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My no dollar spend dining nook makeover

A nook from nothing

 

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I have never been happy with my dining area. It’s tucked in a nook opposite my kitchen, doesn’t have a window and gets pretty dark. Great if you want a candlelit dinner but not so inviting in the daytime. One Monday morning it was time for a change. Not in the mood to go shopping (I know, shocker! ) I decided to shop my house. The largest wall in the dining space has never looked right to me, even though I have changed up art work and mirrors. I needed something to add height and feature this wall. Ding, ding, light bulb moment, A huge canvas I was given by a client who had downsized, was the perfect size. It has had a makeover already with paint but this project needed more.

 

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I have always loved the look of a banquette, so it was time to cover this canvas. I needed fabric….. stat. A rummage in my prop closet yielded nothing large enough. I was just about to give in and go search for some fabric when I passed the guest bedroom. Hmmm… right colour, texture and a good weight. Hello Mr Coverlet, I need you.

 

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A mad stapling session on the canvas and a bench I already owned and voila, a spiffed up dining area. After attaching the canvas to the wall It looked a little bare. I needed art and the fish picture from the en suite bathroom was perfect. Some hot pink ribbon was a good solution for hanging it and added a splash of contrasting colour.

 

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Next some pillows (the 2 blue print are from Wicker Emporium ) I added some faux fur to my dining room chairs and dressed the table with some accessories. I love how it turned out. The whole area is much more inviting and better still I didn’t spend any money. Not bad for a Monday morning 🙂

 

Here is the before

 

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Prepping your home for Winter sale

It’s been a brutal winter so far in my part of the world. Snowbanks are growing higher by the day and it’s hard just to get in and out of the house, let alone starting to think about preparing for selling. But the truth is, now is an ideal time to get a jump start on the competition. While many sellers are waiting for the first well awaited days of spring to list their home, you could be well on your way to sold.

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By using the winter as a time to improve your home’s interior appeal, it’s possible to command a higher price when serious buyers are out and about (and lets face it, you have to be serious about buying a home to slop around in this weather ) Put your snow days to good use and start the dreaded chore of de cluttering. I know, you’re cringing at the thought of mountains of books, movies, unworn clothing and the 27 travel mugs in the kitchen cupboards. We’ve all been there, (myself included having moved recently) You need a plan of action, someone to cheer you on when what you really want to do is to be curled up with the remote and Netflix. A staging consult can be a great motivator to get you started.

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When I first visit for a home consult one of the things I always hear is “I know we have to de clutter” but many times sellers underestimate how much time this really takes. You can’t just sort through 10, 20 or in some cases 50 years or more of belongings in a couple of weeks. Not if you want to minimize stress and wine consumption 🙂 Plus you may be removing some things that could be used as props for staging the home, while other things you think can stay, will not help your sale. Start by doing one closet, one drawer, put everything into a laundry basket and sort while watching t.v. if that helps get you get started. Starting is the hardest part so the sooner the better.

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Winter is also an excellent time to get a hold of trades, to do any repairs or renovations that will maximize selling appeal. During a consult a stager can recommend where to spend $$$ for best bang for your buck and where to save, by not doing renovations that will not bring a solid ROI. I read a report today that indicated both male and female buyers rate master baths and walk in closets as top of their wish list when purchasing a home, so upgrades in these areas are sure to be a worthwhile investment. Come Springtime when all the other sellers are scrambling to find a painter, plumber etc. you are already ahead of the pack.

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Selling a house requires you to make a potential buyer think that the home is already their own. Nothing gets in the way of this feeling more than another person’s clutter. Often, the things that buyers interpret as clutter are a homeowner’s prized heirlooms. Rather than purging your house of personal photos and accessories all at once, it can be less jarring to pack up your personal items slowly and move them into storage. These few weeks left of winter represent a perfect opportunity to start this process.

A little Prep

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Chalk Paint Uses

Crazy about this stuff !

Everyone is singing the praises of chalk paint and for good reason. It really is a fast, easy way to update just about anything. Minimum effort, maximum wow factor. Here are 2 projects I worked on this week. A makeover on a bench that was a tad dated, where I painted fabric for the first time with great results and a chalk board paint project on a $2 yard sale find. Check them out.

 

Bench Makeover 

Dated but  sturdy bench
Dated but sturdy bench

 

 

 

First step coat of Paris Grey chalk paint
First step coat of Paris Grey chalk paint

 

 

 

To finish apply Dark wax to fabric and legs
To finish apply Dark wax to fabric and legs

 

 

 

Waxing the fabric gives the look & feel of leather
Waxing the fabric gives the look & feel of leather

 

Tips for painting fabric with Annie Sloan chalk paint

1. Soak fabric a little before painting or do as I did and thin paint with water 50/50 so it absorbs well.

2. If you want to do a design e.g. stripe, mask off the area with masking tape once the base coat is dry and apply your second colour.

3. Most important step, apply wax to protect finish. Annie Sloan wax comes in clear and dark. The clear wax only slightly darkens the paint colour and the dark is very dark and gives a more antiqued look.

4. Let the wax cure at least overnight but a couple of weeks is optimal. I buffed my bench to make sure the finish was even.

 

Painting ceramics with chalkboard paint 

A $2 yard sale find
A $2 yard sale find

 

Loved the shape of this urn, pattern not so much. A coat of chalkboard paint later and a design drawn with a chalk pen and it has a new lease of life.

Caulk paint works well on ceramics
Chalk paint works well on ceramics

 

 

This guy knows

Well said sir, well said
Well said sir, well said

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Chalk Paint 101

Chalk Paint 101

Chalk Paint 101

 

There is no escaping the buzz in the crafting and diy world right now, everyone is talking about chalk paint. This amazing product has been around for quite a few years across the pond. Annie Sloan in England wanted a paint that would be fast, easy and cut out the prep work of painting furniture. Smart woman. The arduous task of sanding and prepping a piece of furniture has been eliminated. You just slap it on, I kid you not. I recently picked up some of this fabulous paint at Rusty Hinges  at the Hydrostone in Halifax. If you have never been to this lovely store you are in for a treat. Reclaimed furnishings, linens, soaps, mirrors and of course a rainbow of Annie Sloan chalk paint colours.

 

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You can take a curb side find and transform it into a customized piece for your home, with very little effort. The furniture piece I made over recently was a Bombay Company buffet passed on from my Mother. It was in great shape to start with but I wanted a new look for my dining room. No sanding or prep needed, just wipe down to ensure no dust or sticky fingers and start applying, any which way. No going with the grain, you want brush strokes to show, that’s part of the rustic, shabby chic look.

 

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I chose to use 2 colours. Greek Blue on the top and Paris Grey on the base, one of the most popular shades. One coat of blue and move on to the base. By the time I had finished the base the top was dry, that’s how fast the process is. Once the piece has dried do a little bit of distressing with sandpaper. Around the corners, top of the drawers, edges, handles, anywhere you would normally see wear and tear. You can remove the hardware before painting or just paint right over them as I did.

 

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An absolute must is the wax. This is applied after the paint has dried. Available in clear or dark finish, the wax protects the piece and gives a wonderful sheen and smooth finish. It can be applied with a brush or a lint free rag ( I raided husband’s t shirt drawer) It takes a little bit of elbow grease but is so worth it.

 

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Here is the finished piece. It took about 4 hours from start to finish, so so easy and it really changes the look of the pieces. I also made over a small hall table and bench that was in really rough shape. Same technique, Paris Grey and dark wax. I added the new fabric and it makes a great place for keys in my entry way. This smaller project only took a tester size of the paint, a great way to try it out before you commit to a larger can. Here is the before and after.

table before & after

 

Rusty Hinges also runs chalk paint workshops at their store, give them a call for details, the ladies are so helpful.

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Annie Sloan Stockist Halifax