Craigslist Find

Finding items on Craigslist for far below retail can be exciting and an affordable way to furnish a home.  I hate paying retail for something that I know I can get at a discount and also I like the idea of reusing something that would otherwise be considered “trash.”

I had a nook in my family room where I wanted to put a desk but the desks that I found online were just too big, so I thought I’d head over to Ana White’s site to find some plans to make my own desk.  Of course I found what I was looking for but with the holidays, I put off the project.  At the same time, I did my regular check on Craigslist to find out what was out there and came across the PERFECT desk for $75 (much cheaper than even building a desk).  So, I grabbed my husband and we checked it out.  It was just the right size but had a few scratches on the chair that came with it, so the seller knocked the price down to $50 which was great!

Here is the nook before the desk (and before the installation of the  baseboards):

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And here it is with the desk:

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The desk opens up which we don’t use that often since we use a laptop which just sits on top of the desk.  But here’s a shot with the desk opened up:

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I added a 3×5 area rug that I picked up from Target to help with scuffing the new floors.  I think it goes well enough with our “Y” rug but I’m still on the hunt for something that goes better.

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I’m happy with my find since I got a desk AND a chair for $50 and didn’t have to break out all my tools and spend a couple hours making a desk.   The size and look are perfect as well as the price.  Score!

For ideas on how to find the best deals on Craigslist, YHL has a great post.  I’d also add that everyone has their quirks on what they won’t buy (used mattresses!) and will buy on Craigslist and I personally don’t buy upholstered furniture on Craigslist since I have kids and dogs and I know how gross upholstered furniture can get.  Besides, I am a major germ freak which definitely plays into that!  That being said, I know lots of people who do buy used couches and chairs from Craigslist and that are super-happy about their find.  It just depends on you!  Happy Craigslisting!

Making a Mantle

So after a long hiatus, I finally have a chance to post some of the living room projects that I’ve completed.  The mantle was the one that I liked doing the most.  After painting 24/7, it’s fun to do something different (even if it still involves a paint brush).  I wanted a custom mantle for our newly painted fireplace but didn’t want to shell out the cash since I knew it would be expensive, so I headed over to my local building reclamation shop to see if I could find some inspiration.  I like to go to Community Forklift (www.communityforklift.com) in Edmonston, MD because it’s a huge warehouse chock full of recycled building materials.  There are thousands of doors, cabinets from full kitchens, tons of wood, antique elements, and many other finds.  What I was most interested in were slabs of wood since I knew I could fashion a mantle out of an interesting piece of wood.  So I found this beauty and like the nerd I am I was in love with it as soon as I saw it:

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I like this piece because it was the right length and I loved the highly grained quality of the wood.  I wanted to highlight the grain and not hide it with two much “product” so I tried stain and also lacquer on a a sample piece with the following results:

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The top (the tip of the wood) is a dark wood stain and the bottom is a clear lacquer.  I really liked the lacquer because I wanted something glossy that allowed the grain of the wood to pop and lacquer fit the bill perfectly.  I didn’t know that much about lacquer before I used it, so I don’t want to say that it was a crapshoot whether it would turn out the way I wanted, but it was :).  I painted about 8 coats of lacquer using a soft wide brush and allowed the coats to dry for at least 3 hours in between coats.  I wanted the piece to be GLOSSY and look wet so I just kept painting until I achieved that result.  But after all that painting I found that the bad thing about lacquer is that it REALLY smells, like the kind of smell that stays in your nose with you all day so use a fan to blow the fumes away from you and don’t paint in an enclosed area unless you like a major paint high and/or a killer headache!

So after three days of painting and then cutting it down to size, *ta da* the mantle now looks like this:

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The underside:

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Not to be too designer-geeky but, I liked keeping the mantle looking rustic against the modern white brick of the fireplace to add some textural interest giving the two elements a nice juxtaposition.   I kept the bark on the mantle to give it even more texture and it also made the mantle look more organic since the bark kind of curves a little making the mantle bow in the middle.  The  mantle also ties into the beams on the ceiling nicely.  This is definitely a project I recommend doing since it was cheap (it was $100 total to include the slab of wood, the lacquer, and the material to hold up the mantle) and it looks great!

Short Post: Rug Deal!

I loved the green chevron rug that I posted on Sunday when I did the mood board for my family room but because I’m trying to fit my makeover within a budget, I thought it was too expensive (I don’t like to spend over $500 on ANY rug).  So, it was relegated to my wish list.  It was listed on Overstock.com for $763.20, almost $300 above my limit.

But, STOP THE PRESSES, I just found it on Joss and Main for $440.90, $60 under my budget!  It is the same exact rug so I feel like I just got a deal and I wanted to share!