From Big Box to Very Us

Tim and I always seem to be on the search for yet another end table (only one more to go!). We found this Ikea end table on Craig's list for $15 and thought it would be a nice little mid-century inspired touch for in between our couches.

Don't get me wrong, we both love Ikea for some things, but it can be a little boring to have the same furniture as every college kid in Boston. Tim and I decided to do a really simple mod to give our table some personality.
We went to our local stationary store and found a great print of constellation maps with other map-related nautical-ish images that we both loved for $4. We brought that home along with a piece of foam board for another $4 and cut both to the exact shape of the glass top on our end table using an Exacto knife.  
Then we just slipped them under the glass.  It took way less than a day - easy, cheap, and very us.


Dumpster Diving

Yes, I'll admit it and I'm proud of it - I don't pass up a good dumpster dive. I've inherited my fearlessness of the discarded from my dad and I'll pass along the family tradition someday if I ever get the chance. Now, that is to say I've never climbed into a dumpster, but I'm happy to grab little treasures out of the trash.

Speaking of trash (duh), Tim and I found this ottoman in the trash on the side of the road.  Except for ugly green vinyl with a huge rip, beat up legs, and rusted feet, it was in great shape.  Initially, our plan was to use the legs for another project down the road because of their great mid-century shape.  To our surprise, when we got it home we discovered we really liked having an ottoman to go with our arm chair.  We decided to try our hand at reupholstering!

*I know this is a horrible before picture, sorry! I can never remember to take one - I tend to just jump right in to a project. Ottoman is in the lower left, in case you can't see it... so bad.

The first step was to sand and polyurethane the beat up legs on the ottoman.  Since Tim already had poly from another project, we were able to get that done really quickly.

We found the fabric at Joannes Fabrics.  It was on sale so we got all of the fabric we needed for only $6.  Back at home, I ripped off all of the vinyl, but I was careful to preserve it to use as a pattern for my new cover (no need to reinvent the wheel).  Once I had ripped off the green vinyl, I evaluated the original padding.  To my relief, it was still good.

I cut new pieces of fabric, made piping, and sewed it all together. Not easy, but relaxing in it's own way... Cording and thread cost a total of $5.  I stretched on the new fabric and stapled everything to the existing padding and base with my handy-dandy staple gun.

The project took a total of about three days and $11.  We might stain the legs a darker color in the near future, but for now our ottoman is super comfy and really cute.

UPDATE: If it’s not apparent from everything else in this blog, I can be obsessive and I can’t stop fussing until things are perfect.  This ottoman kept looking a little too french-country or something, I’m not sure, just not quite right.  I decided the legs needed to be darker for higher contrast, so Tim and I painted them a dark brown (staining them didn’t work because of the old layers of poly, etc.).  We didn’t need much paint so we got a paint sample for about $3.  Paint samples only come in flat, so we used our extra poly to seal things up and make it shine.

Now I’m much much happier with how it looks, although I might end up making the metal caps of the legs lighter or darker so you can see them better… My obsessing... never... stops...


Needs a Strongman's Touch

An empty hallway - the first thing people see when they walk inside - so sad. Our hallway needed some love. Tim and I found this end table on Craig’s List. It was a little traditional for our taste, but we looked past the surface for form and function. We loved really great feature of two magazine racks (one on each side). We thought it would be perfect as a hallway catchall for keys and mail - and we could even divide our mail by each having our own side. Time to squeeze the potential out of this little table with the intensity of... a strongman mayhaps?

DIY inspiration? I think so.

We took a weekend to knock this project out.

1. Sand and prime! I hate this part. It takes forever, but if you don't do it the rest of the project takes even longer and won't last.
2. Paint: I used a high gloss white paint.  The higher the gloss, the better it will stand up to scuffs or marks.
3. Research: With a crisp white, fresh start I set out to make the end table truly our own - mustache! After finding the perfect mustache look online... the Captain with a little of my own twist...
4. The right spot: I measured out a place for a mustache, which meant shifting the existing drawer handle.  Tim drilled a new hole for the drawer handle (not a problem since the handle would cover up the old hole) then I painted on a classic mustache.

The whole project took two days and was really straight forward. Now we have a unique and friendly, ahem I mean tough little table!