Posts Tagged ‘re-do’


make me pretty, again – i re-do my own re-do

July 11, 2012

Whenever I talk to people about re-doing furniture I always say “Don’t be afraid to try something new. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s just paint and fabric, you can always do it again if you don’t like how it turns out.”

And honestly, most pieces I re-do I fall in love with. I almost keep most of them before I finally decide I can let them go. But every once in a while there is one that is just not quite right. So I just try to live with it for a while, until I can figure it out.

That’s what happened with this table. Here is the before:

And here she is after the first re-do:

For some reason, I could never feel right about the fabric on top. You can read more about the original re-do here.

So it sat in my basement for a long time and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it until Pinterest inspired me. I saw a picture of a table that a girl had turned into a kitchen cart and I knew what was meant to be!

I added a towel rack, casters and a chevron wood top. Now I am in love!

PS – I just opened a booth at the West End Antiques Mall (more on that soon) and you can find this lovely lady there if you want to see her in person.


darling octopus and r•home magazine – may issue

April 27, 2012

My article in this months R•Home magazine is all about closet doors. I re-did these door in my basement and they might be the most elegant doors to hide a hot water heater!

We are just finishing a bathroom remodel which included a bonus closet in our master bedroom. (I use the word “master” loosely – it’s the largest bedroom in our house but come on, it didn’t even have a closet!) Anyway, at the end of the remodel, and over budget of course, we don’t really have $400 dollars, or more, for cool closet doors. So my plan is to buy the cheapest doors around and fancy them up!

I bought these hollow core doors for less than $60 for four panels at Lowes. They are hideous, I know! But they are totally flat. A blank surface for my creativity. I am thinking about wallpaper with molding around the edges. I will make sure to post a photo when I am done. Here are the doors that are inspiring me:

from S. R. Gambrel

From House Beautiful


From Houzz

From Martha Stewart Living


darling octopus & r•home magazine

December 23, 2011

Go out and get the January issue of R•Home magazine! There you can read my article about shopping for vintage furniture and home decor in RVA. There are lots of useful hints and a resource list of some of my favorite shopping spots.

I thought it might be fun to elaborate on some of my ideas in the magazine. I found this armoire at the Salvation Army on Midlothian Turnpike but you know you see one of these at every thrift store and yard sale you go to. Flat screen TV’s are making them an obsolete piece of furniture but you could always re-purpose them.


Turn it into a cute home office and just close the doors when you’re done working.

photo from

Or check out this adorable kids art center!

image from

I thought this dresser was almost perfect. I love the shape and the color I would just add some new hardware to make it look a little more modern.


My favorite source for cool drawer pulls is Anthropologie. I regularly shop their clearance section – there you will find pulls for as little as $3 each! Below are two picks that I think would look awesome!

photo from anthropologie

photo from anthropologie

I am the queen of the chair re-do. I know I have re-done more chairs than any other piece of furniture. It is hard for me to pass up a chair with good bones because it is usually pretty easy to give it a new look.


Here are some of my past chair projects that might inspire you.

Victorian Chair

Kid Friendly Laminated Cotton Chair

Curvy Chair

Next issue, I will be showing you how to re-do a chair, step by step, with very detailed directions! Yeah R•Home – Yeah DIY!

PS – You can read my first R•Home article, all about shopping for vintage furniture, online now!


make me pretty – the 2nd dresser

January 26, 2011

Time for dresser number 2! If you haven’t seen the first re-do you can find it here!

I had two identical dressers and decided to see how different I could make their looks. Here is the before picture:

And my second version of the dresser after:

I painted the dresser cream and attached a fun graphic pattern fabric on the drawers. I completed the look with pretty frosted glass drawer pulls.

And, of course, I had to paint the inside of the drawers a fun color!

So which version do you like better? Let me know in the comments!


wanted: the ugliest furniture out there

June 10, 2010

The way I shop for furniture is a little different than most people. I love to find the piece that no one sees the beauty in any more. Things that are so old and beat up that at first glance there seems to be no potential.

I live for before and afters – the more dramatic the better. Starting out with something truly ugly only adds to the effect.

So I find myself at lots of thrift stores and yard sales, and of course Richmond’s great provider – the alleys! This recent Salvation Army find is the perfect illustration of what I am talking about.

The first thing I look for is ugly fabric. I am no upholstery genius, although I would like to be, but this kind of chair is super easy to change the fabric on. Seriously, you need a screw driver and a staple gun – that’s it!

Not only is this fabric super ugly but the chair also has a ripped up plastic seat cover dangling from the edges – nice!

The second thing I look for is a bad stain or paint job. A lot of these old pieces have seen a re-do or two and it doesn’t always turn out pretty. I am just going to sand and paint it anyway so it doesn’t scare me.

Dripping stain and chipped varnish are my friends. They mean that everyone else walked past this chair without looking twice leaving it for me to scoop up!

The third thing I look at is the price. I want it cheap! If I am going to put a lot of time and effort (not to mention paint, fabric and supplies) into making these pieces pretty I want to start out with a small investment.

The most important thing to look for is that the piece of furniture you are interested in is built well. If it needs to be fixed do you think you can handle it? If not, just keep on walking because no matter how cute it is it will just end up sitting in your garage or basement. It also help if the piece has good lines and some interesting details.

The funny things is that the pieces I am drawn to were once really nice. You can tell, if you look past all the abuse, that this chair once sat proudly in someones dining room a long, long time ago. Hopefully I will be able to turn these old furniture pieces into the kind of treasures that people will love again!


make me pretty – our builder grade kitchen upgrade

March 11, 2010

When we first bought our house the kitchen was the thing I loved the most and the least about it. I loved that it was open – it had once been a galley kitchen but at some point someone knocked out a wall and now there is this really nice flow between the living room, dinning room and kitchen. The list of things I hated about it were a lot longer:

• Ugly brown cheap builder grade cabinets.

• Horrible linoleum floor.

• Cardboard-y wall board on the back spalsh.

So of course we want to gut the kitchen and start over. Some nice stainless steal appliances, concrete counter tops, and real wood cabinets. But that isn’t in the budget right now so what do we do? Just live with an ugly kitchen?

Hell no. I make it as pretty as I can as cheaply as I can and keep planning my dream kitchen in my head.

We pulled up the linoleum and found hard wood floors! I decided to paint them in a checker board pattern – one of the more tedious project I have taken on but I think it turned out really well.

We pulled down some cabinets, covered the wall board with grass cloth wall paper and put up open shelves. I found the brackets on clearance at Urban Outfitters for $5 each – score! I got the boards cut at Lowes and stained them ebony.

I painted the cabinets light gray and the walls dark gray. I decided to use yellow as my accent color and painted the back door a bright bold yellow.

I even sewed the curtain for the window (and I am not much of a sewer.) If you have a curtain that you like it is pretty easy to use it as a pattern and figure out how to make your own.

So there it is. It’s not perfect but it is so, so much better!