Coral Headboard bedroom mint wall

Bedroom Evolution: Headboard

I’ve had project ADD the past few weeks. I started a few different things, which was really the perfect excuse to procrastinate on the one thing I wanted to complete – our headboard. A DIY/decor blogger’s staple project, really.

After we painted the room, the previous purple/gray/lemon scheme wasn’t working. I realize I don’t even have a picture of the old headboard against the painted walls, but here’s what the headboard used to be like:

Re-framed mirror after

The purple could even have worked, but that lemon/lime color had to go. Plus, our room is already really small, and the low Malm bed and short headboard were just making everything feel squat and cramped. I knew I wanted a bright combination, and I went back and forth over a bold orange (like this inspiration), and more subtle tan-yellow. I also already had this coral rug that leaned towards the orange spectrum, so I was definitely biased towards orange.

Matt was the one who suggested that a more traditional coral color would look a little more polished while still being bright. The guy has excellent timing, because I’d been eyeing this fabric for accent pillows:

Swavelle/Mill Creek Indoor/Outdoor Maxime Redwood paisley fabric.com

I’d written it off at first because the coral wasn’t quite orange, but with the new plan, it worked perfectly.

I got to work removing the old fabric and batting, using a flathead screwdriver to get the staples out.

Old headboard removal-1

I also removed my failed attempt at using Ply-Grip.

Old headboard removal-2

If someone can tell me how to use the wretched thing, I’ll be eternally grateful. For some reason, I could never get the staples through the holes in the Ply-Grip – my staple gun’s recoil always messed up the placement.

Anyway, once the old fabric and batting were removed, I attached two pieces of plywood with straight brackets to the headboard. I used two pieces because I wasn’t about to try and attach a 5.5′ long piece of plywood – it would literally be longer that I’m tall. I cut the pieces down so they would extend 18″ above the existing headboard. Before I attached them, I used spray adhesive to attach foam mattress toppers (if you decide to make an upholstered headboard, seriously, go get mattress toppers instead of dropping more than a 100 bucks on upholstery foam). The mattress toppers are 1.5″ thick, and I used half inch thick plywood, which worked perfectly for the Malm’s built-in 2″ thick headboard.

After that came batting, to even out the bumps and patterns on the mattress topper. I was able to reuse the old batting, but I also added a new layer. The trick is to pull tight and staple – same goes for the fabric.

I used a deep coral linen fabric from Premier Prints. I originally wanted to cut a pattern into my plywood, but ultimately decided to leave it rectangular so that the paisley pillows and coral headboard didn’t end up looking overly feminine.

I also liked the idea of  buttons, but didn’t want to tuft the headboard. I guess I wanted to break up the expanse of coral but didn’t want something formal. So I covered buttons in the paisley fabric while marathoning Witches of East End.

Cover buttons

Can’t forget the wine.

You’ll notice from the buttons in the background that I left the threads long – my plan was to sew the buttons onto the headboard surface. The idea was a bit of a quirky take on the traditional tufted headboard, because this way, the buttons wouldn’t be flush with, or sunken into, the headboard surface. I had no clue if this would work out well but I wanted to give it a shot.

It worked pretty decently.

And then I came home to find half the buttons had been taken off by one of the cats. Probably Catniss. That little devil.

I kind of wanted to cry – sewing those buttons on had been a bit of a task. Hell, covering them had been a bit of a task. After some debating I decided I liked the headboard without buttons as well. It’s simple and uncluttered, and the accent pillows add enough of a pattern for it to look good.

So, here goes.

Coral Headboard bedroom mint wall

The height really makes the space shine. It also prevents that painting from looking utterly stupid.

mint bedroom coral headboard

I adore the pillows. I specifically looked for paisley patterns because they’re pretty common in Indian designs, so it felt like a more personal touch, and a nod to my roots. Since the buttons didn’t work out, I may find another way to incorporate that fabric in this room.

Paisley accent pillow bedroom coral

The room is starting to feel more cohesive now, although the new headboard is making our desk area look particularly sad:

The chair's upholstery is one of my first attempts - as you can tell from the bottom.

The chair’s upholstery is one of my first attempts – as you can tell from the bottom.

The cats chasing each other also resulted in my mirror coming apart, so that needs to be fixed.

mirror wood frame diy

At least the reflection is pretty.

But overall, I’m pretty happy with how the room is coming together, and how warm the coral makes everything.

mint coral gray bedroom headboard diy

 

xo Rucha

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Stikwood coffee table update reclaim weathered wood

Coffee Table Reveal

We officially have a coffee table I don’t flinch from. This project might be the most time-sensitive and nerve-wracking one I’ve done so far. I didn’t want to deprive Matt and our roommate of a coffee table for too long, and I also needed to be really careful. With other projects that have involved wood, I had some wiggle room, because lumber isn’t terribly expensive and I could just run out and by more if I needed. Stikwood, however, is a little pricier, especially the option I picked – reclaimed weathered wood.

I initially had a couple of issues with ordering Stikwood, but their customer service is awesome, and I managed to place an order right before the 4th of July weekend. Finally a couple of days ago, I opened it up.

This is what our coffee table used to be like:

Tvilum Samuel Coffee Table

Gross, huh? It took about five cleanings a day to make it look presentable and I was sick of it.

Oh yeah and these lovely dings and scratches existed when we first got it.

Tvilum coffee table scratched

Tvilum Samuel Coffee Table

I got to work filling in the gouges with wood filler, before sanding the entire thing down and priming it. One thing I learned: wait a few seconds for the wood filler to dry the slightest bit; it makes it so much easier to work with. I used both my fingers and a putty knife to shape the edges that had been scraped off. I quickly painted the table the same Sherwin Williams Westhighland White as the accent table (it took about three coats since I only used one coat of primer), took a deep breath, and started tackling the Stikwood.

I had about 10 square feet of the product, and my coffee table surface is 130cm by 60cm. Yeah, it’s in centimeters, you can blame Amazon. (Or thank them, if you’re a product of the metric system – which I am.) So anyway, my initial plan was to do a staggered brick pattern, starting with four planks of 32.5cm each. Unfortunately, the Stikwood comes in various lengths, and with this plan, I would have ended up with a bunch of smaller leftover pieces that were the wrong size. I went with five planks of 26cm each, instead. Another issue: each piece was 5 inches, or just over 12cm wide, and the width of my table works out to 5 x 12cm. I decided to trim the top and bottom rows, but keep the middle ones intact. This was a good plan because as it turns out, taking a jig saw to an incredibly thin plank of wood, to cut off less than a centimeter? Bad idea. As in, splinters-everywhere, mangled-wood bad. Tip two: try everything out on a sample piece when you’re new to a method, or new to a product. Keep in mind this is reclaimed wood, so it’s inherently delicate. Something like engineered wood may not have had this problem.

I used a box cutter to trim the pieces, which was relatively easy because I was going with the wood grain.

Box  cutter Stikwood-2

That large piece is an old project remnant I used to protect the table. The incredibly thin piece I’m holding is a piece of Stikwood

The rest were easy enough to cut down with the jig saw. I realized that the bottom of my sample piece was cleaner than the top when I first tried out a cut. I’d faced the splintering problem with my clothes rack too, but hadn’t realized that the bottom was better. So, tip three: to avoid splintering and chipping on the top of your wood surface (aka the part that will show), cut with the planks face down. Worked like a charm for the rest of my pieces.

Stikwood planks-2

After I had all the right sized planks (since it was a  staggered design, two rows had a 13cm-26cmx4-13cm configuration), it was amazingly easy. The adhesive strips at the back of the planks are really strong, and held on really well. Once that was done, I sealed it with a coat of water-based polycrylic. I don’t want anything happening to this table!

The weathered wood has gray and wood tones, and I love how it looks against the white table. It’s brightened up the seating area without being sterile, and I couldn’t be happier. Let’s do a comparison for fun, shall we?

Tvilum Samuel Coffee Table

Bleh

And after:

stikwood reclaimed weathered wood

I love the texture and grain.

Stikwood coffee table update reclaim weathered wood

One more quick thing – as you can see, I’m working on changing the blog design. More things may be tweaked in the next week, so don’t be surprised if something changes!

xo Rucha

Nooks and Crannies

Ever notice how there are parts of your home that usually go unnoticed, or are ignored? For us, that would be a little space across from both bedrooms. It’s a random corner outside our roommate’s bathroom that exists because of the storage closet built out from the wall. For the longest time, it was empty, and then I got that overlarge decorative table, which caused this:

Storage Corner

Yeah, it became a catch-all space for whatever was going on (in this case, I was boxing up some stuff to put away).

When I got the table I mentioned that I’d use it in our closet, but the clothes rack takes up a bunch of space while this would have no real function. So I figured this empty corner was the perfect blank canvas for a decorative space. A lot of the time, incorporating function into decor and design is key, so it was fun to not have to worry about that.  Since it’s a high traffic area, I wanted something simple and non-disruptive.

I would have loved to save the wood tones of the table and stain it, but there was some damage to the top.

Damaged Top

I learned after starting to paint that I could have scraped the entire top down to the bare wood, but I’m not exactly the most experienced woodworker. I decided to go ahead with the paint instead of sanding it down again. My primer coat wasn’t very thick, and the table needed 3 coats of paint – Sherwin Williams Westhighland White – before it was done. I also wanted to add a metallic touch (I’m obsessed – more on that later), so I had some fun with the feet.

Gold feet

I heart Rub n Buff.

I initially also planned to paint the carved pattern gold but it turned out to be impossible to get the gold paint in there, so I left it as it was.

Between the carving and the various curves in the legs, painting this piece was less than straightforward. So many nooks and crannies. Mainly the crannies.

But the end result was worth it.

Downstairs nook

Matt decided to hang up that photo there – it’s one he took of the Bay Bridge, that I had printed and mounted for his birthday. It’s been sitting around for more than a month while we debated where to hang it up, so it finally has a spot! I opted for LED lights instead of flowers because the cats are always hanging out on that table, and I hate keeping track of which plants are toxic to them (feels like they all are).

I think I’ll add a photo on the second wall soon, but right now seeing this makes me smile.

Bay Bridge photo and updated table

 

xo Rucha

Coffee Table Updates: The Final Plan

Stikwood reclaimed weathered wood planked wall

Source: Stikwood

Technological developments are a beautiful thing. I don’t just mean gadgets (although somehow I’m quite a bit more gadget-crazy than my tech-industry husband), but developments and innovation that make old school tasks that much simpler.

Enter Stikwood, the answer to my coffee table dilemma. I found it earlier this week while clicking around on Fancy.com, which is a black hole of pretty things I often can’t afford. Never let it be said that spending time on the internet is a waste – I wouldn’t find half the stuff I do if my 3rd hobby weren’t online browsing. On Fancy it said that Stikwood was $200, but when I went over to their site I realized it was priced per square foot. Glory glory hallelujah, I think I can make that work for my tiny coffee table.

So what is Stikwood? They have a collection of reclaimed and non-reclaimed wood planks that come with an adhesive backing. Goodbye liquid nails and nail guns – you can use these on pretty much any clean, primed surface. I love that the material is real wood, sustainable, eco-friendly and low-voc. I’m not the most careful when it comes to being environmentally friendly but I do try, and when something like this is staring me in the face, I can’t hate!

Their boards are thin (which is actually part of what makes them more sustainable than your average plank), but their customer service rep assured me that I could rip or cut one down to my liking, and seal it with water-based poly. They also give you the option of buying pre-sealed planks at an added $1/sqft which is awesome. I showed Matt their site today and he’s on board (pun unintended), so I’ll be placing an order soon. We just have to narrow down the color we want – we both really like the reclaimed weathered wood:

Stikwood reclaimed weathered wood

 

Source: Stikwood

Isn’t it gorgeous? I think it has enough gray in it to look fine against our charcoal Karlstad (or even against white covers, if I ever convince Matt to get them), but still look good against the white/ivory that I plan on painting the coffee table. This picture actually shows more gray in it; the planked wall above is a better representation of what it looks like.

There’s also a reclaimed weathered gray option but it has too little actual gray in it to be a practical choice for a table top that I’m pretty set on painting white or off-white:

Reclaimed weathered gray stikwood

 

Source: Stikwood

If we decide against the weathered options, my favorite is the black cherry:

Stikwood black cherry

 

Source: Stikwood

The red tones are beautiful, but they might be too much against the mostly-red and orange cushion fabric and copper accents we currently have going on in the living room.

I hope Stikwood is around in a few years when we buy a place because I can bet I’ll want to get a few different styles. I never realized I might like a planked kitchen island until I saw this:

Stikwood weathered white kitchen island

Source: Stikwood

I think the thinness of the planks allows the look to stay light and seamless rather than overly rustic. Seriously, they can have my money.

I’ll be placing an order tomorrow so keep an eye out for that project to (finally!) reach its conclusion.

xo Rucha

 

Coffee Table Ideas

Okay I lied. I wasn’t able to finish off the updates I mentioned. Can you tell I have some adjusting to do when it comes to my workout-cook-work-blog scheduling?

I went over some ideas I had in mind for the coffee table instead. I mentioned here that our coffee table needs some major sprucing up. The melamine is chipped and I’m not a fan of the brown-black, even though it does go pretty well with our Expedit.

This is just a clever photo

This is just a clever photo.

I want something that’s eye-catching but subtle. I know for sure that I want to paint the whole thing a off-white or ivory to begin with, and cover it with a wood tone top.

Source: Houzz

I mentioned in that post that I didn’t want to plank it, but I’m also not positive about just adding a new top and finishing it. By the way, I totally have a Jigsaw now, which may be the cause for my sudden ambition – my previous plan involved having Home Depot cut my plywood down to exactly what I needed. But with a Jigsaw, I can play around with ideas a little bit.

I spied Design Manifest’s gorgeous barn wood wall during the One Week Challenge, and loved how the staggered planks looked.

Source: Design Manifest

I’m not sure how great that will look with smaller pieces though. I can see a pattern like that looking great with narrower/shorter pieces – on a floor. Or even a wall. But while the staggered look and (hopefully) barely-there seams courtesy of my Jigsaw might get me the modern look, it doesn’t quite feel right.

Source: Design*Sponge

That, I found while going through old inspiration emails I’d saved. I saw that on Design*Sponge ages ago, and thought it was really cool. I don’t think  I can pull something like that off, but it’s certainly a fantastic source of inspiration (and maybe a project for 5 years down the road).

My finishing touch – which will really bring out the contrast between the creamy white and the dark wood top  – is going to be a bar top finish. I know Envirotex Lite has some good reviews, so that’s an option, though I’m concerned about getting a too-thick coating.

Source: Pinterest 

Look how glossy!

A less glossy but equally beautiful option is Tung oil, which I’ve heard is great for finishing wood. That idea is definitely a maybe because it depends on a) if I use real wood/plywood as opposed to veneer and b) if it’s safe for the cats.

Source: Pinterest

Considering how glossy the sheens are, maybe I should just worry less about the design of the top I end up deciding on.

I’m excited to tackle this one in the upcoming weeks!

xo Rucha

Bedroom Evolution: Storage solutions

Every time a long weekend comes up I tell myself I should get ahead on multiple projects. What generally ends up happening instead is that I make plans with people and go out to enjoy the weather or occasionally just veg out at home and relax. Tough life.

This past weekend I managed to carve out a little bit of time though, because the sheer irritation of climbing up a step stool to get my clothes finally caught up with me.

A few months back, when I first toyed with the idea of this blog, I bought some scrap wood off Craigslist on a whim. I didn’t use it for my mirror or nightstand projects, but it finally came in handy. The planks I had on hand were knotty and generally not in the best shape, but they were right for what I needed. This afternoon, after getting back from my first (and possibly last) spin class, I got to work staining the wood. I wanted something different from the Provincial shade, because our bedroom also has a Hemnes desk in gray-brown, and I didn’t want it to be the odd man out. Instead of buying a new stain, I mixed up a paint wash with one part water and one part Sherwin Williams Grays Harbor.

sneak peek-2

I used white hardware (spray painted white) to contrast against the gray wash, and added brass screws to keep with the warm tones.

Also, spray painting pipe is horrible and I might not ever do it again in my life.

I faced a problem at this point (of course!) The piece was somehow slightly top heavy and kept swaying. I just removed one of the planks from the top board to remedy that. I won’t really be needing that space for a ton of storage, and adding a top plank was mainly an aesthetic choice anyway. It was easy to remove one plank because they were simply held together by the metal brackets.

top view-2

I do love how the brass screws look, and I’m considering filling the rest of the holes with more.

assembled rack-2

Don’t mind the Catniss-bomb, she always gets in the way when I’m doing these things. She especially loves tiny screws, which is a lovely source of panic on my end.

I’ve yet to add casters to the bottom but those will go on when I move this into the closet. I’m also not the biggest fan of how the pipe tees look, so this project will probably be tweaked in the future. But for now, I’m just happy I have a space for my clothes that isn’t ten feet in the air.

xo Rucha

Age-Old DIY: Handicrafts

It’s been a while since my last post, and I owe that to jet-lag. Matt and I visited India and London a couple weeks ago. Rather, I flew off right after my conference ended and he joined me a week later. It’s been a crazy three weeks – I recovered from my jet-lag in India just in time to fly to London for a couple of days (for our anniversary, and to visit a dear friend), and then I spent the last week trying to keep my eyes open at work before coming home and collapsing in bed.

So here I am, freshly adjusted to the Pacific time zone, in time to share some of our haul from India. I hadn’t been back in a few years, and it was our first time there together after getting married, so we definitely got a lot of attention – and gifts. And the best thing about India is, you get a lot of lovely stuff that’s locally sourced and handcrafted. Basically, the kind of stuff everyone here swoons over, but anyone back East merely blinks at. Hand-crafting is an old art in India, and in some places, a tradition.

Hammered Copper handcrafted

We received this gorgeous set of hammered copper tea light holders, bought from Coppre in Pune, India. There’s a third, larger one that I haven’t figured out a placement for yet, but right now I’m happy with these two. The detail on them is stunning, and I probably want to retain the shine on them rather than letting them develop a patina.

hammered copper tea light holder

The globe in the center is carved bone, and we bought it from a small handicrafts store. It’s also a tea light holder, and the carved pattern yields pretty shadows when a candle is lit. Another score was from the same shop, but it’s an essential oil burner:

bone carved essential oil burner

 

I love the detail in the carvings; the leaves are veined and the curves are skillfully done. Mind you, these are all hand made.

bone carved tea light holder detail carving

_DSC0417

Adding these pieces to the living room/dining room table really spruced up the living area. I think it’s important to remember that the so-called DIY trend was preceded by people who made a living, or even just spent their private lives, making things with their bare hands. Even here in the U.S., there are plenty of craftsmen whose work should not be forgotten. The wooden trunk we have, for example, was made for us by Matt’s grandfather, and I’d be hard-pressed to find something like that in the market (well, unless it was handcrafted, perhaps!)

Incidentally, the only reason the coffee table has room for decor (or frankly, any room at all) is because I finally installed the mail/coat holder above said trunk. It only took me forever.

_DSC0424

Matt also spotted a pair of gorgeous coasters while we were shopping in India, that I snapped up because of the metallic finish and the fact that the pattern tied it to our rug (oh yeah, I switched out the rug). I don’t believe these are handcrafted, but I like the touch all the same.

lattice pattern coasters and woven rug

It feels good to have a room slowly come together. It takes time, but finds like these always remind me that hasty purchases are usually less worth it in the long run. I like interesting finds that mesh with my taste (and Matt’s), and and it’s always satisfying to bring them home and really make a space.

_DSC0410

xo Rucha

knubbig nightstand

Bedroom Evolution: Organizer Cube to Nightstand

When I got my job last year, it came with some perks, such as corporate discounts. One of the stores was Go-Organize, which was basically made for me. That’s where that organizer cube shown in the bedroom mood board came from. It worked fine in our previous apartment, which had a closet with shelves that could hold organizers and the like. Our current closet definitely doesn’t have shelves, and since we got rid of the nightstand from our old place, I just used the cube. Of course, the cube looks miserably bad as a nightstand, and something had to be done. I debated for a long time what I wanted to do; my initial idea was to build a door to the opening. But that would have also involved adding casters (can you imagine opening a nightstand door directly over wall to wall carpet? Eurgh) and the thin MDF wouldn’t have put up with much. So I decided to flip the cube on it’s side and add a hinged top.

I had some leftover wood from the mirror project, so I cut it down to size. It took ages. I think I might be in the market for a power saw, people.

hand saw wood

The organizer cube itself came apart easily, so I sanded down each side, and used one of the shelf inserts as a base for the planks. This insert was even thinner than the sides, so the planks came in really handy when it was time to screw in the hinges.

different size screwsCatniss screw

 

Catniss was terribly interested in the screws.

The screws that came with the hinge set were too long for the thin MDF, so I substituted shorter ones I had for the side that would go into the cube itself.

This part was a bit of a nightmare. Drilling in the holes was easy enough (you just tape off the drill bit where it should stop i.e. the length of the screw), but I somehow got my measurements wrong on the shelf insert/future nightstand top.

Hinges go in

You can see in that photo I’d already glued the planks on. I simply aligned them to make sure things were more or less right – I say more or less because hand sawing is far from accurate, and some of my cuts were a little angled. I also think the planks moved a little when I glued them, resulting in all four being slightly off, but it wasn’t too bad. Also for those of you wondering – I plan on storing things in here that won’t be used frequently, so the hinged door won’t necessitate constant displacement of whatever’s on top.

My next hurdle came in the form of painting/sealing. Staining the wood planks went perfectly smoothly, I used the same Minwax Provincial as I did for the mirror. I debated over the paint color for ages. I thought of making it a really deep purple to complement the headboard, but I slowly started dreaming up different color schemes for the room itself. More on that later.

I finally settled on Sherwin Williams Grays Harbor (though I did get a sample of Black Swan as well, a wonderfully deep, rich, purple). What my sleep-deprived, post-workday brain didn’t notice until I got home is that the paint store guy thought I was pointing to the color a step down from Grays Harbor – Dark Night. At first I went with it, it’s a pretty gorgeous color, and on the paint chip it reads a deep navy with hints of green. It looked really good painted on as well (I failed to take photos here). Then I tried sealing everything. Here’s a tip: when you read about expensive but good quality brushes for polyurethane or polycrylic, DON’T assume that a cheaper brush will do. The polycrylic went on decently over the stained wood, but got horribly streaky over the paint. Part of it, I think, was also due to some of the texture of the nightstand itself. I ended up hating how the sealed paint looked, so I sanded everything down to the first coat.

At this point I figured what the hell, and went out and got myself a sample (a quart!) of Grays Harbor. It went on like a dream, and looked gorgeous. And then, after a week of ignoring my project other than sniffing around a bit, one of the cats – Catniss of course – decided to jump in and knock it off the stool. A bottom corner was chipped – not just the paint, mind – and there were two giant scratches on the side.

By then, I really wished I’d bought a nightstand from Target. Hence the photography post from Monday.

I slept on it, and the next day, touched it up and sealed it with finishing wax rather than polycrylic. I also knew from the beginning that the front of the nightstand would look too plain without some sort of hardware or accent, so I added some nailhead trim. And finally, finally, it worked out.

Sherwin Williams Grays Harbor Nightstand

You can see from the shadow that the planks aren’t aligned perfectly, and the nailhead trim is a little wonky (next time I think I’ll go for upholstery nails throughout rather than the pre-made ribbon of trim), but I love it. The gray looks perfect against our walls and the top looks gorgeous.

Catniss polycrylic planked nightstand

All in all, this project really took some work but hey, I have stronger arms for it and a story to tell. And of course, a beautiful nightstand.

knubbig nightstand

xo Rucha