The DIY Desk: Part 2

This post includes affiliate links. For the full disclosure policy click here.

Last week I shared Part 1 of the DIY Desk project. Part 1 was mostly about the desk top and basics but if you saw the post and/or pictures you know we altered part of our design to incorporate a few pieces we already had. Which brings us to Part 2! We used a couple of the same tricks to upcycle our old storage into a pair of fab modern farmhouse pieces.

DIY Desk Part 2

We’ve had this cube storage system for many many years. I bought them back in my scrapbooking heyday and they have served me well. (They’ve since been retired but you can find similar ones here, here, and here) They store a good chunk of my art and craft supplies as well as a handful of office supplies and files. Its been great having a “modular” system that we can rearrange and reconfigure as we move from place to place. For this reason, I really wanted to make them work in the loft. But they clearly needed a face lift! Ha!

It should also be said that you can still do this without these exact storage cubes. Ive seen great options at places like HomeGoods, Target, and Ikea. You cold also thrift a solid side table or use a small dresser you have on hand. The point is: this “technique” is easy to apply to nearly any piece of furniture you want to upcycle.

DIY Desk Part 2

After working with the peel and stick vinyl planks I knew I could use them to update the cubes. I emptied the drawers and cleaned them with a rag and some tabletop spray. I also removed all the hardware. Once the drawers were prepped I sat them face down on one of the planks with the backing still intact and marked the dimensions. I used a t-square to extend my lines and then scored with a box cutter. Its important you use a metal ruler for this as your box cutter can actually cut right into a wood or plastic version. The metal ones will give you a straight(and sturdy!) edge every time. After the planks are scored you can snap off the excess. This is waaaaay easier than I originally imagined!

DIY Desk Part 2

As I was getting my first drawer set up I also made a template for my hardware. Once the planks were attached they would be covering the preexisting holes and again Im not the type that is going to try measuring that out after the fact. So save yourself the headache (and time!) and do this before setting your planks! I just used a sheet of scrap card stock to measure where the holes would be when the top and side edges were lined up.

DIY Desk Part 2

Because these planks were going to live vertical(on the face of the cubes) I wanted to really make sure they were permanently attached. The adhesive that is applied to the back is pretty strong but if you really wanted to you could peel it up. I wanted to avoid any chance of that happening(even accidentally) so I hit the back with a small amount of Gorilla Glue. If you’ve never used GG you should know it needs to be under pressure/weight for an hour after applying it. Great way to get some more use out of those heavy art history books! #artschoolgrad

DIY Desk Part 2

While waiting for the GG to cure up I painted my hardware with 2 coats of chalk paint. I haven’t used it on something that gets this much handling but being that the part of the pull which is touched most is “under” the face I feel like it will hold up well. Yes, I have high hopes for chalk paint on this(big surprise right?) but I’ll be back after a few months with and update on this. Promise!

DIY Desk Part 2

DIY Desk Part 2

After an hour under a stack of books I attached the hardware using my template and filled the drawers up! Again, these 2 middle desks are an altered version of the original I posted in Part 1 but the change is pretty simple. Basically we’re using the cubes as the legs on one side of the desks. This makes the tops sit a bit higher than your average desk but I like being able to stand part time while working too.

DIY Desk Part 2

The desks being this height also meant we couldn’t use traditional office chairs. At their most extended height we were still sitting too low. We opted for these drafting chairs and we are loving them! They do have a foot rest(the metal ring at the bottom) but we added mini ottomans for anther option. And as a bonus they give us a bit of extra storage! Win win!

DIY Desk Part 2

So what DIYs have you added to your workspace? Are you working on a desk upcycle as well? You know I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

DIY Desk Part 2
Continue Reading

The DIY Desk: Part 1

This post includes affiliate links. For the full disclosure policy click here.

Ok. This project is way overdue. But in my defense, its a biggie. It literally spans the whole length of our studio space and Im breaking it down into 2 posts! So Im cutting myself a bit of slack. Ha! When we moved into the loft we almost immediately decided the space downstairs “designated” as the bedroom just wasn’t going to work. After checking out the floorplan a bit more we decided it would actually be a great place for a workspace. That also meant finding a new desk solution since the space wasn’t going to look great with our old desks. And being our difficult selves we decided a DIY desk would be most ideal!

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

When we unpacked we threw together this makeshift workspace(yes, posting this makes me cringe! #reallife) to get a few things done while we were still scheming. But I think feeling out a space and living in it before committing has saved us a lot of time shuffling furniture. We’ve used these desktops in one variation or another for over 8 years.

I love the flexibility of most ikea pieces and obviously the price tag! These tops included. But after moving into the loft we wanted to bring in a bit more of that industrial feel. These tops do NOT read that way. After searching a few online vendors it was pretty clear we favored the modern farmhouse styles as well. A few hours of Pinterest later we figured we could replicate the look with a few tricks and still use our ikea tops.

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

We already had 2 white tops and snagged this faux pine one out of the as-is pile. $7 for a table top? Yes please! Knowing we were going to change the look I didn’t care what the finish was. It just needed to be the right size and still in good condition. Check!

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

Once we collected our tops we hit Lowes for some peel & stick vinyl planks. They are much lighter than covering the tops in actual wood, come in a crazy amount of colors, and are easy to cut to size(no power tools needed!). The boxes of planks repeat the same 3-4 prints so we laid them out in the isle to make sure we got a good mix. When it came time to stick these down we made sure to stager the planks and kept the patterns as random as possible. No repeats!

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

As for the legs, we just made simple rectangle “frames”. We planned on making these desks a bit taller(more on that in part 2!) so custom legs were the only way to go. The frames are made from 2×2 pine and we had them cut right in the store. Again, we were trying to keep the power tool usage in the loft to a minimum.  Once we got the frames together I slapped on a coat of black chalk paint and a coat of clear wax. After it dried for 24 hours I very lightly buffed them. I basically just ran a cloth over the frames once. I wasn’t concerned with trying to buff them into a high shine. The finish on these is actually more of a semi-matte. When people have seen the finished desks they assume the frames are actually powder coated metal.

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

Being that we are renting this place Im completely obsessed with protecting the floors. I’ve heard too many horror stories about loosing deposits over a couple scratches… uhmmm no thanks! So we pulled out the felt pads and added them to the corners of the frames.Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

When we added the frames to the tops we made sure they were completely flush to the edges. This was for both esthetic and functional reasons. A while ago we tore one of these tops apart(cant for the life of me remember why!) and the innards were unexpected. The border is wood and the middle is actually just full of cardboard! Obviously this isnt a sturdy place to attach anything. So keeping that in mind we made sure all our screws stayed within a couple inches of the edge. Using the predrilled holes(where you could attach ikea legs) you can visualize the “safe zone”.

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

After the legs and tops were situated I hit the edges with more chalk paint and wax. Again, I did minimal buffing as I was after that semi-matte finish.

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

These desks are super light and you can customize them to fit any space. We actually customized our own design to use stacking drawers(again, more on that in part 2!). Essentially we made 3 of these desks and when connected they make a huge L shape that spans the the entire studio space. Its giant but we spend a crazy amount of time in here and its so nice having room to spread out mid project!

Modern Farmhouse Desk DIY

So what DIYs have you used in your workspace? Have you tackled any furniture upcycles? You know I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Get that Modern Farmhouse look with a few quick tricks. These DIY desks come together in a snap and can be customized for any space!
Continue Reading

Painted Throw Pillows

This post includes affiliate links. For the full disclosure policy click here.

If you’ve been here recently you already know I have piles of throw pillows to keep my comfy level maxed out. You may also know I’ve painted throw pillows before. But after getting my hands on a new design for our living room I was itching to use those fabric painting tricks again. These painted throw pillows have a completely different feel than my first attempt but I think they are just as successful! Painted Throw Pillows

Originally, I ordered these pillow cases to use as is. And they did live happily on our wicker arm chair for some time. But after adding the throw blanket pillow cases and seeing how punchy the colors were I knew this pillow case needed something to liven it up!

Painted Throw Pillows

When I was considering how to add those punches of color I was reminded of star patterned quilts and adult coloring books. Both of them have negative space which I wanted to replicate to keep the design from getting too busy. I started playing with options in my sketch book and made sure the colors matched up with the other pieces already in the living room.

Painted Throw Pillows

Once I got the pattern mapped out and the colors finalized I set up for painting. The only prep you really need to do is wash/dry the pillow case and place a magazine(or other barrier) inside. This keeps the paint from bleeding through to the other side of your pillow case. You can also add a small amount of fabric medium to your paints. This will keep the painted sections pliable.

Painted Throw Pillows

I used a soft medium sized brush to fill in the larger portions of the design. This helped get most of the spaces filled quickly. I later filled in the edges with a small flexible brush. The paint will get a bit watered down in consistency from the fabric medium. Although, I found using a damp brush also helps with fluidity. This was mostly helpful when I was working on the edging. Be sure to add water sparingly as it may make your paint “bleed”.Painted Throw Pillows

It only took a few Netflix reruns to fill in the design and I think the pay off was well worth the time. So another throw pillow success in the books! Ha!

Painted Throw Pillows

Have you tried any throw pillow DIYs lately? Painted any fabric? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Painted Throw Pillows

Continue Reading

3 Simple DIYs

This post includes affiliate links. For the full disclosure policy click here.

As much as I’d like to design and create all the decor and furniture in our homes from scratch its just not realistic. On the other hand, plucking something off a shelf and bringing it home to use “as is” is pretty rare. So generally I do a little of both. Some projects are more involved and some (like I’m about to share) are very simple. I promise it doesn’t always take a great deal of time or skill to customize your decor and I’ve got 3 simple DIYs to prove it!

  1. Paint.

Its generally my go-to when I want to alter a piece. Its inexpensive, nearly limitless in options/colors, and you can add it to pretty much any surface. I picked up this awesome wood planter at Target to update my bedroom plant scene. I loved the raw wood and it fit perfectly in my copper plant stands. Except… it just… needed a liiiiiiiiil somthin…ha!

3 Simple DIYs

After placing it next to the other pot I was using I figured I could pull some of that stripe-y goodness and make them look coordinating without actually matching. I threw on a couple wraps of painters tape and filled them in with craft acrylic. Since the plant will live inside a liner Im not concerned with moisture getting to the paint and didn’t bother with any sealer. Adding simple painted patterns or stripes is a quick and easy way to get some of the colors you want in your space on your decor.

3 Simple DIYs

2. Ribbon.

Ribbon, twill tape, twine, yarn…. basically anything you can wrap and tie! I may or may not have a crazy amount of ribbon(and the like) from my days working at both a craft store and then fabric shop. So it shouldn’t be a big surprise this is another quick trick I use often. Again, the variety factor is amazing with these materials and you can generally find something that works with the vision you have for your space. Another perk about simply tying or wrapping something up is the zero damage factor. You can embellish something and later on down the road change or remove your addition to suit another room or design.

3 Simple DIYs

This was truly as simple as: wrap, knot, and trim. Its not a crazy makeover but repeating that white stripe makes it visually tie in with the rest of the room juuuuust a bit more. Not all upgrades need to be big to make a difference!

3 Simple DIYs

3. Washi Tape

Speaking of zero damage, lets talk tape! Washi tape that is. You can add this to so many surfaces and it will peel right off whenever you decide your done with that look. The last time I hit the craft store there was a whole section dedicated to washi tape so the possibilities here are pretty fab. I’ve used washi tape on quite a few projects now and I will say it does better on smooth surfaces. Surfaces like glass work especially well so when it was time to upcycle this old candle holder into a planter I knew tape was going to be my quickest bet. Also, you can layer your washi tapes to create your own patterns and designs. Yay for getting bonus tapes!

3 Simple DIYs

And you can finally keep your collection on display in these adorable dispensers(yes, Im totally obsessed!).

3 Simple DIYs

So are you a customizer? Have you livened up a new piece? Or upcycled an old treasure? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Continue Reading

Painted Fabric Chair

This post includes affiliate links. For the full disclosure policy click here.

We bought this chair from a Habitat For Humanity ReStore for dirt cheap. It was goldilocks scenario since the chairs that are most comfortable for me are rarely comfy for Q but somehow this one fit both of us! Only problem was the color. It was a really unattractive mauve with green dots and that just wasn’t going to work with everything else in our place. We bought the chair thinking we were going to reupholster it and quickly decided that was entirely way too much work. After a bit of research I planned on painting it… and then a whole year and a 3,000 mile move happened. Since I was getting down to business with the decor in the loft it was time to finally tackle the ugly pink chair. Luckily this painted fabric chair turned out better than even I expected.Painted Fabric Chair

See, if you search painted fabric chair(or furniture) you will get a ton of results and nearly all of them are done just a bit differently. Being that I’ve never painted any fabric furniture I just wanted to make sure two things happened. First, I wanted the fabric to stay soft and pliable. I mean whats the point of a comfy upholstered wingback chair makeover if it ends up a stiff mess? No point! Second, I wanted full coverage on that awful pink color! Side note: if this color is your jam and you make it work in your house more power to ya! But this is just simply not the case in the loft.

After pulling from a handful of tutorials I did the following to get some pretty fab results:

-Vacuum the chair thoroughly(esp. all those nooks and crannies!).

-Mix 1 part fabric medium with 2 parts interior paint.

-Spray the area you are painting with a light mist of water.

-Use a stiff brush to paint light coats over the entire chair. A smaller bristle brush is also helpful to get into all the creases and corners.

-Sand the surface in between coats(once completely dry) with fine grit sandpaper.

[After the first coat. Yes, it looks patchy and scary but just keep painting!]

Now comes the fun part! If your chair has a distinct texture like ours you can layer your paint to keep the textured design. This idea came to me after sanding the first layer. Because the sanding is what keeps the chair from getting stiff you always end the layer with sanding. This will expose a layer below the current top layer of paint and in doing so you will also accentuate any raised pattern or texture in the fabric.

 

Painted Fabric Chair

I started with a couple coats of classic silver and hand tinted the paint for the remaining layers. I went darker by adding a couple ounces of black paint which I measured out on a scale (so I could replicate it if need be). Once the final coat dried and I sanded it down the texture really popped. And still no sign of the ugly pink!

[before & after sanding]

This does add a more rustic or even shabby chic feel(which isn’t typically us) but in this space its going to fit right in! All the wood in our bedroom is raw or unfinished so another perfectly imperfect piece is totally making us happy!

So have you painted a fabric chair? Or any other fabric furniture? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Continue Reading

Bouquet Boxes

This post includes affiliate links. For the full disclosure policy click here.

Bouquet Box Before and After      Keepsakes. Memorabilia. Trinkets. Call them what you want but us sentimental types all agree they have personal value for so many reasons. I used to spend a large portion of my free time scrapbooking and obviously as a photographer my pictures and images are especially important to me. But what about the other “stuff”? Say… maybe… a bouquet from a special occasion? This last year Q and I renewed our wedding vows and I’ve been hanging on to my bouquets knowing I wanted to make them into more of a keepsake. I’ve seen several versions of shadow boxes out there for wedding bouquets but I wanted something more open(no glass) and stand alone(no stationary/invitations). Moving around some old canvases I noticed the frames are essentially the perfect size and shape for my version of a bouquet box!

Bouquet before.

The bouquets I put together myself(very long story) using artificial flowers so they’ve held up extremely well. And the real touch… sigh… if I had only known about this at my actual wedding! I tell every bride about these flowers because I have been that impressed. These are some next level blooms y’all!

*Side note: if you had a real flower bouquet you could still do this project! Just preserve the flowers first and take a little extra care when assembling and cleaning. Preserved flowers can be a bit fragile but absolutely gorge so totally worth it!

Bouquet Blooms

I stripped the blooms off the stems and separated most of the foliage. Once I had the blooms cut I just flipped over the canvas to see how many would fit and/or how many canvases they would fill. My bouquets filled two canvases(10″ and 12″). Obviously these were some well loved canvases…. Ha!Bouquet Box Canvases   I slapped a couple coats of Navy paint(sticking to my Navy/Rose Gold palette) on both sides of the canvases. No need to be concerned with any brush strokes, lumps, or bumps as the majority of the canvas is actually just  covered in flowers or facing a wall. These two were covered in hot glue, tags, and super thick coats of acrylic from a project too old for me to remember! But hey, extra points for upcycling old supplies right?

Bouquet Box Assembly    Once the paint dried I simply hot glued the blooms into place. I anchored a couple blooms to the sides and the rest were attached straight to the fabric. Also, I added in the shell picks and some faux coral. Which, of course, I hit with a couple coats of my favorite Rose Gold spray paint. Our master bedroom has a few beach touches (and we renewed our vows on the beach!) so I liked sneaking in a few extra beach elements.  When everything was set and dried I just cut a couple lengths of rope, knotted the ends, and tacked them on with tiny finishing nails.

The corner of our loft/master bedroom has a small sitting area which is totally a work in progress. I’ve slowly been adding pieces and testing items… but Ive got a few big ideas brewing so I’m sure this will be changing. For now, the bouquet boxes were the perfect wall art for the area. They have only been hanging a couple days but they make me smile every time I come up the stairs!

So what keepsakes have you decorated with? Did your wedding or renewal bouquet get upcycled? You know I’d love to hear all about it in the comments! Happy Friday peeps!

Continue Reading

MALM Nightstand Hack

This post includes affiliate links. For the full disclosure policy click here.

I used to hate that old saying “better late than never”. Well, to be honest, I truly can’t stand when people aren’t punctual(thanks Pops!) but when it comes to hacks I’m all for it! Ikea hacks that is. I know, I know, people have been hacking Ikea goods for probably as long as the place has been churning out affordable furniture but I’d never joined the party. And while I’ve bought plenty of Ikea furniture over the years its  never been with the intention of pulling off a hack from the get go. That is, until this move. Until this Ikea ‘As-Is’ section. Until this MALM nightstand hack.

NightstandBA (3)

If you’ve been reading these posts a while you will remember our Ikea haul that maxed out our Prius packing capabilities(above). Hidden in that pile of discounted goods were two beat up MALM nightstands priced at a whopping $27. We may have knack for finding crazy as-is deals(what can I say?!). These guys are normally around $55 each and seeing the pair marked down so much with what I considered strictly cosmetic issues I threw them on our cart as quickly as possible.

After rolling around a few color schemes for our new bedroom space I decided on a Navy // Rosegold // Beachwood combo. With that in mind I skimmed the chalk paint color selection and grabbed a container of FolkArt Home Decor in the color Nautical. The label looked pretty close to the shade I was going for but after I swatched it I realized it was way too light(closer to a royal blue?). So I grabbed the  container of Rich black and started mixing. After 2 coats of paint, 1 coat of Wax, and 20 minutes of elbow grease buffing these looked good as better than new!

KreatingHome_Nightstand-3

*Side note: if you’re mixing a custom color its really helpful to weigh it as you go. I use our little digital kitchen scale and and write down the “recipe” as I go. This way I can mix as I go and when you’re covering larger areas like furniture you can duplicate your shade over and over again as needed. The final color came out to about 3 parts blue and 1 part black.

Now to the hardware! I’ve used these simple pulls for other projects in the past and loved them. I knew I wanted to use them again to keep the look pretty clean. Plus, you cant grab the multi pack of 10 which is great because I have plans for the other 6 handles(more on that later). I’d been lusting after all the gorgeous rose gold hardware floating around Pinterest for some time but after seeing a couple price tags(who pays this much for handles??) decided I could get the same look with some good ol’ spray paint.

NightstandBA (1)

I started off with the Valspar Rose Gold since it was so highly recommended online. This was great on coverage and it did have a rosey hue but I like my Rose Gold pushing the line on Copper so I went in search of something else. Now looking at the Dusty Pink by Krylon you would think this is going to come out straight Pink sans any Gold but NOPE! It came out in my dream color mashup of Copper and Rose Gold(que the spray paint angels singing! Ahhhhh!). You can see the difference pretty well below. The right has just one coat of the Valspar and the Left has the additionally coat of Krylon:

NightstandBA (2)

I know I have been blowing up my social media with a lot of #chalkpaint but I’m still totally in love. Get used to it peeps! Any product that has this kind of coverage and staying power without me having to sand a single square inch is here to STAY! This covered all the scrapes and scratches these floor models had and made it look like part of the wood grain. And again: NO SANDING!

KreatingHome_Nightstand-8

We talked about adding feet/legs(and we may still) but for now we are loving these new-to-us nightstands! So have you intentionally hacked any Ikea goods? Done a nightstand makeover? Tell me all about peeps!

MALM Nightstand Hack
Continue Reading

Upcycled Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island DIY
   
   Kitchen storage. Is there really ever enough? In my case the answer to that has always been NO! We’ve lived in so many different spaces and even the ones with the biggest kitchens still lacked enough storage to house all my kitchen supplies. I realize I may have more than the average person (and even most foodies). But! Being a food photographer as my “day job” means my kitchen doubles as my office and all my tools, dishes, thingamabobs, etc double as my props. Do you see why the upcycled kitchen island was the first DIY we tackled upon moving into the loft? Right. 

   When we moved across the country we decided to use Upack to move the majority of our household goods. The company drops off a container, you fill it, they drive it across the county, and eventually drop it off at your new home. Simple and super budget friendly. Only hitch is you have to pack it all yourself. Now we have moved several times in the last 10 years of making homes together but we have never packed for this big of a move and never with this kind of container. We did our best and man did we pack a LOT of junk items into that space… maybe a little too much. At least weight wise. And maybe a little too much on top of what used to be our dinning room table…

 

    
   When we finally unpacked enough boxes to uncover the table we realized the wood completely split(insert super sad face). At first my mind started to wonder how we could repair it and how we could start some new woodworking projects in the middle of our new place… and then I realized that was too crazy even for us! So we pulled the legs off and I figured the top itself could make a good desk top or even just another backdrop/surface for my shoots. I quickly changed that train of thought once we unpacked another stack of kitchen boxes and realized I needed more storage and an island would be perfect in the space: 

(Doesn’t that space look like it was made for a huge kitchen island?! I thought so too)

    We already had a few old expedite bookcases and some metal legs from a previous configuration. So we just tipped them on their sides, attached the legs, and threw the old table top on! After a few more days of unpacking I added the lid holder to the far side and a couple magazine holders to corral those annoying water bottles which are always too tall to fit in apartment kitchen cupboards:

 
   I also added some fabric storage bins to hide some of the less attractive items. As much as I love seeing pretty kitchens with open storage and all white plates and pottery but thats just not realistic for me. I have a huge variety of sizes, colors, and shapes and when you try to use completely open storage it just looks messy and visually cluttered. So bins for the win!
 
  
 After a few days of using the island we added some rubber feet between the table top and the book cases to help with the small amount of shifting we had. We didn’t really want to attach the top with brackets or other hardware because it seemed like overkill and it would look messy. So far there haven’t been any issues with shifting but I’ll come back with an update after it gets a little more use. 

   So DIY project #1 for this loft is officially complete! What DIYs do you have planned for the weekend?
Continue Reading