Club Chair Reupholstery

Last year I picked up a set of club chairs for $40. They were in nice shape (and comfortable!) but I didn’t love the navy, orange and gold fabric. I figured they would be a great introduction to furniture reupholstery. After sitting around the house for a year and a half, I finally got around to reupholstering one of the chairs. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 18 months to finish the second.

chair before and after

The refinishing and reupholstery process was really straightforward. I first removed the cushions from the wooden frame. They were attached by screws at the bottom. I then removed the cording that was stapled to the frame. The wooden frame was a little scuffed up so I gave it a good scrub with murphy’s oil soap. Followed by a light sanding with fine sand paper. I removed the sanding dust with a microfiber cloth and then used Restore-a-Finish in Walnut over the entire frame. Finishing it all up with my favorite product: Howard Feed-n-Wax.

Once the frame was done I tackled the cushions. Un-upholstering was the worst part of the process. Staples haunted my dreams for a couple nights. I removed the cording first, and then the fabric, finally pulling out any remaining staples with a flathead screwdriver and needle nose pliers.

The original foam was in amazing shape so I did not replace it. The upholstery job was really simple. Basically pulling the fabric tight and stapling. And my fabric choice…canvas drop cloth! What else would I use? I love the texture and color of drop cloth and the fact that it is durable and cheap is just the icing on the cake.

Once the cushions were upholstered I screwed them back into the frame. I chose not to finish the chair with cording yet. I don’t mind the way it looks without it, but adding cording will make it look perfectly finished. The cushions are really easy to remove so I can always add the cording at a later time – when I get the courage to sew it.

reupholstered club chair

reupholstered club chair

reupholstered club chair

The new fabric makes the chairs light and fresh. Now I have to decide if I want to keep them in the office or place them in the living room as pictured above. Decisions, decisions…


Built-in Refrigerator

Finishing the nook has started me on a kitchen finishing rampage. All the little details that have haunted me for the past two years are getting crossed off the list.

This past weekends victim…the “built-in” refrigerator. In our wonky house the fridge is actually inside a small space that is inset in the wall (basically a closet). This was not some clever space saving design decision. It’s just the way it was when we bought the house, and with no other space in the tiny kitchen for a fridge, it remained there.

We think the space originally might have been a pantry and at some point the doorway was sloppily widened to house a refrigerator. The floor of the space is the same tongue and groove hardwood as the rest of the house, but it is 4″ higher that the rest of the floors. And it gets even wonkier…It is also the only access to our attic. Gotta love old houses.

When we designed the new kitchen, I wanted the fridge to have a purposely built-in look. As opposed to the “cut a big hole in the wall” look. But something got lost in translation between the carpenter who installed our kitchen and my built-in fridge dreams. The rough cut hole was still there, the bottom of the cabinet left exposed, and the “baseboard” hanging off by a single sad nail. It actually looked a bit worse. He thought it looked great, and being that he had screwed up a bunch of other stuff in the kitchen we decided we would fix it ourselves… and two years later we did it.

*A little side note on the mechanics of this cabinet: The space that houses the fridge is 40″ deep. Which is deeper than a standard base cabinet. The carpenter cut the back of the cabinet box off, so there is a 4″ frame of cabinet box that attaches to the walls. He then took a piece of light oak melamine and cut it to the depth and width of the space. The melamine sits on cleats that you see in the photo above. Being that this space is also our attic access, a normal 24″ deep cabinet would not have allowed us to get up into the attic. This was very smart of the carpenter (I will give him that and that alone).

Now back to making things pretty… The first thing we did was unscrew the cabinet frame and slide it back so the doors would be flush with the vertical trim, giving the cabinet an inset look. We then detached the top trim piece cut it down and reattached it flush with the rest of the trim. We then cut back the cleats that held the melamine bottom. This was to enable us to attach a small piece of molding on the bottom to hide the shelf and be flush with the doors. At the very top, we attached cove crown molding to match the original cabinets on the opposite wall.

Built-in refrigerator cabinet

With the cabinet done we focused on cleaning up the fridge opening. We fixed the corner cut in the upper right corner, allowing us to finish the rough edge (to the right of the fridge) by adding a piece of corner molding. Finally, we added a 5.5″ baseboard at the bottom (remember the space the fridge is in is 4″ higher than the surrounding floor).

We then caulked all the little gaps and nail holes, and finished everything off with 2 coats of paint.

Built-in refrigerator

Built-in refrigerator

Built-in refrigerator

It took an entire day to finish and was so worth it. These little details make all the difference between the kitchen looking like a crappy DIY job and a well-designed, custom kitchen.

Squirrel Proof Pumpkins

I love the big beautiful orange pumpkins that pop up everywhere this time of year. The past few years I have even put them out on my front porch. Telling the neighborhood “Look at me! I like Halloween! And decorating! And pumpkins!” The only problem…the demon neighborhood squirrels feel the same way about big orange pumpkins. When they are not busy terrorizing my dog… or dropping garbage throughout my yard… or trying to make a nice home for the winter in my attic (story for another day), they enjoy feasting on nice juicy Halloween pumpkins.

My plan this year was to either buy some fake pumpkins (funkins) or make some of my own. That is, until I went on a walk around the hood last week and spotted not only the usual squirrel destroyed genuine pumpkins, but also funkins with their styrofoam innards strewn across porches. Turns out you can’t outsmart these squirrels, because they are realllll dumb.

Then, I saw a genius neighbor with metal jack-o-laterns. I liked the idea of these “squirrel proof” pumpkins but they looked like they cost money; something I am extremely averse to. So I decided to try my hand at making some metal  pumpkins of my own.

For this super duper awesome project you will need:

Bailing wire (you can find it in the fence section at hardware stores)

Wire Cutters

Thin pliable wire (I used floral wire)

An idea of what a pumpkin looks like

1. Cut 6 equal size lengths of bailing wire. You can judge the size by holding the ends together in a circle and seeing if that suits your fancy.

(NOTE: bailing wire is dirty and covered in some sort of black oil. You will look and smell like a diesel mechanic. Do not do this in a white evening gown or on a white rug).

wire pumpkin

2. Using the thin wire, secure the strips of bailing wire together by wrapping the middle.

3. Bring ends of wire together bending at angle at the top. This will become the stem. Secure together with thin wire.

wire pumpkin

4. Bend the wires out to make a circle “pumpkinish” shape.

wire pumpkin

5. Take a long piece of bailing wire and twist it around the loose ends to make a chunky stem.

wire pumpkin

6. Shape your pumpkin! To make it look less like a weird ball of coat hangers and more like a pumpkin — bend the wires down and then up around the stem. Push the bottom center up a little. I then flattened my sides a little. But pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes so this is up to your creative little heart.

wire pumpkin

7. Enjoy your amazing squirrel proof wire pumpkin!

I wrapped one of my pumpkins in orange Halloween lights.

wire pumpkin

wire pumpkin

Other cool things to do with these wire pumpkins would be: spray paint them, wrap it with ribbon or yarn, put a candle in it. The possibilities are endless!

Thanks squirrels! Without you I would have never been inspired to make pumpkins out of bailing wire and share it with the internetz. Enjoy your fresh pumpkins and funkins throughout the neighborhood.

We Made a Bed

We are currently drowning in laundry room renovations, so I thought why not add another project to the mix? Living in a 90 year old house with no cooling system gets pretty hot in the summer. Especially if two adults (one large, one small) are sharing a full size bed.  As the temps soared, the bed seemed to get smaller and smaller, hotter and hotter. One night at 2 a.m. I decided I had enough. It was time for a queen bed! This plan was riddled with a few problems: 1. Beds are expensive and I am the cheapest person in the world. 2. We live in a house made for tiny people and tiny furniture. Our master bedroom is only 9 feet long. We are limited to a bed with a maximum length of 84 inches in order for the door to open and do special things like walk around it. This greatly diminishes the choices. Many of you are probably thinking, “Why not get a cheap metal frame and just have the mattress and box spring?”. Tiny house wins again, a queen size box spring won’t fit through our tiny hallway and 78″ high door frames. Then I googled, “DIY bed frame”. So many tutorials! My fellow crazy people making their own bed frames. Saving money, risking divorce… seems like a great idea. I drew up some plans, convinced my sleeping partner, bought a lot of 2x4s, and we were in business. The words “Why aren’t we BUYING a bed?!”, were only yelled a few times. Repeatedly answered with “Because I am cheap and insane”. I based my bed frame off of this really nice plan for a West Elm inspired bed on Decor and the Dog blog. I even bought a Kreg mini jig to drill pocket holes. It was very professional. DIY bed frame All in all, it took about half a day, two fights and $45 worth of wood. Totes worth it. (The Kreg jig was an extra $20). DIY bed frame DIY bed frame The raw wood gives that rustic look I am going for. With the lumber stamps adding a graphic touch. I am actually going for something similar to this bed from Restoration Hardware:

Restoration Hardware Parsons Headboard with Bed Skirt

I plan on making a headboard out of a hollow core door, upholstering it with drop cloth, and making a bedskirt that will go directly over the frame out of drop cloth as well. So basically, the insanity continues….