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How to Furnish a Second Home on the Cheap

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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.

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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.

furniture for lake house

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.

ginger jar lamp

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.

chest of drawers dresser

Furnishing a Weekend Home on the Cheap

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.

sewing machine to side table side table sewing machine parts my side table

A Bookcase Table for Star Hill

blue thrift store chair

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.

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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

wood burning stove

twin over double bunk

 

 

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.

Furnishing a Weekend Home on the Cheap

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.

Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill

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.

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Beadboard Bed Makeover

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It will be about a week before I can photograph the bed in the room it is in now but I wanted to show what a little paint and glaze does to a so so bed and night stand.

I spotted this beauty on Craig’s List for $100.00.  It was a whole bedroom set; a twin bed, under the bed drawer (that converts to a trundle bed holder I found out.) a night stand, and a dresser.  Because I am using only the nightstand and bed frame to stage a navy blue bedroom for a friend, the dresser and under the bed drawer are not painted.

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The white spot is some sort of wood filler that made a mess on the drawer.

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When we showed up, in the rain, to pick up this set the owners were packing to move.  It was in good shape considering it has been in a tween girl’s room.  There were a few One Direction stickers, and some nail polish spills, but man I have seen worse.

Because the room I helped stage is navy blue, I chose Behr Gray Area.  It is a medium to light gray that has just a touch of blue.

gray area

Hubby was busy spraying a ton of stuff Sea Salt, so I used the brush to paint the bed and night stand.  I really sort of wanted the 2006 furniture to look like it had a bit of history.

Parts of the furniture were made of wood, but other parts were painted particle board and plywood.  I did not want to take a chance on the paint not sticking so I gave it coat of liquid sander then my go-to primer for this type project, Gripper Primer by Glidden.  This primer is thick, sticky, and hard to paint with but it is advertised to use on glass.

gripper

After the primer dried I got busy painting.  It took two coats to get it smooth and looking great.

I mixed up Behr Faux Effects Glaze ( 2 Cups) with Behr Black Suede (1 full tablespoon).  I glazed like crazy by putting it on with my $1.00 brush and white t shirts.to rub it in.
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Here is the finished project before at Star Hill before we took it to my friend’s home.  As soon as the the touch up paint in the bedroom is done I will post the pictures of the room.  This room will prove it is possible to have a dark blue bedroom that doesn’t feel dark and dreary.
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The last step made me remember how much I love our sprayer. Hubby sprayed the polyurethane on the whole thing in about 10 minutes. He did fall in a hole and scare me to death though so I am totally blaming him for not having any more pictures. He is fine. We just need a new part for the sprayer.

So friends, what do you think about the gray bed?  There will be photos of the two pieces soon. They will be for sale as soon as my friend’s home sells along with rest of the furniture in the set.  I am waiting to find out what color to paint the dresser.

The Southern Belle’s Christmas Present- Refinishing a French Provincial Dresser

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Christmas presents for grown up kids were so much fun this year. The Southern Belle asked a while back for a dresser. She wanted it black with brushed nickel hardware. I started looking when we were out shopping, thrifting, and junking. Nothing really struck me until I saw a mistreated piece on Craig’s List. It was covered in layers of really ugly paint with pink showing through. Someone had put cabinet hardware on it that reminded me of a cabin.

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To make matters worse, the hardware did not fit ell so the person who thought this hardware would work jammed plastic anchors into the holes.
It took some work on hubby’s part. Getting the hardware off, sanding, filling holes, more sanding before the paint went on.
Hubby got a new paint sprayer, and about the biggest compressor I have ever seen for an early Christmas present. It really made the piece look professionally painted and the Behr paint I love works in this high volume, low pressure sprayer.
Here are the results. For the present she just got a photograph of the piece. It will be getting delivered to North Carolina this spring. Another great reason to visit her.

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It was fun making something that our daughter will enjoy.