Monday, May 30, 2011

Finished Desk

Well, the desk, at long last (and through many changes of mind) is finally finished.

As a reminder, here's what the desk looked like when we got it...

And here is the finished product:

Overall? I'm happy with the result. I made a few mistakes and learned a few new things.

1) Just because trim and other things in your house are white, it does not mean that additional white furniture will go well. When we opted to paint the desk over staining (due to the wood just not holding up well), we thought white. But it was white overload.

2) Do not try to fix everything. After the white paint was on the tabletop, I saw indentations of where people had previously used the desk (indentations from writing, moving, etc). So, since I am currently sander-less, I thought "I'll just cover the top in some caulking." BIG MISTAKE. It dried too quickly and was far too thin to do the trick. I did start out with only putting it in a few places, but then I got carried away. End result: There are some rough bits on the top of the desk, but not too much that it will cause a problem.

3) I should have put the desk and hutch on risers when painting. It didn't cause too much of a problem, but the plastic drop cloth did sometimes stick to paint. Oh well. Or cardboard underneath. That would have worked well too.

Things I learned:
1) People have a large hatred toward you painting wood. I posted the desk on facebook for color recommendations, and I got a lot of "NO! DON'T PAINT!" responses. I would generally be in agreement, but a) it wasn't an heirloom, b) it wasn't fabulous wood or even expensive wood. It was pine. Luckily, I think those naysayers have been shown that sometimes it's good to paint.

2) Online paint places have great color suggestions! The site for Glidden Paint really confirmed my choice of "Dark French Chocolate" when I saw that coordinating colors for the color were the colors we already had in the room.

3) You CAN put a layer of polyurethane over latex paint! It also seems that this will help protect the latex from chipping as easily. However, it does add gloss to the paint. I'm ok with the amount of shine on the desk, but I also think that it could have used a little less. Next time, I think I'll poly only the top of the desk (so it's waterproof too), but maybe use a satin-type coating (like even mod podge) next time on the rest of a piece.

Overall though, I'm very happy with the piece. However, I'm quickly realizing how much stuff we had in the spare office. All our wine is in there, as well as our china. The wine rack and the china cabinet are two more projects to finish before those things can be removed from the room. Sigh! Not as easy as finishing the desk and having the room being done, sadly. Hopefully, the room, cabinet, and wine rack will all be finished soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Desk photo update

The desk has gone through several changes, but I'm now set on it!

So, here was the desk initially:
My thought was to strip/sand and restain it a darker color.

But... the desk is (I think) pine. Not a bad thing, but a very soft wood that was not taking to stripping/sanding. The old stain was really soaked in, and I had to remove a lot of the wood in order to remove the stain. And the wood wasn't the best quality.

Bah! So, then I painted the desk with one layer of white paint.

Again: A failure. White was not a great color for the room. I discovered this by testing it out (stupidly, AFTER I had painted the desk) by moving a white piece of furniture into the room. It was too white. Too light.


So I thought and thought. I love the color marigold, but I think that's too much bright in a room since it's not JUST the desk but the desk AND a hutch.

Then, I started looking at color combinations. I didn't want to repaint the walls, so what went well with cream and white? Preferably also went well with the same rugs we got in the living room and also with my rocking chair.

I ended up using Glidden's online paint charts, and you can "flip the chip" to see some suggested matching colors. I ended up selecting "Dark French Chocolate"--I love the color and look at how well it goes with our other room colors!

Here is the result on the hutch and a few drawers after two layers (remember, it was kinda white before):
It's a deep, beautiful, eggplant color. I LOVE IT. Our walls are actually more creamy than the photo lets on. I'm very excited. Now I'm off to see how a coat of polyurethane looks on one of the drawers as a tester. Yes, supposedly you can coat on TOP of latex paint. I find this very exciting, since latex chips/scratches so easily. This will help seal it and keep it a bit more durable and less latex-y.

More updates to come....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Missing in action!

Sorry for the lack of posts. Wow! I'm a complete slacker.

Actually, it's called we moved.... and then family from Ohio visited! So, between unpacking and certain projects (trying to move all our plants, repainting a desk, building things...) and then having visitors, I've totally slacked.

I promise to make up for this with photos and posts again sometime soon!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Desk update.

Decision has been made. Desk is pine, not antique, and not particularly spectacular (aka: Preservable) wood. I also like the rocking chair a LOT, and I'd prefer that to be the shining piece of furniture.

So.... the desk? the one I posted about? Is going to be painted white. It will match the molding and the trim of the interior of the house, and the hardware on the desk will be black (also matching the house).

Also good news: the desk will be finished sooner rather than later. Which is good, since as of this afternoon, we are getting VISITORS ON THURSDAY (family from Ohio)!!! :)

So. Photos to come.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Besides doing the finishing touches on moving out of the old house, there are a few projects on my plate, just desperately waiting to get done.

First up: We need to move our raspberries. They're in our neighbors' yard, so we have a bit of time, but I'd prefer to get them transplanted asap so that they can use the boxes for something else. BUT, first we have to build boxes ourselves. And we want the new boxes to be longer-lasting and nice-looking, so....

Insert the heavy-duty materials. We have 24 row feet of raspberries, which I'm condensing down to 20 feet. Two, 10'-long boxes, but with heavy-duty 1.5" thick wood. The plan is to make the corners with tall 8' long beams, that way I can easily trellis them. We'll see! Plus, they also need to be stained and sealed, to increase the boxes' longevity. Whew. AND, I'm constructing them with bolts, for extra heavy-duty-ness, so there will be clamps and pre-drilled holes, and then ratchet sets used. Whew! Hopefully finished today or tomorrow. Photos to come!

Here they are, last year's raspberries. They've more than doubled in number this year.

Next project: OUR NEW DINING ROOM TABLE! This table will be used day in, day out. We decided that instead of putting a small table in the kitchen for daily use, we'd have a dining room that was used constantly. The house has a formal feel, but we didn't want to daily use a nice dining set. We had our eyes on this baby, but whew, it was too expensive for our blood. Then, this one appeared on Craigslist:
It's stained a dark brown, with a nice layer of seal on top. We may only use one bench and add chairs around it instead (so it looks less picnic-y), but I LOVE it. The benches are high, so you don't feel like you're sitting on a squatty table. Plus, it's rustic but not too rustic. It fits the room, I think.

But, the table needs tightening so it doesn't wobble, and the one bench needs a leg secured a little better. Totally doable, but still, another project.

Oh, and I should add that table is over 90" long. We can easily fit 10 people on it!!

And, of course, there is the desk that needs refinishing. Due to rain, I never got around to finishing it before we moved. So, that needs to get finished too.
Right now it only has the drawer fronts that have been sanded and stained. Sadness. We'd love to have a more functional office!

So, that's just three projects. Don't get me started on the nightstands, the wine rack, or the purchases that need to be made (another rug, a lawn mower, an outdoor storage thing), or fixing the chicken coop.....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

New house photos!

We're kinda sorta in the new house. We're still working on the final move-out touches of the old house, but we're ALMOST done!

The happy, newly-further-in-debt couple:

Kitchen, looking better now... a bit scattered here. Plus, my two favorite sculptures are up on the glass block windowsill. Updated photo of this to come soon.

Part of backyard.

Part of the view!

Coastal foothills... 25 miles away? It was a rainy day--- these are clearer without rain.

More view. We look west, which happens to generally be the direction of incoming weather, which is really nice!

Partial view of front yard.

The soon-to-be-developed dining room (table arrives tomorrow!!!!).

Living room... also undeveloped, but you get the general idea.

Prisoner in the kitchen.

A certain pair discovered the sprinklers (which we will need to reprogram; no need to have rainshowers AND sprinklers on).

Stairs to the second level, which, right now, is a huge, finished-but-nondescript room. We'll work on it, but at least we don't HAVE to right away.

Upstairs also has fun paneling. Not horrible, just we prefer drywall. We'll see what happens. Here's one of the dormer windows.

Subway tile bathroom.

Vintage, but not in a bad way, light fixtures.

The husband's new delight: A stainless-steel kegerator. Sellers left a full keg of Ninkasi IPA. Please help him drink it.

More of the front yard.

So that's it right now! More to come... we just need to get organized.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Curses to the virus protection

My wonderful father had a few extra virus protection discs, so, thanks to him, our computers finally got virus protection.

For this, my father is awesome. There are other things too, but we're talking about this one today.


With the protection uploaded, my computer has now decided NOT to acknowledge my computer card anymore. I tried this in the other computer. Same deal. No acknowledgment. No auto-upload. My computer won't even have the disc pop up.

So, I'm stickin the husband on this one. Or, we may need to buy a cable. Regardless, this is why I have lacked in the post and photo department. I can't get at my photos, and it is frustrating.

Don't worry. When we have these technical difficulties fixed, let the photo onslaught begin!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Well, we are 98% in the new house. The remaining 2% of things are still at the old place, which we technically have until 5/15. However, I arranged for us to transfer electricity into the landlord's name as of 5/10, so we'd BETTER be out of there asap.

The old place is about ready for me to start cleaning cleaning cleaning. It still has a few things in it, like the dog bed and bear (both which need to be washed before coming to the new place), but at this point, few are the things that remain. I already began cleaning, but I knew I'd need to remove a lot of the things inside in order to be efficient at cleaning. Now that the things are gone, I really do need to get to work.

On the to-do list today and this weekend: cleaning. We also want to build a raspberry bed for the raspberries, that way all we have to do is just transport the plants and they'll already have a home built for them. The blueberries need to be moved too, but that's not as time-sensitive.

So whew! Busy busy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

An Accurate Fortune.

Fortune cookie from last night's cheap take-out (because I had just spent hours chiseling off gross stuff-- probably going back to four or more tenants ago-- from the stovetop and did NOT want to cook and muss it up):

"You shouldn't overspend at the moment. Frugality is important."

Um, yes. We just bought a house. I concur. (with the exception of maybe finally getting a tv....)