REUPHOLSTERING LOUIS DINING CHAIRS: PART 1

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Remember when I found this set of 6 Louis XV style dining chairs on Craigslist?
Well after much thought I've finally decided to tackle them myself. 
It's been awhile since I've done any major DIY projects, but this should be a fairly simple (though slightly time consuming) project. To be honest, I'm just sick of seeing these white chairs hanging out in my dining room, and since I actually have everything I need to get them done, that's what I'm gonna do. My dining room is begging for reupholstered chairs.
The plan is to refinish the frames in a high gloss black and reupholster the cushions in a black cotton with a white double contrast welt on the front of the chair and one of these numbers on the back. I'm leaning towards the using the middle print on the back of 4 chairs and the lambswool on the back of the 2 head chairs to keep it interesting. 
So the tedious part of this process is removing the old fabric, glue and staples from the frame. To do the detail work I used a mini flat head screwdriver and a set of vice grip or locking needle nose pliers. First you'll want to pull off the cording/welt/trim, then figure out the best way to remove the fabric. Fortunately I was able to use my pliers to pull off the first layer, then go back and remove each of the staples with my mini flat head...and there were lots. I saved the seat & back fabric remnants to make a template for the new fabrics and that was all it took to take these chairs apart. Pretty simple!

I'm painting as I go to allow the chairs to cure as long as possible. At this rate, I should be done sometime next week, but I'm not complaining! Once everything is stripped & painted, I'll show you how I reupholstered the cushions in Part II.
One down, 5 to go. 

BEFORE & AFTER: MINI BUFFET

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So the rabbit has been pulled out of my hat, and I was able to salvage the piece I was working on last week by doing a light sanding and then adding another very light top coat of stain.  I also realized that the extreme humidity was actually slowing down the drying process, so I brought inside to fully cure with the help of some good ol' A/C.

I did something a little different this time and used both paint and stain to give this piece an updated look. As much as I love shiny lacquered finishes, the mid-century vibe just didn't warrant a high-gloss finish. After removing the old hardware, filling the holes and drilling new ones,  the new square chrome knobs are just the right touch!

And a final look at the before:
What do you think???

This piece is officially for sale, so please email me if you're interested! It will also be listed on my Etsy store by the end of the week. Local pick up only--delivery available.
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REFINISHING RULE #1

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Take your pieces inside at the end of the day, even if it says it's not going to rain. Don't be like me and trust the weatherman, only to wake up and find the piece you spent all day slaving over (in the hot Georgia sun, no less) got soaked, the back got warped, the stain has water marks (also slightly scratched from trying to wipe the water off) & also has grass/debris now stuck to the feet. 

It might not seem like a big deal in this photo, but trust me--it is. Especially when it was looking so flawless last night! I was hoping to finish this before the real thunderstorms roll in tomorrow and continue thru the rest of the week but clearly, that ain't gonna happen. Time to pull a rabbit out of my hat....

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HOW TO UPDATE YOUR HOME IN 10 MINUTES

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Even if you're not a hardcore DIY'er, recovering your chairs is the fastest (and easiest!) way to update your home. Take this pair of chairs I gave my sister for her new apartment--the classic character makes them perfect for occasional chairs, and even without a fresh coat of paint (which they could use!), removing & updating the fabric takes them to the next level. 

Start with some great chairs (this Asian-inspired set is timeless)...
Add a great graphic patterned fabric (from Lewis & Sheron using a 50% off Scoutmob, no less!).
Unscrew & remove the seat bottom.

Center the pattern on the cushion and cut your fabric to allow for extra overhang on each side. Once your template fabric is centered, place one staple on the bottom of the cushion (front & center) to hold it in place and work strategically around the perimeter until you have the fabric completely secured and as smooth as possible. I find it easiest to place a few staples along the sides and then do the corners to get the most seamless fit.   After replacing the cushions you can see that, even without a fresh coat of paint, these chairs have been dramatically updated in about 10 minutes!

I don't think there's an easier DIY project out there--even painting furniture is a bit more difficult because it involves a few more steps, some additional know-how, and some serious buyers remorse if things don't turn out as expected. When you recover a chair you can't lose! If the pattern isn't correctly placed or the staples don't land in the right place, simply remove the staples and start again--it really is easy as pie.

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(WHY) PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF

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If you follow me on Pintrest, you may notice that I've been pinning a lot of images like this lately...

Source: None via Dayka on Pinterest

...and it's all because I've been practicing a bit of "believe it before you see it"-ism. Let me start with a little backstory--there's a wee game of furniture musical chairs going on at my house these days, between new things selling quickly at the store and Craigslisting (yes, I'm making it a verb) pieces I no longer want. I purchased a set of 4 faux bamboo chairs last year and was planning on using those for my dining room, until I found a faux bamboo dining table 2 weeks ago--then I started thinking I should pair the bamboo pieces together and keep searching for the perfect dining chairs. Lo & behold, I found them last week on Craigslist but the listing said "Pending Sale" in the title. I emailed the seller with my phone number & asked him/her to call me if they were still available (per their instructions). After about 2 hours of hearing nothing, I decided I would simply die without the chairs, so I sent the seller another email letting him/her know I didn't mean to be a pest, but was serious, had cash, and would be able to pick up them up ASAP. He called me back about an hour later and informed me they were already sold, which pissed me off a bit (not at him, just mad I didn't see the post sooner). Fast forward to the next day, I get an email from him saying the other seller couldn't pick up the chairs until the FOLLOWING WEEK, so if I was still interested he would "consider" it! I neglected, however, to read the part where he raised the price by $100 because the other potential buyer had offered to pay as much. We played phone tag for the majority of the day, and upon reaching him, I told him that I couldn't (really, wouldn't) pay his new price, but would pay $25 more than he asked. He sounded hesitant, but upon learning I lived around the corner from his job where he happened to have the chairs in his truck(!!!), he was sold and we met for pick up. Wondering what I scored? Feast your eyes below.

Yup, for reals. It's none other than A SET OF 6 LOUIS XV STYLE CHAIRS!! The price? $175 (up from his original price of $150). I know--shut your mouth. So here's the lesson I wanted to share--I know the guy was inundated with emails about these chairs, but he gave me the first opportunity to buy them once the original buyer wasn't available. Why? Two reasons. (1)-I made sure he knew I was serious from the jump & sent him a backup email when I thought my first one didn't convey my commitment.  I let him know that I was ready (committed), willing (would pay his price in cash), & able (no delivery necessary) to buy them ASAP. (2)-I was polite. When he first called, I thanked him for taking the time to get back to me even though they were sold and let him know that I was sorry I hadn't seen them first. 
I'd like to think he contacted me first because I was friendly over the phone/in my emails & was willing to make the transaction as easy as possible. So when you find something you can't live without on Craigslist, be persistent & polite, make sure the seller knows you're serious, and be prepared to up the ante & offer as much as you're comfortable paying for the item. I've lost out a few times on Craigslist before and let me tell you, it's much better to be safe than sorry.   
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Room Service Atlanta: Using Thrifted Furniture

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As promised, here's a peek at 3 pieces of furniture I'm refinishing for my RSA room at Nicholas House. As with most of the bedrooms, my room is super short on storage, so I searched for a solid & sturdy 9 drawer dresser to replace the tiny 5 drawer one they previously had. I found this on Craigslist for $40...

Aren't the lines amazing?? Very modern and very solid. The only downside is that it's very heavy, even without the drawers in, so getting it up the 2 flights of stairs is going to be quite the challenge. I also found these great faux bamboo (which you know I love!) headboards for only $16 at Goodwill this weekend, one of which will be attached to the adult bed (which is a twin) in the room.  Total steal.  I actually got 2 headboards  (and no footboard) but at only $8 a piece, I'm not complaining!

Last is this desk that I've had in my garage forever. I love it & wanted to use it for something really special, but I've had it for over 2 years now and haven't done a thing to it. I know that the families that use my room will really make good use of it, so I'm donating it to the cause. The desk is also a Goodwill find that only set me back $22! Even though I'd already removed the hardware for prep when I took this photo, I love it's vintage style and will be keeping it (in it's original state) to reuse.

I was initially a bit concerned that the styles of furniture don't all go together, but after a coat of glossy white paint, I expect that everything will look great once it's in place in the room. Next week I'll be back to give you a full before & after and share some of my refinishing tips.
Wish us luck for Day 2!

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When A Photographer & Stylist Get Together...

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In preparation for my stint at Scott's, I called my genius photographer Christina Wedge and had her stop by my house to shoot a set of 1960s Polish Thonet Bentwood chairs I found a few weeks ago while thrifting.


The set was in near perfect condition with a price tag to match!  After searching my paint decks, I found the most perfect shade of yellow, Forstythia Blossom (212-4) by PPG Porter, filled my paint sprayer and went to town.  I used the existing table in my eat-in kitchen, added a recently purchased beautifully detailed antique mirror and let Christina do her thing. 
I'd like to think that magic happens when a photographer and a stylist get together...
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