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DIY | Manolo for the Home - Part 8
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Furniture Rescue: Yes or No?

Couch rescue

I’ll admit it… no, I’ll proclaim it! Quite a bit of the furniture and decor in my house came from secondhand sources. Sometimes that has meant sweet hand-me-downs from well-off relatives, and sometimes it has meant finding the perfect thing along the side of the road. How much I do to this inherited and rescued furniture depends on how much TLC it needs. Painting furniture is a favorite rejuvenation technique of mine — especially when it comes to accents that aren’t usually painted.

I’m wondering, however, if I’m, a homeowner at 29, the exception or the rule. Are you enthusiastic about DIY furniture rescue or do you look askance at the people you see gleefully dragging dressers into the back of their minivans on garbage day? What is your opinion of the usual quality of DIY results? When you answer, hit the poll first, then explain yourself in the comments!

Tacky or Totally Lust-Worthy?

There’s a lot to hate here… the powder pink paint, the cheesy hanging crystals, and the in-your-face arms on this pink chandelier from Bunny Maxwell come to mind. And yet, I’m drawn to this chandelier like a doomed moth is drawn to the flame of a citronella candle.

Pink Chandelier

Yes, my lust is awakened, and I would gladly reshape my entire abode to find a fit for a powder pink chandelier. It’s a good thing I don’t have three hundred smackers lying around… or is it? If I found the right chandelier at a secondhand shop and the right color of paint at the local Home Depot, I’d wager a powder pink chandelier would suddenly fit right into my budget.

Someone has to warn The Beard!

DIY Serving Tray

When it comes to amazing DIY transformations in the home, it seldom gets more amazing than this:

Serving tray, before

One of these white kitchen cabinet doors at the salvage yard doesn’t know it, but it’s going to go home with a superlative crafter with serving trays on her mind.

Serving tray made out of a cabinet

And here’s what that kitchen cabinet door became! Monica of Craftynest is the brains (and I suppose the brawn) behind this oh-so-easy DIY project, and she’s been kind enough to share a how-to on her blog. If you’re in the San Fran Bay area and you love Monica’s stuff — hey, one out of two ain’t bad — then you’re in luck. She occasionally puts some of her projects up for sale on the local Craigslist board. Lucky Californians!

Wall Decals and the Art of the Display

Many moons ago, I posted about picture frame patterned wallpaper from Graham & Brown. I was kind of disappointed that the picture frames were only drawn on — I thought they should ideally have built-in pockets for photographs or artwork. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for the next best thing.

photo frame wall decals

Today, I stumbled upon it. Photojojo sells re-stickable wall decals in the shape of retro picture frames. Unlike the aforementioned wallpaper, you can actually use these frames to display photos.

And speaking of displays, my new favorite Flickr group is The Art of the Display, which I found via poppytalk. The group’s pool contains over 500 photos of awesome interiors and home decor inspiration that will help you make the most of the furniture and home accessories you already have. I’m absolutely besotted!

Apples, apples, everywhere

Photo by the lovely and talented tofutti break

All I can say is that if you plan to decorate your ceiling in this manner, you’d better reeeaaaaaally like your chosen wallpaper. If you look closely, you’ll see that even the light switch covers have been papered to match.

Wait, here’s one more tip: Before you commit to a wallpapered ceiling, give some thought to the poor folks who will someday live in your domicile — after you move, sell, or die — because they will be the ones up on a ladder, desperately trying to yank yellow apples off of the crumbling plaster.

Bedroom boredom cure: DIY headboards

Can you use a stapler? I know you can!

Headboards made headlines in a recent issue of Cookie — which appears to be a magazine for mommies with money — in an article about shared bedroom solutions. How does one ensure that both kiddies are represented when you’re designing that perfect child sanctuary? By installing some easy mismatched headboards, of course. Just so you know, the instructions featured in both the magazine and in their blog can easily be modified to accommodate a grownup sized headboard.

I’m going to reprint those instructions here — don’t sue me, please — just in case Cookie changes its blog format in the future:

1. Lay your fabric out on the floor with the front facing down and lay the headboard on top of it, also face down.

2. Trim the fabric so that it extends 10-12 inches beyond the headboard on all sides.

3. Starting at the middle of the top edge, pull the fabric over to the back of the headboard and staple down using your staple gun. Repeat at the middle of the bottom edge, pulling fabric so it’s taut but not stretched.

4. Do the same for the side edges, stapling the fabric at the center point.

5. Working out from the center toward the corners, staple the fabric to the back of the headboard every 6-8 inches along all four sides.

6. At the corners, fold the fabric as though you are wrapping a present, then staple down creating one folded seam at each corner of the headboard.

It doesn’t get much easier than that! I know for a fact that it’s doable because an aunt of mine rocked the cloth headboard in her guestroom back in the 80s and her whole setup was out of this world. She actually upholstered various parts of the bed itself and made a matching duvet cover, so the whole thing was a crazy mass of black and white. It was a very chic and playful piece of furniture in an otherwise somber and serious room, making it all the more charming.

DIY: Floating on a pillow of pretty

My grandmother decided recently to clean out her cupboards and gifted me with a great deal of vintage upholstery fabric. I took it all, fearing I’d miss something spectacular if I poked through it to find the good stuff when my ferry was set to leave in a mere half hour. A lot of it is rather thick and nubby, leading me to believe my sewing machine would balk if I tried to make curtains, but a few yards were utterly gorgeous. One swath in particular is white and orange and two shades of blue that just happen to match the two shades of blue in my living room.

How is it that I only recently learned that blue and orange can be combined to good effect?

No matter! Thus far I’ve pre-washed and ironed the fabric to prepare it for its eventual fate, which is to become a pair of throw pillow covers for the living room. Too bad my sewing machine is on the fritz. There is, however, one benefit to not being able to indulge my need to sew, sew sew, which is that I can spend all sorts of non-productive time looking at beautiful fabrics, contemplating what I’d make if I had all sorts of money to drop on the raw materials for dresses and shams and slipcovers.

I’m a huge fan of Amy Butler fabrics — in fact, it was she who taught me not to hate florals. Previously, I associated all floral prints with a certain high school math teacher who daily wore dresses that looked more like couches.

Amy Butler rulesAmy Butler rulesAmy Butler rules
Amy Butler rulesAmy Butler rulesAmy Butler rules

Lovely, no? The nice thing about sewing pillow covers is that they’re generally square or rectangular, which means you only have to sew on a straight line. Additionally, you’ve got a lot of freedom where fabric is concerned unless your pillows see a lot of ‘butt action’ on a regular basis. If you want to give this simple project a try a try, the easy, illustrated instructions found here and here are a great place to start.

Now I’m off to inspect my newly delivered wicker set!

Wallpaper envy

I love wallpaper patterns, but I’m so not motivated enough to do the whole wallpaper thing. Right or wrong, I think of wallpapering a room as this tedious and complicated process involving lining up patterns and picking fights with The Beard. Why the fights? Tandem home improvement tends to bring out the worst in people. Consider my friend who installed a new bathroom sink with her live-in boyfriend. She said that she was close to killing him by the time the sink was in. Oy!

So, yeah, wallpaper. Do not want. Children’s book author and crafter Claire Louise Milne found a new and wonderful use for wallpaper, however, and I think I could pull it off without becoming a widow. I’d show you a snapshot of her handwork but she asks that people like yours truly not use her photos without permission, so you’ll have to go look for yourself.

For those who’d prefer to stay right here, I’ll describe Milne’s pet project. After falling in love with Neisha Crosland’s “anemone” paper, she decided to jump feet first into the world of wallpaper. Long story short, she backed the doors of a couple of secretaries with some gorgeous with the paper.

“I decided the best way to indulge the wallpaper fixation was to decorate a cabinet. And I found some lovely vintage paper on ebay. It has a lattice pattern (which I love) and flowers (which I love) and the colour scheme is fresh with light green and lots of white.”

This is DIY on a small scale — perfect for those of us with more ambition than time!

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