Sadler House

Sadler House

Rockland, Maine


All of the posts under the "DIY" category.

From Curbside to Cozy: Master Bed Makeover

Every trash day, my son notices that I drive more slowly down our neighborhood street. I was mortified the day he said “Are you looking for stuff for the house?”


I’m pretty choosy (and a little sheepish) about grabbing discarded items off the curb, but this is what I figure: curbside finds are both free and ecologically friendly! Furthermore, you sometimes come upon a gem you wouldn’t know where to find anywhere else.

When we were decorating Sadler House on a budget, we talked a lot about how we could make our master bedroom more elegant without shelling out the big bucks for a headboard. Of course, there are tons of headboard tutorials on Pinterest, but we were hesitant to take any of these projects on with so little experience.

Then, one trash day, I saw this odd piece of heavy, overly decorative fabulousness on the curb.

Dark and overwhelming, but full of possibilities!

Dark and overwhelming, but full of possibilities!

I furtively grabbed it off the trash pile and threw it in the back of my car. When I showed it to my husband, he was dubious. What did I think I was going to do with it? I shrugged. “Hang it on the wall?”

He was skeptical.

It was about this time that I discovered Annie Sloan® chalk paint. I decided that this piece would be so much less oppressive if it were white. What if I messed it up? Well, it didn’t matter, since it was free, after all.

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Industrial Stool Makeover


Last fall, I saw an ad for a huge batch of salvaged school art room stools on my local swap group. A woman had bought up the lot when the school renovated, and she had a bunch of them for sale at $20 each. She clarified that they did need “TLC” and would have to have new feet and reconditioning or replacement of the seats. Having recently been horrified by the price of new stools, however, I thought this was a great chance to replace the too-tall aqua ones that had come with the kitchen counter at the house.

Too tall! Too...aqua.

Too tall! Too…aqua.

We ended up buying three of these stools, choosing ones that had not had the seat painted, because we figured they’d be easier to work with. This is basically what they all looked like. Thankfully, nobody had stuck gum under the seats in all their years at the school!

Industrial stool before

Not bad. Not great!

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Tray Table Hack

If there’s one thing that annoys me when I’m trying to relax, it’s not having somewhere to put down my glass.

Sometimes it’s just WATER, people. No need to make jokes!

Having the right coaster is great, but isn’t it irritating when there’s no bedside table or no end table near you? I just hate having to put my drink on the floor. Inevitably, my kids end up kicking it over.

We’ve been struggling to find lots of affordable, cute little tables so that visitors to Sadler House never have their drinks kicked over. A few weeks ago, my husband hauled this tray table out of our coat closet and said “Can we just trash this?”

tray table before makeover

Box store beauty, right here.

“Uh-uh!!!” I countered. That post-college-box-store-lived-with-me-through-my-twenties tray table? It was perfect for one or two drinks. I was going to make that table over.

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Making Custom Coasters

stone coaster

When you’re spending a lot of time making tables for your vacation  house, you can’t help but think about providing lots and lots of coasters. You know…in case people are open to avoiding rings on those tables.

Shopping around for coasters, you quickly realize that even the stupidest coasters seem to cost a lot of money. Also, the most affordable ones always seem to be those cheap ones that stick to the bottom of your glass when your glass is sweating and then drop water into your lap.

I wanted heavy, natural stone coasters, but they were all so expensive! I started looking around on Pinterest to see if there was a way I could make my own natural stone coasters, preferably with a custom imprint that would suit our house. Well, of course, there are a million tutorials out there about transferring images to any number of different surfaces. However, all the ones that exist for coasters seem to date back to a time when color copies were created with toner. Since inkjet is the norm now, the mod podge and nail polish crafts I encountered no longer worked with pictures I could produce easily at home. After ruining several coasters, I gave up on transferring a copied photo and went searching for another method.

In the end, my dreams of custom coasters were made possible by this helpful video via Caroline and which demonstrates using permanent ink and a stamp, and then baking the tiles in the oven to set them. Switching gears, I went to my local craft store and easily found the StazOn ink for about $9 and the perfect compass stamp for about $15. With  coupons, I got discounts on both. In the end, my craft store trip cost me about $14.

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Refinishing a Buffet

two buffet doors

Before we even had closed on the house, we had a moment of reckoning at a garage sale around the corner from our home in Virginia.

These people down the street were moving away, and they were desperate to pare down their stuff. There were some rugs, DVDs, clothes, and other items that didn’t matter to me. Behind it all, though, was the buffet.

painted white depression era buffet

This photo doesn’t even show the ham-handedness of the paint job.

I saw it and I was immediately drawn to it. Even as my heart beat faster and I imagined running home to get my husband, I thought “You are a nut job. Where are you going to put this?” Well, DUH. In the house in Maine.

The house we didn’t yet actually own.

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