Feeling Shelfish

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Let there be more storage! 

We finally got some long-awaited shelves up in the living room a couple of weeks ago!
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We really needed more space to put books as the bookshelf currently in our bedroom is overloaded and these shelves were a great and inexpensive solution.
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Here are all the details on how they went up…

Spacing
To start, we had to figure out how many shelves we wanted.  Initially, I was set on four.  So, I stuck four pieces of painter’s tape up on the wall about where I’d want the shelves to be and stared at them upon passing for a few days.
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After those few days, they started to look a little too close together but I didn’t really want to raise or lower them so I took them down and re-taped with three lines instead.
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After much hemming and hawing and consulting friends, we decided that three it would be.

The Brackets
I’m kinda in love with these curvy metal things.  I got five packs of them (Threshold from Target) at Dirt Cheap last year for under $2.50 a pack (80% off original price).
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Four of them were black and the other one was silver so I knew I’d definitely be painting them to match.  After a coat of Clean Metal spray primer* and a few thin coats of my favorite gold spray paint*, they were ready to go up…right after I also spray painted the screws that would hold them up since they would be visible.  Sticking the ends into a diaper box and then spraying them from the top ensured I didn’t gunk up the threaded parts with paint.
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The Wood Planks
We bought two large pieces of wood at Home Depot and had them cut-to-size in store to make the shelves.  (I think the wood was called common board.  I don’t remember the actual type of wood.  Sorry!  Next time I’m there I’ll look and update the post.)  The two bottom shelves were cut from one piece of wood and the top shelf plus a matching extra shelf we have were also cut from one larger piece.  Home Depot makes the first two cuts of any piece of wood you buy for free so we paid zip for the cuts and (bonus!) didn’t have to do it ourselves!  We wanted to keep them au naturale but I did brush two coats of Polycrylic over the top of each piece to protect them and so I could clean them without ruining them.
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After we got them up, we had major doubts about leaving them void of stain.  They just looked really unfinished and hastily hung.  I reached out to my Insta and Facebook friends the second we got them up, eager for favorite stain colors, and I got lots of ideas in return (thank you!!).  Before we stained them though, we decided to just live with them unstained for a few days to make sure we didn’t like them and whaddya know?  They grew on us and we decided not to stain after all!
    
Spacing
We hung the shelves so that they butted right up to the brick of the chimney.  The plan is to eventually move the cable box, modem, and blu-ray player onto the shelves so we wanted them as close to the television as possible.  And we wanted to give them a built-in feel…does that sound like crazy talk?  Probably.  My heart longs for built-ins and this is as close as I’ll probably get in this house.

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Their placement will make a little more sense a few paragraphs down.  For those of you who want technical details though, the shelves themselves are 8 inches deep.  Each bracket is screwed into a wall stud and so, since the closest wall stud to the chimney was 14 inches out, there is 14 inches of wood shelf extending out from the end brackets with 16” in between each bracket since that’s the distance between the wall studs.  Also, there is about 15 inches from the top of one shelf to the bottom of the other vertically.  Make sense?

Currently, they’re filled with a bunch of stuff that will probably get moved around.  I just wanted to get them up and running for this post.  There are a lot of browns and golds going on, which isn’t bad, but I’m wanting to incorporate more beachy hues kind of like in the hutch opposite the room.  Of course all the books on this shelf will be actual books that we read vs. thrift store books just bought for the color of their bindings so I won’t be able to “decorate” with books this time around.

Decor Details
IMG_6450Bottom shelf:  the JESUS plaque was made by my grandfather-in-law, the vase/upside-down light fixture was thrifted, the leaves are from the hydrangea plant in the backyard and wilted five minutes after this shot, the Mary statue was thrifted, and those books were thrifted and will be turned into a modem-hiding contraption soon.

IMG_6451Second shelf:  the close pin vase on the left was something made by my dad in his teens, the bramble ball-thing used to be a friend’s old topiary, and the gold vases were yard sale finds.

IMG_6452Top shelf:  the yellow vase was a Kroger clearance find and the bottom is broken off but you’d never know, the mirror was a $3 Dirt Cheap find and the bottom of that is broken as well but you’d never know that either, the blue pot is a hand-me-down, and the clear vase was a Gabe’s find back in the day.

Money
Between the brackets, the spray paint, and the wood, this whole shelving unit/thing cost us a little over $40.  But, that includes the extra shelf and three brackets we have that we’re going to sell to bring the total of this project down another $15-20. 

Plans
Way back when the girls were infants, I enlisted photoshopping to visualize what I wanted for this big, blank wall.   collwall_thumb[2]Shelves close to the chimney with a frame collage to the left, balancing the whole thing out.

Then we moved the living room furniture around and our infants grew to toddlers and I realized how foolish it was to think we could get away with having shelves that low with lots of non-toddler stuff on them.

So now our plans have changed to include this possibility:
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These three frames over the couch to balance out the shelves and a “please let’s get rid of that awful mantel and build a big, chunky white one Anthony…pretty please”.  He agreed…on the mantel, not the color.  Details to be worked out later.  I know the photoshopping is real bad but if you squint, it’ll look better.  :)

I can’t promise a diy mantel post any time soon but it’s on the assembly line, complete with a hidden compartment on the left side to house cable wires.

I can’t wait.

:) 

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Lately

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I’ve woken up the past several mornings not knowing exactly what day it was and maybe it sounds crazy, but I loved it.  I had no clue how many emails I had in my inbox or what was happening on Instagram.  It was all because Anthony’s parents came down from New York for a visit and we kept ourselves busy with an overnight trip to New Orleans, lots of relaxing hours at home, and a morning at the beach.

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We stayed at Embassy Suites in downtown Nola and I didn’t want to leave.  The brick wall in our suite had me at hello and it made me want to diy a brick accent wall in every room of our house.  And the complimentary breakfast…capital Y U M.

City Park fun:
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This beach on the Gulf is only 35 minutes from our front door and this was the first time we’ve ever been there in the six years we’ve lived down here in Mobile.  Pity, because it was so amazing!
IMG_1263[No filter, just 100% iPhoneography.]

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We also started a new project affectionately known as “the secret project”.  It’s something we’ve been saving up for for over a year now that we finally got to start this past week.  I can’t promise a reveal anytime really soon but hopefully you’ll get the full scoop within a month, maybe two.  Until then, here’s a sneak peak:IMG_1278

I will be plugging away at other projects too and so I won’t keep you hanging without focusing your attention elsewhere. 

In the words of Sebastian, “SHHOOOOONN!!” (see you soon) 

Enter

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I mentioned in Monday’s post on the kitchen that we might be ‘done’ fiddling with that room.  The entry way is another space we might be done fiddling with.  Here’s what it looks like as of this afternoon:
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You can get all the details about the rug, chandelier, and wall decor if you head over to our Current Nest page and click on the appropriate links to each, but one thing I haven’t written about yet is the painting by the front door.
I couldn’t get a good picture of it, or I should say, a picture doesn’t do it justice, but our good friend and amazing artist, Jesse, painted it for us.
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I should note that she selflessly painted it for us because I asked her to.  I know, I have incredible friends.  You might remember her because she let me share some of her other talented feats like her faux marble countertops and her captain’s mirror here on the blog.

For the painting, I really wanted something colorful that tied into the bright red door.  I also wanted to somehow get a picture I took on our beach vacay last year up in there.  This one:
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I loved the idea of having two very different doors right next to each other.

So, I found a picture of a sunset I liked on pinterest that had bright red and lots of other colors in it and asked her to meld the two.  She did an amazing job, no?  It’s so much more amazing in person too.  The colors are more vibrant and the texture of the oil paint is nothing a 2D picture can show.

And speaking of 2D pictures, let’s take another one of those fun walks I like to do down memory lane with a few.

Here’s our entry shortly after we moved in, painted the walls, and a threw a few things in to make it functional.  
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And then I switched out the rug for an equally boring rug and threw a few things up on the walls to make it less boring.  Too bad it was still very boring…
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Then we added function with the built-in hook system and color with a roman shade made out of a mini-blind.
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Next came a little more glam with the addition of the metal basket chandelier, the thrifted mirror, and the stenciled rug.
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Add some word art and red paint…
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And then some white paint and a super-duper-cool painting and here we are, once again.
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But let’s not stop there!  Let’s open Red and step out into the sweltering heat and sky high humidity, shall we?
Here’s what the front door once looked like:
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And now, with the addition of a bold color, a homemade tulip wreath, a woven grass rug, and a thrifted planter with gifted plant, we have achieved happy.
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Currently sitting in our attic at this very moment, we have a big ‘ole brass and glass chandelier I found at Goodwill that’s waiting to be painted and hung out here too.  Don’t hold your breath though.  It’ll be a few months.  :)

Turn your head to the left and five years back and we have the porch we so desired when house-hunting way back when.
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We painted the entire exterior of our house a few years ago so, thankfully it’s not looking so scary today.  front (9) You might remember that I thrifted those bamboo chairs last year and I still have yet to refurbish them.  I think I’ll move two out and hunt down a small side table and some more potted plants to live here too.  Or maybe leave two chairs and add a swing or a hanging chair?  This girl can dream…

And that’s all I have time for as I madly type to finish up while all three kids are slowly awaking from their slumbers and gaining steam.  I hope you enjoyed our little time hop as much as I did!  And thanks again to Jesse for the entry way’s finishing touch!

Adios! 

DIY Shade Chandelier

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(The fine print:  Some of the links to products below are affiliate links.  If you click on and/or buy from these links, I’ll get a small commission.  Your price doesn’t change a single bit but by buying through me, you help me/us to keep doing and doing and doing.)  :)

Let’s talk florescent lights…say, the one that once was in our kitchen.

kitchIt’s a pretty room to look at (although I’m biased) based on this semi-recent picture…until your eyes gravitate upward and notice the long, really outdated, really plain, and really ugly lighting (and you can’t see the end in the pic but the ends were a bisque color).  We HAD to do something about it.  Working with the existing light box, I gave us two options – some cool track lighting like this…51R8s9x1ulL._SL1200_

[image via Amazon]

…or a shade chandelier like this one that rings in at a wallet-biting $545:CH09086PN-01[image via Shades of Light

The problem was though, that I had very little cash to work with…but that’s always my problem, isn’t it? 

But you probably know, if you’ve been reading zee blog for any number of weeks, that that problem usually isn’t too tough for me to solve as long as I have a cup (or five) of coffee and a willing husband.  Since both of those things have a pretty good chance of being around…

florescent to chandi diyWe ended up with a new light fixture for $40.

You can read about how I made the shade here.  As for the chandelier underneath, I used this: white chandi (1)An old wood and metal chandelier that someone donated to our church’s yard sale benefitting the Ecuador mission trip team.   I paid $8 for it.  I know you might see an old light fixture rehab and automatically click away because it sounds like a very intimating task involving lots of wires, possible welding, and lots of electrical mumbo jumbo.  But, I’m here to tell you it’s so easy!  If you can twist the lid off a Coke bottle and spray paint, you can refurbish a light fixture…pinky promise…or swear…or whatever.

Here is how I did it my friends.

First, I turned the chandelier upside down so that I could get at the bottom.  Then I unscrewed that little bronze filial right off.  It was screwed onto the end of a long threaded rod that went up into the middle of the fixture and so once the filial was off, the two pieces of wood you can see in the picture just slipped right off.
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Under each light socket was the same type of filial that I just unscrewed to get those pieces of wood off.

I did the same thing for the other end, the top of the chandelier, except I unscrewed that ring that was connected to the hanging chain.
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I made sure to take lots of pictures after every step so that I could remember how to put the chandelier back together.
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With this particular chandelier, I didn’t mess with the metal bars holding the light sockets at all so I really didn’t have to mess with any wiring besides unwinding the existing wiring from the hanging chains before I pulled them off.

Initially, my plan was to paint all of the pieces – metal and wood – and put the chandelier back together the same way with the addition of a shade.  But then my friend Jesse and I were talking and she mentioned not even putting the wood back on, making for a much simpler chandelier.  I really liked that idea only I decided against it in the end because it would’ve required some shortening of the threaded rods and I didn’t know if that was possible without messing up the rods so instead I replaced the bulky wood pieces under each socket and the one under the middle of the chandelier with these wood ball knobs instead.

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I had the greatest idea before this step though, to replace those bulky pieces with round acrylic balls instead but those balls alone would’ve cost me over $60 not to mention that I would’ve had to drill larger holes in them and I don’t know how feasible that would’ve been.  BUT, it would’ve been amazing, no?

Anyway, back to the wood knobs.  They were the exact height as the old bulky wood pieces so there was no cutting of threaded rods or wood cutting to do.  However, the pre-drilled holes in them only went in so far and they were too small to fit over the chandelier’s threaded rods.  To get them to fit, I first had to continue the pre-drilled hole through the whole ball.  To do that, I grabbed a drill bit the size of the hold and drilled through.
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But the hole had to be even larger than that pre-drilled hole so then I grabbed a drill bit the size of the threaded rods on my chandelier and drilled an even bigger hole.
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This part was a little tougher than I thought it would be.  Turns out, it’s a little difficult to drill into a small wood ball and hold the ball straight and steady all the while.  At first I held the ball with my bare hand and paid for that dumb mistake with a cut on the inside of my thumb when the drill slipped once.  After that I held the ball with my garden-gloved hand and it worked much, much better.

The bottom knob shows the size of the existing hole and the top shows the size I needed the holes to be.  white chandi (10)
So once I had all those ball knobs drilled, I put them onto the chandelier.

Next, I had to figure out how I’d work the top of the chandelier so that I could fit my shade onto it.  I won’t go into much detail with this step because I know that every chandelier is different but in the end, I scrapped all the wood pieces that originally fit to the top.  Instead, I drilled another ball knob, threaded it on, placed the top lampshade ring over that, and cut a plastic tube (leftover from this lamp project) down to size and placed it on top of the lampshade ring.
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[The plastic tube isn’t shown in the above picture but you’ll be able to see it below.]

It took me a day of brainstorming and messing with different placements to finally figure that out.  You see, I didn’t want the lamp shade to be super long and I wanted it to fall just past the bottom of the chandelier.  So, figuring out where exactly it had to sit on the top threaded rod so that it fell where I wanted it to at the bottom of the chandelier took a little trial and error; putting it together a hundred ways to see which way worked.  I took this picture after it was painted but you can see a part of that process.  white chandi (19)With the chandelier on the ground, I would place the ring somewhere between the wood pieces on the top threaded rod and measure where it sat from the bottom of the chandelier with a tape measure.  Eventually, like shown in the above picture, I got it right.

Next up was the fun part – paint!  Except it took me awhile to figure out that too.  Which color?! white chandi (11)
I loved the idea of a charcoal gray but then I thought it might look bad in the same room as stainless steel appliances.  Like the stainless steel might make it look really cheap.  I also thought maybe a gray-blue like the background of our valances or citron to add a punch of color.  In the end though, I went with white to keep things simple and neutral and added some colored elastic to punch up the volume.

To prep for paint, I had to cover those sockets and the wiring.  I cut strips of computer paper to place over the sockets; rolled them up, slipped them over, and taped off the tops.
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To cover the wiring that came out of the top of the chandelier, I slipped it through a long piece of plastic tubing I had (the same I cut down to use on the top of the chandelier), not worrying if I got paint on it.

I hung the chandelier on the kids swing set to paint it, swings removed.  It was the perfect place.
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First, I gave it a coat of Rust-Oleum Clean Metal primer.
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And then I sprayed three thin coats of Rust-Oleum satin white, waiting a good half hour between each coat to do the next.
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Once the paint was dry (I painted it in the morning and let it hang all day to dry), it was time to put the finished lamp shade on and get it ready to be hung.

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The chandelier didn’t have a ceiling canopy with it (that top bowl-like thing) so I bought this white one.  It came with gold screws that are visible when hung so I’ll probably paint those white when I get a quick chance.

Anthony removed the old florescent light while I was putting the kids down for naps.
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I don’t have a tutorial for you on how to do that (but Young House Love does!) but I was happy to see that it was easy to turn off the breaker in our refurbished laundry room cabinet.
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Going…

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going…white chandi (23)
gone.
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The only unfortunate thing about having to use the existing light box for us is that it’s not centered in the room.  It was placed down the middle as you’re looking down into our galley kitchen, but it’s farther towards the laundry room than it is towards the dining room.  I wish it were in line with the stove and microwave or the kitchen sink but it’s not and I’ll get over it.  Maybe someday we’ll move it but today isn’t that day.  Maybe someday we’ll also rid ourselves of the popcorn ceiling too because talk about dating a house.  Someday.

Installing the new light was quick for my handy man albeit with a little bit of bodily maneuvering around and under that big shade.  :)  (Need a tutorial on how to install a light fixture?  Check out this video!)

I still have to touch up the paint around the light box but I do love the view from below.      IMG_6394

Then there are the light bulbs.  I have a love/hate relationship with light bulbs.
IMG_6384 My favorite light is a neutral, bright white light but the only light bulbs you can find that coming from are florescent bulbs and expensive LEDs (not plain incandescents which would’ve been great).  I didn’t want ugly fluorescents since they’d be visible and LEDs would’ve cost more than we spent to make the new light so those were out too.  I also didn’t want the orange light that ‘soft white’ brings or the blue light that daylight bulbs emit.  I have, however, read good things about the white light GE Reveal bulbs cast so I thought we’d give those a try.  Anthony grabbed a few packs while he was out and…
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…the bulbs are blue.  Hmph.  But the light isn’t the usual orange of incandescents so we’re living with them for now.

Another thing I’m still trying to work with are the sockets.
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You can see in the picture above that they’re yellowing.  The old socket covers were brittle and one was missing.  I can’t seem to find new socket covers short or wide enough so I’m still working on a fix.  At first I was just going to wrap those things up with some paper strips but then paper + hot sockets = a fire hazard???  Not sure but I don’t really want to burn the house down in the name of aesthetics.  Stay tuned for that and let me know if you have any ideas.

I know, this post is gettin’ real long.  Let me just save the best for last with a jump back into kitchen time.  Here’s what our cooking nook looked like when we were its house viewers.
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Then we became the house owners and we painted the cabinets for free with leftover paint.kitchen fsbo4

And then nesting/sense/darkness got the best of us and we went all light and bright painting the cabinets again, making a fun geometric runner, replacing the old laminate countertops, installing a subway tile backsplash, installing the microwave and shelf combo, and now the new chandelier.
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Much, much better than day one, right?  What’s even better is that we’ve only spent about $3520 getting from what was to what is and that’s including all of the new appliances we put in a few years ago.

I’m not going to say our kitchen is ‘finished’ because just last week we were talking about blowing out the wall separating it from the living room but for now, we’re focusing on other rooms…like the living room.  More on that later.  I promise I won’t keep it all to my shelf.  ;)

Have a good rest of this (rainy here) Monday!  I’ll leave the lights on for ya.  IMG_6379

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kitchen before and after

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