Hey Y’all, Have you ever thought about taking on a restoration project? Maybe even just a little? How about the “re-do” of an older home? Perhaps that’s a little “much” but you have just been dreaming of changing things up in your house, on a small scale. Today at the farmhouse, my thoughts are going back to some of the projects we tackled when we began the restoration of our 118 year-old home…
It’s fun to look around now and see, in place, all the ideas that were once only swimming around in my head or sketched out in my sketch pad. I’m sure my hubby probably thought that I had “lost my ever-lovin’ mind” sometimes when I would share some of my ideas with him! But from the moment that we bought the place, I knew that we would not want our home to be “cookie-cutter”. I did not want it to look “trendy” or like we drove up to a home décor store (even my favorite one) and backed up the pick-up truck, if you know what I mean. I wanted a “collected over time” appearance”.
A warm, cozy and welcoming look that would create an atmosphere for comfort and memory-making and I wanted a look that did justice to this old place. That, being said, we went to workin’ away, addressing all those important bits and pieces that help rooms to make their own original statement! We focused on things like lighting with vintage charm, trims that matched the original, doors that looked like they belonged, and all those other little details add to the overall character of the home.
I knew that they would require a little extra effort and attention if we wanted to get it right. I also really wanted to add my own personal creative touch to things. We wanted to make it truly “ours”. We scoured yard sales, flea markets, online selling sites, antique sales, builder surplus and thrift stores and we began collecting.
As a result, of our treasure hunting, we were able to put together the look that I was going for in my sketches. After doing a little research that involved calling the county archives, I got in touch with a descendant of the original owner. I knew from speaking with the grandson of the first family who lived in the house, who is in his 70’s, that there were cows were raised here on this homestead, the ponds were used for catfish farming, and also that large vegetable gardens and fruit trees once flourished here. Can’t you just imagine that scene in your minds eye? With that thought in mind, I wanted to restore the look of the home back to that of a “successful gentleman farmer”. I used that idea as my inspiration in decorating the farmhouse since that is what this old homestead was like in the beginning.
(This is a photo of the original owner, Mr. Trice and his son cutting a watermelon that was grown on the property. It was taken in the early to mid-1950’s. They cut the watermelon in the old wheel barrow. It was sent to me by Mr. John Trice, the grandson of the original owner.)
That meant no roosting boxes on the wall here! That first Southern momma who lived here would have laughed her head off and just thought folks were crazy for bringing things that belonged in the barn, into the house to decorate. Instead, I wanted to have rustic yet refined treatments such as chandeliers, draperies, and original art (I love to paint so I enjoy original paintings in our home) mixed with old signs, vintage kitchen collectibles, authentic antique cotton and tobacco baskets and other charming pieces of Southern history being displayed with honor. Timeless elements, that are not subject to the coming and going of trends, would be perfect here.
(I designed this ceiling medallion from an antique picture frame, some bead board and a ceiling chandelier medallion from Home Depot to which I gave a paint treatment. Hubby put it all together beautifully for me and made it look like it had always been here.)
It was so much fun to go treasure hunting for the perfect pieces to fill the house and I have to say that most of the time, my hunting resulted in great finds! Sometimes hubby was with me and sometimes I hunted alone while he was at work (at his real job). It may sound silly, but I always say a little prayer and ask the Lord to “put before me” just what he would have me to purchase. (After all, he tells us in John 14:14 that, (“If you ask anything in my name, I will do it that the Father may be glorified”)
If I don’t come across what I am looking for at first, I just trust that it, or something better, is waiting for me somewhere down the line. So far, that has been just the case! And I am always careful to give thanks to God for his sweet fatherly provision for me! Remember, He loves to give His children the delights of their hearts! Today, I want to tell you all about my farmhouse chandelier in the dining room. When I found it, it was a very dingy, and (ugly…sorry but true) 1980’s “antique brass” chandelier that was more of an olive green than brass color. I knew that I wanted the look of the very pricey hand turned wood fixture with hand forged iron arms that I had admired elsewhere.
( This is similar to the “before” of my chandelier. The finish on mine was not pretty or full of patina, instead, it was a strange goldish green color.)
The hand turned, wrought iron farmhouse type of chandelier can run into the thousands of dollars. Um…yeah, that wasn’t going to happen! So, how on earth do I make my vision jive with this relic from the 1980’s, you may ask. Well, in my mind, it was a challenge; and one that I was ready to take on. And given the fact that I only paid $9 for this huge fixture, I figured that I would try my hand at a total “re-do” of the finish on the chandelier. *The first step was to wipe it down with soap and warm water.
*Next, I would give a light sand with fine grit sandpaper to give the surface “bite” to grab onto the paint that I was going to apply. *After sanding, I taped off the main body of the chandelier so that I could spray paint the arms. I used two different paints to give the appearance of antique iron. I chose a burnished bronze along with a flat black. By alternating these colors and making spotty spurts here and there, I achieved the look that I was going for. *Next came the main body of the chandelier. I wanted the look of hand turned wood with time worn white milk paint. Dry brushing and blotting gave me the finish that I was hoping for. I tell you the truth,sweet pea, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. My $9 investment (plus paint cost) ended up being one of my favorite things in the house.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
Another way to give that “farmhouse touch” to the chandelier was to add a ceiling medallion. Folks have gotten away from using ceiling medallions, but back in the day, they were always used to complete the look of light fixtures. So…what to use? What would cost just a little? I mean, I’m not going to spend a bundle on medallion for a $9 chandelier, right? Goodness, no! Well, I had this carved wooden wall plaque that I had used for several years in another home (by the way, I have seen some almost just like this at places like Kirklands and Hobby Lobby recently). I thought the scale was right. It had to be pretty big to match up with the chandelier. It was flat black but that could be easily fixed with a little paint. Fortunately, it had a circle design in the center that would be perfect to accommodate the wiring of the fixture. A jig saw was used to cut out the circle in the center.
As I always say, “if I can dream it up, my husband can make it happen”.
He’s such a smarty!
I “went to town” painting it with white chalk paint to get just the right finish on it, and Hubby started planning his strategy for installation. He figured it out quickly (as usual) and without any real problems. I am one happy girl with how it turned out. …Now that I think about all the details he worked out to make me happy, I think I need to run to the kitchen and make him a cake!
We both agree, and in our opinion, it came together beautifully. These two orphaned pieces married together to give me the high-end, old style look that I wanted. And I didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get it.
So, sweet friends, my intended take-a-way from this post is that you will be brave and creative!
I encourage you to take a chance on making something beautiful out of something that has been cast off by someone else or that you already have but are not using!
Go right on ahead and envision the things that you want in your home and be fearless in attempting to get the look you are going for in a creative and inexpensive way.
Scour those yard sales and don’t be too quick turn your nose up at those “ugly ducklings”. They may have real potential for beauty. You may be blessed to find just the thing you’ve been dreaming to have in your home décor, whether your love is “farmhouse style”, more traditional or a modern look! All that it may take is just a little creativity and thinking beyond what you see!
If you think about it, we are a little like that old ugly
chandelier before God saves us.
He sees our hidden beauty and potential just waiting to be uncovered. He knows how we can spread light in a beautiful way to all of those around us if we belong to him. So, he lovingly cleans us up and brings out the very best in us…if we simply yield to his “make-over”.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I pray your day is glorious, sweet Friends!
With love from the farmhouse,
Sharon at Southern Bella Home