Building our Boho-Mid-Century-Modern-Unicorn-Dream Ranch one project at a time
Author: Boho Mod Blog
Marianne and Robbie are a couple of DIY'ers that love sharing what they do to their new house. Robbie has his masters in Fabrication from RIT and Marianne is a comedian and radio show personality who obsessively reads blogs and watches tutorials on DIY home renovation projects. Together they're a creative SUPER TEAM! With a focus on Bohemian and Mid Century Modern decor they always try to add some fun and whimsy to their creations. They also want to encourage people to think outside the box and try things on your own! Join them in their journey!
A few weeks ago I decided to be bold and paint a huge, beautiful rainbow on the blank wall in the playroom. “It will be easy!” I thought. “What could go wrong?” I asked myself as I scrolled through pictures of rainbow murals on Instagram and Pinterest. Wow. Wrong. It was way more challenging once I started stenciling the different arches of the rainbow. Apparently drawing or painting rainbows requires measuring and math and science. Ok maybe not but it started to feel like it so I scrapped that idea and opted for some crazy free form waves instead. Way more fun and no measuring needed. Robbie and I sketched some waves with pencil and used a magic eraser to get rid of the lines we didn’t like. We definitely magic erased the paint off some spots but we knew we’d paint over it so meh….
Next was color selection! I spent a lot of time at the Sherwin Williams paint swatch wall trading different shades of pinks and yellows out. I knew I didn’t want a traditional “ROY G BIV” rainbow/wave and I didn’t want it to be too little girl bedroom-y. We were really going for natural more adult colors (if that’s a thing).
We finally settled on a light pink, a bright yellow, pale green and the darker butterscotch. We put a Disney movie on for our 3 year old and got to work! Ok so we aren’t ENTIRELY done with this room but I’ll show what I have for now….The picture below on the left is the original finished product. It didn’t feel right. I think the brown was so dark next to the white walls it made it look too stark….I added a ton of white to it and lightened that wave. It’s a lot better. And surprise! That curtain was hiding a random, useless door that totally doesn’t need to be there. I’m working on getting lighter curtains….
We love to go antique shopping and in doing that we often see things we want but can’t afford. In this case we were on the hunt for a console table to sit under our mirror in the dining room. The space is super small so finding the perfect vintage piece that had the exact dimensions we needed was going to be tricky. This Teak, vintage table had the look we wanted but it was just a little too short, a little too deep and a little too orange. Here’s the dream table below….
We we so close to buying it. I mean…..really, really close. We wanted the lamps on top and the suitcase for storage below but the final price tag was going to be about $1500. Thankfully one of us shook the other out of our vintage haze and we said we’d think about it. After getting home we measured our space again and realized the table wouldn’t fit even if the price was right. I took the measurements we needed and disappeared to my work shop for a few hours to gather materials. I found leftover wood from our vanity and some old pine planking that remained from the subfloor in the house from the 50’s. Back inside I found some epoxy, jars of gold glitter and some oil based stain and got ready for a wild Friday night!
I cut the top to the length we needed and cut all the legs to the height we wanted. I laid the top out and sanded it till I removed all the rough saw marks from the milling. This exposed some big knots and cracks. No worries about that I had a simmer and shiny solution for that.
This is were the subtle sparkle comes in. I masked up the back side of all the cracks and knots. Then laid on layer after layer of glitter and epoxy mix. I mushed as much as I could into the cracks and low sections. Once that had cured I went back to the sanding train. I sanded until I had a perfectly smooth surface then applied one thin layer of golden oak stain. After 2 days of that curing I applied 6 or 7 or maybe 8 coats (I don’t know I lost track) of semi gloss clear.
The legs were the next step. We wanted this to sit a little higher then most other console tables that we saw. To make them I cut left over 1″ by 2″ common pine boards from our bathroom vanity build too length. To make them wide enough that I could have a classic tapered mid century style leg, I glued up two boards together to make a 2″ by 2″ leg. After the glue had cured I marked the taper and cut and sanded them. Next step was to add a notch in the leg to attach to the skirt.
For the skirt I mitered all the corners and matched them to the top. I used these little corner blocks to hold everything together with the ratchet strap while the glue cures. I have used these blocks for all kinds of projects and I made them for scraps and cut offs.
After final assembly I glued and screwed the top on. I presented the final piece to Marianne on our 5th wedding anniversary. She got me a coffee mug.
We had to remove the old one, clean the mold off the walls and replace it with something that’s a little more our style. Vanities at the big box stores didn’t seem to have the look we wanted. They were cheaply made and too expensive so after some deliberation I decided to make our own.
I took measurements of the old unit and ripped all the old water damaged garbage out of there.
We went down to the studs as the dry wall was bad too. We then proceded to scrub down the studs and everything around with bleach, mold inhibitor and fungicide. After going over it all twice we sealed it up with oil based paint and then a coat of Kilz primer.
It was then time for our weekly trip to Home Depot. Using the measurements we took from the old unit we purchased some white pine common boards, a 4’x8’x3/8″ sheet of sanded plywood and, a sheet 4’x8’x1/4″ birch plywood
From there it was a “simple” task of figuring out how each piece would join the other so the outside dimensions were correct. I decided to use miter cuts and rabbit joints, this would mean we would have no screws or fasteners showing.
Once I had the main structure glued up and grooves routed for the back I turned my attention to adding that little splash of magic to our custom vanity by including a custom inlay! I have years of experience doing reproduction and inlay work on instruments so creating a custom design on our vanity was a nice change.
Using Walnut and maple veneer I traced out my butterfly shapes and then cut them out with a jewelers saw. The antennae are made from left over copper wire from redoing our laundry room ( more on that later).
After one coat of Puritan Pine stain from Minwax , I laid on three coats of oil modified clear to prevent future water damage. The next step was making drawers and doors. One thing that has always bothered me was that the top two drawers on every vanity are dummies to leave room for the sink. Looking at our sink and measuring it up I saw no reason for doing this. We wanted all our drawers to function.
I cleaned up the salvaged hardware from our old vanity and added a lick of fresh paint. I only had to buy two more sliders to make our new vanity work which is great! It’s always a win when I can reuse or repurpose things.
I definitely lacked some of the necessary tools to do this part of the build so I improvised with ratchet straps from Harbor Freight. They worked great with four blocks on each corner to keep things square. The drawer faces I made the same way I made the vanity frame, miter cuts and biscuits. Each face was made with the birch plywood laid into a routed channel. The faces will then be glued on and held in place with our selected hardware.
We needed the sink to get ready in the mornings so the drawers came a little at a time.
I wanted to make a special drawer for Marianne and her hair stuff. It was a pain not to have a place for her hair dryer and iron. She told me when she was a kid the extra sink in the double vanity was used to hold the hair dryer so I had a little surprise for her.
I started with a really deep drawer and framed half the drawer out. This would be the section to hold these bulky items. I cut a hole the size of her dryer and iron and used aluminum lined PVC pipe to holster the items.
With all the drawers and hardware in place I have to say I’m very happy with the way it all turned out. I think it embodies our style and adds a little bit of that “boho” sparkle that others were lacking.
Robbie and I have always lived in apartments or houses that have teeny tiny backyards so having this much space behind our house has been a really fun challenge. We dug a little temporary pit right off the deck but realized we didn’t want the fire pit to be the main focal point of the yard so we moved it more to the back and side of the yard to add dimension.
We used the drum from our old dryer as the walls of the pit.
Robbie tied a rope to a pole in the exact center for us to create a good shaped circle edge then I got busy doing what I do best – EDGING!!!
Then we loaded the circle up with our leftover landscaping rocks
Next we’ll line the drum with some pretty stones or bricks….get some comfy chairs and it’s S’mores time my friends!! HOT TIP! Don’t forget to lay down weed block/fabric under any stones. If you don’t weeds will grow up through the rocks. We thought the stones would block the sun enough but nope – those suckers are determined!
We lined the pit with old bricks from a chimney we removed from the house and got those cute stumps from trees we had trimmed earlier in the Spring. All free! $$$
Seems like everyone had one of these desks in the 70’s or 80’s right? With the antique hardware and orangey tinted wood it didn’t fit our Mid Century Modern-Boho-Unicorn vibe soooo……let’s hit up Home Depot and Amazon!
I grabbed some spray paint I thought would look good next to my peach, clearance Ikea curtains and ran to my favorite store – Home Depot. The drawer pulls I found were really pretty but expensive so I whipped out my trusty Iphone and checked Amazon. Sure enough they were way cheaper online so I ordered them with the very dangerous “One click” option (do NOT use One click while drinking – don’t ask me how I learned that).
We saved $8 by using Amazon and have two extra drawer pulls for some other projects.
Sand, spray lightly (Always do several light coats to prevent drips) and let dry fully!
Voila! All done – a nice update for our guest/office space for about $35 with plenty of supplies left over for other projects. We’ll never run out of things we want to spray paint pink – we have a young daughter after all….
“What’s a berm?” “Why are you building that?” “What’s the reason again?” These are some of the questions I get when I tell people we’re taking dirt from the back yard and walking it in a wheelbarrow to the front yard to build a berm.
This is the area behind our house I grabbed dirt, branches and rocks from to fill the berm.
I’d say it took a good 80-100 loads of dirt (About 4-5 hours) to get it up to 18 inches. We threw old sand from the sandbox, rocks, dirt, grass – anything we could find to bulk up the berm for free.
After it was an acceptable size I layed down newspaper and old cardboard boxes instead of landscape fabric. This is the part the neighbors were probably the most confused about but hey it’s free and works just as well!
We got 3 yards of mulch delivered to top it off, bought a rhododendron bush, a wild grass bush and some pretty colorful annuals. Each year we’ll plant more until it fills in. For now this is all we wanted to spend but it adds interest to the yard and blocks out some of the traffic noise. It’s a win win!
Alright here’s a little update!! We found some landscaping rocks that someone was unloading FOR FREE!! What an awesome score – we got 2 car and 1 pickup truck worth of rocks and she still has more for us!! Check out pics….
After renting apartments all my life it’s easy to say I’m VERY comfortable calling the landowner or Super when things go wrong. Robbie, on the other hand is a true DIY’er. If a faucet is leaking or the ceiling starts to crack his first instinct is to grab his tool belt and run to the hardware store to fix it. It took me a while to get into his way of thinking now that I’m a homeowner. I’d have the phone in my hand ready to call someone then slowly realize….there’s no one to call. I have to fix it. BOOOO!!!
Also not running to the store to BUY what I need for the house has been another challenge for me. Robbie is the type of person that re-uses and repurposes things before considering buying a new product. I love this way of doing things but it takes way more patience and compromise AND WHO WANTS TO COMPROMISE??? Yes you can “one click Amazon” that perfect shelf to your house in a matter of hours but maybe go through the back yard and you’ll see some wood you can use instead? Reduce reuse recycle right?
That being said here are some shelves we made out of wood Robbie found in the attic – he cleaned them up and stained them then cut them all the same size….
I found black brackets for 75 cents at IKEA and painted them gold.
I ALMOST missed these beauties at Savers because they looked so dingy but Robbie spotted them on our way out. They were the right height for a bar we want to make in our dining room. Even though the bar doesn’t exist yet we knew at $20 each they were too good to pass up! They needed some TLC but were in great shape.
Here they are “before” -still have the Savers price tags….
Look. We love West Elm just as much as you do but unless there’s a blow out clearance sale and we have the employee discount coupled with a promo code – we can’t afford to decorate our house with their stuff. So we like to see what they sell and copy it best we can for CHEAP! And you can too. You will need spray paint and a Robbie. If you can’t find Robbie just the spray paint will do. Here’s what we did!