So excited to share this DIY project with you all today! It has been ‘in the making’ for some time now (you know how certain projects can get…), but my new giant sunburst mirror is finally finished and hanging and photographed.
What do you think?
It’s a little too much on trend and a little too expected in a living room these days, but I couldn’t help myself. Our Spanish-style casa needed one more sunburst mirror. And a wooden one too, since that happens to fall well into my sort of cozy-rustic-wood tone loving style.
I’ve been searching for the right living room mantel piece for a while, and while I loved the giant mirror that used to sit there (plucked from the dining room last year) and the extra light it reflected into the space, something of a different shape and color was calling my name.
It might be the only big update the living room has had in a little while… other than my heart art for the bookcases:
My inspiration for the mirror included these two guys:
Before launching into the DIY idea, I first did a quick add up of cost of materials and time to finish, and I decided that if I could find one of the above at their last listed sale price I would nab it. The left is from Ballard Designs (but they discontinued that beloved mirror in December – and I called every outlet shop, searched eBay and Craigslist, and hounded the catalog for the better part of January before giving up) and the right is from a Pottery Barn outlet (oddly enough, I learned that by covertly blog stalking the lovely family that The Lettered Cottage partnered with to redecorate their cabin – and the family is WONDERFUL and shared the source. But the PB source is sold out as well.)
Or how about this inspiration piece from Houzz? I’ll just leave it at waaaaaaay over budget.
Plan B? Build one ourselves.
DIY Sunburst Mirror
Materials: 8′ of 1×12″ red oak, 12.5″ circular wooden round, 12″ convex mirror, 18×18″ (or two smaller pieces) of scrap wood to use as a backing, stain + rag for application, stain sealer, chop saw, nail gun, staple gun, sanding block or electric sander, wood glue
Once our materials were assembled it was time to begin the 40 sum pie wedge cuts that would result in a circular shape.
A chop saw that cuts at particular angles is crucial, but if you don’t have a chop saw it’s very easy to take your lumber to a milling yard (your local mom & pop hardware store probably has one) and to request that they do your cuts for you. I wasn’t so sure that Kev would have time to squeeze these cuts into his weekend so I double checked with my favorite milling folks and they offered to make all cuts for $60 (or about the cost of an hour of their time). Not so bad. But Kevin did end up finishing the cuts for me and that saved us a significant chunk on this project. Thanks, love!
Before we get into determining the angle sizes, let’s talk about the choice of lumber for a moment. As I began researching this project I was at first concerned with choosing a hard wood over a softer lumber for my mirror and opted to use red oak for the sunburst. But now that the mirror is complete I’m positive that you could make this guy out of recycled wooden pallets if you wanted to (with the proper backing), and that the lumber choice shouldn’t be too expensive. Note that hard woods usually run between $7-9/foot and soft woods around $4-5 foot. I love the pop of color and the stronger contrast that the red oak brings to our living room, but here are a few other choices (including pine, douglas fir, poplar, oak, redwood and mahogany – and I sometimes wonder how it would look if I had chosen a more ashy, lighter poplar or white oak like the inspiration photos show):
Determining the angular pie shaped cuts was tricky. I knew that I was looking for about 40 ish pie shapes (as determined by the inspiration photos) and so I turned to my PhD candidate brother to help me do the crazy math. To which he replied via text: “Is this some sort of trick question? 360 degrees/40 pieces = 9 degrees each.” Geometry – you and I never did get along very well.
Each side of the pie when added together needed to equal 9 degrees, so we set the chop saw for 4.5 (or 9 degrees/2).
If you’re looking for fewer cuts (resulting in fewer pie slices), simply divide 360 by your desired amount of pie slices (for example: 360/20 cuts would = 18 degrees, or a 9 degree slice on each pie side).
And set your chop saw accordingly:
Because I wanted the grain to run vertically though, we first cut the long 8′ board into 12″ pieces and then sliced away at each 12×12″ chunk so that the grain was running the right direction.
But of course we didn’t end up with 40 exact pieces. Here’s the backside (hence all of the ink staining that I didn’t worry about sanding out) of my future mirror on the garage floor as I’m piecing together the pie wedges . You get to a point in your pie wedge assembly where you’re almost there and then you piece in odd size pie slices to make it all fit. We ended up with several oddly angled slivers in there to keep the mirror the appropriate size and shape (playing around with the cuts of the last final pie slices was helpful here as well since I was staggering my wedges a bit, too).
Next up was adding a piece of wood that would hold the pie wedges in place. No one will see the back side so it wasn’t super important to me that the backing was pretty, I simply found scrap wood from our pile that roughly fit the bill:
And then I used a nail gun (with 1″ nails so that they would not pop all the way through and show on the front side of my 1″wedges + 1/4″ backing) to carefully connect each wedge to the backing.
This is my careful job :
I went a little crazy. Better secure than not.
After standing the mirror right side up and adjusting it a bit, I ended up adding one more piece to the very back. Just for good measure.
And then we headed outside for sanding and staining. Any edge that felt too harsh was polished just a bit, and any obvious imperfections were sanded down with a sanding block or an electric sander.
I actually used a combination of stains from the paint cabinet to achieve the desired finished look. My first layer was more of a golden/transparent sheen (there on the right) and the second, a very light ashy-grey swipe over the entire mirror. My testers:
I should be wearing gloves in the below photo… but essentially I brushed on my stain with a foam brush (working in 8-10 wedge chunks) and then wiped off the excess (or in the case of the grey, most of) stain with a rag. Let air dry in a well ventilated space overnight.
One last coat of a wood sealer and one more night of drying (I used a left over sealant from our deck but I’m sure any ole’ sealer would work well here).
The round-ness (?) of the mirror looks a bit odd here, but because of our unusual pie cuts there at the end + staggering of various pieces to give the outside a bit of dimension, it truly was just about round. Just ignore the odd shape there in the center .
Coming up with an idea for the mirror at the center proved to be one of the trickiest. I couldn’t find the perfect flat mirror, but when I came across this guy on Amazon I realized it actually might be really cool to add a convex mirror! Plus I can always change it out later if it’s not what we love in the long term…
But I didn’t want the mirror to sit directly onto the sunburst shape, I thought that if I mounted it on a slightly larger round piece of wood it would give the entire mirror a more polished, finished look. Cutting a piece of plywood into a circular shape is way beyond tough – so I was really thrilled to find The Junk Man on Etsy. He proved to be a wealth of knowledge and helped me out by cutting a custom round wooden circle just large enough to fit my mirror (and for only $5 + shipping). I highly recommend his expertise for small wood working projects.
The plywood was the perfect depth as it didn’t cause the mirror to pop out too much from the rest of the wooden frame, but it was a little messy to stain it and I’m not sure where those grey streaks came from. The pro? No one would see as they all were hidden behind the mirror . Here’s a shot of the staples from the staple gun that were used to adhere round wood circle to sunburst frame.
Finally it was time to attach the convex mirror to the sunburst. A lot of wood glue later (and another chance to dry overnight) and the mirror was finished!
Really, really happy with how it turned out and how it fits on our mantel:
Kevin calls it the ‘eyeball’, not yet sure if that’s good or bad.
Goes well with our Spanish casita, no? A wooden sunburst mirror feels right in this space with the unusual rounded ceilings and the plaster walls… and I love the oversized shape and wooden tones that help to draw the room together.
Little by little the living room continues to evolve and change!
PS for more living room posts, sort all posts here.
PPS I entered this project into a fun contest (see below) and if you think it’s cool, I would be honored if you’d head on out to the contest page and ‘click’ on my link! They tally the clicks as votes and you don’t have to enter any personal info, promise .
Tags: Accessories, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Home, Living Room, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 4 Comments »
I mentioned on Monday that I’m on the hunt for new artwork for the home. Art is such a great way to add a pop of color to a space and to bring a little personality to a room! And our home could use more of it.
It’s fitting that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner because one such style of art that has caught my eye over and over again (from that initial four heart Lonny print below to the modern paper craft versions that were very popular last year) is a solo heart shape.
Shoot, even pillows are all the rage:
Determined that I could create a solo heart painting myself without spending a fortune, I dug up some canvas paper from a giant sketch pad of Kevin’s (left over from one of his architecture classes) and my watercolors.
Instant bookcase update! The pop of pink is a great color addition against a dark espresso bookcase.
One of my favorite bookcase styling tips is to use art as a backdrop to add a ‘tall’ component to shorter decorating elements such as stacks of books, figurines, family photos, bowls and other featured knick knacks. It also detracts from a monochromatic bookcase and helps to add unexpected color.
Wish I had a straight on photo but there was a horrible glare while snapping these quick shots.
The frame is from Aaron Brothers (probably picked up during one of their penny sales) and used to house a remnant piece of brown and white fabric. I love the pink color, but I also really dig how the white helps to ‘brighten’ a pretty dark spot.
Here’s a picture from Christmas that gives a little glimpse of the matted remnant fabric (also an easy and inexpensive art idea).
When it came to painting this guy I began with a simple and soft pink heart and then began to add contrast and brush strokes until it felt right. The finished result is organic with obvious brush strokes and bits of yellow, red, coral and pink.
Plus, you can’t beat free art . Though I’m sure there are Etsy finds out there for anyone who wants to make heart art easy peasy!
Pink! It’s here to stay and it’s my new best decorating friend.
PS All living room makeover posts can be found right here. It’s been a long journey!
Tags: Accessories, Art, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, DIY Art, Home, Living Room, Pink
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 2 Comments »
Happy 2013! As promised, I spent my New Year’s at home with a glass of (Martinelli’s) champagne and in uber comfy style (unlike my imagined idea), no major stories to tell but a relaxing welcome to the new year.
Man oh man I can’t believe it’s already 2013. This past year has come and gone in the blink of an eye and while there were so many adventures and projects and stories to share, it feels like it all happened quite quickly really. With that in mind, I thought now might be a fun time to take a walk around the house to see what Kevin and I crossed off the house renovation project list from last year, and what we might be tackling in the coming months/year now that it is officially brand new. Here’s a similar walk-through from 2011 (wow, that seems like yesterday!).
Just for fun, let’s take it waaaay back and sneak a peek at what each of these rooms looked like before moving in as a more grand comparison.
The Dining Room
First up, the dining room. No major construction changes here (except that that left door below now leads to a hallway to the new kitchen and the right door below no longer exists – see bathroom update next) but plenty of design changes. Mmm I still love the soffits in the ceiling and the rounded walls that make this a 1930s home.
In 2012 we played with rug ideas, new lighting, adding curtains (transformed from a favorite pattern found in a duvet cover) and finding neutral art to balance out the dining room space. Plus this awesome greenery (which does not like its current location – Fiddle Leaf Fig owners with a green thumb, please email!). We still have plans to come up with comfier seating options and more light (that pendant, as beautiful as she is, does not give off a whole lot of bright).
More about all of the the dining room updates here.
New Guest Bathroom
Next is our build-from-scratch bath that used to function as three small closets (two for the hallway, one for Liv’s room). The before (photo taken from the back of the house, the same hallway from the other direction is in that top before shot of the dining room):
Here’s a quick glance at the sketches we initially created to help guide the space, not too much changed over the course of the couple of months of building in terms of layout and design:
And the crazy construction behind it:
All of which brought us to here!
Once the bathroom was finished it was time to tackle a big chunk of empty wall on the opposite side of that tub up above in the hallway. This particular hallway is a roomy space that connects bedrooms to the kitchen and the rest of the house, so it’s a natural play space for Liv and her push toys/doll strollers while we’re cooking or eating in the kitchen. It made the most sense to keep it as kid-friendly as can be.
So, I painted the lower half of the wall to encourage massive chalkboard murals and the top half with my own version of a wallpaper design using painter’s tape (after much searching and not being able to track down ‘the one’).
We have since removed my ‘shoe-putting-on-station’ because the bench really was not so great at corralling loose jackets, shoes, handbags and what not as I had hoped, and eventually became more of a tripping hazard. Ah well. On the plus side, Liv has more access to the full chalkboard and loves to cover it with her shapes and squiggles!
We plan to revamp this entire hallway space once we settle on a master bedroom/bath redesign, so this next update will likely not last through the end of this upcoming summer. But this side of the hallway needed a little storage love as well so a Craigslist corner unit received a paint update and a few favorite knick knacks. The below two shelves now house blankets and what not.
Most of this space was built and finished in 2011 (the original kitchen used to live here). But we did make a few updates such as a new fabric headboard for the guest bed, new wall collage (including this handmade favorite), new Craigslist vintage storage and chair, and rug for on top of our rug (that perty white has nothing against a dog and toddler).
Follow along with office projects here. And believe it or not this space used to actually look like this!
Our living room received a few cozier updates with a few more in store for 2013.
New envelope pillows, embroidered artwork, DIY butterfly art and a faux canvas painting made my list of top changes, though we also invested in a super shaggy/soft rug for playing with blocks and a few new pieces of bookshelf tchotchkis (this being my favorite).
So much to be said about all of the outdoor work happening around these parts in the fall of 2012! We painted the house (more to come on that, we actually still have windows and a few little areas to complete) and we’re loving the new soft tan color!
We’ve chosen white as the window trim and those front two windows have since been restored (also something we’re teaming up with professionals for) and painted. Kevin stained the front porch bench and grouted the saltillo tile under foot as well.
The jungle of a sideyard was also tackled!
A little clearing, wall building, deck laying and table building (from very cool reclaimed wood) later…
And you have one of our very favorite updates. This is an awesomely useful outdoor space now for dining, cooking marshmallows and BBQing alike. The above dining table is just off of our new kitchen so when it’s time to par-tay we push the wide doors open and join the two big spaces.
These two photos below are pre staining, but you can see how the new flagstone ties in with the rest of the backyard!
And there it is, the big stuff from 2012.
Still on this list? Much. A master bedroom/bath remodel, guesthouse makeover (we have a little back unit near the garage), finishing up the kitchen nook and hallway, Liv’s big girl room + new nursery, the garage and a few more curb appeal updates. Plus the usual day to day crafts, style boards, parties and ramblings of this blog. AND a new baby. Woohoo!
Thank you for joining us on our adventure. I feel so incredibly lucky to have an online group of friends that offer awesome suggestions, that extra encouragment just when we need it and who check in on us on a regular basis. Thank you. And very much looking forward to spending the rest of this new year with you!
Tags: Decorating, Dining Room, DIY, Home, Living Room, Office, Year in Review
Posted in Curb Appeal, DIY, Home, Our Dining Room, Our Guest Bathroom, Our Guestroom/Office, Our Hallway, Renovating Adventures | 10 Comments »