Filling in Some Gaps

The Gingerbread Diaries

In the face of simplify this, downsize that, and the small house trend, there’s a reason Todd and I were looking for a home with at least 2,000 square feet: we like our stuff.

We’re both collectors of one sort or another. For Todd it’s games and books, for me it’s art supplies, shoes, and books. And the monkeys, but that’s a story for another day. So the fact that the Dollhouse clocks in at 2,902* sq ft was a definite check in the plus category. (For comparison’s sake, our current rental is 1,571 sq ft and we definitely feel the pinch. If it weren’t for the additional 400 sq ft in the garage we’d be sunk!)

Now, with a space upgrade equivalent to my last apartment it might seem like we’ll have bare rooms once we get moved in. I think it’s more a case of our stuff will expand to fit the space since, room for room, we’re right at what we need:


First Floor:

Living Room
Front Room
Back Room
Dining Room
Screened Porch
Utility Room

Second Floor:

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2
Bedroom 3

[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]

(current house equivalent)

Living Room
Dining Room as Library
My Office
Breakfast Nook as Dining Room/Bar
Hall (Guest) Bath
Garage (Todd’s tools, etc.)
Garage (W/D, chest freezer)


Our Bedroom
new space!
Todd’s Office
“Master” Bath


*If we count the Tallahassee garage, though, it’s only fair to count the 300 sq ft of the screen porch at the Dollhouse, which will hold Todd’s tools and so forth until we buy or build him a proper workshop on the property. But the space increase still stands.

We are getting an honest-to-goodness guest room, but we already have a spare bed stored in the garage. This room connects to ours and will serve as additional closet space (I’ve already ordered 6 MULIGs to make up for the minuscule closets up there, until we find out a more circumspect solution). So even the “new” room already has commitments on its floor space.

It’s actually the dining room that we are lacking–my little 4-person table and chair set (also from IKEA, purchased 7 years ago) was going to look very sad and lonely in that 14’x14′ room and was actually far better suited to hanging out in the kitchen as an additional work space/island. My working plan had been to keep one of the folding tables in there as a placeholder, but after this past weekend we don’t have to!

Thrifted Table and Chairs for $50 (the leaves are leaning against the wall near the window)

Thrifted Table and Chairs for $50 (the leaves are leaning against the wall near the window)

If we’re friends on Facebook you may have already seen this picture, but we scored 6 dining chairs and a table with 3 leaves for a whopping $50 at the charity shop down the street. We’re not hardcore thrift shoppers or garage sale folks by any means, but we decided to stop into the Halcyon Home Store when we noticed it was open (on our weekly trip to Lowes, before the summer’s out I predict they’ll start recognizing us). We’d been talking about Todd maybe building our dining room table, but even that would have cost double in materials, plus the time, plus still needing chairs to go around it. And this table met all our must-haves in the process:

  • 7′ long (with 2 leaves it should be right around that, and then we’ve got an extra foot to spare if we really need it)
  • Wide enough to have an “aisle” for platters, etc. when there are place settings on either side
  • Curved corners so if we need to we could squeeze 4 more people around it
  • And the chairs are nice and sturdy as well as being comfortable

There’s not really anything in the way of markings on the table or chairs to show who made them. I sincerely doubt they’d fit the distinction of vintage, much less antique, but they were the perfect size and price when we needed them and I’m looking forward to the next big family dinner or game night around that table!

They even helped us carry our loot home!

They even helped us carry our loot home!

While at Halcyon (which, by the way, is a non-profit shop, proceeds going to support local battered women’s shelters) we also found 2 barrel chairs with caned back/seats that will go nicely in the library.

New paint and these will be perfect!

New paint and these will be perfect!

They all need a little work: refinishing the table and tightening the legs, eventually reupholstering the chairs, and a new coat of paint for the barrel chairs, but all in all it was a fabulous deal and the one thing we really needed for the house.

Now to get everything else moved in! (Once the contractor’s have to finish the exterior repairs… but that’s another post.)

Oh, and a sneak peek of what else I worked on this weekend when we were up at the house:

Monogrammed mailbox in progress!

Monogrammed mailbox in progress!


Guest Appreciation: A Seat for Every Seat

64 Arts, Projects

With one foot still in carpentry we’re going to take a half-step towards the next art for this next project before fully immersing ourselves in

37 House Furnishings and Decorations

When we entertain it’s important that all of our guests have a spot—be it to stand or sit really depends on what type of gathering you’re having. As most of our get-togethers involve a meal or playing games (not of the sporty type), having seats for everyone becomes kind of important to the size of our gathering.

I’ve rented chairs for big parties, and happily do so since the cost is low and it saves us having to store them. We have a couple of folding chairs in the garage that we can bring out for the occasional extra keister or two, but they don’t sit as high as the rest of the dining room chairs, so it’s not the best solution for large family dinners.

Ergo, it’s time to make over my $3 chair.

My $3 side-of-the-road antique store chair.

My $3 side-of-the-road antique store chair.

I bought this chair from a little antique shop that’s no longer in business and, yes, paid a whopping $3 for it. The original plan was to clean it up (it still had a seat then) and use it as a spare chair in my sparsely furnished apartment. That didn’t happen, so it’s spent it’s life in multiple garages and storage rooms until the seat’s rotted out and it’s collected more cobwebs than I really want to think about.

So when I started stripping the antique school desk to refinish it, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone, and save myself some grief.

Well, that’s not exactly how things worked.

After the first round of stripping and scouring, the chair didn't look that much different!

After the first round of stripping and scouring, the chair didn’t look that much different!

The first round of stripping and sanding barely made a dent in the paint and varnish combo on the chair, so then next weekend I tried again with a heavier stripping pad and even a scraper. I still only got partway through the finish and, by that point, I was so very over this process.

And I reminded myself it was only a $3 chair.

New plan! Screw the refinishing, let’s just paint the sucker. I started out with 2 coats of matte-finish spray paint in a dark brown as an undercoat.

After 2 rounds of stripping and scraping and sanding and 2 coats of paint, it sorta looks like where we started. Not for long!

After 2 rounds of stripping and scraping and sanding and 2 coats of paint, it sorta looks like where we started. Not for long!

That’s where things are right now, since the weather isn’t exactly cooperating—it’s been either too cold or too wet to get any more painting done, plus I need Todd to cut a new seat for the chair and fashion new braces for the legs.

(The brace being the cross-piece between the front and back legs. One was missing when I bought the chair, and we were unable to find any turned braced the right size or length to match, so we’re going to sub in a round dowel rod with the ends cut to fit the existing holes, and go from there.)

The pieces for the rest of the makeover: 3/4" plywood and 2 " foam for the seat, and a 1-inch dowel for the braces.

The pieces for the rest of the makeover: 3/4″ plywood and 2 ” foam for the seat, and a 1-inch dowel for the braces.

Once the new seat and braces are cut, the entire chair will get a coat of a light blue paint and then I’ll distress the edges so that the brown underlayer shows through a bit (like this project from Crane Farms, but not quite as distressed). I thought about using a crackle medium, but didn’t want something quite so shabby chique as all that. Instead I’ll go for simple distressing for a nice aged look.

Then I’ll seal it to prevent more paint than I want from coming loose.

I’ve also picked up some thick foam to cushion the seat with. I’ll cut it to the needed size and shape, bevel the top edges so it’ll look prettier, and then cover the seat with some plush, dark-brown microsuede (I’ve got an entire bolt of the stuff from another project that went nowhere).

Theoretically this chair will match the triptych I painted for the living room (of our last house) that now hangs above our television. The chair probably won’t live in our current living room, but at least it’ll look nice when we bring it out for guests (though I keep starting at a particular corner wondering if I could make it fit with the desk.

This is a rough mock-up of how I see the chair ending up. We'll see how close reality is to idea.

This is a rough mock-up of how I see the chair ending up. We’ll see how close reality is to idea.

Obviously I’m not done with this project, but I want to stay on track with the blog schedule I laid down for myself, so next week we’ll be talking about another facet of home decorating. Once the chair project is done I’ll post that update on the nearest Thursday.

Cool? Cool.

Carpets are Clean!

Everyday Adventures

And I am tired. It’s nice to know that I can move 90% of my furniture on my own, but still… I think a new bookcase is definitely in order, though. In moving stuff around it became painfully obvious that I have a bunch of books that have no shelf space to speak of. Now they are mostly stacked on, under and around my bedside tables and while that’s all well and good, it’s not a permanent solution. So this weekend, I think I shall go look for another 5-shelf bookcase and put it along the dining room wall where the current 2-shelf one sits between a three and the bar. That 2-shelf will then, I think, get moved underneath the framed painting on the opposite wall. There’s enough clearance there to still have enough room to move through to the kitchen and it’ll balance the area nicely, I think. Limits my options for party flow, but not entirely as that flat surface can be utilized as necessary.