Flower Power

My new bedding arrived and is kicking it on my bed. That’s right. It’s here!! I spent a good, long time looking at this duvet cover on West Elm’s website before biting the bullet. Somethings I can buy on a whim, somethings I need to fully digest before I splurge. Bedding in my room would set the entire context for the space. It would be a huge design element. The design element in my room, actually. Because you walk into my room and stare straight at my bed, the linens covering said bed are the only thing you see. So not only did they need to make an impression, but they needed to strike the right balance between harmonizing with rest of my things and creating excitement. Because my walls are a warm, pale green I wanted to go darker. I feel like most blog pictures have white bedding and white walls and white curtains. That’s just not me. I love color, I love boldness, I love excitement!

 

I bought the plain white bedding I have on my bed currently from IKEA when I was in college. I thought it would be light, clean, easy to wash. Little did I know that I am no good at keeping white, white. The bedding stayed on my bed in my parents house while I lived in Boston. When I got home it was covered in stains. Thanks, family. After I lived with it for a few weeks, I realized it just made me feel like a slob. I drink a lot of tea and I drink a lot of tea in bed. I also spill a lot of tea on things. Tea stains on my white bedding? You betcha. It just had to go. It didn’t look terrible. In fact, no one could actually notice it. But I new it was there. I knew that the duvet cover faced the direction it did so that little stain was down against the sheets, I knew the throw at the end of the bed was so folded to hide the chocolate stain from that ice cream sundae I ate in bed. I can hide these things from others, but not myself, and I was over it.

 

Gold Sequin Throw Pillows | Land of Laurel

 

Having tried the whole white linens thing and had it fail for my personal lifestyle, I knew what my criteria for new bedding should look like. First, something dark in color. Second, something with pattern. I wanted something with green to go with my room and something that would mesh well with gold accents. In particular, I wanted something that had multiple shades of green, but incorporated a few other colors which would allow for more interest in the room. I don’t have any grey tones in my home, so it needed to be warm colors and not cool. My wooden headboard is pretty dark, so the bedding needed to be light enough to pop against the dark, wood tones. Lastly, I wanted to be excited about it! I wanted to look at my bed and think, “Wow!”

 

So after months of looking at the Garden Trellis bedding at West Elm, it went on sale, and I bit the bullet. I bought the duvet cover and three euro pillow cases. This bedding just fits all my categories. Dark enough to hide a tiny tea stain, but light enough to pop against my headboard. Colorful! The bedding uses three shades of green, so pretty much anything green I already had would it go with it. Plus, the bedding has liberal dashes of two different reds (my absolute favorite color!), bits of baby blue, and splashes of white. This allows me to branch out from my palette of greens with a good direction. I always recommend finding something to set the tone of a room — a painting, a scarf, bedding, a throw pillow– anything that allows you to pull colors from it and use it as a basis of color design. This bedding is my basis of design for this room. It’s exciting and fun and encourages me to bring in splashes of other colors. It’s red and green and doesn’t scream “Christmas!” that in and of itself is a small miracle! This bedding is backed by a really warm neutral tone that falls somewhere in between grey and brown. It might lean slightly more grey, but just barely. It is basically perfect and checked every item off my list. Plus, I kind of love the floral! It’s more feminine than I would normally go, but it’s kind of a spunky feminine with a sassy flair. It’s not your mother’s floral.

 

Garden Trellis Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

Isn’t it just smashing? I absolutely love it. I adore the splashes of red. I makes me what to incorporate more reds in the room. Yay! Now, I still need to get on and hang some real art on these walls and find some storage for my books, but It finally feels like I’m getting somewhere! Like this room is actually going places. Places I want to go! Did it take me six months? Yes. But who is counting? It’s the destination, not the journey right?

 

New Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

One other thing I did that was a little crazy? I bought the duvet cover in a king size. My bed is a queen. They still had queen size in stock when I ordered, but I decided to try something a little insane. My old white duvet didn’t cover the metal legs of the bed. Not that they were terrible or anything, but I wanted something longer. Something that would not only cover the metal legs of the bed frame I’m not crazy about. Plus, since my room is small, I take full advantage of that under-bed space for piles of random, unorganized crap storage. To take the photo above I had to move some of my things out from under the bed so it looked clean. In reality, there are things down there I don’t want to have to stuff into my closet every time someone comes to visit. So I did the unthinkable. I bought a king sized duvet for my queen bed. Which meant I also had to buy a new comforter. Oops. Look how it turned out, though! It’s perfect. It just barely touches the floor. It looks great. It hides all the things I have stored beneath the bed. You don’t even know they’re under there! It’s really fantastic. If you have similar under-bed storage issues, I highly recommend giving upsizing your comforter a try.

 

Garden Trellis Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

My room is starting to blossom! It’s making me excited and happy. This bedding is kicking my butt into gear. I’ve been brainstorming ideas on how to transform my room into a colorful garden oasis. The solution? Way more plants! I love how my parlor palm is sneaking its way into that shot above. Very jungle-y. My constant issue with book storage is, of course, still in the back of my mind. But, I’ve already made progress on #OperationNoMoreDecorativeLamps. Can’t wait to show you how that’s looking! Until then I’ll just keep staring at my bed like a love sick puppy, ok? Adding a little bit of flower power has totally spiced up this bedroom.

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Guy for a Long-Time Friend

There is a thrift store pretty close to my house. It’s about a half-block out of my way when I’m walking home from BART after work. I won’t say what it’s called, because, to be perfectly honest, it’s not all that great of a thrift store. (Seriously where are the best furniture/accessory thrift stores in the Bay Area? Do you know??? TELL ME!!) Every now and then I’ll stop by though and see what’s there. I whole-heartedly agree with Katie from Bower Power that all thrift stores have a strength zone. This thrift store’s strength is clothes and toys. Neither of which I need much of. But, sometimes, walking home from work, a girl’s gotta see what’s what.

A few weeks ago, I’d strolled through the entire store and saw a pretty cool lamp. I liked its shape quite a lot– simple, rounded, contemporary– but I didn’t really have a place for a single lamp. I returned to browsing, and then, standing across the room, I noticed there was a second, matching lamp! The first lamp had a brother!  They were marked at $10 each and they were a hideous brown color. HIDEOUS. Now, $10 isn’t exactly pocket change for a lamp that probably doesn’t even work, but I thought, “Hey, why not?” I needed lamps for our living room which has some horrible (sorry roommates!) glass side tables, but nothing on them to give them more presence. So I hopped on those lamps like a tiger on a steak!

As I was walking to the check out — gripping my lamps by their necks like strangled chickens (is that simile graphic enough?!), I happened upon a small nightstand with fun curvy lines. What was this?? About a month before this, I’d actually spent the day thrifting (and donut snacking!) with my friend Hannah looking for a nightstand to make-over for her bedroom. Hannah wanted something with good lines, some fun turned elements that she could paint a fun color. We had gone to several places (remind me to write about how to spend an entire way thrifting and snacking through Berkeley and Oakland!), but hadn’t found anything that suited her needs. I set my lamps down on the nightstand, guarding these treasures like a dog, and pulled out my phone to text Hannah this picture.

Thrift Store Lamps and Nightstand

Hannah, of course, loved it, and for $10 dollars, she’d take it. I happily danced the rest of my way to the checkout and bought all three finds. At this point, I actually walked the rest of the way home carrying my new strangled chickens lamps. I then grabbed my car and headed back to the thrift store, because as much as I like to test my upper body strength, there was no way I was going to try carrying the nightstand home!

As I was loading the nightstand into the car, I cursed myself for my rookie mistake. I had not thoroughly looked at the nightstand before I bought it. The little guy wasn’t solid wood like I’d assumed. It was a mix of plywood, cheap pine, and MDF. Ugh. Plus, there was pretty bad moisture damage to the plywood back legs. Why hadn’t I taken a closer look?! Grrrr. I cursed myself. But, I had already bought it and the store didn’t take returns, so I decided to pretend to be an optimist and make the best out of the situation.

When I got a chance to work on the nightstand, I accessed the state of the piece, and concluded that I and the world of DIY could save this little guy. From the front, he actually looked pretty dang good!

Nightstand front view

From the side you could start to see some of the moisture damage…

Nightstand Side View

And from behind, you could completely access the damage. 😦 He definitely wasn’t a looker, this little guy!

La Chanelle

P.S. I tried to look up La Chenelle, but when it wasn’t immediately obvious, I gave up. I’m lazy like that. Let me know if you’ve heard of them?

When I zoom in, you can see that these back legs did NOT look good. I was worried…

Moisture Damage Legs

But back to the little guy’s DIY: first I wiped him completely down with an old wet projects sponge I keep around for this express purpose. Then I grabbed a pair of slip joint pliers and tightened the bolts that hold the pretty legs on. The front legs are by far my favorite piece of this dresser and I was happy they were so easily attached and not damaged like the back ones!

Tightening the legs

Oddly, once I turned him over the little guy had staples everywhere. I assume they once held something on, but at this point they were worthless and annoying.

Staples

I removed the staples in a quick minute with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Needle Nose Pliers Staples

And yes, my pliers are pink. My father bought them for me. Apparently he thought I’d prefer that… Crazy old people! Just kidding. 😛

After that, I gave the little guy a decent sanding where needed. The sides were a bit bumpy towards the bottom from the moisture. A little sanding cleaned them up though. Once he was sanded, I got out my wood glue. Elmer’s = life long adhesive ❤

Wood Glue

Because I am not known for my poise and restraint, I just squeezed a ton of wood glue on the crappy looking parts.

Wood Glue on Leg

I’d picked up these small clamps the last time I was at Home Depot, so I decided to put them to use. Where the plywood had expanded and split from the moisture damage, I glued and clamped.

Wood Glue and Clamp

This held the plywood together in a position more similar to what it’d originally been. Since plywood is really just strips / pieces of wood glued together, I figured this really wasn’t any different. Plus, what did I have to lose? I left nightstand upside down and clamped like this overnight.

In the meantime, I turned my limited attention span to the drawers. That hardware was coming off! Hannah wanted to replace the pulls with some fun knobs from Anthropologie or World Market.

Nightstand Drawers

I placed the drawer fronts towards the ground and unscrewed the hardware. This is a really easy fix if you ever want to update a piece of furniture. New knobs add so much personality! Removing the hardware from these drawers took less than five minutes.

Unscrewing Nightstand Pulls

Once the hardware was unscrewed, the pulls popped right off. Super easy! There was some guck on the drawer fronts though, so I wiped that right off with a sponge. After that, except for the wholes, you couldn’t even tell there were once pulls on these drawers!

Guck under Hardware

I left everything and pretended I have a life outside of DIY for  a bit. The next day, I pulled the clamps off back legs of the little guy. They looked SO MUCH BETTER you guys! They looked almost totally normal and I knew with a coat of paint, you’d hardly notice at all. Except for the gaping holes! But whatever! I’d regenerated plywood! This was too exciting / such a freakin’ relief for me to worry about the gaping holes!

Reglued Plywood

Remember what they looked like before?!

Moisture Damage Legs

SO MUCH BETTER!!! Once I’d finished my twirling my happy dance around the courtyard, I decided to do something about those minor huge gaping holes in the little guy’s back legs. With that in mind, I tossed open my big canvas painter’s cloth and pinned it up to protect the courtyard area. I grabbed my wood filler and started filling in the scratches and gaps on the nightstand.

Wood Filler

I wear gloves and a mask when I do that because wood filler smells like cancer Seriously. it stinks stinks stinks!

Applying Wood Glue

While I was at it, I filled the holes from the drawer hardware as well.

Wood Filler on Hardware Holes

Make sure you lump a whole bunch of wood filler in holes like these. You want it to be bumpy now so you can sand it down to smooth later. Once I’d filled the biggest scratches and gaps I waited for the wood filler to dry, then sanded the entire dresser again, making sure the spots I’d wood filled were nice and smooth.

Sanding Wood Filler

Then I wiped the nightstand down again, but this time I used liquid deglosser. Since the little guy wasn’t solid wood I hadn’t wanted to sand him too hard and I thought this would be good in the nooks and crannies of the nightstand’s details that are always so hard to sand down!

Liquid Deglosser

After that, he was looking pretty good and I was ready to paint!!! I’m actually always ready to paint. I love painting! Before I could get anywhere near the little guy, I needed to tape off some areas. I didn’t want to paint the sides of the drawers, because this can mess with the opening and closing glide. I taped the edges of the drawers and used one of my roommates’s old issue of The Economist to cover the larger areas.

Prepping to Paint Nightstand

The little guy was looking pretty decent actually. I was so relieved that I’d managed to save the moisture damaged nightstand. Now, with a bit of primer and paint, I didn’t expect to notice the little guy’s humble beginnings at all!

Have you ever saved plywood from moisture damage? Did it work? Are you as excited as I am about saving this nightstand from a watery grave?!