Day 2: Steampunk Reconnaissance + DIY tips

I'm a very careful shopper and find myself doing obsessive amounts of research before I commit to a final look. (Ok, I'm cheap--single motherhood and a large mortgage will do that to a person). But be honest, DIY doesn't always cost less than buying...and sometimes buying doesn't offer the exact look a person wants.

So before I fully execute on this industrial steampunk thing which has clearly come into vogue (evidenced by the ridiculous prices I witnessed today) I set out to do my homework and perused where I could shop to achieve this look...for less.

The overall winner in terms of "The Look" was Restoration Hardware. It not only affirmed that this IS the look that I want, but the employees found me hiding with a lampshade on my head and had to pry my hands off of my beloved riveted, metal trunk . Motivated by the {ahem} prices on some of the items, I decided that I CAN thrift, hack, repurpose, strip {furniture}, dip {furniture}, tack {nailheads}, stencil, sand and sometimes splurge my way into fully furnished and functional space that we can be proud of.

Drool. Below is THE coolest iPhone docking station, EVER! (Aaaannnd....my birthday IS on Tuesssday...)

20121103-211244.jpg (Above: Restoration Hardware Gramophone iPad or iPhone docking station-slash-speaker-thingamabob).

Next...check out this wall sconce (pictured below) at Restoration Hardware...(by the way, you can buy the actual lightbulbs at Lowe's!)

20121103-211605.jpg
And speaking of Lowe's...we BOUGHT something today {insert Beavis & Butthead-esque laughter}...drumroll...a steampunk offensive of our bathroom has BEGUN with the vintage specialty bulbs (fixture was only $39.95!) -- note the partially painted wall...more to come on this project!

20121103-211734.jpg (Above: Four Light Vanity Bar by Portfolio @ Lowe's).

We have a LONG way to go before I can show you the basement, but here are some ideas floating around in my head on how a person can easily achieve a DIY steampunk-inspired look.

DIY Steampunk Ideas (future posts to come):

Free downloads make nice photo backgrounds:
Look online for places like The Graphics Fairy and print Victorian backgrounds for your family photos. Purchase frames that are on sale that provide a bit of steampunk funk. I did this and created a small cluster of photos of my grandparents (same two you met in "Who is Streetwise?")

20121103-220903.jpg

Hack Your Current Light Fixture:
Try a bulbs-only approach with your current lighting. See how it looks without the frosted glass globes. Use these bulbs from Lowe's.

Rent a projector:
Vintage fonts can be easily projected and traced onto a wall or a piece of cloth, burlap or furniture. Trace it...then fill in the space with paint. Don't be afraid...people who don't have the guts to try this will be jealous when then see the results. (This is part of the basement plan...our bar is not built yet, but soon!)

Burlap, Ropes & Twine:
Put it everywhere. Wrap your candles in them. Trim your pillows with them. Stencil the burlap. It seems to crop up in every store I've been in today.

Rivets:
Put them on a wall to imitate a metal look. Patina the wall. You have a Titanic interior.

Dip Your Old Furniture. Don't Refinish It! Yes, you read that right! Naked, dipped furniture is THE look. I was just at Goodwill today, and saw so many possibilities for dipping furniture. Steampunk furnishings are not overfinished and often very rudimentary.

If you read what is trending for 2013, neutrals are making a huge comeback along with unfinished furnishings.

Cheers!

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