Mid-Century Modern(ization)

Redefining modern for a family-friendly home


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Upcycling a Vintage School Desk

We’ve had this little school desk forever — well, actually Kirk has had it forever.  Apparently he used to do his homework at this desk when he was a kid!   When we lived in our craftsman bungalow and I always figured I’d strip, sand, and restore it.  Well, I never got around to it (although I did dust it off!) and times changed so this period piece doesn’t really fit with the aesthetic of our new abode anymore.  And we have kids now, so I decided it was time to paint it and give it a little refresher so it can be used for yet another generation.

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It was a spontaneous project — about 20 minutes after I put Logan down for his nap my eye caught this desk and I thought, “I can’t stand that thing for another minute.”  It resides in our living room and Logan does “work” at it pretty frequently, but really, it was an eye sore.  So I grabbed what was left from when I painted the kitchen wall navy and decided to give it a go.

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It took two coats, and I still need to poly the top for durability (and maybe wax the rest), but I think it looks SO much better.  It’s a really dark navy — it almost looks black in this room which is odd because the wall in the kitchen never looks black!  It really pops off the white brick now and I think it plays well with the adjacent Bermuda Blue brick wall, too.  The navy wall in the kitchen is just out of frame though a door to the right and the navy bicycle print is only a small bit away as well — I like that they all tie in together.

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Anyway, I just wanted to share this little update with you all because I’m totally smitten … and not just because when Logan noticed he said, “Ohhh!!! Mommy! You did this for me?! THANK you!”. :)

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2014 House Resolutions — Pass or Fail?

In January of this year I made a list of resolutions for our then-new abode (read about them here).   It included projects that were begging for attention, projects that had stalled, and projects that I just thought would be fun.  Care to wager which of those project categories actually saw completion over the last 12 months?  Well, it’s now December and it’s time to come clean and share with you how we fared.

1) Get rid of the last of the wall paper.  At first I thought I’d actually did this one, but then I walked over to check and realized that, nope. The closet doors near the garage still have the fuzzy beige wallpaper backing.  In fact, the walls in that hallway still have traces wallpaper glue on them, too. It’s funny how when you walk by something every day you just start to accept it and don’t even notice the flaws anymore. FAIL.

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2) Paint the kitchen/laundry/half bath.  Nope. Nope. Nope.  I did paint the paneled wall navy and that made a HUGE difference.  I also did some drywall patching.  One wall in the laundry room got a coat of primer and half the brick wall in the kitchen was refreshed.  Yep, half a wall.  Even my toddler pointed this out to me the other day.  “Mommy, you painted this?  But not this??”  This is another FAIL.

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3) Address the kitchen and the yellow bathroom floors.  Ahh!  I did this one!  It was a month of pure hell, but we got new VCT floors in the kitchen, laundry room and half bath.  And we love them.  The yellow bathroom?  Yeah, not so much.  Every once in a while I look for deals on carpet squares to replace that weird patch of loose carpet in the sink area, but haven’t found anything great yet.  And I have no idea what to do about the missing yellow ceramic tiles.  For now we just cover them with a bath mat.  Out of sight out of mind!  I’m going to be generous and give myself a PASS on this one because even though I didn’t complete the bathroom floors at least I’m still actively thinking about it — which is more than I can say about that wall paper…

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4) Address the fireplace situation.  Another PASS!!  This one was actually a pretty fun project.  I decided to paint the brick around the fireplace Bermuda Blue and it looks fantastic.  We get compliments on it all the time.  I even painted the brass fireplace surround a matte black which was oh so necessary.  My mom is still getting on my case about doing something with that iron art piece, but I think other than giving it a good cleaning , I’m pretty happy with it as is.

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5) Get the guest room in order.  Hahahahahaha!  Hahaha! … Ha.  So  yeah, the guest room.  Well, for a while there the guest room was looking so nice that it was my favorite room in the house (you can see it here).  I love the light that it gets and the vintage furniture I’d gathered throughout the year along with the textiles I’d collected had really brought it together nicely.  Then we added a crib and suddenly it wasn’t a guest room anymore — it was an awkward, shared baby/guest space.  But, last week we painted it (and finally patched and caulked the baseboards which was a huge undertaking!) and hung curtains and it’s looking lovely, so that’s something.   So even though we still need a headboard and updated track lights (new paint made those cans look crazy yellow) I’m giving us a big fat PASS.

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6) Finish pruning the shrubs.  We did this.  I think.  Yes, I know we did, it’s just that we now need to do it again.  But really, we spent many hours pruning and digging and planting and watering and for that we get a pass (and a round of applause) on our front landscaping.  But if you swing by, just don’t mind the leaves that need raking, or the overgrown shrub that needs trimming or the four plants along the back of the planting bed that died.  M’kay?

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But for all the items that we didn’t get to, there were a bunch of unforeseen projects that we did tackle.   Like a thrifted and refinished coffee table, a made over den space, a few new rugs and kitchen chairs, and a cleaned out and updated indoor planter!

As for next year?  Here’s what I’d love to get accomplished:

1) Paint the bedrooms and hallway.
2) Paint the kitchen, laundry room and half bath (this would include final wallpaper removal).
3) Figure out the carpet situation in the yellow bath.
4) Install quarter round in the master bath/closet (there’s stills gaps around the sides from when we had the hardwood floors installed two summers ago) and fix busted drawer front.
5) Hook up the water to the new sink the half bath. And to the ice maker while we’re at it.

My plan was to hire out the painting work, but that was before we were planning on paying for two kids in daycare.  Guess I’ll have to suck it up!