(Little by litte, the bird makes his nest)
For all of my 29 years, I have been a Massachusetts resident. I’ve traveled plenty and even lived abroad, but my driver’s license has always been issued by the Watertown DMV and I’ve always lived within 30 minutes of Boston when not out of the country. That all changed in February when we hopped on a one-way, cross-country flight to the Golden State. It was time to make a home somewhere new.
By the end of March, we had found our nest in Drytown. We borrowed the vineyard’s ’68 white Dodge truck to load up what little belongings we had brought with us: 4 suitcases, 2 trekking backpacks, 8 boxes of books, bedding, and kitchen equipment, and a handful of bags and boxes with new books, bedding, and kitchen equipment. What else did we need?
We puttered down Fiddletown Road and out onto 49 to deliver our earthly possessions to the house that awaited us. Like all empty houses, it greeted us with an echo when the door closed or when a heavy box hit the floor or when we called out to one another from another room. We eventually unpacked, our mattress was delivered, we acquired a kitchen table, a few chairs, a dresser and a bookcase, and little by little the echo has faded. There is still plenty of space to fill, though, and a couch would sure be nice one of these days (unfortunately the elderly Dodge won’t make it to Sac, so we’ll have to arrange for alternate transportation).
Furnishing on the cheap (and I do mean cheap, since we don’t know yet how long we’ll be here) is certainly more difficult than shelling out for retail items. It requires time, patience, resourcefulness and imagination, but the process (albeit slow) is somehow more fun and rewarding. In the past month, we’ve been to our fair share of yard sales, garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores and antique shops looking for passed-over treasures and DIY projects. Here are a few of our finds…and transformations!
The $1 yard sale chair
Bought for a buck at a Sacramento spring yard sale! This chair has what I would consider to be a 1960s Danish modern line. The wood is a nice shade, but the seat was covered in a hiddeous scrap of thick beige carpeting.
I ordered a yard of red and white “Lotus” pattern fabric from Etsy (if you don’t know Etsy yet, it is a fantastic online marketplace for handmade goods; www.etsy.com) and recovered the chair myself with the help of a screwdriver and a staple gun. Here’s the end result.
The almost in-the-trash porch chairs
Our landlords in Fiddletown did a major spring cleaning in April and were about to pitch a pair of white metal lawn chairs when I jumped in to save them from the dust heap.
The chairs were in decent shape, so I washed them down and got to work. A fresh coat of red paint gives them a new life on our front porch.
The thrift shop chalkboard
I am a bit of a design blog junkie these days, and one of the favorite DIY projects of the moment is the old-school chalkboard. I found a wood frame at a local thrift store for $3 and then had a local hardware store size and cut a piece of wood to fit. A few coats of yellow paint on the frame and a couple of sprays of the chalkboard paint (which comes in black and in green and in a spray can or in a quart), and here’s our new kitchen chalkboard, ready for messages, doodles, and lists.
(Bastien’s list from last night reads: Yamaha Capitol, new used car, get the sofa, be happy, plant tomatoes)
The next projects include sewing a new fabric panel on the futon cover (we’ve just inherited a free futon), sanding and painting the bookcase in the kitchen and, of course, finding some more furniture!
We would love to hear what kind of DIY home projects you’ve done in the past or are working on now. Send us your tips, suggestions, and inspiration!