So, in my last post I mentioned that I was going to be buying a house.
It’s now official – by the time you read this I’ll have the keys.
My flat (or apartment, depending on where you live) is ready for me to move in.
Of course, this is me, so I’m actually not ready to move.
This is because Mum has also just moved house this month and OMG, two moves in one month means that I am pretty much screwed for getting my life in order.
I’m not complaining, I’ve had a really great time painting and decorating mums new house (a three bedroom that is fully wheelchair accessible) and it’s so great to see mum happy.
In order for mum to live her life in her new place though, I have to finish decorating it. So far I’ve done the living room completely, which included things like, stripping the walls, re-papering, painting the walls, painting wooden doors, hanging new light fixtures and lots and lots of cleaning. She’s had new flooring put in, and new blinds through the house. It looks great and modern, and she’s very happy.
I’ve also started the hall, it’s had one coat of paint and needs another, and I need to get new light fittings and the woodwork painted. However, it’s hard to get a move on with that when I’m limited with time, because mostly I’ve been doing this at night, after work.
It’s hard when you don’t have a lot of help, mum’s obviously not able to do anything when she’s in the chair, and my family are all very busy with their own lives… so it’s fallen to me and my friends to do our best. Kriss helped me with wallpapering, and I’m pretty sure I’m okay at it now, and Jenni helped me with the second coat of paint in the living room.
But, if I can, I’d like to talk about my projects.
I bought a couch. It was from DFS and it’s the first thing I bought for me new house. It’s an ex-display model so I actually saved a fortune (Like I saved £1945, which is just… wow) and it’s a light grey fabric 4 seater and a black check snuggle chair.
Once I saw it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of the house.
I’m going to take the grey and check through the whole place, with perhaps a couple of accent colours thrown in. I’m going to have my dining table in the living room at first (I may move it to the 2nd bedroom later, but that’s going to be storage RN) and I was looking for a specific TYPE of table and chairs to fit with the look I have in mind.
There is a Facebook thing that is really popular here, and I’m not sure if it’s a worldwide thing, but it’s called Facebay, and people sell items on it. It’s either cheap or free, and it’s sort of a free-for-all – it’s free to sell goods and mostly you need to pick them up when you buy them. It’s been interesting to see the things that people sell; it’s anything from kids old toys, buggies, bikes, cars, couches… anything. Even spare wood for projects, or felt for roofing. Anything that you don’t need, ends up there, like a car boot sale on the net, with the added bonus that you normally don’t even have to leave the house – people will come to you to pick things up.
Anyway, I put of post up saying I was looking for a dining room table and chairs, for super cheap as I’ve just got a flat and have nothing to put in it.
A very nice guy called Ben told me he had a set, and sent me an image.
/hold the phone
It’s EXACTLY what I wanted. I was expecting to get an interim piece that I would later replace with my dream set. Nope. I ended up with my DREAM SET first try!
And even better, it was only £30!
It’s a solid pine extending table with old fashioned, country look spindle legs. My aunt has something very similar in a darker wood. The two halves of the table pull out and the middle section is unfolded to make a 4 seater into a 6.
Not only that, but the 4 chairs match the table (not perfectly, but close enough that you can’t tell unless you are REALLY LOOKING) and they are ALSO solid pine with old fashioned spindle legs and backs.
They aren’t in the best of shape though. In a house with 4 kids, one on the way, a dog and three cats… you can imagine that the table was used for pretty much everything from ironing clothes to arts and crafts. Once I picked it up (with help from Ross, thanks!) it was pretty clear that the first stage was going to be a really good scrub down.
I spent the night out in the garden with a scrubbing brush and sugar soap to get the slightly tacky layer off, and to let me see the state of the wood under the crayon and general grime. The middle section, hidden away from view, has never been used. It’s about 5 shades darker than the main table top.
I was already planning on sanding it down, and I’m really glad to report that I won’t have to replace any part of the spindles or wood. One of the chairs feels a little wobbly on its legs, but as I plan on putting felt stoppers on the bottom to protect my floors, that’ll even things out nicely.
So the plan:
Sand down the table and chairs, getting the worn, uneven (and scubby!) varnish off.
Re-varnish the table top and hidden centre piece, which should even out the colour and protect it from any crap I throw at it.
Re-varnish the seats of the chairs.
Using chalk paint in light grey and dark graphite (which match the sofa and cuddle chair) paint the legs and the underside of the table.
Paint (chalk again) the chair legs and backs.
I think I might paint two of the chair backs with the paint and varnish the other two, to keep things looking a little more mixy/matchy rather than matchy/matchy but I’ll see when I’m going. I might change my mind on that later.
Add the felt stoppers to the bottom of all the legs.
My other, smaller but no less daunting project is my computer desk.
I’ve been using a pine dining table as a desk as I like the space. It’s got the same spindle legs (yay!) as the dining table I’ve just bought, but rather than having a pine top, it’s been set in with white glossy bathroom tiles.
It’s past its best (it was past its best when I got it about 8 years ago!) and the tiles have peeled away from the edge, getting dust and crap in the gaps. The varnish is also scuffed on the legs and practically non-existent on the top.
So the plan is:
Remove the ugly existing tiles.
Sand down the table.
Replace the tiles with new soft cream, matt, stone tiles that match the flooring of the flat (kinda, if you aren’t paying too much attention) which I picked up in a sale – reduced from £20 to £5 per box, three boxes needed.
Varnish the table top the same colour as the dining room set.
Paint the legs in the two grey chalk paints as the dining room set.
I hope that this will tie in the study with the rest of the house. Of course, I know that my computer chair won’t match at all (its yellow leather) but I’m going to get a throw or something for that, so… /shrug
At this point, it’s all just theory. I’ve never restored or upcycled anything before and I’m really excited and nervous. The best thing about it though, is that the table and chairs were really cheap, in fact, less than a pizza and a bottle of wine, so if I mess it up, I can just start again, and if I mess it up AGAIN and it’s utterly unsalvageable… I can chuck it!
But how great was it that I managed to get my EXACT wish list first time? It’s a sign, it must be.
(And mum bought me a small electric sander in the Amazon Prime Sale, which comes with a little attachment for sanding down spindles, reduced to £18!!!)
Good things are coming my way!