My Summer Checklist

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve never taken time off.

I’ve had a job since I was legally able to work – at 14, I hauled chairs and umbrellas at a beach club every summer; by the time I was 21 I had worked my way up to a senior waitress position. Two weeks after graduating college, I moved to NYC, and I’ve not stopped working since.

So, for the first time in 14 years, I took a summer break! After my big intro grad class ended, my plans for the month extended as far as naps, bad TV, and getting as much sun as humanly possible. Just kidding… my plans extended as far as very specific house projects, bad TV, and learning a bunch of new recipes for the fall. Plus the sun part!

Here’s a quick review of my Summer Checklist, and how my projects went…

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Nautical Dresser Spruce Up


The finished piece!

Mike and I live with his parents. Well, not really, in the most literal sense of the phrase, but our living situation is more complicated than the two of us.

Buttonwoods Mornings

We are lucky enough to live in a beachside house owned by both Mike and his parents, but where Mike (and now I) live year round. His parents and siblings are here as often as they can be during boat season. Not does that mean that we’re blessed with this gorgeous morning view, but we all get along great and his parents are easygoing about the look of the house, which means we (I) get to decorate however we (I) please (within reason).

Until I moved in this past March, this place was essentially Mike’s bachelor pad. Functionally great for hosting a crowd, but no feminine touch.

Rest assured that when I moved in, the feminine touch moved in with me. A rug here, a new couch there, some IKEA Kallax cubbies in the mud room… Most of our things blended naturally together in each room, which made the move-in much easier, but one room just wasn’t an easy match – the bedroom.

My solution? Downsize our furniture count, fix up the closets, and turn Mike’s dad’s childhood dresser into a nautical piece to brighten things up (which he was nice enough to let me do!)

Read more…

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Homemade Chalk Paint

My mom always told me that if I wanted something done right, I should do it myself. So, when I decided to take on this Nautical Dresser project, I took that advice to heart. Instead of using the same chalk paint we bought to refurbish her grandmother’s antique vanity set last summer, I made my own recipe – and it was so worth it!

With the homemade paint, I was able to play with the consistency to find the perfect thickness, and the resulting dresser came out even better than the vanity – and felt easier to paint, too.

chalk paint.jpg

As a bartender and at home dinner chef, I’m rarely exact with my recipes, and the same applies here. By using parts, you’ll have a general idea of the ratio of paint to chalk, and can make small tweaks and adjustments to get a final consistency you like.

While the type and brand of paint doesn’t matter (you could use satin or eggshell if you’re in a pinch), flat latex paint gives the best chalky look and finish. I went with Clark and Kensington – a budget brand that’s not the bottom of the barrel price.

The real key here is using POWDERED calcium carbonate. Investing in chalk in powdered form will save you a lot of time and frustration, and will be guaranteed to work. Plus, you’ll have enough for a ton of projects. I like this one from Amazon.

Happy chalking!