Well hello there. If you are new to the blog, welcome.
In the last week I have a lot of new friends who have chosen to follow my little bitty minnow of a blog Thank you for choosing to follow along.
It is winter here in southeast Texas. That means high humidity, rain, and lots of days I am not able to do any furniture work. Add to that my full time job is at its busiest an that adds up to not much getting accomplished. The garagemahal is loaded with projects just waiting for a warm sunny day to come along.
I thought you might enjoy some of the most popular posts that you might have missed in the past. If you are one of my long-time followers, indulge me as I take a walk down memory lane. 🙂 If you click on the underlined writing by each number it will take you directly to the post about the piece.
1. Mudroom Bench ( You probably found me through this piece but I am including it just in case you found me some other way.)
2. Beverage Station ( Old sewing cabinet and stainless sink make parties more fun.)
3. Green End Table Makeover (Yes, Virginia, there is a Junk Fairy. From time to time she drops things off at our house.)
Well, I had time on my hands in my day this week while out on school visits. Not enough time to go back to the office but too much time to be idle.
Two thoughts kept running through my brain.
1. I want to change the look of our master bedroom.
2. If we get the land we are looking at buying, the exterior of the house must change.
If you follow me on Pinterest (kasmithson) then you can probably see what I am thinking about working on because I start pinning like crazy when I am collecting ideas. This week I started a new board for the master bedroom and one for the front of the plain Jane ranch house with an undersized front porch that we are hoping to buy. (Crazy, I know but we love the land, the location, and the outbuildings. The house will be a project for years to come.)
Since we don’t have our lake house sold or the other place purchased yet, I decided to focus on the master bedroom at our Burb house.
I am totally blaming this upcoming redo on Joanna Gaines and HGTV. I love the look the homes she decorates. The rooms are restful, stylish, and have a sense of history. Our home is a newish, tract home that is long on space but short on character.
Here are a few shots of our master bedroom today.
It isn’t awful, but we really need to have a king sized bed, and the room is lacking in character. When our son and daughter in law come back from overseas and collect their furniture, the master bedroom furniture will move into our guest room.
Here is my wish list for our bedroom update:
A “Shiplap” wall.
( I did not know I loved this so much until HGTV’s Fixer Upper)
The House of Smith has a great tutorial for getting it up here.Planked Wall
I like something like this for This Old House only I want the window seats under our two windows and drawers instead of cabinet doors in the center section.
I want a tripod lamp.
I already have the parts for one like this: Dwelling Cents Tripod Lamp
The triple mirror and the crystal lamps will be a part of the design. The lamps will be going on the side tables and the triple mirror on the side wall.
The coolest chair ever. It was rescued by my mom and dad. When it was delivered to me it was in pieces. I love this 1940’s low-slung chair . It is so comfortable.
The side tables. They are a pair that I made over a while back. They used to be part of an entertainment center.
The bench. It will get recovered.
The curtains, although they will need to be raised to the ceiling so that they are raised enough that they fit with the benches that will go under each window. I really like those lined burlap curtains.
That means the headboard- which I love- goes, and the oak furniture will head to storage until the kids come home to get their furniture then move to the guest room.
The biggest project will be figuring out the built in wall unit. I want it to look like a built in wall unit but really be a piece that will come apart and move with us. It will need to go from one side of the room to the other with a drawers, closed storage and drawers. I am looking at ReStores and at Hotel furniture sellers for base cabinets.
I have a feeling we will get on this as soon as the lake house is on the market.
Thanks for reading my blog. I love hearing from all of you.
We found this beauty sitting on the side of the road outside a rental house. There wasn’t much I loved about the piece except that it had some great French Provincial hardware hiding under layers of paint but I just couldn’t leave it sitting on the curb waiting for heavy trash pick up.
We stopped and got the dresser along with this piece I am still thinking about what to do with it but I am thinking gray and creamy white.
After a month of the ugly lavender dresser sitting in our garage I decided that this was the weekend to get busy and do something with the piece. Because the piece was not real wood and had some areas that the fake wood had gotten wet and was swollen, I knew it would need a lot of sealing. First it all got primed with Zinzer primer then I made my own version of chalk paint for the second coat out of a grayish, greenish OOPS paint sitting in the garage that I thought would work for the piece. Here is a trick if you like the look and feel of latex paint with poly on top for durability but like the way that chalk paint will cover nasty surfaces, use one coat of chalk paint then sand lightly, then paint over it with the latex paint.
After painting the whole piece I could see it still needed additional help.
I decided to take the dresser in a whole different direction.
I took off the French Provincial hardware and added cedar fencing we picked up when our neighbors changed out their fence. One board covered the front of each dresser drawer, one to cover the bottom part and three to cover the top. Only one board needed to be cut down narrower on the table saw. After the boards were nailed on, I gave them a good sanding to bring out the color of the wood.
The hardware I decided to use out of my hoard was some shiny brass hardware that had been given to me by a neighbor. A coat of Rustoelum Flat spray paint designed for metal was just the ticket to getting the look I wanted. My math-minded husband figured out where the pulls needed to go on the dresser and drilled the holes so that they would line up vertically.
Here he is in all his glory. No one would guess that this dresser was a cheap, feminine, not wood dresser headed for a landfill.
It is going to be a gift for a hard-working friend.
What do you think about the finished $2.00 project?
Well, we are taking the plunge. Star Hill, our near the lake cabin in Coldspring, Texas is going on the market. We planned to meet with a Realtor Sunday to discuss selling our near the lake house, Star Hill. She actually could not come because she broke her leg, but we will be putting the house on the market very soon. I decided to do all the research I could in her absence to make sure we are ready to sell this place and buy the property we are dreaming about near our lake house.
Having someone you don’t know walk through a place you poured blood, sweat, tears and time into when selling your home is hard. Being judged on your effort is hard. Loving the place and wanting whoever buys the house to love it, too is our hope.
After doing the research on getting a home sold quickly and trusting my gut I have composed a to do list.
Get concrete work completed on porch.
Paint porch rails. ( The dog is not for sale. Every time I get out the camera she manages to jump into the shot. )
Clean out flower bed, trim bushes, get leaves up.
Fix deck boards and popped nails then paint deck with sprayer.
Clear porch of items except patio set.
Move cedar from my cedar windfall to boat storage.
Finish outstanding projects. I have three that need to get knocked out on the first dry-warmish day.
Clean, clean, clean.
Continue to declutter. It will probably mean moving some furniture to storage. The cedar cabinet provides great storage but it makes the guest room feel small. The Western Dresser can go to storage, one of the night stands in the front bedroom. The shelving unit in the back closet along with the skis can go.
We have a large list but can get it knocked out if motivated-and we are motivated.
We plan to list the home with a realtor the first of March but we honestly hope it sells sooner by owner.
I would love your input on the list and suggestions from those of you who have sold second homes.
As we are getting ready to sell our sweet little near the lake house, I think I am getting sentimental.
I dug out our scrap book from the first few years of our journey and was pleasantly surprised at all we have done on the home. I also thought back to all we did not know or have when we bought Star Hill eight years ago.
If you are anything like us, buying a second home is a stretch financially and a little scary. Buying a second home means there is suddenly a new house payment, electrical bill, home owner association dues, water, taxes, upkeep… the list is long.
First of all, buy only what you can afford comfortably, be aware in advance what to expect like how much to plan for utilities. I was such a nervous nelly that I insisted we make “payments” for two months into our savings account before we actually bought the house. That money we deposited was our contingency fund. Hubby was so desperate to convince me that we could afford it he packed his lunch for work.
What we didn’t have a great plan for was furniture. We bought a three bedroom home with very little furniture that would work in the small spaces.
I set a goal of getting the house move in ready for $1000 and we got it done. Move in ready does not mean perfect. It means we could spend the night, have guests, and have the basics.
There were a few things I learned from the experience that I think applies to any time you set up a new home. We followed the same strategy when setting up both of our kids in their first apartment.
1. Walk through your own home to see what can go to the weekend house . We were able to come up with linens, lamps, utensils, a chair, a cedar cabinet, and our first couch. You can see the ugly couch in the trailer packed for our trip to move into the lake house. It looked much better with a slip cover.
2. Let folks know what you need. Tell people what you are looking for. Cast the net and let people know specifically what you have on your list. We ended up getting to borrow a great table and chairs for several years until we built the set we now have. A friend gave me this ginger jar lamp and mom gave us a bedside table. Don’t turn things down because it is the wrong style, shape or color. Paint covers a lot of ugly, changing out parts makes things like lamps look better. Hardware can make something look totally different.
3. Roadside rescue. Look every day you can on Craig’s list free stuff. Ask friends to call with curb alerts. Every home I have furnished has at least a few curbside rescues. Star Hill is chock full of rescues. The biggest- you really won’t believe me, but it is true, is our master bedroom dresser, chest, and a night stand we use in the guest room. We also have this cast iron typewriter table that was left at our city house when the previous owners moved off.
4. Get up early and hit garage sales. Go with a list of items you need. Wooden chairs, storage items, lawn chairs, beach towels, life jackets, and cooking items, and decorative items were picked up at garage sales for pennies on the dollar. Ask when you go to a garage sale if they have specific items. I asked about sewing cabinet at a garage sale a year ago and the man holding the garage sale took me to the back yard to see two old treadle machines. The wooden parts were dry rotted, but the bases are now my master bedroom side tables. I got this chair and bookcase for $2.00 each. Glue, paint and fabric helped them.
5. Go to resale and thrift stores. Yes, they sometimes smell funny. Get past it and check out their furniture. Look for solid wood. Remember paint cures a lot. This coffee table was a Goodwill find. Blue paint updated the look and covered the scratched top.
6. Shop the clearance sections of target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Kirkland’s, and Marshall’s. We picked red, white, and blue for our home colors. When looking for dishes, pillows, accessories I mixed and matched. A lot of our red stuff came from after Christmas sales. I have mixed and matched dishes that are all solid colors.
7. Shop Craig’s List. Be safe and never go alone but we find a lot there. My most recent CL find was this wood stove. This twin over double
8. Auctions are another source to furnish your home. One cold, wet January we got this brand new leather sleeper sofa ( our second sofa in the home) for $150.00. No one was bidding so we snagged it. It is great.
9. If you just can’t find what you need, make it yourself. Check out Pinterest, Ana White’s blog, or just Google what you need instructions to make. I am lucky enough to be married to a woodworker so I can just draw it and get what I want. This buffet, these benches, and this table are all examples of his hard work.
Over the years we have added, replaced, and upgraded. That is the fun of having a place. Because we don’t have tons invested in the furnishings I have given myself permission to experiment.
Do you hate to see electric cords, cables, and other assorted wiring as much as I do? When we reorganized our tiny family room at the lake we moved the television, cable box, dvd, and karaoke machine…yep karaoke machine, to the corner of the room.
The problem with the move meant that all the cords, cables, wires… were hanging out for everyone to see. Not cool.
To solve the problem, Hubby plugged in a power strip with a surge protector to the outlet and used wiring tacks to attach it to the wall and at the top of the baseboard. We painted it to match the wall. He then mounted the power strip to the wall in the corner above this amazing reclaimed wood corner cabinet we bought at a garage sale for $15.00 and built these cool shelves to match out of our favorite wood, reclaimed cedar fencing.
The little cabinet holds a ton of messy stuff and I don’t fuss when people dig through the cabinet looking for a nerf gun or movie, or Frisbee. I have to choose my battles.
The shelves were totally free! I call them Superman shelves because they sort of are shaped like the Superman logo with the bottom point cut off.
This is the cut off corner of the shelves. A lot of work went into getting the shelves built to match the little cabinet exactly.
We used only reclaimed cedar in the build.
Just so you know, photographing with a dog around who believes she is the cutest, prettiest, specialist critter on the planet is a challenge. I wonder how she got so spoiled?
The magic of these shelves is in the space at the back for the wires to pass through and hide.
The dimensions of the shelves is 22 inches along both sides and the front with the short sections being 11 inches each. The short pieces are attached at a 45 degree angle. (Yay for being married to a talented math teacher!)
What a great way to build shelves to hold electrical equipment above a corner television.
Don’t they look great on our new corrugated tin wall?
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you have a great day.
Rain, rain, more rain, and cold meant no outside work, no Garagemahal furniture work during our week at Star Hill. Being stuck inside our 950 square foot house with husband, bored dog, and a restless wife meant something had to be done. That something was updating our bedroom. For less than $50.00 got the room freshened up. We painted the walls Behr Subtle Touch, I made Roman shades, and put in a reclaimed wood hat rack.
Every room at Star Hill has some variation of red, white and blue. Anything that goes into the house has to be tough and washable. We play hard at the lake. Last summer I found a blue striped Ralph Lauren quilt for $20.00 on clearance at Marshall’s and I knew it would be staying in the room. We purchased one gallon of Behr Subtle Touch zero VOC for $27.00 and $17.00 worth of fabric for the mini makeover.
Here are the best pictures of the color before we painted. I snapped these after we already got started moving stuff.
I have to give props to my husband. When it comes to painting, he is the best at cut in work. He can paint right up next to the ceiling or in this case, the reclaimed wood without taping off anything. It is a gift I don’t possess. I did the rolling and we were done in two hours. The fleshy tan color i never cared for is gone and a soft gray is now in the room. We have also had a standing hat rack in the room, taking up a square foot of space in our tiny room. We need something to hang summer boat hats, spring rain gear, and wet winter hats, gloves, and scarves.
My dad gave me three vintage coat hooks he took from a house being torn down. I loved the patina on them. They are perfect for a room with an old door headboard, a reclaimed wood wall, and sewing machine base side tables.
The most stressful project was sewing Roman shades for the windows. I am a terrible seamstress. I try, but it always seems to go wrong. This time it all worked out like I wanted. I used red and blue fabrics that coordinated with the bedding to make them and denim ribbon I had in the closet.
I love this vinyl cling on an old window. It is the perfect art for our room and reminds Hubby to give me a good night kiss!
This oak chair was two dollars as is at a resale shop. I am crazy about the chippy blue paint.
All put together, the room looks cleaner and more finished.
Another room ready for us to put the house on the market.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I love to hear from you..
We got a good start on the want to finish projects before putting our beloved Star Hill on the market over the holiday break.
This is what the wall in our main room has looked like since we moved in.
We recently got a new-ish wood burning stove off Craig’s List for our near the lake house, Star Hill. ($200 for a stove used one season. It is still for sale at Tractor Supply for over $600. That was a score.) It has a glass door and an electric blower, the two things that the old stove in the house did not have. We can now heat the whole house with it when we want and get to see the flames. We are already enjoying it. We knew that we would want a metal wall behind the stove and had planned for it to be put in for the seven years we have owned the place. Stuff always gets in the way of projects. Stuff like rescuing roadside furniture.
A cold, wet, weekend after Christmas was the perfect time to knock this particular project out. Hubby figured out how much tin to buy. It comes to about fifty cents a square foot. You can buy it in up to 12 foot lengths.
How nice of Home Depot to provide gloves.
First we cleared the wall and found the studs. I love projects where we will cover the wall because we get to write directly on the wall.
Next, attach this wooden support stuff to the studs.
The tricky part here was making sure curves lined up vertically. Hubby chopped off the ends to make sure they all started out the same way then made sure they lined up with each other at the start of the wall. Our roofing nailer attached the wood to the wall.
Our wall slopes up so that adds a level of difficulty to the project that we wouldn’t have had to deal with on a plain flat ceiling.
Using the very scary grinder, Hubby (AKA Mr. Math) cut the angles on the tin along with the vent cover and electrical outlet using rise over run math.
If you plan on doing this project you will need these special screws, gloves (or a box of Band Aids- that tin is sharp), something to cut the tin (if a grinder is too scary for you too, they make a metal cutting blade for a jigsaw) a level, a stud finder, tin, and wooden corrugated strips.
Plan on this project taking a whole day. Cutting around vents and outlets slows the process. Full disclosure here; it took us two days and a trip to three hardware stores. If we planned better and didn’t have to drive all over creation looking for supplies we forgot to bring, we could have finished in one day.
We decided to use some of our natural edge cedar for a shelf on the wall. The brackets were garage sale finds that we used for years with a funky swirl on the bottom. The grinder took care of the swirl. I love the industrial, rustic feel that the wall gives the cabin.
The wall looks great. It is exactly what I hoped. We have it set up with our free or almost free furniture, but I also wanted you to see it with more modern furniture and fabric. It would be a great wall for a modern wall. I really like the look.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope it inspires you to tackle your own projects.
This year I become eligible for retirement. Wow! How in the world did that happen? Time has flown by. I will not be retiring this year, but the realization that I could retire is causing my husband and me to give some serious thought to our future. We are both healthy, active, and still full of dreams and plans. There are places we want to visit, things we want to learn, and goals we want to accomplish.
Our biggest decision for the past few years is where to live. We decided two years ago to move to a new school district and community. We know for sure that was a great decision, but at the same time we don’t plan on living in that community after retirement.
My husband and I met in college, and we weren’t from the same part of Texas. Neither of us feels a strong pull to our home towns. We both have friends where we grew up, I have family still in the city I grew up in, but it feels like I am visiting when we go back.
A lot of prayer and self reflection on our parts has helped us to know that our adopted weekend community is home for us.
I am positive that our sweet “near the lake” house, Star Hill, is not our forever home. A week or two is about as long as I can be confined here in the winter. I need a studio and workshop. My creative side cries out for a space to have projects out, to experiment, to think. I also would like to sell more furniture in my retirement. Hubby wants a tractor, a garden, woods to walk in, a pond and outdoor projects.
We believe we may have found just the place. 15 acres, with a workshop, a creek, a barn, wooded trails, very near our friends, a garden plot, a greenhouse, a small pond, and several other outbuildings that I would really enjoy doing some neat things with. I am not crazy about the house, but it is solid. well cared for and has a ton of potential. It will take work and money but it can become the house I see in my mind’s eye.
The barn and the pond.
The side yard. The garden plot is in the back of this cleared plot of land. Water is run to the garden area.
My favorite area. The shop is the small building and the outbuildings here will make a perfect paint and furniture area. both have wood burning stoves in them.
The house. The greenhouse is visible behind the house.
The outbuildings. There are some very interesting buildings that I could really have fun with.
The property will come on the market this spring. In order to purchase this property we will have to sell Star Hill. That means we will have to focus on getting all of those “one day” projects done. We will be making sure that this place we love is ready for her close up. We are already praying that a family will buy the place who can love this place as much as we do and will create new memories in this home.
Look for lots of projects that are focused on the house and the property in the next few months. We have things to learn like concrete work and more of Hubby’s favorite: plumbing. (Ha!)
We plan on keeping our home in the burbs for several more years until we both retire so even this new spot will be our weekend home for a while.
I have a few projects in the Garagemahal I have already either sold or promised to someone. Other than that we will be keeping furniture projects to a minimum as we focus on clearing out, fixing up, and moving forward.
We ask you to pray with us that if this property is meant to be ours, everything will work out. If not, that we will have peace and direction in our journey.
Thank you all for continuing with us on another chapter of our journey.
I hope you have a wonderful new year. I would love to hear from you.