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

 

 

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

 

 

those brimfield treasures

Oh it’s Brimfield week again!  Possibly my favorite place on Earth.  No, we’re not going this time around.  We’re much too busy here in Cape May as peak season has set in.  The streets and beaches are swollen with visitors which I love and wouldn’t leave.  Not even for Brimfield’s swollen streets and fields!

Brimfield 14

Alas, I haven’t even shared some of our May Brimfield finds with you.  Without further adieu, a few snapshots…

I love this industrial vintage laundry cart.  Unfortunately it is just too big for any space we have and it has since found a new home.  Sigh.

vintage industrial laundry cart

We seemed to have spent a good deal of time shopping a field where several vendors specialized in cleaning out old factories so industrial finds were on our side for sure.  We picked up an old factory skid.  I love the heavy metal edges.  This is still in our possession and destined to become a coffee table just as soon as we find the right castors/wheels/feet.  Not quite sure what yet but something to amp up the height.

vintage industrial factory skid

Moving along to the salvage department.  We picked up the biggest baluster I’ve ever seen.  And by “we”, I surely mean Ryan picked it up.  This sucker is heavy.  Topped with 30 inch round glass and you’ve got yourself a grand table for a foyer or a petite kitchen bistro table.  The color is original.  This gem is for sale currently at The West End Garage.

baluster table

Just a bit of TLC was needed and this 3-tier plant stand is serving us very well as a display for our live plants for sale at The West End Garage.  But for the right price, of course, it can find a new home.  For now however, we’re enjoying its company.

vintage 3-tier plant stand

One find that is here to stay forever is this hound dog weather vane.  Yes, let me just clarify that it is a reproduction and we’re fully aware of that.  We love it just the same.  Last year we had an opportunity to buy an antique weather vane just like this in Adamstown but the price was just too high for us to justify for a purely aesthetic accessory to use outdoors nonetheless.  We never stopped talking about that weather vane and the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.  It was like the “one that got away” for us so we were very happy to run into this guy at the right price in Brimfield.  There are few cases that I am ok with a repro but this is one of them.  This hound dog dons our potting shed and greets us every afternoon.

weathervane-4020

Have you found any remarkable new treasures lately?

 

 

eating in

The eat-in portion of our kitchen was an addition on the original house put on by a previous owner.  Rumor has it that the addition was redone three times because the lady of the house was not satisfied with it.  (And my husband thought I was high maintenance with home projects.)  They finally got it just right making for a cozy dining nook aside from the kitchen galley.

Flea Market Style Eat-In Kitchen

However, the time was long overdue to erase their style (read: lots of wallpaper) and put our own twist on the space.

I’m thankful the previous owners expanded this room because otherwise it must have been so cramped.  Like most homes, our kitchen seems to be the center of the house.  This is where the cooking and eating occurs followed by hours of lingering and occasionally we work in here too. With that said, it was important to me that this space be comfortable.  And definitely full of personality and many eclectic finds.

Flea Market Style Eat-In Kitchen

Cookbook Collection

Ryan and I spent the last two weekends bringing that vision to light with a little sweat equity, paint and flea market finds.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember the blueprint wallpaper I installed at the 2013 Philly Home Show.  We carefully removed them after the show.  Now they’re permanently on display in our kitchen.  The vintage blueprints are all original to Ryan’s father.  Each one tells a story.  Some we know.  Some we make up!

Blueprint Wallpaper & Industrial Galvanized Pendant Light

We got a head start with kitchen updates a few months back when turned the trio of chairs into an upholstered grainsack bench.  And before that we updated the laminate cabinets and installed a pallet wood backsplash.

Pallet Wood Kitchen Wall Backsplash

But now it is all about the eat-in nook.  We do not have a formal dining room.  This is it.  With that said, we decided we wanted all upholstered chairs.  The head chairs are one of my best scores to date.  They are original walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs that fit nicely with the new-to-us copper top table.  More about the table here.

Ward Bennett Vintage Mohair & Walnut Chair

But the game changer for me was the industrial pendant light.  Does anyone know what this is?  I found the galvanized, cloche-like piece at the flea market and we upcycled it into a light.  The seller was unsure of its provenance too.  I’d love to hear your opinion.  I am guessing some sort of farm equipment.

Industrial Galvanized Pendant Light

At the same market, I bought the SERVE letters.  One of my favorite finds for sure.  We can only assume that they were part of a SERVICE sign at some point.  Perhaps from a gas station.

Salvaged Kitchen Style - Blueprint Wallpaper & Serve Service sign

The rest of the room got updated with a coat of buttercream yellow paint.  Thank goodness the wallpaper and border are gone along with the matching valances.  Were matching borders over wallpaper really necessary?  This picture is from when we first saw the house.

kitchen before

There is something about a yellow kitchen that just injects energy.

Vintage Font/Text - Serve Service Sign in Kitchen

What’s your favorite flea market find?

Flea Market Style Eat-In Kitchen - Vintage Serve letters, Blueprint Wallpaper, Galvanized Pendant Light

Linking to: Funky Junk Interiors, Jennifer Rizzo, Be Bold Challenge

layering a window seat

Yesterday was one of those days where I packed in enough activities to fill a few days. Man, I got so much done that I am actually sore.  I planted 80 bulbs in an hour using my tried and true electric drill/auger method.  Can’t wait to see those babies bloom in the spring.   Prior to that, I started out the day finishing up this window seat nook in our living room.

vintage military ammo trunk turned window seat by Circa Dee

Our living room is pretty big.  It was originally two rooms (small living room and a tiny bedroom) that a previous owner opened up to make one large space.  I love how open it is but it still calls for two different zones.  I sort of think of the TV watching area as the “family” room and this side as the “living” room where we have a sitting area and then a bar cart to the side.

We added roman shades and vintage toile drapes.  In fact, the roman shades are the only things that are brand spankin’ new in this space.

vintage military ammo trunk turned window seat + toile drapes by Circa Dee

Before I go any further, please allow me to insert a beautiful “before” picture here of this side of the room.  This house was screaming bad 80s (and in some cases, still is) so it is a real joy to recreate.

before

I should also point out that I lost the battle on painting all of the maple stained trim in this house.  When paired with the new bright roman shades, it doesn’t seem that bad however I would like to de-orange it a bit with a darker stain.  But of course that is a daunting task that I am really not ready to embark on.

You may remember the drapes from the dining room in our previous house.  It’s funny how different they look in here.  Rather than using drape hooks this time, I went with rod clips so I could easily loop them over the fishing rod curtains rods.

vintage toile drapes

Yes, I said fishing rods.  One thing about making the beach house our permanent residence is determining how much “beach” to mix into the decor.  After all I don’t want to turn this place into the set of the Golden Girls.  Or maybe I do actually.  Blanche had quite the social life.  Anyway, I am still experimenting with how much beach is too much.

I digress.

The fishing reels and one of the rods are special because they belonged to Ryan’s grandfather and father.  I like how they’re on display but also totally functional for this space.  That seems to be a recurring theme since we moved.  Many of the things we chose to keep with us are sentimental and family heirlooms so we’re trying to find ways to not only admire them but actually use them as well.

repurposing fishing rod and reel as curtain rod

As soon as we decided to move, I knew this trunk was going right in this space.  The reason is two fold.  1)  This window is just calling out for a seat and the trunk was just the right size.  And 2) storage!

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

This is a vintage navy ammo trunk with its original labels.  You know how I feel about vintage military accessories.  Maybe you don’t.  I love them!  I tried to sell this one once upon a time when I didn’t need a huge ammo trunk however it didn’t sell.  Obviously no one saw my bench vision in the ginormous trunk!  We added castors so it easily moves as needed.  It can actually double as a coffee table too sans the pillows.  I’m sure I will be wheeling this out of the window to make room for a Christmas tree sometime soon.

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

Did you notice the cushion?  It is the perfect size for the trunk and it came off of a metal bench that we already owned.  A bench without storage so it didn’t make the cut in here.

window seat trunk

I know you spotted the rug.  Is it not the most perfect selection of loomed wool that you ever did see?

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

Let me tell you that an area rug was a must have for this little space.  It never felt complete without it.  I wanted to ground the space.  This Turkish kilim number did exactly that.  After drooling over very expensive kilims and overdyed wool rugs online for months, I found this antique one at an estate sale last week for a steal.  Plus a nicely coordinating one that I can’t wait to share too!  Jackpot.

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

I’m pretty happy with how this space came together.  It is functional and full of vintage style.  I even snuck in some mixing bowls on the windowsill.

  beach bungalow window seat