Browsing articles in "DIY Tutorials"
Sep 26, 2011

A Redesigned Breakfast Nook!

Hi, Pretty Tasty Things readers! I’m super excited to show you what I did with my time off from work. If you didn’t know, I took a week off because I needed a break, plus I wanted to do a few things around the house. So, my vacation was technically a “staycation” since I did not go anywhere special and more work than relaxation since I didn’t lay on my butt all week. The biggest accomplishment I am completely thrilled about is redesigning our kitchen/breakfast nook. It took about about 4 days to complete it from start to finish, 2 days painting and 2 days re-finishing the bistro table. It probably shouldn’t have taken me that long for the table, but I was new to it! After all is said and done, I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

As a friendly reminder, here is the BEFORE of our kitchen. The paint on the walls were a yellow-greenish color. They weren’t horrible, but they were bothering me so bad. The pot holder in the breakfast nook hung very too low. The wood on the bistro table didn’t compliment anything, plus I had no seats for the bistro table. The space wasn’t decorated at all.

So here is the AFTER! Beautiful, isn’t it?! The walls are now a “turtle dove” something more calming and refreshing for the kitchen, which is a very light and pale seafoam green. The table top is newly sanded and stained with a dark walnut. The barstools were purchased from World Market. The pot holder was brought up higher. The breakfast nook was simply decorated to our taste. LOVE IT!

The first thing I wanted to do when redesigning my breakfast nook is to re-stain the bistro table I purchased through Craigslist for a mere $40. Mind you this was my first attempt to re-finish furniture and I’m proud to say it turned out great. I had some help from Young House Love. They made their own 13-foot counter! But here were my steps when refinishing wood:

1. Sanding the varnish is first and foremost. Most furniture you purchase comes with pre-stained wood. There are two ways to remove it. One, you can use chemicals to remove the finish. Since I’m not that familiar with doing so that way, I decided to do it the second way — manually with my inexpensive Black and Decker sander equipped with an 80-grit sandpaper. It’s important to use a low number grit paper in order to remove all the varnish or else the stain won’t set in. Test a small area to make sure you’ve sanded enough. If so, use a 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the top over. Afterwards, remove all the dust with a damp paper towel. Let dry.

2. Pre-condition the wood. I purchased a can of “pre-stain” conditioner by Minwax. This supposedly helps create an even stain and prevents blotchiness. Using a bristle brush, just apply an even layer. Let it dry completely. *Read the directions though for thorough instructions.

3. Staining the wood. Once the wood has dried, use a bristle brush to stain the wood. Let the stain sit for a minute and remove any excess stain with a cloth towel or T-shirt. I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain and needed only one coat. I didn’t want it too dark. Let it dry completely overnight.

4. Polyurethane the wood. Last step is to create a seal and finish of the stain. Apply a layer of the polyurethane with a bristle brush. You can apply a second later if you want. I choose not to since I didn’t want it too shiny. Be sure to let it dry completely in a non-damp location, preferably not in a basement. It won’t dry! Trust me.

Look at this beauty. Took about a day and a half to finish it completely, but it was well-worth the trouble. This table would have cost well over $200, but it set me back only $80 with materials and table.

I added my cute salt + pepper paper bird shakers from Anthropologie given to us as a wedding gift from Gretchen. Perfect for the table!

I painted the entire kitchen myself! I taped off all the trim and painted the walls as if I was truly professionally. I decided to go with Behr’s Turtle Dove paint color in a semi-gloss. Yes, you can say it’s a little light, but it’s absolutely perfect for us. It actually makes the kitchen feel larger. The dark wood and the metal details compliments the wall paint so well. I’m in love with it!

As a temporary fix, we left the pot hanger there. We plan on moving it over the stove, but we just don’t know how to move it and ensure it won’t fall! So, we just moved the hooks higher up so that the rack is closer to the ceiling creating more headroom. It works for the time being.

Our nook came with a ledge, so I decorated the space with things I already had laying around in boxes. I printed out some of my favorite photos that we’ve taken for Pretty Tasty Things and placed them in 99 cent photo frames from IKEA. The chalkboards were actually from our wedding. I had made a menu board for the bar and kept it in storage since the wedding. We took it apart and use it in our nook. Not only was it nostalgic for us, it brought a vintage aspect to the décor. I also had placed two white vases I found at a thrift store a while back and vintage wooden letterpresses from our wedding.

Lastly, as you recall, I did a blog post requesting for help on choosing the right pair of barstools. As you can guess, we decided to go with the rustic, backless barstools from World Market. I don’t think they sell them anymore, so I’m glad we bought them when we did. They’re absolutely beautiful. The stools definitely reflect the style of the breakfast nook and are, no joke, pretty comfy. Plus, they’re the perfect height!

Thanks for visiting our redesigned breakfast nook! I hope this brings you some inspiration if you’re thinking about re-finishing a piece of furniture or wanting to redo your kitchen with some inexpensive touches. It took some time, but it was well worth it. I just love my new kitchen!!

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Sep 2, 2011

Barstool Dilemma for our “new” Craigslist Bistro Table

Hello readers! So it’s been a while, huh? Well, apparently Hurricane Irene did cause some damage to the Richmond area so the Canfield casa is without power since last Saturday afternoon. So luckily, my sister just got her power back and now I’m sitting at her place wishing we had power. For the mean time, I wanted to do this quick post requesting some advice from my readers on which barstool you think would go with our new (new to us) bistro table.

Last week, I found this bistro table on Craigslist for a whopping $40! These bistro tables aren’t cheap so I definitely jumped on this amazing deal. I don’t mind the leg base color, but I plan on staining the tabletop to a darker wood making it more rustic.

Stain: So we decided to use the Minwax Wood Finish Stain Dark Walnut. I found an image of a desser showing what the stain would look like. I just love how the dark wood contrast against the white so well. This is exactly what I’m going for. We haven’t stained the tabletop yet, but I’m hoping for this outcome. Besides sanding and using polyurethane afterwards, do you have any advice for me?

Bistro Table: Here is our 40 dollar investment. Gotta love Craigslist! If you’re patient, you’ll find some great finds there. The bistro table is the perfect size for our nook. Right now, our kitchen is unfinished. We still need to paint the walls, add some art and move the pot rack to a different location. I think once I get the table and barstools, I’ll have a better idea of how to decorate the kitchen.

Here are the two barstool options I’m leaning towards. Let me know what your favorite is by leaving a comment below.

Option 1: Cargo barstool from World Market. I like the industrial, rustic feel of this barstool. I feel once we stain the tabletop, the steel will compliment the colors of the bistro table. I also like how these can be tucked underneath the table allowing more room in the breakfast nook.

Option 2: Aluminum brushed barstool. I also like this option. It’s completely the opposite from the cargo barstools, it’s more refined and modern, but I feel it would look just as good. I do like how this option has a back to the barstool, making it more comfortable in the long run.

So, here’s my barstool dilemma…I appreciate your advice on this! If anyone knows me, I’m a little indecisive on decorating. So any help, would be appreciated! Let me know what you think. Should I even consider a different option?

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Apr 14, 2011

How to Make a Moss Monogram

I want to incorporate more DIY tutorials into Pretty Tasty Things, so I was searching through my favorite websites last night and found a simple tutorial on “How to make a moss monogram.” I found this on HGTV online and thought how perfect this would be for a wedding especially for the bride and groom’s initials or could even be placed on the dinner tables except with numbers. HGTV also showcased the moss monogram as decoration for the home during Easter. Either way, this is something that is affordable and can be done in advance. The steps are pretty simple, too. It’s essentially hot gluing moss to a craft letter. You can find the moss and buds at Michaels or another craft store in your area. I found the letters at Paper-Source for less than $4 each:

oversized chipboard letter
hot glue gun
hot glue sticks
reindeer moss
artificial sprig with buds

1. Glue moss to letter. Preheat the glue gun. Once hot, apply glue to the letter in small sections and immediately press the moss to the glue while holding in place. 

2. Attach Ribbon. Cut ribbon about eight inches long. Apply hot glue to letter’s back, pressing ribbon into glue until dry. Loop ribbon and glue down the other end.

3. Embellish letter. Cut individual buds off an artificial sprig using scissors. Apply hot glue to the bottom of the bud and press into moss.

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