Funky little chair makeover and a few upholstery tips....

Another auction buy that languished in the garage for months until I pulled it out and thought..."Hum, I kinda think that is cool!"

It may not LOOK cool, but it is a funky little chair...and I like "different." Not really my style (Hollywood Regency maybe?) but since my style is "eclectic," I can find a place for it! 

I'm not sure exactly what wood it is...my guess is walnut. But the finish was the typical dark stain with black flecks I see on a lot on furniture from the 70's...not really attractive...

 

After I stripped all the old fabric, I used my 1/2 and 1/2 mixture and stripping process to strip the old finish and stain...then I applied 4 coats of tung oil finish (no stain)! I like the warmth of natural wood.

As always, if one comes in, one must go out. So this little chair in my office was moved upstairs into the guest room until I have room in my space at 410 Vintage! I bought it 25 years ago at an estate auction and it was my first real reupholstery project.

Fabric is always a tough one for me...maybe because I know how hard it is to reupholster a piece and I don't want to do something I will tire of and have to redo. I found several fabrics I thought I might like, brought samples home and did what I always do...stare at it for a few days. In the end I went with this fun but somewhat conservative "geo" pattern...I like that it is relatively neutral and could be spiced up with a pillow or throw...

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And spice it I did. When I was looking at fabrics I found an awesome pink velvet. I was briefly tempted to cover the chair in the fabric but I knew it would be a "fad color" I would later regret. But I couldn't stop obsessing over the pink so I decided to find a pink accent pillow.

Naturally, I couldn't find a pillow I like so I ended up buying a little bit of the pink velvet and made a little pillow. Instead of cording, I decided to go with tassels on the corners but couldn't find any I liked...so I made little "tufts" out of feather cording...just too stinking cute!

A simple but fun little detail that brings in the pink I was drooling over without the huge commitment of covering an entire chair in it! I would advise taking this approach on all "big ticket items." Couches, chairs, bedding...keep them neutral and add the "fad" details and colors with pillows, throws, curtains and rugs...accents that are relatively inexpensive to change out when the color falls out of favor in a few short years!

By the way, you may have noticed I changed the curtain...I went with white just to lighten the corner a bit!

I could never post a good tutorial on how to upholstery YOUR piece of furniture...there are so many great video tutorials online for just about any style of chair/couch/ottoman/etc and I strongly suggest you do a lot of research before you start your project. Find a tutorial that best suits YOUR needs.

I will share a few tips that will make your job a tad easier. It doesn't matter if you are recovering a chair or couch or ottoman...these rules apply!

First, learn to sew. Every DIYer should know how to use a sewing machine if for no other reason than to sew pillows or curtains or do basic upholstery or even hem a pair of pants. If you don't know how to sew a straight stitch, learn! I was fortunate that my mother made me take sewing lessons when I was young but I know a lot of local county extensions and hobby stores offer cheap (if not FREE) lessons! Take them...learn! And don't think you need an expensive sewing machine...I have a basic cheap machine that is at least 30 years old! 

Start simple. Before you tackle an heirloom wingback chair with expensive fabric, try something simple like this ottoman....

The drop cloth material I used was relatively inexpensive and super easy to sew. And I used a premade bias tape for the cording.

Take your time! I always think a project will take a lot less time than it actually does...so know that reupholstering anything isn't a "rainy day project!" Maybe a rainy WEEK...but deconstructing alone will take time and a lot of patience and you want to do it right!

Take LOTS of pictures while you deconstruct! Just snap random pictures as you strip the piece. If you are like me you THINK you will remember, but you won't...and you will find yourself sitting there wishing you knew how in the world it was originally put together. So take pictures!

It is always good to have a visual reference!

TRY to keep the pieces of the old upholstery intact so you can use them as a pattern for the new. If the old is really stinky and ewwwy, make a "pattern" with them out of butcher block paper or old newspaper. Make sure you label each pattern piece or old fabric so you know where it goes! And keep in mind that the fabric you remove has been trimmed...so add a few inches on each side of the piece...you can always trim after it is attached!

If you are going to strip and stain or paint, do it after you strip the old upholstery but before the new! 

Take time to make repairs! Make any repairs that need to be made BEFORE you start painting/stripping/staining and reupholstering! Do not spend the time and money reupholstering a chair if it wobbles or needs new strapping. If you don't know how to repair something property, Google it! Or email me! And remember, glue and clamps are your friend...not silicone, not sheetrock screws, not nails. Do it right or you are wasting your time!!!

Remove ALL the old upholstery nails and staples...all of them. And honestly, I have bought every tool on the market to make the job easier and I always revert back to a plain ole' flat screw driver, a hammer and a pair of good needle nose pliers!

Which reminds me...wear shoes! I don't care how careful you are, those nails and staples fly all over the place and you WILL find them with your bare feet!

Speaking of tools, I think I have tried every electric and manual stapler on the market. I have found that MOST will not set a staple flush or securely. So now I use a pneumatic stapler, similar to this one.  Best. Stapler. Ever!!!!  But word of warning...don't make a mistake and don't plan on recovering the piece any time soon because those staples aren't coming out!

Alway cover old batting with new. Even if the old batting seems to be in good condition, cover it with new batting. Always! If it has old horse hair stuffing replace it...if it has old "strapping," now is the time to replace it!!! On a few chairs, I have actually stripped everything down to the bare wooden bones and added new everything. Trust me, that is better than getting it all back together and discovering that the seat still sags or is lumpy and it smells!

Buy enough material! When you buy material make sure you account for any piping (welt cording) you might have to make. You can buy premade cording, but if you are going to make it out of the upholstery fabric it MUST be cut on the bias...in other words, diagonal across the fabric. To give you an example, on this little chair, I needed less than two yards for the seat and back, but I needed another yard just so I would have enough to make the welting. Again, google welt cording/piping and you will find great tutorials that will show you exactly how to make it. 

Make sure you have enough fabric to complete the project before you start. Lay ALL your "pattern pieces" out on the fabric and account for the welting before you start cutting. Nothing is worse than getting half way through the project only to discover you don't have enough fabric...and you bought the last bit of it! If all else fails you can always use two different fabrics on the project like I did on these little tuffets...but PLAN for it!

 

Google, google, google. I learned a lot at the elbow of my dad but today we have the world at our finger tips and you can find a good tutorial for just about any project...even upholstering furniture! I always advise watching as many tutorials as you can find and use the one that makes the most sense to you and your project! Watching DIY tutorials is also a great way to decide if you even want to tackle the project...advisable before you buy a wingback chair at a garage sale for $20 with the intent of "learning to upholstery!" 

Until next week when I hope to share Matt's entry makeover...

 

 

 

Practicality beats heirloom...

It certainly doesn't happen often. If you have been around awhile you know I will take heirloom over just about anything.

This stool was my great grandfather's drafting stool and I featured it here.

It is oak and it really isn't "my style." (whatever that might be!) But because it was an heirloom piece I carefully refinished it and recovered the seat.

But when it came right down to it, the little guy just wasn't very practical. First, it was kind of heavy and difficult to move around...truth is, if you lift up the seat it comes right off. Second, there is a good chance the thing was going to kill me! Since popping my cabinets up, I often need a little boost to reach the upper cabinets. The top of this stool spins and more than once I found myself dang near snapping a limb just to get to a spare can of coffee when I tried to use it as a "step stool!"

It was my great grandfathers and I seriously love it...but it just wasn't functional for the kitchen! 

I have been on the lookout for an old "cosco" type step stool. I found several, but all were too tall...so every time I would need to open a drawer I would have to move the stool...again, not practical! 

I FINALLY found the perfect stool...and naturally it was a mess!

Covered in paint, ripped vinyl seat, and minor rust spots on the legs. 

NO BIGGY!!! Fortunately the paint was latex so I was able to scrub MOST of that off with a little detergent and elbow grease. I have found that 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits will take rust spots right off of metal...then I just wipe it down with vinegar to neutralize any lurking rust. I recovered the little seat with some fabric I had on hand, and.....

Not sure I am a huge fan of the olive green step, but the fabric has a little olive green in it so for now it will do! 

But the awesomest thing about this stool is it's size...perfect fit for the corner of my kitchen and perfect height for a little boost when I need it!

I'm a little bummed that I had to give up my heirloom piece in the kitchen, but I will no doubt find a functional use for it somewhere, sometime!

Waterfall armoire makeover....

This week's project is a classic example of "OMG, can I really paint an antique!!!???"

This is a pretty little vintage waterfall armoire I picked up at an estate auction a few weeks ago. It wasn't in terrible shape, but it really didn't have a lot going for it aesthetically...kind of plan and boring!

It did have some really pretty bakelite hardware, which is classic on waterfall pieces. The problem was the condition of the hardware. One was completely missing the bakelite, and the other three were broken and chipped....pretty much unsalvagable! 

The "design" on the top drawer was not a true inlay...and the general construction was pretty simplistic. I did a little research online to make sure it wasn't something of great value! Sometimes, when there are no makers marks, you just have to make a judgment call on the value as a "restored antique." 

In the end, I decided to give the piece a little KTSP treatment and give it a new life. Hopefully it will make a perfect little dresser/storage cabinet for someone! 

I removed all the hardware, taped and papered the drawers and insides and sprayed it down with Kilz. Since one of the pulls was toast, I puttied the holes so I could add a single pull. After sanding it smooth and wiping it down with tack cloth, it was time to paint.

Unfortunately, it is that time of the year when temperatures don't always cooperate. So I had to haul everything into my dining room and use a brush and roller instead of spray paint. 

No biggy IF you do it properly...make sure you use a quality brush, a 4" foam roller and add Floetrol to your latex paint! (Penetrol for oil based) The additive will give your paint a longer dry time and more time to "level," eliminating brush and roller marks. 

I found a pretty blue and tried it on the drawers..ummmm...no. Too babyish. So I mixed a little black in some green and came up with a greyish-green I kind of liked.

I removed the broken bakelite from the pulls and sprayed them with metal primer then sprayed them with gold paint. Kind of pretty!

All in all, it turned out kind of cute. While it was a nice "vintage" piece, I think the paint and new hardware gave it a nice little "update" and a chance at a new and useful life....

If you are certain a piece is not a valuable antique, don't be afraid to give it a little face lift! 

As I mentioned last week, I have been working on reupholstering the club chair and ottoman in the living room. Unfortunately I had to order a little more fabric so HOPEFULLY I can finish it up this week and share next week! 

Until then....

Super simple DIY wall decor....

As I look around at my wall decor, I realize that MOST of it is thrift store, garage sale, vintage market pieces that I have collected and "upscaled" at some point in time.

Here I shared a quick update to my little gallery wall of favorite family photos....

Simple, inexpensive frames spray painted and new matting. I didn't even have expensive "custom" mats made...I cut bulk matting to fit the frame and then mounted the pictures on top of it!

I spent a fortune on these dining pictures 17 years ago and in my quest to transition from "dark and dank" to "light and bright" I gave them a little make-over....

I did spend a little more on custom matting, but I chalk painted the frames and deconstructed and changed it all out myself. A tad more expensive but faaaaar less expensive then going out and buying new matted pictures! You can pick up frames like these for pennies at thrift stores! Maybe the picture is ugly and the frame is "dated" but it really is a simple little DIY project that can make a huge impact! 

This super cool mid century dresser mirror was another DIY project I shared here

I love the fact that I can change out the wreath for the holiday seasons...I have one for fall (pictured) and Christmas, a Valentine's wreath and a cool little metal thing for the 4th of July! For "off-season" I have a simple boxwood wreath!

Now this is where I admit that I am a bad blogger....because AGAIN I failed to take any "before" pictures. So close your eyes and imagine...inexpensive little brown frames with pictures of a goose...or something stupid like that.

Again, a little KTSP treatment, a tiny bit of spray paint, a little inspirational quote printed on stock paper and PRESTO....

When I was at an auction last week I picked up two unfinished oak cabinet doors. Here I shared how easy it is to turn them into cute little chalkboards...perfect for a kitchen, mud room or the kid's room! 

Chalkpaint, chalkboard paint, a little cup pull to hold the chalk and again, PRESTO! 

(I even painted the cabinet doors in my garage with chalkboard paint so I have a place to write down supplies I need to pick up or projects I need to work on!)

My point? If you don't like your wall decor,  change it! Paint it, change out the mats, change out the picture. 

Make it pretty! Cuz life is too short to live with ugly wall decor! 

Making the holidays a tad easier...

"Its the most wonderful time of the year!!!" It is, but man, can it put a strain on our bodies, time and finances! 

Over the years I have found a few ways to make my holiday season just a tad easier and economical.

Today I want to share a few of those things....

LIGHT REMOTE

I bought mine at Lowe's....

This nifty little gadget allows you to turn on your indoor Christmas decor with the touch of a button. I have one on my big tree, one on my small tree in the den and one on the big wreath and trees in the den. Just plug anything into this outlet, plug it into the wall and punch a button...on or off...simple as it sounds!

TIMERS

Definite must-have for outdoor lighting! No more going out into the cold and unplugging the lights before you go to bed...or worse, FORGETTING to unplug the lights! I set my timers to 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. and know that my lights will automatically turn on and off! (Most home improvement stores carry them!)

STAR SHOWERS

These were pretty much out of necessity. Brian has been the official "outdoor light" guy for 16 years...but a few years ago he fell off the ladder and last year he had a hernia. So I had to find a way to light up the outdoors without killing him. Hence the Star Showers! One...mehhhh. Two...so-so....but two on the house and four pointed at the tall pine trees....WOW!!!! Beautiful. I almost don't miss all the colored and icicle lights...almost!

I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond and I have seen them advertised online and on TV.

WRAPPING TABLE

Again, out of necessity. I'm too OCD to leave wrapping stuff strung out on my dining table for the entire season...and sitting on the floor wrapping presents for hours on end was more than my knees and back could handle. So now I set up this little table in my room and load up my wire baskets with paper, bows and boxes. Not only do I have a perfect spot for wrapping, I have the perfect place to stack gifts that need wrapping. Pens, scissors, labels and the tape dispenser are always at my finger tips!

WIRED RIBBON

I love this stuff...it makes beautiful simple bows for packages but the great thing is you can reuse it year after year. Just roll them up after all the gifts are open, thrown them in a box and you will have beautiful ribbon next year! Pretty and economical! 

STORAGE UNIT

This one is new for us this year. I have always stored my holiday decor in the attic. But as you get older, climbing up and down the rickety attic stairs with bulky boxes gets a little dicey. When Brian moved this year, we decided to get a storage unit big enough to hold some of his stuff and ALL our seasonal decor...both fall and Christmas. And there is A LOT! Yes, it is kind of a pain to have to go get the boxes and then take the empty boxes back, then go get the empty boxes, and then take them back. But honestly, it is easier than hauling it all in and out of the attic...and far safer! 

HEIRLOOM ORNAMENTS

I've shared this before...and it bares repeating...it is never too late to start a "tradition." When my oldest daughter was a baby my mother started giving her several special ornaments every year. She continued this "tradition" for all my children, who are now 35, 28, 27 and 19...2-3 ornaments times all those years! You can imagine how many I now have. My oldest daughter now has all her and her children's ornaments and they fill her tree. I still have the boys' and my youngest daughter's and will keep them until they have their own Christmas tree. Each ornament has some meaning...the year they went skiing, their first deer, high school and college graduations, glass ornaments created from the ash of Mr. St. Helen's...so many ornaments... enough to completely cover a 9' tree. I don't need ribbon or balls or "fillers"...I have a tree full of memories, each ornament marking a milestone or special time in our lives! Priceless...and beautiful! 

 

These are just a few little things that have made our holiday season a tad easier...and economical...and safer! 

Enjoy the season!

Heirlooms trump everything!

I have said it time and again....family heirlooms trump EVERYTHING!!! So when my uncle dropped off a china cabinet this week that had been my great-grandmother's, everything was rearranged to make room for it!

It's not "my style."(very traditional) It's not "my wood." (oak) It's not "my finish." (white-wash/pickled kinda look)

But it was my great-grandmother's and that is all that matters.

I even have a picture to prove it!

This is my maternal grandmother, great-grandfather and great-grandmother gathered at a holiday dinner in the early 80s....the china cabinet is in the background and the dishes on the table are my great-grandmother's china I recently acquired.

I vaguely remember this piece in my great grandparent's dining room when I was a child. They lived in a charming little post-war neighborhood in Dallas and during my childhood it was the family gathering spot for holiday's and special occasions.

While I was looking through my family photos for a picture of the cabinet, I also found this awesome holiday photo of my mother's entire family taken in 1948 at their home in Houston.

My mother is the sullen looking teenager in the red gingham shirt, my uncle to her left. The woman to the far left in the picture, in white, is my great aunt Judy. She inherited this china cabinet after my great-grandmother (woman far right) passed in 1986...and now it has come to me!

On the table are my grandmother's dishes I also acquired recently! 

These pictures are pure treasure!

Sooooo...now I have a china cabinet that is not my style, not my wood and not my finish.

I'm not sure what I will do with the finish...if anything. Right now I am just going to let it sit and mull it over. This is one of those pieces I will not touch until I have a very firm game plan in place. I know it needs a few small repairs but the beveled mirrors were replace in 1986...seriously, I found the receipt in the cabinet....$15 for two beveled mirrors. I just spent $130 to replace two mirrors that broke when my living room wall mirror fell off the wall!

I do know I would like to replace the wood shelves with glass...maybe add some interior lighting....and I couldn't wait to remove the metallic red paper inside the cabinet!

Had I picked this piece up at an auction, I would have immediately slathered it in paint. 

Not that I am opposed to making changes to family heirlooms. Sometimes you have to make changes to a piece so it will serve your family for many more decades. But when you are dealing with family heirlooms you should proceed with respect and caution! 

Little projects that can make a big impact!

While my garage is packed with projects I should be working on, the heat and humidity are just too much. This past week I worked on a few little projects inside!

The first is a "not so little project" but one I have been putting off for a loooong time! I shared the new living room chair I reupholstered here. I also had a little MCM chair and fabric ready to go but I could not bring myself to start the project. Upholstery is one of those things I do ONLY because I like the final results.

I was hoping duck egg blue and mauve would miraculously come back into vogue so I wouldn't have to mess with it, but that's probably not going to happen anytime soon! (Those who remember the 80s will understand this!) 

A teal club chair was one element of my den makeover plan I shared over a year ago. As I mentioned in the reveal post, not all elements of a makeover happen overnight...some may take years. Case in point!

Anywho, this wasn't technically a "little" project. I pretty much had to deconstruct the entire chair, strip and reoil the wood (beautiful!) and then reupholster. 

Once it was done....BIG impact.

But I really did accomplish two relatively "little" projects that have been on my "to do" list and that made a big impact.

The first was changing this little "gallery" wall....one of my "Things I Love" features. Family photos.

Honestly, these have not changed in 16 years but I want to change it up in my quest to "lighten and brighten" elements in my house. Since I am transitioning from the "warm" blacks and burnt reds to "cooler" reds, off-whites and teals, I decided these frames would be easy little elements to update with a little paint and new mats. Still love the pictures...just not how they are displayed

Here I shared the changes to the pictures on my dining room wall....

Just painting the frames and adding new mats made a HUGE difference in this space and cost very little.

I removed all the matting, photos and glass from the frames (good time to REALLY clean the glass!) I had mounted these pictures ON TOP of the matting so all I had to do was cut new teal matting using the old mats as a template and then reattach the photos using double sided tape. Frames are super easy to paint...a little primer and a little spray paint (Valspar Riviera Dune...my favorite off white spray paint) 

Perfect! (Um...yeah...I need to do something about the nasty looking thermostat!)

The other little project was super easy as well. I have wanted "modern" type house numbers for some time. I even painted some on my front door several years ago.

The actual house numbers that can easily been seen from the street are in the gable above the garage door...just cheapo, boring black numbers. Right now they are covered up with the "ivy" that is creeping all over the front of the house and at Christmas they are covered with a huge wreath (that warranted a visit from the code enforcer one year!) 

In my defense, this stuff usually doesn't get THIS out of control. Brian usually pulls it down every year when he puts up the Christmas lights. But last year we used one of those "star shower" thingies and didn't put any lights on the house...so...well...it is out of control! 

I have a plain "ho-hum" brick column on my tiny front porch that I thought might be perfect for a number display!

I ordered the "modern" style 4.5" numbers from Amazon. 

Somewhere along the way I picked up a plank of walnut. I've kind of been hoarding it for the last few years waiting for the perfect project and this was it.

I laid out the numbers on the board, measured and then cut the board the length I needed. Not sure how well tung oil finish will hold up outdoors, but that is what I used to seal the wood (3 coats).

Then I measured and marked where each number was going to go, drilled holes, secured the numbers using hardware screws, and then mounted it all on the brick column.

I used masonry screws to attach the board to the column. Since I didn't want the screws to show, I drilled a hole 1/4" deep with a 1" paddle bit, then pre-drilled in the middle of that hole for the masonry screws and then covered it all with hardwood plugs.

Dabbed a little tung oil finish on the plugs....cute as a bugs ear!

Doesn't look like the heat is going to let up any time soon so I have hauled several pieces into to the dining room to chalk paint! Maybe I can get a little bit of projecting done and get some room to breath in my garage! Maybe....

Heirloom stool....

I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I don't decorate with just anything...the "stuff" I decorate with has to be things I love or heirloom pieces! 

A few years ago I picked up a couple of stools and dolled them up a bit and featured here.

The one I liked most was the one with the birdies...but every time I wanted to open a kitchen drawer I had to move it. So I sold that one and have been using the yellow stool.

But this past Christmas, when I was hauling decorations out of my packed attic, I spied an old stool that had belonged to my great-grandfather. I believe it was the stool he used at his drafting table. I have had it for years but it was in pretty bad shape, so I had stuck it in my attic and pretty much forgot about it.

I finally hauled it down to the garage and decided to give it a little makeover. The first thing I had to do was strip and oil the oak base using this process.  

I had a little leftover fabric from this chair project so I decided to use it to recover the seat. 

Did I take a "before" picture...um...no. Just imagine...old, dated, well used.

The upside is it fits perfectly under the kitchen drawers. Now I can use this precious family heirloom! 

Oak is not my style...but anything that belonged to family is...another "thing I love."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE!!!!

I want to take a minute to wish my precious, beautiful, smart, funny, talented youngest daughter a very happy 19th birthday...I can't believe you are entering your last year of teenhood! I have no doubt this next year will be as amazing as the last 19! You make a mama very happy and proud! 

 

 

Entry and stairway makeover reveal....

I started my entry way makeover here when I shared the "demo" of the coat closet! I did not realize this "weekend" project would drag out for TWO MONTHS....but that is pretty much the speed I work at around here these days!

Time flies when you are having fun! 

I had intended to post this project last week but Brian had to have shoulder surgery so his care has taken up a bit of my time. (Someone explain to me why a 53 year old man feels the need to bench press 275 pounds...even if he can!) 

Truthfully, it is not fun to demo and construct in a house you are living in. I put up plastic when I did the major sanding on the sheetrock...

... but there always seems to be a little spot here and a little spot there that needs just a little bit of sanding...before you know it it looks like a dust storm has blown through your house! 

Truth be told, this "makeover" actually started YEARS ago when I removed all the carpet from my stairs and put down oak treads and risers. I knew the day would come when I would not want to haul a vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs (that day is here!) so I wanted hardwood stairs!

My house had the typical "rough construction" stairs with pine treads and risers, covered in carpet...you can kind of see how they were constructed, and what I discovered when I pulled the carpet, in this picture....

It really was not that difficult to install new treads and risers. The biggest "hum" was finding that the 2 x 12 tread (the horizontal board you step on) lipped over the riser (the vertical board facing each step) by 1/4". To solve for that, I just applied strips of 1/4" board to the bottom of each riser and then faced them with new oak boards, cut to fit. Most home improvement stores carry prefab oak treads. I cut each to the width I needed, stained and sealed them, applied construction mastic and then nailed them into place. I applied one final coat of poly after I had installed them. Obviously I did a good job, since it took me TWO HOURS just to remove TWO of the stinking things! 

Since I was installing new travertine tile in the entry, I decided now was the time to also make some changes to the newel post and bottom steps. 

As with EVERY project, the first thing I did was "find my inspiration."  That was not difficult since I knew from the minute I laid eyes on Cassidy's stairs on Remodelaholics.com that this was what I wanted....

One of the things I really love about her staircase are the colors...the stain and the paint. Sadly THAT little detail is going to have to wait at my house. My staircase was stained to match the living room floors, which are going to be here a tad longer ...and while it isn't "technically" honey-oak, the "butterscotch oak" isn't really my cup of tea these days. But again, it is going to have to wait for now...the thought of taping and staining and painting everything right now is more than my brain can process! 

This is one of the important keys to remodeling any space...identifying what you can do (physically and financially) NOW to enhance the space...and patience! I knew I wanted the "openness" of the bottom two steps and a larger newel post. Those are things I needed to do before I installed the %$(@# travertine tile (Honestly, don't ask how much it cost. I have NEVER in my life paid THAT much for tile, but I wanted it and it is a small space...so I splurged!)

While I had intended to post a "tutorial" on this project, I realized it is like many home improvements...a puzzle that will probably differ depending on how your home was constructed and what materials were used.

So let's start at the beginning...what WAS there.

A tight entryway that required us to lift anything over 28" wide over the newel post!

A coat closet that was NEVER used and was basically just a dumping ground for anything and everything! Hardwood flooring...NOT a material one should use by an entry door. Over time wet feet will do a real number on it!

An anemic newel post that pretty much screamed 1999!

So were does one begin a sizable project like this? Again, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

So the first thing I did was demo the coat closet and remove the smaller built in bookcase...gut wrenching details here.

After the closet was gone I had to deal with moving electrical wires...a major chore for me and I would honestly suggest most call a professional. My electrical professional is my son-in-law, but since they live 2 1/2 hours away, this is another project he talked me through over the phone! After all the electrical was moved and I could move around in the space without whacking my head on dangling switch boxes, I removed the existing baseboards and hardwood flooring. 

Easy right? Um, no! First I had to mark and cut a line with my skill saw where the new flooring would meet the existing hardwood. Dust storm number one! Then I had to scrape up all the old flooring and mastic...seriously, I think you could safely attach wings to a plane with that glue! 

Next, I tackled the sheetrock repair and texture...hence the tarp to prevent a MAJOR dust storm! 

Since I was basically "patching" the sheetrock where I had removed the closet walls, I used this process! I can not stress enough how easy sheetrock repair can be if you follow these steps. Since the area I needed to texture was much larger than just a little patch, I used a "sheetrock hopper" to blow texture on the walls. I actually had a painter friend come over and help me with this step since he is a master at using the hopper and could "blend" the old with the new seamlessly! 

Then paint! I can't say it enough...there is a huge plus to knowing the exact formula for your paint. Someday soon I really want to repaint my downstairs....someday! Again, can't wrap my brain around that chore! But knowing exactly what I painted the walls with 8 years ago allowed me to paint the new patched areas and blend it with the "old." 

After the walls were repaired, textured and painted, it was time to tackle the BIG project...the staircase. That had to be done before the new tile could be installed because I was moving the existing newel post that sat at the bottom of the stairs and extending the bottom step, which changed the layout of the flooring. 

The first challenge...matching the existing stain color (as much as I dislike it!)  David, at our local Sherwin Williams, usually does a bang up job of matching existing stain. He did an AWESOME job on my kitchen stain! This time even he struggled. I think the biggest problem is that the original clear coat is poly...and poly "ambers" over time, which deepens the color. I ended up using David's "match" mixed with a premixed stain and final got a decent match. I stained and sealed all the pieces before installing!

The next big head-scratcher for me was figuring the exact angle and method to cut the existing bannister, trim and bottom rails without removing it all. After much hymning and hawing and measuring and drawing, I drug out every power tool in my arsenal and made the cuts! And did a little sanding to get a good tight fit! MAJOR dust storm!

I also had to build a new "base" for the wider bottom step. As I said, it's a "puzzle" and sometimes you just have to measure, figure, plan and execute as you go...when you are meshing new with old it can be a little more challenging than starting from scratch! 

Again, I could post a long drawn out tutorial...but honestly Google and youtube are all you need. You will find much better videos and tutorials than I could ever provide.

And this is pretty much how it sat for another week. Why...because the old adage "measure twice, cut once" only works when your brain computes properly at least once...if it computes improperly BOTH times, you will cut your special order materials wrong and have to wait on them after you reorder them! 

As soon as my special REorders came in and I was able to finish up the two steps and newel post, I installed my travertine tile. Then...it sat...AGAIN!

Why...well because I couldn't decide whether I wanted to add a little trim detail. I contemplated shiplap...maybe a decorative wainscoting...or maybe board and batten.

In the end, I went with the board and batten. I'm not totally swooning over it, but it is a nice little touch (again, find a GOOD tutorial if you plan on adding this...there are hundreds of great ones out there in blogland!)

Soooo....drumroll......get ready for a lot of pictures!

Okay...you may notice that other than a funky rug and the little walnut table, there isn't any "froo-froo" yet. As I have said before, I don't decorate for poops and giggles..."stuff" has to have some meaning or be something I truly love...and so far I haven't found either for this space!

Eventually I also want to change/add lighting... I'll know it when I see it!

I seriously love the travertine tile. I laid it in a "brick pattern." It is a 12x24 tile so I staggered it 8-16-24". I also sealed it both before grout and after, which in my opinion, is a must for travertine! 

I still need to put one more coat of poly on the bottom two steps and the newel post but I am waiting until Matt is gone for a few days so I don't have to worry about anyone going upstairs!

HUGE difference!

While I was making a few entry changes, I thought it was about time to order a new rug for the living room. The old one was only two years old, but with the addition of the new living room chair and post-Cleo-puppy, it was time! I decided to go with simple and neutral this time! 

Aside from the wall paint I want to change, and the "butterscotch oak" I would like to restain, and the new hardwood floors I want to install and the new lighting I think would look good in the entry, I'm pretty darn happy with the changes. 

One upside to the "dust storms" this project created was it forced me to "purge" ALL my bookcases, even the ones in the den and my room....dust goes EVERYWHERE when you project! I had to pull all the books to clean so I decided it was time to get rid of 30 years of collecting! I saved two collections of my favorite authors (most notably my autographed John Grisham collection...thank you Matt!) and a few of my favorite books, but over 150 hardback books will soon be finding a new home...right now they are packed in egg boxes in my dining room! Now most of my shelves are scantly decorated with antique books, framed photos and a few family heirlooms!

Ahhhhh....room to breathe.....

 

 

Mid Century Chair Makeover and the trick to sewing vinyl!

Recently my mother has been on a purgefest. As a result, I have inherited a few beautiful pieces of furniture and several sets of family china. 

This little table was one that belonged to my paternal grandparents and is the catalyst for my entry makeover that I will finally share next week.

Not really my style, but again, it combines two of my first loves....heirlooms and walnut! 

This little chair belonged to my maternal grandmother...so when my mom offered it to me I honestly could not get it in my truck fast enough! THREE of my first loves....heirlooms, mid century AND walnut! 

(Again, excuse the quality of the picture...this is from my phone!)

As much as I would love to keep it, Katie tagged it for her condo. Since neither of us were real keen on the finish or the fabric, I immediately put her to work stripping and oiling the frame using this process and finding a new fabric for the cushions. 

After looking online at similar mid century chairs, she decided to go with a "leather look" white vinyl. Beautiful, but the fabric has one serious drawback.

It wouldn't go through my old sewing machine! (When I say old, I'm pretty sure I bought it before my oldest son was born...28 years ago!)

I have used vinyl and naugahyde before, but always for recovering chair seats...like these mid century dining chairs! I had never actually used it for a sewing project. I discovered that the vinyl-like material was NOT going to glide through a sewing machine, which posed a real problem when one needs to make new covers for a cushion, including all the piping! 

My uber smart, engineering minded daughter came up with a perfect (all-be-it tedious) solution. Wax paper!!!! I encased the strips of material I was using to make the piping in strips of parchment paper (that's what I had on hand and it worked just as well!), and it went through the machine like butter!! 

Since the vinyl had a fabric backing, it was not an issue to sew the cushions together since I was sewing the fabric front to front...so the back of the fabric was what was feeding through the machine. The only real problem was when I was making the piping because I was having to sew on the top of the fabric....that is where the parchment paper came in handy!

I covered the old foam with new batting just to give the cushions a little extra loft! Eventually Katie wants to add two little "button tufts" to the back cushion! 

After all the tedious machine work, the cushions turned out beautiful!

Katie has stripped and oiled her new coffee table, I built a little entertainment cabinet and coffee bar and we still have another little tufted barrel chair that needs to be reupholstered. Move in day is this weekend so we may not have everything done but we are getting there! I have been buying kitchen ware at auctions and thrift stores and their kitchen should be well stocked! Exciting time for my baby girl! 

And when we get done with all our little projects, they will have one groovy pad! (did I just show my age...lol!)

Until next week when I FINALLY share my entry makeover....