Category Archives: Furniture

Refinishing a dresser

A few months ago, on our way back from Unclaimed Baggage, we decided to stop at a thrift store we saw as we were getting closer to home. While we were there, we happened to come across an old dresser for a whole $35 (50% off original price of $70). Overall, it was in pretty good shape and all we would really need to do is sand and stain it, but since the car wasn’t big enough, we had to leave it there. Since Kayla’s dad has a truck, Eric asked him if he could go back with him to get it. When they went back the next week, the dresser was 75% off! Once it got home, it just sat in the garage for a couple months until we finally got around to doing something with it last weekend. The dresser has a relatively thin veneer, but it was thick enough to be able to sand it and take a stain.


We went to Habitat ReStore to look for a dark stain. The one we purchased cost about $6. It didn’t end up staining quite as dark as we had hoped, but it did look better than when we first purchased it.  So…the grand total for this dresser is $23! The photos above it are from our engagement shoot with Brandon and Stacey Gresham These photos are not on the wall yet but this option is winning to fill the space.



The living room gets a bookshelf

On our recent trip to Ikea, we were also able to purchase the bookshelf we intended to buy when we went back in April. We didn’t get to purchase it then because we had so many other things we were buying that day that we knew it wouldn’t fit in the car. It was pretty easy to put together and looks nice in the living room. It is nice to actually have a piece of furniture there now. We obviously need to get some sort of decoration on top of it in addition to what is currently there, but at least it’s a start. We also now have somewhere to put some books. Until now, some have been hanging out in a closet and others in stacks in the floor.
The vases on top of the shelf also came from Ikea. We’re thinking about adding a white lamp on the top…still have to find one, though.

bookcase decoration
Living room/bookcase

We also finally found some frames we liked at Ikea to fit our slightly larger than 4×6 postcards in:
Virginia Beach postcard
Birmingham postcard

Postcards were purchased from one of our favorite shops, What’s on 2nd?  They are from the 1930’s and are actually a book of perforated postcards. We have 4 books framed down our hallway. We love the vintage design and historic landmarks they are filled with. We have been thinking about going back to get more!

We are finally getting some of the main living space looking like someone actually lives there!

New addition to the dining room–Tea/coffee bar

Several weeks ago we got an idea from Pinterest to have a coffee/tea bar in our dining room. It seemed like a great idea to solve a couple problems in our kitchen and dining room: the large blank white wall and limited storage and counter space in the kitchen. Since we have quite a bit of tea and coffee related items, this would actually free up a significant amount of space.

Inspiration from Pinterest:

We looked for tables/sideboards/buffets at a couple local antique stores but didn’t really find anything we liked in the price range we wanted. We considered purchasing the shelf/drawers/hooks in the original picture from Pinterest (it can be found at Hobby Lobby.), but wanted to look around first to see if we could find any other options that may work just as well for what we wanted and be less expensive. (If anyone is interested in the one at Hobby Lobby, just wait long enough and it will probably eventually go on sale for 40-50% off.)

A couple weekends ago we went to Ikea with just a couple specific things to purchase, but of course we were still going to look around for anything else that might go well in the house. We happened to come across a sideboard (made of solid wood) near the kitchen tables. It looked like a great piece of furniture to use for the coffee/tea bar. We still needed something to hang mugs on the wall, though. On our last trip to Ikea, we purchased a metal bar and intended to use it to hang up kitchen gadgets, but there isn’t really anywhere to put it in the kitchen where it wouldn’t be in the way and still be easy to get to. At first, we thought we’d just use it and buy some hooks to hang some mugs from, but then we saw the little baskets and those only fit on the narrower bar. This turned out just fine, though, since it was less expensive to purchase the bar, hooks, shelf/basket, and ceramic pot-type thing (a total of about $10) for the narrower bar than to purchase hooks and baskets to fit on the larger bar.
With the way this is currently set up, we can keep 8 mugs there–4 hanging and 4 on the wooden stand (hiding behind the sugar in these pictures–only 2 of the 4 are on the stand here). At some point, we may add another bar above that one to hold more mugs and tea. We will also be able to keep spoons available near everything in that ceramic container next to the basket. Somehow we left Ikea without thinking to go by the utensils to get some spoons just to leave with the tea and coffee. (Here’s a link to this project posted on Pinterest.)

updated coffee/tea bar

We now have space to store several mugs, all the tea and coffee, and anything used to make tea and coffee, as well as finally having something on the big blank wall.
(Also, on the far right side of the table there is a bonus project from Pinterest–homemade ginger ale. )
coffee/tea bar rack
coffee/tea bar drawer

We added a few cookbooks to the shelves as decoration (and again, as a better place to store them)–two that we already had and one that we purchased at TJMaxx with a gift card we received at a wedding shower.


Homemade ginger ale:
ginger ale

Sideboard: Ikea
Metal bar, hooks, baskets: Ikea
Baskets: World Market
Tea canisters: World Market
Looseleaf Tea: Dekalb Farmers Market

We added this project to The Pinterest Challenge being hosted by Sherry of Young House Love, Katie of Bower Power, Erin of House of Earnest, and Ana of  (other links will be added as they are posted). Go visit their blogs to see their projects as well as all the other Pinterest inspired projects being submitted.

Improvements to the living room


The sofa that was purchased two months ago finally arrived last week (it had been on backorder), so the living room is finally starting to look a little more finished. The old fridge was finally taken out of the living room and moved to the garage (thanks Ryan!). The rug that has just been rolled up downstairs has now been moved to the living room. The coffee table is a little more prominent now that it is sitting on the rug instead of trying to blend into the floor. Shelves have been moved out of the room and a new TV stand has been put in. The old TV stand now holds the record player and speaker on the other side of the room. (This part is only temporary until we get another piece of furniture, probably a shelf, to go on that wall.) We still need something tall to go in the corner to the right of the TV, something to go on the wall behind the TV, and something to go on the wall behind the settee. We may not actually get anything tall for the corner to the right of the TV until after Christmas. We were thinking that maybe we could put a Christmas tree there. If we will put a Christmas tree there right after Thanksgiving, there is really no need to get something else to sit there for 7-8 weeks, just to have to move it at the beginning of December.

Unrelated to the living room, we have a new dishwasher! No more handwashing (or avoiding handwashing) dishes 🙂

I am also including a picture of a poster that we are adding to the living room.  Not sure how we will mount it yet, but the colors will look great with everything else.


Beginnings of decorating

We have been very slow at getting anything posted the last couple weeks. The pictures today are of something that was done about 2 weeks ago–the beginnings of some decoration. A stereo console was brought by family members (had belonged to grandparents, then aunt) and pictures were hung. The frames are from Ikea. The pictures came from the Birmingham Public Library Archive.

Stereo – closed:
stereo - closed
Stereo – speakers open:
stereo - open
Wall with stereo + photos:
wall - stereo + frames

We are considering painting part of the stereo console. We played around in Photoshop with colors and how much to paint.. At first, it was going to be 100% painted–white with an accent color. After playing around with colors, we decided that if we paint it, it will just be the corners sections on the front panels. Maybe a light, muted turquoise? or white? I don’t remember what we ended with. We are also planning to replace its current legs with peg legs.

Hopefully soon we will be able to show another set of framed historical objects…just have to find frames they fit in first. It turns out that what we have doesn’t quite fit in a 4×6 frame.

Build Project #1: Platform bed and headboard

We’ve shown pictures of build project #2, but project #1 hadn’t been posted yet. Now that the room has been cleaned up a little, here is build project #1:
This was our first attempt at building furniture. We used plans from Ana White. The bed was relatively easy to make, but the headboard wasn’t quite as easy.  Cutting the rectangle hole was a little more difficult; the lines aren’t quite straight thanks to my jigsaw skills.
The plan was the match the orange of the bed to the orange of the pillow.  We ended up finding a paint chip that was perfect, so we didn’t actually have to color-match it.

Paint: Behr Premium Plus Ultra – color: Koi
Pillows: Dwell Studio for Target
Intercom: NuTone (unfortunately came with the house, that’s a later project)

Lots of progress in the kitchen/dining room

Big news of the weekend: After spending all afternoon working on this, the new refrigerator is finally in the kitchen! It was quite a complicated process to make this happen. The doorway from the living room to the kitchen is 30 inches wide. The depth of the refrigerator without doors or anything else sticking out is 29 inches. We had to remove the refrigerator doors and remove part of what the freezer door is anchored to on the bottom. As if disassembling the fridge and getting it into the kitchen wasn’t enough, we then had to piece it all back together.

Two other things finished this weekend as well–the red dining room chairs and moving the butcher block upstairs!

The butcher block weighs at least 200 pounds, so it wasn’t something that one person could move up the stairs alone (or the boy + girl could do–the girl doesn’t have enough muscles for this). A friend came over to help move it up the stairs, prepare the counter base to have the butcher block screwed in, and put the butcher block on top of the base (with screws holding it in place).

The red paint on the chairs was finished a few days ago and just needed a clear coat. We tried putting a clear coat on it a few days ago, but it just brushed off like dust when it dried–it didn’t seem to stick to the red paint at all. So, we went to buy some more clear gloss paint (same brand) to try and it worked this time!


The list of things to finish in the kitchen and dining room is getting smaller and it is actually starting to look more like a usable room.

Tile floor = finished!

This weekend, the remainder of the tile was cut and laid and grout was put in. Now that the kitchen/dining room floor is finished, we can now start the process of making it look a little more like a room instead of a storage/work space. We also found a glass table on craigslist and went to look at it today–should be able to pick it up and move it over here in a couple days. We didn’t have to go far to get it either–just .8 miles away in Crestwood North. The dining room chairs are closer to being ready, so maybe in the next few days the dining room will be ready to have pictures posted.

Paint progress–All doors and trim in the hallway and hall bathroom have been painted white. The only thing left to paint is the door in the dining room and touch ups of gray in the hallway. There are a couple other painting projects that need to be done at some point, but those will wait a little while longer.

We’ve briefly mentioned the Gunlocke chairs in the living room before, and we thought it was about time to actually show them to you. These were the chairs where we bought one (the brown one) from a local modern furniture seller then, a couple weeks later, happened to find one just like it (though green) at What’s on 2nd?


If you would like to help out the Crestwood community, please consider donating to my friend’s kickstarter program to provide a bi-monthly newsletter to the crestwood area.  She is the founder of the35212 and has been a very strong supporter of our community and its residents.

Small Steps Have Been Made

We haven’t quit working on the house. There has been a little bit of a pause in work for the past week, though. All the supplies to lay the tile have been purchased, and the decision has been made to hire someone to lay the tile which just hasn’t happened yet. Once this happens, we can get the refrigerator moved out of the living room and into the kitchen and get the kitchen set up. We can also figure out exactly what to do about the dining room table legs. Once the refrigerator is out of the living room, that should help the living room to start looking like a normal room–not a storage location for random objects that can’t go anywhere else.

We’ve worked on a couple things since the last post–painting all the doors and trim in the hallway (haven’t finished it yet) and painting all of the dining room chairs…RED.  That isn’t all that exciting to see a picture of, though.  You can wait til the table is ready…right?

Some of the next things that will be worked on are: a butcher block bar in the kitchen, a section of granite on the counter, get a sofa (no place to put it at the moment, 2 refrigerators are taking up my living room), finish cleaning the range hood, and put the backsplash up in the kitchen. I’m thinking the backspash will had a huge amount.  Goodbye laminate 15 inch backsplash!

Build Project #2: Office Desk


The desk in the office (1 of 2) is complete–the computer now has a space to sit!

This desk is made of an old door and sawhorse legs (building plan from Ana White). After reading comments on the instructions page, we decided to use two 2x4s as crossbeams instead of one 2×6, so that there would be some shelf space. The desk we made doesn’t exactly match the measurements on the plan. Maybe the wood cuts weren’t exact enough, maybe attaching the legs wasn’t precise enough. Whatever the problem, though, we still managed to end up with standing (and stable) legs for this desk. One problem we consistently had the entire time we were making this was how often the wood cracked. Our biggest problem with cracking wood occurred with the 2x6s, though it also happened with some of the 2x2s.  In the end, we came out with a great computer table with storage for not much $$!