Thursday, August 20, 2015

DIY Summer School // Sprayed Gold Leaves

Hi everyone and welcome to your LAST class of the designPost DIY Summer School Series. I'm sad it's over! Today's theme is 'Found in Nature.'

In true last-day-of-school fashion, today's lesson is so easy, it's downright lazy. Two instructions: Find a leaf, and spray paint it gold. Boom, DIY!

Now since you know I can't help it, I'll give you more detail about how I did mine, but if you are a skip-the-words-read-the-pictures kind of blog reader, you can cut class now and feel confident you've already got the gist of it.

First of all, this project was inspired by two things: 1) My inability to keep house plants alive, and 2) Mari Orr on Instagram. A while ago, she posted a picture of a gold spray painted leaf in the #foundforaged feed, which fittingly inspired my friend Traci to comment, "Paint all the things gold!" Yes, yes, let's do that. (By the way, if you love art and want crazy amounts of inspiration, follow Mari on Instagram. Her feed is a delight to the eyes).

Anyway, around the same time, I was posting about my rubber plant and its sad and untimely demise. It was a slow process - probably 9 months in total- but the plant went from a robust green beauty to two sad and spindly sticks pointing wickedly out of the dirt, like the tsking fingers of a petrified teacher shaming me from beyond the grave. But I had a plan. I was collecting the leaves as they fell, letting them brown and curl, dry and harden, as I imagined painting all the things gold. (Careful readers will remember me promising I had a plan when I defended the Dead Plant of Terror's continued presence in my old bedroom. Today's DIY is that plan! And new readers will have fun clicking that link and playing I-Spy for the plant's long as you promise to go here afterward, so I can prove to you I don't live like that anymore).

So, to clarify the process for the DIY-er's who need very specific instructions, here are the steps:


Yep, let the leaves fall off one by one and just leave them on your floor to brown, dry and harden.

Cautionary note: Communicate your plans to your husband, who might otherwise throw them away, thinking he's helping out around the house, only to be met with your near hysterical meltdown and frantic clawing through a garbage bag.

I am sure this project can be done with any number of leaves, but I can't imagine one more perfect than the rubber plant's. The texture and curled patterns that the naturally dried leaves take on are beautiful, and so diverse from leaf to leaf!

Also, for those of you who are too horrified to read any further at this point, you could just get a rubber plant and try to keep it alive. They are lovely plants and naturally shed a leaf or two from time to time, even when healthy. :)

However you choose to do it, grab a leaf and you're all set to start this project.


When I painted my bedroom nightstand, (the one New Readers just saw when they clicked the link absolving me from bedroom shame), I had a jar of Americana Decor Chalky Paint Lacquer left over. (Sorry I can't find it online- I bought mine at Hobby Lobby). I decided to use it on my leaf before spray painting, because I wanted to fix some hairline cracks and make the leaf as durable as possible.

If you're going to display this up high and out of reach, this isn't a necessary step. But since I didn't know if I might want to use it to hold paperclips, business cards, or as a ring dish, I thought it best to shore up its strength as much as I could before painting it. The lacquer I used was on the pricey side at $10 a jar, so I think Mod Podge would work just as well. I just used what I had on hand.

Make sure you spread the lacquer extremely thin. The leaves have a wonderful striped texture that is reminiscent of these lovelies and you'll want to preserve it. Don't slop a ton of clear coat on, or the texture won't show through under your paint. A large paint brush stolen from your kids' art drawer will suffice.


Having tried every gold metallic spray paint on the market, I will agree with every blogger who has ever told you that Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold is the only way to go. The finish is gorgeous.

Give your leaf several light coats. I did four coats, each 15 minutes apart, to achieve my color.

One trick I use to spray paint small objects is to set them inside a box instead of laying them on flat cardboard. The lid flaps keep the paint from flying all around, and you can easily carry it inside to dry (helpful when the garage is humid on a Chicago summer day).


I actually tried the lacquer again over the top after painting, thinking it would seal everything, but all it did was change the finish to a sickly shade of green. In the end, I haven't needed anything on top of the spray paint. I've used the leaf a few different ways (though I think it's best suited to sitting on top of books and looking pretty), and the paint hasn't come off at all.

So, style away!

Well, team, that does it for DIY Summer School. It's been a privilege to be included with this group of bloggers, and my heartfelt thanks goes to Beth of designPost Interiors for creating this series and inviting me to be a part of it.

I'd love for you to follow Avery Street Design Blog on Bloglovin' (or sign up on the right side bar to have posts come to your inbox) so we can stay in touch. Kind of like waiting until the end of the school year to friend your teacher on Facebook so it isn't awkward. Wait, do kids ever do that? You can also find me on Instagram and Pinterest.

And now, for the last time, let's head off to the other teachers of DIY Summer School and see what they've been up to!

DIY Summer School brought to you by:

Kevin, Thou Swell

Featuring these DIY themes:

June 4th: IKEA Hack
June 18th: Thrifting
July 9th: Wildcard
July 23rd: Craft Store
August 6th: Hardware Store
August 20th: Found in Nature

Monday, August 10, 2015

Interview // Top 5 Places in Chicago to Instagram

A few months back, I was interviewed by some sweet girls over at Bloguettes about my favorite places in Chicago to take pictures for Instagram. Admittedly, I do not get into the city nearly enough, as I am a suburban girl through and through. But it is something I want to do more of, and I have a running bucket list of places I'd love to go and shoot.

In the meantime, I collected my Top 5 so far for the Bloguettes blog, and I'd love for you to check out the interview! 

Be sure to let me know what I should add to the list...

Friday, August 7, 2015


So what happens when your blog buddy turns the big 2? (That's old for a blog, you know). She gets her #blogtribe together for an awesome giveaway, that's what! 

In celebration of my friend Colleen's 2nd Anniversary at Lemon Thistle, we are teaming up with a bunch of great blogs to give you a chance at $250 via PayPal!

Just enter via the Rafflecopter below, and GOOD LUCK!

Lemon Thistle Blog Birthday Giveaway 

Brought to you by: 

Happy Anniversary Colleen! You are an inspiration!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

DIY Summer School // Updating Doorway Trim

Hi Team! Welcome back to DIY Summer School, created and hosted by my dear Beth of designPost Interiors.

Today's theme is "Hardware Store," and Ryan and I certainly see plenty of the ol' Depot. We have been focusing on updating the architecture of our builder's basic 1991 house (slowly but surely). Beefing up the baseboards and door & window trim, along with replacing the interior doors, is making it feel like a new house entirely.

Today I'm going to share with you how to trim an interior doorway, using a classic trim design. We settled on this style because it has a nod to history but also works well with the more minimal interiors of today. And I love it!!

** Note, this is for a pass-through interior doorway without a door. There's a little different procedure for the inside frame if you're putting on a door, but the outside trim would be the same.


Across the top: EverTrue 5.5" x 8' Interior Flat Trim (Qty. 1)
Along the sides: 3.5" x 8' Composite Trim (Qty. 2)
Crown: 1-5/8" x 8' PVC Composite White Crown Moulding (Qty. 1)
Inside Door: Door Frame Kit (Qty. 1)


Caulk (we use DAP Dynaflex in white)
Semi-Gloss Paint (we use Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic color matched to Martha Stewart Pure White)
Finishing Nails
Lightweight Spackle
Lightweight Sandpaper
Shims (optional)


Compound Miter Saw
Caulking Gun
Air Compressor
Nail Gun
Crowbar (if removing existing trim)


Remove any existing trim with a crowbar. Our doorway started like this, with plain ugly drywall:


The kit comes with instructions for you to follow. You will cut the pieces to size. Use shims if needed to make it even and plumb. Use the nail gun to nail it in place.


Cut each piece of side trim (3.5" wide) so that it is 1/4" higher than the bottom of the jamb. This shows the height of the side piece compared to the top of the doorway:

The side piece should overlap the door jamb so that about 1/4" of the jamb remains uncovered, like this:

Nail the sides in place. Lay a level across the top of both sides so that you make sure they are installed at the exact same height.

You can see from this picture how these sit on the floor- we didn't do anything fancy around the bottom:


Cut the piece of 5.5" trim for across the top so that the ends match up with the outside edges of your side pieces. Again, leave 1/4" of the door jamb showing. Use a level to make sure it's straight and then nail into place.


This is the only real tricky part of this project. You need to know how to use a compound miter saw. If you're like me, with absolutely no spacial reasoning skills and no hope of ever knowing how to use a compound miter saw, maybe you would like the look of this door trim without the crown moulding? Or maybe you have a handy neighbor. Thankfully I have Ryan. For the rest of you who are like him and capable of figuring this out (you lucky dogs), here is what you need to know:

Your piece is 45 x 45. You're doing an outside corner and you need to put on a 90-degree angle. The miter adjustment is 35.26 and bevel adjustment is 30.

Here is an excellent tutorial with graphics and explanations for how to use a miter saw and how to cut crown:

Ryan's tips are: Use a scrap piece to practice, and if it goes wrong your piece is probably upside down. :)

Once the front and sides of your crown are cut, place the front along the top of your top casing, with the bottom of the crown about 1/2" below the top of the casing. Nail it into place by driving your nails straight through the bottom, so they attach it to the casing. Start with the center nail and then do 2-3 nails on either side, evenly spaced. The nails go in straight, not at an angle.

Then fit your sides in, and nail them into place with one nail each. You can glue these instead of nailing them if you feel more comfortable. Just use wood glue.

In this example, the star by Ryan's thumb represents the part of the crown where the nails go.

Here is how it will look from the top:


Use caulk and a caulk gun to fill the seams- aaaaaalll the seams. You need to hit the inside and outside edges of the top and sides, all the seams where the trim pieces meet, and underneath the crown where it sits against the casing. The best thing about caulk is that if your crown corners didn't meet up perfectly (or if there is a gap) the caulk covers a multitude of sins. Caulk will make your door look so much better. It is a critical step in all trim work, and though mind-numbingly time consuming, it will be your best friend.


Use spackle to fill the nail holes. Ryan uses the kind that goes on pink and turns white when it's dry. Once it's dry, lightly sand it so that it doesn't leave visible patches that will show through your paint.


Paint your new trim with a semi-gloss finish paint.

And you're done! It's definitely tricky with the crown if you're unfamiliar with doing it. But the end result is sooo incredible, especially compared to how our doors in this house started out. Just to give you an idea, here's a shot of a current door (in real time!) that's waiting in line patiently for new trim:

Shudder! One at a at a time. Soon (or I should say eventually, someday), they will all be bright, white and pretty:

Let's see what the other DIY Summer-Schoolers have done with hardware store wares. I'm so curious! Check them out!

DIY Summer School brought to you by:

Kevin, Thou Swell

Featuring these DIY themes:

June 4th: IKEA Hack
June 18th: Thrifting
July 9th: Wildcard
July 23rd: Craft Store
August 6th: Hardware Store
August 20th: Found in Nature

Link up below and/or show us your hardware store DIY's with #DIYSummerSchool on Instagram. We love to see what you're up to!

Monday, August 3, 2015

gimme dat chair

Am I allowed to write an entire blog post about one chair? Hopefully, because this is happening. The fall West Elm catalog came this weekend, and I haven't stopped thinking about the Metal Frame Chair since. Aaaand because I usually don't need things anymore after I blog about them, I am blogging about this one ASAP!

Seriously, the metal arms...the blush's so on-trend it's not even funny, and it looks waaaaay higher end than it's $800 price tag. [Sounds like a lot until you shop here for a minute].

It also comes in a dreamy teal, which I may have mentioned is on my brain lately, along with pretty much any shade of blue.

{All images via West Elm}

It's so pretty I could design an entire room around it. 

I'm loving the start of fall catalog season and all the fun mail days. Anything in the mailbox catching your eye so far??

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