DIY Bird Aviary

I know it’s been literally forever since I posted anything but we had a busy summer; and honestly we did very little home projects during it.  One thing we did do was become parakeet parents though! Meet Darcy Girl and Mr. Bingley!

The second we got them I knew I didn’t want the dinky little metal cage to be permanent in our house. Nor did I want a giant one that stood out like a sour thumb. Luckily Pinterest and more creative people than me provided me with the perfect alternative: turn an armoire into a bird aviary!

We found this armoire on Facebook marketplace for $75. The curved doors were the major selling point.

The first thing we did was cutout the doors so we could add wire instead.

We also took out a removable panel from the back of the cabinet and cut a hole in the top to add more wire.

Once the cabinet was disassembled it was time to start painting. I decided to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint because it’s non-toxic and I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it.

parakeet cage

I did clean off the cabinet with a tsp substitute first but I didn’t not sand anything. It took 2 coats of paint and one coat of dark wax to finish it.

One of the reasons I wanted a cage that looked more furniture like is that the birds live in our dining room. And as you may remember we recently built a new dining room table and chairs, so I wanted something that would mesh well with the overall design.

My husband built them this fun bird playground out of branches from our yard.

Adding the wire on the top of the cage and the back not only lets in more light but also gave us more places to hang toys and perches like the flower basket that is the birds favorite place to hang out.

The birds love their new cage as it gives them room to fly around and play. It also makes it easier for us to clean up their messes and to get them in and out of their cage.

Grand Staircase Makeover

The stairs are finally done! This project has been on our list since we first looked at our house. A couple of years ago we did a test trial makeover on our kitchen stairs and we absolutely loved the results.

Converting your stairs from carpet to wood treads is not particularly expensive (it was around $150 for the kitchen stairs and $200 for our grand staircase), but it is incredibly time intensive which is why it took us so long to get around to this project.

I’m not going to do another tutorial on these steps since I already broke it all down before when we did the kitchen stairs.  We did everything exactly the same with the exception of wainscoting the wall.

The stairs finally feel part of the foyer instead of an afterthought.

Here is some before and afters for comparison.

The stairs came out so beautiful that it motivated us to finally design our office which is to the left of the staircase. More to come on that later and more to come on what we learned renovating two staircases.

Tutorials for this project:

How to make your own stair treads

Kitchen Staircase Makeover

Wainscot Tutorial

Reclaimed wood dining table reveal

 

As you all know by now, after 3 years of living in our house we finally decided to tackle the dining room. About a month ago I shared our new dining room chairs and now it is finally time to reveal our new table. A couple of points about our table before we jump into the nitty-gritty:

  1. We have a square room so we decided on a square table. Those aren’t easy to find so we decided to build our own.
  2. We wanted a reclaimed rustic look so we decided to use all reclaimed material. The only things we bought was a sheet of plywood and poplar 1x3s to frame the outside of the table.
  3. My hubby did all the work which means I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I should have. Therefore this is more of an outline than a full tutorial.

The Base

The base of the table is made out of mild steel that we got from a friends who had extras sitting around at work.  The whole thing is welded together. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail because if you know how to weld than this pretty easy and if you don’t know how to weld then this is probably not the project to start with.

The metal was covered in a red anti-corrosive finish that we had to grind off, but hey it was all free.

The Table Top

The table top is made of of a sheet of ply wood, pallet wood, and poplar 1x3s.  The design was inspired by this table we found on pinterest.

To start with my hubby nailed the cross pieces of the pattern into the plywood with a pneumatic nail gun.

Here’s a close-up of how the middle looks.

From there he just started cutting and filling in the pieces of each triangle.  He was working with 3 different types of wood so he played with alternating them as well within the pattern.

The down side to using reclaimed wood in different species is that the thickness was not cohesive as you can see below. We used a planer to get the top flatter then a lot of sanding to get it smooth and splinter free.

And here is what the top looked like post-sanding. None of the pallet wood was long enough to finish the edges of the 5 foot table so we bought poplar 1x3s to give the edges a seamless look.

reclaimed wood

We were afraid that polyurethane would cause the wood to yellow, so we finished it off with two coats of wax instead. The hand buffed finish is beautiful, but I’ll have to update you later on how it holds up.

square table

We are absolutely thrilled with how it all came together!

And check out this amazing chandelier we scored off Amazon. It really brought the whole room together.

I almost forgot that this room was once red with carpet in it. The dining room is not completely done. We still need more chairs and art as well as a custom built-in buffet that we’ve been dreaming of, but stage 1 is now finished. We finally have a completely functional dining space that we can entertain in.

 

 

Craigslist Dining Chair Makeover

dining chair makeover

This has been a project at least a year in the making since I bought these really worn out dining chairs on craigslist for $40 for a set of 6.

dining chair nefore

The fabric was torn and the padding dry rotting. My kids had a field day pulling it apart every night at dinner. I had originally hoped to save the caned back but they were just too damaged. So for a year we sat on them and ate and thought about how to make them pretty again. Eventually I fell in love with the Summer Blooms in Navy fabric from Spoonflower and decided it would look amazing on the back of our dining chairs. And so the idea to pad the back of the chairs was born.

The first thing we did was remove the bottom cushions. Then using an exacto knife my husband cut away the caning.

removing caning

To make a foundation for our new chair back cushions we cut underlayment to fit the chair frame. Below you can see my husband tracing out the cuts using the back of the chair as a template,

redoing a chair back

We cut our two panels for each chair. One for the front and one for the back.

chair makeover for dining room

For the padding I used an old mattress topper that we had laying around. I used the wood backers we had cut as templates on the foam and fabric.

chair makeover

To create the front cushion I laid down a piece of fabric, the foam, then the backerboard. Using a pneumatic staple gun I started at the tops and bottom pulling the fabric as tight as possible. Then finishing all four sides.

dining room makeover

I did this for all 6 fronts and then all 6 backs. For the backs I replaced the  foam with a light batting. The back doesn’t really need batting; however, the white flowers on my fabric were somewhat opaque and I didn’t want the brown backer board to show through.

dining chair cushions

While I was putting the chair backs together I was also spray painting the chair frames white. I used a paint and primer in one to make it go quicker. Once the frames were dry we attached the new backs to the chair frames with the pneumatic staple gun. We attached the cushioned pieces one at a time, first the back then the front. When we were done the back looked perfect.

dining chair back

However, on the front we had to figure out how to cover not only the staples, but also the large gap created between the two backer pieces and the frame.

dining chair makeover

The solution was to used a large corded trim we found at Joanne’s fabric. I attached it using a hot glue gun.

dining chair trim

While I was finishing up the trim, Cody recovered the seat cushions. He kept the original foam cushion but covered them in an additional layer of heavy batting before covering them in the blue duck cloth we picked out. Again this was all attached with a pneumatic staple gun.

recovering a chair cushion

And finally we were all done!

dining chair after

They barely look like the same chairs anymore!

dining chair makeover

The fronts are covered in a navy blue duck cloth which were hoping will be durable for the kids. The back is just cotton but I love the unexpected floral pattern.

craigslist chair makeover

Total this makeover came in at about $20 a chair including the original purchase of the chairs. Hard to beat that!

chair makeover before and after

Stay tuned for our new dining table made from reclaimed wood and metal!

Bright, white, and light laundry room makeover

So you may have noticed it’s been pretty quiet around here lately. That’s because we took the summer off from house projects. Gasp! Definitely a no-no for a home blogger, but we were feeling pretty worn out and we just wanted to sit back and enjoy the summer around the pool. Well you may remember that we’ve been slowly working on making over our laundry room. If you don’t remember that’s because it’s been  a year since I mentioned it.  Well the good news is it’s finally done! Let’s take a trip back through time to remember how it originally looked.

Laundry room before

This “room” is more of a pass through from the kitchen to the nautical half bath. It also has doors to the garage and backyard. The room was already pretty functional to begin with, so our goal was to use the space as a way to unify the gray design scheme of the kitchen to the off white and green in the half bath. What we wound up with is a light and bright space the had loads more character than the old room.

ship lap laundry

We installed ship lap on the back wall to give the room more depth then painted the walls Vermont Cream by Behr. You can find more on this project here.

laundry room shelves

The shelves are made out of reclaimed wood from our old play set (same wood we used for the outdoor buffet and bathroom frame). We picked up the brackets at Home Depot and I sourced most of the decor from the house. I love how open the shelves make the room feel and how much easier it is to reach the detergent (short girl problems.)

white rustic laundry room

I used green and yellow accents in the decor to tie into the nautical bathroom in the background.  And remember when I was debating industrial lights like 2 years ago?? Well the diamond pendant light was the winner. I love how the finish on the light is echoed on the shelf brackets.

cheap laundry room makeover

This is a happy room! It would be happier with a new washer and dryer but me and the laundry room are currently working on our patience.

And here’s a reminder of all the wonderful paint colors we’ve had to part ways with since we bought the house. So sorry Salmon.before and after laundry room

I plan to be back in the fall with some new projects (I’m looking at you dining room), but until then I hope you are all having a wonderful summer!