furniture projects


Thank you for all the playroom love!  It's been so much fun putting it together.  The girls *do* love it, and it is a wonderful place to play when the weather outside really isn't cooperating.  It will be especially nice later this summer when the afternoons are dangerously hot and the basement is super cool...

Thank you, also, for reeling me in after I almost took the plunge with pink dye and turned my settee into some cotton candy disaster!  I agree, the white twill is a better option for now.

slowly but surely

There is always time to mix up the pillows or make another slipcover later in a fun color.  I was wrapped up in a moment, inspired by a photograph, and clearly deluded into thinking my space was some funky, artist's city loft that could handle a bright pink couch.  Er, well, it isn't.  And, and as at least one of you pointed out, I can bleach a white slipcover.  That is an immeasurable selling point, in my opinion.

buds on my cherry tree
(buds on my cherry tree!  woohoo!)

In completely unrelated news, we were at urgent care again this weekend for Fidget and her coughing.  Ready for another chorus of "well, this is just how your kid is", I was completely surprised when the doctor said, "you know, I don't think she has asthma."   

*blink* *blink*

This particular doc thinks Miss Fidge might be suffering from acid reflux.  Which would explain the nighttime coughing.  And the trouble sleeping.  Why the asthma meds don't work.  And a couple other things.  So we are 36hrs or so into a trial run of a doubled dose of prevacid.  I seriously hope this works.  She has been up 2x a night for the last week.  Poor thing needs some sleep!

I am also eagerly anticipating a custom ordered diptych of these images from The Noticing Project that I purchased through their etsy shop.  I love the repeated color, one so shiny and smooth and the other, spiky.  It's just cool. 

The playroom...

Wanna come over?

Last year we finished our basement.  We moved my office down there, created a guest room suite (far away from the girls' rooms upstairs!) and carved out a large man-space for Mr Pink.  Part of the deal was a playroom.

playroom, nearly done!

This space used to be our tornado shelter, where we huddled among stacked suitcases and plastic bins of off-season clothes.  It's a small room  (10x11?), made to feel smaller by the lack of a window, low ceilings, and a strangely-angled wall that takes its shape from the stairway outside.

playroom, left side.

I wanted to make the room somewhat bright and cheery -- a far cry from the cave-like space it used to be, complete with a hanging bare bulb and spider webs.  So we installed 4 potlights in this tiny room.  And we left the ceiling unfinished -- we had the builders spray paint it white, so it wouldn't seem so low.

playroom, middle

I also took a risk and added mirrors on the back wall, to bounce the light around and hopefully help create the feeling of a window... of a space that wasn't subterranean.

playroom: dress-up wall

Nearly everything (except the kitchen set, a birthday gift) in this room is thrifted or repurposed.  The curtains are bedsheets.  The bookshelves are part of a set of 4 my parents were splitting up. The window mirrors, from Big Sis' old room.  The window hardware?  Saved from two houses ago.  The small milk glass nobbed mirrors? Goodwill.  The red chair in the corner?  An $8 thrift store find.  You see where this is going.

playroom, right side

I still have a big clock and artwork display thingie to put up, somewhere on the right wall, above that little curtained storage area.  And the table in the middle (Big Sis' from 10 years ago), is a little too wobbly to be on a carpet, so I'm going to keep an eye out for something this spring when I hit the garage sales. 

But by and large, I am very happy to say "The Playroom?  Oh, yes, it's done.  Would you like to come over and mess it up with us??"

love these blocks

(You can find these and a couple other photos with notes, at flickr.)

Pink. It's PINK!

Can you hear that thumping noise?  It's little old me, banging my head against my kitchen wall.  Yes, the red one that needs repainting.

Why?  Because I was totally ready to jump into my WHITE settee slipcover project this weekend. And then I happened to cull through my old magazines last night, ripping and saving, so I could send some to school with Big Sis for a class project. 

And I came across THIS in an old Domino issue: 

gutsy in pink, from Domino Mag...

Yes.  The pink looks super cool.  (And she knows it, too.  She is sitting there, on her pretty little pink couch, thinking I'm totally going to make chris change her mind about the white.

So the question is, do I (gulp) dye my white twill (as laeroport suggested) and go for it?  Run out and buy some new pink fabric and start from there?  Or, tuck this inspiration photo away for a few years from now, when we move and I can start from scratch in a new house where my sweet little settee doesn't have to be so prim and proper, across the hall from a very buttoned-up brown and cream dining room? 

I don't have all that wood trim on mine and I do think that sets it off in this picture. I suppose that could be fixed with some thick white piping, which is also a little more work than I had anticipated... 

I've never even tried dyeing 5 yards of heavyweight twill before.  That alone could be a disaster.  But seriously, the pink?  I love it.


Happy Friday.  I'm going to ponder this.  What would YOU do?      

Suddenly, the wheels are in motion...

Joy on my doorstep.  White cotton twill and some Amy Butler Lotus Wallflower in cherry , a print I have loved for a long time but didn't have in my stash.


That's quite a bit of twill....I wonder what I'll use it for?

Oh, I know!

Remember her?


I toyed with the idea of going with a bold AB Nigella print,


..but I chickened out.  I'm not that bold. Maybe it's my that my photoshop skills leave a little to be desired, but I just couldn't go there. 

Instead, you'll get to follow my WIP while I try to construct a white slipcover for this curvy gal.  (I can already sense your excitement!)  I'll have to settle for a slipcover for now, because I've got to be able to wash this thing, as the girls love it and it's a destination when they come running into this room.  Also, I can always use the pattern -- once I've made one, that is -- to make another out of bolder fabric. Or upholster someday it in a velvet (oooh, velvet!), without having messed up the frame.   

The curves scare me a little, but I've always said I had more ambition than talent. Sometimes you just need to jump in, try and surprise yourself.   I'm also going to add nice long pillow across the back.  Hello, punchy red.


It could be I'm just chickening out altogether, but I do think it will be pretty when I'm done. The legs should get painted too, don't you think?  That's where I could be bold for now.

Back in February, I promised something pretty for the person whose idea I used... I'm pretty sure Cindy suggested cream with punchy pillows.  Joanne suggested red and white gingham (which got me thinking about the AB cherry print) and Beki, a solid with pillows and a ruffle (and I haven't ruled out a pleated ruffle along the bottom... )  So, while no one got it head-on, you each came pretty close.   So send me your address via email [pinkpicketfence (at) gmail (dot) com] and I'll make good on that one.  :)

Also, I stopped by a local thrift store today...  But I'll wait to share.  It's good stuff and I need to get some work done.

Happy Thursday, friends!  xoxoxo

The Spray Paint Rx.

Thank you for all your suggestions on my little settee redux project and the encouragement on my swap reveal!  You've warmed the cockles of my heart.  (My cockles have been very cold lately, thanks to Mr. Arctic Blast and temps of 18 degrees.  I have found the best way to warm them up is heaping doses of vanilla creme steamers and emailing my sweet bloggy friends.)  However, typepad comments are still acting up for me and sometimes I don't get all of them forwarded to my email.  This is very frustrating, because am truly thankful when someone take a minute out of a busy day to leave a comment for little old me, freezing her patootie off on the prairie. XOXOXO


Lookie here!  This is a project that got finished a week or so ago.  This headboard was part of the 1970's bedroom set (mint condition dresser, night table, armoire, headboard and mirrors) I scored last summer for Hollywood's pre-teen bedroom makeover.  The rest of the pieces got painted green or white and have been living a splendid life amidst Zach Efron posters, thousands of hoodie sweatshirts and Hillary Duff With Love perfume.  Sweet.

The headboard, on the other hand, spent the first part of our winter in the garage, stashed behind a razor scooter, some milk bottles for recycling, and a tube of sand.  (If you live where it ices and have ever owned a car without 4WD, you know why a 50 lb tube of sand is something you might have in your garage.)

guest room

So I finally got off my badonk and spray-painted it black.   No primer.  Just some water-based-go-on-anything-Krylon.  I figured if it were made to stick to plastic, it would stick to 40 year old varnish.  And it did.  I heartily recommend this reckless approach to refinishing furniture.  It took me about 20 minutes.  Two 10-minute sessions of spraying.  Done.  Now it resides in our upstairs guest bedroom.


Also, the powder room is getting there. (Do you really need to see garish before pictures?) I have finished with the walls (appropriately called 'going gray', ahem), but I am painting white over dark wood trim and this is taking 6-7 coats, despite the awesome primer.  Black spraypaint is so much easier -- I wish I could use it everywhere.




But WAIT, I DID use black spraypaint in the powder room!

And again, I highly recommend it. 

I spraypainted the light fixture. 


I swear, I did. 

It was brass. And now, well... it's not.  It's hammered black metal.  And you'd never know all I did was take a $3 can to it. 

The smart way is to remove it from the wall completely. 

But we were already going to prime the wall and repaint the walls anyway, so why not save a few steps?


Here's how I did it:.

  1. Tackle it before you do any other painting in the room.
  2. Cover everything else with a drop cloth -- you have to spray from every angle -- door frames, faucets and the floor can all be casualties here.  My floor is tile, so it just swept right up.
  3. Remove the glassware and the lightbulbs.
  4. Tape over the electric innards where the bulbs screw in.
  5. Spray 2-3 light coats from every angle. 
  6. If you miss spots, you can touch them up with a SHARPIE. Ha.  It's so high up there, no one notices. 
  7. Then I primed and painted the bathroom.

Tada.  Hands-on time: 10 mins!

Oh, and because they are pretty and it's practically Valentine's Day already, here are some creme cheese frosted red velvet cupcakes.  Yes, they are good.  The dye starts to bleed into the frosting after a day or two, but whatever.  YUM.


And have you seen these CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE LOLLIPOPS from Bakerella???  Girl has got some mad cake-on-a-stick-making skills.  Check her out!

settee pretty

Well, I cleaned her up and moved her into the house.  (By myself, I must add.  I was getting tired of asking Mr Pink to move it, and I felt so bad that the weather was about to turn really nasty and he was graciously parking outside so she could park her curvy legs in his spot.  Moving her in wasn't all that pretty.  But no one was here to take pictures of me sliding and slipping on floors and squeezing through doorways and stepping on the dog.  So just take my word for it.)


[ Skip this part if you just. don't. care.  It's okay. I won't mind.

This room! Aaah! It is supposed to be my crafting room.  It's my old office, right off the foyer, across from our dining room and, therefore, unfortunately subject to a more formal aesthetic.  I went with cream on the walls last spring (although I glazed satin stripes for character) because all the connecting spaces have lotsa color. (foyer : dining room : living room)  hmph.

Looking back I totally think I could have gone with blue.  Although this photo is very misleading -- the room doesn't really get any light and it's north-facing, so it always feels cold.  I nixed blue as an option back then because I worried it wouldn't be cozy.  Doesn't matter now, though.  There is no way I am painting over my stripes, baby. ]

So. She has moved in.  With all her curvy formal cuteness.  The fabric is pretty old and she needs new clothes.  You can't see it in this photo, but the new piano is also in here.  And the drop leaf table I use for my sewing machine.    There is now a lot of furniture in this room!  Are you feeling crowded yet???  This room is only 11x10. Feet.


I promise she's not lopsided. The (down! oh my!) cushion was recently rumpled by one of my two girls. I can't keep them off of it. Fidget thinks it's a bed and keep climbing up on it and saying 'night night!'   Washability of fabric might be something to consider, I suppose.

I've already got an idea for her makeover.  She needs some sass.  It is starting to feel downright stuffy in there and I can't have that.   I could go with white canvas + punchy pillows. Or bright and bold pinks and browns.  Some Amy Butler Nigella Twill could work, too.  I'd love to pick the brains of my brilliant friends for their opinions.  SO... what direction would you go?

Any ideas are welcome, really.  I just want to do it once.   And if I end up using your idea, I'll send you something pretty.  XO

Groovy Girl's room

I am tired of kicking myself for not taking a full round of pics before she came back from CA.  Because I know -- heck, we all knew -- her room would never be as photo-ready ever again.  But I waited.  So I scrambled on Monday to tidy up in there and take a few pictures of my furniture refinishing projects before my sister showed up for the week. 


GG's room is over the garage.  It's HUGE.  Like 25 feet long huge.  And the ceiling makes it wierd.  And the window is small and narrow.  The room actually has a dog-leg (or panhandle, if you prefer) - so you can't see her vanity from here, because it is against a hidden wall of sorts.  This room is a challenge on a couple levels.  And it's purple, which is a color she wanted a long time ago, but I wasn't about to change this summer... so she is kind of stuck with it for now, but this color combo is growing on us.  It might get changed to pink eventually.


This wall is only like 55" high, so no mirror, given GG is already about 5' tall.  It would be too weird.  I had these canvasses from her old bedroom decor and we just tossed them up there.   

I really like how the dresser finish came out.


The TV armoire is my favorite piece.  1) because it fits in her room, despite the short walls.  2) because it hides the hideousness that was her tv, cds and dvds and stuff that goes along with it, 3) it adds more storage, with those drawers at the bottom.  Whee!


I ran out of steam in the 100 degree garage this summer, so the interior of the armoire did not get painted.  We also had to cut the back out for the tv.  Which meant slicing through the existing attached shelf.  But we tried to keep it to a minimum and you don't really notice it. 


The wall with the vanity was painted with chalk paint... so it's still several steps behind in the room makeover -- BUT, isn't this little vanity fun?



Her bed isn't very exciting, but it's what she wants.  I painted the wood to match the dresser and covered the rest with a greenish print that picks up from the other pieces.  She picked out her bedding.  Eleven year olds have very specific design preferences.


This is a corner by her closet that I outfitted with some wall hooks next to one of the mirrors that were supposed to go over the dresser.  She bought the director's chair at a garage sale this summer and insists on using it.  :)


So that's it.  It's not perfect.  It's not painted yet.  But there is a boat-load of storage now and I am very happy about that!   It's a shame we don't have before pics.  It really was special.   

extreme pre-teen bedroom makeover


While The Older One is out hobnobbing with celebrities in CA at the HSM2 premiere today*, her bedroom at home is starting to take shape.  See, before leaving for CA for the summer, she told me was "all in" and wanted a room makeover... so I took that green light and took off with reckless abandon.


Alas, since the big reveal isn't until Thursday night, so I can't spoil the surprise with pics now.  However, just like they do on HGTV, I can show you a couple elements that are going into the new room...




Yes, these are all the old 1970's bedroom pieces that I picked up a couple weeks ago...  my personal fave is the green armoire, painted to match the vanity dressing table, a garage sale find from earlier this summer:


Just wait, people. The Older One said she needed and wanted storage... and boy is she gonna get it!!!


Is it just me.. but wouldn't a princess phone look sooo much better here?


Oh, and I just didn't have time to repaint the room.  Maybe later this fall.  The purple is left over from her 'zebra stripe - pink-cheetah - rock and roll diva bedroom days'.  For now, she's going to have to make do with a redesigned closet, new(ish) furniture and a free 'reorg' of all her stuff.  Would someone please do that for my bedroom?

*Seriously, she is at the High School Musical 2 premiere this afternoon!  Doing the red carpet, meet and greet, pep rally and all... It pays to have an auntie who works for Disney Entertainment I guess!   I can't even imagine doing something like that NOW, let alone when I was eleven.  Sweet thing is counting her blessings today.  :)

new home for my things!

The armoire is done!  Remember that antique I picked up on craigslist and drove across town in a downpour and picked up on a Saturday morning?  You don't?  Well, she's a lovely 30's-40's ish glass door armoire that was housing a 27" TV.  She had seen better days, certainly.  The back had been cut out to accomodate the tv.  The knobs were totally wrong and she hadn't been cleaned in a long time.  Someone had bleached her original darker stain at some point and done a light oak finish. So here she was in my garage:


She cleans up well though... new stain, upholstered back, new crystal knobs and pulls and a bunch of lovely fabrics and she's rocking a whole new look:


She still needs another glass shelf... easy enough.  BTW - those aren't lines in the fabric, but shadows from the way the old glass is warping.  Charming...


I'd really like to do something a little more funky on the back... but this IS (or will be, once the basement is finished and this darned desk can move OUT!) the sitting room, just across from the *FANCY* dining room, so I had to reign in the whimsy a little!  :) I'm so happy.  It's so fun to see this room take shape. 

Just for kicks, let's take a look at how far we've come. This is the same corner of the room, painted baby poop brown, with awful curtains and dark brown trim... (march 2007)


Seriously, this transformation has been so FUN!