>> Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Lately I've been doing a lot of furniture collecting and refinishing for our new house. It's funny how with each move I've felt the need to upgrade. After buying a condo suddenly my old wooden IKEA $129 couch just wasn't good enough. This time we actually have enough room to have a living/dining room and I thought it would be nice to have some dining chairs instead of the kitchen style table and chairs we have now. Also our loft bed is staying in the condo and we needed a new bed.
The first (and actually necessary) thing I found was a nice vintage wooden bed on craigslist. Most of our things are secondhand things I found there and then refurbished. I love it because it's like citywide swapping - I also sold some things we didn't want anymore. The bed was such a find because I really wanted a Victorian cottage style bed with turned posts. It just turned out that the only one I could find in that style was only $50 - such a bargain.
It's a nice solid hardwood, but was painted a heavy dark blue colour. I sanded it (just a bit - it's such a chore) and primed and painted it a creamy white. Now I love it! (You can see the finished bed in the background of the chair pictures.)
Before: I wanted to show the chairs looking terrible, so you can see how much they were transformed!
The second thing we found were some dining chairs that needed a little work - also $50. When we arrived to pick them up the woman told us she had two more that we could have for $15. She had tried to remove the arms and they were a bit of a mess. So now we have a nice matching set of four! They had a yucky pink plush on the seats, also the wood wasn't great, so I sanded, primed and painted them a very pale grey. Then I reupholstered them in a light tan linen type fabric. Now I love them.
This kind of upholstery is so easy. The seat is usually held in place with four screws at the back, after you remove the base, take off the old fabric by prying out the staples or nails (or get your husband to do it while he is watching Dr. Who - thank you Bradley!). Then add your new fabric on top and staple it in place snugly, going from side to side. The only tricky part is folding the corners so that they look neat - it's really trial and error and remember it's ok if it looks a bit messy on the back because it doesn't show once the seat is reattached.
Finally for the bedroom I've reupholstered a small piano bench my parents gave me several years ago. I don't have a "before" picture - it was a charming bamboo and monkey print but in colours that didn't match anything else.I love this new elegant fabric I found on Queen West, it's white linen with bamboo details.They didn't actually have any left, and I was so disappointed but I loved the fabric so I bought the sample pieces from them (for $1!) thinking I could make a cushion at least. It turned out the sample squares were folded so there were two rectangles, one of which was just enough - without a centimetre to spare - to cover the bench. And another piece leftover for a cushion. I used a plain cotton underneath since linen is a bit transparent. Also, it's meant for occasional use only, so the fabric didn't need to be extra sturdy.
So that's what I've been up to, and why our place is looking like a flea market. You know, the kind where you're worried you're going to knock something over. But in 3 weeks everything will be moved into our new little house!