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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Amazing Adventures in Upholstery Painting.

You know when you just feel something in your gut and no matter how many tortilla chips and black bean/corn salsa you eat, you just can't get rid of it?

That's how it was when I started thinking about painting an upholstered chair. I've done small pieces before, and was quite smitten with the results. But wanting to do an entire chair, with wood legs and trim was the carrot dangling in front of me. Actually, it was more the challenge of how to paint the upholstery AND paint the wood in a contrasting color and do it so that it the transition between wood and upholstery made sense and didn't look, well, painted.

I researched. I read. I pondered and percolated. And then I found a chair.

I think I paid about $10 for it. The springs and upholstery were pretty spectacular...meaning, no sags, no tears, no snags, intact. There were a few stains. No big deal.
Day 1:  After removing all the braid trim and brass tacks,  I gave it a good vacuuming and cleaning.

The first layer of diluted chalk paint was brushed on... dampening the upholstery first so that the paint would absorb, but not too much. This does not look very pretty. I said goodnight to the chair and let it dry for 24 hours.

Day 2:  A second layer of paint was applied. This was a chalk paint special blend color that I created. Again, I dampened the upholstery just  touch so that the paint would glide on. Dip the brush ends in water, dip the brush in paint and apply, repeat. It's hard to give more specific details as to "how much" because I'm such an intuitive painter and finisher. Just enough water and paint to feel right to me....not too wet.
At this point, I also slapped some of the paint on the wood, because I knew I wanted some cohesion between the upholstery and the wood trim with the final result. Meaning...some layers of paint color from the chair would be revealed in the painted wood. I said goodnight to my chair and let it dry for 24 hours.

Day 3:  The final color...deepened the original mix and applied over the upholstery. I used the same technique as above...dampen the upholstery and wet the paint. I said goodnight to my chair and let it dry for 24 hours.

Day 4: A final coat of paint to the upholstery and  painting the wood trim and legs.  After the paint had dried on the wood, I aged it with a sanding block. This is when I started to get really, really excited. There were little crackles showing in the finish! Be still my heart! Goodnight chair. See you tomorrow.
Day 5:  A good waxing to seal the entire chair. Yup, it feels like leather.  I also applied a dark wax mix to some areas to reinforce the aging. This chair is now shining and fabulous and waxed and beautiful.

Absolutely gorgeous.

See that pretty braid trim? See the layers of paint?

Loving this result. 

I think I need more painted upholstery chairs in my shop. No, I KNOW I need more painted upholstery chairs in my shop! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Three looks, three projects, three hundred dollars.

Let 's face it. Most of us who love decorating and love vintage style also spend a good amount of time browsing catalogs and store websites for inspiration, We amass collections of images from magazines in our mind, dreaming of a redesign, inspired by those lovely rooms that are so artfully displayed. And typically WAAAY outside our budgets.

We love DIY. We love finding a way to have that coveted look on a budget. So, today, I'm excited to share that after all these months of preparing for the shop, we are finally getting to do some DIY projects for our own home!. Hopefully, you can will also be inspired to begin to transform your home and do it within your own budget.
Here are three looks that I had pinned for future reference, for our own home:

restoration hardware table  $2,495
williams sonoma $1350

mr beasley's antique american furniture $1495
1. Back in April, I sold my dining room table the week before Easter. Truth be told, I never liked that dining room table. It was a thrift store find, a good and sturdy table, which I just could not pass up at the time. I did some paint treatments to it, but never really loved it's subtle Moroccan lines. But Molly DID love it and I let her take it home while my family ate Easter Dinner around a slab of counter-top perched upon two sawbucks! Which was fine with all of us!!!

Well, last week, I found the best farm table. It has sturdy legs and a hefty composition, and exactly the personality which will compliment our mission style hutch and buffet. It cost $24.99. AND it's pretty beat up. The top is blotchy and stained, the legs dented and scratched, which is just the way I like it.  Because mission can be pretty dark and heavy. And we want to lighten up our space. Now keep in mind, my Restoration Hardware pictures tables are inspiration only...I'm looking at the color, the angular chunky legs. While my table will never be a perfect match, I think I can get the sense of style that I want with some creative paint finishing.

2. I have a friend named Lu. Lu had two slipper chairs in her dining room that I have coveted for years. Lu never really wanted to part with them, which I can completely understand. I always wanted slipper chairs for our living room. They have a slimmer profile without being too delicate...which would be perfect for our small space. Last week, on my lunch hour thrift run, I scored two slipper chairs. Lucky find...they had been custom made, the framework and structure is solid and sturdy, the fabric is faded, and well, it's navy blue plaid. I paid $22.00 each for them  So, at home in my stash, I have ten yards of natural twill that is dying to become slipcovers for those chairs.That fabric has been hanging around for years. I bought it at $6.00 a yard, with an additional discount of 20%. See, I was willing to jump on that bargain and hold on to it because...a. it's a neutral, and b. it's decorator weight and c. there were ten yards of it. I'm pretty sure I can create a similar Williams Sonoma look for my chairs.

3. A few weeks ago, we went camping at Allegany State Park. One day, we took a drive to Bradford, PA and while browsing around some local vintage and antique shops, I spotted the MOST gorgeous 1800's early Victorian dresser. Not Victorian in a fussy and precious way, but chunky, hand carved and solid. The price was right. Very right. But we had our Volvo.  For two days, I obsessed about that dresser. And JR even knew it was a good piece. So, would you believe, he drove two hours all the way back to Bradford, after we got back home two days get that dresser. What a guy. What a great guy. It just needs some cleaning up and liners in the drawers, but it's going in our bedroom to become part of a larger makeover project. The dresser was about $200.

So the transformations will begin. We will try to get a $6690 designer/magazine/retail/blogworthy look with an investment of just over $300 and our time. We love a challenge!