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.


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


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.


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


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



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.


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.


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



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.


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?


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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?

Plumbing Aisle Inspiration

While getting copper supplies for the bud vase, I wanted to make something with basic hardware store supplies.


What do you get when you pair 8 feet of 5/8 inch wooden dowel, 6 1/2 inch copper T connectors, 1 90 copper elbow, a two gallon bucket, glue, and spray paint?


A cute (in my opinion, anyway) planter and stand.


That aloe plant is my oldest plant.  I’ve had it for three or four years (the only plant I’ve kept alive over a year) now and it desperately needed a larger pot.  It was looking like a male orca in captivity; confined and droopy.  While priming the bathroom drawers with Kilz primer, I noticed the small 2 gallon bucket would be the perfect size.  Which spurred, the hardware store plant stand.  If you want to know how I made my, read on.

Here’s my cut list:

Two at 1 5/8 inch long, for the base.

Four dowels cut at 2 3/4 inches, also base pieces.

Four at 3 inches, top pieces to hold the bucket in place.

and four more at 10 inches for legs, all cut with a chop saw.

I started with two 4 foot lengths of 5/8 inch dowel and 1/2 inch copper fittings.  The two short pieces (1 5/8) fit inside each side of the elbow.  Attach a T to each end like this:


The four 2 3/4 inch sticks go in each hole of the T connectors to make the base.


Add the four remaining Ts to the ends for the leg attachments.


After dry fitting everything, I rolled each dowel end in Liquid Nails to secure the pieces.


And let if dry on a flat surface, with the three-inch pieces down.


While the glue dried, I asked Ben to cut the top off the bucket.  I didn’t want the handle or ridges.  This bucket was thin enough he was able to cut through with a sharp utility knife.  To make the bucket look, well, less bucket-y, I gave it two coats of flat white spray paint.


Now, sir Aloe has a larger pot with room to grow.  And I really like the mix of shiny copper and wood.


A new Philodendron is keeping it company by our back patio door.


This could easily be modified by staining or painting the wooden legs, or making it entirely from copper.  Buy copper tubing and 8 copper caps for the legs and you’ve got a shiny, custom stand.  All from humble plumbing parts and hardware store basics.

V Stripes

This project started because I had a free sample of Valspar paint, thanks to an in-magazine coupon.  Of course Pantone’s paint colors are beautiful.  So i picked a random favorite, June Bug, and brought it home.  I painted over my red stump.  And made another for a friend.  Then I saw the Dwell Studio Chevron coffee table and knew how I’d finish up this color.  I flipped the coffee table top over and painted it white.  Measuring wasn’t my favorite part, especially because I didn’t want to draw lines all over my table.  Instead, I drew lines on small pieces of tape and worked from there.


With my three-inch stripes marked off, I filled in with masking tape and rolled on June Bug.


Three coats later (why I try to buy paint and primer in one) I peeled off the tape to reveal this:


Perfectly crisp lines (thanks Frog Tape!) and a fun pattern.


And I can still flip the top for the plain mint top.  Best of both worlds.


For now, I’m liking the bold design and deep color.  Something to wake up the family room.



What do you think of the large pattern?  Do you start projects because you get something free?  Or just have to paint and repaint for a quick, new look?