Category Archives: New Life for Furnishngs

When a space becomes boring, or you just need one more piece of furniture to finish your perfect space, spruce up an old piece to give it new life. I rarely ever buy new furniture because it’s not in our budget. I also love to refurbish old items. Take an old end table, and turn it into a masterpiece! Here you will find out how to do just that! when something no longer matches your decor, just give it a face lift! You will save money, have fun, and your space will be more personal.

It’s Time For Another Vintage Suitcase Project!

A few days ago a friend and I were at a local thrift shop when she spotted a vintage suitcase for me. I took one look and fell in love. It’s not intricate or beautiful in the same way that my last one was, but it is unique. It looks like it may be from the late 40s to the mid-50s. It is most likely of German origin. I purchased it, not having any clue as to what I was going to do with it.



Yesterday, as I was contemplating what to do with my “new” suitcase, I remembered a post I recently saw on Leah’s Confession Closet. She posted a picture of her Ikea Vanity table, which lit my creative imagination.  Then I did what any normal Diyer does–I went to Pinterest. It’s not that I need a tutorial or further inspiration, but I do love to look at what others have done so that I can improve upon my own ideas. I also wanted to see what kind of legs would look best.

Here are a few of the Vintage Suitcase Vanity Tables that I came across on Pinterest.

The first two are from Mrs. Hyde’s on Etsy. Click on the pictures to visit her shop.

suitcase vanity table insp
From Mrs. Hydes

I just love the long tapered legs on this vanity table.

suitcase table 2

I love the idea of turning a smaller suitcase into a table top or dresser top vanity. Her work on this one is beyond me. I love the fabric that she chose.

This one is from Optimize Design. I found the picture on Houzz.

I love the vanity lights, but I don’t think that they will look right when the vanity is closed.

I really can’t wait to get started on this project. I will have to contemplate the leg style. I would love to use hairpin legs, but they are quite expensive. I do think it would look good with angled tapered legs though. In the mean time, I have to finish the other projects that I already started.

From Drab To Fab: Days 5-8–Trunks, Budgets, and Life

It’s been a super busy week here at Casa Stevens. Here’s a summary of what I’ve been up to in my efforts to get this house done.

Day Five: Tuesday Touch Up

Most of the day was spent touching up the paint in the formal living and dining rooms.  I also worked on the vintage steamer trunk, which is coming along nicely. I started working on this on Sunday (Aug 11). It was tough work getting it prepped for priming.  Here is the before & after shot (of primer, not paint).

Already looking better with just a few coats of Primer

Day Six: Mom Duties Called

I had to take the entire day off to finish up my daughter’s school clothes shopping.  In all, it was the most pleasant day that I’ve had in at least two weeks.  She even found her homecoming dress on sale at the Goodwill for $10!

Day Seven: Project Budget and Number Crunching

I spent the majority of my day using Excel to create my itemized budget worksheet and virtual shopping lists (thanks Home Depot!).  Though it was time consuming, I broke each project down into categories and created expense columns which included projected costs, actual costs, and a column for the difference.  I made sure to include a good amount of money for incidentals in each category.  The hubby was pleased.  This way we will know exactly where we stand budget wise for each project. This should keep us on track and prevent us from running out of dough before we are done.

I also finished up the painting of the chandelier and bought a new chain for it.

Day Eight:  School Prep

Unfortunately, I had to take yet another day off from getting the house done.  At least sitting at the PC and working on the budget was a necessity for this overhaul of the house.  Friday was the day I got all my ducks lined up for my fall semester at UCCS.  Buying textbooks, turning in forms, and getting familiar with the campus (locating my classes) was in no means how meant to spend my Friday, but I’m glad I could check it off of my very long to-do list!

From Drab to Fab: Days Two and Three–Window Treatment and Rococo Wall

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend.  We (I) got a few things done over the weekend around the house–but not even close to what was on the list.

Here’s what went down on Saturday:

I underestimated the time and ease of changing the hardware for our window treatment.  The previous owner had heavy red curtains in the large picture window.

Original Window Treatment
Original Window Treatment

I took those down eons ago, but we’ve been living with the window looking like this for the past 3 years:

Living Room Window
Living Room Window

We don’t spend much time in this room, and I put all of my energy over the past 4 years into the bedrooms and my office.  So this room just kind of stayed in a half-done state for a long time.

I removed the rest of the old hardware–not too difficult, though it was a pain in my neck. Literally.

Next up was installing the new hardware. We have a very long window and a very small budget, so we used a simple dual rod from Home Depot and added extensions.

Dual Curtain Rods and Extensions
Dual Curtain Rods and Extensions

Since we weren’t hanging any heavy drapes these are perfect.

However, because of the odd window cove–I have no idea what the actual architectural term is–getting the hardware just right was very challenging.  I had to change the postion of the hardware three times.  On the third try, the first rod hooked onto the hardware perfectly, but the valance rod didn’t. Hubby had to use pliers to manipulate the rod into place.  Insert string of expletives here.

The Hubby--manipulating the rod into place
The Hubby–manipulating the rod into place

When it was finally done I jumped for joy.

New Window Treatment
New Window Treatment

The best part is–the wood blinds are still there! But, we will replace this cheapo rod system with the Kvartal ceiling track system from Ikea before we leave.

My favorite part of the day was turning two old planter sconces into shelves. The tutorial post can be found here.

But here’s a quick recap of what I did.

Turning a Planter Sconce Into a Wall Shelf
Turning a Planter Sconce Into a Wall Shelf

The most challenging part of this project was figuring out how to mount it in such a way that it could hold heavy items.

I was SO proud when I figured it out.  I made a mounting bracket.

Here’s my almost finished Glam wall.

Rococo Glam Wall
Rococo Glam Wall

So that’s what I did on Day two. I think it was a pretty good day overall.

Sunday took an entirely different route.

Because I really want to get the formal living room completely done in the next couple of weeks, I decided to do what I love most: DIY Furniture makeovers.

I’ve been wanting to get my old steamer trunk refurbished as a coffee table for the past month and felt that this was  an opportune time to get started.

I think I made decent progress.

Steamer Trunk Progress
Steamer Trunk Progress

That sums up Days One and Two.  Now on to Day Three–More work on the trunk.

Repurposed Vintage Plant Sconce

I found these vintage plant sconces from the 1970’s at the thrift store for about $3 (for both) and just knew that they would look great in my modern glam living room.

Vintage Plant Sconce
Vintage Plant Sconce

After some cleaning, primer, and a coat of gloss black spray paint they looked like new.

Just Like New
Just Like New

At first I really didn’t know how I would use them.  I guess these were really common in the 70’s as sconces for fake plants & flowers–eww.

It dawned on me a few days ago that I still had a sheet of plastic from the fluorescent light fixture that removed and that I could use that to turn these sconces into a shelf.

I used a large envelope to trace out a template–a file folder would work well too.

Trace a Template
Trace a Template

After cutting out the template (I called it my taco shell) I placed the plastic into the center of the template.  I did it this way because it makes manipulating and cuing the plastic a lot easier.

Taco Shell Template
Taco Shell Template

Using my favorite glue in the whole world–E 600 glue–I simply glued the plastic onto the lip of the sconce.

E 6000 Glue
E 6000 Glue

Because I wanted to use the sconce as a shelf to hold a statuette, It need to be securely mounted to the wall.  I would have used anchors and dry wall screws, but the heads of the screws would not fit into the mounting holes on the sconce.

I found two wood screws that fit into the sconce, but were too short to offer any support into the dry wall.

Enter the DIy mounting bracket.

DIY Mounting Brackets
DIY Mounting Brackets

I used an old scrap piece of wood to create two mounting brackets.  I lined the top edge of the sconce with the edge of the wood, marked the length, and drilled holes where the screws should nestle into the holes of the sconce.

Using my handy dandy lightweight-yet-powerful cordless Ryobi 5″ circular saw, I cut the wood to the correct (measured twice) length.

I mounted the brackets to the wall with anchors and drywall screws.  Use a level while mounting the bracket to ensure that your shelf or sconce is level after mounting.

I then inserted the wood screws into the pre-drilled holes.  Make sure that the wood is painted the same color as the sconce.

Mounting Bracket
Mounting Bracket

Voila–a perfect Rococo shelf for my lovely ladies!

Rococo Glam Wall
Rococo Glam Wall
Glamourous Ladies
Glamourous Ladies

2013-08-11 001 006


I think it’s a pretty close match to my Modern Glam Design Board.

OB-Modern Glam Liv Room

No matter what color you choose, these will add glamour to any wall.

Linked To:

The Scoop

Tweak It Tuesday @ Cozy Little House

Tips & Tutorials Link Party @ Home Stories A to Z

UPDATED: From Drab to Fab–Whole Home Update for $8K In Four Months (An Introduction)

Okay so the title is lengthy, but at least you know what this series is going to be about!

This is the lovely home that will be getting a complete update/makeover/facelift for $8,000 over the next four months.  For a complete walk-through, see my Home Tour page.

The house as it was the day we bought it.
The house as it was the day we bought it.

We just found out two weeks ago that we are moving to Germany in four months. While we are super excited (well I am anyway) we are not so thrilled about the short notice. Though we moved into our home 4.5 years ago, there is still so much to do around the house in order to bring top dollar as a rental.

What we’ve done so far:

  • Painted the porch

  • Painted the 3 bedrooms

  • Painted the Master Bath (en suite)

  • Painted the Basement Bathroom

  • Added a door to the office

  • Replaced the bi-fold shutter doors that house the utilities because they were falling off the rails constantly.

  • Painted the Office (needs to be redone though)

  • Replaced the carpet on the stairs

  • Replaced the carpet in the 3 bedrooms

  • Changed the front landscaping

  • Replaced ALL of the kitchen appliances.

There is still so much to do, that I really don’t know where to begin.

So I guess I will begin at the front. Here is what it looks like now.

A bit cloudy, but trust me, it looks pretty good.

What is left to do in the front of the house:

  • Paint or replace the light fixtures *Completed 8/2013

  • Seal cracks in driveway*Completed 8/2013

  • Seal the Fence *Completed 8/2013

I guess the next stop is the entry.  After we walk up the beautiful front porch, we arrive at the ugly  front door.  We need a new one. But that’s NOT in the budget–so it is going to be painted. Ever paint a metal front door? We haven’t.

Once you make it past the boring front door you arrive in what is supposed to be the entry.  It’s basically a hallway.

The living room and dining room are basically blank canvases at the moment, but need to look like they are lived in and enjoyable spaces for walk-throughs of potential renters.  I’ve always wanted these joined spaces to have a modern glam design.

What’s left to do in the living and dining rooms:

  • Window treatment in the living room to match the dining room (I have them–they are in my to-do box) *8/11/13

  • Mount floating shelves (also sitting in my to-do box) Changed my mind about those. Might revisit them later in a different room. (8/11/2013)

  • Replace switch plates (that have been sitting in my to-do box for a year)–yeah I’m NOT a procrastinator *Completed 8/201o

  • Finish my Large art project and mount it Pointless–no time and we were MOVING!

  • Move furniture around

  • Hang mirror and wall sconces (just finished painting them last week) *8/11/13

  • Paint Ceiling fan (got to hide that brass) *09/2013

  • Paint the entryway chandelier and move it to dining room buy new light fixtures & install in dining room and entry

  • Mount pendant in entryway* Completed 9/2013

  • Finish my vintage trunk/coffee table project (it will be in the living room)

  • Refinish the wood floors  Paid the manager’s handy man to wax and buff. *1/2014

  • Re-caulk the windows *10/2013

It seems like a lot, but it’s all mostly little things that can be done in a week (maybe 1.5 weeks–except for the floors)

This is the Olioboard that I finished about two months ago for the formal living area.

OB-Modern Glam Liv Room

What NEEDS to be done in the Kitchen (the bulk of the budget):

  • Replace the Ugly and horrid Fluorescent light fixture *Completed 9/2013

  • Replace the ceiling fan light globes (my son broke one and I can’t find a match) *Completed 9/2013

  • Replace the countertops *Completed 11/2013

  • Replace the hideous sink and faucet *Completed 11/2013

  • Paint the upper cabinets and line with shelf paper (The color is Toasted Oatmeal)* Completed 11/2013

  • Stain the lower cabinets and line with shelf paper (Espresso stain so that the black appliances don’t look out-of-place) Painted them instead. *Completed 11/2013

  • Paint or replace all the cabinet hardware–brass just doesn’t look right *Completed 11/2013

  • Refinish the wood floors Does a wax and a buff count? Paid the manager’s handy man to do this. *1/2014

  • Move the spare dining table to the “eat-in area” Didn’t bother with this one.

  • Re-caulk the windows *10/2013

That sums up the main level of the home.

What needs to be done in the Family Room:

  • Replace carpet with either Laminate flooring or tile We tiled the entire 340 sq ft ourselves *Completed 1/3/2014

  • Paint the entire room *Completed 12/2013

  • Paint the floorboards Paid the manager’s handy man to do this with the paint we had purchased. *01/2014

  • Update the coat hooks next to the garage door–the brass HAS to GO! Painted them with Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Paint *08/2013

  • Replace the french doors with a sliding door Again–I was a bit too ambitious. Perhaps next year we will do this.

  • The Following Items did NOT get done because they were pointless–we were moving after all!

  • Rearrange furniture
    Add art or photos to the walls

And once again, here is another design board that I finished about two months ago for the family room–but this isn’t happening anytime soon.

Modern Chic Living Room
Modern Chic Living Room

What needs to be done in the Basement:

  • Replace the carpet with either vinyl, laminate, or carpet–the jury is still out on this one We had the carpet replaced *Completed 09/2013

  • Fix the laminate tile in the laundry room *completed 12/2013

  • Paint the laundry room Completed 11/2013

  • Re-caulk the shower *Completed 12/2013

  • Replace the fluorescent light fixture in the laundry area *09/2013

  • The Following Items did not get completed due to time constraints.

  • Paint the vanity
    Paint or replace the medicine cabinet
    Paint or update the light fixture above the vanity
    Re-paint the office
    Replace the blinds (3 windows)

  • Find out why the water softener doesn’t work properly–and fix it *09/2013

  • Paint or refinish the bathroom/laundry room door *09/2013

  • Finally turn it into the “teen” hangout–it will give renters an idea of what to use the space for  Didn’t bother with this because we had so little time–plus we were moving anyway!

This is the floor plan of how I envisioned the space–just before we got our marching orders to Germany from the Army. We have all of the furniture–I just need to put it all in place.

The Basement Teen Hangout Plan
The Basement Teen Hangout Plan

Here’s the design board that I finished–last month.

Teen Hangout Design Board
Teen Hangout Design Board

What needs to be done on the upper level–2 bedrooms 1 bath and the master suite:

  • Re-paint the kids bath *10/2013

  • Re-grout the kids shower/tub combo *10/2013

  • Replace the vinyl floor (I have laminate tiles in my to-do box)  *11/2013

  • Re-caulk the tub/shower *11/2013

  • Paint the vanity *10/2013

  • Paint the door *10/2013

  • Replace old faucet *10/2013

  • Mount new towel rods–or use hooks Changed our minds on this–there is nothing wrong with the ones already installed.

  • Clean out drain elbow–it drains REALLY slowly Did this while we re-surfaced the countertop *11/2013

  • Repaint the hallway *10/2013

  • Fix the broken tile in master shower *09/2013

  • Re-grout and caulk the Master shower and tub *09/2013

  • Replace faucets ended up replacing 4 faucets total *11/2013

  • Seal one of the sinks–the bowl leak underneath We replaced both sinks in the Master bathroom. *10/2013

  • Replace toilet wax ring in both bathrooms (the one in the basement was done recently) *12/2013 We also replaced the flooring in the kids bath and resurfaced the shower pan in the master bath and basement.

Want to do in the Garage–*if time and budget allows:

  • Paint the dingy walls *We opted out of this and scrubbed them down instead–after all it is JUST a garage!

  • Stain and Seal the garage floor *Not enough time or money–I did get a little ambitious with this list.

  • Replace utility sink & faucet  *10/2013

  • Replace the Garage door openers (one doesn’t even work, and the second one is hit & miss) *09/2013

  • Replace garage lighting–they keep burning bulbs *09/2013

Must do in the backyard:

  • Gravel 2 foot wide area around the fence line  *09/2013

  • Fix fence post *09/2013

  • Get rid of two aluminum (leaky) sheds *09/2013

  • Add topsoil over sand  *We have to hire someone to do this when Colorado finally gets spring weather

  • Spread grass seed and cover for winter (If all else fails, we can spend $ next spring to HIRE a landscaper to do this) *Hiring a landscaper whenever Spring finally arrives in Co.

So that’s the list.  All in 4 months and on an $8,000 budget! Will we make it? Or will we BUST?

Hope you will enjoy this real-time series.

Stay tuned for the first post where I will share my progress in the formal living and dining rooms.

Do you have any crunch time/low-budget makeover stories to share? I’d love to hear them (or read them as is the case here).