we took the plunge

The Ardex plunge, that is. This product has taken the DIY world by storm lately. For those of you that don’t know, Ardex- Feather Finish is a concrete substrate traditionally used in subflooring.  It has been getting increasingly popular as a low-cost way to resurface laminate counter tops.  In my continued quest to update our 80’s kitchen on a tight budget, I thought it was worth a try.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

The über fake looking wood grain formica counter never jived well with the true wood backsplash we installed a couple of years back.

Pallet Wood Backsplash

Counters Before Ardex

Last you saw the space we installed chrome hardware, about a year ago.  At that time, I had searched for Ardex- Feather Finish planning to move right into the counter project. The product is difficult to find although I tracked it down at a local tile shop and now it is readily available on Amazon.

Rustic Industrial Wood & Concrete Kitchen - applying Ardex Feather Finish

I delayed the counter installation because I couldn’t make a decision on what sealer to use.  It is very much personal preference however you must choose a food safe sealer considering this is a kitchen counter after all.    Some concrete sealers have a fungicide in them which make sense in a shower or on a patio but on a counter I prefer not to have any pesticides as food may come in direct contact.  You also have the aesthetic choice of sealers with a matte finish, more of a sheen and even stains.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

We went with a sealer we had all along…Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil.  It stained and sealed the concrete, plus it is food safe.  I applied three coats back to back because the porous surface kept soaking it up.  I plan to apply another coat or two this week until it reaches total saturation.
hemp oil

Mixing Ardex is very similar to mixing milk paint.  It comes in a powder form and mixes easily with water.  (1 part Ardex to 1/2 part water)  To prep, we first sanded the countertop to rough it up a bit for best adhesion.  Then we carefully and quickly applied one thin coat right over the formica using a trowel.  It was much like icing a cake.  Ardex dries very quickly and turns to a clay like consistency.

Rustic Industrial Wood & Concrete Kitchen - applying Ardex Feather Finish

Twenty four hours later, it was dry and ready to be sanded down to a smooth finish.  I used 60 grit sandpaper and then 150.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

After vacuuming up the dust, I applied another slightly thicker coat. And then repeated the above steps again the following day to make for a third coat.  As you can see, we did not remove the sink.  We simply took the Ardex right up to the edge.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

On the third and final coat, I was more deliberate in my application and trowel marks as I realized these would be seen on the finished surface.

From laminate kitchen counters to concrete on a budget

The process went pretty quickly.  Actual application only took about 30 minutes each time as we didn’t have much counter space to cover.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen

The final step was sealing the concrete finish.  As I mentioned, we chose hemp oil since it is all natural and food safe. I simply brushed on the hemp oil.  This will need to be applied annually as will most sealers on a porous counter.  I am also considering applying a coat of furniture wax for a little luster.

Using hemp oil has a sealer on concrete counters

It soaked into the surface right before our eyes and we continued on with the next coat.

Using hemp oil has a sealer on concrete counters

Overall I love the final finish.  It has a natural rustic feel vs. the fake plastic look we had previously.  I am not convinced that it has the look of a poured concrete counter but I am happy with this low-budget transformation.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

Here’s where this space started and where it has progressed over the past few years.  You can review the transformation starting with painting laminate cabinets, installing a wood backsplash, adding hardware and now resurfacing the counters…

From 80's Laminate to Rustic Kitchen

Next up, the floors!  Then maybe a fancy range hood?

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

 

 

chenille love

Can we reflect for a moment on my love for chenille?

vintage chenille rug in cottage bathroom

My vintage home decor tastes are constantly changing from nautical to industrial to cottage and back again but through all styles, chenille remains constant.  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s just a little dose of granny whimsy usually in the form of a blanket.

chenille blanket in coastal bedroom

When I found this yellow chenille rug a few weeks back, I knew it would be right at home in the cottage-style bathroom we finished last winter.

upcycled cottage bathroom

It is thin and worn and some of the frayed edges are long gone but I love it just the same.  Sigh.

vintage chenille rug & milk paint stool

And that stool?  That was a quick little milk paint makeover.  The worn finish on the top matches the vanity almost perfectly.  Happy accident!

ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool #mmsmp

It is simply constructed of plywood.

#mmsmp ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool-4310

The first coat of paint was done in lucketts green on the top and base.

chenille rug & milk paint stool

Then the wax puck made an appearance again between layers of paint…

wax pucks

The top was painted with some leftover ironstone and the base with leftover shutter gray.  A little bit of furniture wax and the stool was finished!

vintage cottage bathroom

A couple of winners!  Am I alone in my adoration of vintage chenille?

 

 

 

 

 

 

roar & a look book

Lots to share today!  First off, I am loving this sweet little tricycle red chair.  Lately I have been experimenting with heavy distressing which I’m not sure is always my thing.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but this chair was meant for distressing.

mms milk paint tricycle chair-4332

I picked it up a few weeks ago on our road trip.  I actually didn’t mind it in its before state…already perfectly worn and distressed however I thought the mauve color was boring.

chair before

MMS milk paint in Tricycle punched it up!

mms milk paint tricycle chair- wax puck distressing

To achieve this style of distressing I rubbed a wax puck all over the chair before painting.  I focused on areas that were already worn as well as places that would naturally wear like the edges, rungs and back.

mmsmp wax puck

Then I painted two coats of tricycle over the entire piece.  Once it dried, I rubbed back where the wax puck was applied with steel wool to reveal the mauve and raw wood in some places.  And finally, a coat of antiquing wax was applied to the chair to further age and distress.

mms milk paint tricycle chair- wax puck distressing

I love this little lion pillow as well.  It was handmade for me by a family friend several years back.  It seemed like the perfect juvenile prop for this chair.

mms milk paint tricycle chair-4330

While we’re talking about pint-sized chairs, handmade pillows and milk paint, guess what has arrived?  The much-anticipated Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Look Book!

mmsmp look book one-4352

And yours truly has a little feature.  This rocking chair is in the dried lavender section for all to see!  My cousin and her new baby girl are the owners of this chair.  Such an honor to have it featured along with my very own photography. Can I call this my first photo credit in print?

mmsmp look book one - dried lavender

The look book is gorgeous and full of loads of inspiration and tips.  I will have a few available at both locations very soon. They were only produced in limited numbers so if you’d like to own one, grab it fast!  Or let me know so I can reserve you a copy.

mmsmp look book one-4356

And P.S. major sneak peek into our new slate flooring…it makes a fantastic photo backdrop.

pushin’ along

We raised an impressive $500 through the Petal Pushers fundraiser last week for our Bike MS: City to Shore team!  Just a gaggle of ladies happily arranging flowers while making a difference…

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4278

I am so grateful for this community, family and friends for all of their support!  We couldn’t have done it without our fearless leader and professional floral designer, Renee Tucci, the mastermind behind Petal Pushers.

We have about 6 weeks to go until the actual Bike MS: City to Shore ride and most of our riders have met or exceeded their minimum fundraising goal.  You can check out our team’s progress here.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4291

Multiple Sclerosis is a real part of our everyday life and business journey.  Those things are closely intertwined therefore I choose to share personal updates such as these here.  I hope to educate or empower someone by letting you in on our lifestyle.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4289

Ryan’s MS diagnosis has shown us that life truly is a gift.  MS has taught us to live for today and not put things off for ‘someday’.  We’ve become more adventurous and courageous.  Within reason, of course.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4282

It has been a year since we moved to Cape May and slowed down our pace of life while eliminating some stress and ‘stuff’ along the way.  A year!  Already.  And two years since Ryan’s diagnosis.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4288

I’m not sure that I ever made it explicit but Ryan has officially come on board with Circa Dee.  He is doing very well in this new lifestyle that we chose.  It seems to agree with him.  And me too.  Although change can be terrifying at first, it is certainly good and not to be feared.

petal pushers floral design MS fundraiser 2014-4281

try something new

Oh, August!

This month has snuck up on me and it is moving way too fast.  I feel both a sense of panic and a sense of relief at this point in August.  Mostly just panic though.  The summer days are dwindling and there are far too many things I’d like to accomplish in the next two weeks.  It has been a busy summer nonetheless but there is still time to squeeze more in and try new things.  Cook new things.  Explore new places.  Take more pictures.

Please summer, don’t go!  We’re just getting acquainted…

Exploration

One of my friends dove into milk painting this week.  She is an experienced furniture painter but wasn’t into the notion of mixing her paint – a common objection with milk paint that can easily be overcome.  Well she decided to try new things and it has really paid off for her!

Check out this beautiful washstand done in Apron Strings.

Apron Strings Washstand

Apron Strings

This coffee table went from mid-century to farmhouse with Mustard Seed Yellow.

Mustard Seed Yellow Coffee Table

Musard Seed Yellow milk paint

This evening is the Petal Pushers floral design workshop at The Rhoads Garden in North Wales, PA.  We still have a few spots open and would love to have you if you’re local.  Come early so we’re sure to have a space set for you or send an email today letting us know you’ll be attending.  Try something new!

Petal Pushers Bike MS Fundraiser

 

come and knock on my door

Last weekend was wet and gloomy.  We’ve had fantastic weather all summer with very few rainy days so the gloomy weather was welcomed by me.  I found myself lounging on the couch and indulging in a Three’s Company marathon on TV Land.  If you know me, you know I never lay around and watch TV.  I can’t sit still long enough so this felt like such an indulgence.  Listening to the rain and giggling over the antics of the three “kids upstairs”.industrial pallet coffee table-4223

I completely forgot about Mrs. Roper’s style.  It is pretty fantastic!  She really pulled off kaftans and muumuus as much as one can.  I found myself wanting to wear a ridiculous amount of bright bangles and baubles.

industrial pallet coffee table-4245

(BTW if you Google ‘Mrs. Roper’ you’ll see so many guys dressed as her presumably for Halloween.  Go ahead, try it!  It’s a great costume idea.)

We also finished up the industrial pallet coffee table.  I really love this quirky upcycle.  I know this look isn’t for everyone but it can certainly work in the right home.

industrial pallet coffee table-4229

Industrial Rustic is how I’d classify this table.  Or Rustic Industrial.  To-may-toes, to-mah-toes.  I find my own style has been swaying more and more towards rustic & industrial lately based on the finishes and images I’ve been most interested in.

industrial pallet coffee table-4241

This industrial pallet came out of an old sewing factory.  Last you saw it, it looked like this.

vintage industrial factory skid

We gave it a thorough cleaning and sanded the top.  I had planned to stain the top but once it was sanded all of the beautiful age and wear became apparent.

sanded pallet

I knew this was the perfect job for hemp oil.  Oiling the piece made all of those scratches pop in the best way possible while darkening the raw wood just a bit.  It took three coats of oil until it reached saturation.

industrial pallet coffee table-4252

I didn’t stop oiling at the porous wood surface though.  I decided to oil the metal base as well and it really highlighted the faded blue paint.  Who knew that great color was under there?  The metal only needed one coat and took longer to dry.

industrial pallet coffee table-4237

In order to elevate the pallet to standard coffee table height (16-19″), Ryan created custom legs.  After much thought and consideration for aesthetics, he came up with legs consisting of a steel rod, caster, pipe and locking bolt.  He carefully drilled through the metal base of the pallet to attach the industrial leg.  I love casters on coffee tables.  I suppose it is the industrial influence again.

industrial pallet coffee table-4254

So there you have it.  From the sewing factory to our living room!  Trash to treasure.  This one-of-a-kind has sold!  And I am off to find a Mrs. Roper inspired kaftan…

Industrial Pallet Coffee Table by Circa Dee