We have this huge window in our living room. Like, I’m talking 6 feet long. For real, I measured. I absolutely love it, but it does present a challenge when trying to cover it.
The previous owner left this triple layer curtain system on our living room windows. The had pulleys on them like hotel curtains. There’s no telling what they cost – you can tell they were professionally done. They just weren’t our style. So as soon as we moved in, we removed the upper peach-colored layers and just left the cream-colored liner.
It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t really our taste. And at night? You could totally see through it. As in, you could camp in our front yard, bring your pop corn, and watch whatever show we were watching with us. With the curtains drawn.
I knew it would be expensive to cover that large window, so I spent a while trying to research and plan and dream and nail down what I wanted to do. I had my heart set on something like this:
A dark bamboo shade with lovely curtains on either side. Texture, warmth, style – it had it all. I even went so far as to order samples of bamboo shades and Timothy and I settled on a gorgeous one. But I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
See, bamboo shades are gorgeous. But the more I researched them and thought about them, they’re not very practical. They only provide privacy when pulled down, and even then some shades are pretty see through. I also don’t like the look of them pulled down. Living in Indiana, we would have to pull the shades down around 5:30 during the winter time since it gets dark so early. We’re usually only in our living room in the evening anyway, so we wouldn’t really get to appreciate the look that’s in the picture above. It’s a whole style vs. function conundrum.
So I did a quick peek through my “home” board on Pinterest and was pretty surprised to see that most homes being showcased on blogs and home sites don’t have a lot of coverings on their windows. Curtains, yes. But definitely no blinds. Blinds aren’t trendy. So are these people just hanging out in their homes at night letting passerby’s see their business? The no blinds thing definitely looks beautiful, but it’s just not always practical.
So we decided to just go with what works best for us and get white wood blinds. I caught blinds.com when they were having a huge sale (which apparently they have ALL the time – I know because I ended up on their e-mail list. Yowza.) and ordered these faux wood blinds. They had really good reviews and were cheaper than ones from Home Depot. Plus, we were able to order them to fit our gigantic window.
We’ve had them sitting around for a while now because we needed to paint the trim before we installed the blinds. And I just didn’t have it in me. And besides, I thought our neighbors might miss watching tv with us. Ha!
But when I was scrambling to get the banquette and table done, I looked at the trim and thought why not. I’m already caulking (worst.job.ever.ever.) and I might as well just knock it all out!
As soon as I can catch some of the winter sun, I’ll share pictures of the semi-finished windows! And everything is covered in Christmas cheer right now, so be prepared for that. Ha! We’re really loving our trim and blinds. I’m so glad we finally went for it. And I’m a billion times more happy in a living room with white blinds then a super trendy room that leaves the windows bare. In clothing? I pick style over comfort. Every single time. But homes should make you feel happy. And if white blinds make you happy, go for them! Or if bare windows are your jam, rock it out! Or if hanging vertical blinds are your cup of tea … find a new cup of tea. Oh! I kid. Just make your home a place that is you. And love it. :)
Oh my word, several days of building, sanding, staining, poly-ing, nailing, sawing, spackling, painting, and caulking – oh the caulking! – later, we have a finished table and banquette! Wanna see? Wanna see?!
I was going to wait to post pictures until we figured out the chair situation. And we had it all staged and decorated perfectly. But this is real life. And Christmas time. Throw pillows and place settings can wait. Ha! Introducing: our new dining area that I couldn’t love more even if it was a human child:
You know when I was all, the hard part is done! Now just some quick painting, spackling, and caulking!? Um, no. Not quick. It was laborious. And caulking? Caulking, you are not my friend. And those beadboard panels soaked up the paint like they had lived their whole lives in a dessert.
But two coats of primer and three coats of paint later, I couldn’t be happier. All the work was worth it! Even if this project turned into one of those “if you give a mouse a cookie” moments. With this white trim gloriousness, all the unhappy wood trim in our house started calling out to me. And I may or may not have tackled a couple windows’ worth of trim in our living room. I mean, if you’re already caulking, you might as well caulk your heart out.
I’m so happy with the fabric we went with. Up close it has a lot of pattern going on, but from farther back it reads as a neutral. It’s just begging us to load it up with colorful pillows. It was my very first upholstery project. I would definitely not recommend upholstering a six foot bench on your first try! There are some wrinkles and sags, but a few pillows will cover that right up.
Ignore the floppy fabric just hanging out on the inside. The plan is to put some trim around it so it looks finished. And paint the inside of the bench. But no one has time for that. Ha! My dad being the genius he is, rigged the lid up so we only have to unscrew the seat from those two long boards near the hinge. Those two boards are connected to the piano hinge. So we don’t have to unscrew fifty billion hinge screws every time we want to recover the bench. See? He’s a genius.
I used an espresso stain and then five coats of polyurethane. I was afraid that the poly would make the table feel too glossy and would take away from the whole rustic feel, but it worked out really well. I used a semi-gloss water-based poly and put on several light coats. The table is smooth to the touch, but not glossy. Hoo to the ray!
I chose not to use wood conditioner before staining because I wanted to make sure all the imperfections of the wood came through. Oh, and a teeny tiny paint brush (like the kind you used when painting as a kid) was super helpful to get in between the planks of the table.
The legs of the table were my dad’s idea. Again with the genius. The inspiration for our table had two large solid legs at each end. My dad changed it up by using 2×6 pieces of wood and staggering them. Randomly. For the first leg he had me arrange the boards to look random. My “random” took like 10 minutes. So he took it over from there. He just randomly stuck all the boards together for the rest of the legs. Random is harder than it looks.
We also added a center support beam for the table to keep it from being wobbly.
It was hard to get great pictures of the entire table in our dining room. I would have taken pictures of the finished table outside, but we had to take it apart to get through our door. So yeah, this table is going nowhere anytime soon.
And I just had to include a detail shot of one of my favorite parts of the table. See those little cream spots? I didn’t even notice them before I started staining, but the stain made them just pop. Apparently they’re sap spots? Prettiest sap spots I ever did see. (Insert the emoji with the hearts flying out of her eyes here. And the heart with the arrow. Ha!)
So this is where we are today. (Actually, we’re a bit further along – our chairs should arrive today! Eeeeek!) The mouse with the cookie is already going wild, ready to update the rest of the area. In this space we would still like to move the sad chandelier centered over nothing. The plan is to move the chandelier into our room and then hang two pendant lights over the table. Then we need to paint the rest of the trim white, replace the cream outlets and switches with white ones, paint the grungy ceiling, paint the front door, and get rid of that divider thing by the front door. I have tried to make my peace with it, but alas, there is no peace to be had. It’s gotta go. Then of course, is accessorizing. We need lots of throw pillows, a table runner, chairs, some sort of art or garland on the banquette wall, and a rug. And while I’m listing all this, we might as well include hardwood floors. Oh, dreams they abound.
All in all, this whole banquette and table situation cost around $300. You can’t even buy a smaller table for that, let alone one that seats 8! And a wall of trim work and a bench! I’ve already had a few questions about the details of how we built the table, so if you have any questions be sure and put them in the comments. I
will answer them will ask my dad to answer them in a coming post. And let me just mention again – how awesome is my dad? This wouldn’t have been possible without him. He made my dreams come true.
*UPDATE* Our chairs came in and we are loving them! You can check out this post to see them.
The boys I baby-sit know to ask before they draw on the chalkboard. Usually I let them, but every now and then I say no and give them some paper instead. When I draw a new design, I usually like it to stay that way for a few days before the wall is covered in stick figures and little scribbles declaring their love for rocks and other weird boy things.
But apparently not all of the boys in my life got the message. My brother came to stay with us not too long ago and left his mark. Ha!
So in this holiday season, may your walls know joy. May your house be filled with happiness and hope. Not full of stress about decorating the perfect tree or stringing up enough twinkle lights or even finding the perfect present. May your house be filled with God’s Spirit and not full of whines and fusses and stresses. May we delight in the season’s cheer and sparkle and festivities while knowing in our heart that this is all in celebration of Him. He came so we may have life and joy and peace.
May your walls know joy.
Or, table and banquette progress. Or table and bench and wall treatment progress. Or the most exciting thing I’ve ever done progress. Ha!
First things first – the star of the show. The table. I feel like my whole life has been a journey toward the perfect table. In our first home, we didn’t have a table for about a year. We borrowed my Grandma’s card table. It was a good look:
If that’s not enough feasting for the eyes, just know that the table was padded. So drinks wobbled and our plates squished. It was fun.
Then for Christmas our second year of marriage, my parents bought us a table. I was stoked, as you can tell.
It was the very thing we needed for our first home, but didn’t really fit the space in our new one. (Check out this post for more info on that!)
I was dreaming of a long farmhouse table. Well, less farmy and more sleek. But still worn and imperfect looking. So when
the boys I babysit Timothy breaks things and scratches the table, it will be all good.
I made a Pinterest board and pinned 3876.4 tables. I made it a secret board so I wouldn’t look like a weirdo. I pinned plans from Ana White’s blog, tables from World Market, tables from Anthro (dreamer much?), and any table-related thing that caught my eye. Then my Dad came over and analyzed the pictures to help me pick out exactly what I wanted.
You may be asking, where is Timothy in all this? Well, he told me I could do whatever I wanted. Design it however I wanted. Have whatever I wanted. (Within reason – side eye Anthropologie table.) Yeah, best husband of the year award goes to that boy.
So, we quickly narrowed it down to these tables:
This amazing, gigantic outdoor table by Decor and the Dog. I loved the modern lines and the legs!
This is a bench by Sawdust Girl, and I really liked these legs. I thought they would be great adapted into table legs.
This table by Shanty 2 Chic made my jaw drop. It’s inspired by a table I even pinned from Restoration Hardware!
And finally, I really liked the top of this table by Ana White.
The banquette seating and wall treatment was a little harder to find inspiration pictures for. Most of the ideas I saw online featured the banquette seating in a corner. So I started looking at restaurants to see if I could get any ideas. One cute little coffee shop in our area kind of had what I was going for:
This is more like it! Sadly, the pin is no good and leads no where. But I adore the trim work on the banquette wall.
So much goodness, right? I spent forever thinking about these tables and what I wanted in our space. I thought that the fancy table from Shanty 2 Chic was what I would end up going with, but the more I looked at it, it just didn’t feel like our home. It was a little too complicated and busy looking. And while Timothy may think I’m complicated sometimes (hello, emotions!), I don’t want our house to feel complicated. The first table by Decor and the Dog seemed more our style. But I wanted to change the top of the table to look like the one by Ana White. And then my Dad had a genius idea for the table legs to jazz them up a bit. So with big plans, we got started.
Of course we would start on the day that it was 18 degrees outside. Literally. I came to my Dad’s garage all bundled up, but he said I was missing something.
A trip inside for one of his old belts, some new holes cut, and a snap on tool thing later, I had my own tool belt. He’s a good dad, isn’t he?!
So, looking awesome and official, we got to work. I had to wear my warmest clothes that could get ruined, so that’s my excuse for my appearance. And the day I wore these fake Ugg boots I saw that horrible clip that’s going around Facebook about how sheep are brutally killed to make these things. Have you guys seen that? My eyes!! I felt like a horrible human being in my ugly shoes all day long. But moving on … believe it or not, I actually helped! My Dad was the brains of the operation and I was the sander. And the clamper. And the holder. And the brusher of the sawdust away-er.
A few days later, we had a table and a banquette!!! Want to see a little peek?
Oh mylanta, I’m in love. I’m currently spackling and painting and caulking, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to share the finished product! Eeeeeeeeek!!!!
Most of my life, my dad has been a pastor. When I was younger he pastored a church that had two outdoor staircases that led to the front door. To a nine-year-old, these stairs were huge. And they were covered in that green carpet stuff that is maybe supposed to look like grass? All I know is that they were a pain to keep clean. And every now and then my mom would ask me to sweep them off.
Worst. job. ever.
I would much rather play on the steps with my friend. We had this great system where one staircase was her house, the other was mine, and we would … play? Yeah, what a great system. Ha!
One day before church I was sweeping the stairs off and a sweet older lady in the church saw me. She smiled and told me she would pray that God would someday bless me with a nice house with lots of floors to sweep. I smiled and thanked her, but in the inside I was all what?
That sounded like the worst prayer ever. Yeah, sure, a nice house would be great. But if you’re going to get all specific on God about the whole “lots of floors to sweep,” you might as well get specific and include a maid in there to do the sweeping. To this nine-year-old, that prayer was not very appealing.
But something about that prayer lingered in the back of my mind. Was there a connection between how I treated the house of God and my own house? If I reverenced His house and helped keep it clean, would I be blessed in that area of my life? The Bible says to be faithful in the small things. Was this part of that? It was way too much for my nine-year-old brain to process.
A couple weeks ago Timothy decided to invite a whole bunch of guys over to do some fantasy basketball
nonsense business. I cleaned some on our main floor, but I spent the majority of my time getting the basement ready for them. We’ve tiled the whole basement, so it takes forever to sweep. Plus, the basement is our “man cave” and I always find scary things down there. Lingering pizza and chip crumbs, cans upon cans of Mountain Dew, and those jumpy spiders. I hate those jumpy spiders. So I was sweeping, but I wasn’t too happy about it. I was sweeping and sweeping and mopping and mopping when that prayer came back to me.
And it completely changed my entire outlook.
God has given Timothy and I such a nice house that we couldn’t love more if we tried. Two whole levels of floors to sweep.
I am so thankful that sweet lady prayed that prayer. Now, I (clearly) don’t know the whole ins and outs of how God does what He does. But I do know that prayers are powerful things. And they never die. Did her prayer have something to do with us being able to live in this house? I don’t know.
But it was a wake-up call to me. Since then I’ve been so thankful to clean our house. (Hopefully this sentiment lasts. Because there’s nothing beautiful in cleaning a toilet when you babysit two little boys. Amiright?) I want to show God that I’m thankful for my blessings. And I want to take care of them and sweep those dirty floors with a song of praise in my heart.
And maybe I need to go sweep the church steps, too.
I'm honored that you took time to stop by my blog! My name is Whitney, and I'm a diy loving, piano playing, sewing obsessed, thrifty, non-house cleaning, crafty newlywed. I love God, my husband, and life as a wife. If you'd like to know more, just check out my About Me page. Much love!
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