Just finished a new project for our kitchen and I love how it turned out!
Let’s start this post off with some yummy inspiration.
I have loved the look of vintage botanical charts for some time! They are oversized, full of contrasting color (love the black backgrounds) and the illustrations are so detailed and just stunning.
But I ran into two dilemmas before finding one for the house. The first was tracking down the right print for the right price. I was hoping to find a fabric version rather than a print that I would frame behind glass (see those beautiful dowels above? my favorite way to hang a piece of art like this) and many fabric versions are originals from quite some time ago and because of that they all seem to be pretty pricey (like in the hundreds of dollars a pop range).
The second was finding the right spot! I wanted to find a creative way to hang a new print but these guys are usually pretty big and they need a special home that’s just perfect for the look of the print.
Then very recently, I found the perfect source (and added a little DIY love) and the perfect spot in our home! Our new fabric botanical chart now hangs in the hallway between our dining room and kitchen, and it fits in perfectly.
After a few months of occasionally googling and searching, I stumbled upon KSarahDesigns and her beautiful botanical print reproductions on Etsy. The store offered a gorgeous selection of paper prints, but I reached out to Kristen anyhow to ask about possibly using her artwork to print the illustrations on fabric. I was so happy and surprised when she offered to take on the project herself! Spoonflower is an awesome source for printing your own fabric and a few short weeks later I received my folded, heavy duty cotton twill fabric in the mail.
Printing black onto fabric is near impossible (we learned the hard way) but even the dark charcoal grey looks great as a chart.
Next step was to transform the fabric into a hanging piece of art. I snipped the white edges (no need for a perfect cut since my edges would either be hemmed or hiding behind a dowel) and then carefully added a very small hem to the long, horizontal sides of the chart. My first thought was to use an iron on hem tape to secure the hem, but after pre ironing my hem flat on each side I noticed that the tape wasn’t necessary – the edges stayed perfectly.
I picked up two 1/2″ dowels from Lowe’s and we cut them to size. Then I stained them a warm, chestnut brown (they were originally pine) and I stapled my chart directly to the dowels to give the top and bottom of the print a clean look.
It’s hard to see the string in the photos (and I may switch that out in the future) but for now the chart simply hangs from a nail. Finished!
And a glance from our dining room! Love the black accents and how the lampshade, b&w photos and print compliment each other. The chart leads you into the next space.
Love my new art and that the price for the finished, semi-DIY piece (which came in at under $50) is a totally affordable alternative to the originals out there.
Tags: Accessories, Art, Black, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Fabric, Home, Kitchen, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Favorites, Home, Our Kitchen Remodel, Renovating Adventures | 6 Comments »
Six ish months ago we had to turn the gas off in our fireplace… which was such a downer as there’s nothing more amazing than flipping that little gas switch and watching a beautiful, blazing fire set the mood for your living room. Perfect for chilly nights that call for family games on the living room rug or for a late night Netflix. But alas, this is an older home with old fireplace issues and we had to switch her off.
Hopefully one day she’ll blaze again.
Until that day it’s time to turn the eye-sore innards of this old fireplace (black bricks, metal curtain and goldish top plate and all) into a prettier focal point for the room. Enter Pinterest Challenge, Winter 2013.
I love these little challenges because they provide the motivation to cross a big project off of the massive to-do list, and usually I can justify choosing a project that I more love and want to complete, and less of one I must do because it’s next on the priority list. Here are a few past projects that we’ve tackled around here, including painter’s tape wallpaper, gold chevron napkins and an ombre stool for Liv (one of my favorites) among others.
With a little motivation, a week to track down materials and a great inspiration picture, I had an idea of where to start.
Oooo I love the above image! What a great way to utilize the empty space in a fireplace while still keeping a room cozy and comfortable (fireplaces and stacked wood have a way of doing that…).
Our finished project… drumroll…
I would be very happy if you thought we went and stacked a bunch of logs in our fireplace and called it a project! But I promise it was much more than that. The goal here was to build a faux log stack facade that we could remove when we were ready to use the actual fireplace, and replace the next day once the fireplace was cool again.
The hope was that the screen would give the depth and perception of a a bunch of stacked wood, but really it would be just a few inches thick and somewhat easy to pop in and out.
What do you think? Are we fooling anyone?
Now on to building the screen!
Fireplace Faux Wood Stack Facade
Materials: ~50 variously sized log slices, plywood cut to the shape of your fireplace opening, black matte paint, wood glue (or nail gun)
I ran into the first big road block while tracking down the actual logs. You’d think that this would be fairly easy… but turns out smaller logs (unchopped) in lighter wood colors (such as birch rather than oak or redwood) are not always readily available in these desert parts of San Diego. Who would have guessed.
I really lucked out when a friend of ours suggested eucalyptus and then found a huge pile of firewood for the taking! And he generously handed over variously sized logs for me to include in the project (thanks, Dave). Other resources that might be useful? Craigslist and Etsy (turns out you can even purchase sliced logs for the right price).
Kevin chopped up my logs into 3″ slices and I began assembling my faux stacked wood.
The backing for our fireplace screen is a piece of plywood measured, cut to size and painted black.
I considered spray painting it but we had only a satin finish in the paint closet, so I used up a bit of leftover chalkboard paint that we had on hand (from this and this project) to achieve a more matte finish (the above is still wet, but once this paint dried it was more than perfect).
Our nail gun is out on loan at the moment or I would have simply lined up my log slices, laid the backing over the top and fired away to secure the slices to the backing and to keep the logs from moving, but instead I lathered each slice individually with a thin coat of wood glue and allowed the entire project to dry overnight (that stuff is tough). When we get the nail gun back I’ll add extra reinforcements to ensure that none of these logs come sliding down, especially with toddlers at play.
I opted for a 3″ depth on the log slices (rather than 1/2″ or something easier to manage/less heavy) so that they would add more depth to the fireplace and (hopefully) make the black backing a bit more invisible. In person it’s obvious that this is a faux fix to our little fireplace conundrum, but it’s a neat faux finish at that!
Should I paint out that gold top plate a darker, oil rubbed bronze color?
That might be step two to this project, looks kind of nice!
Tags: Accessories, Before & After, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Home, Living Room, Pinterest Challenge, Tutorial, Winter
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Favorites, Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 21 Comments »
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 »