Remember that empty room at the front of our house? The third living space in our new home, that just couldn’t be filled by our two living spaces of furniture? Even though we’ve been here 11 months, now, I still haven’t been able to save enough to put furniture in there. After several weeks of [...]
Remember that empty room at the front of our house? The third living space in our new home, that just couldn’t be filled by our two living spaces of furniture? Even though we’ve been here 11 months, now, I still haven’t been able to save enough to put furniture in there. After several weeks of pricing rocking chairs and arm chairs and determining that to furnish this room with new furniture, was going to be more than $1000, the “front room” was back on hold. We really didn’t even know what to call it, since it’s hard to name a room that doesn’t have a clearly defined purpose.
And then on Thursday, the most amazing thing happened! I decided, on a whim, to browse the Craigslist listings for Lincoln (about 30 miles east of us and the it’s the closest “big” city). I ran across two ads that were several days old, but I took a chance and emailed the sellers to ask some questions and see if the pieces were still available. One ad was for two blue wing back recliner chairs in “like new” condition. They were asking $75 for the pair. The second was for an old (translated all wood, no particle board or plywood) rocking chair. Asking price was $20. Oddly enough, both were still available, immediately making me suspicious that there was something wrong with them. –lol– Oh the workings of the human mind. Anyway, to make a long story short, I grabbed my fifteen year-old son, pulled the bench seat out of the back of the van and headed out to Lincoln to check out the chairs.
At the first location, we saw the rocker. The cushion was bright orange tweed–musty and pretty yucky, but the chair had “good bones” — no loose joints and all wood. It also had an old steel spring and wood frame seat cushion — very sturdy. I paid the $20 and my good natured son, hoisted the chair above his head and carried it out to the van.
Next stop was the home with the wingback recliners. The gentleman selling them wasn’t going to be home, so he set them on his porch and said if I wanted them, to ring the bell and leave the money with his daughter. I was more and more skeptical by the minute. However, when we pulled into the driveway of his home in a very affluent neighborhood and I saw the chairs on the porch, I was sure I must have misread the price. I definitely wanted them, but I needed to confirm that they were actually only $75 for the pair, not a piece. I had intentionally come to town with only $100 and had already spent $20 on the rocker. I rang the bell and sure enough, the chairs were only $75! I wanted to do a little happy dance on the porch of that very fancy house, but I restrained myself, for the benefit of my teenage son. These chairs were much heavier and I was glad I had him with me. I would never have been able to move them by myself. It was a tight squeeze, but we got both wingback chairs AND the rocker into the back of our mini van and headed home. I had three chairs with me that new, would retail for around $1000 and I had spent $95! I love when God plans great surprises for us! What a fun day!
All the way home, the decorating ideas were swirling in my head. There wasn’t a lot of cash to add anything else to my great bargain finds, but I remembered a beat-up, old end table in the garage and I knew there was a floor lamp down in the utility room. Plus, I had some old lamp shades stored. I just needed a lamp to put under them. I have a large mirror that could work on the wall and some old picture frames and shelves, plus when I was unpacking a few more boxes in the garage last weekend, I ran across an Uppercase Living wall phrase that I had been saving for when I knew we had finally landed in the house where we would stay. Woohoo! It was finally going to be a room.
First, things first — I had to get that old cushion cover and foam off and out of the house. I removed the cushion from the chair and then took out all the old staples holding on the upholstery.
Once the old fabric and batting were removed, I used my handy, dandy staple gun to attach brand new foam to the seat cushion frame. The old chair had a box-like cushion. I wanted it to have a more rounded profile than before, to mimic the curves in the wingback chairs, so, I brought the foam all the way around the sides of the frame and stapled it to the bottom, instead of just cushioning the top.
Once the foam was secure, I used the same process to stretch my fabric over the foam. I stapled one side to the bottom, pulled it snug and stapled the opposite side, then did the same for the remaining two, gathering the extra and stapling it flat in the corners.
Okay, you remember the china hutch is on the south wall and 2/3 of the west wall has a gorgeous bay window centered in it, so the rocker is in the north corner of the west wall and the bookcase is on the north wall. That wide doorway to the right of the bookcase is hardly visible, in this shot, but actually is probably six feet wide or more and where I plan to put the vinyl word art phrase.
Directly opposite the rocker, on the east wall of the room, I arranged the wingback chairs and the end table from the garage. I had purchased a white lamp at Wal-Mart for $14 and a burgundy placemat for $1.49. The placemat was perfect for covering up most of the scratches and scrapes on the top of the end table. I also had a wrought iron fragrance warmer that worked really well on the table.
I also wanted to de-formalize the wingbacks somewhat, and “warm them up” a little, so I added a crocheted doily on the back of one and a burgundy throw pillow in the other. This is the arrangement of the east wall, at the moment. And as I said, we’ll hang the big mirror and sconces behind the chairs over the weekend. I’m loving how homey and welcoming the room is feeling. I would still like to find an area rug, eventually, to pull everything together, but in the meantime, I am so pleased to have furnished the room so frugally. Now, that it has its own personality, we have landed on a name. We’ve been calling it the parlor. It’s one of the few rooms in our home without a TV and with all the gorgeous light from the bay window, my books and quiet, it’s a perfect haven for me.
So, what do you think? And, have you made any great bargain finds recently? I’d love to hear about them in the comments, below.
I wish I was one of those cool, super-perfect DIY moms who grab a tape measure and level every time they hang a picture frame or a shelf. As my husband would testify with a roll of the eyes, I am more of an “eye-baller” kind of gal. I do all our decorating — [...]
I wish I was one of those cool, super-perfect DIY moms who grab a tape measure and level every time they hang a picture frame or a shelf. As my husband would testify with a roll of the eyes, I am more of an “eye-baller” kind of gal. I do all our decorating — furniture arranging, wall decor, etc. And we’re always pretty pleased with the end results, but I would not fall into the “professionally trained” category. I have a simple tip for hanging pictures and shelves that takes all the intimidation out of it for me. Hopefully, it will get you started, filling up all your blank wall space with great confidence, too. I use toothpaste. Whaaaa? No, the hot, humid July weather hasn’t completely toasted my brain cells. I really do use toothpaste. It’s inexpensive and I always have it on hand.
Holding a picture or a shelf up against the wall, I have a knack for “seeing” that it’s level. Believe me, David has tested this several times, because he was convinced it simply wasn’t possible. The problem is that “seeing” it level, as it is being held against the wall, is NOT the same as inserting nails or screws into the area you want them and keeping THEM level. As I mentioned before, you can definitely track down the tape measure and a level and draw a line on your wall with a pencil or some other tool you hope won’t scratch the wall or leave a mark, but my quick and inexpensive solution is toothpaste. It saves me both time and money!
I dab toothpaste in the center of the hangers of whatever piece of decor I am mounting to the wall. Then I “eye-ball” where I want it, pressing against the wall. This leaves toothpaste dollops right where I need to place my mounting hardware and when I’m done, I just wipe it away — no marks, no scratches.
Remember our empty front room from my first summertime DIY post? I decided to put something on the wall, even if I don’t have any furniture for it to accent, yet. I had a small shelf, stashed in a box in the garage, that will be a nice complement to the wood floors and the pretty china hutch that my dad built. So, I brought it in and dusted it off, pulled out my tube of Arm and Hammer Advance White Brilliant Sparkle toothpaste, and the rest is history. In five minutes, I had the shelf on the wall and was rummaging through the house for things to set on it. You will go back to this simple DIY trick, time and time, again. It’s simple AND it works!
Believe it or not, there are tons of other reasons to reach for that tube of Arm and Hammer toothpaste, besides just giving you the perfect polished smile. And when one product can do many jobs, it always saves money. I haven’t had a chance to try these, yet, but a quick search of the world-wide web netted me this list of tips and ideas:
- Put toothpaste on bug bites. (I had never heard of this, but one of my older daughters confirms that not only has she tried it, it worked, taking away the itch.)
- Crayon off of walls – I found this across multiple sites, so my guess is that it must be pretty effective. Use a damp cloth and rub toothpaste over the crayon marks to remove them. Rinse with a clean, damp cloth.
- Clean scuffs off of shoes. Apparently it is especially effective on the rubber soles and uppers of running shoes.
- Remove water rings from wood furniture. Rub toothpaste into the mark with a soft cloth and then wipe clean with a clean, damp cloth.
- Use toothpaste to polish chrome faucets and knobs. If your bathroom sink seems to manage to end up with globs of toothpaste clinging to the sides, (If it doesn’t, I want to meet the elves that clean up after the kids in your bathroom. ), use a damp cloth and turn that gloppy mess into sparkling clean faucets.
I’d love to hear any unique tips or ideas you have for using toothpaste or for DIY shelf and picture hanging! I accomplished my decorating task incredibly frugally, by using items I already had at home, including toothpaste from the medicine cabinet. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have to spend an extra penny!
This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is paying me to try different products. Sign up for a free sample of Advance White Brilliant Sparkle Toothpaste. And then head over to The Switch & Save Challenge to keep up with all of the bloggers and enter to win $25,000.
What a blessing to have found this house, moved last September and settled for what will hopefully be a very long time! There’s no question that God’s timing was perfect and so much better than what we would have done on our own. Any of you who have moved from one home to another, will [...]
What a blessing to have found this house, moved last September and settled for what will hopefully be a very long time! There’s no question that God’s timing was perfect and so much better than what we would have done on our own. Any of you who have moved from one home to another, will understand what I mean, though, when I say that I have been anxious for warm weather, so we can make the little touches and tweeks that change this from just a house to OUR home. I’m talking about the projects that put your family’s personality into a house — the preferences and ideas that really establish the house as yours and make it the place you love to come home to.
There are three main DIY areas we hope to tackle this summer and into fall:
- Our Backyard Makeover
- Bedroom Facelifts and a Master Bedroom Makeover
- Decorating and Furnishing our Parlor? Sitting Room? Front Room? Third Living Area? (We still haven’t decided exactly what to call that room. lol)
Time and budget always dictate how fast these kinds of projects move forward and in the case of Our Backyard Makeover, the weather has really thrown a curve into the plans. Unbelievable amounts of rain and cool weather slowed down getting our garden in at the time I would have preferred. But, thankfully, we have managed to take full advantage of the days of sunshine sprinkled into this crazy “rainy season” and get a few things accomplished.
Our goals for each project are:
1. Our Backyard Makeover
- establishing a vegetable garden separate from the flower beds
- edible landscaping in the form of blueberry bushes and grapes
- setting up a compost tumbler
- putting in a swingset/play area for our youngest daughter and three grandkids
- re-establishing grass in the large, dirt crop-circle created by our black lab when she was staked back there on a long lead
- furnishing the upper deck
- furnishing the downstairs screen porch
- setting up a firepit area on the patio
- painting or staining the deck and back steps
- trellising across the back of the built-in upper deck bench (to prevent grandbabies from crawling underneath and falling down to the yard)
- an umbrella clothesline (Still being debated. Hubby is definitely not as keen on the idea as I am, but the electricity savings may be the deciding factor.)
2. Bedroom Facelifts and a Master Bedroom Makeover
- removing out-dated and faded wallpaper borders
- fresh coats of bright paint (currently two of the rooms are painted dark navy and a deep, very, very dark pine green)
- paint the master bedroom a solid color (it is a two-tone, textured stripe)
- new mattress for master bedroom (The search is on for something comfy!)
- matching drapes and bedspread for master
- vinyl wall art and other decor for all bedrooms
- changing out a twin bed in a child’s room for a full or queen, so it can be used as a guest room, when needed
- desk to DIY for daughter’s bedroom
3. Furnishing and Decorating the Front Room
- This room is the first, directly to the right as you walk through our front door. It is the THIRD living area in this beautiful house and we simply do not have any furniture to fill it. It has a beautiful bay window looking out over the pretty, tree-lined street and neighborhood out front. I can’t wait to add an area rug, furniture and wall decor. The layout of the room is interesting, as it connects, in an L-shape, to the dining room around the corner. At this time, I have been able to add a nice bookcase and my Dad surprised me a couple of weeks ago with a beautiful china hutch, he built for me. That is sitting at the end of the room, where it connects to the dining room. Otherwise, this room has been totally empty since we moved in, 10 months ago. It (and the dining room, as well as the stairs and upstairs hall) were all covered in pristine WHITE carpeting when we bought the house. That was the only immediate change we made to the home after moving in. We are a “get comfortable, live-in-it”, kind of family and white carpeting anywhere, much less in the dining room, was definitely not going to fit our lifestyle. The front room and dining room were immediately redone in a warm, welcoming walnut hardwood and the stairs and upstairs hall traded their white for a plush, rich, caramel-colored carpet which we extended into the master bedroom.
As you can see, we have a pretty ambitious list and only time, great bargains and saving for the next thing, will be able to help us fully realize the dream. I intend to write about the process, as we take each new step in the makeovers, sharing tips, ideas and products I learn about along the way. Be sure to stop back tomorrow for our first post in Our Backyard Makeover series. It will begin the transformation of our backyard into an oasis for relaxation and fun, as well as a beautiful, budget-saving garden spot. We’ll kick off that first post with a fantastic giveaway, so you may be able to mark something off your own backyard DIY list, right along with me! I look forward to sharing it with you!