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Discom-BULB-ulated


Ahhh the 70’s; the memorable era of carpeted walls, brass fixtures and oversized, yellow spotted lamps.

Spots

 

Yeah, that’s real. 

Since, in my opinion, a lamp is just a bulb on a long cord that is run through a hollowed-out vase (in layman’s terms) I decided there was no harm in loosening a few wing nuts and pulling the old girl apart.

 

 

Rod

 

In this instance there is a hollow, threaded rod inserted through the middle because this behemoth of a lamp weighs more than a small child and comes in three separate pieces.

This is where the spray paint enters the scene.

I taped off the cord and socket (because even though the lamp unscrewed, the parts were inseparable) primed with spray primer, then did what I do best…make bad decisions quickly with my eyes closed.

Well Look ye' Here

My decision making process went something like this.

“I like blue. What is better than blue? Three different blues!!” The end.

Come here often, lovely?

 

The spray primer was a good, sticky base for the spray paint so I didn’t use spray sealant on top. PLUS, in my experience, most glossy spray paints tend to turn a bit matte when coated with a sealant (even if it seems like a glossy sealant) so I avoid it whenever possible.

OK, maybe the 70’s didn’t always have the greatest concept of space or regard for complimentary colors, but in theory, a massive, speckled lamp sounds stunning to just about everyone, right?…Yeah, I didn’t think so.

 

 

 

 

 

Dan’s Tables


I received a call about some laminate end tables that needed a little jazzing-up!

RawI scrubbed them down with soap, water and eventually a bit of Windex. I also pried off the ancient pen holder that was stuck to the side with what could only be a mix of cement and a curse. I decided to skip the primer because I felt like living on the edge (my middle name is Danger, in case you didn’t know.) I removed the hardware and scuffed the laminate a bit with sandpaper, mixed my colors and got my paint on!

Dan had originally wanted these to be burnt orange with red on the inside. But as I do with ALL of my customers that I know well, I changed the plan a bit. I thought the burnt orange would be a bit too dark so I mixed a dark peach color. As for the red, well I hoped he likes pink. Dark red seemed too bold so I mixed a light salmon and prayed…and prayed…and hoped…cried a little…and prayed some more.

I used an average of three coats of polyurethane over the paint just to ensure that the paint was going to stay put. I say “an average of three coats” because the tops got at least four coats (perhaps even five) while the sides got about two and the inside only one. The reason for the inconsistency in the number of coats is that, well you see, I was attacked….by bugs. Gnats and mosquitoes were flying kamikaze missions into my wet poly! Many times I would pick off a bug, scratch the paint and need to reapply both paint and poly.

ALSO there was one night, one tragic, tragic night when I didn’t pay attention to the humidity in the air, the odd direction of the wind or, ya know, the local weather channel. I left the tables out under an overhang (thank God, at least) to dry, which ended up having the opposite affect considering we had an Amazon-like monsoon that same evening. I sort of flipped. I had to peel 1/3 of the paint off and layer paint fairly meticulously in order to make it appear as though it doesn’t have four coats of chipped paint. Ay-yiy-freakin’-yiy!

Buuuuuuuut…..it all worked out.

Donzo!

And even better news? Boys totally like pink.

Layered Faux Dry-brush (Say What?)


My favorite painting technique is dry-brushing, hands down. Ever since I was little I loved the idea of painting with virtually no paint. However, I am never satisfied with a tried and true method. Of course, I must reinvent the wheel (then crash the cart, but we haven’t gotten there… yet.) When I “faux dry-brush,” essentially I treat the dry-brushed paint as though it were a faux finish. After I dry-brush, I wait for the paint to dry for 5 minutes, then I wipe across the painted surface with a paper towel just to thin the paint layer and antique the item a tad more (See? Faux finish style, just like I said.) The layering comes when I wipe off paint to reveal other previous painted layers…that’s a pretty simple concept.

Let’s see it applied…

Lovelies...?

I started with these crazy coin-ish type wall hangings which are about 7 inches in diameter. I spray painted them purple (photo not shown because I am not organized…but I digress.)

Once the purple spray paint dried I used steel wool to rub off a bit of the purple on some raised areas to reveal the previous gold color underneath.

Then the dry-brushing began (here’s a super short VIDEO, just for a visual.)

As I previously mentioned, when the dry-brushed layer had set for about 5 minutes (for satin and matte paints), I wiped hard with a paper towel to thin out some areas. The wiping removed the top layer of dark craft paint and allowed the gold and purple to peek through.

I didn’t even bother with a top layer of poly because they are wall hangings and I don’t foresee myself touching them too often.

Bird

chick

The whole point of my layered faux dry-brushing was because I wanted to age my pieces after I spray painted them purple so they’d blend better in my bedroom.

Now they look like just another another old lady bedroom treasure.

Top 10 Mural Tips!


Hoot

I was recently commissioned to create a nursery mural for a baby boy’s room. I would love to give you a step-by-step guide on creating this, but it’s unlikely you will want this EXACT thing. Besides, creating something from scratch out of just a vague idea in your head is a lot of fun (also a lot of work, time, energy and second guessing.) But if you do decide to venture down the path of painting (as opposed to decals) then here are some hints to help along the way.

10 Mural Tips

1. Expect the process to take 60% longer than the time you have allotted for it. Straight lines are thoughtless and cruel time wasters.

2. Don’t be afraid to mark-up the wall while planning. Sketch with pencil or even tape an outline to help you visualize before your brush hits the wall.

3. Have a huge array of brushes on hand, even if you use just one. Options are the best and you never know when the oddball brush you NEVER USE will be just the thing you need.

4. Prioritize. Figure out your order of operations. I mix most of my colors so I know I have to finish those areas before my paint supply dries up (I do not have nearly good enough luck to mix that same color again.)

5. Mix craft paint with a little bit of white wall paint to get the smooth benefits of wall paint and the color of craft paint. When you are using several colors, paint can get expensive. Craft paint alone (even when it’s made for plaster or drywall) can be hard to apply and take several coats.

6. Use paper plates, newspaper or cardboard as your paint palettes when you need small amounts of several colors— it saves a lot of time at clean-up.

7. Start by painting items smaller/thinner than what you would like. It’s easy to make something bigger, but it’s a real pain to scale down.

8. For large areas of a solid color, don’t be afraid to use a roller.

9. Fill all of the color in on every part and then straighten the edges for the whole mural last. Granted it will take 5 hours to straighten them, but doing it last ensures that you’ve had an up-close look at every detail before you call it quits.

10. Don’t get discouraged when it’s not fun. There is a lot of leg work (and arm work, and back work) to get through before the creative details get added. Just soldier through the boring basics; the fun parts are worth a good foundation.

You can check out more photos of the mural progression on the Space-Lift Facebook page.

Misleading Shades of Gray


I was in the process of dolling up one of my less-than-adorable-but-with-a-little-paint-it-could-be-great thrift store finds. I bought two different silver paints (please don’t ask me why, I’m just a glutton for spray paint.)

This grayish paint that claimed to be metallic. 

Gray

And this paint with a lid so shiny that I’m pretty sure it could guide lost sailors to safety.Shiny

So I started to spray down my porcelain, pagoda-like pavilion and I noticed that even though the lid PROMISED me that I’d be able to see this sparkle from space, it was falling a little flat.

Dull

I’ve used metallic paint before and I’ve used gray paint before, I know what “silver” is suppose to look like. This looks like silver after a long night of drinking and hanging out with a seedy chick named Gil, this is not *Silver*.

I decided to outsmart that deceptive lid and I referred to my drab spray paint with hopes that I was not hallucinating during previous projects and that silver paint really can look silver.

Lo and Behold…

Silver like Whoa

It shines like a new  nickel straight from the U.S. Mint.

This is a 50/50 shot. As you can see the middle portion is still the misleading “metallic” paint, while the roof has a thin coat of what I understood to be “aspiring silver.” I sure was wrong.

Half

Because Michigan is currently experiencing subarctic temperatures it will take this little puppy 8.5 weeks to dry, so I do not have a clear “before and after” yet. I just had to share my personal lesson for the day…

“When in doubt (or even when NOT in doubt), buy more spray paint.”

Trae’s Dresser Renovation!


Check out the full story of Trae’s Dresser makeover HERE!

Before

Before

After

After

 

New Year, New Model, New Space.


With a new year, of course, comes a new resolve. Some of these have to do with Space-Lift and others have to do with me, Kristen, the unbelievably flawed human being. I know I am not alone in that I can (semi) objectively look at myself and see things that I’d like to improve.

I’ve always wanted a role model. I know that makes me sound like a 4th grader, but I’m serious. Like every other working parent, I do A LOT. I don’t need a fitness role model, a scholarly role model or even a celebrity “beauty” role mode; I need a “results attainable” role model. I need to see a person…nay, a woman, who is a great parent, holds down a successful full-time career, finds time to workout, has enough self-discipline to eat right, caters to her creative side, is artistic and maybe even musical, maintains a healthy relationship with her significant other, makes her friends feel special and loved, finds time for religion and faith, takes care of chores and can still shower, put on makeup and dress somewhat fashionably. Basically, a real-life embodiment of a Pinterest board (ew, it was hard to say that because it sounds shallow and stupidly superficial. But it’s real. And I don’t think that I am alone in that aspiration, even if its just as hard for others to admit.)

Does that seem like a tall order to you? Because this is insane to me! But it’s what I want. I want to be well-rounded, take care of the people I love and make my heart happy by doing what I love. Do you think I can find a person who has all of these qualities? Absolutely not. There are several woman who embody several of them and I can of course combine them to form a Team of Role Models, but at the end of the day I want to know that it is possible for one woman to have enough energy to become this. Again, I don’t need to be perfect. I’m not trying to learn another language, get my doctorate or become a triathlete. I’m just trying to do what I feel I do already, just a lot better.

My Team of Role Models

1) Sabrina Soto of several HGTV shows

2) Jen Ramos of Made by Girl

3) Mandi of Vintage Revivals

4) Nicole Curtis of Rehab Addict

5) Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess

It should make me feel better that no single woman can achieve what I hope to, but it is also very deflating because it lets me know how hard it actually is. All these woman are untouchably successful in my book, but again, none of them embody what I hope to be someday. This isn’t a flaw on their part in the least; it’s more of a reality check for the “overachiever” within me.

But they inspire me nonetheless.

On to the Resolutions

I have to put my actions where my mouth is, and you of course will be the first to know as I try to take an “always honest” approach. Which leads me to my first resolution;

1) Put more Kristen in Space-Lift. When I read a design blog, I typically go for the projects, yet stay for the people. I’ve come to the realization that maybe I  need to open up and remind everyone that I really am more than just my projects.

2) I need to keep up running. I know this is lame and everyone says it, but it makes every other aspect of my life easier. It tricks my body into thinking I’m working for only 4 hours when it’s really 6…even though my brain knows the truth.

3) Become a business machine. I love to blog, but that’s not where it ends. Eventually I plan to open a furniture store and restoration center, and I need to know what I’m doing. I don’t have an MBA but gosh darn it, lack of qualifications has never stopped me before.

4) Build equity in my house. I’ve been doing this for a while, but I really hope to sell this joint in about five years and make somewhat of a profit. You know I’ll post the projects.

5) Take it easy on myself. I don’t think I came equipped with an off switch. I have a lot of energy and I find it hard to sit down. Yet mental exhaustion takes hold before physical exhaustion and I just become…well..a bitch. This is a word I hate, HATE. I hate it in others and I hate the sound of it. Admitting that I become that horrible thing, makes it a lot easier to sit down before I become a snarling, beastly b-word.

So there you have it.

A new year and a beginning. Am I setting myself up for failure with my lofty aspirations? Probably. But no matter how bad I fail, as long as I keep my 5th resolution, the failure can still be a success.

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