{House Tour} / {Tutorials & Handmade}

Why we do what we do. Or, how we’ve been blessed.

This morning I checked my email to see that Shauna from Perfectly Imperfect featured our diy couch in her link party today.

I may have spazzed just a TINY bit.  

So, I was thinking now would be a good time to answer some questions and general wonderings about our space, and why we’ve done things the way we have.

If you never visited our blog before (hey!  welcome!), we’ve moved a LOT in the last couple years.  Think, every four months.  Think, working at camps and living in cabins.  Think, working at colleges and living in dorms.  We knew this would be our situation while we finished our undergrad degrees and we don’t regret it one iota.

When we knew we would have our very own space while we are in grad school, we really wanted to make it our own.  We wanted to have a place that conveyed our personality, but also a place that we could live out hospitality.

In the middle of the summer, someone told us they would just go buy furniture.  I was spending a lot of time looking for inspiration, the right pieces, supplies, and then accomplishing the task.  But I had time.  We didn’t (and hey, still don’t, but that’s cool.  what we need has been provided) have a lot of money, but we both had lots of time.   Buying stuff wasn’t really an option, but making it was.

And that’s why we have the space we do.

Let me explain with pictures.  It’ll make more sense.

Let’s start with the coffee table.  Jared built it with wood from an old barn several months after we were married (and after he had built us two bombdiggity bookcases from barn wood).  A friend of ours had torn down the barn and let us take as much wood as we wanted for free.

You probably know about the couch already.

The lampshades were both a quarter at a garage sale.  I modpodged book pages onto the one on the right and made it a little smaller and shorter (we’re talking serious lampshade surgery).  The one on the right I messed up the first time, so I tore it apart last night.  Hopefully it’ll be awesome when it’s done.

The wood frames above the couch are actually windows (they have glass in them).  I found them on a garage sale when we in Massachusetts (and I got to buy them because we got rid of Lenny/Lester so there was a lot of Uhaul space being wasted.  obviously).  My original plan was to do something creative with them, like put photos in them, paint a cool design them, etc.  But, when we hung them up I really started diggin’ the simplicity they offer.  They were centered above the couch, but then we rearranged the furniture, and now they aren’t.  We’re all about not putting gobs of holes into our rental walls, so… let’s call ecletcitc, mmmkay?

The ladder… cracks me up everytime I look at it.  I rescued it from my uncle’s trash pile (thanks, Uncle Bill!).  The conversation went something like this:
me: Uncle Bill, that ladder looks like it’s about to get thrown away.
Uncle Bill: Yes, I’m afraid it’s a widow maker.
me: well, can I have it?
Uncle Bill: (mutters something about not wanting me to die.)
me: Uncle Bill, I want it for artistic purposes.
Uncle Bill:  What will you use it for?
me: I have no idea.  Yet.  I’ll figure it out.  But I promise not to stand on it.
Uncle Bill: well, okay then.
me: thank you!  Jared, you know… ladders really don’t take up very much space in a Uhaul.  I promise.
I’m all sorts of crazy about it because we were going with a green and turquoise/aqua color scheme and it was already that color.  And chippy.  And delightful.  The top afghan I crocheted, and the bottom afghan came from my late Grandma Strabbing.

I made the curtains from yummy old tableclothes that Grandma Goose and I scored at a great antique store in Nebraska.  Jared made the curtain rods from electrical metal tubing (emt) that we spray painted black.  The little “tie backs” are knobs that I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  Grandma Goose gave me the floor lamp (it was a brassy lamp at the time, but now it’s gray).

There are four old crates in our living room serving as bookshelves/storage for school stuff.  One I got form a thrift store, one came from my parents barn, and two came from my shopping trip with Grandma Goose.  The two in this picture below came from the trip with Grandma Goose.  Jared fastened them together.
The dining set was given to Jared (and me) back in the day when we were dating.  It came from my in-laws good friend’s son.  Four times removed.  Just kidding.
It was your standard grade dining set, with a dated orangeish finish.  But we really liked it because 1) it was free and 2) it’s a drop leaf table so it can be really small, but also has three leaves so it can be reaaaaaally big.  Perk.  My G-pa hooked us up with a few more chairs, so we’d have five.  We stripped the finish of the table top, whitewashed the top and painted the table legs and chairs white.  We distressed ’em a little and finished them in clear wax.  I reupholstered the chairs in old burlap bags that I confiscated from my dad’s attic.
The frames/chalkboard were all sad frames I got from garage sales/my in-laws attic.  I did the art in the frames because I cannot bear the thought of paying for art.  I’m a cheapskate, what can I say?
The story of The Ugly Chair Pt. 1 and Pt. 2.

Phew.  I think that’s all for this part of the room.

I used Pinterest for a LOT of the inspiration and organizing of ideas (yep, not all of these ideas are original.  but that’s alrighty).  It was also helpful to show Jared an example of the picture in my head.  He’s a lot more willing to try a project if he can see that it’ll be spectacular.

But, the bottom line is that a lot of our family members gave us wonderful things.  I forewarned them we would alter it, but they gave them anyway.  I love that we have so many things from different people, because it reminds me of them.

Yup, we spent a lot of time putting some of this together (it took me three whole days to sew the couch) but we really like it and we’re glad we’ve done it.  Jared says he’s not sure he can buy furniture from a store now “because it just wouldn’t feel like us”.  We’re both alright with that.  We’re really thankful for the family God’s given us.  They’re kind of a big deal.
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8 thoughts on “Why we do what we do. Or, how we’ve been blessed.

  1. I'm lovin' it! Sounds like you have a load of energy to do all that! One day I'll put up some of my projects…..let me get some energy first. Plus a new camera, some time won't hurt. It was great fun reading. I'm at citicasita and try to do whatever I can between being retired and recuperating! The thing is to enjoy and save some money too!

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  2. Your house looks beautiful! But, as the things we "pinned" predicted, mine looks totally different (less barn wood, more COLOR)–can't wait for you to see it :). Also, what's up with your frequent use of the word "bombdigity"?

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  3. We used a twin size mattress. We actually got it at a thrift store… I was a little shaded out about buying a used mattress but there were quite a few to choose from so we were able to find a good one:)!

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