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New second hand stool

Last weekend Robert and I wandered around Mac's Salvage Warehouse to quench our my thirst for vintage markets in lieu of the no longer Merchant's Market. I was originally on the lookout for an old wooden ladder with some character for our living room [for blanket and throw purposes]. Unfortunately they didn't have any ladders, but Robert did happen upon a behemoth stack of bar stools. Originally, I had my eye on some dark red stools, but Robert insisted there were some 'lovely green ones' [vom]. See, gentlemen, he didn't use the correct annotation. He should have said there were some 'fabulous viridian coloured stools'. I was sold. 

We settled on this stool as it had the least ware on the legs and zero visible ware on the upholstery. There was a minuscule issue with the fabric as the pattern had red, blue, yellow and pink details. "Not to worry," I said. "I'll just fix that with a Sharpie when we get home". And fix it I did.

Not the most professional of fixer-uppers, but more times than I'd like to admit I've used a Sharpie on a project or two. Or seven. I use them to touch up loads of things [nicks on black picture frames etc], so I simply used my black Sharpie to colour in the colourful dots. 

TIP - if you decide to do this, make sure you don't use the seat / fabric for at least half an hour after colouring it in, otherwise the ink may transfer. 

Something I am a bit stumped on is what to do with the wood legs. I quite like the dark finish that's on them. It needs to be touched up in places, so I'm thinking of getting a varnish to fix the little scratches. But what do you think - would you just repaint the legs something entirely different? I was thinking black, but I like the colour of the wood too much. At the moment the wood doesn't match anything in our apartment [other than our desk], but I keep reminding myself that we won't be renting this apartment forever. I guess I'm still waiting to inherit that Victorian full of mahogany finishes. 

But for the moment, our new stool has been thoroughly approved by Juniper and Toshi. They take turns sitting, clawing and sleeping on it.

UPDATE: I've chosen to paint the legs high gloss black! Hopefully making them seem less barstooly.

Living room shelf shuffle

I have a thing for asymmetry. Perfect symmetry can be good, but 9 times out of 10 I find it to be a little boring. I just like things a little off. Maybe it's because it's less predictable, maybe it's because it makes you take a second look, but I just prefer asymmetry. Case in point - have you seen my fringe? 

To give you a rough idea, here's what the 'burgundy end' of our living room looked like before ... 

... this picture was taken a couple of months ago before I updated our shelves to look a bit schnazzier. You may ask yourself why the shelves are placed here? And that far apart? Because a long time ago, there used to be another set of shelves in the middle [as seen here]. And the reason they stayed there is because, well, our landlord put them there. Classic amateur renter move. 

This weekend the weather was horrific and we were stuck indoors, so I decided to mix things up a bit. I took everything off the shelves [they hella heavy otherwise] and scooched the left shelf closer to the right. I didn't place them right next to each other. That looked a little too obvious that they weren't all one unit, so I left some sought after thigh gap between the two shelves ...

It's a small change when I look at it here on my screen, but the feel of the room is definitely one of slightly more sophistication. I've paired things down a bit and gotten rid of some of the extra clutter too. 

I've found that making little changes like this are immensely helpful, especially as a renter. We're very limited with what we can do to our apartment, but changing things up like this has made me less stir crazy about having a rental. These are simple things that can be undone over the course of an afternoon for when we eventually move out.

I think it's an Irish thing though - not disturbing things for fear of causing a fuss. Well, fuss that. I'ma do what I want [she says, after not doing anything the past 6 years she's been living here]. xx

p.s. That lovely 'scalloped' finish along the skirting board is not down to shoddy painting skills on my behalf. That is thanks to a double wire lead from the storage heater to its socket located in the middle of the next wall. It would make too much sense to have it, you know, right next to the heater. I'd love to know what that builder was thinking. 

Operation de-uglifying our storage heaters

When I look back at all the work I've done to bring our rental apartment to where it is, I'm pretty proud of myself. Repainting the entire apartment. Updating the kitchen and bathroom. Sanding, prepping and repainting all the yellowed doors and skirting boards throughout our apartment was a tall task, but worth it. Even though we're only renters and don't own our apartment, I take pride in knowing our landlord is over the moon that we'll be leaving our apartment in better condition than we found it. I like a good project, no matter how remedial and non-glamorous it is. 

Now that all the skirting boards and doors are no longer yellow, the only remaining major eyesores were the heaters. And boy, were they eyesores ...

With the most epic of timing, Rust-Oleum got in contact with me and asked if there was a product of theirs I'd like to try out. I did a quick search on their site and when I saw their radiator enamel spray paint, I knew I had to try it. 

The most noticeably yellowed heaters in our apartment are the two in our living room and one in the hallway. There are two more [one in each bedroom], but they're nowhere as obvious. Once my Rust-Oleum paint arrived I got to work. I asked Dad DIYer to help with dismantling one of the storage heaters with me so I could see how easy it would be to dismantle the rest of them on my own. Storage heaters are full of bricks and I as I explained in my upcycled vacuum cord pendant post, anything electrical make me all kinds of nervous. I felt a lot better knowing my dad was helping out. 

NOTE: please read all manuals that come with your heater / radiator before disassembling them and disconnect the mains where necessary. But you guys knew that.

We dismantled both the front and top panel on the storage heater for spray painting. Ideally, I was hoping to disassemble the entire heater to spray paint it elsewhere, but we were stopped in our tracks when we discovered the heater was on brackets that were bolted under the floor boards [which you can better see in the last picture]. So I was going to need to paint the side panels indoors. 

Before long the heater looked like a Mr. Bean special. As advised by Dad DIYer, I taped a giant plastic bag around the exposed side panel [not pictured] and spray painted within the bag so the overspray didn't get everywhere. I then took the remaining panels outside and gave them 2 coats of  Rust-Oleum's white radiator enamel paint, let them dry and reassembled the heater again. 

TIP: cover any text or instructions on your heater with masking tape before you spray paint. Because remember, you won't be the only one using them now or in the future.

Since it took a bit of planning to paint the one heater, it's the only heater I've repainted so far. But I am very much looking forward to our heater[s] doing what they're supposed to - disappear into the background, not be a focal point and keep us warm. I for one am so happy with the result. No more fugly radiators! I know, I'm easily amused.

Thank you again, Rust-Oleum! 

Disclosure - Rust-Oleum generously supplied radiator spray enamel free of charge to help in my never ending quest to update our rental. As always, all words and opinions are my own. I only work with companies I like and of course, think that you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer. 

Five year blogiversary

Exactly 5 years ago today, whilst sitting on that very chair and on this very laptop, I decided to create a thing called a blog. I was excited and nervous and never expected anything ever to come of it.

I created my website [then called 'Hydrangea Girl'] as a place to share design stuff I fancied while studying for my BA in Interior Design, right as the sweltering recession hit [most excellent timing]. I started my blog as I knew I'd never be able to get a job in an Interior Design firm. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd end up working on such incredible projects and meet such awesome people thanks to that one August afternoon sitting in my pyjamas on the couch. Yeesh. Feelings.

So as much as this is going to sound pretentious and like I'm accepting an Emmy or something, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you if you creep my projects, comment occasionally, pin the occasional project or simply check in every once in a while, thank you. And I don't just mean it today because it's my blogiversary, but I really do mean it. As Anna Dorfman puts it, I don't have social anxiety on the internet. Thank you for supporting my silly ideas, none of which would have happened if it wasn't for this.

If you wanna see what my site looked like over the years, you can check it out here, and you can also check out my super awkward first blog post here. It's awkward.

I've been nominated for best DIY Blog in the Amara Interior Blog Awards and I'd really love it if you'd take a moment and VOTE FOR ME. Call it your blogiversary present to me. I know, I'm a total chancer. 

Cheeky bathroom cross stitch - everyone does it

George Clooney does it. So does Kat von D. As does Chris Pratt, Martha Stewart, Emma Watson, the Queen, Hugh Jackman, Dita Von Teese and Lawrence Krauss. Even Katy Perry does it. It's a subject nobody talks about, but it's something we all do.

I'm partial to keeping it real these days - in a humourous and sophisticated way, I like to think. I've been quite hesitant to blog about my cross stitch as I feared people would find it crass. Overwhelming. Not suitable for children. They would raise their fists and gasp "Heavens ABOVE! This is distastefulness of the highest order! I literally can't even. Who does she think she is? Off with her head!", and to those people, I'd like to say you are in serious denial about what happens in the bathroom. It's not vulgar. It's an inconvenient truth ... 

I created this bathroom cross stitch in a bid to indirectly put things into perspective. The idea for this alternative artwork came from hearing tall tales of people's, how can I say, nervous dispositions. People holding it all day in work and waiting until they got home. Cutting dates short to go home to their own loo. Even once, a friend during their primary school trip to France held it for 5 days until they got home. It's preposterous! Everyone does it! And they've been doing it since the dawn of existence! 

I like to think I've broached the subject in an aesthetically pleasing way. This simple and straight forward cross stitch has been hanging in our bathroom for five months now and any guest that visits always comments on it. Not necessarily directly, but they'll mention Katy Perry in passing, I'll hear them laughing in the bathroom or they'll simply say "It's true. Everyone does it". The alternative is plain ridiculous. It's simple. If you need to go, GO!

For those who do think this cross stitch is a bit too much, I do apologize. It was simply made to make people feel more comfortable and to put things into perspective. We only live once, and I'm a firm believer in that you can't take it all seriously.

If my silly cross stitch helps even just one person out there, I'll feel like my blog post has been justified. Just remember, everybody does it. Even Katy Perry poops. 

Happy Friday, friends xx
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