ammo trunk

Vintage Trunks are the best, aren’t they?  Clearly they provide storage as that was the intention in the utilitarian object to begin with.  However, they also lend an aesthetic appeal to a space.

Vintage Ammo Trunk

A few years back I scored this large vintage ammo trunk as part of a lot of trunks.  It was a WWII US Navy trunk. In fact, the shipping labels are still in tact which indicate that it was sent to the US Air Force in New York.  The trunk, overall, is in great shape.

Vintage US Navy Ammo Trunk

I have a soft spot for World War II memorabilia.  It is probably the least feminine thing to collect but there is something visually appealing to me about the army green, type fonts, rivets and brass details typically associated with the items.  It generally leads me to wonder about what our country was like at that time with women headed to work while men were at war; what my grandparents were doing; what technology was in play and so on.  It is also the era that my collections date back to.  I don’t really gravitate toward many pieces earlier than 1940’s.

vintage army jacket

Naturally I loved this green trunk although I did initially try to sell it but had no takers.  When that happens it is a sure sign that it is meant to stay with us…at least for now.

Junk in the Trunk! vintage trunks stacked

Over the past year it has lived a double life after receiving a set of casters on the bottom so it can easily be pushed around.  First, it made a fantastic window seat when covered with a thick, tufted cushion and pillows.

vintage ammo trunk turned bench window seat

The problem was that it simply wasn’t getting enough use beyond its storage abilities.   A few months ago, I pushed it into play as an extra long coffee table where it seems to have a more fulfilling life.  Plus, this made more room for vintage chair hoarding.

vintage nautical living room with army trunk coffee table

 You can do no wrong to it. Drink rings cause no damage.  This thing was in war after all!  And brass always looks good with army green.

vintage brass tray & paper weight

What is your favorite way to use a vintage trunk?

Vintage Ammo Trunk

P.S. Don’t forget about the upcoming milk paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown on Sunday!

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer breeze & dried lavender

Summer breeze makes me feel fine!

This morning was one of those fantastic summer mornings that left me in a really fabulous mood.  I woke up to a chilly summer breeze blowing in from the sea.  The sun seemed a little late to peak.  Just a subtle amount of light streamed in past the drapes.

dried lavender chair-4107

I reveled at how perfect the morning was over a seasonal breakfast of yogurt, farm stand strawberries, homemade granola and local honey.  And it dawned on me, that we’ve lived in this fantastic agricultural beach town for almost a year now.  A year in Cape May!  What a dream come true.

strawberries

I got to work capturing the calm, morning light and snapping up some photos of this now finished caned chair.

dried lavender chair-4108

The chair was given to me by a friend about a week ago.  It spoke to me right away.  Some just do that you know.

IMG_4061

I knew it had to be painted dried lavender and I knew the caning had to remain natural.  It is rare to find caning in excellent condition.

dried lavender chair-4111

Last you saw the chair, it looked like this.  Two coats of dried lavender with bonding agent.  Perfection.

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4091

But wait!  The chair got a soft, nearly silvery glow to it with a topcoat of white wax.

dried lavender chair-4114

Summer breeze…blowing through the jasmine (or lavender) in my mind.

blast from the past

Macrame and String Art are two trends from the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s that are having quite the moment again.  In fact, they have been for a while now.  We’re seeing vintage versions crop up as well as handmade and manufactured reproductions.

I personally have fully embraced both in our home.  The vintage versions, of course, which have been sparking conversations amongst visitors.

Macrame is the art of making textiles through tying knots.  Plant hangers have been the most abundant version out there.  Over the winter I scored two macrame plant hangers each with coordinating glazed planters at an estate sale.  I just love the combo.

macrame and glazed planter

Don’t remind Ryan of this but a few years ago while having a deep conversation about decorating he made a suggestion that involved macrame planters and beaded curtains.  Naturally I rolled my eyes and wouldn’t even entertain the thought of either.  I can assure you that I stand firm on the beaded curtains though.

macrame and glazed planter

String art is usually constructed on a one-dimensional surface.  It is characterized by geometric and usually abstract shapes made by stringing thread from point to point, usually nails or pins.  It is a very calculated design.

We have this gigantic string art displayed on our screened in porch.  My father-in-law made it over 30 years ago!  Such precision and patience he has.  There are more where that came from too.  Isn’t it cool?  Or should I say groovy…

String Art

So tell me, where do you stand on the return of both macrame and string art?  The previous generation’s Do It Yourself projects.  Love or loathe?

the fate of the mohair chairs

A few weeks ago I shuffled the chairs around the dining table leaving my beloved vintage ones homeless. Or at least table-less.  But only temporarily. They’ve been displaced to my new favorite seating area in the house – what shall now be known as the living room.  Along with an old cage-turned-coffee-table, that we’ve had for years, in a similar green hue.

Ward Bennett chairs, vintage nautical living room

We’ve been working on carving out different areas in our great room to make it most functional.  Using furniture as a divider, or floating it, seems to be working with our current layout.  (But that doesn’t mean I won’t rearrange again soon.)

diving spaces, nautical living

I’m happy with how the space under the bay window has evolved.  This cozy little sitting area is saturated in deep colors from the walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs to the over-dyed blue and orange kilim rug.  The space can handle all of the dark, dramatic color thanks to all of the natural light that pours in.

walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs

The “living room” is conveniently adjacent to the bar where we store glassware & mix cocktails

eclectic living room

modern bar in a vintage world

…beside the captain.  The count is getting pretty high on sea captains around here.  This is Gorton.

ship captain oil painting

So that is the fate of the chairs.  I know you were worried about them.  They are indeed one of my favorite vintage finds ever.

vintage walnut & mohair Ward Bennett

What is your best vintage find ever?

P.S. For more inspiration on what to do with your vintage finds, check out the recently updated (and always evolving) Home tab which features our vintage home style.