Category Archives: Rustic

New living room.

So I finally got around to snapping a few shots of the flat. Overall it’s old and tired and a bit grungy (a bit like myself TBH), but the wood floors, neutral paint scheme and large rooms make it liveable. The living/dining room is the closest to being “done”, so I’ll start there.

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Are you feeling the understated earthy retro whimsical rustic industrial vibe or what?

I brought the coffee table and the green faux persian with me from Perth. The coffee table is vintage MCM, bought on Gumtree for $100. couch1

The couch is new. I was after another 2.5 seater in charcoal but didn’t have as much cash to spare this time, so I was thrilled to find this one at Furniture Galore for $550. It came with ugly blocky black plastic feet, which I swapped out with tapered timber legs I bought online and stained. They look a bit stumpy from this angle, but they’re actually 10cm high and have completely altered the look of the couch.

Speaking of stumpy…Hans is not allowed within one metre of the couch at any time.

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The cactus painting, cactus statue and cushions were bought from Freedom a few years ago. The Eames bird was an online buy and I found the green pot at a Mexican import store in Fremantle.

I have two fruit bowls in the flat, neither of which contain fruit.

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The hardwood dining table was another Gumtree find. The legs were originally raw welded steel that I spray painted black. The table top itself must weigh over 100 kilos, and even though I had a 100+ kilo Maori helping me (thanks, baby!), dragging it up three flights of stairs nearly destroyed me.

The chairs are cheapies from Fantastic Furniture, but they’re surprisingly sturdier and more comfortable than the typical Eames knock-offs.

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Both the fabric print and the Parker dresser are from a vintage furniture store in Fitzroy. The dresser was dull and dirty and covered in flecks of white paint, but it scrubbed up real nice after a thorough clean and oil. I was a bit hesitant about buying the print because it couldn’t be cleaned, but I figured I don’t have to touch it to appreciate it, right? And any fabric that reminds me of the fabulous curtains that my grandparents hung in their caravan in the 70’s should be a no-brainer.

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I sent the vase, stand and fake foliage over from Perth, and I wasn’t expecting them to make the trip unscathed. The leaf tips got a bit bent when they fell out of the mailing tubes I packed them in, but I actually think it makes them look more realistic. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to feel better about it.

Stay tuned…the master bedroom and accompanying vibe is up next!

The joy of the spherical.

As you may have deduced from the blog’s banner, I’m not averse to a nice decorative ball. While my own collection runs to the conservative, I’m always inspired by artists who have the balls (ahem) to think beyond the typical mediums of wood, glass and ceramic. Inspired in part by last weekend’s viewing of 1998’s delightful thriller “Sphere”, I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite edgy ornaments.

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The recycled rustic trend is still popular, and a barbed wire ball makes a great talking point at dinner parties. If your next gathering becomes dull, forget the Scrabble; wake up your guests with a quick game of catch.

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Renter’s tip: Don’t be in such a rush to hand the keys back after vacating a property. Claim they fell into a drain and you may eventually have enough for a pretty memoir of your rental history.

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Turn that spare set of pool balls into a warming reminder of your pre-mortgage and children glory days.

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I’m not a fan of Halloween, but these decorated pumpkins are more fashionable than festive. Just remember the golden rule of organic art; it doesn’t matter how pretty it is, ditch it once it starts to stink.

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While I’m neither a teenage girl or a drag queen, I would proudly display this lampshade in my boudair.

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For those who like it rough but can’t afford to sport bruises at tomorrow’s stockholder meeting.

Ikea minihack #1.

I bought the TÄRNÖ as a temporary balcony filler at my last rental, intending to replace it with a more durable setting at a later date. I’ll be moving again soon, so the new setting is on hold. While I’ve yet to attempt a “real” Ikea hack, I decided to use the green paint left over from my dining table project to give the TÄRNÖ a new look.

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The setting is made from unfinished acacia wood, so I didn’t need to do much preparation. I sanded each piece lightly and taped up the steel sections before applying two coats of green (I didn’t bother with primer or an undercoat this time). Although I like the lightly distressed look of the dining chairs, I amped up the sanding on these to create a more weathered effect.  I brushed on a couple of coats of varnish to finish.

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I’m sure I’ll get tired of the distressed look eventually, but right now it’s a good match for my fledgling skills.

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Photos by Madame Squee

The delightful centrepiece is Hans, my three month old dachshund and the reason behind the move. Although I love the unit’s easy-care gardens, the lack of lawn is an issue. Every time I pass the depressing mountain of boxes in my living room I remind myself how much he’ll enjoy having a proper yard to play in, and how much I’ll enjoy him peeing outside in the sunshine rather than in my shoes.

Use a coaster or I’ll punch you in the throat.

My first DIY refinishing project was a dining table and chairs.  I’d seen my first French Provincial/Farmhouse dining table a week earlier and immediately squeed myself. “Rustic” seemed like a pretty hard effect to screw up, so I decided to buy a cheap dining set and attempt it myself. This is what I was aiming for:

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My first port of call was Gumtree, where I spotted a pine table and chairs advertised for $100. According to the ad, the set was in good condition and the owner was only selling because she wanted a square dining table. What a steal, I thought. She’s practically giving it away! I called her and once she’d assured me that both the table and chairs were structurally sound, the bf and I hired a trailer and drove over.

The set had clearly been in her shed for some time. It was grimy, dinged up and rather curiously, speckled with glitter paint. Never mind, I thought – I’ll be stripping it anyway, and the knocks and bumps will add character. It wasn’t until we’d loaded up the trailer and were halfway home that I noticed one of the table legs shaking like a chihuahua on Red Bull. Turns out it had a substantial chunk missing at the base and had been “fixed” with a metal bracket. Structurally sound, my ass. What a rip, I thought. She should have paid me to cart away her trash! Lesson learned: inspect second hand items thoroughly before buying, and don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re not satisfied. In this case, I decided to keep the set, use the chairs as planned and convert the table into an outdoor workbench.

I hit Gumtree again and found another table advertised for $60. The seller had already stripped the top and base for his own aborted project (score!), so all I had to do was pick out a wood stain, some white paint and sandpaper and get cracking. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I figured if I stuffed up too badly I could just sand it back and start again. I didn’t take a before pic, so here it is as it appeared on Gumtree.

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I painted the base with a coat of flat charcoal, then a flat white. I experimented with various grades of sandpaper until I found one that stripped the white back to the charcoal without exposing the wood. I concentrated on the corners, where the table would naturally experience the most wear. When I was happy with the effect, I sealed it with a few coats of spray varnish.

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 I used Cabot’s Interior Stain in Walnut for the top. It took three coats to achieve the look I wanted.

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The chairs proved a more difficult undertaking. Even with my mum’s electric sander, stripping them was a right bitch. I suffer from weak wrists (shut up, it’s a thing) so I had to spread out the task over several weekends. Rather than paint the chairs to match the table, I decided to transform them with a bold green. This was my inspiration:

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Bunnings didn’t have the right shade of green in enamel, so I brought in a green decorative box lid for them to sample. I primed the chairs in white, gave them two coats of charcoal, and finished with two coats of green.

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I didn’t go as crazy with the sandpaper this time, as I wanted a more subtle distressed effect. Hint: unless you’re a sadist, don’t use a white primer under a dark top coat, because white flecks totally ruin the effect. Either mix a darker paint into the primer so it matches the undercoat, or skip priming altogether.

I finished up with a couple of coats of spray varnish. Even though I had bought a tin of varnish specifically for the chairs, I was completely over brush application by this stage.

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My dining room is so freaking small that I couldn’t get the entire set in the frame, but you get the overall effect. Total cost including paint and varnish was around $250.

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