Sunday, May 20, 2012

Project: Buffet Breakthrough

I've been really picky about choosing a buffet for our entryway. Like, really picky... as in - we've lived here for a year and I'm still searching Craigslist every day for a buffet - picky.  But, I am happy and relieved to announce - we finally have a winner!

First the backstory... There isn't really an entryway in our house. Instead, when you open the front door, you walk straight into the great, wide space that houses our living room and dining room. There isn't a closet (that is back in the hallway), and there isn't really a spot for shoes... so defining this space has been extremely challenging.

Once both rooms were painted and the archway was built last summer, I began struggling with what to do with the great expanse of wall that we stare at when we walk in.  At some point last summer, I decided I wanted to put a big buffet there - one with the long legs (I think the style is 'federal'?) so that we could still show off the hardwood floors.  So pretty much every day since then, I hunted Craigslist.  And hunted. And hunted. And hunted. I found a few that fit my vision - but then they didn't fit the measurement requirements, or, more commonly my budgetary restrictions!  So I kept hunting.



In the meantime, I was also struggling with our thermostat. Yes - the thermostat - and not because it doesn't work, but because of where it is placed. Apparently, in someone's brighter moments, they thought it would be a great idea to install the thermostat smack dab in the middle of the wall, directly across from the front door. Front and center. And for a long time, that was the only thing there - a big, circular thermostat. It got to where I loathed that thermostat and it's damn distracting placement. I even considered hiring someone to come in and move it for us - but ultimately got worried about the old-house wiring, plus the fact that I didn't want to have to patch any more drywall in this damn house than I have to! So it stayed where it was, and I went into camouflage mode instead. One day, YoungHouseLove.com (who I've mentioned in past posts - and if you can't tell, I get a lot of inspiration - and courage! - from their DIY blog!) posted about a white-framed photo collage idea - and I thought, "Well that's worth a shot!"

Being only a few years out of college, I had a huge assortment of random picture frames in boxes in the basement (I can't be the only one), so instead of going out and purchasing new frames, I just spray painted the ones I already had!

Before

After!

My audience during the spray painting party.

Next I hung them up in a random assortment around the thermostat. And that's all that has happened to that space since last summer... ha!
See the stupid thermostat?
Back to the buffet hunt. After 8 months, I gave up on the DC Craigslist. I mean, what is Craigslist good for if you can't find a good deal?! People around here are either rich, greedy, or really aware of the value of antique furniture. In any case - I wasn't getting anywhere, and that faux-wood bookcase wasn't getting any prettier.

On a random whim, I thought I would check the Northern Michigan Craigslist, which is where I grew up and where my parents still live. The thing about the Northern Michigan Craigslist is that it actually covers all of Northern Michigan - not just a specific city or two. So the finds on there are pretty random and located all over the place. But - what's the harm in checking, right?

SCORE! I literally found one (and only one!) buffet anywhere near my parents - it happened to be the style I was looking for, AND it was in my price range!! The only problem? It was 800 miles away...

So the next step was to sweetly ask my parents whether they would be interested and/or willing to go check the buffet out for me and potentially pick it up and drive it out to the DC area... no biggie, right?!

Luckily, I have been blessed with two pretty awesome parents who had been aware of my ongoing buffet hunt, and who were apparently looking for a reason to come visit us anyway (or at least that's what they told me to make me feel better about asking for such a huge favor!).

Fast forwarding a few months - my parents approve of the buffet, pick it up, store it for a few months, and then drove it out the last time they visited.

And.... 

TA DA! 

Isn't she a BEAUTY?!

This same buffet in DC would have gone for 5X what I paid for it.  Point: Team Me.

Another angle
Improved from last summer!
Overall it's a major improvement from the blank slate with the damn thermostat sitting in the middle, dontcha think?

We still have a ways to go though - I'm not sold on the frames, truthfully. They seem to never be straight (I think the fact that the stairs to go upstairs are behind that wall contributes to the problem), so I'm perpetually straightening them.  We still need a solution for our shoes and for our jackets. But for now, we're taking a break from home improvements (well kinda - we're having the fence redone next week) to focus on wedding plans! We're about a month away all of the sudden! Yikes! It sure sneaks up on you! Hoping to share some of the DIYing stuff we did for the wedding soon!

UPDATE: I finally figured out a fix for the picture arrangement - check it out here!

UPDATE X2 - and I finally devised a solution for our perpetual shoe problem! Hint - it involved some IKEA Hacking...

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