Give Old Candles a Quick, Coastal Makeover
If there's one thing my frequent estate/garage sale forays have taught me, it's that no one need ever pay full price for a candle. 10-20 bucks for a pillar candle? What?! I can't remember the last time I shelled out more than $1 for one. The only downside to purchasing secondhand candles is that they're often dented, scratched or are a color that won't work with your decor. No worries, a little hot glue and twine will cover a world of sins.
I recently picked up some bargain candles at an estate sale in Knoxville before heading down to my sister's work-in-progress beach house. I had some jute twine and furniture webbing left over from other projects so I decided to give these 3 thrifted candles a quick beachy makeover — et voila:
H. Camille Smith
Pretty, huh? I paid $2 for the 3 candles and, as I said, I had the other materials on hand — but, if I had to buy them, this would be a $10-$15 project. After their crafty makeover, the new/old candles fit right in with our other beachy bargains:
I know people will ask about fire safety for obvious reasons — twine and upholstery webbing are flammable. First, as with any candle, you shouldn't leave it burning without supervision — but — I’ve done variations of this project (covering pillar candles in paper, ribbon, bark and even paint) many times and never had a problem. The key is to choose a pillar candle wide enough that the wick burns down the center leaving an outer wax shell and you limit the crafty covering to the candle's sides. Don't try this technique on a narrow pillar or taper candle.
Covering the candles with twine is easy — just start at the bottom, applying hot glue as you turn the candle and attach the twine in sections. You can cover as much or as little of the candle as you wish. As you can see below, this particular candle had an odd raised gold stripe so I covered it completely.
The upholstery webbing cover was even easier to apply. Just cut a strip large enough to meet in the back, then hot-glue it to the candle along the seam. Disguise the seam by tapping in a few nail heads or brass thumbtacks.
That's all — it's quick, easy and cheap — my favorite kind of project.
Lisa Marie Brooks, a real estate agent, and her husband, Scott, a commercial airline pilot and builder, know potential: Together they've built or renovated 25 homes in three states, most of which they've resold. "This house actually had a lot of pros," says Lisa Marie of the 2,000-square-foot bungalow. "A pitched roof and a sunroom with lots of windows, plus great big oak trees all around." Now the fixer-upper is their home for good. Says Lisa Marie, "No chance we're selling this one anytime soon."
Before the Remodel
To most people, the shabby shack with its worn-out siding, cracked windows, and overgrown lawn looked like a condemned shed. But to the Brookses, the little house in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., was a hidden gem that just needed a bit — OK, a lot — of polishing. They bought it through short sale for $270,000, a drastic reduction from the onetime asking price of $900,000, without even seeing the interior in person. The overhaul cost about $120,000 and took a year to complete.
Living Room: Before
Instead of replacing the dated oak built-in, the Brookses saved money by removing the doors and painting it white (Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams). They also tore out the old wood-burning stove and installed a ventless fireplace. "We did a ton of work, but in the end, we felt like, gosh, it doesn't get any better than this,” says Lisa Marie.
Before the remodel, this space off the living room, which leads to the back deck, didn't show off the pretty view of the Choctawhatchee Bay. So the Brookses installed French doors with trapezoid-shaped windows above them. Problem solved. Outdoor party supplies are stowed inside the storage benches that are covered with linen cushions and throw pillows.
When they bought the house, it had plywood on the ground instead of floors. Lisa Marie wanted hardwood throughout the home. "I think hardwood stands up better over time than prefabricated floors. We went with an inexpensive wood — pine — and had it stained ebony," she says. The dining table and rattan and wooden chairs, all from Restoration Hardware, are beachy and casual.
The new space has a peninsula with a cooktop and space to sit, as well as marble countertops that Lisa Marie bought for a discount from a stone remnants distributor. The cabinets are made with affordable maple. "If you're using wood like this, mix in a few glass-front doors so your cabinets don't look too heavy," says Lisa Marie. The backsplash from Home Depot came in 1-foot-by-1-foot sheets of travertine and blue glass tiles in a block pattern.
Nearly every door in the house leads to the wraparound deck, which the entire family (son, Logan, 12; and pet Lab-mix, Buddy, included) uses all year. "We have coffee at this table almost every morning, and we've thrown parties with 60 people out here," Lisa Marie says. Since the deck is uncovered, Scott coated it with wood protector by One Time to help keep it from weathering.