. A herd of dust bunnies all over the floor and dirty valances on the windows.

Guest room before

Look closer at the windows and you’ll see the extent of the decorating in this space–sparkly butterfly stickers. Unfortunately, no more my style than the curtains.

Stickers on the window in the guest room

We cleaned up the dust bunnies, removed the valances, kept the stickers and called this our master bedroom for our first three years. When we moved our master bedroom across the hall, this became a guest bedroom. But it wasn’t the most welcoming space.

Guestroom before

I found this photo for my inspiration.

And I came up with a pretty simple to-do list:

  • Scrape the stippled ceiling
  • Paint the ceiling, walls and trim
  • Replace the light fixture
  • Make window treatments
  • Refinish the desk chair
  • Strip the paint off the metal bedframe (and maybe repaint)
  • Decorate and personalize

Ready to see where we ended up?

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

What do you think? Want to come for a visit? I confess, I’m in love with the way this turned out.

Next week I’ll share the details of what’s in the room. Hint, the sparkly stickers didn’t make it.

Deep thoughts on DIY from the dog

I’m excited to share that I’m now a regular contributor to ThatMutt.com. This gives me an outlet to write about dog training, care and of course my favourite dude, Baxter. You can read all of my posts at ThatMutt here. My latest post went up on earlier this week. A slight variation is below.

“I’d help you put up those curtain rods, but I don’t have a drill.”

Uh-huh? What about no thumbs, no vertical reach and a tendency to spend most of your time asleep, dude?

Baxter installing curtain rods

“You think a paintbrush makes up for not giving me a drill? This pooch likes power tools, lady.”

Baxter and his paintbrush

“Oh, and you made fun of my thumbs and my height. You’re on your own for painting that mirror. This is what I think of your paintbrush.”

Baxter avoiding painting

“Ahhhh… dreamland, where doggies have drills… and thumbs.”

Baxter dreaming of not painting

With Baxter’s help (or perhaps despite it), the guest room is now done. The reveal is coming up next.

Distressed about distressing

I was face-to-face (face-to-seat?) with the chair. I had spent days painting it, working my brush around every spindle again and again. The old brown stain had been replaced with a warm white finish.

White painted wooden chair

But I was about to change all that. Or I would if I could bring myself to step towards the chair.

I had a piece of sandpaper in my hand, and my plan was to rub it over my freshly painted chair making it look older and a little bit worn.

“Do I really want to do this?”

“If it doesn’t work or I mess it up, I’ll have to paint the chair again.”

“But remember the vision.”

My vision for the guest room is to embrace a bit more rustic style. A slightly shabby chair would fit in better than a perfectly painted one.

I lifted the sandpaper and got to work.

Distressed painted wood chair

The end result looks okay, I think. Definitely more interesting than the plain white chair. I’ve never been a shabby chic person, so I’m still adjusting to this look. Now that the guest room is coming together, though, I feel like the chair fits in.

Distressed painted wood chair

The plan for the weekend is to focus on the curtains, which are pretty much the last to-do for the guest room aside from some more accessorizing. I should be sharing the finished space with you soon.

Have you ever distressed furniture? Did it make you nervous? Are you a fan of the shabby chic style? What causes you anxiety when you’re making over furniture?