Day 3 and I’m Only Slightly Less Panicked..

So actually LIVING in the house is really quite different than working on it while having another place to stay… all of the sudden it changes from fun side project into your LIFE.

Every can of paint you open and leave on the counter eventually gets in the way of crucial activities such as making coffee in the morning. Its no longer something that can stay until you feel like cleaning it up.

To those of you who lived through your entire renovation – you have my undying respect.

The other problem with not living in your house and having your stuff packed in storage is that until you move in, you really have NO idea how its all going to work both space & decor wise… you reach into your memory for the color or size of an item and HOPE its going to work with whatever paint color you’ve chosen.. and often it doesn’t.

Such seems to be the case with our living room furniture that I posted briefly about yesterday. Our living room does not get a lot of natural light and the dark furniture was making everything seem so drab and dreary. But I think I came up with a partial solution.

We had bought a trio of antique shabby wood framed mirrors for like $5 at a tag sale. Sensing that we needed more white and also the openness that mirrors provide I leaned them up against the couch to get an idea how they would look on the walls.
I also removed the orange pillows that were discordant with the more muted cottagy gold and green/blue and it feels much better to me…


Couch Before

After: (With shabby chic mirrors and no orange pillows)

Couch with mirrors

That’s a pink towel in the middle of the couch.. I thought the softness of the pink would pull in the redish/brownish leather of the ottoman and soften it.

The whole look seems a bit softer and more soothing – what do you think? A few really nice pillows, the mirrors hung and the window treatments and I think it may work for the time being. Or at least, as Iloveupstate suggested, until November.

Other furniture challenges..

Remember the craigslist dresser and vanity set that looked so cute in the pictures? The one that I just HAD to buy?

Well, when I got to see them up close and in person, I was pretty disappointed. They have these really bizarre shapes carved into only the upper drawer of the dresser and the long drawer of the vanity in a very “nursery furniture” way.

Having just risked my life by driving to pick them up in the worst rainstorm I can remember, I wasn’t about to go home empty handed. I figured I’d fill the shapes in with woodfill:

craigslist dresser

And also attempt to add some decorative detail with what I now know are called “Appliques”. (Do you know how long it took me to figure out what those things are called so I could search for them on the internet? )

Anyway, I had bought one from Home Depot just to see how it would look:

drawer with decorative applique

Not bad, it will look cute painted.. even though its not originally what I had in mind. Turns out all the internet sellers of these little decorative doodads have really bad websites that are very confusing to navigate, so I may have trouble finding the more specialized shapes I want like for the curve just above the mirror.

If you know of a great online sources for “funiture appliques” (or even just a better search term?) please let me know!

Another thing that perplexes me is how to paint furniture.

I know a lot of vintage pieces have high gloss, but some of the shabby chic stuff like this dresser and vanity are totally flat. Almost seems like its just primer? Has anyone painted this sort of thing that has advice for me? Or even a link to a good “how-to” online?

On the plus side, I finally get to buy those crystal knobs from Look in the Attic I posted about a while ago for the dresser and want to get two fancy looking pulls for the drawer of the vanity… but searching for those pulls may just drive me nuts. I find huge sites like knobs & hardware so overwhelming.. I may never decide!

18 Responses to “Day 3 and I’m Only Slightly Less Panicked..”

  1. As far as your leather ottomon goes…I would keep it. You could do a slip cover for it, or you could get some shabby white treys to go with your mirrors (which I love by the way). Come fall/Halloween… you might be in the mood for the dark leather again.

  2. Slipcover.. now there’s something I hadn’t though of! Do they make such a thing or do I need to make it myself? (not that I’m opposed, just maybe not qualified!)

  3. I don’t think these are the same thing as appliqués, but this post from Making it Lovely reminded me of the same idea.

  4. Oh! And Bemz might have a slipcover for you. (They have a whole line dedicated to covering Ikea furniture, too!)

  5. Thanks Kristen!

    I remember Nicole’s post on those, so cute. But much larger and meant for walls I think.

    I LOVE Bemz, but our sofa isn’t ikea and I don’t think they have anything else :(

  6. i think the ottoman should stay like that… just put a big wooden tray in any color of your liking, and you can make a vignette of white and pink vases in different height, maybe some white or metallic candlesticks with some pretty colored candles… that would look nice and give you height.

    maybe if you changed the ottoman’s legs, it would give it a different look… just a thought!

  7. I just read all your archives and most recent posts. Oh my goodness. I am so totally and completely inspired! My husband and I are also first time homeowners, and I too have a blog to document our foibles and triumphs. But what can I say? Your blog is just wonderful! Thanks for the wonderful reads!

  8. Kimberly,

    Its hard to believe someone as talented as you can be inspired by me, but I’ll take it!

    Your blog is amazing. Your photography is amazing.

    Thank you so much for finding me!

  9. Antibride,

    I think your idea for a vignette is totally brilliant!

    Now why didn’t I think of that?

    Funny, I was also just looking at the legs and thinking “if only they weren’t so chunky!”

    I’m not sure they could be changed, but its worth looking into.

  10. Lowes actually has a pretty big furniture applique section in their stores.

  11. As a guy, im not too keen on those appliqué’s, but I know of a store called Michael’s that has a bunch of them. Art supply stores might have them or offer ideas where to get them. You might even try asking people on “” in the hobby crafts section. Ive had hundreds of my crazy questions answered there!

    As for a painting technique, I would go with a low shine finish, like a flat or eggshell. Then take a sanding block or sandpaper and sand some edges here and there. Theres got to be some websites with techniques!

  12. I just had to post! I love what you’re doing with your home. I do a lot of appliqué work on old vintage pieces, and I buy mine online here:
    They have a nice variety and they ship fast.
    I can’t wait to see the piece completed.
    And those mirrors are perfect for your room! What a deal!

  13. Your home is wonderful.
    Yes! do a slipcover on the ottoman or just white trays.
    You can make simple trays from old frames painted white with wood or mirror inserts and add decorative handles.
    Use drawer/cabinet handles available from hardware stores.

    I was thinking Tracey had info on appliqués and painting furniture on her blog. I see Tracey’s post above about the appliqués.

    Tracey does GREAT painted furniture.
    To see her posting about painting furniture go to her blog at:

    Happy renovating and good luck!

  14. Hi,
    Searching for Ottoman slipcovers…
    Target has some in neutral colors, not sure of size you would need.
    Also came across this reference for making an ottoman slip cover

    I am NOT implying you are a dummie.
    I must be, cuz, I never thought to look at this site for anything I would need to look up. Dummie me!!!


  15. Wow, ask and you shall receive.. you all are a font of useful information. Thank you!!

    @1916, there’s a Michaels right around the corner from me, I don’t know why I didn’t even think of a craft store!

    Tracy, thanks for your kind words, it means a lot coming from you, you are shabby chic queen! Thanks for the link to Bella Cottage, their information is much more organized that the sites I came up with. I ended up buying them from this ebay store: which has some interesting architectural appliques in addition to the more common shabby chic roses etc.

    @Gail, thank you for these wonderful links!! “Dummies” is about the level I’m at with sewing projects (and most other projects for that matter :)

  16. Well I’m new to your blog, but your post about moving into a renovated home, strikes a chord with me. I did it and would just move in cicles at times after the move…
    I am going to do something with my couch that I saw on HGTV.
    Don’t know when I saw it or I’d give you a link. I bought some appolstry fabric. I going to make a trow that is cut to the exact length of the seatting area, then I’m going to add trim to the edge that hangs down, hem the sides etc. It really rejuvitalized the couch on tv and it would work with yours. I like the brown, with the shappy mirrors. Add a white tray. That’s my vote.

  17. On my furniture projects, I prefer to use an eggshell finish. I don’t like it too flat or too shiny. Also, I was going to tell you that Tracey from Notes from a Cottage Industry has a little tutorial on painting furniture, but someone has beaten me to it. Good luck with the painting projects!

  18. Stumbled across this site and thought you might be interested if you’re still looking for something. Apparently the appliques can also be called “onlays.”

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