Monday, August 30, 2010

Dresser Distress (Part II)

This is going to be short, but not very sweet...why didn't any of you tell me how much work this reworking furniture thing is?! just show the before and after pictures like whoosh!  Here's the ugly, drab, disgusting piece of furniture that no one in their right mind would ever buy, and then (*successive harp strums*) ta dah! here's the most beautiful custom piece of furniture you've ever seen that you couldn't find in a store if you tried. 

But you never mentioned the hours of grueling, labor intensive, sweat, blood and tears that went into it!  Needless to say we've been working on the dresser this weekend.  After a couple of hours on Friday and a few hours on Sunday, two of us have almost finished sanding it down.  I feel like such a wimp; we even had two electric handheld sanding machines.  I still don't think it's going to be in good enough shape to stain it (there is some weird paint in some spots underneath that won't come off and taking off the hardware left holes in some places that will have to be filled in with putty), so I am in the process of picking out a good color.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dresser Distress

Hello ladies! I need help!  Our bought-out-of-college dressers are falling apart after ten years and we need a new one.

What I really want to buy is this beautiful handcrafted St. James 11 drawer dresser from Restoration Hardware.

But, since I'm having trouble committing to a house style right now, I am not ready to commit to an expensive dresser.  So off to Craig's list I go.  I have been searching for several weeks now, and yesterday, I came across this solid wood, well-constructed dresser (for $80!):

I think it has big potential, but I've never done a furniture renovation before.  Luckily, my sister has all of the equipment I might need, like a sander.  I am open to any kind of style really, as this will have many possible locations in the new house - kid's room, guest room, living room... Do you think I can pull off getting that natural look of the RH dresser above? or should I go with a bold color? or a neutral so it can be more versatile? Can you help a sister out with some ideas and tips?

P.S.  By the way, I think I just realized my inspiration for this is Blueprint Bliss's new project.  She just bought this great campaign dresser, and I can't wait to see what she does with it!

Even if she goes neutral, I love how BOLD this green inspiration picture of hers is.  She got it from Little Green Notebook via Lonny:

P.S.S.  I also just realized that the only reason I am crazy enough to believe I transform something like this into something beautiful is because of Fresh Paint Fridays at Life in the Fun Lane. 

I will either thank you or blame you later!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm worried - I'm always in love

I have a confession to make. I am fickle. No. Worse. I am an outright unfaithful traitor.  Some might call me eclectic, but that would be too kind.  I am easily seduced by beautiful style, no matter the persuasion.  I am so afraid I am going to end up with a big mish mosh of mismatched and incoherent design that I am scared into inaction. I need help.   We need to decide the foundation on which the style for the rest of our house will lay.  What do we want our house to look like?  If you could build anything, what style would you build?  Send pictures to

The Spanish Colonial Revival style lures me with its arches, clay tiles and balconies with wrought iron detailing. I can feel the wind whistling through the iron balcony, blowing my hair, as I walk out onto the beautifully detailed ceramic tile floor in my bikini and sarong (mind you, in this image, I am 5'8", 120 lbs. - it's my fantasy!).

I look out through the arch down below to where my man is playing the guitar like a Basque gypsy king. Maybe it’s the curve of the arches, the musky masculine feel of the dark wood, the feminine patterns of the moorish lanterns, or maybe it’s just the heat. I just love how the style mixes European and Moorish influences. It's so romantic, exotic, timeless.  A great example of this is Diane Keaton’s house (above and below). I love her movies and apparently, her style as well. See? I’m always in love.

It’s the kind of house you might see in Beverly Hills or Malaga but certainly not the north east of the United States, so bye-bye Spanish Revival style. Maybe I’ll see you again on vacation or in retirement.

Arts and crafts bungalows charm me.  To me, they feel fresh and laid back.  Like I woke up at 5 a.m. to go surfing and tonight we are going to have dinner on the porch made from the fresh veggies picked from our garden.

I don't typically go for modern, but when it's done well, it's seductive.   In some ways, the modern style matches my personality - not afraid to try something new, logical, efficient.

Or perhaps something more substantial, something like this.  If we build this house, our children are destined to become the POTUS or Supreme Court justices:

Hey, if we are going for substantial and traditional, why not go all the way?  With a house like this, Little Man would be fit to marry a princess.

Being a huge fan of the Notebook, I am in love with the house from the movie (below).  This house is like the Southern drawl that Big Man can turn on the drop of a dime.  I fall for it every time.  See how easy I am?

From the movie, The Notebook.

We both agree we like a farmhouse style, and as I mentioned before, we love the character of an old house.  The best example of a classic gothic American farmhouse is the Southern Living house designed by Looney Ricks Kiss that I have mentioned before:

The style doesn't quite have the sex appeal of the Spanish Colonial, but it has it's own quiet integrity, beauty and comfort.  I can still see Big Man playing guitar on the porch, but this time he's playing something a little more his style and I'm listening from the garden, where I'm pulling weeds.  The kids are inside doing their homework.  You get the idea...The style has a simple beauty - real.

Having grown up in a stone and stucco farmhouse, I think these images below could be the right blend between the European feel of the Spanish revival and the simple American beauty of the classic American farmhouse:

From Country Living.

From real estate listings in Pennsylvania.

Perhaps something along the lines of this Italian farmhouse is a happy medium?

If you could build anything, what style would you build?  Me? I'm worried - I'm always in love.