A Haynes Apartment (and Future House!) Revamp

As you know, Seth and I are of the age when buying our first home is looming on the horizon. I am super psyched for this next stage in our lives, and we are hoping to buy early next year (whooooo!) Our current 633-square-foot apartment is great for keeping our footprint small, but we have accumulated a lot of stuff throughout the course of our seven-year relationship (especially dining/entertaining/kitchenware!) and we are ready to upgrade to a for-real home. We are planning to purge some of our belongings this spring once the weather warms up, because neither of us is into clutter or having lots of unnecessary junk hanging around. We're also trying to be very conscious of not only what we are spending, but also how our footprint is affecting the world around us.

These are the major reasons I've decided to take a piece-by-piece approach to overhauling our current apartment. I figure if we can work with the pieces we own now (which are great, solid pieces, but not necessarily the most up-to-date and modern), we can 1) save a ton of cash and 2) help keep our footprint small and our waste level low. I've done a few projects over the last two and a half years since we moved into our current space, and I have a few more planned. So I decided to bring you guys up to date on what we've done so far!

A couple of years ago, I found this genius tutorial on Pinterest, and decided to make one of my own. All the materials for it cost maybe…$10. It came out completely gorgeous and held up really well through our first Christmas with it hanging on our front door (Christmas, 2013):


There were a couple of cons to this project, however. First, it is super-duper breakable once you get it done, since it's literally made out of glass. So you have to be really ginger with it. Second, after one year in storage several of the balls have come loose, despite being wrapped in bubble wrap and not bumped or jostled (I guess hot glue on glass doesn't hold up well.) Before we hang it again, we will have to fix those that have come loose with some other medium, probably super glue or some industrial adhesive.

In Spring of last year, I decided I had had it with the awkward dorm-room wood color of our coffee table and started looking around for stains that I liked for it. I was going for a darker color than it was, but not super-dark, because I didn't want it to appear black. This is what the table looked like pre-stain:


and after:

(It looks slightly darker than this in our living room.)
It looks sooo much better, and has a nice finish to it that I am a fan of. It's a great, sturdy, solid piece, and was part of the suite of furniture my mother-in-law bought for Seth when he went away to college, so it was "free" to us. After maybe $15 and some elbow-grease, we have a coffee table that totally fits the aesthetic of what I'm planning for our future living room! If I had gone crazy and purchased a new coffee table, I probably would have purchased a $300 one from Crate & Barrel that I've been lusting after. $15 + elbow grease > $300. AND we haven't added to our footprint by buying new wood furniture!

Last fall, I decided to take on our next project and redo our bedside tables. I don't have "before" photos of them, unfortunately, but they were the same color as the coffee table was before we stained it. I wanted them to be a light grey with brushed-nickel hardware, which was convenient because we already owned a light grey paint from when we painted our apartment. (It's "Dolphin Fin" by Behr, if you're interested.) Here are the "after" photos:


I looove the way they came out, they look  brand-stinkin'-new, and the update only cost us about $20. Plus a lot of elbow grease. (These were also "free" to us, one gifted to me by my mom when I was a teenager and one by a friend when I got an apartment in college.) This project was a little more work, since 1) there were two tables, and 2) in addition to sanding, we also had to prime them for painting and remove and reattach hardware. But they'll fit perfectly in our future bedroom, with the pretty grey  bedding and throw pillows we got as a wedding gift! (Total girl stuff.)

I have one BIG project I'm planning on doing as soon as it warms up, and that's this bad boy:


This was part of the same suite of furniture as our coffee table, and is the same dorm-room wood color that I am not a fan of (so 1980's.) I am planning to sand, paint and back it, and if I can get my dad or some other handy man to put some doors on it once we move into a house, those will go on the bottom portion. Even sans-doors, though, I'm psyched to paint and back this. Once it's finished it's going to be amazeballs.

My other project, which will be much simpler, is sanding and painting this guy, which we recently salvaged when a neighbor was throwing it out:

(With a cameo by Mei Mei.)
It's a beautiful, old rocking chair that some butt munch painted this heinous rust color. (I do not, for the record, understand why this is the Pantone color of the year. Woof.) Can anyone say "future nursery"? Seth wants me to paint it a bright, clean, modern white, so that's probably what we will do with it. I love when he has opinions! He's my favorite.

My goal with all these projects is to have furniture we are proud of, and that creates a cohesive design aesthetic. We are going for clean, simple, and modern. By redoing our furniture now, pre-move, the hope is that we will just be able to drop all of our existing furniture into our future house and it will look purposefully decorated, rather than a hodge-podge of random college furniture that we just threw together when we got married.

I'll come back with another post once we have done another project!

P.s. Want to see all the tutorials and inspiration I use for my projects? Visit my "Successful DIY" and "Other/DIY Home" boards on my Pinterest. There's a social icon for it on the right sidebar!

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