Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rediscovered: Slipper Chair

This Before and After represents my very first attempt at upholstery (minus those easy-to-do-seat cushions), and boy did I underestimate the work that goes into it. I found this chair at the end of someone's driveway on my way home from work. Though I usually am attracted to all wood furniture, I couldn't deny the classic shape of this otherwise heinous slipper chair. The more we ripped it apart, the more complex it got! I had no idea how to do any of this... With all of the skanky old fabric ripped off (but saved to use as templates for the new fabric!), we were now left with this naked core with newly painted silver legs... It took a long time to find fabric that I liked for this piece, and when it came down to it, I went with something on sale since there was a good chance that I would have to do things more than once and run out of fabric quickly. Cheap as it was, I love this modern fabric.

After a couple weekends of here and there trial and error, the chair is complete! It can't wait to move to it's new home in NYC (in only ONE month!)
chair: FREE
fabric: 3 yds, $18 (coupon!)
upholstery tacks: $1.27
Total: $19.27
Snags: This was very labor intensive and so it took only a little while before getting tired and frustrated.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rediscovered: Fold Up Wooden Chairs

I work in NYC and I live outside of it so I take the train in everyday. My days are pretty routine: train, work, train, dinner, catch up on TiVo. So imagine my surprise when I pulled into the station and there are two lonely chairs curbside. They were pretty beat up though, enough that I really had to check them out if they were even worth grabbing. Of course, I was running late so I ran by them, gave my mom the thumbs up sign (I was still semi-blind from surgery so I wasn’t driving yet) and hopped on board. I did chuckle a little bit leaving the dirty work to mom.

Underneath the filth and the disgusting fabric I could tell them were gems. After a good cleaning we even found out they fold up!
A few coats of white spray paint, over a coat of base primer, some simple re-upholstery and ta-da! Possibly my most favorite rediscovering to date!

(notice the floors? update on that project later...)

Matching chairs: FREE
1 can spray paint: $.97 (walmart brand)
fabric: $9.00
total: $9.97

Snags: none

Porch Makeover

Ok. It's been awhile. I know. My hiatus began right after I had corrective eye surgery which left me unable to read/ look at a computer for much longer than I expected. As for the weeks (months) after that, well, that's my own fault. But I'm ready to go now! And I have some great projects and before/afters to show you.
So as I mentioned a while back, I took on the project of revamping my neighbors porch. Ten cans of black spray paint later... I'm finished! (ok I could've kept going but budget, people, budget...)

Let's take a look at the "before" again..
No more white plastic furniture on this bad boy...

I think fern plants are the best bang for your buck. At just $10 each, they add a ton of energy and texture. And since they are so full, they filled out this table base turned plant stand perfectly!

Please excuse that I am a terrible photographer, these pictures do not do it justice :)


metal bench: $4
wicker planter: $15
rocking chair: $15
wicker chair: FREE (rediscovered)
corner shelf: FREE (rediscovered)
side table: FREE (curbside find)
wrought iron planter: FREE (curbside find- actually the base of a table... rediscovered!)
accessories: $40
plants: $40
paint: $10
total: $124

Snags: Since the porch is so narrow, I had a lot of trouble breaking away from such a linear design (ie, everything pushed up against the same wall). Any ideas on how to add some dimension?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

ReDiscovered: Brass Stool

This bench (also seen in place here) has been living in my bedroom even longer than I have and I even remember climbing on it to play with my grandma’s makeup when I was a little girl. So even though we all (admit it) hate that brass base, I held on to it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how heinous something is, we still need to hang on to it.

Luckily, I realized there was no reason for this lovable bench to live a life of shame, so I grabbed the pliers, flipped her over, and started to take out her staples. In the garbage went the faux leather, and out came the white spray paint (is there anything this can’t fix?). The foam was still in great shape, so there was no reason to replace that, especially with the button holes already there and in the correct spots.

While the first coat of white was drying, I stapled the new fabric around the existing fiberboard and foam.
So fresh and so clean clean!

The old buttons were a little dingy so I purchased a button kit and made new ones. I thought this was going to be difficult… so simple.
A few more staples to keep the buttons taught, a couple more coats of paint, and there you have it!

Bench $0
Fabric $2.70 (50% off at Joann’s Fabrics… ½ yard was more than enough)
Button Kit $3.00
White Spray Paint $0 (found in the garage, but I am a big advocate of the $.97 Walmart brand)
Total $5.70


I would have lightly sanded the base to rough it up a little, the paint wasn’t really grabbing on too well, and in some spots sort of “pooled”. In those areas I sanded the paint smooth and did some touching up.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Nitty Gritty: Painting the floor

As promised, here is the play by play on how we painted the linoleum flooring. Even though we had a couple nay-sayers (ahem, Dad), and at one point thought we would need the floor scraped and sanded clean by professionals, we trudged along and completed this project in about 10 days.

Step 1. After the carpet was ripped up, along with nails/staples removed, we cleaned the floor using a TSP substitute solution from Home Depot. This is a heavy duty cleaner that removes grease and dirt. The floor needs to really be clean so scrubbing this solution in with a brush is necessary. Rinse this with water and dry the area (we used large towels).

Step 2. Next step is to prime the floors. After researching on the internet and also asking the Home Depot staff, we were advised to use Kilz Oil Based Primer.
Step 3. WAIT. and wait and wait and wait. We had no idea that the primer would take so long to dry. And by long, I mean a week. By the third day, the paint was still sticky and wet, and it took another four days to dry completely. Our week long project thus became our two week long project.
*it was at this point that we thought the floors needed to be scraped clean and replaced with carpet. Luckilly we waited long enough and the paint did infact dry completly.

Step 4. We decided to switch to water based paint so that it would take only a day for each coat to dry. We used Behr paint in flat since a couple coats of poly would give it a nice shine anyway. The light color was used to cover the entire surface and allowed to dry about a day before giving it a second coat.
Step 5. Using painters tape, we marked off the diamonds. The linoleum design was actually perfect squares so making our pattern was next to effortless. It is best to do diamonds that are not touching either other and then to fill in the gaps once everything is dry. Also, make sure to rip up the tape when the paint is still a little wet so that no peeling occurs.
Step 6. To make them shiny and durable, the floors were coated with 2-3 coats of Pro Finisher by Parks - Water Based Fast Drying Polyurethane in Crystal Clear Satin. This product was very easy to work with and went on like water. To apply use and long handled polyurethane brush (looks sort of like a Swiffer). Allow to dry and before applying subsequent coats.

The lines you see are the pattern within the linoleum. I think it adds texture and interest.
Before replacing your flooring with expensive hardwoods or boring carpet, maybe consider painting them first!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chairs Anonymous

OK, let me just admit it now. I have a chair addiction. I can’t help it.

This has resulted in many of chairs being toted back to home, either from a flea market, garage sale, thrift store or the ultimate recycle… from the end of someone’s driveway.

This first chair (more appropriately, “Rediscovered” chair) was found at the always reliable Elephants Trunk Flea Market in Connecticut. Now I know you’re going to think this is crazy, but I SWEAR that this was the third place that I saw this chair. Let me take you back…

One of the older homes in my neighborhood had a furniture sale and while I was browsing I saw this chair. But it was in such bad shape and I wasn’t too confident with my carpentry skills and thought for sure it would just live in the garage. I didn’t even ask for the price.

Then, on a trip to Saturday junk shop (aka gold mine), I see it again! Same old dilapidated chair. Pass it up again.

THEN on a later trip to the flea market, I see it again, looking extra lonely, with a $2 sticker on it. I carried it around the rest of the day. I swear the chair was glowing it was so excited.

Ok ok, it might not be the same chair. But how can you forget it’s cute little shape? It was destiny.

Finally after spending the winter in the garage I decided to take it out and work on it. And let me tell you, it was a lot easier than I thought!

First I cut out the burlap-horse-hair rim and pulled out all of the little nails that was holding it in (truth be told I couldn’t get them all out and hammer some flat). Then I found a thin piece of plywood (1/4” I think?) and traced the frame onto it. Next, it was power tools time. I had the circular saw in hand, thinking it would be a piece of cake, but I was quickly talked out of that and moved on to the Sawzall. This seat didn’t have to be a perfect shape of the frame, just as long as it was within the wood so it could be screwed down. So after some slightly scary moments with the saw (make sure you have someone else to help you hold the wood still), I successfully screwed down the new seat.

Now to make it comfy. I glued down the foam that I had traced out to be the shape of the seat and let it sit for awhile, then using some basic upholstery skills I stapled the fabric. This takes a little trial and error, making sure the fabric is straight and also so that is isn't pulled tighter in one area more than another. Finito!

I originally had planned on painting the chair a glossy white, but the wood is in really good condition and I’d hate to cover it up to only regret it later. So I am going to let it live like this for awhile and see how I feel about it. Save myself from stripping and sanding later on down the road. Denatured alcohol to the rescue to clean those stray paint marks and give him back his shine.

What do you think? Should I paint it white or leave it wood?He's still trying to find out where he wants to live in the room. Overall I am really pleased and adore that hounds tooth fabric. Great addition to the metamorphosis of the bedroom.


Chair $2
Fabric $2.70
Foam $4 (I bought a yard for $8 and I used less than half, saving the other piece for another chair)

Total $8.70

Looking back I think that I should have gotten a thinner piece of foam (half inch?) and used some batting on top of that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Porch Makeover Part I

So word got out that I have an eye for decorating on the cheap and my next-door-neighbors (who also happen to my friend Kate’s parents) asked me help with a budget-friendly front porch makeover. Decorating + bargain hunting... helloo? My two favorite things!

Let me start from the beginning. While walking my dogs one brisk fall day, I ran into my neighbor and we got to talking about the aforementioned porch. I offered to help and on the spot she handed over $50, saying that if I needed more to let her know. Fifty dollars? And this porch is BIG. But I was over joyed with the challenge.

Since it was the end of flea market/ garage sale season, and since it was then too cold to paint outside, this task was delayed until warmer weather (but I still kept an eye out).

Here are the before pictures…

I plan to have this done Mother’s Day weekend since their whole family will be upstate at Kate’s graduation (wahoo congrats!). I always love a big reveal.

So far, I have a good amount of furniture/ accessories for the place, and am really just left with the final touches. Stay tuned for progress reports!