House Walk-Through: Upstairs

And we’re back with the upstairs tour!

We basically plopped some furniture down in these rooms and called it a day.  They are clean (for the most part) and comfortable for when guests stay, but we decided to put our time and money into the downstairs first since that’s where we live.  We joke that we bought the upstairs for ‘the future’ only so we never have to move again 🙂

Let’s go right upstairs…

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I love how wide our stairwell is.  It’s perfect for running the dogs up and down chasing the laser on rainy days (because that’s the most use it ever gets).  Someday we will paint it and I would love a cool gallery wall with maps of places special to us but that’s for down the road.

 

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This is how the stairwell looks most days with our ‘doggy gate’ aka my-sister-found-this-canvas-in-a-dumpster-and begged-me-to-paint-her-something-pretty-over-it.  (I’ll get to it someday Sis, maybe when Chloe learns it is not cool to pee on the guest room bed).  Sigh.

 

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Upstairs landing, again, pretty boring.  The door to the guest bathroom is in front of you.

 

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View of guest bathroom…

 

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with the shower on your left.  Someday this room will get a nice light coat of paint.  The builder beige in here makes everything so dull and yellow.

 

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To the right of the bathroom we have the two bedrooms, this is the ‘blue room’.

 

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In which only the bedding and curtains are blue.  This is most likely the future nursery as it is the smallest of all the rooms and is nice and dark when you shut the curtains.  Yay for (hopefully) long nap times!

 

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All the bedrooms have these awesome walk-in closets for storage too!

 

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Then we have the larger of the bedrooms which I call the ‘sunshine room’ because of the FOUR east-facing windows.  Time to get up for school kid!

 

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This room also has a cool nook that I think would make an awesome kids’ play/reading corner someday.  Right now it’s my craft/junk corner.  Sorry for the blurry pic.  It makes mess look more artsy? 😉

 

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To the left of the bathroom is our huge bonus room.  Right now it is just housing all the junk that hasn’t found a good home yet but eventually this will be a computer/craft/tv/rec/exercise/play room.  I’ve already got a paint color picked out and plan started!

 

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This corner will turn into the craft area.  I’m going to make a long desk/work area out of a door we found in the trash of the neighbor house’s building site.  (That’s two dumpster dive stories in one post in case you were counting)

 

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The TV will stay where it is and the computer desk will move into this corner.

 

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And this last corner will be the exercise/play area next to the couch.  Which hopefully we will upgrade to a nice sectional someday for more seating.  And add built-in storage along the walls?  Who knows!

So that concludes the tour!  I love the potential in all the blank slates in this house and I can’t wait for my next project.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Happy Memorial Day!

We had a quiet holiday weekend here and it was wonderful.  I hope you got to spend some time in the sunshine near some water with a cool drink in your hand like we did!

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Happiness sure is a hotdog in a kiddie pool!  LOVE this face 🙂

 

 

The Never Ending Fence

This is a story about a fence.

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This fence.

A looooooong fence. (at least it is not a long story!)

We had this beautiful sturdy six-foot beauty built by our home builders before we moved in.  It has been such a blessing to not have to worry about leashes or shoes in the mornings to take dogs out.  Since we wanted our fence to always be beautiful we knew it had to be stained.

After tax season Matt has lots of built up vacation time so my brave hubby decided to take a week off work and stain the fence.

We had a $25 off coupon so we went to Lowes and loaded up on fence stain.  After reading lots of reviews we chose to go with Flood brand CWF-UV in Cedar.  It had really great reviews and was significantly cheaper than a lot of others out there.  And with a fence as large as ours we knew we would be needing a lot of stain.  We liked the cedar color (which was good be cause it was all our local Lowes carried) so we bought a 5-gallon can and some supplies.

Matt contemplated using a sprayer but after talking to several people who had recently stained their fences he decided to try rolling instead.  We heard the mess was significantly less applying by hand and that you end up using a ton more stain with a sprayer.  We also bought a big ‘fence’ brush to cut into all the areas he couldn’t reach with a roller.  I helped him do some of this after work a few days and Matt’s mom came and helped him too.

It was a slow process.  First of all we happened to have record-breaking hot weather for May and most days not a cloud in the sky.  Secondly the inside of the fence has three cross bars which is great for support but not so great for trying to paint around.

There were multiple times after staining all day where Matt decided we could live with a half stained fence.  And seeing how just a few hours of that tedious work in the awful heat knocked me out I would have willingly agreed with him.  But I didn’t marry a quitter and I am so impressed by how hard he worked to get this thing finished.

And for those who still think spraying is the way to go, Matt did end up trying it with a small hand-held one.  Grandpa S gave us his to try and after two back-breaking days with the roller Matt pulled it out to give it a try.  I wasn’t home for this but his consensus was it was equally slow, maybe a bit easier, but the quality wasn’t as good.  It was a really uneven application and left streaks everywhere.  It could have been user error or the quality of the spray gun but after one fence panel Matt went back to the roller.

100 of days later, it’s done. (That might be an exaggeration, but it sure felt that long)

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Love the cedar color with the green grass (that’s slowly growing in).

And folks, it’s beautiful.  Sure it’s not perfect and it was certainly a horrible hot, sweaty, sunburnt, muscle achy, slow, tiring, tedious process but I am super proud of the work Matt did!  And grateful that I had as little involvement as I did.

 

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Here’s one more before:

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And the after:

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Sophie photo bomb.  Girlfriend loves being near her people 🙂

So in conclusion: This is never going to be a fun/cheap/easy project.  Save your pennies and pay a professional OR rent a commercial sprayer.

 

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House Walk-Through: Downstairs

You might have seen some of these pictures in my post “The List” but I wanted to share some more details for those who don’t get to drop by in person that often.

Welcome to our home!

Front Door

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This wreath (and it’s twin) hung on the doors to the church for our wedding.  My sister helped me make them; the flowers are made of paper and from Hobby Lobby (and yes almost three years later they still carry them!).  See more about the porch details here.

 

Living Room

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The living room is painted in Sherwin Williams ‘Rainwashed’.  We hired a friend who is a contract painter to do most of the downstairs before we moved any furniture in and that was such a good move!  It was easy for him with no furniture to work around and he did such a better (and faster) job than we ever could have.

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The massive sectional is an Ashley piece that we found way discounted at Unclaimed Furniture, a local furniture outlet.  It’s brown microfiber and holds up really well to the dogs (and they are rough!)  So far it’s been easy to keep clean.  I claimed the reclining chaise lounge and Matt sits in the full recliner next to me 🙂

 

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This end table is from the Threshold collection at Target and we bought it in desperation after several water-cup-vs.-Chloe disasters with the TV tray that used to be in its place.

 

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The leather recliner is a handed down La-Z-Boy that Matt says we shall never part with.  He is a lot less inclined to sit there now that he has his sectional recliner so we’ll see ;).

 

Kitchen/Dining Area

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I really really really wanted dark espresso colored cabinets when were picking out the finishings for our home.  But they 1) didn’t match the dark ‘Ubatuba’ granite we loved, 2) the dark hardwoods to go with them would have been so dog/dirt/kid unfriendly, and 3) dark cabinets are really trendy right now and who knows how long that fad will last.  So we chose this classic maple color instead and long-run I think I will love it.  I still sigh a little every time I see a kitchen with dark cabinets but I like the maple the more I live with it.  And it was certainly worth it to get to keep the granite we love. ::swoon::

 

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The Jamison (our floor plan) doesn’t have a formal dining room and honestly we love it!  This year we hosted two Christmas dinners, a community group get-together, and a Super Bowl party and I love how the openness of everything allows for tons of people to fit in and all be together.  There’s not an inch of wasted space here!

 

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The table and chairs are hand-me-downs from Matt’s gracious grandparents and have served us well.  I’m keeping my eye out for something a little bigger with more seating though so we shall see.  That rug (which is more green in person) is from Rug and Home, a local outlet place here is SC.  I have no idea what brand it is, only that it was a steal and it’s super soft (and easy to clean!)

 

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There is another long blank wall here in the dining area that I plan to turn into a gallery wall.

 

Hallway

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It’s a hallway.   Other than paint (SW rainwashed, same as living room) and some art, there isn’t much to see here. 🙂

 

Half Bath

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This little guy has so much potential!  It’s still a boring builder-beige box right now but it has good bones and I have big plans for it.

 

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It has the same high ceilings as the rest of the downstairs, with a funky slope from being under the stairs, so I’m trying to plan around that in the design.

 

Laundry Room

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Sophie and Chloe live here, and crates are not cute.  While I am extremely grateful they aren’t in my bedroom any more, I’m hoping to add a little color/design to this room to make me smile.  And more covered storage!  Since I’m the one who spends the most time in here (besides the dogs) I think that’s allowed!

 

Master Bedroom

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The walls are Sherwin Williams ‘Silvermist’.  And this room is huge!  Even our king-sized bed looks a little dwarfed in here.  I’m on the hunt for some great used dressers/storage to refinish and beef things out a bit.  I also want to add chunky crown molding to cozy up the 9 foot ceilings in here.

The floor mirror was a present from Matt for my birthday, it’s from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot of all places.  I looked at hundreds of mirrors and hands down this was my favorite and at such a good price.  Of course it has the obligatory doggy nose prints all over the bottom from every time Chloe sees herself in it 🙂

 

Master Bathroom

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The master bath is Sherwin Williams ‘Sea Salt’.  We opted for the larger 5 foot shower instead of a garden tub and it’s awesome.  We actually get a lot of light through the little glass block window.  I want to keep a beachy fresh feel in here and hope to add some more décor soon.

And that concludes the downstairs tour!  Stay tuned for upstairs next week!

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DIY Mirrored Windows

We have a long bare wall on the back of our living room where the stairs are and since we moved in I knew I wanted to do a cool project to hang there.  I wanted something involving mirrors and since they are so expensive I figured I could create my own for much less.  After some research I came across Krylon’s looking glass spray.  It’s a spray paint you spray on the back of a piece of glass to give the front a mirror-like effect.

The next step was finding something cool to paint on.  My sister happens to live in the converted loft of a barn and had some old wooden windows laying around the building.  She donated two to my cause (after asking the landlords of course) and I got started.  If you don’t happen to have an awesome sister with a cool window-filled barn you can find them at flea markets or a place like a Habitat Re-Store for not that much.

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First I gave the windows a good scrub down with windex to get off all the grime and cobwebs they had collected after sitting in the barn for so long.  The I used a medium grit sanding block to get rid of some of the rough edges.  I decided to paint the frames but depending on your window and style you could leave them plain or stain them.

I had a bunch of paint swatches laying around from choosing colors for the house so I sifted through until I found one I liked that would go with the living room walls which are ‘Rainwashed’ by Sherwin Williams.  I ended up with ‘Painted Turtle’ by Behr (see formula below).

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Behr ‘painted turtle’ and Krylon looking glass spray

I got a sample of it mixed at Home Depot (you won’t need much paint) and just painted it on with a small angled brush.  I didn’t bother to tape of the glass and didn’t worry about any paint that got on the panes because it is easy to scrape off when dry.

I did one coat of paint on the frames and wasn’t too perfect about it.  I wanted my mirrors to look a little vintage so imperfections were just fine with me.  I let them dry for a few days (mostly because I was busy!) and then was ready to spray paint.  I laid my windows down on an old sheet in the backyard to protect from over spray.  Make sure you lay them painted side down since you will be spraying on the reverse side you want to look  like a mirror.

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Then I sprayed the glass, being careful to always keep my arm moving and not apply it too think.  A lot of super thin coats are better than just a few thick ones.  I probably did about twenty super thin coats, just letting the paint dry for a minute in between.  It took almost a full can of paint to do the two windows.

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backside of the windows after applying looking glass spray

I let them dry and then took them inside to hang.  I then carefully nailed on a couple of hanger-thingys (technical term?) with the tiny nails they came with.  They were leftover from another project and can be found in the frame section of a craft store.

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I marked the studs on our wall using a stud finder and Matt and my sister helped hold them up until I liked where they were.  Then I hammered in some nails and viola!

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Sister photo bomb.

Easy, in-expensive, and gorgeous!

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The List

We are in the middle of a dozen projects here at the Stalnaker house so I thought this would be a good time to share our to-do list. This is by no means everything we want to do and many are long (long, loooooong) term projects.

I got this list format from John & Sherry at Young House Love who keep a running document of their to-dos. This makes for an easy place to see the big picture but also all the details of each project. I like to be crazy organized and I love lists so I wanted to give it a whirl. Here goes!

THE LIST
(Interior)

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LIVING ROOM
o Curtains – Sew / Hang Curtains
o Shop for / add giant sectional
o Add End Tables for couch (need one more?)
o Add Floor Lamp / Table Lamp
o Add Pillows / Throw blankets / Accessories / Pictures / Décor
o Add Plants – giant fern
o Add Console Table
o Paint walls Sherwin Williams ‘Rainwashed’
o Mount TV
o Crown molding
o Coffered ceiling?
o Old windows turned mirrors (project done, still need to be hung)
o Mantle Décor – ORB old candle holder
o Change out boob light for something more decorative

 

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KITCHEN
o Shop for / buy fridge
o Paint walls Benjamin Moore ‘Dune Grass’
o Add handles / drawer pulls to all cabinetry
o Add glass tile backsplash
o Add accessories
o Add bar stools

 

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DINING AREA
o Add gallery wall
o Shop for / add rug
o Re-finish / paint buffet table
o Make / hang window valence (fabric – Braemore Gazebo Cloud?)
o Remove sliding door blinds – Make / hang curtain to match valence
o Replace / fix broken screen door – dog proof?
o Update / replace dining set – Farmhouse table?
o Crown molding?

 

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LAUNDRY ROOM (AKA SOPHIE & CHLOE’S ROOM)
o Shop for / purchase washing machine and dryer
o Paint walls in Aqua & white strips like THIS
o Hang drying rack
o Hang ironing board holder
o Change out wire shelving for cabinetry – like this?
o Add stool so I can actually reach storage
o Switch out light – make clothes pin light?
o Add hooks for hanging clothes
o Add art

 

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HALF BATH
o Paint – Benjamin Moore ‘Van Courtland Blue’?
o Add board and batten
o Replace pedestal sink with vanity with storage?
o Art / accessories
o Fix crooked wall (builder issue – covered in Mungo warranty)

 

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HALL WAY
o Fix bow in drywall (both sides) (builder issues covered in Mungo warranty)
o Add art to long wall – board and batten?
o Other art / accessories
o Remove paint from garage door weather stripping
o Replace boob light?
o Crown molding?

 

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MASTER BEDROOM
o Paint walls Sherwin Williams ‘Silvermist’
o Add chunky crown molding
o Hang white breezy curtains
o Update furniture – bed, dressers, night stands
o Shop for / add floor mirror
o Change out boob light for ceiling fan w/ light
o Update bedding to fresh white, blue, & gray (like this or this?)

 

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MASTER BATH
o Paint walls Sherwin Williams ‘Sea Salt’
o Add bath mats (may replace – white does not hold up well)
o Change out flimsy builder-basic toilet seat
o Update art – paint mats white, change out art
o Move towel rack down wall to waist level so art can go above
o Wall mount makeup mirror
o Add shelves over the toilet?
o Sea-themed accessories

 

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STAIR WELL / UPSTAIRS LANDING
o Paint (color?)
o Hang window valence to match living room?
o Add art
o Add doggie gate? (I think my babies are trained enough to not need this now)
o Replace boob light upstairs

 

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BONUS ROOM
o Plop down old furniture
o Paint grey?
o Make craft table out of old door
o Create craft area for all my supplies
o Rearrange furniture
o Replace old sofa with sectional?
o Add art
o Finish (drywall) framed storage closet
o Make / add window treatments, pillows, accessories
o Built-in storage / shelving?
o Replace boob light

 

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UPSTAIRS BATH
o Paint
o Switch door so it opens outwards? Pocket door?

 

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FRONT BEDROOM (PHASE 1)
o Paint
o Add bed, night stand
o Add king-sized bedding
o Hang curtains
o Add art / accessories (need more)
o Replace boob light

 

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BACK BEDROOM (PHASE 1)
o Paint
o Add bed / linens
o Hang curtains
o Add art (need more)
o Replace boob light

(Exterior)

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FRONT PORCH
o Assemble / stain / seal Adirondack chairs
o Add garden table – spray-paint
o Find planters – add plants
o Add wreath; Add pillows
o Add hummingbird feeder / wind chime
o Add potted plants (herb garden in corner?)

 

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FRONT YARD
o Remove dead Chinese witch hazel bushes, replace with Daphne
o Add knockout roses to front bed
o Add lilies / bulb flowers
o Move giant bushes to back fence
o Add stone edging to beds

 

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BACK DECK
o Buy new grill
o Add patio furniture
o Add umbrella & stand
o Build deck over slab? (like this)
o Add pots w/ mosquito repelling plants?
o Add potted herb garden (too sunny, maybe front porch)?

 

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BACK YARD
o Add trees, bushes, landscaping
o Put up blue bird houses (we have a brood nesting in one!)
o Create foundation bed under master bed windows, plant hydrangeas
o Create two trellis for climbing roses
o Stain fence (Matt is working on this as I type)
o Spray paint / update hand-me-down hammock
o Conquer weeds

SIDE YARD LEFT (not pictured)
o Plant tulip magnolia
o Create vegetable / cut flower raised bed along house & Create composting area?
o Trellis around gas meter
o Plant bushes along property border

SIDE YARD RIGHT (not pictured)
o Plant tree – golden rain tree
o Put up shepherd’s hook with bird feeder
o Create trellis around A/C
o Plant bushes along property border

Are you overwhelmed yet? 🙂

Obviously not everything will be happening now/this year/anytime soon so stay tuned for updates!

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We did that! – Adriondack Chairs

The name of these chairs make me want to yodel.  Even though my brain knows the Adirondacks are in NY and not Switzerland (thanks Google) the thought is very tempting.

Any(yodelayhee)who…  we did THIS:

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When looking for chairs for the front porch we were originally thinking rockers.  Although shopping for rocking chairs can give you sticker shock!  Even on craigslist rockers were ‘antique’ and therefore overpriced and rarely came in pairs.  I did find that the Cracker Barrel near our house had their ‘last season’ rockers marked down 70%.  Which was a good deal except 1) I never remembered to drag Matt there and 2) we couldn’t fit one, let alone two, rockers in our cars.

And then walking through Home Depot this past winter we saw THESE.  Unfinished adult-sized Adirondack chairs for less that $40 a piece!  SOLD.  Never mind that the only thing I ever stained was when ‘helping’ my dad with our deck when I was 17.  Or that furniture assembly almost cause Matt and I to break up when we were dating (true-ish story).   We immediately loaded two of the huge boxes in our car and lugged them home to sit in our garage for a few months (don’t judge, it was tax season).

Fast forward to spring time when I finally have my husband back… it was a beautiful sunny day so we dragged the boxes to the back patio and unloaded them.  And although the instructions were only slightly more helpful than ikea’s they were not all that hard to assemble!  Soon we had two beautiful (albeit stinky) solid fir wood chairs ready to be stained.  Knowing they would take multiple coats of stain / sealer we set them up on cardboard out in the garage.

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I had already picked out the stain color, Dark Walnut by Minwax, to go with the other dark accents on the front porch.  I just ready the directions on the can and went for it using my experience reading diy blogs.

Here are the steps I used:

1) Lightly sanded my chairs with a medium grit sanding block just to get rid of any splinters or rough spots in the unfinished wood.

2) Wiped down the chair with a clean rag to remove and lingering dust / dirt.

3) Used a natural bristle brush to paint the stain onto the wood.  I tried to not use an excess amount of stain each time to avoid drips.  Then after approximately 15 minutes I rubbed the wood down with another clean rag to remove and excess stain (which can cause the wood to never dry properly and your sealer to not adhere well).  We did the underside of the chairs one night, let them dry, and flipped them over to do the topsides the next night.  There were a few places where stain from the bottom dripped down from the night before but we were able to blend with the new stain pretty well.

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Note: Stain is STINKY.  Do this in a well ventilated place that is still protected from the elements (like a garage).  I wouldn’t recommend using this stuff inside lest the fumes infiltrate your stuff.  Also you can keep your unwashed brushes in a sealed bag in the freezer until you’re done with the project so you only have to wash them at the end (and they won’t dry out).  Genius!

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Isn’t that color gorgeous?

Since the chairs would be outside we had to seal them with a weather proofing top coat.  On recommendation from my dad we got ‘spar varnish’. Spar varnish is what is used to weather proof boat hulls – it seals the wood not only to water but light as well.  I don’t know that one brand is specifically better than another but we went with the Rust-oleum brand.

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Rust-oleum Spar Varnish and the cheap-o paint thinner we used for this project

After letting the second stain dry again over night I flipped the chairs back bottom-side up and was ready to seal.

The steps we used to stain are pretty much what we used to seal:

1) Wipe the chair down with a clean cloth – even in our garage there was a fine pollen dust on them!

2) Use the same bristle brush (cleaned) to lightly paint on the varnish.  Avoid drips by not over loading your brush and paint them out when they do occur.

I did one coat on the bottom side and let it dry over night.  The next day I went for two coats on the topside – letting the first one dry for more that 4 hours per the instructions (but not more than 12 unless I wanted to sand in between… and I did not).

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NOTE: I cleaned my brushes with paint thinner after the staining & varnish steps – this stuff is hard to get out!  I don’t know that they will ever be brushes I could use for paint again but I will keep them around for future stain projects.

And that was it!  We let the chairs cure in the garage until they were no longer sticky to the touch (a few days) and then moved them to the covered front porch.  We waited a few more days to really let the varnish cure before sitting on them but other than that they were done.

And they are prrreeeeeettty!!!

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All in all the project probably cost around $100 for the chairs, stain, varnish, & paint thinner (but I have leftovers of the supplies for another project) and around four hours plus a week of drying time).   Considering that you can’t buy one nice finished Adirondack chair for that I am super happy with the outcome.

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