versatile vintage theater seats

First of all, is it theater or theatre?  I have always been compelled to write theatre but it turns out the American English spelling is theater.  What is your preference?

My preference is most certainly vintage but we already knew that!  I’ve mentioned my unofficial conquest list of must-finds which is always changing.  However, vintage theater seats have always ranked high on the list.  A few weeks ago I was able to mark it off because I found them!

apple picking-7763

They’re an attached pair of wood and metal seats that fold up.  Not just the seat bottoms fold but the chair legs collapse like a folding chair allowing the pair to flatten for storage purposes.  That function leads me to believe that these were part of a venue where the seating configuration would change frequently.  The chairs were never permanent fixtures and as a result the set is not too heavy.

A coat of hemp oil brought the wood back to life and really makes them shine again.  This set is available for sale at The West End Garage.

apple picking-7765

There are a number of places in the home that I can think to style vintage theater seats.  I’ve compiled a list to get your wheels turning!  (Please pin from original source by clicking photo.)

Entryway/Foyer

theater seats entry

theater entry

AT Theater

Dining Room

theater dining

theater chairs dining

Kitchen

theater chairs kitchen

Theater Kitchen

Bedroom

Theater seats bedroom

apartment-in-Sao-Paulo-by-Felipe-Hess-and-Renata-Pedrosa-photo-by-Fran-Parente-yatzer-13

Which is your favorite room showcasing theater seats?

home for the plants

With the fear of frost looming at the end of October, we had to come up with a suitable winter home for our plant collection which was taking up residence outside and our deck.

succulents reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

They’re now sitting pretty in our living room amongst my favorite pair of vintage chairs.

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug,  reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase, locker

terra cotta & olive, mohair chair

We came up with a game plan to extend our sunny bay windowsill in order to accommodate the plants and my favorite vintage pots, bowls and vases.  We started with fantastic weathered old 1×6 lumber that has almost a barnwood-like quality.  We needed 6 – 5 foot boards in total.  The boards previously made up a section of simple post and beam fencing in our yard.  Each was stripped down to expose the worn grain.  Two boards were paired together to make a 12 inch deep shelf.  Three sets of boards were attached vertically to one another to create a 3-tier shelf system.

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand/ bookcase

Plumbing pipe shelving is not a new concept but we came up with our own simple plant stand version using pipes and fittings to connect the unit.  There are 2 connecting points on each shelf therefore we used a total of 4 – 9 inch plumbing nipples and 8 flanges which screw into the wood.  These also double nicely as book ends.  The plumbing materials were the most expensive part of this DIY project.

olive tree,  reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-4999

We decided on a set of simple 7 inch turned legs for the bottom which cost less than $5 each at Lowe’s.   The raw wood of the legs and shelves received an application of hemp oil for a durable water repellent topcoat which also left a subtle stain highlighting the wood grain.

succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4992

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-

The plants have happily been relocated to the new plant stand where they are enjoying the expansive window and, normally, bright light.

indoor terra cotta succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

These snaps are from this morning during a dreary, cold November rain.  I love the mix of terra cotta amongst the saturated colors in the kilim rug and mohair chairs – all vintage finds of course.  Such a cozy new space!

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

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

 

 

comparing topcoats: then & now

The most pinned and visited post here is one I wrote a couple of years ago about my preference in furniture topcoats.  There has been consistent conversation on that post.  I’d like to continue that conversation over here with an update.

While the products I was using then are certainly fine products, tastes & trends change and new choices become available.  Let’s check in and compare what I was using in 2012 vs. what I’m using now and why…

2012 #1 Minwax Paste Finishing Wax – I was using paste wax primarily over stripped and stained surfaces.

hemp oil

Current #1 Hemp Oil – This is my current go-to topcoat for stained surfaces and raw wood.  Basically it can be applied to revive and treat any porous surface including flat paint leaving a rich finish.  Hemp oil is 100% natural, no VOCs and food safe.  I even use hemp oil on my cutting boards and cast iron pots.  It has no harsh odor so I use it indoors.  Hemp oil has a multitude of other DIY uses but we’re just talking about topcoats today so I will limit it to that.  Hemp oil can be applied with a cloth or brush.  I typically use a brush.  I love the addition of oil to my repertoire.

drop leaf table with hemp oil finish on raw wood and paint

2012 #2 Johnson Paste Wax – I always liked the finish this wax provided over painted surfaces but the chemical odor is just so strong that I never use it anymore.

furniture wax

Current #2 Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax – When I want a wax finish over painted furniture, I always go for this one regardless of the brand of paint.  It is made of beeswax and therefore has no odor.  It is incredibly easy to apply and leaves a nice even finish.  I apply with a wax brush.  MMS furniture wax dries very quickly, in about 5 minutes, and lightly buffs out with a lint free cotton rag.

mustard seed yellow milk paint nightstand with furniture wax

2012 #3 & #4 Annie Sloan Clear & Dark Wax – These waxes are nice and thick which is why I liked them back then.  At the time I was using a lot of chalk paint so it complemented well.  A thick wax over a full body paint made sense to me then.  However, there has been a lot of conversation around the clear wax leaving a haze and fingerprints while the dark wax was mostly just too dark and hard to work with on its own.  The dark wax is very pigmented because it is meant to be more of a stain from what I understand.  I have experienced both of those issues and pushed through until…

antiquing wax

2014 #3 & #4 Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing & White Wax – No surprise here but I’ve fully converted to all MMS waxes.  The antiquing wax creates such a subtle warm patina with no fear of being too dark as referenced before. The pigment is easy to spread.

lucketts green over trophy milk paint with antiquing wax #mmsmp

On the other hand, white wax creates a washed out look to the painted finish that I’ve been raving about this summer.  The white wax also has a very light scent that is pleasant and not chemically at all.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax #mmsmp

I use brushes to apply these waxes as it helps gets the pigmentation to settle into the paint creating an aged look.  I reserve one wax brush exclusively for each color wax for easier clean up.  It is fun to use both antiquing and white wax on one piece to create depth and the illusion of years of wear.  I like to think of it as highlighting and low-lighting.

white wax

In 2012, I also indicated that I was using a buffer and still receive many questions about my buffer today.  Well, I can’t remember the last time I used it!  I power buffed because all of the waxes I was using were thick and it was the best way to get an even, shiny finish.  My current choice in waxes are much lighter.  When needed, a cotton rag and elbow grease buffs them out in minutes.  Although the beeswax is thinner, it gives a very solid, durable finish when cured.

Of course, this is just my opinion and perhaps, no surprise.  I wouldn’t sell a line of products that I don’t truly love.  There are many, many new topcoat choices on the market including a range of tinted waxes and ones with low or no VOCs.  It is important to find what suits your style best.  Please share in the comments what your go-to products for topcoats are.  I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered!

small wonders

We’re still digging out from our trip, unpacking, preparing for Memorial Day at the shore and working on a number of other projects.  It seems you need a staycation after a vacation but there’s no time for that now!  So let me jump right in and share a few treasures & projects…

I have never seen a sewing table like this one before.  I suppose they were prevalent when it was more common for housewives to mend and make their families’ clothes.  It is very light weight.  At one time, the legs folded up underneath it for storing such a utilitarian table.  But it’s been doctored over the years for stability and the legs are now stationary for permanent use and display.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3552

It also has a measuring tape engraved right into the top.  Oh that top!  It has two-tone wood inlay and shows just decades of wear and hard work.  There are even imprints from where patterns stuck to the table.  I love true timeworn pieces like this.  They seem to tell a story.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3544

I conditioned the top with hemp oil to let all of the scratches, patina and stories shine while also hydrating and reviving the wood.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3554

For those skinny, little legs, I applied two coats of boxwood milk paint (no bonding agent) and also topped with hemp oil.  This would make such a cute little console table.  It is definitely a conversation piece!  And it can be yours – available for sale at The West End Garage.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3546

As for this little mellow yellow nightstand, the secret ingredient is white wax.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3555

Let me start with this before picture.  I don’t normally go for Chippendale style.  Usually it has big, bulky feet and hardware that just isn’t appealing to me.

nightstand before

Fortunately this one had turned and tapered legs and the hardware could easily be changed to a simple brass & ceramic Anthro pull.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3561

This was a very shiny/slick nightstand so I applied two coats of Mustard Seed Yellow with bonding agent mixed right into the paint to ensure it would adhere to the finished surface.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3558

Then I topped it with my new favorite product in the MMS milk paint line – white wax.  Move over hemp oil, white wax is taking the lead…for now.

white wax

It washes out the color just-so which lends to a summery, beachy look.  The results of white wax remind me of a sun faded canvas beach bag at the end of the summer.  I can’t believe how much it can alter and mellow any color.

This sweet little piece sold in just a few hours!

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3564

Which is your favorite?  Have you ever seen a sewing table like that?

 

hemp oil in the kitchen

A few weeks (maybe months) ago, I vowed to oil some of my well used kitchen utensils with hemp oil.  Well. I finally did and shared the before and after over on Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint blog.

I am thrilled with the results!  Go check out the details.

hemp oil in the kitchen

Even if you’re not into paint, hemp oil is a very handy tool to have around the house.  If you are interested in trying it, I have it available for sale online and in the shop.

my current crushes

I am so into everything in this photo right now.  Deep boxwood green, warm brass, a very old typewriter that has been in my family and turquoise peacock feathers.  But one of the most seriously underrated colors in the milk paint palette has got to be that Boxwood.

boxwood milk paint dresser

I took the liberty of pairing it with Artissimo…one of the other warm milk paint colors I’m crushing on.

boxwood milk paint dresser

This chest was a dark nearly cherry stain.  A light color wouldn’t have provided great coverage over that finish.

boxwood milk paint dresser

I painted the first coat of the drawers in Artissimo with bonding agent.  Artissimo is a nice rich navy.  It feels wintry especially combined with Boxwood.

boxwood milk paint dresser

After the first coat I tried a technique that is a little bit out of my comfort zone.  I created a controlled resist by applying hemp oil around the drawer pulls between the coat of Artissimo and the coat of Boxwood.

boxwood milk paint dresser

The technique created a worn finish around where the drawers would naturally get the most wear and tear.

boxwood milk paint dresser

I like the controlled resist technique.  Moving forward I may try it on another area like around the base of a table or the edges of drawers.

boxwood milk paint dresser

For the top coat, I also used hemp oil.  The stuff is so versatile!  We are now carrying it in a larger size.  It is even food grade.  I am going to use it on my cutting boards soon.

boxwood milk paint dresser

I am a fan of the matte finish the oil provided over Boxwood.

By the way, all of Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint products are now available online here.

boxwood milk paint dresser

I’m also a fan of the giant book page wreath.  I started cranking some out this week.  They seem to have a holiday feel without being too over the top.  Plus, there’s no guilt if they stay up through January!

boxwood milk paint dresser

And that rug!  Guys, I am completely obsessed with the over dyed blue kilim rug.

boxwood milk paint dresser

I dreamt up this hand woven gem and then it appeared.  Just like that, out of thin air.  Well, sort of.  I got it at an estate sale.  The same one where I got the orange kilim that I shared last week.  I actually thought the blue would go in that space and was the finishing touch I was dreaming about but once I got both rugs home (thank goodness I bought both) the orange was better under the storage bench.

boxwood milk paint dresser

Now the blue one is in our den and I can assure you that you’ll see more of it in furniture staging pics so hopefully you love it as much as I do!

boxwood milk paint dresser

The Boxwood dresser is for sale and headed to Serendipity Shops of Doylestown this weekend.

As am I.  On Sunday, I am hosting another free milk paint demo.  I will mix milk paint and explain the different finishes.  No need to register.  Just bring questions about your own projects.  Cell phone ‘before’ pics are always a plus.  After the demo, I will help you pick colors and top coats if you’d like.

Denise from The Painted Home will also be giving advice on creative holiday wrapping.  Join us at 1 pm.

demo

garden fencing and rakes

Well we took full advantage of that warm front that passed through over the weekend.  How about you?

We worked outside non-stop in Cape May.  Mostly on a garden related project that we originally thought we’d hold off on until spring.  However, we recently had some utility work done (not the topic fun blog posts are made of) so the yard was already dug up.  It just made sense to move forward with the garden layout now instead of waiting until spring.  Plus, the weather felt like spring anyway!  Bonus.

But before we can get to the fun part of the garden, actual gardening, we needed to work on the fence.  We inherited a homemade fence of horizontal 2×4’s done by previous owners post and rail style.  Their day had come.  It was time to remove the old fence and unfortunately I didn’t take a before picture but there wasn’t much to look at anyway.  The funny thing is that whoever installed the posts, installed them completely unevenly.  Instead of placing them 8 feet apart, they were like 7’9″ or 7’11”.  No two posts were the same distance apart.  But sturdy rails that they are, we were determined to reuse them instead of recreating the wheel.

picket fencing

We headed to Lowe’s and picked up a portion of the American dream.  Picket fencing in 8 foot widths.  Before finishing the unfinished fence, we temporarily installed them with the leftover posts.  This meant measuring and cutting a picket here or there to fit the aforementioned wonky post distances.

At the end of day one, we had what looked like a newly installed fence.  However, we quickly labeled each portion of fencing and removed them from the posts so they could be finished.  Once they’re finished, it should be easy to install them in order.

installing a fence

I thought we were moving onto the beginning of the fun part…customizing the fence.  Boy, was I wrong.  Painting a fence is so incredibly daunting.  We decided to use milk paint to stain the raw wood pickets a nice, custom mixed light blue.  At the end of day 2, they had a beach cottagey, blue washed look to them.  Fun!

But they’re still not ready to be re-hung on the fence posts.  We are planning to seal the milk paint in with tung oil which will protect the finish in the elements.  I can’t wait to share the color and finish.

tung oil

As soon as we can find time to oil them, we’ll re-install the fence and work on prepping the garden for spring.  I am planning on a perennial cutting garden since this space gets full sun!

Here are some of my inspiration photos for this garden space…

I am liking this rock border.

garden source unknown
source: unkown

Yes, I am considering a bike planter. Thoughts?  It seems like a very Cape May thing to do.

garden source french country cottage
source: French Country Cottage

While everyone else is on fall, I am dreaming about my spring garden .  Go figure!

All of that work in the garden had me inspired to bring a portion of it in.  I have been looking for a way to organize our belts for some time now (other than downsizing my belts because I have too many).

garden rake belt organization

I am sure you are no stranger to the idea of repurposing an old garden rake head as hooks for everything from jewelry to stemmed wine glasses.  Well, I decided to install our extra garden rake as a belt hook.  However, I did not remove the handle.  Honestly, I felt guilt cutting a perfectly fine rake in half.

garden rake belt organization

This was a no brainer.  After cleaning the rake followed by a hemp oil application to moisturize the wood, I positioned it against the wall near our master bath.  All set and the belts have one place to live. I like that I can see them all.

garden rake belt organization

And if I get bored of it, I can still use the rake outside again.