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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.

scrap book

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.

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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.

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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

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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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100 Thousand Thanks

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Ever since I started blogging,  I have stopped 25 thousand page views to look over what happened since we started. I just hit 100,000 page views.  I had not been paying much attention to the stats so this one was a bit of a surprise.   It used to take a long time to reach 25 thousand page views. I mean a really long time. This time took 5 months. I was worried that in the last five months I wouldn’t have much to show you guys. It felt to me like we were sort of stuck and not getting a lot done. The kids moved out of the country, the garage is full of unfinished projects, school got started, life happened.

When I actually looked back over the last five months , I was pleasantly surprised. We got a little more done than I remembered.

My favorites from the last five months are below.  If you click on the link below each picture it will take you to that actual blog, complete with DIY and pictures.

Our biggest project was updating our suburban bathroom and figuring out how to get that restoration hardware weathered wood look on a dresser.  Board and batten, cool shelf, zinc finished towel rack and chandelier made to look like wood beads.

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Bathroom Makeover

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Chandelier

The next big thing was creating a fun office at work that included a reclaimed wood wall, suitcase wall and a giant marquee letter.

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Suitcase Wall

We made one of my favorite benches from a queen sized bed.

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Bench

We finally got started on our pile of cedar and are making headway with projects there.  My favorite so far is a cedar barn door.

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Cedar Barn Door

I repurposed a 1980’s dresser hutch top to look go with our green buffet table.  I now have a place to display my milk glass that makes sense.

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Hutch

I worked off and on for a while on a funky dresser that is now 99% complete.  I love the look of this piece that is going to be an entertainment center.

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Funky Dresser

I tried my hand at painting fabric.

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Painted Fabric Chair

and finally…

I enjoyed making a rustic Christmas mantle.

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Rustic Deer Head

Not too bad for a “slow” few months. Being a weekend country girl is a great life.  I am blessed to have the opportunities that I have.

Thank you all so much for joining my husband and me on this empty-nest, third quarter adventure. Repurposing furniture and blogging has helped me to stay active and has enlarged my circle of friends.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and travel with us on this adventure. We have a lot in store and look forward to the future.

I love to hear from you,

Blessings,

Karen

Decorating for Christmas

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This year we are going to do something a little different for Christmas.  We are taking a cruise.  Yep.  I was in a funk about two of the kids not being here that I just decided we were going to do something different.  We tried a snowy vacation home but couldn’t work it out.  Sooo, a four-day cruise to Mexico it is.  There will be 10 of us on the trip.  I am excited.  We have never been on a cruise, so I am sure it will be an adventure.

I did decorate for Christmas… sort of.  I mean we got the tree up, the mantle done, the table decorated and we got the yard stuff out.  If you don’t see  a space it is because there is no decorating going on there.

Welcome to our Christmas home.

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My favorite mantle ever. I love the rustic wood, the tarnished silver, the burlap.

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Our tree is beautiful.  Burlap, deer and cardinals.

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The tree is 10 feet tall.

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The hidden office has a little deer stuff on top.

The Coke Christmas village is something we collected for several years.  It has been a while since we had a spot for it.  The newspaper around the village parts was 1998.  I think the green hutch is the perfect spot.

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The farmhouse table has tree cookies cut from the lake, dishes collected from thrift stores and Target, the lanterns were garage sale finds, the basket normally has our silverware in it on the peninsula.

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The porch and backyard are as done as they will be except I do plan on sprucing up the plants.  I really like the porch.  Just enough.  Next year the yard is getting a little more love but this year I traveled two weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That knocked out the decorating.

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I wish you all a very merry Christmas.

I have been blogging for two years now and my husband and I want to thank you all for joining us on this journey.  We  are smarter than we were two years ago but we still have a lot to learn.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Blessings,

Karen

San Jacinto County Home Tour Part 1

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I love our adopted county.  It is tiny.  Teeny tiny.  In fact, it is the smallest county in the second largest state in the United States.  I love the little town square.  Next weekend is the Christmas parade.  We don’t miss it each year.  One year the football float caught on fire in the parade…true story.

One of the things I look forward to each year is the San Jacinto Women’s League home tour.  This year was my favorite, favorite, favorite tour that I have ever been on.  If I could have hand-picked the homes based on homes I look at longingly, five of them would have been on my list.  My top two homes ever were on this list.  I loved this home tour so much that I have divided it up into three parts.  I hope you don’t hate me for it, but my weekend country home folks hit it out of the park this year.

At the end of our county road, in Point Blank, Texas there are two homes I have been nosy about for years.  They are clearly old.  Not old, like 1971 when the lake was built and homes sprung up around it, old.  Old, old.  These homes were clearly homes that were built a long time ago.  When we arrived at the starting point this year, Paul Horton Methodist Church, the map made my heart sing because the two old homes were on the tour.

home tour map

You have to love that each year we show up and get a hand-drawn map telling where the homes are for the year.

Paul Horton Meth Paul Horton UMC

The starting point this year was Paul Horton United Methodist Church.  An old church located very near our lake house.  The Church faces away from the road because the road moved to the other side of the church years ago.

House 1 was the house on Boat Launch Road.

Woo Hoo!

When we started going up to the lake eight years ago, this house was empty, the grass was growing up around her, and the bushes were overgrown.  Even in that state I could tell that she was a gem.  I would have loved to have purchased her when she went on the market, but alas the time was not right for us.  The house was purchased and work began on the home.  I strained to see the work in progress every time we drove by.  I was always thrilled when the gate was open because I could see work in progress.

I almost stopped at the house to knock on the door and introduce myself several times.

Over the past couple of years the house started to emerge.  The weeds were gone, the roof was repaired, and the rotted wood was replaced and painted a beautiful white.

Here is my posse for the day on the porch of the boat launch house.

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We wore our Christmas gear.  The Social Planner wore a leopard print Santa hat and the rest of us were reindeer.

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Isn’t she a beauty?

The inside was remodeled in the 50’s and some of the decisions were, well, questionable.  A dentist lived there and opened his office on the property.

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I was thrilled this original fireplace remained from when Mr. Robinson built this home for his plantation overseer/ accountant.  Yep.  this home was part of a huge plantation.  It was built by an Alabama family 150 years ago when the property was all a part of a huge plantation along the trinity river.  More on that later.

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The furnishings are an eclectic mix of antique, vintage, and modern funk.  This is a weekend home for a young Houston professional who is working on the home with his friends and parents.

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See the vintage television they owner has?  I think we had that tv when I was growing up.  The beams are original.

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See that brown trim around the top of the room?  That was installed so that the owner can display his art work without damaging the plaster walls.  what a great idea.

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I really liked this oak table and chairs in this home.  They were the perfect set in this home.

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The grand piano by the windows is stunning.  The original windows are beautiful.

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The fireplace above is clearly an addition.  Not my favorite, but the new owner is making the best of it.  He is adding rustic touches.

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Love the galvanized bucket with poinsettias inside.

House number 2 is a house that I have stared at every time I drive by it and wondered the history.  The sign out front says The West Plantation.  I have wondered about this grand old home since the first time I saw it.

Robinson Plantation

It turns out that this home was built in 1854 by slaves for the Robinson family.  Robert Todd Robinson bought the property, built the home then left his three sons to run the plantation.  Sam Houston’s home on Snow Hill road was close by.  Sam Houston visited the home often and rode on the Robinson’s boat down into Harrisburg (now called Houston)  for business.

Mr. and Mrs. West have owned the home for 40 years.  The home is a conglomeration of of additions, modernization, and original elements.  Mr. West is a historian and he has created a museum out of his barn for the items found on the site.  Only 40 acres of the original plantation remain but those 40 acres are stunning.

Robinson Stable the west plantation historic marker robinson plantation mr west

Mr. West was thrilled to share his home and his stories.

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Robinson plantation

It was Christmas so the house was decorated but I was more interested in the history of the homes.

plantation christmas tree

The house was really crowded because everyone wanted to see inside this iconic home.

If you ever get the chance to visit our little adopted county, the people of San Jacinto County will welcome you, too.  it is a beautiful, hilly little county full of history, great people, and a great lake.

We are lucky folks.

Thanks for reading about my adopted home.

Karen

Milestones

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Well this week will be a week of milestones for us here in the burbs.

It is my first “Back to School Week” in the new school district we have moved to.

I love it here. I am over the moon about my staff. They are awesome. But there are times I feel a little lost.

My textbooks and technology arrived! Yay! I was beginning to think we were going to start school with a stick of chalk and slab of wood!

My husband started his first week in his new job too. He is going to have a great year. He is an amazing teacher. I think he is feeling the same as I do.

There are also a few milestones in the blogging world too.

I started blogging two years ago. I blog because I enjoy sharing what I was already doing with others. I would never in a million years try to sell my work. it is my hobby, not my job. I never have gone outside of my friends on Facebook to tell people I was blogging because frankly I didn’t know what I was doing (I still don’t most of the time.) I switched my blog from Blogger to WordPress, and survived…barely.

I didn’t know how to “link up” or even what that meant six months ago. (I still mess this up from time to time.)

I didn’t know that I could create a Facebook page or even why I would want to create one.

Heck. I was a blogging train wreck!

Roadkill Rescue featured my mudroom bench this past spring. Wow! I had 1042 views on one day. My highest view day before that event. Did any of you find me there?

About a month ago I was contacted by Remodelaholic and asked to do a feature. A blog that gets 100,000,000 (yes, 1 million) views a month found my little, itty, bitty blog and liked my husband and my work. This past Saturday the feature was published. Thank you to the folks at Remodelaholic.

Did you find me there?

The feature leads me to the blogging milestones:

This week I have had almost 100 new folks like my Facebook page. Wow. Before this week, I had 37 whole people who liked my page. I have found that I enjoy the page because I can post sneak peeks of projects I am working on, Craig’s List finds, and quick updates.
Welcome to this little glimpse of my world.

It looks like I will hit 30,000 page views on my blog today. It took 18 months to hit the 20,000 mark. Thank you all for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts and for looking at our work.

We have a lot planned as we continue to work on our homes. We have a few gifts to get done before Thanksgiving that I hope the recipients, and you, enjoy.

I discovered Pinterest…it changed my life:)

and… I have sort of learned to tweet.

We are also setting personal goals for ourselves.

We are also going to work on finding balance. Hubby has taken up golf again. I’m feeling the itch to paint…I mean really paint, again. I plan to take more photography classes.

Life is good. Thank you for stopping by!

What Color Says About Me

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Color Moods – The Impact of Paint

According to the link above, I believe I have  color bipolarism.

Colouring pencils Français : Crayons de couleu...

I like a ton of colors. Reds, blues, and greens seem to pop up in my home no matter the other colors I choose. In some rooms I like soft colors, but there are spaces that just cry out for bright colors.  Our Skittle inspired back porch Is an example. It really is an explosion of bright colors. I wouldn’t want it in my whole house but it makes me smile every time I walk out  on the back porch to sit outside.  I just added the bright green chair to the porch this week.  It was a gift from  the man who sold me the sewing cabinet.  He said that the chair needed me.  I agree.

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apple green spray paint

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This cushion is going to go on a bench made from a queen headboard.  I want to get this done, but it keeps getting moved down the list.  Too many rooms, too little time.

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Bright back porch colors

The three bedrooms in our house are very different. The master will always be more neutral. Hubby loves wood, and nature colors.   I want this room to reflect his aesthetic as much as mine so this is the room of the house that will always be a calm retreat. The master bedroom in this house has burlap curtains, crystal lamps, vintage wood, fluffy pillows, and it is soon going to have a cushy bench at the end of the bed to put on shoes.  A reading chair is also under construction.  The chair is going to incorporate wood, paint and soft blue fabric.  It has a great story and will give me joy in the bedroom where I will be able to read and study in this restful spot.  According to the color mood folk we “nailed it” for sleep.

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The dresser still needs to be decorated.  I need help here.

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Yes.  We have a television in our bedroom.

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I love the night stands.  I so took them from the lake house for our master bedroom.  I just love the soft weathered color.

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The bedding is soft cotton.

The front guest room is a fun get away. The walls are spa like soft turquoise, the bedding is a  mustard-y yellow paisley quilt, and the accents are greens, blues ,blue greens, and teals. My hope is that it is a vacation room for our guests.

yellow and blue retreat

Look at the chevron bench!  I really went out of my comfort zone here and mixed colors, patterns, and textures.  Scary stuff but I like it.

mustard yellow bedding

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My $1.00 curio cabinet holds shell angels I have collected for years.

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The yellow flowers are from Baby Boy and Sweet Amanda’s wedding.  They are a great reminder of a wonderful day.

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Painted Empty Frames

Empty frames can add bright touches to rooms.  I use them when I don’t know what else to do.  O.f.t.e.n.

The other guest room is a mix of soft greens, coral, black, soft grey, vintage silver, milk glass and white. There is a sense of history and a touch of whimsy. I enjoy this room. It makes me smile. I hope it says welcome to my guests.

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My .50 frame turned into a fun piece for the room.

Green Bedroom

Coral legged tables with soft green walls.

Chalkboard

The pillow brings all the colors together in my opinion.

vintage mirrors

Vintage frames, mirrors and resale finds along with new stuff live together in the room.

French Provincial Dresser

Our main spaces, the family room, the kitchen, and the breakfast area are a mix of neutrals with shots of color based on this amazing fabric that I am finding ways to incorporate into each of these connected space.

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I love the breakfast room.  It feels like a farmhouse kitchen with the old pie safe, the weathered items and the bright colors.

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Fall is already creeping into my house.  I am going with teals, creams. and orange this year.

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The mantle is not done yet but it is coming together.

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I found one piece that will be a focal point as soon as she is painted. Teal. I can’t wait for you to see her, but she is under minor construction. I had to photograph around her because I want you to be surprised.  The armoire that will become the home technology and bill paying center (AKA all the ugly paper and electronics I do not want hanging out in the open!), is going to be painted my trademark oatmeal and revival mahogany.  It is my weekend project this week.  Pictures soon.  Check back here in a week or so.   I I had to paint something in the family room this color because I missed my credenza so much that i had to bring it back! What does color psychology say about a room that is brown, yellow, green, red, teal, orange, a touch of lavender, and turquoise?

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I think I may have a problem!

Is there a support group out there?

New Home Color Scheme

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I am so excited to get started on decorating my new home! I have a floor plan and am busy figuring out what moves in, and what does not make the cut.

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Remember the whole downsizing plan? Well when all was said and done we ended up purchasing a home 60 square feet bigger than our current home. I know…I am crazy, but what can I say? The house spoke to me.
I have decided on a color scheme for the family room, dining room, and kitchen. A while back I got a ton of fabric from my friend, Kandy. In that fabric was a brown floral that I love.

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I loved the vibrant colors and earth tones mixed. A few weeks ago I was on a Sunday afternoon drive when I spotted a garage sale. Who has a garage sale on a Sunday afternoon? The nice lady said she was moving out of town and wanted to get rid of things that she would not be taking. I got a set of four fun chairs painted a soft yellow ($30.00 for all four chairs!)and immediately thought of the fabric.

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When I got home I decided then and there that the fabric would be my jumping off point. My mudroom bench is already the minty green color in the fabric

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I recently purchased an armoire that will be going in the family room to serve as a phone charging, bill paying station once Hubby works his magic on it. I want it to be the dark teal color.

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This is my inspiration for the color:

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I am ready to get this started!  I better get busy on the social planner’s furniture so that there is room in the Garagemahal!

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