New blog series: Home sweet farmhouse home

I can’t sit still for long.

It’s a trait that has annoyed family and friends for as long as I can remember.

I just gotta create.

While writing is the art-song of my heart, upcycling and painting are the art-work of my hands. Something about taking a shabby or out-of-date item and making it into something new reminds me of the way the Lord has–and continues to–create something new out of the discolored, cracked and chippy places of my life. (2 Corinthians 3:18)


Since my new novel, Lead Me Home, is about…well…HOME, I thought it would be fun to share with you a few of the projects I have going on at my house, specifically farmhouse style projects. We don’t live in a farmhouse, but it can’t hurt to pretend, right? I love the new, simple, clean style, and I’m having fun mixing in a bit of industrial and French country with it.

I’m in between manuscripts right now, so I’m upcycling and updating our house (which was pitifully neglected) like a mad woman. My oldest baby is also a senior, so I have the added incentive of spiffing the place up for the big grad party. (NOTE: It’s true what they say about not blinking, mamas…don’t.)

So here’s the first project that I’m GIDDY over.

My kitchen.

Specifically, my kitchen table and nook.

Okay, so the table is clearly missing from this picture, but I wanted to show  you what this little area looked like “before.” It’s cute enough, but the butter yellow walls have been butter yellow forever, and while my nickname is Ms. Toile, I was tired of the heavy cornice.

Oh, and say hello to Jaxson, our big white dog. He’s one of our three golden retrievers.

Here’s the table (below). I do decorative painting as well as plain old wall painting, and again while this was cute for awhile, I was tired of it. I think all the men (one beloved husband and three teenage boys) might’ve been tired of it, too.

I considered sanding it down and repainting it, but then I fell in love with farmhouse tables on Pinterest and decided to put a whole new top on it.

I’m in a farmhouse mood anyway, since my new novel, Lead Me Home, takes place on a dairy farm.

I’m also into cows.

Like, REALLY into cows.

This painting was done by my dear friend, Sharon. You should really check out her paintings.

Can you stand the cuteness???

Since I decided to re-do the table, I of course had to re-do the stools. Decorating is a little like that book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, don’t you think? One thing leads to another and before I know it the whole house is under re-construction.

The stools have a special story.

They were once in my middle school science labs, and the school gave them away when the school was closed several years back.

I ran into a little problem with these, thinking I could easily strip the multiple layers of spray paint I’d applied over the years.

That was messy.

And gross.

And stinky.

And I nearly cried at the lack of progress until I looked up “chippy bar stools” on Pinterest and realized chippy bar stools are totally in style. Not only that, but people PAY to get stools that looked all cracked and peel-y like this. So I stopped freaking out and decided to love them as-is.

On to the table top.

My Dad happens to be one of the most gifted woodworkers EVER. Really. He has a workshop stocked better than the Home Depot, and his attention to detail is amazing. He actually built the original table and the bench in the kitchen a few years back, which I adore because it has a lift-up seat for storing everything, including dog food for all our fur babies.

My plan for the new table involved slapping a few pieces of cheap rustic wood onto the top, but Dad (concern in his eyes) kindly offered to help. He helped me find beautiful pieces of poplar (instead of the knot-infested cheap pine I’d been eyeballing) and secure them together with carpenter’s glue and these awesome clamp thingys.

After that, we used a variety of finer and finer grained sandpapers to smooth out all the bumps and imperfections.

This whole process reminded me a great deal of the writing process: moving around and piecing chunks of ideas together, then refining and finally, polishing.

We used three coats of maple polyurethane, sanding between each coat to create this strong, glass-like, GORGEOUS sheen.

I used the same process on the new, 15-inch diameter stool seats, which I found already pre-cut and sanded at Lowe’s. I just had to screw them on.

Here it is, all put together.

I painted the walls a soft, custom white I’m calling”sugar cream pie white” from Sherwin Williams.

I made some other changes in the room, as well as the dining room, which I’ll show you in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, thanks for visiting.

Let me know what you think of this series, and post links to your own DIY projects in the comments.

Oh, and be sure to pick up a copy of Lead Me Home for a story of hardship and hope in the heartland!


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