Chérie De Sues's Blog
June 18, 2015
My front Galveston Island beach house is a survivor of Hurricane Ike. With water reaching four feet high on a home that is four feet above ground level that equals eight feet of ocean flooding. This flooding lasted for days and by stripping the 100 year old home down to bare bones, repairs were made over time.
Since the home is double sided six inch shiplap (tongue and groove) the walls dried over time as sturdy as ever. The floors didn’t fair as well and needed to be replaced. The owners before me decided to cover up the rotting floor with carpet. I tore out all the old carpeting and got down to the subfloor. The subfloor was really bad in the living-room requiring multiple fixes.
I used Home Depot 7/8″ plywood sheets and had the sheet cut into 6″ planks. The last plank is always less than 6″ because of the saw eating up real estate on each cut. Count on 7 planks per sheet. The last 5.5″ plank should be saved from each sheet of plywood for sides that require less width.
My Home Depot began to cut my plywood for free, then charged me $2.50 per cut after the first two free cuts. This was an extra $12.50 added to my expenses halfway through my project. I would check out the local charges in your area before you commit to an entire house renovation like I did. The 4 X 8 foot sheets cost $23.00 plus cutting fees for 8 planks. You roughly get 32 square feet a sheet, so I paid about a dollar per square foot or less depending on the cutting fees. Not bad for a real hardwood floor.
The tools I used were a jigsaw, measuring tape, 1.5 inch nails specifically designed to stay in wood and not work themselves out. You can use screws and I did on parts of the floor that needed extra firm tightness. I used a medium weight hammer and a drill to put in the screws.
By far, this was the easiest floor I’ve ever put down. Measure, cut the plank, nail the plank down. Next. The entire house was done in a week. Most of my time was spent lugging planks back and forth from the Home Depot in my teeny, tiny, Toyota Rav4. I live in Texas, I think it’s time for a damn truck, right?
So let’s talk about the staining process and sealant. I love driftwood and wanted my beach house to reflect a medium gray and white driftwood effect. I chose a stain in medium gray and dry-brushed white semigloss acrylic paint after the stain dried. I used a cloth and rubbed the white paint into the stain so none of the brush strokes looked too “placed”.
Some boards are lighter than others naturally and have blotches, knots and grooves. Perfect for the rough-beachy floor look I wanted. When I placed the sealant (I used polyurethane) on the floor, the wood glowed as if it were polished. I couldn’t be more pleased at the results. More pics to come with sealant completed, better lighting and furniture.
June 6, 2015
I love any excuse to sit and paint. Using acrylics, watercolors or oils doesn’t matter, it is the relaxing task that makes me happy. With the left over boards from my still-in-progress plank flooring, I’ve begun to paint beach signs.
I bought an inexpensive 4″ pack of letters and numbers to use as templates. Home Depot has a wonderful selection of sea inspired spray paints to choose from for painting the boards. I chose a light aqua shade for my front door sign, “Beach Bums Welcome”.
By adding the small dolphin, crab and swirls, I think I captured the essence of living on the gulf coast. Remember to spray paint the sides as well as the plank of wood for the best sign.
Glass beads from the Dollar Tree.
In the “BEACH” sign, I used large 6″ block letters I found at the Michael’s Store on sale. Using the letters as a template I outlined BEACH and painted the letters with acrylic paint thinned with a small amount of water.
I love bling on my beach signs!
I used a darker background color of aqua with acrylic paint and water to leave the pattern of the wood intact. The BEACH letters were painted white in the same manner. This give a rustic feel to the sign.
Next I added inexpensive beads found at the Dollar Tree in blues and greens. To hang a heavy beach sign I use screw in hooks and put screws into the wall. Since my walls are shiplap (tongue and groove wood) I can hang anything I want, heavy or not. If you have drywall, find a stud to screw into before hanging.
Have fun with your project and let me know if you have any questions or want to share your own experience with beach signs.
May 8, 2015
I love days when I can create frames for the watercolors I paint of the beach, fish, crabs, well you get the idea. My first fun task is to stop by the three thrift shops in Galveston that carry used frames. Goodwill on the island is a great place to find any size and shape you desire, but choices are different in somebody else’s home town.
Find amazing frames at your local thrift store.
I usually pick up multiple and hopefully matching sets of 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14 and higher. A big score is when I find 3 or 4 of the exact same frame to create sets. When I get home it’s time to clean the glass with cleaner and prepare each frame for painting. Separate all the pieces and with a erasable marker put “A” on the first group of parts, “B” on the next, etc. You don’t want to get the pieces mixed up because one piece of glass doesn’t always fit the same sized frame.
I put newspaper on a table outside with tape when there is wind or not. Place the frames that will receive the same color on the newspaper and spray paint your color on. Do 2 coats with 1/2 hour dry time. Remember to flip them over and get the sides. Now spray on a sealer like polyurethane or whatever is cheapest in the store.
I have no problem buying new frames at deep discounts, like 50% to 75%. You can get matching sets this way.
Get your supplies together.
Once your frames are ready and dry you need to gather some supplies. Glue gun or plastic glue bottle is fine with brush, seashells, sand, pearls, scissors, rope, colored glass beads and anything nautical or beachy is great.
Now you’re going to add your precious beach finds onto the frames. I like to keep things balanced, so I try to create a pattern. One of these, one of these, and three of these, repeat.
Kids love these projects and I suggest giving them one frame each, sand, small shells and glue. Don’t forget to take pictures because you’ll be laughing and want to remember this day.
So here are some finished projects, some are mine and some are friends who blog about wedding décor and art projects for home.
Rope is very nautical and can be feminine with seashells with a touch of pearlescent glitter.
Get your beach framed art noticed with seashells.
Now starfish like this white finger starfish mirror can be pricey to purchase and laborious to find on the beach. So I found a great solution or should I say . The greatest part of this budget conscious idea is the food dye you can add to the recipe. Can you say blue finger starfish?
With a little paint or dye, this salt dough starfish is a budget friendly project.
How about this pic of treasures from the sea? Not a frame, but a nice addition to framed art walls to get some ocean themed shells and blues into the room.
An easy way to add beach décor with shells in a framed grouping.
May 4, 2015
I find the most beautiful things when I thrift shop. Yet, those items are not always in the color, shape or design I want. Buying a large mirror in the wrong color could be a simple update with the right paint and accessories.
Hand painted mirror with sand dollar garland.
I filled in the places with acrylic navy blue paint where the wrong color was on the mirror. Use a dry brush technique to blend the new color into the remaining colors on the mirror for best results.
Closeup to dry brush technique and replacing old color with new.
You’ll see a sand dollar garland I made with light weight string and small seashells. I’m a sucker when it comes to seashells of any kind. As a scuba diver I spend time taking pictures and collecting only the dead shells I find in the sand underwater. Ending any life just isn’t part of who I am.
This project took less than a half hour and drying time was about the same. I hung up the mirror in my unfinished living room just to give the space a little color. Can you see inside the mirror where I blocked off a hallway with matching shiplap. The ceilings in the home are all bare until I get every single nail out. Whew! I Really need to paint that wall today.
As a retired person I thought I’d lay in the sun at the beach and eat fruit, cheese and crackers with cold imported
Vintage dresser upcycle to desk.
beer. But nooooo, I have to nest and create and paint my watercolors. So, I plunged into a reconstruction project to gain a desk from the bottom piece of a vintage dresser.
Bought this vintage dresser 2 pieces for $75.
I know it’s difficult to see under that gorgeous afghan that I did buy for a friend, but there is a two drawer piece behind the roses. I took the drawers out for another project, used a hacksaw blade and gutted the piece that is now my desk. I chose not to keep any of the drawers so my legs wouldn’t get cramped in the small space. I have plenty of storage with built in bookshelves and a huge armoire in my bedroom.
I shaped the legs, glued a leg back on and painted the whole piece with white chalk paint, Inside the desk I painted panels sea green to match the chair I found when thrifting for $15.00. I plan to use a dark wax to bring out the swirls on the legs…they’re very cool.
Well, I have to go, my dog Reilly is using my desk as a viewing post of the cat next door…sigh.
May 2, 2015
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Many of my projects come from need as opposed to desire. Yesterday the new mailman was confused with the names of the individuals in the front and back house. Like most women I have two names I’ve been associated with and get mail that comes in different combinations. Desues-Wil or Wilson-De or, well you get the point. On top of that I’m new in the community and so is the family who rents my two story home in the back.
Add to this mayhem the amount of renters that lived in these homes previously who have not forwarded their mail and the whole mail delivery system collapses at my mailbox…sniff. So I have a need to help the mail person know what my name is right away.
Last night, I forged through my boxes of art supplies, seashells and hardware to fashion a sign. I found clear glue, glass beads in different sizes, seashells, and sea glass. A trip to the woodpile was successful for the sign. All I needed was something to print my name with; paint, marker, or stickers. I found some black stickers I’d purchased on a whim at a dollar store and got to work.
When the sign looks more appealing than the surrounding area it’s project time!
Mission accomplished, right? Oh, no…sadly, I’m renovating my two beach houses and everything looks like it could use paint or hammer and nail. Soooooo, recognizing that my mailbox, metal fence and 4X4 is drab, ancient and sad looking to my neighbors, I had to begin a curb appeal project.
The front home is a shotgun style. Narrow in the width and long in the length to avoid extra taxes by taking up too much space in the width of a home, circa 1920’s laws. So many islanders on Galveston have this style with a one, two or three story home.
Fence, mailbox and mail delivery sign upgrade.
Hi, I’m back…So after an hour of finding the three spray paint cans of white paint, applying the color to the fence and 4X4, I think the job is done for now. Oh, and I found these cute starfish shower curtain hangers I added to the hooks to hang on the fence.
The wood looks like driftwood now and I really like that surprise. The fence still looks silver, but with a face lift. I plan to put one more coat of spray paint on to cover a few polka-dots on the posts. Still, my neighbor came out and loves the upgrade. Not bad for a 100 y/o home, what do you think?
A little spray paint and the metal fence is looking much better!
April 29, 2015
It’s a perfectly beautiful day to go shopping on Galveston Island in the state of Texas. Once you cross the bridge, one main road, Broadway, takes you through the entire town and ends at the water’s edge.
The shopping in Galveston has some of the best coastal art, artifacts and furniture I’ve ever seen. We have a large port with cruise ships coming in daily, so the Strand near the port is full of unique shops that carry nautical goods.
Gulf Coast Decor, Galveston Shopping
Every time I shop with friends I find something new to add to the two beach homes I’m refurbishing. I love a coastal beach decor and have begun to collect pieces that reflect my taste.
Buoys to hang indoors or out.
The buoys I found from a shop located at the Strand are a great bargain. Many DIY’ers will cut 4X4’s, then use a jig saw to make the curvy cuts. Use a drill for the rope to hold up the buoy. A little paint job and voila, you have a great patio art piece.
If you’re short on cash, look for ideas when you shop that you can copy with your own version. So bring a camera and take pics of art made from wood and paint. This is one of the easiest ways to understand the structure of the piece, then add your own saying with paint or markers.
DIY with wood and paint.
We all have an artistic gene somewhere in our bodies, you just have to find yours. Gluing three cut boards together, then hand painting a beach message like, “I LOVE THE BEACH, is as easy as making your kids lunch and putting their name on the paper sack. Add some beach sand and glued on shells for an extra bit of fun. Kids love these kinds of projects. Give it a shot.
Shopping for furniture in Galveston is pretty easy with the number of resale, wholesale and bargain hunting thrift stores on the island. I’ve found cane chairs, wood Adirondack loungers and beach lamps with rope and seashells.
You’ll find a casual light, bright and airy decor on the island. Whites, ecru, soft sea greens and light blues are a constant color scheme. Leaning portraits, mirrors and artifacts is common with large pieces or grouping small ones together.
Most homes decorated here on the island are light, bright and airy.
Large fluffy white or off white chairs and couches are arranged around the fireplace. Seashells in various sizes are around the mantle and windows here on the island. If anyone uses curtains in the Spring or Summer it will be lace or diaphanous drapes that let in the light and air.
If you take the ocean view scenic route along “the wall” you’ll find many shops that cater to the taste of beach decor. Plan to spend the whole day and don’t forget your camera.
April 20, 2015
Before kitchen renovation
After kitchen renovation
When I took the keys to my two beach houses, I had no idea what would be waiting for me inside. Although I’d had pictures sent to me by my real estate agent, most of the interior still had furniture and walls in the worst possible places. As I got out of the moving truck, I entered the front shotgun styled home and held my breath.
Inside I found drywall covering shiplap (tongue and groove wood) that needed to be removed. I am grateful for the beautiful walls four months later, but the removal process is overwhelming. Drywall, nails, old wallpaper, termite poop, sanding, painting…whew!
The two kitchen pictures show a wall made out of old fence posts. I plan to keep that wall in the kitchen. When taking the drywall off the wall behind the stove I found a window. The previous owners had bordered the full sized window up for some reason. Not everything in the kitchen is set in stone, I’m still working on many rooms concurrently to bring back this vintage beauty.
Before Pic of Dining Area
I’m breathing a sigh of relief that I found a diamond in the rough with the 1920 Shotgun home. As you can see in the before picture, the wall between the kitchen and the dining room was taken down. I kept all the shiplap pieces and used them where I closed off the hallway the prior owners had installed to accommodate a second bedroom. It wasn’t the original design so I got rid of the hallway that leads from the living room to the dining room through the second bedroom which is now a den. Got all that. Good, let’s continue.
Bedroom door revealed when makeshift closet is removed in dining area.
My bedroom is off the dining room now instead of the kitchen when I removed a closet that blocked the doorway. I have a substantial armoire in my bedroom with adequate chest of drawers so a built in closet is unnecessary. The closet the prior owners had built was so flimsy that the thin wallboard and tiny nails just fell off. The 2×4’s however were a real bitch to remove.
So here is a picture of the door-less bedroom entryway that I have used silk drapes to cover during the night. The sea air blows the silk around and it is quite soothing as I sleep.
Entrance to master bedroom from dining area.
The diy plank floors will be the last to be done as I am still painting and fussing with the high ceilings. The ceilings are shiplap just like the walls, but require a bit of sanding and nail pulling before painted bright white. I chose a light blue with a bit of green as the color for the kitchen, dining area and master bedroom. This color goes well with my beach furniture, watercolor art, bedroom quilt and dishes. Very important.
April 19, 2015
I can hear you now…”I can’t paint, I can’t draw, I can’t do this project.” NONSENSE, of course you can watercolor. This art form has been around since the dawn of woman. Really. Remember all those cave art paintings with blood, dye and charcoal? Well, that was the beginnings of watercolors.
Crab in the sand
I wasn’t always interested in art, in fact I was more interested in chasing after my little boy at the time. I had a full time job, went to college part time and a single mom with a three year old. I was busy, busy, busy. Now I have the time to sketch seashells and paint with swirls of peach and blue.
Seashell at the seashore
The art is budget friendly. All you need is a small, medium and large brush, watercolor paper, a palette of watercolors and a glass of clean water. The whole thing may cost about $20-$30 dollars.
Voila! You are an artist!
When you get the urge to try your hand at a watercolor, allow about an hour for the project. Start with 8″ by 10″ watercolor paper taped to a flat surface that will get wet. Draw, trace, stencil or copy an image that speaks to you, then use a pencil as an outline. These watercolors shown took very little time and the frames were purchased at thrift stores for pennies. Get rid of the original artwork and paint or embellish the frames with seaglass, shells, sand with glue or dollar store pebbles. I hope you see how easy this art is to do on a rainy day with your beach treasures surrounding you to place on the frames.
So here is a watercolor that is hanging in my home above the dining table. If you touch the pic it gets a bit larger. Happy painting.
Fantastical Koi in the Sea
I love the look and smell of fresh cotton linens. So what could be better than to add stencils that represent ocean sea creatures? Living on an island there is no question that I choose crabs, coral or seahorse to embellish my linens. I stencil with a sponge, latex or fabric paint and I get this look with a pack of bar towels. When I hang the towel, the blue crabs are visible and oh so cute in my kitchen. As a watercolor artist I tried so experimentation with paint and a brush to come up with a more frame-able look. The crab was orange-red this time with blue water.
Remember, this crab is a stencil I purchased from Etsy. I bought many stencils to make my towels more of a set than all original artwork. The towels are thin and I believe they were $5 at Walmart for eight cotton bar towels. The terry cloth towels with give you a kind of Monet look. What I mean is that when you stand back you can see the crab clearly, but up close there will be missed spots where the paint didn’t hold.
Coral stenciled bar towel.
Here’s another pic where I put the same coral stencil over the entire towel. I hope you like the results. This project took little time and money. Very budget friendly. My hint is to lay the towels out overnight on a chair back to dry. Wash them on gentle the first time and see how they do. I haven’t had a problem and they seem soft enough for me.
Of course I didn’t just stencil towels…um, I tried my hand on a burlap lampshade too. Er…um, I’ll let you decide if it’s a keeper or not. As a footnote, I did replace this lampshade with a new burlap drum. But if you have children I think this would be a great look. What do you think?
April 11, 2015
Like most DIY homeowners at the beach or really anywhere, USA, who want a coastal decor, I will fill every possible nook with ocean finds. You give me a corner and I’ll make a vignette of a painted sea green table, shells, a coral fan and ocean watercolor. (I actually paint watercolors).
Side view of Shotgun beach house, Galveston, Texas
For the small 8 X 15 cement and wrought iron enclosed patio in the front Shotgun house I want a large compass in aqua blue and yellow/gold. The blue will match the shutters I plan to attach to this 100 year old home and the yellow is to match the color of the house. I have white trim, so I can use that color as the base if I paint the entire cement pad, three stairs and short path to the fence. If you’re not an artist, no problem, stencils and huge stickers are available at every hobby place or online. Not so tough, right?
I want to point out the original gate, dogs on the top and mailbox that will very quickly get a facelift with paint and landscaping. I’ve already planted fuchsia bougainvillea to climb the iron trellis and a gardenia bush near the mailbox. Photos to come soon.
Okay, now let’s talk about the shiplap walls that this home is completely exposed now. (Thanks to my accidentally picking at the drywall when I moved in and finding this gold mine). I fancy an octopus for the painted white wood in my bathroom. A really big blue one! I found this Huge sticker at Amazon for $28.00 and it is less expensive for me to buy the sticker than to paint an art wall. The best part is a waterproof sticker is perfect for a salty sea bathroom.
HINT: When you choose your project, just remember to seal your artwork with polyurethane, a spray sealant or wax if you’re applying to furniture or wood.