modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

[ QUICK SLIPCOVER ]
It was never my intention to keep a bean bag in the living room, but after ditching the coffee table, we were temporarily keeping one of the Sumo footstools near the couch. You know, just for a couple of days, then it would join the pile downstairs somewhere. It turns out, it’s perfect for the living room—super comfortable for lounging, an extra seat when we have guests, and perfect tea party size for dolls and stuffed animals. 
The problem was the fabric. The original cover is durable navy blue nylon, and I just kept thinking “rolled up sleeping bag.” I had previously seen these amazing wool stools, so I thought maybe I could create a slipcover in a fabric that would be a little more appropriate in the room.
Wool is great, but more than I wanted to spend at the time, so I opted for a gray chambray (it looks bluer in the photos than it really is). I wanted the chambray to be a little stiffer to hold the shape better, so I used fusible interfacing for more structure. 
I’m also the type of seamstress (can I really even call myself that?) that avoids zippers at all cost, so I figured I could make a sort of drawstring bag shape that would be long enough to cinch up underneath. 
The whole project took less than an hour. I didn’t use a pattern, and in the end, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Since I’m kind of the wing-it type, I can’t say that my directions will be great, but if you want to try to make something like this for yourself, here’s the basic steps:
1. After measuring the circumference and height of the footstool, cut two pieces of fabric—a circle for the top and a rectangle for the side. Make sure to add enough extra height to the side piece to wrap underneath the footstool.
2. Fold up the bottom edge on the longest side of the rectangle and sew, leaving an opening large enough for your drawstring to slide easily.
3. Sew the short ends of the rectangle together making sure to stop before the drawstring section.
4. pin and sew the circle piece of fabric to the side piece.
5. Attach a large safety pin to one end of your drawstring and guide it through the opening. 
That’s pretty much it. Sorry for really vague and terrible directions. Maybe just keep a stitch-ripper nearby. That’s how I usually figure out my sewing projects.
Of couse, most people don’t have a pile of bean bags in their house to recover, so here are much better instructions for creating a bean bag pouf from scratch.

[ QUICK SLIPCOVER ]

It was never my intention to keep a bean bag in the living room, but after ditching the coffee table, we were temporarily keeping one of the Sumo footstools near the couch. You know, just for a couple of days, then it would join the pile downstairs somewhere. It turns out, it’s perfect for the living room—super comfortable for lounging, an extra seat when we have guests, and perfect tea party size for dolls and stuffed animals. 

The problem was the fabric. The original cover is durable navy blue nylon, and I just kept thinking “rolled up sleeping bag.” I had previously seen these amazing wool stools, so I thought maybe I could create a slipcover in a fabric that would be a little more appropriate in the room.

Wool is great, but more than I wanted to spend at the time, so I opted for a gray chambray (it looks bluer in the photos than it really is). I wanted the chambray to be a little stiffer to hold the shape better, so I used fusible interfacing for more structure. 

I’m also the type of seamstress (can I really even call myself that?) that avoids zippers at all cost, so I figured I could make a sort of drawstring bag shape that would be long enough to cinch up underneath. 

The whole project took less than an hour. I didn’t use a pattern, and in the end, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Since I’m kind of the wing-it type, I can’t say that my directions will be great, but if you want to try to make something like this for yourself, here’s the basic steps:

1. After measuring the circumference and height of the footstool, cut two pieces of fabric—a circle for the top and a rectangle for the side. Make sure to add enough extra height to the side piece to wrap underneath the footstool.

2. Fold up the bottom edge on the longest side of the rectangle and sew, leaving an opening large enough for your drawstring to slide easily.

3. Sew the short ends of the rectangle together making sure to stop before the drawstring section.

4. pin and sew the circle piece of fabric to the side piece.

5. Attach a large safety pin to one end of your drawstring and guide it through the opening. 

That’s pretty much it. Sorry for really vague and terrible directions. Maybe just keep a stitch-ripper nearby. That’s how I usually figure out my sewing projects.

Of couse, most people don’t have a pile of bean bags in their house to recover, so here are much better instructions for creating a bean bag pouf from scratch.

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[ RUG REVEAL ]

It’s been about a month since my new living room rug came, and I’ve owed you guys some pictures! It took me a day or two to warm up to it, but now I’m really pleased with how it looks. The 8x10 size fits the space so much better than our previous 5x7 rug. I initially wanted a gray rug, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how fond I am of the tan. It goes nicely with the chair and couch. 

The rug was on clearance at Urban Outfitters for $99, and I used Christmas gift money for all but the sales tax. The quality is pretty average, so time will tell how well it holds up. I opted for this rug pad from Ikea, and it’s a little softer underfoot than the typical mesh rug pads that we’ve used in the past. It also seems to stick better to the back of the rug, which I love! I get so frustrated with those mesh ones getting bunched up around the edges. 

I get a wider angle with my iPhone so here’s a terrible, grainy picture to give you a better view of the whole room (I know, we are in desperate need of art for that wall):

We had planned to find a smaller coffee table to replace the current one, but after moving it out of the room to put the carpet down, I liked the room so much better with the extra space. The kids agree—they love having more room to play. 

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[ IT’S HERE ]
Okay, this is a terrible photo. But I couldn’t wait for a sunny day to take pictures so I could share the news that my new living room rug came yesterday. Thank you to those of you who responded on Facebook with advice as to which rug I should order. I ended up buying an 8’x10’ rug from Urban Outfitters that was on clearance for $99.
It’s not the rug of my dreams, and most likely it will someday move into a bedroom. But for the time being, I think it will work great. 

[ IT’S HERE ]

Okay, this is a terrible photo. But I couldn’t wait for a sunny day to take pictures so I could share the news that my new living room rug came yesterday. Thank you to those of you who responded on Facebook with advice as to which rug I should order. I ended up buying an 8’x10’ rug from Urban Outfitters that was on clearance for $99.

It’s not the rug of my dreams, and most likely it will someday move into a bedroom. But for the time being, I think it will work great. 

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[ LIVING ROOM UPDATES ]
Ever since we saw the first few “fauxdenzas” pop up in the blogosphere (specifically the ones on The Brick House, and Door Sixteen), we’ve been plotting one of our own. Hosting guests for Christmas seemed like good motivation to make a few improvements to the living room. 

We bought three 30” x 24” Applad/Akurum cabinets from ikea, and picked up some thick birch plywood from a Kerf warehouse sale for under $20. We were really hoping to get some of their walnut plywood, but there weren’t any pieces long enough for the top. For the price, I’m happy to settle for the birch, though if we ever stumble across a long plank of the walnut, we’ll probably make a swap.

The storage capacity of these cabinets is fantastic. We currently have the kid’s board games, some books, toys, and our record player stored away inside. I’m still figuring out what to put on the top, but here is my quick attempt to pull something together with the stuff I already had.

The vintage Anri Form tray was a Christmas gift from my father-in-law. I think it needs a few taller things inside, but for now, it’s a happy new home for my miniature wood dishes that had been residing on top of my refrigerator. I also added these hand-cut crystal candle holders that I’ve been storing in the cupboard. 

We still need to patch up the back wall where the wood panels previously were, and hang some art. Oh, and I still hate the rug that’s in this space. Since everything that I like is around the $2000–$3000 price range, I’m thinking of ordering this super cheap one from Urban Outfitters until I either win the lottery, or some company starts selling huge beautiful rugs for under a grand.

[ LIVING ROOM UPDATES ]

Ever since we saw the first few “fauxdenzas” pop up in the blogosphere (specifically the ones on The Brick House, and Door Sixteen), we’ve been plotting one of our own. Hosting guests for Christmas seemed like good motivation to make a few improvements to the living room. 

image

We bought three 30” x 24” Applad/Akurum cabinets from ikea, and picked up some thick birch plywood from a Kerf warehouse sale for under $20. We were really hoping to get some of their walnut plywood, but there weren’t any pieces long enough for the top. For the price, I’m happy to settle for the birch, though if we ever stumble across a long plank of the walnut, we’ll probably make a swap.

image

The storage capacity of these cabinets is fantastic. We currently have the kid’s board games, some books, toys, and our record player stored away inside. I’m still figuring out what to put on the top, but here is my quick attempt to pull something together with the stuff I already had.

image

The vintage Anri Form tray was a Christmas gift from my father-in-law. I think it needs a few taller things inside, but for now, it’s a happy new home for my miniature wood dishes that had been residing on top of my refrigerator. I also added these hand-cut crystal candle holders that I’ve been storing in the cupboard. 

image

We still need to patch up the back wall where the wood panels previously were, and hang some art. Oh, and I still hate the rug that’s in this space. Since everything that I like is around the $2000–$3000 price range, I’m thinking of ordering this super cheap one from Urban Outfitters until I either win the lottery, or some company starts selling huge beautiful rugs for under a grand.

Comments
[ SCRAP FABRIC PILLOWS ]
I have a lot of odds and ends fabric scraps stashed away, so when the sudden urge to swap out my pillow covers hit, I was prepared. I always use the envelope method for sewing pillow covers because it’s quick and pretty much fool-proof. This time I added a little more patchwork to the front to make them a little fancier, but the total sewing time for both pillows was still under an hour. 

Patrick bought me a wool blanket from MacAusland Woolen Mill as a birthday gift back in June. I’ve been trying to score a Hudson Bay blanket from thrifts or estate sale for years, but I haven’t had any luck, so I’m thrilled to finally have this one instead. I wanted to add a little more color, so I made a new pillow cover for the bedroom, too. 

Now, time to switch gears from sewing pillows to Halloween costumes!

[ SCRAP FABRIC PILLOWS ]

I have a lot of odds and ends fabric scraps stashed away, so when the sudden urge to swap out my pillow covers hit, I was prepared. I always use the envelope method for sewing pillow covers because it’s quick and pretty much fool-proof. This time I added a little more patchwork to the front to make them a little fancier, but the total sewing time for both pillows was still under an hour. 

Patrick bought me a wool blanket from MacAusland Woolen Mill as a birthday gift back in June. I’ve been trying to score a Hudson Bay blanket from thrifts or estate sale for years, but I haven’t had any luck, so I’m thrilled to finally have this one instead. I wanted to add a little more color, so I made a new pillow cover for the bedroom, too. 

Now, time to switch gears from sewing pillows to Halloween costumes!

Comments
[ WHITE FLOORS:  UPDATE ]
It’s been about seven months since we painted our dark wood floors white. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how they’ve been holding up, so I thought it was time to give an update.
First off, let me say that I have absolutely no regrets about going white. Our primary goal was to lighten our space in order to make the dreary Seattle winters more bearable and it really has helped (maybe not as much as sun would, but it’s the next best thing). 
The second thing we had hoped to achieve was simplifying the color palette. The ceilings, floors, and baseboards were all different shades of wood. Add to that white walls, black doors and beams, and burnt orange painted window trim, and we had quite the hodgepodge. By painting the floors and baseboards the same white as the walls, we’ve eliminated a lot of competing elements. We’d still like to paint the window trim black, but that will probably be a spring or summer project.
If white floors sound like they are high maintenance, I can assure you, they are. But here’s the thing, they are no more difficult to care for than ultra dark floors. They both require daily sweeping and frequent mopping. We still have dark floors in the bedrooms and bathrooms, and I clean both colors at the same time. When I’m done, the white looks considerably cleaner than the dark. 
I don’t want to be misleading—they have had their share of faults, too. One of the first problems that we ran into is scuffing. We are a shoes-off type of house, but there are always the random times where someone does come in without removing their shoes. Not all shoes scuff, but there are plenty that do. It’s not just shoes, either. In fact by far the most problematic scuffs have come from toys (presumably cars being raced at ghastly speeds). Most of the scuffing is very light and only really noticeable in bright lights.
The other problem we’ve discovered is that the paint is chipping in the cracks between the boards. The wood is an engineered click-together bamboo with about 1/8” dip between each board. When we sanded the floors before applying primer, we weren’t able to sand down into the cracks, so I’m assuming that’s why the paint didn’t adhere to those areas as well. 


The chipping and scuffing are both confined to the heaviest trafficked areas—the hallway and the area near the entry between the dining and living spaces. The rest of the floors look almost exactly the same as when they were first painted. We’d still like to finish the other rooms this summer, and when we do, we might just add another coat or two on the damaged spots. Also, I should point out that most of the chipping occurred in the first few months. We really haven’t seen much change since then, so I would assume that it won’t get that much worse over time.
In the end, I guess I would say that white floors are not for everyone. But for us, they were an inexpensive solution that has made a huge impact on the ambiance in our home.
** Note: both of these photos were taken today in different areas of the house. The second photo is of the most heavily trafficked spot.

[ WHITE FLOORS:  UPDATE ]

It’s been about seven months since we painted our dark wood floors white. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how they’ve been holding up, so I thought it was time to give an update.

First off, let me say that I have absolutely no regrets about going white. Our primary goal was to lighten our space in order to make the dreary Seattle winters more bearable and it really has helped (maybe not as much as sun would, but it’s the next best thing). 

The second thing we had hoped to achieve was simplifying the color palette. The ceilings, floors, and baseboards were all different shades of wood. Add to that white walls, black doors and beams, and burnt orange painted window trim, and we had quite the hodgepodge. By painting the floors and baseboards the same white as the walls, we’ve eliminated a lot of competing elements. We’d still like to paint the window trim black, but that will probably be a spring or summer project.

If white floors sound like they are high maintenance, I can assure you, they are. But here’s the thing, they are no more difficult to care for than ultra dark floors. They both require daily sweeping and frequent mopping. We still have dark floors in the bedrooms and bathrooms, and I clean both colors at the same time. When I’m done, the white looks considerably cleaner than the dark. 

I don’t want to be misleading—they have had their share of faults, too. One of the first problems that we ran into is scuffing. We are a shoes-off type of house, but there are always the random times where someone does come in without removing their shoes. Not all shoes scuff, but there are plenty that do. It’s not just shoes, either. In fact by far the most problematic scuffs have come from toys (presumably cars being raced at ghastly speeds). Most of the scuffing is very light and only really noticeable in bright lights.

The other problem we’ve discovered is that the paint is chipping in the cracks between the boards. The wood is an engineered click-together bamboo with about 1/8” dip between each board. When we sanded the floors before applying primer, we weren’t able to sand down into the cracks, so I’m assuming that’s why the paint didn’t adhere to those areas as well. 


The chipping and scuffing are both confined to the heaviest trafficked areas—the hallway and the area near the entry between the dining and living spaces. The rest of the floors look almost exactly the same as when they were first painted. We’d still like to finish the other rooms this summer, and when we do, we might just add another coat or two on the damaged spots. Also, I should point out that most of the chipping occurred in the first few months. We really haven’t seen much change since then, so I would assume that it won’t get that much worse over time.

In the end, I guess I would say that white floors are not for everyone. But for us, they were an inexpensive solution that has made a huge impact on the ambiance in our home.

** Note: both of these photos were taken today in different areas of the house. The second photo is of the most heavily trafficked spot.

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[ WAITING ]
It was nearly two months ago that I placed my order with West Elm for our new living room rug. It was on backorder at the time, and so we waited and waited. Two weeks ago we finally received a letter informing us that the rug was out of stock indefinitely and that our order had been cancelled.
Emails keep flooding into my inbox from West Elm making other rug “suggestions” but really, they all cost more money than we care to spend right now. 
So for now, we wait, trying not to notice the dingy, too-small, wool rug that currently resides in the living room. Waiting has never been a bad plan for us, though. It has kept us from several impulse purchases, and often allows us time to search out a really great deal.
In far better news, next week we are purchasing a much needed new (used) car for our family. Our current cars are twelve and twenty-two years old—obviously, buying a car isn’t something we do very often. The last time we purchased a car we had a very different financial philosophy and it took us five years to pay it off. This time around we will be paying cash up front and it feels really fantastic not to have any loans involved.  
The car is coming from good friends who need to sell their vehicle because they are moving to Paris at the end of the month. It is working out fantastic for us all, since they will be able to drive it until just before they leave and not have to hassle with Craigslist buyers, and we are getting the exact car we’ve been wanting for a nice price, and from people we trust.

[ WAITING ]

It was nearly two months ago that I placed my order with West Elm for our new living room rug. It was on backorder at the time, and so we waited and waited. Two weeks ago we finally received a letter informing us that the rug was out of stock indefinitely and that our order had been cancelled.

Emails keep flooding into my inbox from West Elm making other rug “suggestions” but really, they all cost more money than we care to spend right now. 

So for now, we wait, trying not to notice the dingy, too-small, wool rug that currently resides in the living room. Waiting has never been a bad plan for us, though. It has kept us from several impulse purchases, and often allows us time to search out a really great deal.

In far better news, next week we are purchasing a much needed new (used) car for our family. Our current cars are twelve and twenty-two years old—obviously, buying a car isn’t something we do very often. The last time we purchased a car we had a very different financial philosophy and it took us five years to pay it off. This time around we will be paying cash up front and it feels really fantastic not to have any loans involved.  

The car is coming from good friends who need to sell their vehicle because they are moving to Paris at the end of the month. It is working out fantastic for us all, since they will be able to drive it until just before they leave and not have to hassle with Craigslist buyers, and we are getting the exact car we’ve been wanting for a nice price, and from people we trust.

Comments
[ RUG CHOICES ]
We knew that the white wool rug in our living room would have to go when we painted the floors. The question has been, with what do we replace it. We initially thought we would purchase Flor tiles, so a few weeks ago we ordered some samples. I eagerly awaited their arrival, but when I finally pulled them from the package, I was completely disappointed.

Here they are in Fez, Fedora, and House Pet
I’m assuming that I wouldn’t dislike all Flor tiles, but just I wasn’t excited about a single one of the four options that we had ordered. I’ll admit that the ones we chose were on the lower end of the price scale which might have had something to do with my negative opinion. I can imagine all of our choices working well in our office, just not in the living room. 
Instead, I’m leaning toward this flatweave rug from West Elm. I’m sort of shocked at the price point for the 9’ x 12’ option. Compared to most other rugs of that size, it’s a steal at $299. I’ve heard rumors that West Elm is opening a store in Seattle, but as of now, we only have the option to purchase it online. I wish I could see the rug in person to judge its color and quality. 

What do you think? Has anyone seen this before? Or maybe you have a suggestion for a Flor tile pattern that might be better. We are trying to avoid bold stripes or patterns, and wouldn’t want to spend more than $12–$15/tile.

[ RUG CHOICES ]

We knew that the white wool rug in our living room would have to go when we painted the floors. The question has been, with what do we replace it. We initially thought we would purchase Flor tiles, so a few weeks ago we ordered some samples. I eagerly awaited their arrival, but when I finally pulled them from the package, I was completely disappointed.

Here they are in Fez, Fedora, and House Pet

I’m assuming that I wouldn’t dislike all Flor tiles, but just I wasn’t excited about a single one of the four options that we had ordered. I’ll admit that the ones we chose were on the lower end of the price scale which might have had something to do with my negative opinion. I can imagine all of our choices working well in our office, just not in the living room. 

Instead, I’m leaning toward this flatweave rug from West Elm. I’m sort of shocked at the price point for the 9’ x 12’ option. Compared to most other rugs of that size, it’s a steal at $299. I’ve heard rumors that West Elm is opening a store in Seattle, but as of now, we only have the option to purchase it online. I wish I could see the rug in person to judge its color and quality. 

What do you think? Has anyone seen this before? Or maybe you have a suggestion for a Flor tile pattern that might be better. We are trying to avoid bold stripes or patterns, and wouldn’t want to spend more than $12–$15/tile.

Comments
[ WHITE FLOORS… FINALLY! ]
After a lot of sanding, two coats of a special adhesion primer, three coats of industrial floor paint, and two weeks of drying time without furniture, we finally have our living and dining rooms back. I wish we could have painted the bedrooms, too, but it was just too much to tackle at once. So far, the white hasn’t been any more difficult to keep clean than the awful espresso color, and it lightened up our sun deprived rooms more than I could have hoped for.
I know the rug doesn’t look that bad in the photos, but in person, the contrast of the cream wool with the bright white floor is terrible. It makes the rug look so much dingier than it really is, though I’ll admit there are a few small coffee stains. We knew that we’d probably need to replace it when the floors were finished, so we’ve ordered a few sample tiles from Flor and I’m going to Ikea this week to check on a few other options. 

Did you happen to notice the new lamp? It was actually our combination Christmas gift to each other, but was on back order until July. We didn’t get around to ordering it from Blu Dot until April, but our procrastination paid off because by entering their Swap Meet contest, they sent us a 20% off coupon just a few weeks before we placed the order.

I’m way behind on my summer house projects, but of all the things that I wanted to cross off my list, this one was the biggest priority. I don’t think I could have handled another drizzly winter with those dark, depressing floors.

[ WHITE FLOORS… FINALLY! ]

After a lot of sanding, two coats of a special adhesion primer, three coats of industrial floor paint, and two weeks of drying time without furniture, we finally have our living and dining rooms back. I wish we could have painted the bedrooms, too, but it was just too much to tackle at once. So far, the white hasn’t been any more difficult to keep clean than the awful espresso color, and it lightened up our sun deprived rooms more than I could have hoped for.

I know the rug doesn’t look that bad in the photos, but in person, the contrast of the cream wool with the bright white floor is terrible. It makes the rug look so much dingier than it really is, though I’ll admit there are a few small coffee stains. We knew that we’d probably need to replace it when the floors were finished, so we’ve ordered a few sample tiles from Flor and I’m going to Ikea this week to check on a few other options. 

Did you happen to notice the new lamp? It was actually our combination Christmas gift to each other, but was on back order until July. We didn’t get around to ordering it from Blu Dot until April, but our procrastination paid off because by entering their Swap Meet contest, they sent us a 20% off coupon just a few weeks before we placed the order.

I’m way behind on my summer house projects, but of all the things that I wanted to cross off my list, this one was the biggest priority. I don’t think I could have handled another drizzly winter with those dark, depressing floors.

Comments
[ WEEKEND REARRANGE ]
It usually happens a few times a year—Patrick and I take a weekend and rearrange at least one or two rooms in the house. Last weekend was our late spring session, spurred on by a couple of garage sale chairs (not pictured) that turned out to be a regrettable purchase. The chairs now find themselves in the “soon to be listed on Craigslist” category, and we ended up finding a great new layout for the living room (hooray for silver linings).

The new living room arrangement feels much more cozy, and the lounge chair looks infinitely better tucked into the corner of the room instead of floating in the middle. In case you’re new here, or you’ve forgotten, here and here is what the room used to look like. The other big change is that the big window now seems like to focal point in the room, instead of the wood panels on the wall.
Again, I’m sorry for the less than ideal photos. The lighting was bad, and I was using my iPhone because it has a wider angle lens. Hopefully, after we paint the floors, I’ll spend some time taking some decent pictures of the whole main floor. Until then, well, you get the gist.

[ WEEKEND REARRANGE ]

It usually happens a few times a year—Patrick and I take a weekend and rearrange at least one or two rooms in the house. Last weekend was our late spring session, spurred on by a couple of garage sale chairs (not pictured) that turned out to be a regrettable purchase. The chairs now find themselves in the “soon to be listed on Craigslist” category, and we ended up finding a great new layout for the living room (hooray for silver linings).

The new living room arrangement feels much more cozy, and the lounge chair looks infinitely better tucked into the corner of the room instead of floating in the middle. In case you’re new here, or you’ve forgotten, here and here is what the room used to look like. The other big change is that the big window now seems like to focal point in the room, instead of the wood panels on the wall.

Again, I’m sorry for the less than ideal photos. The lighting was bad, and I was using my iPhone because it has a wider angle lens. Hopefully, after we paint the floors, I’ll spend some time taking some decent pictures of the whole main floor. Until then, well, you get the gist.

Comments