Friday, October 27, 2017

How To Create a Brick Wall look in any Space

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall with weathered and textured look

When visiting an old city or country, whether it be North, South, Central America or on the other side of the world, have you ever encountered an old brick building that was just mesmerizing ! 

If absolutely love this look and wondered how you can possibly achieve the Brick Wall look in your interior space, we believe this post will provide some enlightenment.

Here are some tools and supplies you will need to fulfill this task

1. A large Vehicle (you will see why in a while).

2. Tape measure

3. Paint (white & grey) 
Note: If you have black, you may omit the grey as you can mix the black and the white. 

4. Gesso

5. Sponge

6. Paint brush

7. Elbow grease(Applicable for all D.I.Y projects) ;0)

Above you will see an MDF panel with brick like imprints we could ONLY find localy at Lowe's hardware store.  
We tried looking for these in other home improvement stores with no such luck. As you may notice above,these are very inexpensive at $11 a sheet. 

Note: Remember we mentioned needing a large vehicle as one of the tools required for this project. These are large sheets that will need to be transported therefore you will require the space to do so.

Here's another look at this panel laying flat in an angled photo. You may be able to notice the elevated (raised) look of the imprints. Later we will look at some up close views. 

Once these panels arrive to their destination you will obviously need to measure the area of interest prior to cutting these bad boys to size. 
Note: The home department store is usually very helpful in cutting these for the customer as long as it doesn't exceed a specified number of cuts. 

Seeing this great product in a photo does very little justice to how amazing it actually is. The texture and imagery is very realistic. 
Above is this Gesso product we mentioned earlier. In the photos below, the Gesso was applied to give the brick MDF panels a sort of whitewash look with some interesting added texture. 

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall with weathered and textured look
In this image we wanted you to appreciate how the panel was painted with the desired colors of white,grey and some charcoal

The paint was applied with a paint brush, then smeared with a sponge along the desired areas as means of removing the brush strokes.

Note: The charcoal hues you see here was used to simply add a few hints of contrast in several areas of the panels. You may take note of the warmest, most calm colors used on your walls and go with that as means of adding these inconspicuous hues to your brick panels.  

The pasty looking white areas, is the Gesso paste we used to provide some additional weathered texture real brick structures usually tend to have. 

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall with weathered and textured look
A close up look at the panel imprints. You may notice the dings, dents and imperfections that a real brick wall will also tend to have.  

NoteYou may choose to simply leave these panels as is, if you truly enjoy the look of orange-red bricks. In this tutorial we were going more for the weathered look. 

The Outcome
After creating the look that we were going for, the walls chosen for this project were ready to be embellished with some seasonal decor. See images below.

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall embellished with Wall Art and nickle plated Over-sized Stop Watch

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall embellished with Wall Art and nickle plated Over-sized Stop Watch

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall embellished with Wall Art and nickle plated Over-sized Stop Watch

Above is a wall nestled between two doors in the small hallway area. Adding a see through picture frame ads depth without hiding too much of the wall behind, while the over-sized nickle plated stopwatch clock and beautiful clay flower wall art sets the stage for great focal point.  
Seating Area
An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior seating area
A photo of a wicker chair nestled in a corner and the faux brick wall panel completely redone behind it. 

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall embellished with Vintage mirror and wicker seating
Added a vintage midsize mirror and some other nick knacks as you will see below. 
An added mirror will expand the space visually by reflecting light and the interior and or outdoor areas whiten the home that may sit across from it.  

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall embellished with Vintage mirror and wicker seating
Added a small, mirrored, nickle platted side table from India between the chairs. Perfect for laying your favorite drink while enjoying a book or a friendly conversation. 

An MDF brick Panel wall in an interior wall embellished with Vintage mirror and wicker seating

A old vintage photo shot. We thought this particular shot sort of reflected the different tones and hues of colors used on the brick panel in a mysterious way if you will.  

Conclusion: When trying to Create a Brick Wall Look, you don't have to brake the bank or your back for that matter placing bricks in a desired interior area of your home. With a little ingenuity and here we go again, "a little Elbow Grease" anyone can turn a great product like these MDF brick panels into a project that makes "YOUR" Space Made Perfect.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How To: Store Your Wine Collection in a Small Space at Home

A reupholstered chesser drawer used as a wine storage unit

Many of us that are not wine enthusiast per say, still enjoy the idea of a good glass of wine from time to time. 
If you are anywhere like us and enjoy traveling, you may encounter a good bottle of wine in your traveling ventures of which you may want to collect for that special family event. 

Conversely, many do not have the ability or the space for that matter to store their collected wine gems. With this idea in mind many may be tempted with the idea of displaying there collection in a glass enclosure for the world to see and admire. Nevertheless many wine experts will say, this is not a good idea

Conventional wisdom also teaches us that wines should be stored at an ideal humidity of 70 percent. In theory dry air will tend to dry the corks of wine bottles, which may cause air to filter into the wine compromising its quality. 

You may have already seen or heard of Thermo electric wine coolers or cellars. Now,unless you live in the desert area or in extreme arctic conditions, the possibility of humidity compromising the condition of the corks may be close to none. 
Also keep in mind that most wines are best enjoyed within a couple years (2 to 5 yrs) of their release.

Note: With that being said, If money is not an object and you are looking to buy wines to MATURE over time, you should consider investing in some professional grade storage. (A total different animal.)

Some Basic simplicity for storing wine effectively are:

1. Cool is the way to go

What ever you do keep it cool. Heat is a public enemy number one for wine. No matter what you heir about temperatures of wine storing, always remember this is not an exact science. People are different, palates are different and no wine is particularly created equal. Nevertheless, don't fret too much about a couple degrees higher or lower in temperature. 

2. Common Sense  

when it comes to storing wine, some common sense goes a long way. Your refrigerators normal temperature is 45 degrees on lower in order to prevent foods from going bad. So this option is not necessary because you are not wanting to prevent your wine from going bad per say (at least not in regards to spoilage).

Your attics temperature fluctuates way too drastically from season to season, hence storing wines in attics are a complete no,no. 

3. Flip off the switch

Potential problems can arise due to light,especially sunlight (direct or indirect). The sun's UV rays can degrade and prematurely age wine. The light emitted from indoor lighting may not necessarily damage the integrity of the wine. Nevertheless fluorescent bulbs which do emit minimal amounts of ultraviolet light should be avoided and or kept to a bare minimum.    

4. Are you seeing things sideways?

Traditionally, wine bottles have been stored on their side as means of keeping their corks from drying up (in theory that is). Conversely, if your bottles have alternative closures such as(caps, plastic corks or screw caps), this is by no means necessary. 

5. Again, Where should my wine be kept?

If your living conditions are not necessarily blessed by having a cool,basement that can be used as a cellar, you can indeed improvise by using racks. Please avoid areas like the kitchen, laundry room, sun room, etc. Have you got the drift ! 
These areas will filter in too much constant light and or sunlight, hence compromising your prized sweet tasting pleasures over time.

If you like your wine cool'not chilled'. Then you may consider investing in a wine cooler following the same guidelines. Maybe there is a small closet space you could partition for storing wine? As long as the space is deprived from constant light or any sunlight, not too damp or dry and not too warm, it should work just fine. 

If this is not the case, then a standalone cooling unit may be your best bet if you are indeed the wine aficionado.      

NoteIn this short post for whom I would like to say, the common non-wine experts out there like ourselves,we will focus more on the budget friendly and chic way of storing your wine collection in a small space of your home. Especially, if you have just a couple precious bottles you have collected on your most venturous travels.  

Publishers note: (Steps on how this gorgeous furniture you'll see below was upholstered and put together will be posted in the near future...) 

A reupholstered chesser drawer re-purposed  as a wine storage unit

A reupholstered chesser drawer re-purposed as a wine storage unit

Above you can admire how this gorgeous (if I may say so myself) piece of re-purposed chesser drawer furniture was transformed into a Chic Wine Storage, perfect for a small space.  
Wine Glasses displayed in an Reupholstered Chesser Drawer

We used the top drawer to store most of the wine glasses. If you place heavy wine bottles in a top drawer, it may cause the furniture to topple over if it's the only shelf that's fully opened. 

If you decide to place wine bottles on the top drawer, best practice is to keep it to a minimum (as we will show below),to avoid the topple over issue.

Wine bottles and glasses stored and displayed in a re-purposed chesser drawer

Wine bottles and glasses stored and displayed in a re-purposed chesser drawer

In the second and third drawers we began to carefully lay the bottles according to our own desire (Year, Countries visited, etc.).

How the bottles are laid into the drawers are also a matter of choice. If your drawers are deep enough, you may choose a more vertical layout as opposed to the slanted view you see here.  
A Marble 12 X 12 tile used as a cutting board & Fine Cutlery

No need to break the bank. We went for this inexpensive 12 X 12 nonporous white marble tile, and used it as a cutting board that perfectly blends in with the white upholstered color of the unit.  

A Marble 12 X 12 tile used as a cutting board, Fine Cutlery and Wine bottles stored in a Re-purposed chesser drawer

Resting on this Re-purposed drawer we simply placed some useful embellishments(white marble 12 X 12 cutting board,wine bottle opener,fine cutlery and an ornamental gold sphere)which sets the tone for the evening. 
These choices shall make this small, thrifty and chic wine storage unit a perfect " serve yourself " nook for the next gathering event.   

Food for thought ! 

When you think of wine and where to  store it, Think fruit
In other words, since wine obviously comes from the sweet grape vine, and if you have had the privilege of tasting grapes in their different environments, you will notice that the taste varies depending on where it is grown, at what temperature it has been kept and how long it has been sitting on your counter or fridge. 

If you haven't, give this little tasting experiment a test. 

The Vine
The fruit while its on the vine it's shaded by its wide deep green foliage. This protects it from the harsh sunlight UV rays. This is where the juicy taste of "new wine" per say, is the sweetest.

The Storefront 
When the fruit arrives at the store shelves, depending on its origin, it has already lost some of its moisture, therefore affecting its original flavor somewhat. Nevertheless it still tends to remain fairly tasty.

The Counter top or Fridge
when you bring these bunches of delicious sweetness home you may choose to leave them on the counter or store in fridge. Leaving them on the counter in a hot humid environment will compromise its texture and taste more rapidly than refrigerating them.

If you are eating them rather quickly, leaving them out of the fridge will be the tastier choice.

Ups,I think these are going bad !  
If left too long the grapes will become wrinkled and almost juice less. If you tried an old grape you may have left on the bunch for too long, you will notice an almost fermented raisin like flavor to it. The taste is no longer that of a grape. Hence if dried properly it may now become sweeter than its original fruit form.    

In this same manner, all wines are created differently by means of selection, process, and STORING. 

Conclusion: When you think wine storage, always keep in mind how the environment affects the fruit itself,this in turn will help you decide what's be best ambiance for your precious savory liquid goodness.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How To: Refinish Wicker Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use

Wicker furniture have been around for centuries and the styles of furniture built with this material has evolved into very sophisticated shapes. 
Wicker comes in various types of fibers that can be either natural like (Rattan/Rotan Palm, Bamboo) or Synthetic Resin (which is mainly a man made material like plastic). 
The natural form (Rattan Palm) is mainly found in the forest areas of South Asia, Malaysia and the Philippines, but not complete unknown in North America.

Image of a rattan palm

These woody stalk will normally climb to a height of 600 plus feet in height and anywhere from 2 to 4 inches in diameter with a solid inner core called a reed. Somewhat resembling that of hard wood. 

The 2 inch inner reed of these poles are normally used for constructing the framework of the rattan furniture while the outer skin where the flat reed comes from is used for weaving together the intricate parts of furniture, baskets, and planters if you will. 

There are other materials currently used when building these gorgeous and timeless outdoor furniture pieces. For instance, Cane stalk is normally used today as a weaving material to wrap the joints of wicker resin or bamboo furniture and also for weaving the backing and seating parts of these furniture. 

Some benefits of the Rattan (Rotan) are:

a) Light and sturdy material which makes it suitable to be moved around effortlessly. 

b) Rattan furniture that also incorporate the use of the palm reed (inner part of the Rotan stalk) which is woody in nature, is very pours and malleable therefore accepts various finishes of paint, varnish or lacquer extremely well. 

c) This type of material does well outdoors (with certain limitations) and even better indoors.  

Some disadvantages of the Rattan material:
Rattan due to its woody nature will have the tendency to fade and loose its stability when exposed to constant strenuous changes in outdoor climate. 

Image of a rooted cane stalk

The skin of the cane stalk is mainly used when making outdoor furniture backing and or seating. The core of the cane stalk is mainly moisture filled and therefore enjoyed for its organic tasty sugars and as a tasty sugar filled drink. 

If you look closely at the Rattan and Cane stalk, they have similar yellowish tones. The Rattan stalk however will display a series of spikes along its ridges while the Cane will display a more ridged darker toned (with no spikes). 

Note: Because of the canes natural glossy skin, it does not accept stains, lacquer or paint very well. Therefore make sure that you are completely pleased with the purchase of this type of furniture which incorporates cane backing or seating weave into their finished product.  

Here is a tip !  In laymen terms, when you heir the word wicker, this is a clue that the furniture may be built using materials that are distinct in nature (synthetic and or natural).  Rattan furniture is typically EXCLUSIVE in nature and will only be built using this robust,versatile and beautiful Rotan woody stalk . Rattan is not Wicker and hence Wicker is not Rattan.

Image result for bamboo
Bamboo is a natural material and tends to resemble rattan therefore when shopping for outdoor furniture many uninformed shoppers will easily mistake the two. Bamboo may also have a glossy outer skin but one major distinction is its hollow inner core. 

The ridges of the bamboo stalk is also much more pronounced than that of the rattan. Because bamboo is much less dense, it's not used as framework for furniture, as it is used mainly for weaving and or strengthening the joint area of wicker furniture. 

Furniture built with bamboo material also tends to do well in the outdoors as long as it is kept away from the constant direct sunlight and rain. 

Resin (Synthetic or Natural)

About 99% of the manufactured Wicker furniture on the market these days are made of the synthetic version of this material. 

Resin or (Synthetic Wicker Fiber) to be specific is one of the most resistant materials used to build outdoor furniture. 

Some Advantages of resin furniture are its ability to take on the wrath of nature by being fade resistant and highly durable. 
resin wicker furniture is also very easy to clean and is constructed mainly of aluminum frame making it extremely light weight. 

If a quality purchase is made, this can last for decades as it is resistant to fade and cracking. 

Resin furniture can also be refinished by painting it in your favorite shade of color by using a high quality spray paint. This is one advantage I am actually grateful for, as I would show you our Refinished Wicker Outdoor Furniture we decided to use for the indoors. 

Above is an example of a wicker furniture built with different materials such as Bamboo (curved back frame) Resin (laced backing and under seating) with some aluminum framing (bottom of the seating) and hardwood legs. Because of the fabric cushion and hardwood legs, this type of combined material wicker furniture will be mainly for indoor use or in an enclosed patio or sun room.  

Note: When purchasing resin wicker furniture be sure to purchase one of quality High Density Polyethylene or (HDPE). Many wicker furniture sold to the public, if not by a reputable retailer may be of very poor quality PVC plastic. 

Above are the two different shades of black by Rust-Oleum ( flat black primer and Metallic Flat Soft Iron) we used to refinish these chairs. 
The flat black primer was used as the main base coat as means of making sure the wicker resin was covered completely. The Metallic Soft Iron was used to give the chair a smoother more glamorous look. 
Even though the Soft Iron is also flat, the Metallic aspect of it will still give a slight overall sheen without the mirror effect.  

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use
A little close up view of the refinished project.

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use

Above you can see the outcome and new look of this completed 

NoteSome areas of the chair was left with the flat primer as means of giving it a two tone look reflecting both shades. We felt this was the best color shade(s) to use based on the room these would be utilized, where the walls are charcoal grey. 

Please share your thoughts with us on this post. And if you absolutely love 'YOUR' Refinished outdoor furniture project also feel free to share it on our G+ page