Category Archives: Home Projects & Diy

Turning trash into gold

I had seen the Sequoia Console table from Z Gallerie last year and thought it was so amazing! The mix of the natural shape with the glam factor of the gold was a mix that I am totally into. At $999 though, it wasn’t something I was ever going to get.

Sequoia console table, z gallerie, gold table, gold tree

When I knew I couldn’t afford it, I put it out of my mind. Fate has a way of bringing things back around sometimes though. Last year, an orange tree in our backyard got some weird disease and died. We sadly had to cut it down and there had been a 20″ stump in the ground ever since. Paying someone to remove a stump is expensive and a lot of work, so we just left it there for the time being. One morning, John realized that the stump was pretty wiggly and kicked it out of the ground! What a superhero, right?!!

So we had this stump just sitting there and it dawned on me that this was the beginning of my very own Sequoia table (or Sequoia stump?).

tree stump table


The first thing I did was put a super thick layer of primer over the entire stump. I wanted all of the trunk kept as is with nothing flaking off, and also didn’t want any creepy crawlies that had made a home in the trunk deciding to come out once it was inside.

gripper primer

After the primer dried, my next step was to address the hole in the top of the stump. This is the kind of hole that something evil can crawl out of, that your finger gets bitten off when you poke it, etc. etc. I wasn’t exactly sure how to fill it and we had run out of that amazing can of expanding foam… so I filled it with wood glue. Makes sense, right? Glue keeps the evils from coming out. I globbed it in there and let that dry overnight.

tree stump table

Can you imagine the horrors that might crawl out of there?! Not gonna happen now! So once that was dry, I added another coat of primer to the rest of the trunk, and painted over the dried glue on the top.

tree stump table

The white trunk looked pretty cool and I thought for a second about stopping there but the gold called me like it always does. Why leave it white when it can be fabulous gold?

best gold spray paint

I used this Montana Gold spray paint which I’m pretty sure is for actual art pieces and is super fancy. I’ve bought my share of gold spray paint before but none has ever had a finish and color payoff like this one. My brother had this can of spray paint and said I could have it and I’m so glad he did! The color in this can is SO much better than the other gold spray paints I’ve purchased before.

best gold spray paint, tree stump table

Side by side comparison of the white vs. gold. Definitely made the right decision to not stop at the white!

best gold spray paint, tree stump table

The gold paint was still wet at this point and I noticed that the thicker I tried to apply it, the more running and streaks that I got. This spray paint covered the tree in one coat, which is pretty amazing. The paint comes out in a fine mist and immediately has a mirror finish. I was hooked and looking around for anything else I could spray. Sometimes I have to take a step back from the spray paint!

best gold spray paint, tree stump table

I rarely wear gloves (or safety goggles… shh! don’t tell my mom!) and this is typically what happens. Since it was gold, I thought it looked pretty cool but going to the gym with gold hands gets a little weird.

My goal for my golden stump was to hold the tray that the mail falls onto. Our house has one of those old mail slots in the wall, and we’ve had a weird little stool holding the tray for the longest time. I considered painting that gold originally but the shape didn’t really call for that. The golden stump fits perfectly in the spot and adds a little glamour to an area that is otherwise not glamorous at all. It’s super heavy and was a bit of a process to complete, but it was easy and the best part was it was free! Nothing like saving a grand and bringing in a similar piece with a little elbow grease.

I love how the trunk is still knobby but also smooth. Since this turned out so great I am definitely looking around to see what else I can spray. Nothing is safe from the gold, really.

best gold spray paint, tree stump table



Laundry room re-do

How do you make a laundry room awesome and functional? This is something I’ve struggled with since we moved in years ago. Our laundry room was really a catch-all for anything we didn’t want seen, and also for the litter boxes, our cleaning supplies, half-used buckets of paint… well, you get the idea.

It didn’t feel like a room, it felt like storage and I didn’t like that feeling. I looked at photo after photo of beautiful laundry rooms on Pinterest and while some seemed achievable, most were either super large rooms (which our is not) or the materials that people used in their laundry rooms were high-end (which wasn’t an option for me).

Laundry room renovation

Laundry room renovation

Laundry room renovation


Yuck. Sad. Gross. Ew. RIGHT? There is just so much stuff and nowhere to put it.

I went to the drawing board to figure out how to make this room work. I wanted it to be well thought out, but still functional for what it was – a place to do laundry, store stuff, and have the cat boxes. The first step was to add base boards. I checked around to try to get someone to do this for us because it just seemed a little out of the realm of what I’m comfortable with. I didn’t get any responses in time, so I measured the linear feet of the walls and sent John to Home Depot to buy whatever white baseboard they already had that were able to be cut and were already painted. He came back with some beautiful white baseboards that I’m guessing are plastic of some sort. We set to work cutting and measuring.

We cleared everything out of the room and got a couple of samples of Jeff Lewis’ paint. I chose two grey colors (duh): Smoke and Dusk. The yellow we originally painted the room was cute, in theory, and I hoped it would make the room more cheery. Who am I kidding though? I’m not a cheery person and yellow doesn’t “fit” me at all.

Laundry room renovation

After the room was painted (I chose Dusk) we began installing the baseboards. We rented a finish nailer with an air compressor which was terrifying. As John was putting the nails into the baseboard, he made sure I wasn’t standing on the other side of the wall. (Old houses. You never know what might happen.)

Laundry room renovation

A tip if you’re installing baseboards; it’s good to have a good saw, and it’s good to have the tool that measures the angles of your walls, because I don’t care how new your house is, you probably don’t have 90 degree angles where the walls meet. We had neither a good saw, nor the measuring tool, so I did a lot of guessing. Not exactly perfect, but we got the job done and the room was starting to look more like a room.

I had an open shelving unit for storage, but because we store EVERYTHING in this room, it looked super cluttered all the time. I wanted something that contained everything behind doors, but possibly didn’t look like it belonged in a laundry room. I liked the idea of adding two Billy Bookcases from IKEA with full glass doors.

IKEA Billy Bookcase

They were super easy to put together, and super cheap compared to other storage units I was finding online. The knobs that came with them are pretty generic but fate brought me these gorgeous little things, and they couldn’t have worked more perfectly.

Vintage gold cabinet pulls

So once the bookcases were up, we were able to store everything behind closed doors, and while you can still see everything, it definitely makes the room seem more tidy.

IKEA Billy Bookcase

I also chose an Algot storage system from IKEA for the opposite wall. These are open shelves and are highly configurable to whatever room you are putting them in. Our hot and cold water supply valves, the dryer vent, a window, and the dryer outlet are all on this wall, so we definitely needed something that could be moved around to fit the existing space.

IKEA storage

Everything has a place! The laundry soap is stored above the washer! It’s the small things, really. I was trying the washer and dryer on the left side of the room so it felt different, but ended up moving them back to the right side.

IKEA Algot storage laundry

Look at all that toilet paper! Now I can buy it in bulk and we actually have a place for it. It’s pretty wonderful, really.  The room feels clean and not creepy, while being functional. Everything has its place and I’m so happy that it’s not embarrassing anymore! When people come over, we don’t have to close the door to hide the mess in there. All it took was some elbow grease, a little planning, and about $400. Not bad to change the mood and functionality of a room!

Now there is a not a “bad” room in the house. Sure, there are still things I want to change and ideas I have, but every room has been worked on and the house feels cohesive as you walk around it. It’s a nice feeling, although I worry what happens when it’s all done. That’s when we move, amiright? Anyone looking to rent a house? I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let this one go. We’ve put so much work into it, but it’s just a house… right? Has anyone else experienced this? It kind of makes me feel sad, but it’s also an exciting thought to have a whole other house to get ideas for. John might kill me.

On a completely unrelated note, I just wanted to share this little picture with you that I took today. This is the chair we had redone at the end of last year and it is just so regal and beautiful. Sitting there, I noticed how great it looks with the weird gold lamp (spray painted by yours truly) and next to our couch and with the carpet. It’s easy to feel like there is always more work to do, and easy to feel like there’s never enough time or money. Lately, I’ve had a hard time being inspired and motived to work on projects, but when I saw this today, I felt re-energized. There are beautiful things all around me when I take the time to notice! :)

Black and white living room

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!






Curbside find gets a stunning new look!

I don’t know exactly HOW it happened, but we were driving to get a coffee and I spotted it; a sad-looking wingback chair covered in horrible fabric that reminded me of ‘Who’s the Boss?’, sitting in a big pile of trash and yard debris.

“Oh! Can we stop? Look at that chair!” I said to John. He kept driving. He knows if we stop, we’re taking it home, always. We continued down the street to drive through for our drinks. The chair was talking to me the whole time. I convinced him to go back so we could just look at it. I promise, if it’s horrible, we won’t bring it home. Two minutes later and the chair is loaded in the back of the VW with John wedged between the trunk and the backseats, holding the chair in place.

Wingback Chair


It was not cute. But it had an amazing shape and the wings are SOOOO deep. Is that how you explain them? They aren’t wimpy wings. They are cozy, sinkintome wings. This was not a project that I was going to take on myself. While I’m capable of DIY’ing things to a certain extent, I know my limits. I’m not an upholsterer.

I took a photo of the chair into the upholstery shop to get a quote. It would be $800 to have it reupholstered. That wasn’t including if I wanted all of the nailheads replaced WHICH I DID. Upholstery work is tedious and you have to be meticulous, so I get it, but unfortunately, my bank account does not get it. Back to the drawing board.

I had heard about a program where inmates of the Arizona Correctional Department learn to reupholster and refurbish furniture. They take classes and this becomes their daily job. I called the company and they quoted me $230 for the entire job, including nailheads, a new cushion, and a pillow. Done and done!

The next step was to pick out fabric. By now you know that things have to speak to me, so there’s no guarantee that we would find the right fabric on the first trip to the fabric store. I knew I wanted something with a pattern because both the couch and the other chair in our living room are solid. I also didn’t want something too trendy because I didn’t want to hate it in a year. We looked for probably 45 minutes and a few fabrics were contenders, but then I saw it! A gorgeous cream and black fabric that looked to be crowns on a chain link pattern. The perfect mix of class and hood! YES!! We had the fabric cut, then spent way too long deciding on nailheads. The winner was a big box of shiny gold ones (duh) that I thought would just give that extra oomph to the chair.

We made an appointment to drop off the chair at Arizona Correctional Industries, and with the help of our neighbor (and his truck), John dropped it off. Inmates work at the building too, although the actual reupholstering is done at the prison in Florence, AZ. It’s all women inmates at the ACI building and there was much text-joking about Orange is the New Black while he was there.

There is no time-frame when you drop off furniture there, so you really can’t have expectations or a firm due date for your piece being done. We were fine with that, and when we got the call that the chair was ready, it was sort of like Christmas! I wanted to see it right away, but we had to wait until we had a day off.

I had decided that I would definitely go to pick it up, mostly because I wanted to see the inmates. When we arrived, they were all signing in for their day of work, in their bright orange jumpsuits. We stood off to the side until they were done, and then were called up to the desk by the inmate who worked in the front. She took our name and paged someone to come up to meet us. After meeting with our representative, we were told that we could pull the truck around the back and into the warehouse. John and neighbor drove back and I walked around to meet them there. Our rep and an inmate were standing by the chair which was wrapped in foam and plastic. The inmate began unwrapping it and I seriously almost started crying!

No pictures are allowed at ACI, but I wish I could show you the scene! The inmate was so proud of the work that had been done, and was so excited when she saw how much we loved the chair. The work was impeccable. Other inmates watched from the side to see our reactions. They take such pride in their work and have all the time they need to do things right. I sort of wanted to stay and hang out, find out their stories, and thank them all for what they do. Back in real life though, these ladies were probably not interested in hanging out and swapping stories with me. Haha!

Wingback Chair

Can you even believe this? I sort of can’t. I have named it “The Gwen Stefani Chair” because I imagine that Gwen would have a chair like this in her home. I had the option of having the legs stained which I declined at the time. Seeing them now though, I definitely wish I would have had them done. Luckily, I’ve still got a jar of black lacquer and can totally do this part myself.

Wingback Chair

Wingback Chair

It’s so ridiculous. I can’t believe this was in the trash!!

Wingback Chair

Perfection. And all for about 1/4th the cost. Amazing.

While the time frame is definitely longer than having something reupholstered at a traditional shop, the cost, the craftsmanship, and the fact that you’re supporting a great cause totally makes it worth it. They do all different kinds of furniture work and repairs. If you’re interested in getting a quote for reupholstering or refinishing something in your house, check out the ACI website here.

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