Apr 302014
 

I cannot believe I have not posted in 20 days!  What’s up with that?  Well lots….

I began this blog to share my love for updating vintage furniture with paint and upholstery.  But I do so many other thingsMy mind is always whirling.  I try to post at least 2 times a week with something concrete, like a finished project.  However, recently my projects have been in the realm of areas, I did not plan to blog about.  I recently spent HOURS creating a photo collage in PhotoShop for a dancer mom, whose daughter (like mine soon to be) was turning 18.  it involved scanning, editing, and creating.  I had created a collage for the older sister so, well, a mom must be consistent.  It took me hours but it is a labour of love because her daughter and my baby were dance partners, in a competitive dance program  from age 5 to age 15.  They both became a couple of the most amazing tappers in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).  Just how adorable are they?

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I am also the President of the Board of Directors of a charitable foundation, established to raise funds for the arts based school my daughter attends.  We are a small board who have taken on the challenge of re-inventing our mandate.  As such, I struggle with the apathy of parents who believe “someone else will do it”, be it to donate or volunteer.  I have put in hours upon hours creating a website and other social media outlets as well as design mailers and other deliverables.  My mantra for this work is “baby steps”.  Things will not happen overnight but they will happen!  Last week good karma was on my side.  An amazing alumni couple came forward with a willingness to volunteer and get involved.  My heart soared!  But there is so much more to do. 

Back to blogging.  I have a garage full of “projects”  and a mind full of ideas but a heart full of fatigue. 

Is this blogger’s block or just a BLIP? Tell me!!

I have trouble getting myself organized!  There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO!

And of course, like all moms… I worry!  It is also a time of university selection decisions and my darling daughter has so many options.  Besides being beautiful, talented and very hard working she is incredibly bright.  She has been accepted at ALL her university choices.  I know, woe is us! (sarcasm!)  This is not something to complain about but it is difficult … this decision decides the direction of her life… AND it is not OUR decision, it is hers.

Back to my blogging dilemma, I did paint some kittens! Not real ones of course!  Vintage bookends!   Even though my high school grad daughter is most likely beyond kitten bookends,   I still love them!  They were cute in gold but I gave them a clean update in a silvery white.

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Silvery white kittens

 

Having moaned on about my lack of creativity and output.  I do have the cutest desk waiting to be painted along with a chair needing paint and upholstery. I want it done in a week!  I also have a rattan patio set of my nephew and his wife and  so many other things!!   Can I get out our my “funk”?  I sure hope so! 

Life just seems to be moving fast and I seem to be on “pause” for the moment. 

I will catch up.  I promise!  There is more to me than kittens!

Stay tuned!

Joan

 Posted by at 2:54 pm
Apr 102014
 

I have replaced damaged caning in both wicker and wood furniture and thought I would share my not so sophisticated method with you.

In all cases, the cane I replaced was a seat, surrounded by a wood frame.   Many people, seeing damaged cane like the photo below will cut a piece of wood and simple cover the seat.  I suppose if it always has a cushion hiding it, it doesn’t matter.  Personally, I love cane and  replacing it is far easier than you may think.

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Original Damaged Seat.

The first step is to remove the old caning.  Depending on the age of the piece, this can be easy or very difficult.  In the case of a wicker chair I refinished, it was easy.  With some coaxing (chiseling) at the spline, which holds the cane in the groove, I was able to pull out the old caning relatively easily.  In the case of the antique rocker above, the glue used in days gone by was like titanium!   I needed to resort to nail polish remover and a drill.  I even broke a couple of bits in the process!  I am sorry I have no pictures of this task.  It was a frustrating adventure where photos were not foremost on my mind 🙂 

Once you remove the old cane, be sure the channel / groove is clean so the cane and new spline can be inserted. 

I purchased both the sheet of pre-woven cane material and the spline at Lee Valley Tools, which, luckily for me is a 10 minute drive from my home.  You can also order it online here.  (Note:  I have no affiliation with Lee Valley Tools.  They are just a great store!)

Before you begin,  the caning and the spline both need to soak in water for a few hours or in my case,  if you get busy, a day or two!  Regardless, it needs to be soft and pliable.

I began by testing that the spline will easily go into the groove and cut the spline to size with an additional 1/2 inch.  In my first attempt at replacing a cane seat, I cut the spline about 1/4 inch too short and I was very annoyed to see the tiny gap.

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Measuring the spline. Add a bit extra and cut the excess once inserted

Once you are ready to work, cut the caned sheet roughly the size of the opening with a good 1.5 t0 2 inch border all around.

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Lay the caning sheet in place, centered.  Begin on the straight sections of the groove and insert the caning into the groove.

THIS IS WHERE WE CAN GET CREATIVE!   There are tools for this.  But I used what I could find at home.  For one project, I used a metal spatula to push the cane into the groove.

For this chair, I happened to have a pack of SHIMS on hand and they definitely fit the bill.  I simply cut the thin ends off to the appropriate width and tapped them in with a hammer.

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Cut the shims to an appropriate with and tapped them into the groove.

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I worked around the opening, making sure the cane was taunt

(BTW:  that hammer was my dad’s and it’s over 70 years old!)

Once you have pushed the cane material securely into the groove, you need to cut away the excess, just below the top of the groove.  This is a daunting step.  You need a VERY SHARP exacto blade or box cutter.  The caning can begin to unravel a bit so it is important to get a nice clean cut.  Try very hard to make sure the cut is just below the top.  The few stragglers still sticking up can be trimmed later.

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Cut the excess cane away, just below the outer lip of the groove.

Now it is time to insert the spline.  Use a wood or all purpose glue, one that dries clear and run a generous bead inside the groove, on top of the cane.

Then begin to insert the spline.  Start at the centre of the back and work your way around.

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Insert the spline, starting at the centre of the back of the opening.

I wrapped a rag around the hammer so I would not damage the wood when I tapped in the spline.

Once you reach the beginning, cut the spline to the correct size.   Be sure to tap all around to ensure the spline is well inserted and then let the glue dry!

That’s it!

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Not counting the terrible time I had removing the old cane seat, I think this job took me just over an hour to complete!

From what I have read, cane is meant be left natural and colour with age.  However, it can be stained but only on the top.  It needs to breathe.  I am thinking of staining this seat since the chair is so dark. 

What do you think:  stain or leave au natural?

Have you ever replaced a cane seat?

If you try it, let me know how it goes for you. 

Why cover the damaged seat with wood when replacing the caning is so easy!

I think this chair is definitely Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

Feb 162014
 

I live in Canada: aka “The Great White North”.  By no stretch of the imagination is Toronto a place where we are buried in snow for 6 months.  But every so often we get a particularly nasty winter.  This is one of them! It started with early snow, then a Christmas ice storm, followed by cold, snow, cold, snow, and more cold and snow! It is in winters like this when February can be the most debilitating month of all!

A few weeks ago I shared my post “MISSION: Colour” where I pulled a gorgeous colour out of a painting and used the colour, “Maxi Teal,” to paint my foyer table.

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I love the VIBRANT colours in this triptych painting!

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I selected SW “Maxi Teal” for the foyer table from some brush strokes  in the lower area of the painting,
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Another predominant colour in the painting is GREEN!  There are so many shades but I seem to be particularly drawn to shades of APPLE GREEN!

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So Many Beautiful Greens!

 I stumbled across a very cool website (http://colors.findthedata.org) which describes colours, provides the hex value and even gives you specific matching paint colours from Sherwin Williams and Pantone!

Apple

Apple Green!

Here’s what it had to say about Apple Green:

‘Apple Green’ is a shade of Green that is 100% saturated and 71% bright.  For reference purposes, Apple Green has the hex value #8DB600.  Searching for paints similar to Apple Green?   Sherwin Williams® carries a paint called ‘Electric Lime‘, which is 95% similar to Apple Green.   Additionally, Pantone’s® color #376 is a 95% match.

 Isn’t that cool!  But it makes me wonder, “Who wrote up all this information?” 

The previous post was titled “MISSION: Colour” and as it suggests, it is just the beginning!  I have since begun adding colour in my living room.  We updated our living room in 2012 with new flooring and furniture.  Being forever “safe” we chose  cream coloured sofa and chairs so it is easy to accessorize.  However, at the time, I played it safe with golds and greys and a bit of pale turquoise.  That was the case until I picked up this little birdie last summer at HomeSense (the Canadian version of  HomeGoods).  He has been adding a perfect pop of colour to the coffee table or the mantle.

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I love this little guy!  Doesn’t he make you smile?

As part of MISSION: Colour, I decided the easiest way to add colour to my living room would be to change up the pillows.  I have been sewing for decades so whipping up pillows is no challenge to me so I will not provide any “how to”  instructions.  But basically, you cut the fabric, add the zipper and sew up the sides!  (I imagine all my the non sewing readers are thinking “Easy for her to say!”).   I headed to my local  FabricLand where I found the most vibrant “jewel” coloured upholstery fabric in a soft chenille finish.  AND of course it was on sale so I bought a variety of colours.  I plan on making new covers for most of the cushions in  both the living and family room (which also has a “safe” palette).

Today, I would like to share the Apple Green lumbar pillows for the chairs.

Here is a look at the living room in December 2012.  This was taken shortly after new flooring and furniture, before drapes, before hanging any pictures and before the Apple Green Bird.  🙂

living room progress

A very safe colour palette.

I loved the look and still do but lately I need COLOUR!

Here’s a sneak peak on what I have done so far! But stay tuned because there are lots more colours to come!

green pillow

I am loving the change already!

The drapes in the picture are from FabricLand and were less than $90!  They look so posh and custom made!  The table in between the chairs is my Paris Table updated using chalk paint and the Mod Podge graphic transfer method.  It has not sold yet (.. and maybe won’t be!)  Check out post here.

In the fall, my husband visited his elderly parents in England.  His mom has always been a bit of a hoarder which sometimes can be good when you are the recipient of some old books from the early 1900s (not the bottom 2).  Titles from Victor Hugo, Thomas Hardy and Dickens! 

Doesn’t Apple Green look amazing with Crimson Red?  I love this combo! 

bird books

Sneak peak of my Green Apple Bird and a couple of his friends on the mantle.

The little white birds are part of a set of 4 napkin rings given to me several years ago.  They are so adorable!

That little green bird makes me smile and has been a wonderful source of fresh colour in the living room.  So on a recent trip to HomeSense, I spotted this adorable matching squirrel in my other favourite and inspiring colour TEAL!  Time the Apple Green bird had a friend!

squirrel

I also love TEAL so I picked up a friend for the bird!

Stay tuned for more splashes of colour as I continue on to the next phase of MISSION: Colour!

Do you have a colour that makes you smile and feel happy the way Apple Green does for me?

If you do, please share!  Just like Apple Green, reading comments also make me smile and feel happy!

Joan

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You may find me linking at these great parties.

Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!

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Heavens Garden
DIY Show Off
  Three Mango Seeds party
Monday Funday at TWCS
GiveMeTheGoodsMondaynewbutton
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home Metamorphis Monday  
The DIY'ers
The Gunny Sack
cozy little house button  
A Stroll Thru Life
House on the Way A Bowl Full of Lemons
Kammy's Korner SoMe2
Ivy and Elephants
The DIY Dreamer
frog tiny
MamaBuzz
   photo 1001954_10101065966207063_96074138_n_zpsa41e371a.jpg
  Before and After Wednesday Image.jpg Photobucket vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300
Nancherrow
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Creativity Unleashed Link Party
jenrizzo  
birdsonawirebutton The Thrifty Groove DIY Vintage Chic Craft Dictator The Shabby Nest
  Tickled Pink at 504 Main Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Furniture Feature Fridays  
  nestwegg2 nestwegg2
Too Much Time On My Hands DIY It's Overflowing Live Love Create  
RRbutton125 TDC Before and After  

Feb 022014
 

Just like the old adage, “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”  I have found many men do not like to be associated with the concept of “dumpster diving”.  Until of course their find becomes something amazing.

This is the case of my husband’s snooker buddy, Wayne.  He comes over once week to play on that huge piece of real estate we call a snooker table (a type of billiards).  He has seen and admired many of my Nicer Than New transformations sitting in the open space next to the snooker table.  Last week, he brought over a cute but oh so disgusting bench asking if I could do anything with it.    When I inquired about the bench’s origin and after much prompting, he reluctantly revealed he picked it up in his condo’s trash bin.   Like I care!

“But it fit our front hall perfectly!  It was just the right size”
I teased him with “Yes, Wayne but it is laminate,  filthy, ugly and covered in cat hair.”  
No way was I telling him I LOVED IT!  

Fast forward a week… 
with paint and new upholstery,  I was tempted to wrestle Wayne at my door so I could keep it! 

Here is how the little beast looked when it arrived. 
  A little time in the snow was going to hurt it 😉

real men don't dumpster dive

Laminate. Dirty. Dated.

real men don't dumpster dive

Handy storage. Cardboard backing on the lid.

After removing the back and the seat, I washed it down with TSP.  Before adding the Zinsser primer, I rubbed the surface with Klean-Strip de-glosser as an added measure. 

NOTERegarding the deglosser, it is not available in Canada.  Not sure why because it does not seem toxic and in my experience, it works very well.  Luckily, there are no shortage of Canadians visiting the US so I now have an ample supply.  The Zinsser I have on hand is one of two pale-yellow-tinted OOPS I found at the Habitat For Humanity store for $4 each.  Really?  Who cares if your primer is white or the palest of yellows?  It will be painted over anyway!

real men don't dumpster dive

Primed.

I glued down the loose trim and began to remove the old upholstery and foam.   I thought I had enough of the “Disco Dane” fabric left over from the Scandinavian chair I re-finished last year, but I was short a few inches.  On a visit to Fabricland, I scored a fabulous chevron on the reduced table in manly colours Wayne would like.  Best of all it was only $5 per yard!   I still had some of my favourite black paint, Behr’s Black Suede, left over from my rattan kitchen table,  the retro phone table , the chess table and the Pottery Barn style chair.  It is quite remarkable how far a $20 can of paint will go!

I was absolutely thrilled with the result!

Wayne was in awe! 

real men don't dumpster dive

Lovin’ it!

real men don't dumpster dive

I painted the inside with ochre from a sample size OOPS from Home Depot. ($1)

real men don't dumpster dive

Sitting by the fireplace instead of in the snow 😉

real men don't dumpster dive

This is just one more example of what paint and upholstery and a little elbow grease to do to what otherwise was a piece of garbage. 

before and after real men don't dumpster dive

Best of all,  Wayne is now a “Dumpster Diver” Convert!
He is no longer embarrassed to admit this came from a dumpster!

It is truly “Nicer than New”!

Do you like to dumpster dive?

I love to hear from you!
Comments just make my day!

Joan

 

 

Jan 062014
 

I know.  It’s a pretty corny title but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Last year, I acquired a vintage Queen Anne style coffee table which I then converted into a tufted bench for the end of our bed.  It was my first attempt at tufting something and I was very pleased at how it turned out.  Since it was pre-blogging so I only have a few pictures. 

Before:  a basic long, narrow table

Before: a basic long, narrow table

Spray adhesive glued the 4" foam in place

Spray adhesive glued the 4″ foam in place

We love it.  So handy too.

We love it. So handy too.

 We love it!  It looks great to most people but as the DIY-er, I can spot things I should have done differently.  And I am also still considering painting the base.

For the past year, I have been helping a dear friend update and brighten her cozy downtown Toronto apartment on a budget.  (I hope to post about this in the near future.) She liked my bench so much, she asked me to make one for her narrow entrance.  With my estate sale addiction, I was able to find the perfect table through MaxSold .  Not only did I get the rectangular table, it came with TWO 2-tiered step tables for $10.00!!  Now that’s what I call a BARGAIN!

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The “soon to be bench” table

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Two of these cuties plus the coffee table…
all for $10!!

1.  Replace the top with Plywood

With my first bench the table top had straight sides with rounded corners so I used the original top.  However, with this table, you can see the table edges are not straight and not suitable.  No worries!  I had some left over 1/2 inch plywood in the garage which I cut to size.  NOTE:  I cut the plywood to the exact size of the base, with no overhang.

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Note the plywood is cut to the size of the base with no overhang.

2.  Purchase Foam

Once I had the dimensions for the top, I purchased 4 inch thick foam that was 1 inch wider and 1 inch longer than the top.  This additional foam is important so when you are doing the final upholstering and pulling the fabric over the sides, the foam will cover the edge of the top, making it padded as well.  I have been fortunate to have found a foam wholesaler near my home who will sell to people off the street.  They cut it while you wait to the thickness and size you want.  There prices are very reasonable too.  The foam can be the most expensive part of the project.

3. Plan your tufts

You can add as many tufts as you like but remember the more tufts you have the more fabric you will need because each tuft uses a fair amount of fabric.  Like my first bench, I used 11 tufts.  Even with what I thought was good planning, I nearly did not have enough fabric!

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On the foam, mark where each tuft will go.
I drew a grid and then added a mark at each half way point.

4. Make Holes in the Foam

To make room for the fabric to be pulled down to create a tuft, it is best to create a small hole in the foam.  I learned the hard way that you CANNOT USE A DRILL!!  Using a drill, twists and gouges out the foam and could ruin your project.  Looking through drawers, I found an apple corer which did the trick!  I didn’t take any pictures but basically I inserted the corer twice to make a circular hole and pulled out the cigar shaped pieces of foam.  Brilliant!

5. Creating the Tufts with a Drill and Wood Screws

A  FEW  NOTES: 

The yellow fabric I used for this bench was thick so I did not add any batting on the top of the foam.  I did however for the first bench. Because of the thick fabric, I was unable to use buttons you cover with fabric as I did with my original  bench. For original bench, I made holes in the foam AND I drilled matching holes in the table top.   I used covered buttons and a long needle with a sturdy cord to pull the button down and through the top  to make the tuft.

Because I could not use covered buttons, I decided to use a tufting technique posted by Elisha from Pneumatic Addict Furniture.

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Drill, washers, wood screws and a skewer to help find the holes.

Once I located the holes, I used the drill to screw wood screw with washer, through the fabric, the hole in the foam and into the wood.  The washer is necessary so the screw will not go through the fabric.  The screws in this picture were too short.  I ended up using 2 1/2 inch screws.  When I was finished and I turned the top over, I found some screws went through the wood.  So all tufts would be the same, I adjusted all the screws so they would not come through the wood.

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Wood screw with a washer.

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2 1/2 inch screws worked best for 4″ foam

6. Finish the upholstering and add Buttons

I don’t have any photos of this step.  I was alone so I couldn’t hold, staple and photograph all the the same time.  I use an pneumatic (air) staple gun and a small compressor.  (I borrowed the compressor from my neighbour who rarely uses it.  He told me to keep it at my house … “off site storage” LOL.) I found regular buttons that matched and used a glue gun to attach them in the tufts.

7. Paint the Base and Attach the Top

Here  is where my indecision came in…  It took me FOUR versions to get something we both really liked and was special!

Version 1:  my "go-to" ivory homemade chalk paint

Version 1: my “go-to” ivory homemade chalk paint

Version 2:  a beachy look by dry brushing blue and gold over the ivory

Version 2: a beachy look by dry brushing blue and gold over the ivory

Version 3:  A nice "Oops" grey

Version 3: A nice “Oops” grey

I liked all of the first three versions but none really “wowed” me.  After all, the reason we have been updating her apartment was to add colour and pizzazz to a the previously dark, monochromatic space. 

Finally, she asked

“Could you paint it red“?

YES!!!!

 All I needed was a sample jar from Home Depot and 15 minutes and VOILA!

I love the red!

I love the red!

 

bench with shaped label

 We both love how it turned out.  Interestingly, in the post that inspired me to use wood screws, Elisha also painted her bench base red! 

I hope you find my tutorial clear and useful.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me. 

In the meantime, I would love some suggestions as to what to do with the original curvy edged table top ???

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Nov 132013
 

I love finding vintage one of a kind pieces for next to nothing.  When I saw this chair at a garage sale last summer, I loved the scroll detail on the legs.  Only $5 for this cute, solid oak chair!  Got to love that!

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Love the scroll!

After sitting in my garage for a few months, I decided the chair would look great with a black, distressed Pottery Barn like finish because the oak finish underneath would be a nice rich colour. I mixed up some homemade chalk paint using  Behr Black Suede and calcium carbonate, both of which I already had.   (BTW:  I LOVE this shade of black!  It is aptly named because it seems to have a depth or softness about it and it works perfectly for the Pottery Barn treatment.)  After two coats, I did a bit of distressing and added 2 coats of  Varathane.

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I love how it turned out!

Now on to the seat!  Stripping off old chair coverings can be like opening an old trunk in an attic.
Overall, the seat cover looked okay but when looking at the underside, I could tell it had been recovered and needed some fixing.
The original seat cover was leather!

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There were a gazillion nails to remove!

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Leather!

Using my handy dandy Dremel saw and some wood I  had in the garage, I cut a new support for the bottom.

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I love this tool!

When I removed the gazillion tiny tacks, I found the seat had been stuffed with horse hair!  A discovery which is somewhat exciting and disgusting all the the same time!  The horse hair stuffing does not necessarily provide an age for the chair but it does indicate the chair is vintage if not antique.

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Cool and Yucky!

Originally, I was planning on covering the seat with either burlap or a painter’s drop cloth, with perhaps a graphic on it.  However, once the chair was painted, I didn’t like the look.

Then on a trip to my local FabricLand, I spotted a cool black and grey remnant in the discount bin.  I was really drawn to it but I kept thinking I already had some of it at home.  It just looked so familiar.  Regardless I decided it would look great on the Pottery Barn like chair and it was only going to cost me $3.

After I got it home, I realized why it was so familiar!
It looks just like my little Coach bag!
And the weight and texture of the fabrics are very similar!

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They are so similar!

 All I needed to buy was the fabric because I had the foam, paint and varathane.

Pretty nice chair for around $10!

Pottery Barn meets Coach

Pottery Barn meets Coach!

I LOVE IT!!  HAPPY DANCE TIME IN THE LEAVES!

It would appear,
I created a DOUBLE KNOCK OFF!

Should Coach start making furniture?  Tell me what you think?

Oct 232013
 

The prospect of becoming a Grandmother is many years off in my future.  However, I have had the privilege of being a Great-Aunt many times over.  Of late, I seem to have an urge to practice the grandmother role and my niece’s adorable little boys have been my target.  There are THREE of them ages 7 and under!  I love reading her Facebook posts of a life with boys.  Having had only one child, a daughter, I can only imagine her life with three boys.

One of my current painting projects is a cool little something for the  little guys.  I’m loving how it is coming along but it’s not quite done.  In the meantime, I thought I would share the bedroom furniture I finished last summer for Xander, the 7 year old.

In the spring,  I scored a free vintage children’s desk and dresser.  It’s just too difficult to turn down decent FREE furniture…even when you have absolutely no use for it!  So I offered to paint them for Xander’s room.   He happens to LOVE ORANGE.  To tame the orange theme, my niece also selected a grey and blue.  Perhaps I need to qualify the last sentence … My niece and her certified interior designer sister selected the colours.  They are all from all Benjamin Moore:

My nieces live in another city so we used Pinterest to gather and share ideas on a shared board.  Pinterest was the perfect tool for collaborating on this project.  However, there were so many options and super creative ideas out there, I just couldn’t decide for the longest time.  In the end, I chose to paint stripes and I am happy I did!

This project was pre-blogging but I always tried to take pictures of my projects.  (Perhaps I foresaw my blogging future?)
I LOVE how the pieces turned out.  The stripes remind me of race cars!

Xander chair copy

Cleaning and prepping in the sun

desk and chair copy

I love the orange and grey combo!

Done cropped copy

If I were a 7 year old boy, I think I would love it!

I spray painted the knobs in Rustoleum’s Brushed Nickel and replaced the more ornate pulls with simple ones from Home Depot, so to not distract from the clean lines.

The chair in the pictures was a Goodwill find and the local Fabricland had the perfect orange upholstery fabric in the remnants bin.

These may not be to my personal taste but I love how it all came together
and  Xander now has a very cool big boy room!

These pieces are so unique and much

“Nicer Than New”!

Be sure to come back and see my next Great Aunt project.

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