I am absolutely NOT a winter child. I was made to lie in the summer sun. I would love nothing more than to live somewhere tropical where there is only a wet and dry season- no cold!
In the meantime- I’m celebrating spring. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and the most beautiful of all- tiny bright green buds are forming on the perennial trees! So beautiful.
As the weather warms up we find ourselves opening the balcony doors and inviting the outdoors in. Taking a bit of extra care with the plants, firing up the BBQ and just sitting out on the cane setting with a cold G&T in the afternoon. Those beautiful rays of sunshine can also cast a spotlight on all of the dull and dusty items around the home that could do with a good refresh!
In the spirit of the time of year I’ve taken a few little projects around our apartment that are perfect for a spring refresh. Hopefully there is something that will inspire you not to chuck that sad-looking furniture and instead- give it a bit of a scrub, maybe a lick of paint, and have something good as new!
This beautiful dress-makers model from an antiques store was a birthday present from my husband. It was sold in original condition- meaning it was filthy! I removed the screws, gently pried away the wooden parts from the canvas body and kept note of where every part originally lived!
I then gently sanded back and oiled all of the wooden parts and chucked the canvas body in to the bath to get soaped up and scrubbed down! I used shampoo and a scrubbing brush, rinsed with water and then washed down all over with a light vinegar wash to remove the last of the detergent (did you know that detergent remnants can attract dirt? Just a cup of vinegar in a litre of water will remove any residue).
The dressing table was originally my neighbour’s- covered in green paint and fair stickers, it was a sight! A few years ago I decided to rescue it- sand it all back and paint it with some left over white house paint. It didn’t stand the test of time, and after a few dusting sessions I started to notice marks and discolouration on the top.
So I sanded it back quite vigorously, with various grains to get a smooth finish, removed the handles and re-polished them and recoated the whole thing in interior acrylic shine white paint- just a sample pot was enough to do it!
Another neighbourhood find was our hard wood dining table. It was discarded and had no sheen. I laboured for days sanding by hand (before my husband gifted me with a orbital sander!) but it was a labour of love. I used about 4 different grits of sandpaper, a stain and lacquer (a few coats- sanding between each) and finished with the same oil I used on the model above.
You wouldn’t need to go to this much effort to get similar results- just two grits of sandpaper, using an orbital sander, and a two-in-one stain and lacquer would do the job. But I must say, running my hands over the table and feeling the smooth rewards of my efforts is pretty fantastic!
Finally, after a few weeks of watching seasons of Mad Men back-to-back I developed a bit of a penchant for a post-work martini! That started the idea of a bar area.
I purchased an Ikea adjustable bookshelf, washed and shined my glassware, and gave my orange Kitchenaid stand mixer and Breville blender pride of place in the in-set kitchen servery.
I re-furbed a council clean-up chair (the comfiest spot to have a drink!) and later added a French-Polynesian floor lamp (made from fabric from our Tahitian honeymoon) and a 1920’s tray drinks stand for making G&T’s.
The blender and bar area was perfect for creating these ‘Mexican Night’ frozen margaritas- made from fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, coconut rum (instead of triple sec), tequila and lime juice, blended with ice, served in a salted-rimmed cocktail glass (sticking to the glass thanks to a rub of a lime wedge) with hot, crispy tacos- of course!
The perfect drink to cool down now that the weather is heating up! Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration to give a few things around the home a new lease of life- and let the sun shine proudly on your shiny ‘new’ things!
Thanks for reading The Nookbook!