Entries in DIY (39)


Ugly, Worn Deck Gets a Makeover

Our deck is right off of the master bedroom, which is a bummer when we have parties & everyone has to traipse past our bed to get outside.  I guess we've grown used to it, but hated going out there.  It takes such a beating during the hot summers and cold winters that I didn't like hanging out there anymore.  It was finally time to do something about it!

I hate everything about these pictures - the decking, fence/rail, table, chairs, bench, grill, dead plants from last year, everything!  (I take that back - I do like the old brick & huge french doors)

So, I got down to business.  It gets so dirty and dusty out here, so cleaning took quite awhile.  Then I sanded down the railing/fence and spackled old nail holes & wood imperfections (probably should have used wood filler, but oh well - it worked fine!).

I didn't want the fence to be the same drab color as the deck floor, so I decided to paint it a crisp white.  I've always wanted a white picket fence & now I have one!  It took one coat of primer & 2 coats of paint to get it fully covered.  It took forever...

But the difference was so great that it was completely worth it.

Next, it was time to tackle the floor.  The hideous, fading, peeling, orangeing wood had to go.  I wanted something that was darker and richer, but not too dark (in the end, I think I would have liked one shade lighter, but I am very happy with it).

As you can tell, it was very hard to keep Derby out of my way & I felt bad locking her inside and seeing her sad little face staring out at me.  Once it was time to stain though, in she went!

Stain is a lot runnier than paint, so you really need to protect your pouring area.  Plus, any large drops that you don't wipe up will stain darker than the areas around it, so you need to be careful.  I found that having a brush the width of the boards was helpful, with a small brush to get into the cracks.

Seeing the difference still blows me away.  I can't believe I lived with that ugliness for so long!

Before & After

 You may not have even noticed the ratty bench in the first pictures, it is so forgettable!  I was ready to throw it overboard when I decided to quickly run the sander over it and see how it took the stain.  It is very thin, soft wood (almost like balsa wood) was deteriorating before my eyes...

But look here - the stain made such a huge difference!  After two coats, it looked brand new.

With the large things done, I ordered a mess of fabric & drove to the burbs to buy some spray paint (you can't buy spray paint in the city of Chicago - it's to curb gang tagging, which clearly is working oh-so-well).

Can't wait to show you the rest (& yes, that is our new master bedroom curtain fabric you see there!)


Master Bedroom Curtain Makeover

A month ago, I finally got around to switching out our fall/winter bedroom for our spring/summer version.  I always love the dramatic change that occurs when simply swapping out a duvet & lampshades!

Fall/Winter SpreadThe things I never really loved about our summer look were the curtains.  They were a basic, light khaki, linen-esque fabric that hang from tab tops.  Nothing glaringly wrong with them, but just kind of blah.  They blended in with the walls and I really wanted something with a bit more impact.  

I always thought crisp white curtains would look great as well, but since I've been having so much fun with pattern lately I decided to go bold. I ordered this gorgeous chevron fabric from for under $8/yd.  

Since our balcony doors face east, we get a ton of early morning light.  I wanted to make sure we had a bit more light coverage so I used the old curtains as a backing & the chevron on the front.  I sewed them inside out like a giant duvet, straight lines made easy by the zig zags.  

I had some puckering/gathering issues which MADE ME CRAZY, but you can't see them unless you inspect each seam.  No biggie (I need a new sewing machine or perhaps a walking foot?) I hung them with dark clips to match the current rod and love the results! 

Then I hemmed them in place so that they just touch the floor.  I like the look of curtains that softly gather on the ground, but the two layers were pretty thick and didn't pool very well.  Plus, we are regularly in and out of these doors and the fabric sweeping back and forth would get dirty.

In all, I spent under $50 for the new window treatments (fabric, clips).  We have really tall ceilings & doors so buying curtains would have been a lot more expensive! I am happy that I took the effort to DIY.



I absolutely love the new window treatments.  It's darker in the morning & more visually interesting all day.  Now I need to get working on those pesky living room curtains, of which I have narrowed it down to approximately 47 fabrics.  Give or take a few.


Let's Paint a Rug!

Last night my friend Mark & I went to the opening of the Vecco Design Studio in Lincoln Park.  It was a fun event hosted by Monica Peterson from various HGTV programs.

Vecco is a spray paint type product that you can use to paint/customize your rugs or carpet.  They have a bunch of pre-designed templates that you can purchase, some are whimsical and clearly meant for kids room, and others are more traditional.  I much prefer the geometric designs & could see this as an option for my rug dilemma.  

How it works 

I have a sample kit & am looking forward to testing it out!  This kind of stuff tends to scare me, but you can actually vacuum up the product if you mess up or don't like it.  Awesome.  Once you have it just right, you spray a protective sealant and you're done.  I'll let you know how it turns out!


Potential DIY Curtain Fabric

I have always loved this dandelion fabric & Kelsey's comment yesterday made me revisit the idea of a pattern with color for our living room curtain panels.

There is a yard of the outdoor version of this fabric sitting on the chair next to me.  One thing to always pay attention to on fabric websites is the little ruler at the bottom of the picture.  I wasn't paying close attention & when the fabric arrived, I saw the very large scale of the dandelions & that it probably wasn't the best choice for small chair cushion covers...

I think I'd like a smaller, wispier flower but I can only find that fabric in the reverse colors.  I think it might be too much green!

Though look how gorgeous the fabric in yellow looks in this nursery.  So fun, bright and sunny - it works & I love it! 

Alas, goldilocks can't make up her mind so this project may just be shelved for a couple of weeks...


Honey Do!

So, I've been a busy bee these past few days...though from the looks of my To-Do list, it seems as if I've done nothing!  Grr.
I am kind of tired of our living room, office & master bedroom right now.  Since a full redesign isn't in the ol' budget, I've been coming up with little &/or inexpensive things that I can do to make big difference.  Think: paint, stain, fabric.  I want to get all of this done in the next couple of weeks.  Join me as I nurse my blisters, poke my fingers & attempt to finish this list!
Sand & paint deck railing
Sand, scrub & stain deck
Spray wrought iron table & chairs with fresh coat of black paint
Spray wrought iron side tables a fun, bright color
Sand & stain old bench
Scrub grill
Weed, sweep & scrub front brick/sidewalk
Order outdoor fabric
Reupholster chair cushions
Reupholster bench cushion
Make table cloth
Buy/Sew drapery for 2 living room windows (either sheer/burnout white or pale grey on white pattern)
New living room rug
Make crazy soft fleece blanket for Derby so that she stops furring up the sofa
Expedit or similar for office area organization
Take down existing metal candleholder panels in office
Add moullding where metal panels were
Add removable foam core panels that can be wrapped with various fabrics or paper
Figure out if ghetto office chair can raise up
If so, reupholster that nasty thing
Decide on curtains to separate living room/office nook
Investigate new 6' x 10' dining room rug
Buy fabric for new curtain panels in master bedroom
Sew curtain panels for master bedroom
Scout thrift stores for bedside table
Rearrage master bedroom - dresser to west wall
Add new art to master bedroom - potential DIY project
Use dark deck stain to fix nicks/scratches on hardwood
Reorganize laundry room
Clean & perhaps paint hardwood floors in laundry room
New washer & dryer (long term goal)
Marble tile for bathroom renovation
Renovate bathrooms! (This is a looong term goal)
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