Tag Archives: Fridays at Home

Fridays at Home: Dresser Makeover

5th December 2014

This is the tale of an ugly duckling. A very ugly duckling (and please excuse the awful quality of the photos):


A decade ago, I really disliked mid century modern furniture. Of course, much of what I had seen was in really bad condition, with really bad colors. But in recent years, I’ve fallen hard. But I’ve also been on a budget, and mcm furniture usually isn’t cheap. So when I found this beast at a local vintage place for $50, I snapped a photo, sent it to my vintage-shopping partner in crime for approval and felt like a criminal when I left with it. I was in the midst of painting and updating my guest bedroom/office and knew I wanted something with a bit of storage.

It was in bad shape. Baaaaad shape. The veneer was ripped off in lots of places, and I considered just painting it as is. But then I came across this post on repairing damaged or missing veneer, and I knew I was down to try this with some Bondo.


This Bondo is messy stuff, but it’s also pretty miraculous. (And no, they aren’t paying me to say that.) I Bondoed like crazy. This stuff dries pretty quickly and makes a huge mess…er, actually that was me making the mess…but it was worth it. After I sanded it down and started to paint, I knew I had made the right decision.


I boldly went where I never thought I would go – fuschia. And not just fuschia, but high gloss fuschia. I’m not a pink girl, but I had just repainted the front bedroom/office bright white and knew I needed to inject a good bit of color in that space. Well, look no further. I used Clark & Kensington’s Calypso Beat in high gloss.

I tried primer on one of the drawers, but it didn’t make much difference. The key to a high-gloss finish is patience. Of which I have little. But I did it! I painted three coats in all, waiting 24 hours between each one, and I absolutely love the finished product.



I also spray painted the pulls. They’re brass, but cleaning ten of them proved to be a ridiculous amount of effort, and they would eventually just tarnish again.

So this was my most recent house update, and I love it. I painted the room bright white, and now it’s a room I love going into (which is always a plus).

Fridays at Home: If you give a girl…

9th August 2013

If you give a girl a warped and cracking deck, she will eventually realize (or be told by a friend) that she needs help tearing it down.


If the girl admits she needs help and asks for it, several buff and selfless men* will jump to her aid.


If said men jump to her aid, the deck will come down quickly and with little difficulty. (And I promise the girl did work. There was a system. They used power tools; she carried the boards out.)



If the deck has been in place for years, it may just cover up some creepy crawlies – namely snakes and poison vines (seriously, it was like Sleeping Beauty under there).

If the girl were picky (which she is) and stubborn (which she also is), she may just insist the vine isn’t poisonous and that she can haul it all up to the street…in her arms. [Note: I am aware this isn’t a vine. The stupidity was not documented.]


All that to say, if a girl decides to rip down her deck, it may end up in a snake bite, two minor care visits and poison ivy, as well as rashes and blisters best hidden in long sleeves and pants in Texas. In August.


If you give a girl a warped and cracking deck…expect doom. 😉


*I’m so grateful for these guys, and though I’m uncomfortable, I’m also grateful these things happened to me and not them.

Fridays at Home: Fixing a Leaky Toilet

12th April 2013

Yes, I put “toilet” in the title of a post. Yes, I am ashamed. But let’s face it, the porcelain throne is (hopefully) part of your everyday life. And if you don’t have a John in your life to fix your john, well, your options are limited.

I could, of course, hire a plumber, but after looking at this great home repair calculator, I decided I’d prefer to keep that chunk of change in my bank account and attempt to fix the leak myself. The loo was leaking from the base and from one of the tank bolts. The below cartoon should give you an idea of how this went…


                                                                                                                                        By jennigens | View this Toon at ToonDoo | Create your own Toon

Yeah. So fixing a toilet isn’t difficult. It’s all the associated problems that can be tricky. I began by following these handy dandy instructions from Home Depot:

Easy peasy, right?
My house is on pretty high pier and beams, so ceramic tile is a no go. I had put down nice vinyl tile (I know it sounds bad, but it wasn’t!), and the leaky toilet had saturated the tiles around it, and I had to pull them up. No problem, except Lowe’s no longer carries that tile. And I couldn’t reseat the toilet without having flooring because a. I’d have to reseat it again to get the tile beneath the base and b. the height would have been off. So after buying all new vinyl tile, I was able to lay four strips before I had to make cuts. With a box cutter. I cut approximately two (2!) six-inch pieces of tile over about an hour before the angry tears came. It was not pretty.

I reseated the toilet, and the base didn’t leak, but now both tank bolts leaked, AND the water source coming up from the floor began to leak. Excellent. I called it a night and fell into bed.

Sunday I asked for help. And no, not divine assistance. I went to the pros of the privy and lay myself on their mercy. Another set of tank bolts, some silicone, a new valve and hose later, I was ready! Replaced everything, reseated the toilet again, and….drip, drip, drip drip

Confession time: I gave in, bought a bottle of wine, and called the plumber. But the plumber had to reschedule, so I got online and started Googling the heck out of toilet repair. Here’s what I learned, and here’s how I fixed it, start to finish:

  • Buy HydroCap Sure Seat Wax Ring cover, reinforced wax ring, tank bolts, silicone, valve and hose if necessary, adjustable wrench
  • Turn off the water valve at the wall or floor (all the way to the right)
  • Flush the toilet, holding the handle to allow as much water as possible to leave the tank
  • Use some old towels or sponges to get the rest of the water out of the tank
  • Remove the tank bolts
  • Remove the water hose from the tank
  • Put the tank somewhere safe
  • Mop up water in bowl
  • Remove base bolts
  • Remove the base and wipe the bottom of it clean
  • Remove old wax ring and wipe up old wax
  • Put plastic cap provided with HydroCap in hole to avoid fumes gathering
  • Put new wax seal down
  • Put HydroCap on tops, pressing firmly to get minimal gaps; make level
  • Remove plastic cap from pipe
  • Reseat base
  • Put nuts and caps back on base bolts
  • Place tank back on base
  • Add a ring of silicone to rubber gasket; put gasket closest to porcelain and insert bolt
  • Tighten metal washer and nut on base of toilet (be careful but don’t overly worry that you will crack the tank – I was paranoid!)
  • Allow silicone to cure for three hours
  • Reattach hose to tank
  • Turn water back on and check for leaks

If you must replace anything on the fittings coming from the water source:

  • Turn off water at street
  • Remove fittings and hose
  • Replace and hand tighten, then use wrench for good seal
  • Make sure valve is in the “off” position
  • Turn water on at street
  • Turn water on and test for leaks

Honestly, even with all the hassle, it was worth doing myself. I spent money, but it was nowhere near what I would have spent on a plumber. Plus, if you have a ceramic tile bathroom, you shouldn’t run into the issues I had. And that’s how it’s done, folks. My floor isn’t finished yet…but another day, another project.

Happy Friday!

Fridays at Home: Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

8th February 2013

If someone told you that you could paint a piece of furniture with no sanding, no prep, and with little chance of ruining it, what would you say? If you’re me, you’d stare at this person with just a hint of suspicion in your eyes.

But that’s exactly what one of the sweet ladies at a great vintage store in my area told me. I had heard of Annie Sloan chalk paint from one of my best friends and was amazed at the results he got. My dilemma was that I loved the natural wood in the room, but it seemed to fade into the wood floors and the dark walls.


Even though this was shot in late-afternoon light, you can tell it just blended in much too much.

I didn’t really want to paint it either. I was stuck, in other words. So my friend Bryan called and pointed me to a great table at one of our favorite vintage stores. The top was left natural wood, but the base and lip of the table were painted and distressed. I fell in love immediately.

This paint is very viscous and thickens if left open to the air for too long. The woman who sold it to me recommended pouring a small bit into a cup so you can add water if it thickens too much. You can’t do that in the actual can as it will mildew the paint. You also have to use a wax to seal the paint. There are different methods here – applying wax before or after sanding. Before sanding will reduce any dust you get from sanding, while sanding before waxing gives you a slightly different texture. I went with the latter. Also, a little bit of this paint goes a loo-oooong way. I used, maybe, a sixth of the pint. But it’s also expensive, so my mom and I split it for a couple of projects we wanted to try. I’ve read you can make your own, too, for a lot less expensive. I’d also caution that unless you plan on distressing, a typical paint (like Valspar, my favorite!) would work just fine.


So I prepped my table (wiped it down for dust) and began painting with my favorite angled brush. And I was unimpressed. The paintbrush marks were very visible. Which made me nervous. The pant also dries super fast, which is good and bad. Good in that if you need a second coat, you can apply it quickly. Bad in that you have less time to even out brush strokes if you’re absolutely nuts about them.


Yikes. I’ll admit, I was a bit worried. (Also, sorry for horrible-quality photos. This was a late-night project, as are many of my projects.)

I must say I was unconvinced until I started sanding. I used 150 grit sandpaper and only sanded the parts of the table base with detail. The change was immediate, and my table started looking like a French country piece in an expensive furniture store. The awesome thing? If you sand too much, just add a bit more paint, wait for it to dry, and sand again. Easy peasy. My friend had told me there was no real way to mess up, and he was right. I attempted painting the edge of the tabletop, hated it, and wiped it right off without any issues.


This was the moment when I realized I was going to love this look. It just made the detail in the wood stand out in a way it didn’t before.

The wax was a bit trickier. I borrowed a special round brush to apply it, but it just stuck to the table in gritty patches. I searched the Internet and found going back with t-shirt material heats it up just enough to where the paint and wax adhere. Once I started that technique, it was awesome and didn’t take long – just a little elbow grease (literally, if you slip up while rubbing the wax in).


Here I wasn’t pleased with the sanding above the beading on the lip. So I added a bit more paint and went back to it later.


Same view but after I repainted and sanded a little less aggressively.

 All in all, this was very quick – and much faster than sanding and refinishing, which I had contemplated. Also, the tabletop wasn’t in great condition, but it wasn’t horrible unless you looked closely. Moisture had clouded the finish, and there were a couple of scratches in it as well. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I applied a coat of the same Annie Sloan soft wax to the top and then buffed it out. Oh. My. Gosh. It looked amazing, and weeks later, it hasn’t lost its sheen.


Gotta love that shine. And the contrast works really well in here.

The last step was finding chairs. It’s not easy to purposefully mismatch chairs, so I tried out a few options, but here’s where I ended. These chairs need a little love, but you guys know they’ll get that. AND that I’ll share with you. Duh. 🙂


They’re shabby, but I love that they draw in the color in the room, especially from the Texas Book Festival poster right above the table.

So, it’s Friday! Any home improvement going on in your neck of the woods? Or is your neck of the woods planning for a super storm? Either way, be careful, and enjoy your weekend at home.

P.S. Annie Sloan didn’t provide paint or pay me for my thoughts. I just thought I’d share with you.


Fridays at Home: The Dining/Reading Room Saga

25th January 2013

Be wary in ever thinking a room is mostly finished. One of a couple of things may happen: a. you walk into the room and realize it’s hideous or b. you inherit a piece of furniture that is lovely but throws everything off.

Both of these have happened to me within the last year and a half. And while both are good things – changing a hideous paint color to a much better one and inheriting your grandmother’s sofa – they still throw a kink in plans. Let’s follow along:

Want a sneak peak?
I’ll be back next Friday with details and a how-to.
Happy Friday!