Painting to refresh used furniture is nothing new.
Over the years I’ve done lots of pieces using brand name chalk paint and now I find that making my own works just as well and it’s so easy to do.
Basically by adding Plaster of Paris to house paint it adds the grit needed to help it stick to the wood surface.
Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe:
1.5 cups Interior House Paint
1/3 cup Plaster of Paris
1/3 cup Water
*These are estimates. Once the supplies are mixed the paint will start to thicken slightly.
Mix the supplies together. First apply primer on the piece of furniture, then coat with the chalk paint. Seal with a clear coat intended for chalk paint. I tried a water based product that was applied with a brush, it didn’t have the toxic smell like other wax sealants do.
There are so many used pieces of furniture around and changing the colour can easily update them.
I keep a box of Plaster of Paris and there is plenty to mix up gallons of chalk paint with leftover house paint. It works well on cabinets, mirrors and end tables.
Once you have the basic supplies it’s so easy to whip up a batch for the latest thrift store/marketplace find.
Here we are at the final reveal for the One Room Challenge. As I’ve mentioned before, I love these challenges as motivation to complete a project with others working on theirs at the same time.
I set out to continue projects started in Spring 2020 which included exterior updates and in the vegetable garden.
Here’s a look at where we started when we moved in July 2019 and where we are now almost two years later. The changes are mainly from changing paint/stain colours and adding furniture, plus fencing to protect the vegetable garden from deer.
The majority of this area was completed last year for the One Room Challenge. I painted the existing raised beds white, stained the hot tub taupe & built deer fencing to create a garden room.
I added a couple of other raised beds this year and as well as an apple tree nearby and a nectarine tree.
We went crazy with the peas and now that I’ve harvested them all the beds look empty.
Front Porch Reading Area
The biggest change this year came from adding furniture to make a cozy reading area at the front of the house. Now we actually use this space.
I had foam cut and I sewed an outdoor bench cushion for this wicker loveseat. Since I couldn’t find a round table the right size and price I used a sturdy basket upside-down as a coffee table.
The cushions I made and the bright yellow one is from leftover linen I had from the masks I’ve made.
Since deer hang out in the shade next to the house too I’m not bothering with plants and instead clipped some branches from shrubs we have that I know deer don’t like. Bonus, no watering in this extreme heat.
The Spring 2021 One Room Challenge is wrapping up next post. I have slowly been working on these outdoor projects over the past 2 years.
The main focus was to:
Complete Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
Maximize Planting Space in Garden
Create Seating Area at Front of House
Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
Our house started out with mustard trim and a beige garage door. I started the painting myself but eventually realized we needed to hire painters to do the upper portions that required ladder work.
I did climb out the front window to paint back when my youngest used to nap but it was risky and realistically it would have probably taken me 5 years to finish at the rate I was going. Hiring painters was worth it.
Create More Planting Space
We were lucky that there was already a dedicated garden area off the back patio. It had irrigation installed too. The only downside was the deer are frequently in the yard so these raised beds needed some protection.
This fencing Spring 2020 has worked to keep deer out and there was still space for a couple of other raised beds.
Front Porch Reading Area
We have been using this space, especially in the afternoons.
This is the foam and Sunbrella fabric I chose to make the base cushion. I decided on this black and beige irregular fabric so that any marks won’t be obvious. I am going to try out this stool as a side table too.
In the next 2 weeks I’m going to pull together the final details to complete the plan before the official start of summer.
Are you loving gardening especially during pandemic times? Learning to grow some of our own food has been a huge learning experience for our kids and me. I also want the vegetable area to look good too.
Design – Bueno, Bonito y Barato
Projects I share on this blog follow the principles of this saying in Spanish that my husband uses – Bueno (good), Bonito (pretty) Barato (inexpensive). I think that with creativity it is possible to find this balance.
I have been experimenting over the past few years with adding more edibles to our garden.
Rather than have a bunch of mismatched pots I’ve built simple cedar boxes. I find it’s less watering because they don’t dry out as quickly, there’s more space for roots to grow and the look is more streamlined.
Cedar Planters Stained Black – ORC 2017
Instructions on how to build these cedar boxes from our last home can be found in a One Room Challenge from 2017.
What I like about building cedar planters is that you can customize the size to fit your needs and choose a paint or stain to suit your style.
Kelowna Vegetable Garden 2021
We were fortunate to have raised beds already set up in our current home. Last year for One Room Challenge I painted them white and built a few extra cedar planters as supports for deer fencing.
This year I am maximizing all available space in our vegetable garden by adding a couple more planters in the empty areas.
I used 4 untreated cedar fence boards to create each of these planters. I cut them with my hand saw and used white paint on the outside.
In the background you can see there is still some available space where I will build another planter later. I also plan to make trellises along the fence here to maximize vertical growing space.
Books with Inspiration & Practical Ideas
Last year I shared these books that helped me with design ideas and learning about growing vegetables. There are many other gardening books that gets lots of hype online but I haven’t found any of them as useful as these too – both of which can be found at the library.
I highly recommend Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay for ideas of how to set up different styles of vegetable gardens and making them look good.
Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela is a wonderful resource to learn about growing vegetables, herbs & edible flowers. There are lots of ways to use containers in smaller spaces to grow food and she explains how.
Salad, Fresh from the Garden
For the past week we have been able to eat salad from the garden everyday. I’m learning about which seeds to start when and it’s working! In March I put cool season seeds for spinach, pea and various lettuces out and they are all taking off now.
Last year we had 4 months of eating from the garden and this year I’m trying for 5 months. I’m a beginner and sharing what I’m learning along the way.
Garnishing food with edible flowers & herbs is something I love doing in the summer & spring.
To see what everyone else is doing this week in the One Room Challenge follow the link below.
It’s time for the Spring One Room Challenge, my favourite way to get motivated to work on a project. This year I’m going to continue with the exterior projects from last year.
Complete Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
Maximize Planting Space in Vegetable Garden
Create Seating Area at Front of House
The vegetable garden from last year gave us fresh greens for 4 solid months and I’m hoping to expand what we grow this year. Also, since we have to stay home I am focusing on creating more spaces to enjoy outside.
Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
This is our home in Kelowna. When we moved here almost 2 years ago I started to paint the yellow trim white. The fact that this wood trim needed maintenance in some areas already helped get my husband on board with this update.
If your home is in need of some paint touch ups anyway, why not change the colour?
I absolutely love this garage area by House of Jade Interiors. Eventually I’d love to add a pergola but for this year I’ll be sticking to paint and adding some garage handles.
Vegetable Garden & Deer Fencing
This was how the vegetable garden looked last spring, before the One Room Challenge project.
I am happy to report that the deer fencing I created stood up through the winter. During a windstorm our side gate and some other fence fell down but surprisingly this was totally fine.
The Garden this Year
Having a designated area for growing food and being able to start the season earlier has been rewarding. There is so much to learn about seeds, soil, plants, composting etc.
This year I plan to maximize all of the space available here by adding more planters and trellises plus learn more about vegetable growing.
This is the pear tree that I planted last year – seeing it come back after winter and bloom makes me happy! Where we live there are orchards and vineyards everywhere and I want to try fruit trees in our yard too.
Seating Area at Front of House
One more project area is here by the front door. It is a shady spot that we don’t use because there is no furniture. Usually this is where piles of special sticks and pinecones the kids and I find get left.
I see that this could be a nice shady spot in the hot afternoon, perfect for reading. I plan to add seating and a coffee table here so that we use this area more often.
That’s the plan for the One Room Challenge this spring. To see what everyone else is doing the link is below. I suspect more people will be focusing on the outside this year.
With Easter and other celebrations going on this time of year I thought I’d share a couple of simple ways that I decorate. There are beautiful signs of spring emerging and all it takes is a couple of branches or seasonal flowers to dress up the table.
1. Forage from the Yard & Display in Glass Jars
This is what we have in our yard right now – Hellebores, branches from our maple tree & these blossoms.
For a low effort & high impact display I use recycled jars to showcase each flower or branch. They can be spread out along the table or clustered together.
This is from a couple of years ago in our last home, highlighting daffodils, hyacinths, serviceberry & maple branches.
2. Use a Potted Hydrangea to Clip a few Blossoms
If you don’t have a yard to clip branches and flowers from (or if you love hydrangeas), I like to cut a few blossoms from a potted plant. I only take 3 which is barely noticeable from a plant this size.
Make sure to treat the flowers to prevent them from wilting by sicking about 1 cm of the bottom of the stem in boiling water for a few seconds.
Add a couple of branches found on the ground during a walk and there’s a bonus way to spread flowers around the house. Or buy a bunch of tulips and add a few found sticks to make the arrangement more interesting.
Even though celebrations are still small this year, a couple of little details like fresh branches or flowers can make the occasion feel more special without a lot of extra effort.
Here’s a look at some of the decorating I did for our home this year as well as the wreaths I made. Pine from the yard was the main green used, I had been waiting for months to do some strategic tree trimming.
I started with pine that I cut from a bush out front. I kept the trees simple and saved decorating them until December.
From early November until mid December it is wreath making time! I love making them and sell them locally during this time.
This was boxwood clipped from our yard that became a wreath for above the kitchen window as it is long lasting and doesn’t drop needles.
This was the annual giant wreath that I make to hang behind the kitchen table and bring in that Christmas scent. It’s hard to tell here but the wreath is 3 feet wide and very heavy. It is made with spruce so it has a short indoor shelf life.
At the front area of the house is this corner where I keep extra material and wreaths before they are picked up.
Once it was December I added some baubles to the trees and a bow to the front door wreath just before Christmas. I like to extend the season and gradually decorate.
These Baby Blue Eucalyptus wreaths are one of my favourites because they smell incredible and are long lasting.
This year I was able to cut 5 branches long enough to be mini Christmas trees.
This was the other big (by our standards) Christmas tree.
Here’s another reminder of the transformative power of paint. More on this kitchen makeover from last year can be found here.
Making wreaths & decorating for the holidays using greenery from the yard has become a major passion of mine in recent years. I like to try something different each year using what I have available outside or foraged and then I usually add one element that is bought – like Eucalyptus.
Here is a look at our Newmarket home decked out for the holidays in 2018 using Blue Spruce from our yard as the base.
This beautiful, mature Blue Spruce supplied greenery every year that I filled the house with – I can’t believe in our first year living here that I was buying boughs of pine when I had this readily available.
I save all pruning until November and December now so that I will have plenty of material for decorating. In the case of this tree, I actually found that it grew more small boughs thanks to all of the small cutting done each winter.
I also made a 15 foot garland using the Blue Spruce by wrapping it around our Christmas lights making it an easier job to create. This went over the garage door.
The base of the wreath is made on a wire frame and then I added some dried silver dollar Eucalyptus I’d saved from something else I’d made in the summer. The pinecones I collected with my kids when out on walks.
The picture frame moulding made the perfect display area to hang a sash that I sewed from some silk look material I had. Since we choose not to have a large Christmas tree I think I tend to over compensate with fresh wreaths and garlands!
A detail of this table trestle leg – have you seen what it looked like before in this Apartment Therapy feature? It was a big project to refinish the table but so worth it.
Here’s a glimpse at the front of the house with the garland. There is a post showing how this garage door looked before it was painted here.
There is a tutorial on making a fresh wreath like this one here. Also instructions on this shiplap wall can be found here.
This weekend I’m planning to start some of my holiday wreath making using the pine and boxwood that we have in our current yard. I started some clipping last weekend with this simple branch. The wreaths here were made with driftwood I collected in the summer and this fireplace got a paint update last year.
If you follow me on Instagram I have created a hashtag #shibangwreaths to catalogue some of my wreath projects over the years. There’s a lot that doesn’t make it to my blog but it is on my Instagram @shibangdesigns.