My Grandparents’ Antique Buffet Has Entered the Building

If you follow me on Instagram you may remember back in August when I posted that my parents had arrived with my late grandparents’ antique buffet.  Well, the buffet has been hanging out in our garage since.  My initial plan was to paint it.  I even bought a quart of chalk paint, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Well, I got the advice I needed last week at SNAP! when I sat in on a brown bag session with Bruce from Minwax.  During his presentation he said to never paint your grandparents’ antique furniture.  Never.  Ever.  Seriously, it’s like he was speaking directly to me.  After the session I caught up with Bruce and showed him a photo of the buffet on my phone.  He told me how to restore the buffet, and he even gave me a little historical knowledge– telling me the buffet is from the 1920s.  It pays to keep your iPhone riddled with photos.

vintage buffet before

The antique buffet means a lot to me because it belonged to my maternal grandparents– Grandma June and Grandpa Bob, but he was just Grandpa to me.

(Many of you said in the inaugural Two Twenty One reader survey a couple weeks ago (results are coming soon– making graphs and charts is hard work), that you wanted to know more personal stuff about me so here we go.)

I called my mom last night, rousing her from her slumber at 10:45 PM, to ask what year my grandparents were married so I could tell you how many years of wedded bliss they shared.  My mom couldn’t remember so she got out of bed and started looking through boxes, asking if I really needed to know the wedding date right this second.  I told her I was working on this post, so yeah I kind of needed to know now.  Then I told her she was a bad daughter for not remembering her parents’ wedding date.  After searching for fifteen minutes with no luck, my mom said, “I can swing by the cemetery tomorrow morning and find out, but I’m not going right now”.  (Their wedding date is engraved on their tombstone.)   Fair enough.  Edit: Grandma June and Grandpa had 57 years of wedded bliss.

grandma and grandpa

I grew up across the street from my grandparents.  It was nice having them less than 50 feet away.  My grandma babysat my brother and me when we were little.  I still have vivid memories of watching Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood while sitting on their living room floor and reading Highlights magazines with my grandma on their scratchy Davenport, as they called it.

Grandma June always had cookies, most often those store bought iced oatmeal cookies, on her dining room table for us to dig into.  The buffet sat next to their dining room table, as do most buffets.  My most memorable buffet memory as a kid is of me struggling to open the top drawer of the buffet to get my grandma’s scissors and the smell of the drawer when I’d finally get it open.  I can still smell the scent of the drawer when I think about that memory.  Anyone else ever experience that, or am I just weird?

Here’s my grandma holding my brother and me, and my older cousin in the pool.  Now I know where my hatred of people touching my head stems from.

grandma june and kids

My grandpa owned his own trucking company for years, but in his later years he stuck to farming and hauling livestock locally.  Grandma June was a stay-at-home wife/mom/grandma and took care of the books for my Grandpa’s trucking company.  She also took care of the all house-related things, like running the microwave.  I kid you not, my grandpa didn’t know how to work the microwave, do the laundry, or cook.  A true 1940s/50s couple.

Grandpa always joked that he’d work until the day he died because he didn’t have a hobby– work was his hobby.  Shoot, my poor grandma could never enjoy a decent vacation because Grandpa was such a workaholic.  They’d take off in their motor home for a week long vacation in Florida to visit friends only to return after 3 days because my grandpa couldn’t sit still and not work.

Here they are on vacation in Florida in ’83.  My grandpa is probably plotting their early departure back to Indiana.  Poor Grandma June doesn’t even see it coming.

grandpa and grandma june

That’s my grandma and me.  She enjoyed my humor from an early age.  Can’t you tell?

grandma june and me

My grandparents were pretty awesome.  Except when my brother and I’d act up and my grandpa would go all old school on us and threaten to get out the yardstick or his belt.  But looking back now it’s kind of funny.  We never got a yardstick or belt beatin’.  Well, I never did.

Like everyone says about special people they lose, I wish I had more time with them.  My grandma went into cardiac arrest the day before my 17th birthday and passed away two days later, and grandpa passed away two and half years later, on my mom and aunt’s birthday (they’re identical twins).  Crazy timing, eh?  I swear all my grandparents were a little dark and twisty when it came to the timing of their deaths.  You may recall that my paternal grandma passed away the morning of our wedding.  Oh, and Grandpa worked until the day he died… at the age of 83.

When it was time for my mom to clean out my grandparents’ house she asked what furniture I’d like to have.  I immediately called dibs on the buffet.  When I claimed it I remember my mom saying something like “that old clunky thing?”  Yes, mom, that old clunky thing.  Then I proceeded to store that old clunky thing in my parents’ pool house garage for oh, 6 years.  Note: My parents were here visiting this weekend, and my mom had only nice things to say about the buffet.

So this weekend I got busy restoring the 90 year old beauty to the best of my ability.  Here she is re-coated, sans hardware, in our dining room.

1920s buffet

Tomorrow I’ll share all the details on how I cleaned her up.  Here’s a teaser before-during-after photo in hopes that you’ll come back tomorrow.  Ooh, just look at that leg.

refinished vintage buffet

Read how I re-coated the buffet here.

Do you have any family heirlooms in your home?
Do the people in your family recall important dates by swinging by the cemetery?
Did you have any close calls with your grandpa’s belt?
Were your grandparents dark and twisty bucket kickers too?

two twenty one

Living Room Picture Ledges {Picture Ledge}

I’ve said it before, I love the vaulted ceilings in our great room, but they plague me.  It’s hard to find the right wall art or furniture to fill the large sections of wall.  Well, score one more for me because I figured out another area of wall– the space above our love seat.

A few months back I saw some picture ledges in a magazine, and I was all “Oh, I can make those.”  Then, on my last trip to Ikea I spotted these 45 inch, white Ribba picture ledges.  For $15 each.  Sold.  Sometimes it’s easier to pony up the cash than to do-it-yourself.  If I would have done this project I probably would have spent close to $30 on the wood and paint.  And not to mention the 2-3 hours of work I’d have to put into them.  There’s a little DIY cost-benefit analysis for ya.

ikea ribba picture ledge

Before we get into all the details let me show you what I was working with before.  The before and after image made me laugh because it totally looks like one of those weight loss before and afters.

I was basically trying to work with what I had.  But as you can see, it definitely wasn’t working.  To say I love the ‘after’ is a definite given.  The white ledges and frames and the colorful prints brighten up the space.  Even the throw pillows I swapped in made this small area more fresh and less dated.

living room picture ledge before and after

Securing the ledges to the wall was pretty easy.  Each ledge comes with three pre-drilled holes.  We managed to get the middle screw into a stud, and we used drywall anchors to secure the other two screws.  If you plan to install these ledges I highly recommend getting your middle screw into a stud.  I don’t think the ledges would hold if they were installed with only drywall anchors and screws.

living room picture ledges

Putting up the picture ledges was a breeze.  Styling the ledges was another thing.  You wouldn’t think it’d take much time but it did.  My need to create visual triangles can be time consuming.  So pairing my perfectionist ways and my will to include only images that have some sort of meaning to us resulted in an hour or so of switching photos around.

ribba picture ledges 1

Here’s a breakdown of all the photos I used, in case you’re interested.

1.  Sketch of Jack I created in Photoshop.
2.  Reprint of watercolor painting I picked up in St. Martin while on a cruise we took in 2008.
3.  Wedding print (where we got engaged and had our first look).
4.  I made this custom monogram on the Wedding Chicks blog.
5.  Black and white photo of a street sign– it’s where Brad and I met in Bloomington.  Well, not on a street corner– Brad’s fraternity live out house was at the corner of 18th and Lincoln, so the house was always called ’18th and Lincoln’.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a Pretty Woman love story.
6.  Wedding print (again, where we got engaged and had our first look).
7.  Wedding photo of our rings with Scrabble tiles that make out the word ‘love’.  Awww.
8.  Our wedding guest book tree.  I flippin’ love that thing.
9.  Black and white photo of Jack as a pup.

All of the frames are from Ikea.

white picture ledges

In the end, I spent less than $75 for the entire display.  I haven’t figured out how to secure everything to the wall yet.  But we’ve had this up for over a month and nothing has fallen off.  I’ll get around to the securing part eventually.  But if you happen to come over and sit on the love seat, you’ve been warned.

What do you think about the picture ledges?
Have you ever purchased a piece rather than doing it yourself?
Who watched the Downton Abbey premiere last night?  Thoughts?

Stalk away!


Card Catalog Styling

I did a little switcheroo in the living room area of our great room this past weekend.  I gave our dinky bookcase, that housed our DVDs, the boot and replaced it with the card catalog, that was living happily in the dining room area of our great room.  And so far I’m loving the bookcase eviction action plan.

I didn’t think to take a before picture, so I scoured my computer in an attempt to find a photo.  Here’s the best one I found of the bookcase… lightly decorated for Christmas 2009, our first Christmas in this house.  Doesn’t it look sad and alone?  I’m happy to report that the bookcase is enjoying its new home in our closet, where it’s housing my shoes.  (Can you spot the lazy dog?)

The size of the card catalog is perfect for this area of our living room.  We have vaulted ceilings in our great room, so the card catalog provides good height.  It’s going to be hard to take down this set up when I get around to redesigning the card catalog, but I’m already planning the card catalog’s replacement in this space.

Most of you know that I scored the card catalog for $85 from Craigslist (read about that here and here).  I also purchased the blue chair from someone off Craigslist for $40 almost two years ago– a little pricey, but it’s a great chair and was barely used.  Buying from old people has its benefits:  they take care of their stuff.  I stole the chevron pillow (purchased from Home Goods earlier this year) from our guest bedroom.

I adopted this adorable elephant from Home Goods yesterday.  His name is Percy.  He was free to me because I used a gift card, but he came with an $8 price tag in case you’re wondering.  The Readers Digest book was a Goodwill Outlet find from yesterday ($.69). The pink and white book is a thrift store book I covered with fabric leftover from my fabric covered message board.



I’m calling the white wire basket the Goodwill Outlet score of the month.  I came across 10 The Container Store elfa wire baskets (5 tall and 5 short) at the GW Outlet yesterday.  Score.  I brought home 5 tall and 3 short (two of the short baskets were too rusty for my liking).  The tall baskets were about $1.75 each.  My original plan was to use them in the garage, but I think I’ll put them to use in our master closet.
I filled one of the tall wire baskets with my great-grandmother’s quilt and the afghan my great aunt knitted for Brad and me.  It’s the softest blanket ever.  I have to fight to keep Jack off it when I use it.


Kroger keeps spoiling me with $.50 tulips.  Seriously, who turns down half a dozen tulips for two quarters?  I put these beauties in one of my thrifted hobnail milk glass vase.  I may or may not have three of these same exact vases.



What do you think of the new set up?
Isn’t Percy adorable?  Love that little guy.
Could you say no to fifty cent tulips?