Mixing DIY and Vintage Glam for a Modern Vintage Look

The much anticipated VintAGEous Fair in Victoria has come and gone. It was a lot of fun and a successful day with a huge thank you to Sarah Rempel for her stellar organizing of the event, and to all the customers who stopped by!

In prepping for an event like this there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, and for me one of the things I focus on is presentation. How am I going to maximize my space, feature a variety of pieces AND keep them safely on display? This time around I decided to have some fun juxtaposing a rustic vintage look with the vintage glam of Audrey Would! Do you remember these pallets I posted on Facebook and Instagram?

Pallets

A super big thank you goes out to Leigh Davies for parting with them! Leigh had a plan for the pallets, but passed them on to me instead putting her own project on hold! I’m guessing the pallets had something to do with Mid-Island Ink Depot,  ‘the’ place to buy toner cartridges in the Cowichan Valley! Leigh is ‘Mrs. Ink’ in the mix of Chris and Leigh, Chris of course being Mr. Ink!

So the pallets…

I asked my Dad to turn them into rustic crates. My idea was to pack them with inventory selected for the fair, and then use them to display the pieces. When you’re in a limited footprint it’s important to utilize your vertical space, and in this case my footprint was a 6′ table, so I had to create my own verticle!

These are the first four crates. My Dad’s neighbour, Bryan came up with a few more pallets and that was enough for me to end up with seven crates!

DIY Crates from Pallets

I wanted reasonable gaps between each slat to allow a little light in. With presentation in mind I also toyed with giving each crate a sanding and watered down staining for a more weathered look, but decided to leave that for another time!

When I’m pulling inventory for a fair I always do a test-run set-up. I find this really helps me narrow down the pieces and once there, makes set-up go quickly and smoothly. In this case, because the crates are made with pallets, I had to figure out which ones ‘fit’ best together. They’re all ‘roughly’ the same, but some slats are a bit warped, others not perfectly square.

Here’s a little look at my ‘Operation Basement’ test-run! This is an 8′ table, so I’ve taped it off at 6′. The pieces off to the side are back-up pieces I selected to replace items as they sold.

Test-run Table Set-Up - VintAGEous Fair

Like any behind-the-scenes, you can see there’s a lot less glamour than meets the public eye! I think that’s part of the challenge – to envision each display regardless of its surroundings. At the fairs you have no control over the backdrop, so all you can do is focus on your own display.

Another thing I try to do is put out a good selection while still keeping it presented. Less is more as a general rule of thumb, but for fairs I pack more into the space than I normally would. I try to layer the pieces down and bring them out while staying focused on theme, visual interest and overall flow. I place sparkly pieces where they will catch and bounce the light, and with this display my hope was the pieces out front would draw the eye to what was displayed in the crates.

Display Collage

Remember I said you have no control over the backdrop of your space?

Display Set-Up - VintAGEous Fair

In this case my table was set up in the daycare area of the Fernwood Community Centre!

Another part of my presentation is to draw the eye up, and with this display I featured larger pieces with chrome, and stood a crystal tray behind the glasses for sparkle en mass! This is where having a sign also really helps!

Display Set-Up - VintAGEous Fair

Behind the sloped trim is actually an access ramp to the area, which worked well for where my table was placed. Everyone coming down the ramp was able to see my table, and I hope the shiny sign and sparkle of the pieces helped catch their eye!

Since the Oscars were hot on the heels of the fair, and by now you all know the inspiration behind ‘Audrey’, this was my center display.

Disply - Center Section - VintAGEous Fair

Audrey Hepburn with her Oscar for the leading role in Roman Holiday, her first Hollywood movie and first leading role! I featured the tall clear decanter with this display, because it reminded me of the Oscar Audrey is holding! Here Audrey is attending the 54th Oscars.

In keeping with the theme, this year we watched the 86th Oscars at home in vintage Audrey Would! style…

Audrey Would! - Vintage Pieces - 86th Oscars

  • Northern Divine caviar served in a classic bamboo stemmed coupe;
  • Prosecco in sleek vintage Czechoslovakian crystal coupes; and
  • Ceasar salad in the vintage Baribocraft bowls I featured here and here.

Simple and elegant at-home-chic. So much fun! There is something to be said for classic vintage, don’t you think?

If you weren’t able to attend the VintAGEous Fair, you will find many of the pieces I had there over at Audrey Would! I am working on listing more pieces for you to see, so  don’t hesitate to contact me if you are looking for something special, or saw a treasure you wished you’d picked up. I am always happy to help!

Thanks for stopping by!

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AudreyWould Web - Business Card - Smoke - Side 2-sz

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please credit and link if you choose to use!

Modern Audrey: Today’s Use for the Vintage Murano Glass Ashtray!

Murano glass is incredibly beautiful, and in its vintage day was often made into ashtrays. But with the glamour days of Lucky Strike long gone, the ashtray has been removed from pride of place in the home, and more often than not, stashed in a cupboard or thoughtlessly tossed away. I say, what a shame! What a shame to lose sight of the beauty within the object.

Murano glass is thick and masterfully crafted, the layers of colour so pretty…

Green Swirl Murano Glass Ashtray 1

I love the way light dances, bounces and sparkles as it brings exquisite pieces to life.

Green Swirl Murano Glass Ashtray 2

A flower bowl is just one way to transition vintage Murano art glass ashtrays into modern times. Other uses – a dip bowl, candy or nut dish, paperclip dish, kitchen scrubbie container, and if you’re gentle, it’s even great for a set of keys. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Audrey Would! says you can! Find more details on this vintage beauty here.

How would you use this piece?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use! 🙂

 

Guest Post by Meghan Plowman from The Orchard: Tips for Decorating with Vintage Finds

Good morning and welcome to a special guest post feature!

Today I am really excited to introduce Meghan Plowman, lifestyle photographer and author of The Orchard blog! Meghan and I became virtually acquainted in a really neat kind of way… Believe it or not, I know Meghan’s aunt, Barb Nugent. Now having an acquaintance in common may not seem so unusual, except that Meghan lives in Perth, Australia… and as you know, I live on the west coast of Canada! Who knew our worlds would touch in this way? And for those of you living in the Cowichan Valley, you might know Barb, too. She’s a volunteer and fundraising organizer extraordinaire for our local Hospice Society – did you attend the recent fashion show fundraiser Barb organized?

From one thrifting vintage lover to another, thank you so much Meghan for being my guest today, and thank you Barb for the introduction!

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Hello readers! I am thrilled to be contributing to sZinteriors blog today. I’d like to share with you some images of my own styling work and some tips about decorating with vintage finds, and what to keep in mind when looking for items to decorate with.

I am a lifestyle photographer and stylist living and working in Perth, Western Australia. You can see more of the work I get up to over at The Orchard blog as well as my Facebook page.

I particularly love bringing a mix of items into my styling work and tend to lean upon my ever-growing props cupboard for inspiration and interesting additions to imagery. Quite often you’ll find me either in a vintage market or peeling through layers of verge side household piles!

This first example shows an image I was asked to put together that had a real Autumn story.

Autumn, Meghan Plowman Photograph

For the sake of putting together this vignette I brainstormed all of the things I love about Autumn including:

  • Cooking
  • Fallen leaves and spending time camping in nature
  • Hot drinks
  • Rustic, earthy colour and texture
  • Reading indoors

It’s my belief that you can find the perfect touches for little or next to no cost, sitting just outside your door or at your nearest thrift store. For example, I found the pine cone and leaves from my garden, used a bottle I found at a garage sale and a camping cup I managed to find on the side of the road.

Next, this Easter table setting was created to inspire readers to dress their table for the holiday.

Easter table, Meghan Plowman Photograph

My table was inspired by the florals, fruits and textures of the cooler months of Autumn (it’s Autumn here in the land of down under when we celebrate Easter!)

Some inexpensive and thrifty ideas for dressing a table for your next soiree:

  • Use butchers paper or left over fabric roll as a table runner
  •  Place brightly coloured fruits and vegetables as a centre piece or scattered along the centre of a table
  • Try a collection of glass jars in different heights and finishes for e.g. amber, frosted, textured, jars with labels or logos, grouped together with loose florals cut from the garden to create interest and an eclectic decoration.
  • Branches and twigs are an easy way to create height to a centre piece and act as a ‘tree’ for hanging decorations, name tags and sweets.
  • Add some quirkiness to your setting by adding a figurine or interesting knick knack. It will create a talking point for guests and makes things fun.

If you find yourself with a collection of seemingly unrelated finds that you are unsure what to do with, perhaps take a step back and look at what the items have in common visually, if anything.

  • Are they similar colours or textures?
  • Were they bought or found in the same location?
  • Do they tell a story, for e.g. are they items found at the beach or are they all travel mementos?
  • Can you create a visual story with the items?

The next two images show examples of how I grouped a mix of random, found objects together to create a story, one based on the idea of reading books in a cozy corner, the other a seaside tale. The reason these two work well is because I tied them together through their similar colour and textures.

Vintage Vignette, Meghan Plowman Photograph

Items I used for the first image:

  • A road side chair which we painted grey
  • A discarded old book with the pages carefully peeled away and taped to a wall to create a background texture
  • A stack of my favourite design books with the spines showing text
  • An ampersand gift tag to create drama and a focal point
  • A vintage camera –why not display your picture taking equipment?
  • A ball of garden twine, and
  • A favourite scarf

Vintage Vignette, Meghan Plowman Photograph

The second idea:

  • Thrift store found vases
  • Left over soft rope
  • Found twigs, feather and pine cones
  • Mixed teatowels and scraps of art canvas roll
  • Garlic peelings! – These create a lovely texture for still life
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Found bottles
  • Old book pages
  • Found sea urchin and shells

I hope I have given you a few ideas for decorating with old, found or simply scrap items you have lying around your home! I am a believer that beauty can be found in anything, it’s just keeping your eyes open to seeing it. I’d love to hear your ideas and feedback! I can be contacted through The Orchard blog.

Have Meghan’s tips enticed you to head out and see what treasures you can find? I bet you have a corner, a mantle, a wall, a porch, a __________ (you fill in the blank!) waiting to be freshly styled. I love the theme that it’s not necessarily what so much as how you choose to display your objects. Mixing up textures and telling a story is the key! If you get a chance, please pop over to The Orchard and introduce yourself! And if you check out Meghan’s Facebook page there’s a certain connection posted there to my post from yesterday! Do you think you can find it?  😉

Thank you once again Meghan, for sharing at sZinteriors today. 🙂

Guest Post by Jay Harris: Designer Drapery & DIY Tips to Install

Today I’m pleased to introduce my guest Jay Harris, a regular contributor to Home Depot’s blog and an “on the floor” Home Depot sales associate.

Home Depot - Master LogoJay’s interests include providing tips to homeowners on exterior shutters and casement windows, and today Jay has a ton of great DIY tips for you on how to select and install window treatments. Settle in. You won’t want to skim. I know this is one post you’ll want to bookmark for all your future window treatment DIY needs!

Thanks so much for sharing on sZinteriors today, Jay!

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DIY Designer Drapery – ‘Wow!’ Window Treatments

One of the quickest (and least expensive) ways to update a room while adding color and personality is through swapping out your window treatments. At the same time, once you know how to install them yourself, you can keep them in place for a month or a year or a decade…it’s completely up to you!

White & Blue Panels, Blue Pompom Trim - HGTV (Sarah Richardson Design)

{via HGTV Blog | Sarah Richardson Design}

But the best part is when it comes to windows and window treatments, you don’t have to be a professional interior designer to decorate like one – all you need is a bit of creativity and a few insider secrets!

Here are just a few of the DIY tricks at your fingertips.

Material Matters

There are several things to keep in mind when choosing the right materials and designs for your window treatments.

Block Striped Drapes - Day Old News Blog (Mary McDonal Design)

 {via Day Old News Blog | Mary McDonald Inc. design}

Length
Long curtains create elegance and drama while shorter curtains are more informal and casual. Longer lengths are more appropriate in master bedrooms, formal dining rooms and living rooms whereas shorter curtains work well in other bedrooms, kitchens and less formal rooms.

Color
The darker the color or the more saturated the hue of a particular shade, the more formal the look. Darker colors will add more elegance and energy than neutrals. For example, even though they are both red, a rich burgundy is much more dramatic than a bright, cheery cherry.

Patterns
If you want to elongate a room, choose stripes in a vertical or diagonal pattern rather than horizontal lines. Additionally, if you choose a busy or intricate design for your windows, pay attention to the rest of the room’s décor and be sure to balance out your use of patterns in the remaining space.

Functional Fabrics and Lovely Layers
Silk, velvet and velour drapery creates luxurious and romantic ambiance. If you are going for “plush” and “pampered,” these upscale materials are just the thing!

Velvet Drapes - Elle Decor

 {via Elle Decor}

Organic cottons, linens and burlap exude natural beauty and bring some of the outdoors inside.

Floor-length Drapes - Canadian House & Home

 {via Canadian House & Home}

To create dimension and texture, consider layering a heavier fabric on the outside with a light-colored lining. The lining not only softens the look of a room, it also blocks harmful UV rays while allowing light to filter in.

Black-out Panels - Make It Love It Blog

 {via Make It Lovely & Love It Blog}

Finally, a great way to add drama, personality and whimsy to your window treatments is through the hardware. Use wooden rods and metallic finishes; couple them with elaborate crystal or fabric-wrapped finials. You can also add extra flair with elegant sashes and braided cord ties.

Brass Rod & Hardware - Nate Berkus

{Architectural Digest via MPLS St. Paul Magazine Blog | Nate Berkus design}

Installation Tips

Now that you know what to install, let’s focus on how to install it.

Tips for Hanging Curtains & Drapery - Home Tips For Women

{via Home Tips for Women}

Along with the appropriate hardware, installation kit and accompanying instructions, you’ll need a level, a screwdriver, a pencil for marking holes and a metal measuring tape (not cloth or a ruler). As always, measure twice, drill once!

Here are some basic tips to remember:

  • Measure all windows, even if they appear to be the same size!
  • Curtains and drapes are supported by a rod or bar – make sure it’s sturdy enough to support the weight of your chosen draperies.
  • When attaching screws, never use plastic drywall anchors (they will eventually fall out).
  • For traverse rods with rings (to connect the fabric and the bar), measure from the bottom of the rings to ensure the proper length.
  • Use draper’s rules: purchase fabric that is one and a half times the actual width of the window to allow for gathers and pleats.

For notes on installation placement, consider the following discussion.

Not Problems…Opportunities!

Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of your windows or surrounding room, highlight the positives and turn those problems into opportunities to show off your professional-grade home décor chops!

Here are a few of the most common fixes to “window problem areas” using tried-and-true optical illusions:

Small Windows
Solution: Instead of placing the window treatments or blinds inside the frame of the window’s casing, install them on the outside to create the appearance of larger windows. By creating a frame for the window on the outside, you give the eye more of a window “box” to look at, thereby making the entire window area seem larger.

Choppy Window-to-Wall/Ceiling Ratios
Solution: If you have shorter ceilings, windows that are placed at odd heights or tall, skinny windows, minimize the choppy look by installing floor to ceiling window treatments. By having long curtains, you have tricked the eye into focusing not on the uneven proportions of window-to-wall but rather on the smooth, elongated, elegant lines of the drapes. At the same time, the entire room looks larger!

Off-Center Windows
Solution: When you have windows that are not centered or are too far to one side on a wall, balance them out by off-setting the window treatments above them and around the sides. By doing this, you will necessarily have more surface area of the window covered on one side; however, by keeping the curtains evenly drawn, you will only see the center of the window behind them – not the 6 inches on one side and the 2 inches on the other.

Window Treatment Solutions for Awkward Window Placement - Dec-a-Porter Blog

 

{via Dec-a-Porter Blog}

By incorporating the above tips and tricks, the sky beyond your windows is the limit! What are some of your favorite design techniques that you have implemented yourself?

Guest Post: Decorating With Bottles Of All Sorts

Today I’m excited to introduce my guest, Mari from Arcadian Home! If you haven’t shopped Arcadian Home, you really need to pop over. There is inspiration and eye candy galore. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks so much for joining sZinteriors today, Mari!

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Hello, everyone! It’s wonderful to be here with you at sZinteriors with a guest post from Arcadian Home blog. It’s an awesome place to find lots of interior design inspiration including beautiful home decor ideas from oval wall mirrors to lovely lighting for the foyer and much more.

Today, we’re going to take a look at decorating with bottles of sorts. From clear glass to brilliant cobalt blue, the vintage bottle is at once versatile and charming as a collection or a single perfect piece. Please enjoy!

Thanks to Sheila for letting me stop by for a visit.

~ Mari

Bottles in Decor

Two large green bottles can be seen in a living room bookcase filled with antique books, coral, seashells and interesting found objects. Shelves are also a great place to display collections of smaller bottles.

Bottles in Decor

A white vintage mantle looks so pretty with a collection of green, blue and clear glass bottles—made even more interesting by choosing each bottle in a different size. It’s such a fresh look for spring or summer.

Bottles in Decor

Vintage medicine bottles and other drugstore-related boxes and containers line the shelves in this white kitchen. What a clever idea to create a little theme by displaying the medicine bottles just below the pharmacy sign!

Bottles in Decor

A collection of mostly pale blue vintage glass bottles looks pretty on a thick glass floating bathroom shelf. How cool is the idea to hang a framed photograph of a contemporary meets rustic bathroom in a vintage bath.

Bottles in Decor

Colorful glass bottles march along a shelf above a built-in desk in the living room of this newly renovated 100-year-old home. Modern pendant lights are hung above the dining table and in the living room.

Bottles in Decor

A large fat glass bottle is a perfect decorative object for this coastal living room dressed up in a watery blue and soft tan color palette.

Bottles in Decor

Blue green antique spritzer bottles draw the eye to the top of a rustic white paned-glass cabinet. Blue canning jars hold white tulips on the table. It’s a lovely combination that ties the room together nicely.

Bottles in Decor

An interesting mix of vintage and contemporary bottles is just right for this eclectic outdoor dining room. I would love to see twin Mid-Century buffet lamps on either end of this washed wood sideboard. Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

What do you think of these bottle decor inspirations? Leave us your comments below and visit our blog for more home decor and lighting inspirations!

Bedroom Makeover Update

Well, I’ve been working away on our bedroom makeover (introduced here), until progress suddenly ground to a halt. A lot of the parts and pieces are collected, and some DIYing is underway, however this week I was bitten by a nasty cold… All.Week.Long. 😐 So frustrating.

Here’s a little peek anyway.

This is part of the palette that was already in place, and won’t be changing (read more here, here, and here), so it became the jump-off.

Duvet, Drapes, Quilt Rack

You might remember an area rug was part of the new plan. These are the options within the rug budget that made the shortlist, and I’ve since chosen one.

Rug Potentials

Which one do you think I chose? I know, two very different textures, two very different looks!

And you might remember, I showed a long, low MCM dresser factored into the plan. Well, I kind of became a ‘Used Finds’ junkie, scouring the ads like a daily habit, week after week with little to no luck. And then finally one day, there it was!

Used Victoria - MCM Dresser, Mirror & Highboy

{Used Victoria}

A DIY option (at least for me), but definitely along the lines of what I had in mind. This came as a package deal with a mirror and a highboy, because the seller wouldn’t split the set apart. But for the price, it’s a deal that’s hard to beat since they are Honderich pieces c. 1960s, and nice thick walnut veneer.

TIP:

Did you know the veneer in older pieces is much thicker than now-a-days, therefore a better option to sand? And the base wood tends to be of a higher quality than what you get now. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a used find. I say, the older, the better!

Here’s a look at my workshop right now. Notice my other Used Find in the background? Hint: the doors are removed.

MCM Dressers & Cabinet Makeovers 033

Since so much of the space depends on the MCM dresser, I’ve been working on it first, even though I had the glass door cabinet before it.

The top is fully sanded and complete, and this is where I left off when the retched bug decided to take over. GRRRR. So frustrating. Oh, did I already say that?

MCM Dressers & Cabinet Makeovers 047

It feels like the cold is starting to break, so I’m hoping to get the sanding finished up this weekend. You can see I have the the finicky areas left, and I still have the drawer fronts to do. And I’m dying to get my hands on the other Used Finds cabinet, too! These pieces will have completely different finishes, and I can’t wait to get the pretty party started!

Are you working on any projects right now? Any makeovers to do?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.

 

 

It’s All About Personal Taste!

Not too long ago a mid-century style vase caught my eye, but I decided to walk away. Good, right? Well you’d think, except I couldn’t let it go. I kept thinking about it and knew I’d be back in the area in a week… but would the vase?

Enter my friends the following week, and I near dragged them to the back of the thrift store where the vase had been… and as luck would have it, still was!

MCM Gray Glazed, Brown Ribbed Vase

Um, they weren’t so smitten. So I sent this pic to my hubs to get his reaction. Only, his response didn’t reach me in time. I paced, and contemplated, waited until I had to make a decision. Was it walk away for a second time, or buy it without hub’s feedback?

I bought, I left, and in came his response… always the way, isn’t it? Nope, he wasn’t sold, either. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, just not all warm and fuzzy about it! Apparently I was in this one alone – my daughter flat out hated it, and another friend diplomatically withheld comment. 😉

Well that was a month ago. Every day I look at this vase, and every day I still like it. Why? I don’t know, I just do. I’ve researched it, but can’t come up with much.

This vintage white glazed French jar and lid, c. 1940, was the closest I could find.

1st Dibs - White Glazed French Jar & Cover, c1940s

{1st Dibs}

1st Dibs - White Glazed French Jar & Cover, c.1940s

{1st Dibs}

Can you believe this piece is 4′-8″ tall x 34″ wide?

I’m certain my vase isn’t this vintage, but who knows, maybe this French jar was the inspiration piece!

Here’s the bottom of my vase.

MCM Gray Glazed, Brown Ribbed Vase Bottom

You’ll notice it doesn’t have any glaze on it, but do you see the etched mark? That’s likely the symbol of the artist. And the dark brownish marks indicate to me that this bottom was once covered in signature felt. You might remember my Royal Haeger vase with its signature felt bottom here. If I had to guess, I’d guess this vase is c.1970s, but if you know for sure, I’d love to hear from you!

To make a long story short, my vase is a great reminder of what’s important when you’re choosing pieces for your home. Never second guess what speaks to you. Surround yourself with things that draw you in, even if no-one else seems to see what you see. If you do this you’ll always feel at home in your home, and that’s what it’s all about!

Oh, and guess what was on the cover of my latest HGTV magazine?

HGTV Magazine Cover - April 2013

Do you see it? Not the same shape, not the same colour or finish… but don’t you think the ribbing suggests they could be relatives?

Maybe there’s someone out there who can see what I see in my beloved vase afterall!

Do you have anything in your collection that makes others roll their eyes? Well, that’s okay, just remember what happened to the Ugly Duckling!

Thanks for stopping by!

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BTW – this vase may or may not turn up in my bedroom makeover… but you’ll have to wait and see! 🙂

I was featured over at Junkin Joes. Thanks Andrea!

Junkin Joe Linky Party - I Was Featured

Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.

Tired of Ho-Humming Along!

Well, it’s been a pretty busy last few weeks over here at sZinteriors. For quite a while now I’ve been scouring the USED ads, thrifting my little heart out and just plain visioning in search of makeover pieces for my project ‘to do’!

Here’s a little heads up on what’s got my attention:

Floor Plan - Labelled Layout

Yah, I’ve had enough ho-humming along. Time to move out the pieces that aren’t working, and move in ones that will. This layout is what I have in mind. You can see from the floor plan, we don’t have a lot of options for furniture placement, but that’s okay. We don’t own this home, so will do with this space what we can do!

Here’s one piece that’s just come along…

Glass Door Cabinet - Used VictoriaAnd a look at it right-side up!

Solid Oak Glass Door Cabinet

It’s solid oak with old brass hardware. You can’t really see in this photo, but the bottom of the legs are wrapped in brass – dipping with the real thing!

I have plans for this piece. Oh yes I do! So today I swapped my vehicle to the good outdoors, and set up my workshop in its place to get started.

There will definitely be more to come, but I have to get on with the grunt work first. That would be sanding. I so don’t enjoy the sanding part!

What are your plans for the weekend? Doing anything fun?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photos courtesy of Used Victoria ad

Painting Gallery Frames: Cheater DIY from Bland to Black!

Not too long ago in one of my treasure hunting adventures I came across this set of four vintage pencil drawings, and knew instantly I wanted to take them home! Vancouver, after all, is my home away from home.

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

I love Vancouver! But… I wasn’t so sure I loved the blonde wood frames. I propped them up against the wall for the time being, just to live with the frames and see if a clear wax was in order, or if painting the frames black was tugging at my soul.

Lo and behold, on another thrifting adventure a few weeks later I came across two more drawings to this set.

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

So now, hmmm, a gallery wall with six framed drawings in blonde wood frames? I wasn’t feeling it, not for me. What I did know was I wanted to keep the frames. But here’s the thing. These frames are old, and this is what the back looks like.

Back of Vintage Frame

Tiny little nails hold the print inside the frame, so I wasn’t really keen on removing all the nails from all six prints to paint the frames. In fact, I needed to add a few more nails to push down spots where the prints have warped over time. I just call these imperfections the ‘Wabi-sabi‘ of the find!

So here’s the cheater steps I took to paint the frames without disassembling the prints from inside.

1. Tape off the inside edges of the glass next to the frame.

Taping Off Frames for Painting Prep

My painter’s tape is fairly wide, so I was able to take one strip and cut it in half length-wise to tape off opposite sides of the frame. If you do this, make sure you put the factory edge against the frame. I used an X-Acto knife to cut the end of the tape so it fit snuggly into the corner of the frame. Works like a charm!

2. Elevate frames on empty containers, and brush the first coat of paint on all sides of each frame.

Taped frames for brushing on paint

Don’t worry too much about the back of the frame. Just make sure the paint wraps the back edge slightly…

DIY Cheat - Painting a Frame with Print Inside

Like this. If you paint like me, that won’t be a problem! 😉

3. Apply second coat of paint, and remove tape. TIP: Make sure you remove painter’s tape before second coat dries. 

Brush Painting Frames with Print Inside

I recommend scoring each edge with the X-Acto knife before you remove the tape. This will cut through any paint that’s already dried and help prevent the paint from peeling off with the tape. Remove the tape slowly, and leave frames to fully dry. Even when they’re dry, the paint will still be soft, and will knick easily

4. Once frames are dry, touch up any spots where the paint got away on you! And trust me, this will happen.

Spots for Touch-Up on Painted Frame

I cleaned the glass first just to remove any random paint flecks, and then used a black felt Sharpie with a chisel tip for my touch ups. To keep the felt from marking the glass, place a small, thin piece of paper between the pen and the glass where you’re doing each touch-up.

And voila!

My gallery find went from this…

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

To this…

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

From this…

Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

To this…

Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

And the whole set together looks like this!

Gallery of Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

I bet you’re dying to know where I’m hanging this little gallery, huh? I promise, there will be a reveal. Just not today! 😉

The thing to remember with a gallery presentation is it will generally be admired from afar. And that’s why I opted to do a quick brush of paint on the frames with the prints intact. The little flaws from this cheater approach won’t even be noticed. Normally I would remove the print, the glass, and all hardware. And then I would spray the frames for a smooth, even application of the paint. But in this case, seriously, would you pull all those little nails for that?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

A New Life With A Pair of Shades!

MCM Brass & Wood Lamps

All it takes is a new set of shades!

Remember these thrifted Mid-Century lamps from about a month ago?

Thrifted MCM Brass & Walnut Lamps

Don’t you just love their mismatched shades!

At first I had a hard time finding replacements, so the lamps sat on my buffet looking sad and half dressed, like this.

MCM Lamps on Buffet

Minus the ambiance and mood setting of the glaring overhead lights, of course!

When I finally came across a few options I thought might work, I tried these ones first. A sandy linen with threads of metallic gold and silver running through.

1 - Linen, Gold & Silver Metallic Shades - 11Tx13Bx9H

I liked these shades, but didn’t love them. Somehow they seemed too small, and just a little bit meh.

So then I tried these black drums.

Black Drum Shades 14Tx15Bx10H

I looove black shades, and really wanted these to be ‘the ones’. But somehow they weren’t working, even though the size was definitely much better than the first shades.

So then I tried the same shade in a warm white instead.

Warm White Shades 14Tx15Bx10H

And this one seemed to work better. To be sure, we lived with them for a few days just as is, and each day they grew on all of us a little more. I toyed  with adding some gold trim… even bought the trim. But somehow the lamps just wanted simplicity.

So we decided these shades were indeed ‘the ones’, as is, and removed the cellophane wrap. The brass of the lamps was buffed, and each walnut base was waxed.

Here’s a look at our thrifted lamps now!

MCM Brass & Wood Lamps

We are happy with they way the shades worked out, and love the glow our new lamps cast. The room feels warm, and our buffet a little more loved!

A few tips when finding replacement lamp shades:

  • Take your lamp with you to the store – I didn’t with these lamps, but it’s a lot easier to eliminate the shades that are all wrong if you do! 
  • For vintage lamps, research what their original shades might have looked like – even if you ultimately don’t like the style of the original shade, at least you can change it up with intention.
  • General rule of thumb for shade size diameter is no more than, no less than 2″ the height of the lamp base – that’s the measurement from the bottom of the lamp to where the electrical socket sits. Click here for more information.
  • Live with the shade for a bit. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You’ll know if it’s right for you by the way you react when you round the corner and see it!
  • Make sure you know the return policy – if you can’t return or exchange the shade, don’t buy it. Shades are tricky, and look a lot different in context. Even if a shade looks great on your lamp in the store, it might not look great when you get it home.

From a thrifted find to a pair of lamps we’re totally loving in our home! And one more small ‘to do’ I can  check off the list. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photographs by Sheila Zeller