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The Great Switcheroo

2014 July 28
by Katie

This area is the wedgie in my life.

It’s causing me great discomfort.  Right in the rear end.  It’s literally suffocating my bum hole.  Sorry mom about the anal-ogy.

I just needed to really emphasize what a pain in the butt this area is in my life.  It’s the little walkway that falls behind the sofa and ever since we lived here, we made it the play area in the living room.  The problem is….it’s a play area with toys.  So when you walk in our house, you walk through this fantastically huge space-wasting foyer and into our rather long and skinny living room and this is the first thing you see.  It’s like botched plastic surgery.  It just confuses your brain and you can’t help but look.

Every six months or so, I sort through everything and take the extra toys to the basement (to the place that we call “where toys go to die”) but it still looks like this afterward…

Sooo we got to thinking…where can we put the toys?

Our first thought was to make the reading room a play room.  The reading room is right off the foyer and has french doors leading to the living room.  But that would be a problem.  First – the toys would totally spill out into the foyer ready to welcome guests with a twisted ankle and a Lego-inflicted-puncture-wound.  They would possibly end up back into the little toy area that we are trying to clear out.  And I am not exactly fond of the idea of the playroom having two exterior doors and a very low window.  Plus, there isn’t a whole lot of low wall room so storage would be hard.  But the good thing is – the reading room is NEVER used.  I mean like never.  I can count on one hand the number of times someone has gone in there and it is my in-laws.

So then we got to thinking….again.

And what we decided was that the very best place for a playroom would be my office.  Remember my office?

Well, it hasn’t looked so clean and organized lately.  Because it is behind a closed door, the clutter has had a party.

What I need in my office is a little accountability.  Because I could shut the door, I always chose that option over actual organization.  But playrooms are always disorganized…and that’s okay by me….as long as there is a door.

Now that is what we are working on….switching the old office into the new playroom, the old play area into a new storage/console table hallway, and the old reading room into my new office.

And so that is what we are working on….what about you guys?

Outdoor Chalkboard

2014 July 25
by Katie

No, we didn’t get a new coffee table.   We just gave an old one a much needed makeover.  And did it so now it can double as an outdoor play table (somewhere in Mom-ville, I just got extra points).

Chalkboard coffee table

Remember this bad boy?  He lived on the patio area and was a super cheap thrift store find that got a couple coats of red paint.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the way it looked before.  The red was my jam.  Like a strawberry jam with hints of peach and vanilla.  And I loved the planked look with our homemade side tables and console table.  Well, apparently I didn’t inspect the table well enough before leaving it outdoors because this is what happened…

Chalkboard coffee table

Those inner panels weren’t solid wood.  DOH!

They swelled up with the rain and started breaking the rest of the table top.  The rest of the table would have held up fine but those inner pieces looked like my midsection after a food truck lunch.

Chalkboard coffee table

Yup…that’s me after a blazing burrito and maybe some blue cheese fries…

kidding.

That’s LJ in there.  This post started a long time ago…things just take us extra long to finish with the little guys running around.  So back in March, we started cleaning up the patio.  We pressure washed the rugs and cement and got it all ready for Will’s Marvel-ous party in April.  But before that, we had to figure out what to do with this crumbling table….so we did what any parent of a four year old would do…handed over the mallet.

Chalkboard coffee table

(I can practically hear the Rocky theme song here)

It was like a DIYers piñata except without the candy and just way more destruction.   (There is just way too much underbelly in this post.  Sorry to your eyeballs.)

Chalkboard coffee table

After Will was finished, we knocked the rest of it apart and were left with the legs and the hardware.  Legs can run about $10 to $20 a piece for nice big fat ones so these were definitely worth salvaging.  We simply got some exterior 2×4′s and pressure treated plywood before our reconstruction process.

Chalkboard coffee table

Oh and I would be wrong to not mention that Jeremy gets all the credit for sanding all the wood down.  Those rounded edges are not fun.  So at this point is when we decided that it should be an outdoor chalk table.  We always pick up a big box of outdoor play chalk for the boys at the Dollar store but Jeremy gets irritated at the fact that there isn’t a designated spot for it to happen (chalk in mud has happened more than we care to admit).  We’ve learned that designated spots mean that the boys play longer and with more focus.  I had suggested an indoor chalk board area but the dust is just another thing we don’t have time to clean up….and don’t even get me started on Weston+chalk and what that equals INSIDE.

Chalkboard coffee table

So a smooth plain table top would be just the ticket for a chalkboard area.  The fact that this would be outside meant that it had to be pressure treated so that it didn’t warp or swell and it was like a bonus that it would be exposed to rain (God’s natural chalk eraser!).

Chalkboard coffee table

The table top was cut to overhang the edges by one and half inches all the way around.  Jeremy just used exterior decking screws to go directly through the plywood into the legs and sides.  Then we filled the countersunk screws with wood filler and sanded it smooth.

Chalkboard coffee table

Next came the chalkboard paint.  We used the Rustoleum Specialty Chalkboard paint – the roll-on type.  Did you know that you can have the specialty version of this tinted at the paint desk to a ton of different colors?  It’s true.  And in my store, the black top and the colored versions are exactly the same price.

Chalkboard coffee table

We went with two coats of the color Moonstone because we thought that the black would be too dark paired with all the furniture down there.

Chalkboard coffee table

I wanted to paint the base red again but Jeremy suggested blue so I went with that to mix things up.

Chalkboard coffee table

With any chalkboard project, you have to season the chalkboard so that it doesn’t end up with your original words always showing through.   You do this by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface.  I like to actually rub it in too with my hands.  It’s not the cleanest project but it helps so you don’t have ghosting later.

Chalkboard coffee table

After it was done, I told Jer that we should stage it to surprise the boys.  They loved it and played for a solid five minutes (enter victory dance here).  It’s moved outside now (I’ll have to get some more pictures of it out there when this rain stops.  Seriously…this has been the wettest summer ever here.  Is there a rain cloud that just camped out over our property or something?!)

Chalkboard coffee table

All in all…it was a really easy project and I am loving the fact that it is so kid-friendly.  And hopefully that table will help keep the kids off our death-trap of a deck.  Ok ok…it’s not a death trap….but it definitely doesn’t pass Jeremy’s safety test…so we practically live on the patio under it.  Have y’all been chalkboarding anything lately?  Food trucking?  Underbellying?

p.s.  for more Bower Power chalkboard projects – click hereand here.