happy earth day

Most of the projects we do around here are “green”.  We love to recycle, upcycle, repurpose…whatever you want to call it.  We generally try to use what we already have and consider what the impact of buying new may have on the earth.  Not only is recycling earth-friendly but it is practical on the wallet in most cases too.  It is incredible to think of what we’ve repuposed in our home for a look that is uniquely ours.

Here are a few of my favorite earth friendly choices that we’ve made…

In our kitchen, we have a recycled pallet wood backsplash that has been going strong since day one.  We still love it.

kitchen (31 of 33)

Recently we wallpapered our dining nook with old blueprints.  Love!

Flea Market Style Dining Nook

Our headboard is made from a recycled old interior door.

architectural salvage bedroom

Once we rescued this old chair from the curb and gutted and upholstered it, it was good as new.  We couldn’t part with it!

Rehabbed Club Chair

We’ve started working outside in the vegetable and perennial gardens.  We’ve began composting all of our kitchen scraps and seeding veggies for a summer harvest.

beans

We’re also working on cutting back on unnecessary garbage wherever possible.  We recently switched solely to fabric napkins.  They’re no longer just for fancy occasions!

Spicy Tortilla Soup

Habitat for Humanity’s Restore recently launched a new blog with all sorts of DIY tips and ideas on this very topic.  I contributed this post regarding repurposing a small window.

Habitat for Humanity

Did you know that most counties have a Habitat Restore that will take your donations?  If you are renovating, do the responsible thing and  donate your old cabinets, doors, hardware and fixtures plus furniture and other household items.  It’s better than these items ending up in a landfill.  Find the Restore near you!

How are you making an impact in your home, garden and community this Earth Day…and everyday?

 

 

 

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creating age & patina

A few months ago, my sister-in-law and I tackled this large hutch for their home “landing area”. It was the perfect candidate for milk paint. An older, well made piece with slightly porous wood in most areas and a dulling finish left on it in others.  We predicted the dulling finish would create a resist and cause chipping.  Sorry, I can’t seem to track down a before picture but it was looking slightly dated.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3415

We chose to use “half strength” bonding agent. That’s a term I sort of made up meaning I don’t measure the recommended one part bonding agent to one part paint ratio. I don’t recommend “half strength” bonding agent until you really have a feel for how the paint works on different surfaces because it can be a bit of a wild card in terms of adhesion.  Of course, that is the fun of it!

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3419

For the look we were going for, it worked out just right. We did little to no prep on the piece other than removing the hardware. We applied 2 coats of Mustard Seed Yellow with some bonding agent as described. We used antiquing wax around the edges, handles and details and waxed the rest with furniture wax. This created a perfect warm patina on the yellow.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3425

We were thrilled with how natural the chipping looked as if this hutch has been gracefully aging in a farmhouse for decades.  It chipped a little further after the piece was moved into its permanent place.  Once they felt the finish was just right, my brother applied flat polycrylic to those areas to stop any further chipping from occurring.  This essentially locked the age in.

For the inside shelves, we applied 2 coats of Linen. We thought the yellow undertones in the neutral would be a nice complement to the Mustard Seed Yellow.  We used regular furniture wax on the linen to keep it bright.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3426

When evaluating whether or not to paint a piece of furniture and what color to paint it, I feel you really have to honor the style and era of the piece.  I’ve learned this with trial and error of course.  But not every piece can handle every color.  This hutch is just perfect in a warm chipping yellow.  It has a nice farmhouse feel.  Yet, it can also complement some contemporary homes and decor as well.

I really love how this one turned out!  I’d love to see your latest milk paint project too!  Email pictures or tag @circadee on instagram with your finished project.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3428

diy capiz shell chandelier

Back to the bathroom renovation posts…  I last left you with how we transformed the dresser into a functioning bathroom vanity.  Today is all about how we DIY’d that glowing goddess of a chandelier.

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

I’m so in love with it!  We were always destined to have a chandelier in this bathroom.  That was a known fact from early on.  I was originally scouting antique chandeliers.  The reoccurring problem was the size and proportion of a true chandelier to this room which is very important to take into consideration when choosing a light fixture for any room.  I noticed capiz chandeliers pop up a few times on pinterest.  The wheels started turning. This, I thought, we could do on our own on a smaller scale and small budget.

First of all, what are capiz shells?  Turns out they’re oysters.  And not only popular on pinterest but in beach towns too.  I found a couple of these wind chimes at a local gift shop for 10 bucks each.  Score!

DIY capiz shell chandelier

DIY capiz shell chandelier

Need a closer look?  They’re funny.  Not my style, as is.

DIY capiz shell chandelier

I dismantled the shells so they could be re-worked into our light fixture.  These were absolutely priceless for this DIY because they already had the small hole punched through the delicate shell.  Perfect for stringing the fixture together.

  DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

Behind the depths of the radiator vent sits the original oh-so-important bathroom fan.  It is quite nondescript, builder basic like this one sold at Lowe’s.  Once the plastic cover is removed, a world of possibilities awaits.

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

In our case, it was the replacing the cover with a salvaged heating vent.  So much more interesting!  Rather than having a bulb recessed into the ceiling as intended, Ryan wired a single pendant light bulb into the receptacle and mounted the cast iron vent to the ceiling.  At that point I laid out a design for the shells using painters tape.

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

Each shell was strung on fishing wire using a series of half hitch knots.

DIY capiz shell chandelier

We started with a length of 3 shells for the center portion of the light.  The next layer is a length of 2 shells and then the perimeter layer is just a single large shell.    They were all tied directly to the vent creating a subtle graduated look.  The fishing line pretty much disappears into the ceiling so the focus remains on the shells.

DIY Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

The fixture casts a nice warm glow when it’s on and of course the fan is fully functioning as well.  I am still on the hunt for sconce lighting by the mirror.  I’ll know it when I find it…maybe this weekend.  It seems to be hunting weather.  Stay tuned!

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

This is a fun, custom addition for under $30 and about an hour of work.  A relatively easy DIY.

Cottage Style Bathroom

how to: dresser to vanity

Thanks for all of the nice feedback on our new bathroom. I just love how it turned out!  I am going to share how we constructed the vanity with you today. There are many tutorials out there outlining how to do this but our approach was a little bit different since we went with an over counter trough vessel sink.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Many of you who know us, know how things work around here. Typically I conjure up an idea (sometimes crazy) that utilizes salvaged or vintage materials, develop the aesthetic and then get my husband, Ryan, on board to help execute it. Ok, to mostly execute it. I will fully admit that I don’t have the patience to DIY some of the things I come up with on my own. Hello, blue print wallpaper! I like to think of myself as the Art Director and Ryan as the Engineer around here. Do you have self-appointed titles at home? The bathroom reno followed the same suit until it came time to complete the vanity. We called in assistance from my father who is a Plumber. So without further adieu, our Circa Dee/ Marston Mechanical collaboration!

How to Turn a Dresser into a Vanity...and not lose any drawers by Circa Dee

First things first, we started with prepping the dresser.  I mentioned that I had been holding onto this for a while because I knew it was just the right size for this bathroom.  I thought I’d paint it with a fresh coat of white.  My plan was to use MMS milk paint in Ironstone but as we considered the dresser further it actually had just the right chippy look that I was going for, only in latex.  We scrubbed the dresser and pulled off a few of the chipping pieces to find blue/green paint underneath.  Perfect.

Three coats of polycrylic sealed the distressed paint and created a durable top coat so this could be used in a bathroom.  I chose polycrylic because it won’t yellow the white paint like polyurethane will.  Plus it is water based which makes for an easier clean up.  Bonus.

Polycrylic Topcoat - How to turn a dresser into a vanity

Then it was time to bring in the big guns and work around the plumbing. After positioning the dresser in place, we cut out a hole in the back of the dresser to make way for the drainage pipe using a hole saw drill bit.

Plumbing - How to turn a dresser into a vanity

Next we positioned the sink in the center of the dresser and determined where the sink and faucet holes would need to be.  They were cut using the hole saw drill bit too.

  Trough Vessel Sink - How to turn a dresser into a vanity

Next the faucet was installed.

How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity...and not loose any drawers

Everything was secured in place with caulk.  The sink was caulked to the dresser. The dresser was caulked to the wall.

Over Counter Trough Vessel Sink

We chose this over counter trough vessel sink for several reasons…

  1. As I mentioned, the over counter trough vessel sink helped to preserve as much drawer space as possible.  We would have lost half of the drawer storage to accommodate for the drop in.
  2. The dresser is small so if we dropped a large sink in it we’d need to cut a large hole in it which may have ruined the integrity of the dresser and made it weak.
  3. We could have chosen a bowl vessel sink but that just didn’t fit our aesthetic. Too modern so we went with a rectangular trough style.
  4. Bonus.  The combination of the over counter sink and the dresser created a nice comfort height vanity.

Over Counter Trough Vessel Sink

After the plumbing was reattached, it was time to figure out what would become of the drawers.

DIY Cottage Style Bathroom

I was fully prepared to lose the top drawer to make space for the drain pipe which means it would just become a facade of a drawer.  Buuuut they were able to salvage about 20% of the drawer  because there was not a drop sink taking up the space.  The short drawer is perfect for storing soap, toothpaste and other small bathroom toiletries.

How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity...and not loose any drawers

The deeper bottom 2 drawers only lost about 2-3 inches off the back to accommodate for the pipes. The new drawer backs were cut to width from 1×4 pine boards and attached with a brad nailer.  Then excessive few inches on the back and sides of the drawers were cut off with a circular saw.

I seemed to have missed a picture of the middle drawer.  A 2 inch U shaped notch had to be cut out of the top of the back of that drawer with a jigsaw to accommodate for the bottom of the drainage trap shown below.

Custom Drawers - How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity

 It was so minimal though that it is not even noticeable when the drawer is open.

How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity...and not loose any drawers

We finished the vanity off with a set of clear green flower knobs on the top drawer and clear glass knobs on the remaining drawers.

How to Turn a Dresser into a Vanity...and not lose any drawers by Circa Dee

This might just be my favorite room in the house right now…

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

diy cottage style bathroom reno

We have had a quiet yet incredibly productive winter.  We needed it quite frankly.  We also really needed a new bathroom.  The 80′s builder grade hall bath was so dated and just blah.  We gave it a bright makeover on a DIY budget.  Ok, a renovation really.  Here’s how it looked when we acquired the house.  Yikes.

Bathroom Before

Let’s check out the updates.  Come on in…

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

I’ve been hoarding this dresser for a while because I knew it was just right for the new vanity.  And it only cost about $40 because the drawers needed work which is a basic requirement of turning a dresser into a vanity anyway.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Storage is at a minimum in this house so preserving as much drawer space as possible was a goal that we easily met by using a porcelain trough sink instead of a drop sink.  I love how it turned out!

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Check out this post for details on how the vanity was constructed.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Please admire the vanity mirror.  It makes this tiny room seem much larger than it is and the bonus is that we had it all along.  It is very special to me.  The mirror is part of the French provincial bedroom set that I inherited from my grandmother.  I didn’t want to use the mirror with the dresser in our bedroom and opted to split the set up.  It worked out to be the perfect width to pair with the new vanity when hung vertically.  I didn’t touch the old finish.  It seemed like just the right warm, contrast to all of the cool aqua and white.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

 I really can never have enough hound dogs on guard around here.  Especially when they are in the form of vintage paint by numbers.

Vintage Hound Dog Paint By Numbers

Did you catch a glimpse of the shell chandelier.  Yup, I’m pretty smitten with that DIY too.  Sigh.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Details about how we pulled that off for under 30 bucks are posted here.  The salvaged radiator grate is actually acting as a screen to the bathroom fan.  It is so much more interesting looking than the hardware store options.

DIY Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

The renovation began with Ryan demoing out the old vinyl flooring and vanity.

Bathroom demo

He then installed white ceramic hex tile for my birthday present!  The gift of home is the kind I love.  Seriously.  The vintage hooked rug was a birthday gift to myself.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Next up was the PVC beadboard installation that Ryan also DIY’d.  We kept the stained wood molding around the door and window to match the rest of the house.  However, we replaced the door with a white beadboard style which we’ll continue throughout the house.  This seems to be a great compromise between the bright cottage style I love and the craftsman wood style that Ryan loves.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

We picked up a few old brass ship plates last year at Brimfield.  The ‘Certified Private Lavatory’ one found a home paired with the wire bike basket.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

We went with top down window shades again.  I love the privacy they give but the light they allow in.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Thanks for visiting.  Stay tuned for some DIY tutorials from this room in the coming days.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

a copper top table

Last week I shared the updates we made in the kitchen, specifically in the dining nook. You may have caught a glimpse of our vintage dining table.  It’s a one-of-a-kind find that seems to infuse French legs with a copper top.  And rumor has it that copper is big for 2014.

Flea Market Style Dining Nook

I’d say that the top was a DIY update added to the table by the previous owners.  Most likely copper infused vinyl.  But surely it is real copper because occasionally we get the telltale green copper tarnish.

Copper Top Dining Table

I love when copper tarnishes to beautiful aqua…but not where I am eating.

tarnished copper lid

You may have spied the copper table in the background of some of my recipe posts.  The copper captures the light in such a beautiful way that morphs throughout the day.  It provides such a fabulous backdrop for the pictures too.

apple butternut squash soup

(Butternut Squash Soup)

Spicy Tortilla Soup Recipe

(Spicy Tortilla Soup)

So you want to know where we found such a rare gem?  Well, Ryan and I shopped the very chic marketplace known as the curb for this find.  It also came with a large leaf and 4 upholstered French caned back chairs.  Yes, you read that right.  A full dining room set for nothing!  The chairs are “on deck” for a serious makeover of their own and a different table to pair them with.  They have high backs so they didn’t work with the mix of low back chairs we have in this space now.

Flea Market Style Dining Nook

Ryan and I definitely have different styles when it comes to architecture and decorating.  He sways toward natural and craftsman style – those doors.  I like eclectic, collected and vintage.  This table seemed to meet both of our aesthetic needs and we agreed on it right away.  You can picture us standing at the curb with the tailgate open gushing about how truly perfect it is.  Because that’s exactly what happened.

Eat in Kitchen

The light legs and apron seemed to have been an updated too. They needed a refresh so after scrubbing the table I applied a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in grain sack with bonding agent.  That’s all they needed – one coat.  Can I tell you a secret?  I didn’t wax or put a top coat on either since it is just table legs.  A twenty-minute paint job and they were good as new.  And don’t you love the simple blue and yellow braided rug that anchors the space?

Grain sack painted legs

What’s your best curbside find?

P.S.  We’re still completely stumped as to what our upcycled galvanized hanging light above the table used to be.  Please share any insight you may have!  I’m thinking it was on a farm…