Beautiful Storage

First, a confession; this isn’t a DIY. Well, it isn’t unless you count having to carry this massive trunk a half a mile back to my apartment with my sister. Anyway, I kind of wanted to expand this blog to cover some really great things we’ve found. Here’s one of them…

Tim and I’ve been looking for a trunk for our bedroom for a while. We really wanted to a place to put all of our (ok my) pillows, blankets, and guest bedding. We’ve kept on the lookout for a while and just found this baby.

This awesome giant (yes, a little bigger in the bedroom than I had anticipated, but we’re working on balancing it out) is made of wood, but covered in metal. We love that it’s a hump back trunk and that it really shows its age without looking gross. One of the best parts is that it was only $70!! If you’ve ever gone trunk shopping, and who hasn’t, you know that trunks this size are easily $125. We happened to stop by Eddie’s Furniture in Porter Square while they were in the middle of renovation - the guys were tired and the credit card machine was down so he gave us a price break and even threw in the tax. I highly recommend Eddie’s and their sister stores,Metamorphosis, and Sunshine Lucy’s - they have great pieces (original and refurbished) and are often willing to negotiate.


Making a Cool Feature Better

Hi all! Tim here, with my first DIY blog post

One of the many things I love about this apartment is this cool mantelpiece we have in the living room. It’s tall and beautifully structured, great moulding, and has this neat mirror on the top half - it’s a great focal point for the room. And since it doesn’t have an actual fireplace in it, Jen and I knew right away it’d make a great frame for a TV!

Since there aren’t a lot of entertainment centers that sit low enough to the ground to work in the space, we took on the challenge of building our own. We spent a few nights playing with some designs on paper, and eventually settled on an asymmetrical look that perfectly fits my TiVo, XBox and Wii. We very carefully measured out the interior of the mantel so the height and width of the TV would fit nicely in the space.

The following weekend, My Dad and I bought some pine from The Depot, and using a table saw, some biscuit joiners and glue, we built the bad boy you see before you.

We only hit one hitch when my dad leaned on it before the glue had dried.  In a slow motion fall, the whole thing collapsed on itself.  Jen had just stepped outside to check our progress out so she saw the whole thing- it was hilarious.

The floating effect was achieved by cutting small pieces off of some mid-size dowels and using them as legs set a few inches inside the frame. I also took on the task painting it with a high gloss white that we matched to the mantle (warning: white comes in dozens of shades), which made the whole thing look like it had always been built that way.  Added bonus - there’s enough room behind the stand to conceal all my power strips, cables, cable modem, router, and other messy electronic crap!


Pillow Power!

In the past few months Tim and my bedroom has been the focus of our “making it our own” efforts. We got a really great duvet cover, painted the bedroom “homemade butterscotch,” got some Emily Henderson (Secrets from a Stylest) inspired lamps, and hung a picture above the bed that Tim's sister gave us.

It’s starting to look really great, but we needed a little something more… This is a really small scale DIY, but even the small things can make a big difference right? Here we are then - Pillows!!

Any one who has been in my living room knows I love pillows. If Tim didn’t hold me back, there might not be any room left to sit. Here’s my policy: I only buy a pillow if it’s $20 or less and if I don’t think I could easily make my own version of it.

This past weekend I decided to make a couple of throw pillows and I thought I would post the one I’m most proud of. To choose fabrics for the pillows I took all of my spare and scrap swatches and laid them on our bed. I took out the obvious no’s and experimented with different combinations until I came up with a few I loved.

The best resulted in this center pillow - it’s a combination of a retro paisley (that incorporates the colors of our wall and painting) with burlap. I love burlap’s texture and I think it’s a really fun and unexpected fabric. The pillow tucks into the case in the same way lot of pillow shams do (no zippers), then has buttons to keep everything together. You get the idea… this is way too much text about a pillow!

Suffice it to say, I love the difference it makes for the bed. I think 1-3 more pillows should finish things off nicely… don’t tell Tim…


Alphabet Soup

UPDATE: I have a new version of this post with lots of pretty tutorial pictures. 
Check it out here.

The idea for this project came from Tim’s supreme ability to compromise with me.  I love letters.  I like those metal or plastic letters you can just put somewhere (they sell them at Urban Outfitters or Anthropology for example) and I’ve seen pillows sewn into the shape of letters that I love.  

Tim doesn’t like either of those things, BUT Tim likes scrabble. He came up with the idea of having a grid of over sized scrabble letters as an art piece in our living room. Great idea.
Here's how it went down! (Sorry I don't have process pictures - just keep reading cuz the good picture is at the bottom.  Suspense!!)
  1. Materials: We decided the simplest way to get our wooden pieces together was to go to Home Depot, choose planks of wood, and have them cut them down to the proper size: about 9.5"x9.5"x1". (Home Depot doesn't make perfect cuts and a 10"x8' board isn't exactly that length, our tiles didn't end up perfectly the same size - but that's ok, you can't tell at all.) The wood cost us $44 because we decided to go with a nicer pine that didn’t have knots (scrabble letters don’t have knots). We also picked up some picture hanging hardware at Michaels for $6 (this kind of hanging hardware).
  2. Prep-Work: We brought our pre-cut scrabble squares home and sanded them down so they would be splinter-less and have rounded edges. Then we decided which letters of the alphabet we wanted. (We didn’t consciously decide on words, but there are definitely tons of words in there.)
  3. The Trick: I downloaded a high res picture of all of the scrabble tiles then blew up the letters we wanted and printed them out. Then I used a handy tracing trick. I shaded the back of the paper with pencil then traced the letters with a pen onto the wood. The result is a faint gray outline. It’s basically like homemade carbon transfer paper.  
  4. The Process: Then I spent a long time painting the letters on with black acrylic paint. A long time.
  5. Finishing Touches: Once I was done, Tim and I used a test piece to decide whether we wanted to polyurathane the pieces. It didn’t make much of a difference except for creating a glare, so we decided against it. We hammered on the picture hanging attachments then set out to hang them up.  (A how to for hanging them here)
Total, the project took us under three days and about $50. People are always saying you should make your own art - well, it’s definitely worth it.