Kitchen Living Room

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ikea Micke Desk Revamp

Meet the Ikea Micke desk:

At $79 Micke is a bargain, but he doesn't have a whole lot of personality. With a $3 bottle of sample paint from Home Depot and $9 worth of Anthropologie knobs, I sought to change that. I was inspired by this Fred Shand Garden Stretch Bolster pillow that I have on my bed (also from Anthropologie, surprise):

The last picture gives you an idea as to how long this sucker is. It is a huge pillow and it is longer than the width of my full size bed. Anthro describes the pillow as "a long and lean plot of colorful foliates and berry-red stripes." That berry red is what I wanted for my desk!

Here's old Micke back in my old house: 

A perfectly sized sewing machine cabinet!

Paired with a vintage chair, reupholstered with blue fabric from my old headboard.

This is back when I was content with him being his dry, boring Ikea self. (Sorry, Micke.)

So my first step in Micke's transformation was to put on a mask, drag him outside, and get sanding. Oh wait, no, I didn't. I'm too lazy. I sandpapered him right in my bedroom. Without a mask. But you shouldn't be lazy like me! So take your desk outside and wear your mask.

I used whatever sandpaper I had handy in the back of my car. You have to be a little careful because a lot of Ikea furniture is not solid wood. Micke certainly isn't. He is cheap, cheap, cheap. So when you sand MDF (medium-density fiberboard), you aren't sanding wood at all. You're sanding of pieces of...stuff. I just wanted to rough up the Stuff that Micke is made of so the paint would adhere to it. This step could be optional, you could always try it out and see how it works for you.

Next I got to painting. I didn't even tape. Boy oh boy, am I lazy. But Micke's surface is so smooth, I just used a wet cloth to wipe off any paint spills. I'll have to get back to you on the exact color I used. It was salmon or coral something or other by Behr. I'll update this space later with the exact name.

Oh! But first, I painted it another color. A very pastel pink.

The yellow chair halfway to the wrong pink. And then I got to painting the correct color! So technically I spent $6 for paint on this project (2 x $3 samples). 

Much better!

Now it's all done being painted. All that's left is to add the knobs (one power drill later...). 

Ta-da! And it matches the pillow, which is way over on the bed, so well. If I had any energy left (when did I get so lazy?!) I might paint the chair a different color, because it is a little matchy-matchy. The desk area needs some work on organization, and I don't care for that lamp at all, but it's getting better. And now I can hardly recognize our friend Micke! We might have to stop referring to him as a boy. Wait, that's sexist. Boys can be pink!

P.S. Here are some close-ups of the knobs I used (the Verawood knobs in white):

They received poor reviews online, and that is probably why they're on sale, but I think they're great.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Indoor Furniture

I promised a long, long time ago (last month) to post my dining room update. Here it is at last!

I had been using outdoor furniture to sit on in the dining room. I didn't get a picture of the benches at the new dining room table, but they were some wooden benches that my boyfriend made earlier this year when he was still in grad school. This is what they looked like:

So, yea, not exactly suitable for indoor use. Or at least not for my taste. I looked around for chairs, and I found plenty of affordable options at Ikea. Here's the Ingolf chair at $59.99 each:

I found a lot of chairs that were very modern, some with metal legs, like the Scoop-back chairs from West Elm:

But I knew they wouldn't really work with the old farm dining table that we bought at a vintage store. And my unprofessional observation is that modern is very in-style right now. So it was difficult to find what I was looking for. (But it didn't help that I didn't know what I was looking for, either.) Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I could buy cheap Ikea chairs, but then I would have to gussy them up with cushions which could potentially be a total pain so that the chairs themselves wouldn't be totally uncomfortable. Where would I find the cushions? How would I pick the fabric? So I started looking at upholstered chairs. Not the best choice for a dining room where food is often spilled, granted, but very, very comfortable. THen I realized that cushy chairs are expensive. Like these Grid-tufted dining chairs at $199 each from West Elm:

So I basically gave up all hope and enjoyed my lovely handmade wooden benches. However, this story does have a happy ending! While my dad was in town last month, we decided to look for chairs. We ended up going to World Market, whose chairs I had looked at before, and found that they had the perfect cushy upholstered chairs on sale! The only catch was that one store had one on display that was broken and dirty, another store had only one, and a third store had three. So we figured it out and ended up going to three stores. My dad was a wonderfully good sport throughout the entire process. As far as I can tell, they discontinued the chairs and that's why they were such a good deal. World Market currently has other sort-of similar styles in stock (Anna Slipcover collection at $99/chair + $30/slipcover = $129/each and the Sand Tufted Chair at $130/each). So, without further ado, here is the new dining room:

And yes, one chair is missing from this picture (although I do have four, and they fit just fine, thank you). And yes, again, it is a bit of a squeeze for these chairs in this space. But I couldn't be happier. They are so comfy, and the white of the chairs goes well with the white painted legs of the table. (Notice the lovely light fixture! And the walls still haven't been painted. I'm having a bit of a chicken or the egg problem with the backsplash tile colors in the kitchen versus the wall colors. In short, I want to retile the kitchen backsplash, but I don't know which color to choose.)

Here's the dining room table from the 'window' opening in the living room:

And, I couldn't resist, here is the table actually being used while I studied for my midterms:

That thing sticking out of the floor is where one of the previous owners removed a radiator. Good thing too. Or else I would definitely not be able to use my awesome dining room chairs. Soooo now the dining room is fully functional. Awesome!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video Games

I do not play a lot of video games. But, when I do play a video game, I play that game until I am done. Which usually means I am on a couch until my bottom hurts very badly.

The last time I did that was in 2008, three years ago. Three years ago almost to the day. Because that's when the last Need for Speed action game came out. The next one comes out in 12 days.

My butt hurts just thinking about it! he he he.

Let me just explain how this game is awesome. It is awesome because you can drive awesome, fast cars at incredible speeds! And this new game is going to be especially impossibly awesome because the premise is that you are driving across the entire United States! And there are mountains! If you need a better explanation than that, I do not even know where to begin to help you. Did I mention that there are fast cars?!

This is not a sponsored post. I love Need for Speed and I felt like sharing!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that today, I am going to share with you something that has taken me years to learn. The bad news is that I do not have an update for you on the condo progress today. Feel free to click away so you can find your tissue box at hearing this horrible news. I drove to Miami this weekend (10+ hour drive one way) and back with my boyfriend, so I have been a bit occupied. I guess I could have blogged from my iPhone on the road, but that would not have made me a very good passenger/fellow driver.

Anyway, I wanted to take a quick moment to give you some free advice. This advice has taken me most of my life to cultivate. It is an extremely valuable and awesome nugget of advicey goodness. It is better than Halloween candy. (Haha ha ha, that is obviously a joke. Nothing is better than candy.) Throughout my life I have struggled with a simple question, "What do you want to hear first: the good news or the bad news?" I almost hate that question because it sounds so simple. But how do you know which to choose? Is there some sort of flow chart based on my mood or the time of day that I can follow to decide if I need some good news or bad news first? Well, I am about to tell you how to find out which to choose. And don't worry, you don't need a flowchart.

Here is what to do: always ask for good news first. Because if you hear the bad news first, the good news isn't going to seem as good. And you will be crying and depressed and no amount of good news will be able to console you. That's all there is to it! Just get the good news first. Enjoy it, react happily to it (to the great joy of the messenger), and then hear the bad news and pout and become the spoiled and awful person that bad news brings out of everyone! Let me give you an example to help prove the point.

Scenario One:
Me: Do you want to hear the bad news or the good news first?
You: Bad news.
Me: I just crashed your car into a small concrete structure. It is mostly broken, and if it was a person, it would probably be dead!
You: I hate my life I hate you I hate cars! Everything sucks!
Me: Now for the good news. I am taking you to Disney World!
You: I still hate my life and Disney World sucks!

Scenario Two:
Me: Do you want to hear the bad news or the good news first?
You: Good news!
Me: I am taking you to Disney World!
You: That's amazing. You are so generous and I am so grateful. Sunshine and happiness!
Me: Ok, so now for the bad news. I crashed your car into a small concrete structure. It is mostly broken, and if it was a person, it would probably be dead!
You: It's OK. DisneyWorldSprinklesCandy!