Hannah Drake

Home Update

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If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that we moved about a month ago! We decided our best course of action was to wait to find a place until I moved to England so we could look together. So after Luke's lease ended a few weeks after I arrived, we moved into our friends' house while they were in the States for the summer. From there, we started looking. We're renting this year while I settle into my new normal and get more acquainted with Birmingham. Our hope is to start looking for a house to buy when this lease is up. Eventually we found a place--that ironically Luke didn't set foot in until we got the keys to move--and we've been trying to make a house a home ever since.

You have also probably caught on that I'm not working at the moment. The two questions I get asked the most are what job do I want to get and what do I do all day? Well, let me show you some of the things I've been doing to fill my days.

I'm pretty rubbish at remembering to take "before" pictures before I start a project, hence some of the photos only showing part of the thing.


Luke's sister gave us this table when she came to visit before we moved. I had no idea what we were going to use it for. I didn't feel like it was the ideal coffee table since it curves on the edges, losing some of it's good surface area. But who's going to turn down free furniture when you live in an empty house? We went to HomeBase to pick up what we needed for my upcycle projects: paint, sand paper, a drop cloth, paint brushes, paint cleaner, etc. There, I found the perfect paint. Rustoleum Furniture Paint. They have four different finishes, so I picked out China Rose in their chalky finish for the table and it only took a 125mL can. I'm on a blush kick right now, which I'm positive you'll be seeing more of in the future. I gave it a good sanding and then applied four coats to get it looking how I wanted. It's always tricky going from a darker tone to a lighter and it seemed even trickier with the textured wood that made up the table top. Still, I wasn't sure where the table would go, but once we moved, it seemed perfect for our record player and I loved the contrast of the sky blue with the delicate pink. 


My second project was the IKEA table and chairs we got from Freecycle. As soon as we picked it up, I new it needed some work. I immediately got to work brainstorming ideas, but Luke quickly vetoed the idea of spray painting the frames either gold or copper. I figured white would be the best bet, so I picked Cotton in Rustoleum's satin finish paints. (Let me say now before I forget, that one of the best things about this brand is that it's dry to the touch in 20 minutes and it says it's completely dry in 4 hours, but I don't think it needs that long.) Anyway, again, I was going from a dark tone to a lighter one, but I thought the satin finish covered better than the chalky finish and I only needed three coats. Once the table and seats were painted, I came around to the idea of not painting the frames as well. Speaking of frames, the frames needed some work in more ways than one. Luke had to bend two of the chairs to get the legs straight and without the table top and some of the seats, you could tell they were really out of alignment. We also tried to clean up some of the grime off the finish, but we weren't able to. So if you know of anything, let us know! Regardless, we're both really pleased with the result and it brightens up our little dining nook quite a bit.


The TV stand is actually Luke's old bedside table, the only piece of furniture he actually owned before we moved in. Since I wanted matching tables in our room, we decided to use it as a TV stand instead. It had been painted cream but it had definitely seen better days, so I gave it two light coats of the same Cotton color I used on the table and it was looking good as new. I also switched out the old fish handle for a blue and white ceramic knob from Amazon. It only came in a set of 6, but I knew I could put the others to good use later. Luke drilled a whole in the back so we could run the cords to the Xbox through. Getting a decent picture of it set up in the corner by our glass back doors proved to be a challenge in itself.


We got a chest of drawers on Freecycle from a lovely couple who sadly had to clean out his father's house after he passed away. They offered us our pick from everything they had, but we only came away with this chest of drawers. My hope was to give it a good cleaning and switch out the hardware, but while wiping it down, I discovered just how dirty it was and couldn't get all the dirt off. I decided to freshen it up with two coats of Cotton since we had plenty of paint and I had plenty of time. The difficult part was deciding on how to replace the handles. We weren't able to find anything that fit the holes that were already there and we couldn't even decide if we wanted something to match the handles on the wardrobe from IKEA or like the ceramic knobs I got to use on the bedside tables. We ultimately decided to use the ceramic knobs, so we ordered another set of six from the seller on Amazon. Eventually we'll get around to filling the old holes and drilling new holes to line up all the knobs in the center of the two smaller drawers.


Our friends generously allowed us to scour their garage to see what furniture we could find. They had purchased a house in the last year and upgraded some of their old furniture, as well as accumulated some "new" things from the purchase of the house. In the end, they gave us a coffee table, two bedside tables, and a desk and we are so grateful! The bedside tables needed a bit of a facelift, so I picked out the Powder Blue color for them. Originally, I was hoping for a satin finish paint, but I felt like the Cornflower Blue was too dark. They only needed two coats before they were looking brand new and I finished them off with the same ceramic knobs that I used for the TV stand. I'm obsessed!


We found almost the exact same bedside table for our guest room with a much darker finish and a different handle. I originally wanted to paint it pink, but I'm glad I decided against it. We have darker wood in the room--which is already small as is--with the bed and the chest of drawers, so I decided white would lighten up the room a little bit and I could finish off the rest of the Cotton paint.


We bought 20 spice jars from IKEA, but didn't care for their (two) options for a spice rack, especially since we can't really drill into the walls. (How does IKEA only have two spice rack choices?!) We searched for other options elsewhere, but Luke has been wanting to try his hand at woodworking, so we decided to build one instead. With a saw, a pencil, some nails, and a little bit of wood glue, he built us a perfect spice rack! He made sure that it fits perfectly on our counter under the top cabinets and fits all 20 spice jars. I gave it two coats of our white paint and it was good to go! We also bought chalkboard paint and a fine tip chalkboard pen to put the labels on the lids. And of course, because it's me, we've got our spices in alphabetical order on the rack. We just have a few more jars to fill up. We need a good bulk spice supplier.


We thought we found the perfect vintage-looking apple crate online to repurpose as a place to keep our records. But we discovered when it arrived that the crate was wide enough for records by the outside measurements, but not the inside. After a poor review on Amazon, the seller offered to let us keep it and refund the money instead of us shipping it back. We decided to keep it and now we keep our card games in it. Meanwhile, Luke decided to build one from a palette we found. The best thing about building what you want is that you end up with exactly what you want! It's perfect under the table our record player sits on and we're excited to fill it up with more records over the years. Luke did a great job. (He ended up taking off the top rung (I don't know what to call it?) after I took the picture so that it's a little shorter and we can see the records better.


Luke found a bunch of pots, both terra cotta and plastic on Freecycle and we were able to snag them before anyone else. We got 13 terra cotta pots and a bag of plastic pots that is currently in our shed. They weren't in perfect condition, but that just adds character, right? I decided to use the rest of the Cotton and China Rose paint on three of the pots, but then I ran out making sure they were evenly coated. I painted four more in Powder Blue and then decided to get a darker green so they didn't look so pastel-decorations-at-a-gender-reveal-party. I'm in love with this green, Bramwell. It's lighter than I thought it would be, but it's actually how I thought their Laurel Green shade would look, which is what I originally wanted. After I saw how it looked, I told Luke I wanted paint everything in the house Bramwell. We got gravel called "Cotswolds" to fill the pots instead of planting anything for the time being.


So far, it's the only thing I've done anything to that we bought new. To add some Bramwell to the house, I decided to paint the legs of my vanity stool green. I figured that was the perfect solution because I knew I didn't want them pink and I thought using the Powder Blue again would be too matchy-matchy for the bedroom.


Our friends are recently moved from an unfurnished place to a fully furnished place, so they had a few things they had to get rid of. We ended up buying a big mirror to go over our mantle and a new couch. It was a steal! The mirror was originally gold and looked a bit weathered. I liked it, but it didn't look right in our living room with the faux chandelier. It felt too gaudy to me. I knew I would also love it in green, so I decided to paint it. I love the result, but now we need to get it hung. (Yes, those are Game of Thrones funkos on our mantle.)


I'll do a home tour post after the rest of my belongings arrive from Colorado!