Welcome To Our Little Big House On The Prairie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Little Repurposing Goes A Long Way

I have to admit that I have flip-flopped back and forth between the kinds of decor I want for our home.  I love so many different styles, but have a very limited budget.

Self-Employment + This Economy = Not Good.

I guess you could call the one I've settled on:  Nantucket-Cottage-Junk-Prim.  I'm just going to blaze my own trail, since I can't settle on just one thing.  So what if I'm a tad schizophrenic in my decorating?  :P

One blog in particular, keeps calling my name.  I am forever oohing and aahing over her fantastic repurposes.  She makes it look so effortlessly awesome.  And with four rough and tumble boys, this style totally works for me.  If you haven't checked out Funky Junk Interiors you really should!  I always keep a tissue handy to wipe the drool off my chin while I'm reading her blog!

Donna (who is really super nice by the way) has really inspired me to think outside the box and look at things that I find or just have laying around in a new way.  My favorite thing about this style is that you don't have to go broke achieving it - which makes the hubs REALLY happy (even if he does sometime shake his head over the things I lug into the house).

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a before picture of the east wall of the office before I got started.  I'm sure you imaginative types can easily picture a large swivel rocker shoved in the corner with 3 lighthouse pictures hung like    +     +     +  on the wall above it.
Can we say B-O-R-I-N-G?

On Sunday, I lugged home an old ladder that has been leaning up against the barn at my in-law's for at least two years, if not longer.  Hasn't moved an inch since it was put there.  The hubs outright laughed at me, as he watched me open the back hatch of our Yukon and shove it in.  I just told him, "You have no clue what you can do with a ladder!"

It really wasn't much to look at.  Beginning to dry rot a little. . . But it met two of my requirements:  1)  It was old.  2) It was a ladder.  I'm pretty picky aren't I?  Seriously though, I really, really, REALLY wanted an old ladder.

And what's hilarious is, it still had the price tag on it!  LOL!  $4.00. Not bad, Dad.  Not bad.

So today, I set about painting it, to give it a little oomph.  It turned out deliciously shabby.

Out with the swivel rocker and pictures, in with the shabby ladder.  But it just didn't look right all by itself.  That wall really isn't all that big, and I haven't come across any tables to refurbish that would work there.

After staring at the wall for a while, I went outside to see what else we had stashed around the old acreage here that I could possibly repurpose to fill up that wall.

I found:  1)  A metal cow tank.  2)  Half of an old barn door.  Yee-Haw!  Now we're in business.

So, I cleaned up the cow tank, which after sitting in our pump house for four years was really, really gross.  We bought it when we hosted our house-warming party after we bought this big monstrosity.  We filled it with ice and then stuck beer and pop in it to keep them cold, so it really wasn't as beat up as one would think. Then I lugged the door up from the barn.  It was H-E-A-V-Y!  (They just don't make things like they used to.)  And I cleaned that up too.

First I tried laying the door on top of the cow tank to make a table, which would have been really cute and totally something that Donna would do.  Didn't work.  Too big.  DARN!  I glared stared at them both for a while because I knew I was onto something, but what something was the question.

After a bunch of noodling, rearranging, and then checking things out from all angles, this is what I managed to come up with:

I have to say that I love it!  LUH-OVE!  Totally different.  I mean, when do you walk into someone's house and see a COW TANK turned TABLE.  Hah!  Neh-ver!

So, let me tell you about a few of the other items in this picture...

The ladder I painted with Dutch Boy Chalkboard White on the exterior.  For the interior of the frame, I painted the Jamaican Sky that I used in my Calm. Wall Art.

In the bottom left-hand corner of the picture, you'll see a big black object sitting on the floor.  That's an antique ship's compass.  It actually works and the compass itself is suspended within the iron frame, so its like it floats.  This particular piece is very, very special to me.  After my Dad died, I was the first person to make it to Virginia Beach and into his home.  Dad loved to buy antique marine items and was always picking up different pieces of flotsam.  Evidently, he had just bought the compass because it was the first thing I laid eyes on when I walked through the back door.  It was sitting on the kitchen table.  My Dad was lost at sea off the coast of Delaware in February 2007.  He was a ship's pilot.  Every time I look at that compass, I can clearly see it sitting on the kitchen table right where he left it, waiting for him to come home.

 The star on top was one of the ones that I spruced up with a little spray paint turning it from Americana to Shabby Chic.  The little sign came from my favorite store, "Country Collections" in Dumont, Iowa.  Believe it or not, I bought it during my 2008 trip there.  Loooooong time ago, peeps.  The shell came from a visit to the coast a few years ago.

Now, this sweet little dealy was hiding in my in-law's old summer kitchen.  Yes, they (or most likely the people that owned the farm before them) had a summer kitchen, which is a separate building that they used to cook in during the hot season.  There is actually two old stoves in there, but unfortunately, I think they're past redemption.  I found this old wooden box sitting on top of one of the stoves covered in various (what I think was) tractor parts.  WOO-HOO!  SCORE!  I literally did a double take when I saw the edge of it peeking out at me.  It was covered in cobwebs and what I think was bat droppings, but she cleaned up really nice, didn't she?

The metal basket was down in our basement when we moved in here.  Don't you love those lucky finds?

All in all, I'm really loving this new addition to my office.  The basket holds phone books and my Bible, plus a little jelly jar with pens and various other little things in it.  And since the diva and the little man keep using up all my printer paper for drawing, I stashed some under the basket to keep it safe from their crayons and colored pencils.  :)

Currently, I'm on the look out for a sweet little desk that I can refinish.  Once I find that, the west wall will be done and since the north wall is pretty much windows, I'll be satisfied until we can paint.  The top of the room is sporting this hideous blue and pink country heart border.  YUCK.

Until I can find the perfect desk, I'm using a small antique desk that was my parent's, but I need something with more than one small drawer and what I'm assuming is an arm rest that slides out from underneath.  I believe it was a desk for the lady of the house to write letters.  Its very small and extremely feminine.  Doesn't work well for an iMac at all.  ;)

Here's another look at what is becoming one of my favorite spaces.  The south wall has more light green in it, so I've got to fill the ladder with some things that combine the blue and green, but so far so good.  If anyone sees anything on Etsy or Ebay that would work, shoot me an e-mail.  Seriously!

I don't know that I'll use this particular style in the rest of the house, but since this is the room where I spend a lot of time, I feel it should reflect who I am.  And so far, its looking pretty darn good!


whitney said...

Beautiful transformation on the ladder. I love your "Nantucket-cottage-junk-prim" style! Gorgeous room!

Barb said...

No fair! your vignette looks downright gorgeous!! :) very inspiring!

TracyMB @ Crow's Feet Chic said...

Love the blast of blue and your table is very cool!

Rene' Sharp said...

Totally amazing!! Very clever and gutsy and it just works so well :)

Reno and Reorganization said...

I love it!! You and I have the same decorating style, a little of everything. Going to stick around and see what else you come up with. I am a new follower.

Funky Junk Interiors said...

Well, that wall certainly draws me in!!!! I want that cow tank! Oh what a great piece...



Nutbird said...

I am jealous. I would love to have a cow tank! I wonder if you can make a desk with one at each end, a really long desk. Great job, did you mention a wall paper boarder? Get up there and rip it down. You can cover up the mess with book pages. That couldn't look worse. Ann

Gretchen said...

Love what you have done with the freebies in your office. The ladder painted is perfect! Love the combo of colors you chose and personally use pale aqua in my office too. I only have 2 ideas/possible suggestions. Would you ever consider giving your lovely green chair a wash of the aqua you used inside your ladder to pull the room together? Than you wouldn't have to look for greens, etc. and would be more cohesive without having to add more elements. The other thing is that I'd love to just turn your basket/box on a bit of an angle vs. being squared off with the tank. Just would go more with your lovely eclectic look you've got going vs. the prim and proper straightness the basket/box currently show in your photo. I a by no means and expert, but thought I'd go out on the limb with a suggestion and idea. Love, love the chair lines and such and although it's lovely in the green, I think it might be even get better with aqua. :)
btw...found you by way of Donna, and am loving what I've seen thus far. You have a gift for sure.

~Sues Treasures on the Porch~ said...

Loveee the combination you did a wonderful job of re-purposing and making everything look amazing in your space. And you have inspired me to go get my ladders out and add them to my shabby, country, primitive home. Thanks for sharing come visit when you can. Sue

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your farmhouse style! :)

Amy of The Salvage Collection said...

really? are you for really real? this is dang fab, girl! and that "calm" painting rocks my socks off! i love a little mod to keep that farmhouse stuff from getting frumpy.

and your story about the ship's compass is a killer! i can just see you walking into his house and finding it on the table. i'm so sorry about your father. our family has lived each summer on the water near lewes delaware for over 20 years. we often see the pilots going out to the tankers and even climbing up the side of the ships. that's a pretty elite group of people, those pilots; your dad must have been a very special man.

your newest follower...and friend!