12 March 2010

Before & After: Re-Covered Dining Room Chairs

I have this great table & chairs set. They belonged to my grandma, then my parents, and now me. They are painted an olive green, which I love. I suppose some day I could strip them or paint them a different color, but for now I love exactly how they are.

Except for the seats. Gross.

They are ancient, cracking vinyl. And they are really hard. No cushion for the tush.

So I've actually had these chairs for several years and never done anything with them, even knowing how EASY it is to change them. Lazy.

So I was at our local little thrift store the other day and found this fabric:

It was only $2 for 1 3/4 yards, more than enough. I'm not sure how it will wear over the years as seat cushion fabric, but seriously, does it matter? They are so easy to recover that I can replace them when I want.

Bad blogger, I didn't take during photos. But just so you know, I unscrewed the seats from the chairs, set them on the floor over the fabric and cut the fabric with a few inches extra all the way around. I also got a 4-pack of 1-inch foam & cut those the same shape as the seats. I made a sandwich - fabric, foam & seat - then stapled the fabric to the back, stretching as I went. Then I screwed the seats back on and...

New chairs!

Are they perfect? No.

But are they better? Yes. Much better. And much more comfortable.

And just to keep it even more real, that little coaster on the floor in the above picture is there to mark a spot on the floor where a wood splinter needs glued down.

We're pretty casual here.

Thanks for stopping by!

02 March 2010

I love you, Craig. You and that list of yours.

I think I'm doing pretty good with my self-imposed rules of decorating our house in nothing but thrift, gifts & what we already have. I'd like to add major clearance to that list. You should see the lamp I just found on clearance from TJMaxx. But that's for another post.

This one is all about Craig and his magnificent list. Since we returned from overeseas last summer I've discovered the thrifty joy of craigslist! The bathroom vanity that's still in process was from the list, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Our living room is...petite. The giant sofas we had in our last house probably won't even fit through the doors of our little house. Knowing that we would need flexibility, I started lurking around on Craigslist weeks before we bought our house.

I was specifically looking for a sectional sofa that could be moved around however we wanted. Stop picturing that giant hunter green pit group in your best friend's basement that you spent hours on watching MacGyver.  Sectionals now-a-days are streamlined and contemporary, and they are perfect for small spaces! I was inspired by this photo from Brooke over at Velvet & Linen:

Except on a rather less grand scale.

After viewing lots and lots of horrid puffy 1980s sectionals, I found this:

What? You don't think it's fantastic? Have a little imagination. Picture it in a home with beautiful hardwood floors. Throw some pillows on it. Add a nice coffee table. And eventually a neutral slipcover. Trust me. It's fantastic.

It has clean lines. It's quality construction. It is in pristine condition. It doesn't smell.
I'm not super wild about the flame-stitch, but I don't absolutely hate it. I googled "flame stitch" and found that it is making a comeback in interiors. Yay for me!

Bonus: look what you can do with it!

Talk about pit group.

There are six individual pieces that can be arranged lots of different ways. Three corner pieces and three slipper chairs. I'm not sure what decade this thing comes from. Anyone know? If it's from the 80's, I'm impressed at how streamlined it is. I'm thinking 70's, but it's in such good shape!

And best of all, it was only $150.


When our floors were finally finished, this was the first piece of furniture we moved it. Here it is as it looks currently:

It's really comfy & lets both of us stretch out & still sit together. We have one of the slipper chairs in the guest room and one in the corner of the living room. I have no idea where that one will go when we get our piano in... But when we have company & we all want to watch a movie, we just add in a chair to expand the sectional.

Since I bought a new sewing machine, I've started the long process of making slip covers for all six pieces and the cushions. Daunting! But since the lines of this piece are straight, and I'm not using piping, I think it will be pretty easy (famous last words). I've made slipcovers before here and here, so I know what a pain it will be.

I'll let you all know when the slipcovers are finished. I'm using natural cotton duck. I'm excited to be able to replace the winter-y sweater pillows add summery throw pillows with pattern!

I'm currently trolling Craigslist for the perfect daybed with a pop-up trundle bed for our guest room. I know he won't let me down.

So, all my love to you, Craig. Thank you for making a list.

01 March 2010

Oh, The Carnage of Poor Packing!

So as many of you know, we spent two years living in Spain doing missions work. While we were gone, all of our possessions that we didn't take with us sat in storage that whole time. Some things lived in my mom & dad's basement (thanks!!) and the rest lived in a storage trailer behind their barn (thanks again!!). It was a great option for us because we didn't have to pay for storage, but the trailer wasn't climate controlled. As you can imagine, we've had a few casualties of storage.

Some of those unfortunate losses were because of moisture or varmints that we tried our best to prevent, but you can't stop everything. However, I recently found a tub of carnage that was completely my fault.

NEVER, and I say NEVER, pack a SNOW GLOBE to be stored in a non-climate controlled environment. Water freezes & expands. Then the glass breaks. I knew that. Now I really know it.

These were iron reindeer. Now they are rusty reindeer.

This gal looks more like a mummy than an angel.

These were olive wood bells from Israel that have been in our family for years.

My collection of vintage glass Christmas balls were all wet inside & out.

But there is hope. Some things can be salvaged...

She looks disgusted with me, as she should be. But look, lady, now you have a lovely "patina".

This is probably why she's ticked. Nothing a little glue won't fix.

The bells have their own patina now. They look like they've been in our family for centuries!

And after washing the vintage glass balls, most of the paint came off. I kind of like them now, though. They look like bubbles.

Something that seems like a disaster doesn't always have to turn out that way. I may have lost a few things, and I had to put some elbow grease into cleaning up my mess, but it's not the end of the world for the things that were damaged. The scars can give them character that may end up being appreciated more than a flawless finish.

Got disasters? Got flaws? Find the value in the scars. It's there. Trust me.