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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    Five down, five to go. Taking a break because digging through rocks is a bitch. But yay for greenery!! Added a few potted plants to the porch. Hellooooo spring! Excited to add plants throughout the property. This kid and his red pants (a birthday request) brighten my days. He loves those pants so much he sneaks them out of the dirty laundry to change.

The Rachael

Nope, not referring to the popular 90′s Jennifer Aniston hair style that took the country by storm.  Meet our new sofa, Rachael by Flexsteel.  She’s slim, clean lined, and slightly vintage styled to play nicely with the MCM bench.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room

We sold the old three-piece sectional and put that money toward the new girl.  With nine button tufts along the back, there’s just enough interest on the tight back.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Toward-Dining

The fabric color, Earth, leans more beige in bright light, but gray in overcast conditions.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Back-Detail

Ben really wanted leather, but I think this tweed like textured fabric adds a lot of comfort and warmth.  I paired with a faux cow hide pillow for a dash of Western flare.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Arm-Detail

Flexsteel offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, springs, and cushions, which should hold up to the four Y chromosome people in this house.

Flexsteel-Rachael-Sofa-in-Living-Room-Toward-Entry

Now to find chairs to place perpendicular to the couch.  I’d love to add something leather here, assuming we find something we agree on.  Much easier said than done.

While we were at the furniture store, we noticed another Flexsteel brand sofa, the Dana, in the clearance section.  Priced at $600, we took Frank from American Picker’s trick and bundled to save over three hundred dollars, including a fabric warranty plan on the Rachael.

Flexsteel-Dana-Sofa-in-Family-Room-Toward-Kitchen

The fabric is slightly darker and more on the gray side, but a real upgrade from our old couch.

Flexsteel-Dana-Sofa-in-Family-Room

Slightly rolled arms are more traditional in style than I usually like, but still small enough to fit the space.

Flexsteel-Dana-Sofa-in-Family-Room-Arm-Detail

Taller legs on both couches make vacuuming under a breeze, too.  So far, we’re thrilled with the new additions.  Fingers crossed we can say that years from now.

The Ole Switcharoo

Unfortunately I’m still not finished painting the entry, living and dining rooms like I had hoped.  However, I did get a first coat on the ceiling and walls.  We hauled the big furniture out so I didn’t have to work around it.

Painting-Living-Room-Ceiling-Empty-Room

While the sectional was out, I fully realized how much the big beast closed off the room.  Though I still have another coat to put on the ceiling, we moved the sofa, chairs, and coffee table to the living room.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Overall

When we replace the sectional, I want a normal sofa and two chairs.  It’s amazing how much bigger, brighter, and more open the living room feels now.  Walking completely around the couch is possible when it wasn’t before.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Overall-2

Seeing the open railing, and those coming in the door, is a great perk, too.  And having easy access to end tables?  It’s so convenient.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Toward-Stairs

Cozy upholstered chairs would be nice along with a long, rectangular coffee table.

Sofa-and-Chairs-in-Living-Room-Toward-Dining

After nearly two years of living here with the same furniture arrangement, this feels so fresh and inviting.  And gives us an idea of what we want as replacement stuff.

Sofa-by-Living-Room-Window

For now, the sectional awaits its fate in the family room.  Where it awkwardly fills the space.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-Toward-Fireplace

Though there’s still enough walking space to get to the back door, it’s much more cut off than the previous layout.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-Walking-Space

Most strange is the focal point it has to face.  The wall and entry.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-Direction

The behemoth is 10 feet wide by 7 feet long, so it won’t fit in the 14 foot wide family room any other way.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-from-Kitchen

Another annoying thing about this?  If centered on the rug, it’s close to the fireplace when lit.

Sectional-in-Family-Room-from-Stairs

Finally moving things around has made us even more sure we want to replace the sectional with a standard sofa and chairs.  Now to agree on the perfect couch, which is more difficult for us than it should be.  Ben wants leather, I want something with removable, flippable seat cushions.  Typically those two don’t go together, so a compromise must be made.

Rug Exchange

Over a year ago, we added large-scale floral rug to the living room and put our old grid rug in the family room.  It certainly brightened things up, but I’ve never been completely happy with the large rugs we currently own.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-in-Family-Room

Especially after we bought a clean lined Mission style dining table.  The floral pattern felt too busy and didn’t match the table style.

Christmas-Home-Tour-Dining-Room-and-Living

This weekend we made a simple switch.  While working on the family room ceiling, I pulled all furniture out-of-the-way.  Before putting it back, I tossed out the idea of swapping the grid and floral rugs.  Ben and I moved the table and laid the simple rug under.

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room

Wouldn’t you know, I love the change?!

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-Close

The geometric design pairs nicely with the dining set and balances the dark wood better.

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-Chair-Detail

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-from-Living-Room

But I’m still not satisfied with the remaining rugs.  While I’m happy with the quality of the floral rugs, the look doesn’t fit in with my end goal.

Grid-Rug-in-Dining-Room-with-Living-Room

For the living room, I’d really, really love the Marquis Wool Rug from West Elm:

In my head, the Marquis rug with the Flexsteel Rachael sofa would be a great base for our living room.

Another light, simple geometric rug.  Should pair nicely with the dining grid rug.  Just enough pattern to add interest, but not enough to draw attention.  And the beige/gray/cream mix can go with anything.  With select rugs 30% off right now, I was close to pulling the trigger, but the 9 by 12 size isn’t currently available.  Womp womp.  Back to the rugs we do have.  The displaced floral rug is in the family room, for now.  You know, until I find something I love.

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-with-Fireplace

I do like the added interest and color, but I had gotten used to the simpler look.

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-with-Entry

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-Overall

Maybe a jute rug to calm the space?  Oddly enough, I’m trying to convince Ben we should layer a cowhide rug in.  He’s not into it, which is strange because this was the situation when I met him:

Living Room

While this house was mostly typical plain 70′s (later installed inlay diagonal wood floors and six panel doors excluded), I’m trying to add in more rustic pieces.  After all, this is Montana, even if we are in the city.  Working in the dining set, Longhorns, our DIY console, and popular (around here at least) Craftsman-style trim are just a few touches so far.

Floral-Rug-in-Family-Room-Toward-Windows

I’m naturally attracted to modern furniture.  The clean lines get me every time.  I find I like a mix of the two a lot lately.  And the cow rug could look really fun with the modern chairs and coffee table.  What do you think of the options?  Any rugs you love that would work well in either of these spaces?

Fauxrarra Marble

Winter is still here in full force, which means I’ve been stuck in the house.  A lot.  So I’m forced to keep my self entertained, often involving a project.  Precisely why I’ve painted this table top for the third time in less than one year.  Third time’s the charm, right?

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-Toward-Fireplace

See, as I flipped through the new West Elm catalog, I kept imagining the Reeve Mid-Century Coffee Table in our house.

Then it dawned on me, I already have a similar clean lined, handsome wood, brass footed table.  The big difference?  It didn’t have the beautiful, sophisticated marble top.  Instead it had a bold chevron top.  At the time I painted the stripes, I loved the added pattern.  Now, I’m kind of over it.  Not over it enough to paint over it, oh no, that took too long to do.

Chevron-Table-Top-in-Family-Room

Ideally, I’d have a real marble slab, but I’m afraid the folding base design couldn’t handle the added weight.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-in-Family-Room

But the other side, a minty green, was fair game.

New-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Fireplace

I painted three coats of eggshell white latex on it and then started my faux marble paint treatment.

Using a few gray and black craft paints, I watered each color down.  I didn’t measure (and don’t have pictures) but I’d guess it was 1 part paint to 2 parts water.  Super runny and I barely mixed each color, which helped create a more natural variation.  A feather worked best to apply a thin, free-flowing line of watery paint.  Immediately after making the line, I used a 2 inch angled craft paint brush to stipple the paint.  Just after stippling, I followed up with a damp paper towel, blotting to blend the paint and soften the edges.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-Vein-Detail

Some areas are much lighter and more blended.  A few other veins are darker with black patches.  If I didn’t like how one area looked, I used my damp cloth to wipe the paint away and start over.  Once I finished, I coated the top with satin Polycrylic for a protective finish.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-Detail

The sides are painted to match.  Carrying the marble paint to the sides helps give a more realistic effect.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-with-Legs

Maybe I just needed a change, but I’m enjoying the lighter, more subtle top.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-2

I think it balances the base better and lets the interesting leg shape shine.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-Toward-Windows

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-Toward-Entry

Not a bad result for a free project and 10 dollar base.  What coffee table tops do you like best?

Put it on a Pedestal

Sometimes, putting a completely ordinary item on a pedestal transforms it into a sculpture.  A shell, log slice, or in this case, a piece of driftwood.

Driftwood-Sculpture-on-Guest-Room-Dresser

I’ve had a love affair with driftwood for a while now.  This fall, I collected several pieces from my father-in-law’s ranch to make something.  I drilled several tea light holes in this large piece to create a centerpiece.  Usually it stays on the patio table, but I brought it in to take this picture.

Driftwood-Candle-Centerpiece

After seeing Dr. Vogel’s giant sculpture, I really wish I hadn’t drilled the candle holes in that piece.

Dr-Vogels-Driftwood-Sculpture

It could have looked really neat as a similar large sculpture.  Instead, I used a smaller piece from my collection along with a 1/4 inch oak dowel and a scrap of 2 by 4.

Driftwood-Sculpture-Supplies

After sanding the board, I measured 2 inches from each end and center on the wood before drilling holes.  Then, I set the driftwood on the board and made marks to line up with the holes.  With the holes drilled, I put the dowel in and made a mark where I wanted each cut.

Driftwood-Sculpture-Assembly-Ready

Wood glue securely holds the dowels in the holes, and then I painted the base white.  A little more glue in the driftwood and I’ve got a sweet little sculpture.

Driftwood-Sculpture-on-Guest-Room-Dresser-1

It’s interesting and different from all angles, which is really fun.

Driftwood-Sculpture-from-Top

I thought it would stay in the guest room, but I really like it on the shelf above the bar.

Driftwood-Sculpture-on-Shelf-in-Family-Room

It’s a reminder of a fun day spent with our family.  And adds a lighter object to break up the books and picture frames.

Driftwood-Sculpture-on-Shelf-Detail

I’d love to find another large piece to make an oversized sculpture.  Not sure where it’d go right now, but I’d find a place.  For items you can’t or don’t want to drill into, epoxy would work well, too.  Just be sure your base is heavier than your display item so it won’t tip.  Do you have anything on a similar pedestal?  What do you think of this easy way to display simple items?

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