A SPECIAL FURNITURE PROJECT

I’ve recently started work on a couple different areas of our house and will be sharing posts about these various projects over the coming months. One of the rooms I’m working on is our guest bedroom which we want to move from a spare room upstairs to a spare room downstairs in order to create a first floor guest suite. I won’t be reusing anything from our current guest room so I am working on sourcing all new furniture and decor for the new bedroom. Fortunately, I have a set of inherited nightstands I can use, and they became my first project for this room.

About 5 years ago, I was at my parents’ house in their guest bedroom when the pair of nightstands they had in the room caught my eye. They were a mid-century modern style which is unusual because my parents didn’t own any other modern furniture. I asked my mom where they came from and she told me my grandfather made them many years ago. I immediately asked if she’d be willing to pass them down to me, and she said yes. I love mid-century modern furniture and the fact that my grandfather handmade these makes them very special to me.

My Grandpa Irv passed away 20 years ago. He was Swedish American and lived in Michigan, which was far away from where I grew up so I didn’t get to know him real well. But I knew him well enough to have great admiration for him. He was part of America’s Greatest Generation and fought in World War II surviving the horrible Battle of the Bulge despite being significantly injured. He was a kind-hearted hard working man who was always willing to help others and liked to joke around with his grandkids.

My grandfather was very creative and resourceful which meant that if my grandmother wanted some new furniture my Grandpa Irv would often make it for her from anything he had lying around his garage. His large detached garage was a complete woodworking shop, and I think he enjoyed working out there fixing up old things and creating unique pieces. These matching mid-century nightstands were just a couple examples of what he made decades ago, and thankfully, they ultimately got passed down to me.

This is how the nightstands looked when I got them

I had originally planned to use these in our master bedroom, but then I realized they won’t work in there because they are very small and we have a king size bed so proportionally they would look weird next to each other. But our guest bedroom is a much smaller room with a smaller bed so they would be perfect in that room.

While I love the shape of these pieces, the color and drawer handles looked very dated and don’t work well with the mid-century style (again, I bet my grandfather used stain and drawer handles he already had instead of buying anything new), so I knew these needed a quick makeover before I put them in our new guest bedroom.

I started by removing the backing from each nightstand. I guess my grandfather had chosen to use a cheap piece of fiberboard for the backing. I didn’t like the faux pattern painted on it and it couldn’t be stained to match the rest of the wood, so I knew I wanted to replace the backings with some plywood that I would be able to stain to match everything else.

With the backings removed, I got started sanding off all of the old stain. This process revealed more about my grandfather. I discovered that all of one nightstand and part of the other one appear to be made from a wood species that I can’t quite figure out. The rest of the one nightstand was made from pine. My guess is he ran out of the wood he was originally using and had to finish it up with some pine. My grandfather was not a trained furniture maker, and the way these were built wasn’t the way a high quality furniture maker would have built them. But I’m sure my grandfather didn’t care. He was using what he had—including his own creativity—to make what he could.

The sanded nightstands with the backings removed

REVEAL: MY GREAT ROOM BECOMES GREAT

I am so excited to share my new Great Room reveal!!! This makeover has taken longer than usual because my schedule has been very limited this year with my kids’ activities and my job working in a firm demanding a lot of my time, but I tried to squeeze out every minute of free time I could to slowly work on this room… and every minute I spent was well worth it!

Let’s begin with the before photos…

Our great room is very important in our home because it’s physically and figuratively the center of the whole house. We spend a lot of time in this room hanging out or watching tv, and whenever we have guests over we usually congregate in here and the adjacent kitchen. Because of the amount of use this room gets it was important for me to make it a space people really want to be in. And after years of waiting to get to transform this room, I’m grateful that it has turned into what I originally envisioned—a bright and comfortable room I don’t want to leave!

Take a look at the photos…

1 BATHROOM, $300, 5 DAYS: FINAL REVEAL

I recently took on a new project: our guest bathroom. This was more than a project though, it was a challenge. It ended up being a kind of case study on what impact you can have with very little time and money (since I have little of both these days).

I challenged myself to give my guest bathroom a new look with only $300 and 5 days of work. I’m happy to say the challenge is complete and I like this bathroom so much more than I used to!

Take a look at what the bathroom originally looked like…

And here is what it looks like after 5 days and $300 invested…

MY FOYER/HALLWAY MAKEOVER: FINAL REVEAL!

Back in May I started a new makeover for my foyer and upstairs hallway and I am happy to say that I’m finally finished!! I’ve been sharing the changes I’ve made as I’ve gone along so please check out my previous updates on this makeover:

PHASE ONE

PHASE TWO

With my third and final phase of this project, I mostly focused on updating the banister on the stairway in the foyer. Take a look at how it looked at the beginning of this phase:

As you can see it is quite dated and blah looking. My goal was to improve the look of all of this railing without going over budget. As I brainstormed ideas, I immediately gravitated to this:

source

Ever since Joanna Gaines revealed the makeover of her bed and breakfast I’ve been in love with this black iron railing!! I love the clean modern look, and I knew it would look great in my house.

However, it didn’t take me long to realize this was simply not a possibility for me because of the steep price. Turns out I have about 44 linear ft of railing in total and to hire a professional to make and install that much railing was going to be incredibly expensive! I realized that with my limited budget, my best option would be to focus on altering what was already there instead of completely replacing it.

I decided to stain the railing black, paint the newel posts white, and replace the balusters with a more minimal tapered style baluster. Here’s the final look:

I like that there is less of the oak wood in the foyer now, but the color of the floors still really bothers me! Eventually when we have the money, we’ll have the floors sanded and stained a different color and I think that will be a huge improvement.

With the banister finished, I only had a couple other quick changes to make.

I replaced all of the polished brass door hardware with matte black hardware. This has been on my to-do list for a while and I finally got around to changing all of the doors in the whole house.

I also changed out the two dated builder grade chandeliers in the foyer with more interesting modern ones.

Then it was time to bring in all of the accessories and I was finally done with this makeover!!!