Decorating · Lakehouse · Slipcovers

Home Alone

When my husband told me he was going to New Orleans for a week for a conference, I had two choices. I could go with him and kill time around the city (been there, done that), or I could spend the week at the lake house catching up with projects and cleaning that were either neglected or put on the back burner throughout the summer rush and busyness of welcoming two new grandbabies into our family.  Turns out I made the right choice.  It rained every day in New Orleans and it was a beautiful, 60’s-filled and sunny week at the lake, with fogged-over lake mornings, sunny days and full-moon nights. img_8630 I painted, decorated, cleaned, sewed, sat in the hot tub, shopped, and took naps. 

I had my lists of people to call, appointments to make and keep, emails to write, cleaning and projects to start and hopefully finish. I’d say I had a productive week. But as usual in the process of getting things done, I also added a lot of things to my list.

My painting projects included painting the master bedroom from a muted green color to Palladian blue.  The same color looks entirely different in this window-filled room as opposed to the windowless basement bathroom where I also used this color.  It instantly freshened and lifted the room.

I also started the process of repainting a used hutch I bought for our basement redo.   It’s a work in progress.  I don’t have a lot of experience using chalk paint and finding the perfect color can be tricky and expensive.   For instance, this Shiplap color I picked up at Target looked a lot more creamy on the can and but when I  painted my piece, it definitely was more white.   I think I need to get further along in the basement redo to finalize the color but for now I’m leaning on a Shiplap white for the inside and a linen color for the outer parts.

 Several years ago I snagged this old brown antique desk full of drawers with dividers and a glass top at a flee market in Raleigh.  I’ve always wanted to paint it as it traveled from room to room in this house, switching colors I thought I would paint it, from a distressed creamy color, to a Robin’s Egg with silver top and even barn red.

Now that I am pretty sure it is in it’s final place, I settled on a “Weekend” color of chalky paint from Magnolia Market.  This dark teal color finished with dark brown wax gave it depth and an updated aged  look.   I love it and it ties in so nice with the rest of room but keeps the richness of the dark wood.  

In between coats and during drying time on my paint projects, I cleaned ceiling fans, blinds, floors, and closets, and switched to my winter clothes.   

I took a break from painting and cleaning to also make a couple of slipcovers. As part of freshening up the basement, I had ordered a linen blend two-tone stripe tan fabric for the two table side chairs.  I just love how a little bit of new fabric can completely change the way a room looks.  It’s like getting new furniture.

With the falling temperatures and lots of falling leaves, we spend a little more time inside the house.  And with the holidays fast approaching, I of course, start thinking about where the trees will go, which then in turn leads me to “rethink” room arrangements which in turn leads to a mini makeover.   Actually it has just taken me over two years to figure out how to use my “rooms” in this open floor plan.  But I am happy and relieved to say that I have finally settled in on an arrangement….but my husband doesn’t believe it.  Bless his heart!  He is patient and goes with the flow and lets me exercise my creative spirit.  I’m lucky that way.  I look forward to the day when all my projects are done and I can just go to the lake house and not have an agenda.

Until next time,

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Slipcovers

Rethinking Pink

This little project was a true repurposing endeavor. Jane had an heirloom antique chair that she wanted to use for her daughter’s desk. Instead of purchasing new fabric and starting from scratch, she decided to reuse what she already had.  Normally I would get measurements and then quote a yardage amount of fabric needed for a project.  This time around, though, I was given a duvet cover and one window valance to work with.   I was tasked with making a slipcover for the chair and  a two-sided bed skirt to dress up the twin bed, originally the mom’s, to hide the trundle mattress underneath.

The first thing I did was to deconstruct the duvet and pillow sham into pieces that I could use.   I ripped and cut seams to provide me with pink fabric panels, stripe fabric strips, and floral pieces to create something new.

The Chair     Since the chair was wood, I knew slippage would be an issue.  My solution was to put a 1” foam seat cushion covered with muslin and stapled to underneath the chair. 

 It instantly provided a soft landing and one that would “stick” to the slipcover.  It also didn’t mess with the integrity of the chair and the beautiful cane seat. 

I also knew that the light weight pink cotton fabric would be see through.  A simple lining would not only help with the transparency but would give more body to the fabric. 

Cording made from the floral fabric  outlined the chair and set off the stripe banded bottom of the corner pleated floor length skirt.  A big floral bow and a small accent pillow made from scraps and finished off with a button from the valance,  finishes off this sweet chair.

The Bed Skirt     I still had plenty of pink fabric left to make the bed skirt for the twin bed.  Since the bed would always be up against the wall, it was only necessary to make a side and bottom skirt.  We decided on a gathered pink skirt with floral banded bottom again to give it some weight, definition and interest.  

  A simple banded top with loop Velcro attached would be simple to put on once they stapled the hook portion of the Velcro to inside of the bed frame. Easy on, easy off! 

After all these years of sewing, I can’t believe I only now discovered, or rather took the time to learn, a new method of gathering.  Gathers are a must for certain looks but I tend to shy away from them due to my aggravation in the construction.  In the “old” way, I would sew two seams close to each other within the seam allowance and down the length of the piece I wanted to gather.  I would then pull the 2 thread ends together, but inevitably a thread would break and I would have strings everywhere from fraying as I pulled.  After a lot of aggravation, I would eventually finish. I tend to avoid them all together.  But I discovered such a simple method!! I simply took some thin cord (like cotton crochet thread, roman shade string, floss), zig zagged over it being careful not to catch the cord.  That’s it.  You just pull the cord and it gathers beautifully! You can also buy a gathering band but I couldn’t get to the store in time to get that.

I guess you are never to old to learn a new trick.  That’s what I love about what I am doing. I am challenging myself to learn new methods of doing things I had done for years and to learn new skills in slipcovering and light upholstery. Next challenge is perfecting the illusive “invisible” zipper.

Until then,

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Slipcovers

Furniture Floral Arrangement

This sturdy little side chair came to me in desperate need of a new dress.  Originally an upholstered chair, it sported a very worn and ill-fitted, possibly shrunk, slipcover.

My client had already purchased and prewashed the heavy weight and large floral printed fabric, so when I got the chair and fabric, it was ready to go.  I wanted to pay special attention to the layout of the floral placements on the arms, front back, seat and back so that that overall very wild floral print would be tamed a bit and settle on a spot. I had limited fabric to work with and when all was said and done, literally had scraps left.

The original slipcover had a side zipper however, due to the shape of the chair I suspected it wouldn’t be needed for easy removal with the proper “tuck-in” fabric allowances in the inner corners.  I always like to try to get away with not installing a zipper if possible.  I think it adds to the overall “upholstered” look of the slipcover.

A simple corded trim on the bottom of the chair finishes it off.

I actually took this chair project to my lake house to work on since I was planning on being there for over a week. 

I was impressed with how this fabric selection fit so well into my decor and provided just the right pop of print and color no matter where I put it, in front of a black table, red door or my robin’s egg hutch. I love it and so did my client!

It’s been a busy summer of client projects, new granddaughter, trips, lake visits, festivals, and home projects. Now that fall is here my attention turns to fall decorating, rearranging furniture (again!…as my husband rolls his eyes and patiently goes along with my ideas), and smaller client projects all while anxiously waiting on the arrival of my fourth grandchild…but the first from my son!  Stay tuned for a blogging catch up!

Happy Fall Y’all!

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Slipcovers

Lovely Linen for Lynda

Lynda is in the process of redecorating her house and wanted to reuse a couple of comfortable chairs she had acquired from Calico Corner.  

 She was looking for a fabric that would blend in with other upholstered pieces she had and provide a classic fresh look.   After much consideration she landed on a beautiful Italian Viscose/Linen blend. 

I have to admit I didn’t know what Viscose was, so I did a little research.img_7291 Viscose, part of the rayon fabric family, is a semi-synthetic material manufactured from a plant-based material called cellulose.  It is typically made from woody plants, such as trees and bamboo.  Though it has many wonderful qualities such as being drapable, breathable, strong, inexpensive, silky and comfortable, it also has a few pitfalls such as being prone to shrinkage, wrinkling, and fibers that may weaken when wet or exposed to excessive light.  However, this fiber is best when blended with other fibers and is usually what you find in home decorating fabrics.  Linen, a natural fiber, is strong and resists dirt and stains, lint and pilling, abrasion, and moths.  This combination of linen gives you the best of both fibers. 

Some viscose materials can be machine washed on a delicate cycle, others hand washed, while some require dry cleaning.    I tested a yard of this blend and found that it shrunk almost four inches on a yard of fabric.  If you decide to take this chance it needs to be done before the slipcover is constructed or it will not fit!   It’s a tough call to make and one that only the client can make.   Since the supplier recommended “Dry Clean Only” for this fabric, my client decided to go with that.

Lynda also had a classic sea-foam green suede loveseat that she wanted to repurpose to a beach house. She decided to use the same fabric. This piece worked up beautifully.

Because of the single long nature of the cushion and no back cushions, and to work with the grain of the linen, I needed to seam the back, cushion and deck, just like the original upholstery. It actually added a nice design feature. The back seams were a perfect place to “hide” Velcro strips for an easy removal. Velcro sewn onto the piped bottom attaches to the underside of the chair, resulting in a very tailored and upholstered look. img_7397

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family · Slipcovers

Grown-up Rocker

Your baby is all grown up or at least out of the cuddling and rocking phase.   You’ve had  the sweet pink (or blue) upholstered swivel rocker that gently glided your little one to sleep for a few years.  It screams baby’s room but maybe it is now whispering “guest room”.IMG_3197

This rocker is a solid, well-built piece of furniture with probably a lot of sweet memories attached to it.  Wouldn’t it be nice to save that piece of furniture to keep and pass down for someone you love someday? By repurposing it to another room and with a new slipcover you can completely reinvent the rocker into a functional yet comfortable side chair for a guest room.  Jen moved her pink chair to a basement guest room with modern gray and navy theme.

We chose a denim-like 100% cotton geometric printed fabric from Hobby Lobby in the Property Brother’s line and outlined it in a gray linen piping.  I prewashed it to remove any shrink, just in case it ever needed to be washed.

A while back I recovered another glider similar to this for my daughter in a white bull denim cotton to put in the nursery for their newest arrival.  Here it is in the new room, new house, with my new granddaughter, Charlotte Anne.   Happy gliding!img_6065

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Slipcovers

Optical Illusions

How many of you remember the “Magic Eye” pictures from the 90’s.  The abstract-looking pictures you stare at it until you see the hidden picture?   No matter how hard I tried I could never “see” the picture.  I wonder what that says about me? 

 

 

For some reason I kept this book.  I thought it would be fun to take some of the pages and frame them for the kids room at the lake.   Now if they are “bored” (which by the way, is a word that no one is allowed to use at the lake), I can send them to the room to stare at the pictures. Ha!  This is leading somewhere, I promise.

 

 

Let’s switch gears a minute.  I acquired two of these blue velvet-like chairs for free. They looked liked an odd chair with the fabric covered arms and legs.   A little strange, but I figured it would all be covered anyway and since they were free I could practice on them  and  wouldn’t have much invested in them.

 Blue velvet "free" chairWhile visiting one of my new favorite fabric spots in Alexandria, The Fabric Place Basement, I found this cool linen like fabric that I actually had my eye on for a long time.  The first time I saw this fabric was at the Fabric Emporium in Warrenton.  It was showcased on a side chair as a slipcover and I fell in love with its wild side. But I didn’t have a project in mind for it. 3C17DB12-D440-4409-A0EB-1C4DF0304F4FMonths later I found this same fabric on clearance for $5 a yard at the Fabric Place Basement!  I snatched up 12 yards for some future project that was yet to be determined at that time.  Well, the two projects seemed to find each other.   This fabric would be perfect to try my hand at slipcovering these two chairs. It was lightweight, crisp, interesting and whimsical. With the simple straight lines on the chairs, these chairs would be a breeze to construct.  At first glance it looks like an easy pattern match, but once you step back from the chair your eyes can start to play tricks on you, if you OCD like me, and notice the “optical illusion” of the pattern.

 

 

To give your eyes a break from the zig-zagging pattern and to make it a little softer looking, I put a light brown velvet piping around the base of the seat. A floor-length corner-pleated skirt hides the blue legs and finishes the chairs perfectly.

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The slipcover gives the illusion of upholstered arms and really transforms these wacky blue chairs to an eye-catching statement chairs.  A colorful lumbar style pillow adds the perfect complement to the chair and gives your eyes a little break from the design.

I am officially on “baby watch” and am trying to position myself so I can be on call when my daughter calls me to tell me it’s time.   

Have a great summer!

Denise

 

cushions · Slipcovers

A Squirrely Scenario

Squirrels.  They can be fun to watch with their jerky little movements and bushy tails, nibbling on acorns that have fallen from the trees.   We almost even resolve to the fact that they will eat the bird food from our bird feeders, though not without a fight and attempt at so-called squirrel-proof feeders. But who would ever expect them to start nibbling and tearing up our cushions?   That’s exactly what happened to Dawn. squirrel damageBeside the squirrel damage her cushions weren’t in bad shape considering how long she has had them.  The original Sunbrella fabric in a darker golden brown color held up well in the elements under her gorgeous covered outdoor patio.  The metal frames of the furniture were still in excellent shape so it made perfect sense to replace the cushions. 

Dawn found the perfect fabric, Sunbrella Posh Oats, a lighter golden herringbone design.  Staying in the same color family, the fabric has the right combination of texture, design, and color that will be comfortable, timeless, compliment her outdoor stone and hold up well in the elements.

I like a good challenge and the ottomans in this job gave me just that! They had a unique structure that allowed them to snuggle into the ottoman frame to hold them securely in place with feet movement.   I simply deconstructed the original, made a pattern and recreated the same design.   The biggest challenge I found was wrestling the foam insert back into the new cushion covers.   What a workout! Challenge accepted and complete.  

Nestled in her beautifully landscaped backyard with a natural wooded backdrop, the outdoor fireplace and babbling water fountain invite you to sit a bit to enjoy the birds and breeze.

  With these new cushions you might just not want to go inside.  

Until next time,

Denise