Project 4: Rock and Swivel

As promised, we’ve finally turned my $10 chair find into a comfy, rocking, swiveling chair to rival all chairs (okay, so maybe it would lose in the Chair Olympics to some newer models, but in the low-cost events, it would totally clean up).  If you recall, this is what Big Bird looked like when I brought her home . . .

And although she looks essentially the same now, trust me–there’s a lot more going on under that skirt . . .

Before I give you a somewhat not-so-detailed explanation of how we converted Big Bird into a rocking swivel chair (I was, after all, on baby duty during much of the process), I first have to give credit where credit is due . . . so here’s the tutorial from Honey & Fitz that inspired me and informed our decisions along the way:

Step 1: Buy a rocking, swiveling base.  I got mine at Swivel-Chair-Parts.com for ~$85.

Step 2: Flip your chair over and remove the netting from the bottom of your chair by removing the staples attached to the wooden base.

Step 3: Remove the chairs legs.  Now, a lot of chairs just have legs that unscrew from the base–oh, to be so lucky, right?  Of course it wasn’t going to be that easy.  Nope, these legs were solid wood and extended all the way into the chair base.

So we had to saw them off.  And by we, I mean Mr. Bunches and our very own Bachelor-in-Residence, MO (they moved the whole operation out to the front patio at this point–the garage door was broken at the time, so they went full white-trash style and did the work where all could see). . .

Two down, two to go . . .

Step 5: Attach a wooden base for the rocker/swivel base.  Mr. Bunches and MO picked out some wood at Home Depot to use–the original plan was to have one solid piece of 3/4″ plywood cut to size, but after they found out that the cutters at both Lowe’s and Home Depot were broken, they switched to plan B: two pieces of 3/4″ thick lumber that they could cut to size themselves.

Step 6: Mark and pre-drill holes to attach wood slats to base.  We did two-three holes on each board.

Step 7: Attach slats to base with wood screws.

Step 8: Position rocking base–the base should not be positioned in the center of the chair, but more towards the back of the chair.  Once positioned, mark holes to drill in order to attach the base with bolts and nuts.  The base identifies which part is the front, so make sure you position it correctly.  I don’t have pictures really of this step, but trust me–it happened.

Step 9: Attach rocking base with nuts and bolts.  Tighten.

Step 10: Turn chair over and enjoy.  And by enjoy, apparently that means asking your wife who just birthed your baby to get you and your friend a couple of beers so you can complete the white trash picture on the front lawn.  Classic, eh?

So there you have it–how to convert an upholstered chair into a swivel rocker!  Now that we’ve had it a couple weeks, I have to say that we love it.  It hasn’t migrated to the nursery yet since I tend to nurse Mini Bunches in front of the boob tube (haha–get it–boob tube?), but I’m sure someday it will end up there.  Of course, Mr. Bunches and MO thought it should stay on the front lawn.  Clearly, they were vetoed.

Once it was back inside, of course we had to see how Mini Bunches liked it.  Her first impression?  Loved it.

Of course, 2 seconds later was a different story.  Not sure if it was MO or the chair she was reacting to . . . :)

Thanks to our Bachelor-in-Residence for all his help!!  We’ve been rocking almost non-stop these days (mainly to avoid that sad face above).

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Sleeping Beauties

There has been a lot going on at the Bunches’ household lately . . . it’s pretty amazing how that whole “nesting” instinct kicks in, right?  And while we’re definitely doing a lot to prepare for the baby’s arrival, we’re also trying to do as much as possible for ourselves in these last few months.  And that means sleep, and lots of it!  With all the horror stories out there about how we’ll never sleep again once this kiddo arrives, we’re trying to give ourselves a leg up in that department.   Unfortunately, our bedroom wasn’t quite outfitted for our new endeavor . . .

See what I mean?  That’s our old queen mattress on the floor (we had a box spring and frame for it, but we knew we were going to be replacing it down the road, so in utter laziness thinking aheadedness, we decided not to move those into the room).  The room has functioned pretty well for the past ~5 months, especially since we added temporary room-darkening shades, but with a growing family en route, we knew it was time to finally get that king mattress we’d been dreaming of.

But first, we needed a new bed frame.  Ideally something low profile with simple lines, and preferably in white.  I fell in love with this option from West Elm, but the reviews of West Elm beds were HORRENDOUS, so I had to cross it off my list.  Sigh.

And after weeks of scouring the Internet, I basically came up empty-handed.  But from our mattress shopping, I knew that there were some decent (and affordable) local options.  Like the one we finally purchased from City Mattress for ~$350:

Just realized as I’m writing this and looking at City Mattress’ website that this actually came in white!!  Oh sad day–the sales people said it only came in walnut or oak.  Oh well–live and learn, right?

We opted for the darker color since it went nicely with our Ikea Malm dressers.  With free delivery and set-up, we were pleased with the final result:

Of course, it kind of made our queen mattress look even more ridiculous (I bet you didn’t even think that was possible, did you?).  Up next–buying the mattress.

We did a ton of shopping around and finally found one that we liked at City Mattress–the Simmons World Class Parksdale Pillow Top Mattress Set.

Of course, their “sale” price was $1,799.  And when we asked for the best price they could give us, they knocked off another 15%, which left us at ~$1,530.  With a purchase that large, I knew we needed to sleep on it (I had to put in some lame pun, didn’t I?).  And I also knew we needed to do some Internet research to see if we could find a better deal.

Of course, that’s when the problems began . . . ever try to comparison shop mattresses?  The problem is you can never find the same one at another store.  Now, the stores want you to think that they have an “exclusive” on each mattress, but in reality they just have an “exclusive” name for each mattress they carry.  And the manufacturers won’t tell you which mattress is the same as another, differently named mattress.  Nope–they protect their vendors.  Which means that, as a consumer, you just need to dig a little deeper.  The solution?  Compare the specs of the mattresses–if you find one that’s the same, then it’s likely the same mattress, just with a different name.  So that’s what we did.  And we found the exact same mattress (at least per the specifications) at US-Mattress for only $1,349 delivered (it’s the Simmons Beautyrest World Class Sheldon Plush Firm Pillow Top).  Score one for the lowly consumer, right?!  We saved ~$200.  Hooray for us.

We just had to wait a few weeks for delivery, and then we went from this . . .

. . . to this:

Oh, and before the delivery guys could put the new mattress on the new box spring, I quickly covered it in a standard king fitted sheet, which was a much cheaper option that buying one of those fitted box spring covers, and I think it looks just as good.

It’s nice to finally have an appropriately-sized mattress in that room, don’t you think?  Of course, that’s enough naked shots of the bed.  Here it is fully-clothed:

Are you surprised that I went with a mostly all-white sheet set?  If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you shouldn’t be ;).  Of course, I did add a splash of color with some new pillow shams.

The flowered shams are actually Amy Butler’s Organic Bedding in Valencia Orange which I scored for $2.99 each at Burlington Coat Factory (who knew they carried stuff like that, huh?), and the pink velvet pillow is an old pillow from Home Goods.

I’ve also decided to use some new side tables from World Market as our bedside tables.

I originally bought them for the living room, but Mr. Bunches vetoed them in there.  They’re not ideal for the bedroom (since they have no storage), but they’ll do for now.  And yes, I’ve only assembled one so far, so I still need to put together the other one and move out the round table on the other side of the bed.

So there you have it–Mr. Bunches and I have finally grown up . . . we’re no longer sleeping on the floor!  Baby steps, right?

Anyone else ever try to comparison shop mattresses?  Why do they have to make the whole thing so difficult?  Not to mention claiming that every mattress is on sale all the time–I mean, who do they think they’re kidding?

Blue Velvet

You know, I’ve never seen the movie Blue Velvet, but with Twin Peaks’ star Kyle Maclachlan in it, methinks I should?  Anyone out there have an opinion?

Okay, so this post isn’t about random movies that I’m thinking about seeing.  Nope, it’s yet another thrifting post!  I know–can you hardly stand the excitement?  Since I had some good success the last time I went thrifting (see more here), I figured it was worth another shot.  And since I had to go to Rochester to buy new flooring tiles for our half bath (more on that soon), I thought I’d scope out some thrift stores en route.

First stop: Batavia, NY.  One word: JACKPOT.  At least for a mid-century modern buff like me.  Just check these pieces out:

You’ll have to forgive the poor picture quality–these were taken on my crackberry.  Can you believe those two?  A matching hutch and sideboard for only $150!

I really loved that sideboard/dresser.  It was in perfect condition, and with a little refinishing, it could make a gorgeous piece.  Of course, the hutch was nice too, but I’m not really a hutch type of girl.

I was kind of bummed out that they were being sold together.  But since I was also on my own for this outing (thrifting isn’t really the Mr.’s thing), there was no way that I would be able to get either piece into the car.  I mean, I think I’m strong and all, but I’m not so sure about being that  strong.

Oh, and for those of you who aren’t that into mid-century modern, you probably don’t know that the stuff’s pretty popular these days.  Similar pieces can go for big money.  Like this hutch for $895 (you can buy it here):

Of course, Batavia not only had some great wood pieces, but it also had this beauty:

Yep, that’s right–it’s the namesake of this post and I sort of love it.  Now, before you get all skeeved out about buying an upholstered piece from a thrift store, I’d just like to point out that these pieces can be cleaned or even completely reupholstered.  Emily Henderson does it all the time–just look at her couch that she got at an LA thrift store (she didn’t even have it reupholstered):

Now, the Blue Velvet I found isn’t quite as charming, but I’m still digging it.  And it was in great condition–a little dusty, but no holes or stains in the velvet, and just look at that tufting!  Sigh.

I’m not completely in love with the skirted bottom, but I can forgive some sins.  OH, and wanna know the price?  $80!  Yes, only $80.  Now if I can only convince Mr. B that we need to get it.  I mean, for $80 how can you really go that wrong, right?  I think it would look kind of rad at the end of our bed, sort of like this (image from here):

But it would also work well in our work-in-progress family room/play room (more on that here; oh, and we went with stripes–updated pictures coming soon).  Anyways, fingers crossed I can convince Mr. B that this couch is a good idea (oh, and fingers crossed that it’s still sitting at the thrift store in Batavia, right?).  I’ll keep you posted.

Traveling on, I came across yet another great long dresser.  With some new knobs and a little refinishing, I think this piece could also be stunning:

And then there were also these cute framed original pieces of art.  I wasn’t so much digging the art, but the frames were pretty rad . . . especially in that punchy yellow.  I’m a little bit regretting that I didn’t purchase these two (I think at this point I was getting very hungry and so I didn’t stay as focused as I needed to):

So can you believe that all that cool stuff has been hiding out in Batavia?  I stopped in a couple places closer to Rochester, but found nothing.  Wah.  Although, I did stop into one place in Buffalo and came across this stunner:

Now, obviously this piece would need to be reupholstered (unless of course your style is all Grandma-and-Grandpa-from-the-1960s-and-we-update-nothing; in which case–props to you).  But just check out the lines of it–nice deep seat, pleating along the back, sloping arms, and dainty little pointy legs.  I have to tell you–I think the shape of it is amazing.  And at $40, with probably another $150 + the cost of fabric for reupholstering, I think it’s a pretty good deal.  But there was only one of them.  And I’m kind of on the lookout for a pair of rad chairs to go in the family room.  Now, if this were a glider, it would be a different story–how cool would that be for the nursery?  Maybe reupholstered in a white linen?  Sigh.

So there you have it.  Another thrifting adventure.  Anyone else find anything cool on a thrift hunt?  Any thoughts on Blue Velvet?

Ikealess

Yes, that’s right.  Mr. Bunches and I are Ikealess, i.e. without a nearby Ikea.  And that means we can’t make things like an unbelievably amazing fauxdenza out of Ikea cabinets (you can check out the full tutorial here on The Brick House):

And we also can’t come up with any creative Ikea Hacks for inclusion at IkeaHackers.net, like for example this totally ingenius (although needs-some-improved-spacing-of-the-sliderssliding door hack:

Tangent: I’m seriously in love with the whole barn-door-on-the-inside concept.  My sister in Cali probably has the coolest one I’ve ever seen, and next time I’m there I’ll definitely have to snap a pic to share, but for now I’ll just show you this one via Pinterest . . .

Tangent over.  Back to seemingly pointless post.

Okay, so back to my Ikealess pity party.  No Ikea.  At least within a 4 hour drive inside the United States (I think there are some closer ones in Canada, but for some reason buying stuff in Canada currently intimidates me; or maybe it’s just the Customs agents on the border that intimidate me . . . not sure why I get so scared going across the border, particularly when I have literally nothing to hide, but it sure does get to me every time.  Every.  Single.  Time.). 

Of course, some may argue that not having an Ikea nearby is a good thing.  Because, as anyone who’s purchased one of those flat-boxes-that-makes-you-scratch-your-head-wondering-how-that-one-flat-box-is-going-to-somehow-turn-into-a-five-drawer-dresser knows, it can be nothing but pure torture.  Torture I say!  100 pieces and only a 3-inch allen wrench for assembly?!  Surely you jest Ikea.  Surely?

So maybe the Mr. and I are blessed.  My friend Tom would probably say we are . . . he had his own deeply personal Ikea fail recently, which he chronicled in a short video.  It made me laugh; it made me cry; but most of all, it reminded me of that deep-down hatred for Ikea that is somehow forgotten everytime I flip through their catalog and walk into their store (both of which also have the odd effect of making me wish I lived in 250 square feet so that I, too, could be this organized:)

Maybe then I too would have time to play the cello.  And three violins.  Maybe.

Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with Ikea?  Are the Mr. and I blessed to be far away from the nearest store?  Or will our new home (and our wallets) suffer the consequences of buying regular, assembled-by-someone-else furniture?

Jack Attack

Union Jack that is.  Just found this while I was blog-trolling, and I’m totally going to make copy it!  Isn’t it stunning?!?!

It was made by the Southern Eclectic aka Sheridan French.  I’m totally in love.  Now I just need to find a suitable dresser . . . Mr.–you up for some yard sailing this weekend?!

Project 2: Leather Drawer Pulls

As promised, here are the details on how I made the leather pleather drawer pulls on my recently refinished veneer dresser.

Of course, I have to give credit to my original inspiration for the idea, so here’s that beauty one more time:

And yes, a real leather belt would be ideal, and maybe down the road I’ll change the handles if I find a good deal on one, but for now, I’m happy with my $2.50 pleather belt from Goodwill:

White Belt

Step 1: Determine Handle Size.  Cut Belt.  Mark Holes.  To determine the best size for the belt, start by using the end of the belt that already has holes in it–obviously that part is unusable for handles, so it makes sense to determine the best size from those pieces.  And here, just play around.  Start a little longer at first, working your way shorter until you have something that looks good.  At first, I used the original dresser handles as a guide, but that resulted in this:

Ick, right?  See how it’s just too long and goofy looking?  It just looked sloppy to me, so I cut off another inch to get to a length that looked more reasonable.  Then, just cut all the pieces the same length and mark your holes from your trial piece.

Oh, and I rounded the edges just a bit on the cuts–you know, to make it look more professional and not so pleathery.  But that’s up to you.

Step 2: Seal the Pleather Edges (Skip this Step if Using Real Leather) Since my belt was pleather and also had stitching, I wanted to make sure it didn’t fray over time.  So I used a little bit of super glue along the cut edges of each piece to keep everything in place.  Make sure to just use a little bit and give it ample drying time before touching it (the last thing you want to do is super glue your fingers to a pleather belt–try explaining that one in the ER!).  You could also use any fabric or regular household glue since all you want to do is create a seal along the cut edges; I used super glue because we had it and I knew it dried quickly (hard to believe, I know, but sometimes I can be quite impatient).

Step 3: Poke Your Holes.  Somehow that just sounds wrong, doesn’t it?  Oh well.  You need to poke your pre-marked holes (from Step 1) with something sharp.  Alternatively, if you own a leather punch, by all means–USE IT.  I, however, did not have a leather punch.   But, I did have a leatherman–close enough, right?  So just use some part of the leatherman (a small screwdriver would also work just fine), and a little elbow grease to accomplish this:

Then, just wiggle it around to make the hole wide enough for your hardware.  Repeat to make holes in all your handles.

Step 4: Attach Hardware.  Since the hardware was going to show on the front of the handles, I didn’t want to just use screws and bolts (although that could be a good look if you want something more industrial-like), so I used Aluminum Posts.  You can find them in the hardware aisle at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s and they come in a variety of sizes:

Initially, I brought home 3/4″, 1″, and 1 1/4″ length posts to see which one fit the best given the depth of the drawer front and handle.  In the end, the 1″ one was right, so I returned the other 2 and bought the remaining 11 ones needed.  They cost $1.14 each.

Also, since the posts were wider than the original hardware screws in the drawer, I did have to drill holes in the drawer front using a 1/4″ drill bit.  That allowed the posts to slide right in, easy-peasy style.  Next step–just put the posts through the handles and attach to the dresser (I had the handles done before the dresser was dry from the polyurethane, so in order to avoid losing the inside screw bits, I attached them to the posts:)

Step 5: Attach to Dresser.  Enjoy!  Just slide the posts through the holes, attach the screws, and enjoy!

All in all, pretty simple, right?  I definitely think I’ll keep an eye out for a real white or off-white leather belt for a quick swap-out in the future, but for now, I’m digging this just fine.

Total cost breakdown for this project (this cost was incorporated into the total dresser overhaul cost too):

  • Electric Drill: (already owned)
  • Super Glue: (already owned)
  • White pleather belt: $2.50
  • Aluminum post screws for handles: $13.68

Total cost for funky cool new dresser handles: $16.18.  So there you have it–new dresser handles on the cheap.  What do you think?  Do you agree that I should keep my eye out for a real-deal leather version?  Or are you feeling it for these handles?

Online Shopping Deals

With the move into our new house looming just around the corner, the Mr. and I have been readying ourselves with some Internet comparison shopping.  See, we already know that there’s going to be a lot to buy . . . yard tools, paint, a new kitchen, toilets, furniture, and all the random stuff that you don’t know you need until you move in.  And since we tend to over-research every buying decision possible, we thought we’d pass on some useful links that have helped us save money so far (and hopefully a lot more in the future) and might help you as well.  Of course, this is definitely not complete, so if you know of any more, please post a comment with your suggestions.

Our newest favorite is eBates, where you get cash back for purchases you make online.  The percentage of cash back varies by store, but we recently used it for some purchases at NewEgg and we got a check in the mail for $15!  Not bad, huh?  All you do is log in to eBates as a starting point, then search for the store that you want to shop at, click through to that store and shop away.  Oh, and you can still use coupon codes at your destination store–how’s that for a double whammy?!

Speaking of coupon codes, our favorite site for those is RetailMeNot.com.  Just enter the store in the search box and find all the coupon codes currently available (and whether or not they work).  We always check this site before every single online purchase and usually  get lucky and find at least one code that helps with our purchase.  Generally, we just write down the coupon code (to input later at checkout) instead of clicking through to it; that way, we can click through to the site from eBates and make use of both the cash back rebate as well as the coupon code.  How you like that?!

If you’re shopping for tech gadgets (such as computers, cameras, etc.), we recommend checking out TechBargains.com.  Consumer Reports recommends the site as an initial stop when shopping for high ticket items, and we recently found it to be a great resource when we bought our new laptop.  It basically lists “hot” deals every day from a bunch of different shopping sites, so it’s a good starting point in what can be a pretty overwhelming Internet shopping world, particularly for big ticket items.

Okay, so hopefully somebody finds this useful . . . and just think of what you can spend all that saved money on?  Maybe a house-warming gift for the Bunches?!  Aww–that’s so nice of you to think of us ;).

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