Friday, May 30, 2014

Guest Bedroom Part 1 - Inspiration

The guest bedroom in our home has been an eyesore for quite some time and I have decided to tackle it and not let it taunt me every time I go up the stairs.  Every single room in our house was painted a lovely shade of faded banana yellow.  I am so over this color that I painted it without taking the time to do a before shot, but you can imagine how it must have looked.  Just imagine a color you hate, fade it over 35 years and then layer it with dust and dead bugs.  Thats what it looked like.

Here is the paint color I decided to go with – it was actually one of the “oops” paints at Lowes for $5 but ended up being a really rich deep shade of teal – so this is the closest I could find – Aquarium by Sherwin Williams. 

I also knew that since the room is somewhat small that creating an upholstered headboard that I could attach to the wall would be a great space saving option.  Here are a few things that helped inspire my headboard designs.   Making your own may seem kinda daunting, especially since if you decide to go with a plywood base like I am going to, getting the giant in your car will be difficult.  Luckily I have a little brother with a truck who should be able to help. 

A little inspiration...
As for the overall feel of the room, I wanted something cozy with a nautical feel.  I’ve always loved navy and teal together and have been brainstorming from there.


I purchased the two bird prints from Antique Print Boutique on Etsy, and at $10 a pop they were a deal.  They measure 12x15 inches, so once they are framed and matted should take up a good amount of wall space. 

Another flea market find is this wicker chair for $35!!!  I never find deals this good.  Check out the cool shape of the back.  It still needs a cushion but luckily I have this place to make custom ones at no additional cost.  As you can see it’s currently a pea green color.  At first I thought I wanted to remove the paint and then stain it darker, but that proved to be a pain in the butt and since I love pink I’m just going to paint the whole thing.  Maybe put a brown giraffe print on the cushion, who knows!!

Oh and I also have this little stool – another great find at $20.  This was probably my best flea market day ever. 

Next step will be getting the headboard upholstered and mounted on the wall.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weekend Project - Moving Outdoors!

Our little backyard deck has seen better days, and worse ones apparently.  We live in an area with deep woods behind us, and the previous owners had to rebuild this deck several times due to falling trees.  We are pretty sure the trees that have made it through the last 40 years are good to go and won’t be coming down anytime soon, so we tackled some built in seating.  My brother of Built by Bert came by & constructed some of the most fantastic deck seating I’ve ever seen.  It’s no secret that we love a good sectional, so we collectively decided to build into half of the deck and in return received seating for about 10-14 people and one very comfy corner spot (which will be mine, all mine).

Bert doing some math.

These frames went up in about 10 minutes - so fast!

Working around the corner - just look at all that seating!

It only took about 3.5 hours from start to finish and around $200 worth of supplies.  Bert wanted the bench to look as if it was floating, and doing that required some serious math and tricky cuts, but it will now hold a truckload of people and is completely stable and secure.   Not to mention all the room underneath to store the cushions I have yet to make.  

Finished!  And a few celebratory brews.

I can't believe we went from having 2 seats out here to full bench living in just an afternoon.  Bert is an incredible craftsman and truly had a vision for the seating.  Thanks again bro!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Desk Chair Before and After!

So I’ve been looking for a new desk chair, something with arms and upholstered so I could put a bright fabric on it since most of my office is white, and after at shopping one of my favorite flea markets in Atlanta, I stumbled on this little beauty:

I actually got to meet the former owner, well, the former owners granddaughter, who was sitting in the booth trying to play and hold a full size electric guitar.  She was probably all of 6 years old and very sassy.  I liked her and her chair immediately.  In it’s former years, this chair belonged in a dining room and witnessed many dinner parties and bridge games.  Its life is about to be turned around!  Yes, I am giving the chair feelings and a life – just roll with it.

I think I paid around $50 for the chair – I bought a bunch of other things that day and they start discounting with the number of items you buy so I’m not sure the exact amount, but either way, for a sturdy wood chair with a great shape, I thought that was a pretty good deal.

First step is to tear off CAREFULLY all the current upholstery.  I used some small-nose pliers and a flathead screwdriver.  It took some serious elbow grease to get some of those staples out.  Not to mention the last guy who upholstered this chair was seriously staple gun happy!  I probably had to pull out 500 staples.  And that made my fingers hurt – and then I drank a glass of wine.
Millions of staples in can barely see them, but they're there...

I saved all the pieces of fabric – the two arm pieces, the seat, and the two from the back of the chair – two because there is a pad and piece of cardboard type thing to give it a little more support so the fabric will end up sandwiching this part.
Put them in a very safe place – I did not do this at first and someone who shall remain nameless (but photographed here) easily grabbed them and started gnawing at the decades old fibers and fill that were left behind.  Gross.  You are a seriously gross dog.  But very cute, so I shall keep you.
Who me?  
Moving on.  I knew that I wanted the chair to have a completely new look and love the way paint can do that.  So I went out and bought 1 can of Rust-Oleum high gloss paint and primer spray paint in bright white.  It went on like a dream.  I didn’t really need to, but I kept painting layer and layer of paint til the can was empty.  I love shiny – and that is what I got.
Make sure when you decide to paint that you haven’t recently had any rain or are expecting any.  This might seem like a “well duh” tip, but I have done so many projects that never seem to really dry (even after months!) all because it looked sunny outside but was going to rain later that day or night.

Okay, so chair is all pretty and white and now here comes the tedious part – cutting the fabric.  You’ll want to use the fabric that was just taken off as a template, but add a nice size border – like 5-6 inches extra.  I kinda screwed this part up.  I thought giving myself a good 3 inches extra would be enough and it wasn’t.  It doesn’t seem that obvious with the finished product, but would have made a huge difference while upholstering the chair.   Save yourself the headaches and profanities and cut way more than you think you’ll need.

I use a regular hardware store staple gun, the hand powered kind.  I think for my next project I will definitely be looking into those compressed air powered ones.  The only issues I had with my gun was the awkward angle I had to staple.  The staples wouldn’t go in completely flat, so I would have to go back and finish them off with a hammer.  But eventually I got a better feel for it and didn’t have to do that quite as much.  This also would have been smoother with an extra pair of hands.  Pulling the fabric and trying to staple all by your lonesome is tricky.  To keep the fabric tight I always start with some foundation staples at the very front then staple the opposite side that way as you work your way around the chair, the fabric won’t be all wonky and off-center.

To finish off this project I ended up ordering some double-welt piping (since no one sells it in stores and in fact looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for some).  I had worked with the stuff once before and remembered just using my all purpose foot on my sewing machine, and it worked okay this time, but I think in the future I’ll just use this tutorial and make my own double welt cord.

Here is where I got a little bit lazy.  The original piping was held on with staples, but I decided to use hot glue.   Even though it doesn’t adhere to fabric particularly well and will eventually start falling apart, like I mentioned, I got lazy and wanted instant gratification.  I ended up needing about 5 yards of fabric covered piping for the entire chair and I think it really helped finishing it off.  
All in all a pretty good amount of time went into this project.  A day to take it apart, a weekend for painting, a few days to cover, and another afternoon for piping and finishing.  But I love my new chair and the way it turned out.  Especially since something similar would have cost me $450!!!!  That’s just crazy.  
Here’s what I spent: 
Chair – Flea Market in Atlanta - $50
Fabric – - $12
Paint – Lowes - $6.50
Piping – DIY Upholstery Supply - $3.50

Finishing this has gotten me more pumped for my next project – upholstering a wing chair….any advice or motivational words would be great!!