one bar cart, two bar cart, three…

I saw on the internet the other day (I’m being vague on purpose, I was pinning) the idea of taking an IKEA laptop table and making it into a bar cart.  Honestly, who would’ve thought.  Definitely not anyone who has ever met me before.

IKEA, you just sold yourself another junky laptop table.

I LOVE bar carts.  I already have two, but they’re currently in storage (and I’m over them) so I’m using that as an excuse to make another one.  So not only do I love bar carts, turns out I love DIY too.

red table bar cart

{pic of previous bar cart area…}

Unfortunately when I get an idea is my head, it quickly becomes all I think about until exorcised.  This time it has proven to be a little harder because there’s not a single IKEA in the state of Louisiana.  Although I really didn’t imagine that to be a problem, I’d just do what I had originally planned to do and order from the website.  Apparently they’re shipping straight from Sweden because the shipping cost on my $38 table was $150.

Pass.  I don’t really need a third bar cart that bad.

Except apparently I do; I could not stop thinking about how I desperately wanted this dumb table.  Like I said, there is no moving on (for anyone) until I make this table.

How bad did I want it?  Not bad enough to drive five hours to Houston for it, but evidently enough to pay someone else to drive to Houston for it.  The most amazing company exists for people who live too far away from Ikea (or are too lazy).  I found Love Blue Bag online and they make weekly trips and charge a small percentage to pick up your Swedish junk for you.

They will even put it together for you.  I have my fingers crossed my table will come in a table sized box.  I didn’t pay extra for construction.  Although I probably should, my IKEA creations always end up slightly lopsided.  Or in the case of our old dresser (sold on craigslist to a artist who specializes in erotic art – that was a weird meeting), a hammer went straight through the side.

So wish me luck.  I get it next week.

Brittany's Bar Cart

On a side note, my close friend in LA had her bar cart featured on Popsugar as the “casual cool” alternative for a bar cart.  Love this idea.

Don’t drink that cat wine though.  Terrible.

office business…

I put off remodeling the office for as long as I possibly could; I think it was one of the last things I finally did in the house.  At least I think it was, renovating the entire house ended up blending into one giant stressful blur.

Executive Office/Suite.

{old office pic and also note this is not my furniture}

 {although I kind of like those chairs}

I ended up keeping the caged glass brass light fixture attached to the fan, I love it.  God only knows what I’ll do with it but I’m the new proud owner.  It’s currently sitting in my garage, awaiting further instructions.  Every once in a while The Boyfriend picks it up muttering “what in the hell is this…”

And just like in the rest of the house, the pink carpet had to go, even the bathroom had pink carpet.  The walls needed to be skim coated over the wall paper then textured and painted, the trim needed to be painted a white semi-gloss and, lastly, someone needed to stain the wood paneling on the walls.

The light oak look is not one of my favorites.  I’m sure in twenty years no one will like darker woods anymore but I’ll worry about that then.  And if I still haven’t sold this house in 20 years just kill me.

office stain

 I asked our general contractor how much it would cost to have someone stain it and was informed it would be around $2,500 – $3,000 (a sum I’m almost 100% positive he pulled out of his ass) and decided I would just do it myself.  Our contractor was terrible, it was just the blind leading the blind over here.

So I vehemently told The Boyfriend (who seemed rather skeptical) that “I can do anything I put my mind to“.  And since, let me tell you how many times that statement has been thrown back in my face.

This was actually one of the hardest things I did in the house.  Although, looking back on it, I’m pretty sure I said that after each thing I accomplished.

Stained the bannister, “hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Painted trim and doors in 5,000 sq foot house, “hardest thing I’ve ever done.”  Actually, maybe not the hardest but definitely the most boring.  I thought I was going to climb the walls (painters joke, you probably didn’t get it) with how boring it was.

And I did learn painting a ceiling is significantly harder than I had originally thought.  I got so much paint in my eyes I thought I was going blind.

So after the hardwoods were laid, I got to work.  I had to sand the paneling twice to get the gloss from the original paneling off.  Then I stained the paneled walls twice and put on a satin poly coat.

I paid a handyman to skim coat over the wallpaper because I was told the process takes a lot of patience.  And as I learned bout myself when painting the trim, me and patience are like cheap vodka and Betty Ford.  It’s a difficult relationship.

Then I textured and painted with pale cappuccino.office final

 It ended up being a battle of wills as to whether we would paint the trim white (my idea) or stain to match the paneling (like in the original).  No one seemed to be able to visualize the white.  But the benefit of being the only person there painting from dawn til evening is that no one seems to realize when you just go ahead and do what you want.  White trim gave the office a more modern look and made it seem larger.  Sometimes you just have to stay the course and do what you feel is right.

Not to get all Taylor Swift but haters gonna hate (or maybe that’s Ice T circa mid-nineties).

But in the end, I created a gorgeous modern office perfect for people who like doing math and reading smelly books.

Me, I’m more a chrome and glass type of office gal.

wine trays for all…

It’s interesting when you want something so bad, for so long, then when you finally find it the greatest emotion you can conjure up is ‘meh.’

And after scouring the internets for years trying to find affordable vintage french wine crates, that don’t involve ridiculous over seas shipping charges, I stumbled upon some for only $9 in an antique store around the corner. No shipping charges, just throw them in your car.

I mean, I have plenty of Trader Joe wine cases, but I feel aesthetically, it’s just not the same.

wine tray 7I snagged two (a Bordeaux of course) and briefly contemplated buying all of them then reselling them on the internet at an astronomical mark up.  Is there a market for wine crates or am I the only person excited to buy a wooden box?

I had originally been to the antique store looking for a writing desk but found these crates instead.  They had about 20 or so and I told myself I’d come back in a couple days to pick up.  All I could think about for two days were all the boxes being sold out from under me so I hurried back before my anxiety skyrocketed even more.  All 20 were still in stock.  Apparently the market isn’t as strong as I had anticipated.

So I began searching Pinterest (please help, I’m turning Stepford) and found lots of interesting ideas.  Emphasis on interesting.  Someone had even refinished an entire wall with wine crate pieces.

Why would I want to staple gun pieces of wine crate to my wall?  I just spent three months painting every inch of this house.  I will die before anyone staple guns anything to it, I will guard these freshly painted walls with my life.

wine tray 6

Since clearly that was out, I found what I thought to be one of the easiest (WRONG) ideas.  I would make it into a tray.  As in- disassemble, rearrange then reassemble.  Oh, and stain and poly it.  God, staining is a nightmare.

wine tray 4

So I ripped apart one of the boxes and made measurements for pieces to be cut.  It just so happens The Boyfriend received a circular saw for Christmas. We’ve both been to scared to take it out of the box, as if taking it out of the box consigns one of us to losing a hand.  But  I was determined to make this tray (I get ideas stuck in my head and no one gets any peace until I do something about it) and somehow persuaded The Boyfriend to risk his hands and cut the trim.

wine tray 3

He cut the trim, I stained everything, including my hands (plural because I still have both of them), and I let it dry for a couple hours.  Last part was to reassemble.  Well, I was just going to nail the sides back on but with the first swing of my pink hammer, I smashed the trim into about 6-7 pieces.  It like spontaneously combusted in my hand.  So then I spent an hour gluing everything back together.

wine tray 2

Then I realized, screw these nails (construction joke, you might not get it), I’ll just glue the whole thing back together.

Et voila.

wine tray

So if you ever come over to my house, just remember don’t touch it.

happy weekend (early edition)…

I woke up this morning with the quick realization it was Friday and someone had served me too much Trader Joe wine at dinner last night.  camellia in vase

My first stop on this glorious Friday (!) is to Starbucks for a ‘double shot cafe mocha white russian valium latte to-go‘.  Skinny.  Obviously.  Then to pick up my french wine crates that will sit in my garage since I have no idea what to do with them.

So happy early weekend from myself, Phoebe & Phineas.  I named the dog and cat on my new DIY side tables.

It’s been slow making new friends in a new city…

vanity tables & french wine crates…

I haven’t owned a vanity table since I was seven.  Then, it was hot pink and had flowers.

Apparently my tastes haven’t changed much, I think I wore this headband last week.

me- beauty

I assumed I would be able to find a vanity table online; you can find anything online.  I bought a two pound bag of chia seeds on prime last week.  It’s all there, everything except a non-tacky vanity.

Along with my blind devotion to all things Amazon, I like to try and buy from small businesses.  So I looked on Etsy thinking I could find a vanity table that I could fix up.  Make into my dream vanity.

But there is one problem with this idea, finding something amazing is like finding a diamond in the rough. The Etsy cup overfloweth with homemade crap.  People had taken gorgeous french provincial dressing tables, painted them a baby blue or ‘distressed’ white, slapped some chevron contact paper in the drawers and called it “shabby chic.”  And then charge $450 for it.  I’m not paying $450 for ruined furniture that I’ll have to spend three days scrubbing with sand paper.

For example:

hideous

This shiny little gem I found for $400 plus $100 shipping.  People are crazy.  And God only knows how I would get the shellac off this desk.  And the groovy seizure inducing contact paper would have to go as well.  My first vanity was pink, at thirty (one, aaaaggghhhhh!!!) I’m looking for something with a little more subtly.

After my miserable failure that was Etsy, I opted for local shopping.  I love shopping.  I’ve been perusing the antique stores hoping to find a less pink, less shiny option.  I’ve yet to find what I’m looking for.

french wine crates

BUT, I did find these amazing french wine crates for $9 each.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with them but clearly I needed two of them.  It’s funny how when looking for one thing, you buy two of another instead.

So in the meantime I’ll continue to scour antique shops looking for non pink furniture then drink wine and scour Pinterest and figure out what to do with my wine crates.  I definitely get more creative when wine is involved.

Win-win!

c is for courtyard. c is also for cocktails…

When we moved in, the gated courtyard was not my favorite.  It had white stones instead of grass and where there weren’t stones there were overgrown azalea bushes.

The stones seemed a little out of place to me.  If this was Arizona or Nevada, I could understand but Louisiana is like a sunnier and way less hipster version of Seattle for the amount it rains here.  I wanted green.

Of course I asked our contractor (mistake number one of hundreds) if he could remove them.  He quoted me something astronomical, which I started to notice he did often when it was apparently something he didn’t want to, or couldn’t, undertake.  So the stones stayed.

It’s not like I was going to remove them.

DSC_0192

 {courtyard before}

Here’s The Puppy wandering around trying to find a spot to go the bathroom.  He’s scared to walk on the stones and he would be lost eternally to the azaleas.  He had no options.

courtyard grass

So I ripped up all the bushes, planted sod and decorated with giant pots of flowers.  Yes, I planted sod. I’m amazing even myself these days.

bistro set

For the rocky-part of the courtyard, since clearly they were there to stay, I thought about how I could at least make it slightly more attractive.  I found this amazing little bistro set on amazon (prime!) but was concerned when the box arrived flat.  Not sure what I was expecting but I thinking  maybe a more table and chair sized box.  Apparently someone had to put them together.

lightingAfter I put the set together (as The Boyfriend and The Puppy watch from the window) I started looking for other easy touches to improve our little courtyard.

When I was at a lighting showroom picking out exterior light fixtures, I found this little matching pendant light perfect for above my table.

pansies

My last stop was the gardening store.  Final touch, pots of pansies everywhere.  Then I was done.

table top

Now I see all the amazing things you can do outside.  Read outside.  Have morning coffee outside.  Drink cocktails outside.  Write this blog outside.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  I don’t know if I mentioned this but you can drink cocktails outside.  It’s amazing.

flower crown fridays…

Someone contacted to make several baby’s breath flower crowns for an upcoming wedding this weekend in New Orleans.

flower 5

Baby’s breath is so undervalued.  It got a bad rap due to being overused as filler in cheap red rose packages from Walgreens.  I was ecstatic she wanted to use them in crowns for her and her girls.

It’s time for a baby’s breath comeback.

flower crown 4

Just another excuse to sit around, eat Dove choco-minis and make flower crowns.  An ideal day in the House of Modern Vintage household.  A day like most others, only difference was this time I was paid.unhelpful helper

Here’s my unhelpful helper.  Some of us ate too many choco-minis and some of us ate too much baby’s breath.  I’m surprised we got anything accomplished.

flower crowns 2

When I dropped in the florists to pick up some baby’s breath, the elderly lady behind the counter commented she didn’t understand why more people don’t use it.  “It’s cheap.  Shove some in mason jars and there’s your wedding”.

So keep that extravagant option in mind for future reference if you’re planning a wedding.

@lovemodernvintage on insta for more pics

IMG_0886

DIY…side tables got a make over

Moving is hard.

And entrusting someone (named “Boo” no less) to drive all your worldly belongings from Texas to Louisiana is also hard.  I managed the drive to New Orleans in eight hours.  He gave the vague answer “I’ll be there sometime in the next three days….”.

On Day 3, Boo finally arrived.  And by the look of it, someone had broken into the moving truck, thrown dirt on all over our things and then took a baseball bat to them.  To say the least, I wasn’t terribly thrilled about this, to which Boo said “are you sure it all didn’t look like that before?”  Unfortunately, there’s no furniture police to call so I had to deal with it.  Which I did, with a bottle of wine.

And everyday while remodeling, I would look at my sad scratched up furniture, mentally give Boo the finger and contemplate how much it was going to cost to replace it all.

But one day I had the realization, here I am spackling walls, staining and painting various parts of this house,  that I could probably use my newfound “skills” and revitalize my furniture.  I’ve learned it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do.

So I started thinking about how I could improve some of the pieces I had.  Most of our things are in storage, minus our everyday stuff like side tables, a dresser, etc., so I started there.  I figured the side tables are smallest, therefore easiest and if my efforts went south, cheapest to replace.

side table 1

When we moved in, the previous owners had a “wood working studio” (who knows) and left behind this worktable. The Boyfriend, who loves to keep everything apparently except this worktable, wanted to throw it out. He’s crazy, I’m dragging this table with me from house to house for the rest of my life. I love it.

I used to love things like beauty products and four inch Manolos but it seems that was my past life.

side table 3

{my ‘revamp my side table’ tools}

I actually didn’t need my pink glitter tool box for this (it currently only houses a pink hammer and screwdriver – I’m working on it…) but it’s too cute not to add.  So I guess a little of my past life is still holding on for dear life.

The side tables came from Ikea, like five years ago.  I’ve always hated them but, until now, never did anything about it.  I’ve just lived my life, hating these tables all along the way.  Oh, and we have a matching dresser.  Hate that too.  I’m coming for you next dresser.

I originally was going to stain them (I care for staining about as much as I care for my Ikea dresser) but after a trip to Home Depot, I was informed painting them would be easier.  I’ve become a regular HD groupie, the guy in the paint department might as well be Brad Pitt for all the attention I throw at him.

side table 5

So I bought some dark hued glossy paint and was confused when I opened the can and it was neon purple. I briefly contemplated taking it back but the more prominent side of me (the lazy side) decided ‘if it turns out brown then great, if it stays violet then I’ll deal with it later’.

‘I’ll deal with it later’ is actually code for ‘I’ll just buy new ones online’.

But in the end, no need.  My TCU tables turned a nice shade of deep brown with a glossy finish.  And clearly the bland knobs needed to go (into the trash) so The Boyfriend bought me these adorable kitty puppy pulls from Anthro.

side table 4

After I finished the tables (sand, paint, paint, dry, celebrate with a cocktail) I was pleasantly happy with how they turned out.  They weren’t the next coming of side tables or anything but they looked significantly better than the original.  Then I had the amazing idea, which I stole from Pinterest,  to finish them with some granite.

I contacted a granite yard (literally granite in a yard) and picked out a white granite with gold and cream running through, and had them cut some for my side tables from Ikea.  I only like high-end or low-end, there’s no middle of the road for me.

side table dog granite

There was a little concern as to whether the light weight (i.e. particle board) tables would be able to handle the weight of the granite.

So far so good.

side table cat granite

Now my high-end Ikea side tables look like they came from furniture Neimans.  Now onto the dresser.

every house needs a bathroom…

The house was a renovation (more painting, etc) until we decided to remodel (more like destruction) the master bathroom.

Master Bath/Spa.{this is the old listing pic for the house}

It was a interesting set up.  The sliding door in this pic actually doesn’t lead to the shower/toilet/sink area for the master bathroom.  This is a doorway into the bathroom for the office.   Essentially it was two bathrooms in one (two toilets, two sets of sinks, two showers), which meant the house was listed as only having three bathrooms.

DSC_0097

 We had work to do.  Again with the pink carpet, two prints of wallpaper, pale pink corain and the sinks only came up to about one inch above my knee cap.  Also the bathtub had a greek feel to it, like you walk up a staircase to your bath (only to slip to your death on wet feet when you climb out of it- I guess the carpet was to give you traction).

reno

So we decided to rip it apart; they knocked out some walls, opened casings to expand on the closets and added a wall between the office bath and master bath.  Now we have a four bathroom house.

And as you can see in the pic, no one informed me to move my make up.  Soon after this picture, they tore out cabinetry, smashed those mirrors (I was proudly told by one of the crew guys that he got the mirrors down by throwing a hammer at them) and ripped out the floors.  Bye bye bathroom and bye bye makeup.

master bathAnd here’s the end result.  I can’t help it, I love subway tile.  It’s cheap, clean looking and goes with everything.  I just love it.

I went with a gray/blue color scheme; dark gray tiles with white grout, white tiles with dark gray grout, cararra marble (I never want to see cararra for the rest of my life) and a pale dove gray for the walls.

master showerThe shower was my favorite though.  I want to recreate in it my own bathroom one day, using white tile, dark grout, calacatta gold, herringbone tile floors and brass fixtures.  Everytime I say brass, which was what we spent hours removing from this house (and I kept for future use!), The Boyfriend gets nervous.

Brass everything!

office bath

After we sealed up the wall in the master to the office bath, we finally had a fourth bathroom.  In here we only replaced the pink carpet with travertine-esque porcelain tile and replaced the pale pink corian with a travertine looking marble.

I told countless people via email and by words coming out of my mouth, “cararra is white and blue so the walls need to be painted blue.  Travertine is tan, so the walls need to be painted cream.”  Here I was thinking that was pretty straight forward, but alas, this bathroom was painted blue.  The lazy part of me contemplated saying “screw it” but it looked terrible so in the end I repainted the walls and the trim.

guest side by side When I was told how much the contractor wanted to update this bathroom I almost had a heart attack.  So I told him I would handle the walls and he could do the rest.

So, had we not bought this house to renovate and sell, I would have taken a quick second to think about keeping the wallpaper.  The border was hideous but I can’t help it, I love wallpapered bathrooms.

DSC_0087

This picture made me nervous.  Actually, every time they demoed they would come and get me to show me.  I don’t know if he was antagonizing me (we had a difficult relationship) or thought I should see he was actually doing something.  I found out, after we hired him, he doesn’t work Mondays or Fridays.  And I figured this out because he never showed on Mondays and Fridays.

guest updated side by side

Removing wallpaper is a real pain.  And a smelly pain at that.  But it all came off, the walls were skim coated and I textured and painted.  Blue.

Because blue goes with cararra.

upstairs side by side

The jack and jill bathroom upstairs was interesting.  We had the pink carpet, double print wallpapered walls with floral border (didn’t contemplate keeping those though) and pink corian.  When you walked into the shower room, there was mauve bathtubs, tub surround and toilet.

DSC_0152

But, the amazing thing about this bathroom was the gems I found inside.  They had decorated the house in the 80s and all the bathroom fixtures were lucite.  A diamond in the rough!  I kept them all, much to the dismay of everyone around me.  I believe “tacky” was the word of choice.

I don’t care because now I am the proud owner of lucite towel racks, robe hook things, toilet paper holder, shelves, etc.  It’s going to look amazing with all the brass in my new home.

upstairs after side by sideHere we did the same color scheme as the office bath.  To avoid the color confusion again, I painted the walls and ceiling.  I also painted the trim and the cabinetry because over the years they had turned an unfortunate yellow color.  I had to have The Boyfriend rehang all the cabinet doors for me.  When I try it looks like we paid President Kitty to do it.

DSC_0178And after attending the “How to Install your own Tile” class at our local Home Depot, The Boyfriend spent five days retiled the tub.  We were both a little apprehensive as to what the result was going to be but it’s amazing.

upstairs tile

Not to mention it saved us $1,000.  I told him he can tile our houses for the rest of our live.  His answer was colorful but you get the gist.

But the bathrooms are now complete.

And now you know a little something about me; I love brass, wallpaper and subway tile. Oh, and I don’t care much for cararra.

The general contractor informed me “people now a days are putting cararra in their kitchens. It’s inexpensive and everyone loves it.”

“No.”

DIY…hairpin leg table

After remodeling the house, I was left with a 30 pound slab of cararra marble from the master bathroom that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with.

hairpin table 1

I used to be the person who threw everything away.  Now I find the phrase “save that, I’ll use it” come out of my mouth more and more often, much to the chagrin of my hoarding boyfriend.

hairpin table 3

I found an article in Martha Stewart’s Living about buying vintage looking hairpin legs and making your own table.  I normally don’t find much in her magazine that’s doable, more like “you need this exact spice but they only sell it on the outer edges of a city on the southeastern region of Spain” and so on,  but this was actually useful.

hairpin table 4

I googled where to buy and found www.hairpinlegsforless.com (which is misleading, they’re the same price as everywhere else) and bought four 14″ stainless steel legs for around $80 total.

Thankfully The Boyfriend helped me otherwise I would have just screwed them directly into the marble and then wondered why the slab combusted into several pieces (DIY is not always fun for those of us that lack common sense).

So I screwed the legs into an old Ikea shelf I sawed in half and used liquid nails to attached the wood to the cararra.

hairpin table 5

6 hours of drying time later…

hairpin legs table 5

Surprisingly easy.  And now I can add ‘carpenter’ to my odd resume.

Fashion & PR, Construction & Carpentry.