Friday, July 29, 2011

Introducing Our New Guest Blogger:: Jennie

Jennie and her husband are recent newlyweds and have recently moved into their first town home together in our neighboring OC. Welcome to the wonderful adventure of starting your lives together and making your house your home! Jennie is excited to decorate her new home but as many newlyweds who are also busily working on their careers (oh and did I mention ambitiously obtaining their PhD), she is working her thrifty skills as well to make a home beautiful on a budget by shopping second hand and refinishing great furniture finds while adding her own crafty decor touches. Stay tuned tomorrow when we share a few of the pieces you can expect to see from her guest DIY Project posts!!

Ashley:: What are you looking forward to most about decorating your new home? 
Jennie:: I'm looking forward to the end product of having a comfortable, relaxing home that is full of things that my husband and I love. My husband and I both have large families and a lot of close friends, so we will look the most forward to sharing our space with others as much as we can!

Ashley:: What challenge are you facing in decorating your new home?
Jennie::  A unique thing is that I have to live with the bold colors that were in the condo, rather than repaint right away. We are on a tight budget since I'm starting a PhD program in August and will be transitioning jobs in the fall.  So that's a challenge, but a fun one since I'm finding that a lot of my things actually are coordinating! There are also some unique angles of the walls too so I'm trying to figure out how to place things. Finally, I want to create a few "me" spaces that will allow me to escape from my schoolwork and allow for some creative time without leaving visible messes everywhere. (Ooo, do I hear organizational posts?? ... I'm starting a new feature on this subject soon!)

Ashley:: Where do you hunt for great thrifty purchases?
Jennie:: I'm a total thrifty d-i-y-er! I'm also an ambitious furniture repainter and refinisher. I love looking for items to repurpose at Goodwill and Salvation Army and other clearance shops. I recently bought a shelf and a small table on sale at Salvation Army to sand down and repaint black for my entry way. After that, I'll focus on my dining room table and hutch, so that I can enjoy all of the fun wedding gifts that my husband Sam and I received earlier this year.

Ashley:: What do you look for when you choose furniture to repurpose? 
Jennie:: Every item needs to pass my 5 tell tale signs to know I've found a great piece.

1. I have to LOVE it! Meaning if I know I'll kick myself when I get home for NOT buying it right then...experience has taught me someone else will grab something good before I'm able to get back and get it.  (So true! I have sadly been there.)

2. It has to have GOOD BONES. I tend to gravitate more to classic pieces rather than trendy ones, and I also prefer solid wood. With classic peices and solid wood, you can always re-paint as color trends change. There is definitely a place for Ikea furniture, but solid wood simply stands the test of time.

3. CLEAN LINES are a plus. For instance, a lot of flat surfaces are easy to use an orbital sander to re-finish, versus lots of tiny grooves. Tiny grooves and ornate carvings can give pieces character and personality so if the piece is compellingly cute enough - meaning I love it - I'll spend the extra time sanding by hand. Otherwise, I'm lazy and prefer the power tools.

4. It has to FIT. By this, I am giving a public service announcement about carrying a tiny tape measure in your purse along with an index card of measurements for the spaces you're trying to fill. There will always be another peice of adorable furniture to find if it is too large, but thrifted furniture is rarely worth moving walls for!

(True story - when I was hunting for my baskets to "FIT" in our platform storage bed, I found these fantastic baskets, I had my measurements, but I had no way to measure them...when suddenly over my shoulder I hear the familiar zip us d-i-y-ers wouldn't mistake for a mere purse zipper and a very nice woman let me use her pocket-size tape measure!  I do keep measurements of things I know I need on a shopping list on my phone and now I have a ruler app too just in case!) 

5. The final question is "WILL SOMEONE ELSE LIKE THIS?".  As my tastes change, it's much easier to sell something on craigslist (for extra decorating $$) if it is not so unique that someone else will not love it too. A good example of this is the huge 40x40 coffee table I bought on craigslist 2 years ago for $20. I painted it black and loved it for 2 years, but it simply was too big to bring with us to our new place. I sold it on craigslist in less than 12 hours for $75 (more than I needeed to buy my recently acquired hutch).

These are fantastic tips, Jennie!!! We can't wait to see what you have to share with us in your upcoming DIY Project posts.

If you would like to be a guest DIY blogger, please contact me at: ahomebeautiful at gmail dot com.

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