I came up with this when I was working on restoring the exterior of a home in Newton, more specifically the front door and the garage door. The sconces around the doors were original to the home, which was built in the 1940’s, so they were a bit worn out and on the smaller side. I held onto them for quite some time before I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I was dismantling the actual light socket and the fixture was standing upright that I thought this could make a unique planter for an indoor house plant or succulent.
The reason I decided to share this idea with you is because the sconces and flush-mount seen here are quite common, and almost always thrown out when replaced. There really isn’t much need for old fixtures that are somewhat blah, but when turned into planters, boring outdated fixtures are now a conversation piece.
This project is simple, your materials are inexpensive and you just need a few things besides some elbow grease.
Match the grade of the steel wool with how much you’d like the fixture to look worn – the higher the grade, the more course it is. I went with grade 0 to lightly buff off some of the paint and reveal the metal underneath.
For any areas that are extremely rusty.
Find the right size for your fixture, preferably one WITHOUT drainage – assume your fixture is not waterproof. Water plants sparingly that do not have a drainage hole. I recommend a succulent, they do not need a great amount of water.
PAINT REMOVER (OPTIONAL)
The copper fixture needed remover, once I started scrubbing with the steel wool and realized there was copper under the black paint I wanted to reveal more of the copper finish.
Use these for the base of the fixture, since you’ve flipped the fixture upside down, most likely it will now have sharp edges.
Only one pane of glass was put back into the planter on the left because the succulent chosen will eventually grow and wrap around the sides.
I chose to fill the copper planter with rocks for a nice contrast with the copper and to cover the terracotta pots inside.
Since it’s been a little over two years after I found this piece, I think its okay that I tell the truth about this dresser. After a nice lunch at the now closed Channel Café in Fort Point (still not happy about that) with my friend and co-worker Allie Hyde, we drove back to the styleboston office in Southie and parked on M Street behind the building.
It was trash day in late August so I had been keeping my eyes peeled for furniture, as this is the time of year when lots of people toss their belongings they can’t move and find a new rental. It was pouring outside but that didn’t stop me from trying to shove this dresser in my little Toyota which of course, did not fit. I had been gone for over an hour now and the boss lady was not happy, but I decided this dresser was worth getting ripped a new one. I called my sister and told her how much I wanted it and since she is so great, came and picked it up for me in her SUV.
Allie and I walked in soaking wet looking not so stylish….Terri just looked at us like WTF and said “really guys, an hour and a half lunch break?” We also had coffee in our hands so that didn’t help, but that’s not the point – the point is I got my new dresser! So yes sitting in a cold office with a pissed off boss and wet pants was totally worth it, sorry Terri.
The dresser was simple and country, with brown shellac and white porcelain knobs. I decided to add a little flair and make it standout with a bold color scheme and oversized knobs. The four small drawers across the top we’re really what caught my eye. A great piece for a guy – the perfect amount of space for socks, underwear and toiletries. I kept the faces of the drawers clear to expose the Pine wood grain while using a slightly tinted polyurethane to enhance the pattern of the grain. To make the drawer faces standout I chose a deep gray-blue for the frame that I felt complimented the small brushed nickel knobs. Ceramic knobs with a cracked emerald glass overlay from Anthropologie were added to the top drawers. Again adding contrast in size, shape and color. The bold colors and fixtures make this formerly quaint, country and feminine dresser a unique statement piece.
Items from trash: brushed nickel knobs, mirror (refinished), plant tray (made from scrap wood), terracotta pot.
Items purchased: ceramic knobs, paint.
View more of my creations HERE
I found this in the filthy basement of my 100 plus year old apartment. It was lying on the ground next to the foundation where water often seeped through the cracks in a pile of dirt. The size and weight of the “shelf” intrigued me, it was quite thick and on the heavier side which led me to believe it was older. After perusing the Anthropologie website and coming across brackets I loved but would never pay for, this was the inspiration to replicate a similar bracket for less than half the cost.
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If my mother taught me anything over the years it’s if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, create it yourself. Which brings me to Watermark Tees. I don’t know about you but every time I open my closet, I find less and less clothes that I actually want to wear. (Whether or not my taste is dampening or someone is stealing my clothes when I’m not home is still in question.) One solution that I stumbled upon (literally, I found it on StumbleUpon) is Watermark Tees, a creative, DIY project that allows you to create stylish summer clothes without scouring the mall for hours.
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Don’t want to spend big bucks on boots that look old? Add your own touch of creativity and achieve the same distressed look yourself with a few household items. If you don’t happen to have some of the listed necessities, they’re easy to find and surely won’t amount to the cost of expensive distressed boots.
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With fast-fashion retailers like H&M, Zara, and Forever21 popping up on nearly every block and ‘interpreting’ designer trends so inexpensively, making your own clothes is mostly a thing of the past for anyone who isn’t a Project Runway hopeful. These days, we refer to an off-the-rack item altered by a run-of-the-mill tailor as ‘custom,’ so why invest the time and expense in creating your own garments?
Designer patterns is why.
They’ve been around for ages, coutesy of companies like Butterick and McCall’s. In fact, I can remember seeing patterns from Oscar de la Renta and Issey Miyake as a child. But recently, companies like Vogue Patterns and Simplicity have been updating the catalogs with a crop of contemporary designers and fresh, current designs. Vena Cava, Alice + Olivia, Cynthia Steffe, Michael Kors, American couturier Chado Ralph Rucci, the list goes on. And you’ll be happy to know they’re not just for mother-of-the-bride dresses anymore.
So when can I meet you at the fabric store?
[A snapshot from my current project… It’s little surprise that I’m a bit of a maximalist when it comes to accessories. If yesterday’s Wearstler-lovin’-post didn’t give me away, you simply weren’t paying much attention.]
All that said, having spent nearly four years in interiors while working for a furnishings company, I wanted to impart a few, easy tips for those of you who’d like to accomplish a layered composition without all the concomitant neuroses (which, for the record, I’ve embraced because, frankly, ignoring them failed miserably).
1) Define your palette | This is the most critical step. My walls are a deep charcoal gray that I’ve lived in for nearly six years. It’s an incredibly calming color for me, and it’s also one of the most underappreciated (and underutilized) neutrals out there. From the base color, define your complementary colors. Mine, clearly, are bright white, black, and a range of soft neutrals: rust and browns.
2) Balance weight and shapes | The largest pieces in this composition are in white, a color that, while providing great contrast, is not especially imposing. Against the deeper shades here, the white almost disappears. Personally, I love a cluster of objets d’art, but they’re not necessary. Want a cleaner composition? Balance the weight of accessories with contrast, big v. small, round v. square, dark v. light, slick v. aged. The juxtaposition creates tension that brings the composition together.
3) DIY Accessories 101: PAINT THINGS | Some of the items in the above composition were quite expensive but, frankly, most were not. A good deal of my small items were sourced at run-of-the-mill thriftstores. The frame in the top right, for example, had some ghastly ‘painting’ in it that I later ripped out and simply replaced with a photograph from a magazine. The lamp? Brass relic that was five bucks. Clearly I spraypainted it after losing patience with an actual paint brush. To round it out I’m going to add a band of black grosgrain to the top and bottom of the drum shade.
I’d love to see snapshots of your own projects… and answer any DIY questions you may have. Coming from the business, I could write a tome (don’t worry, I’m not going to force that on you here… yet).
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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