Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

New Love for an Old Chair

I found this chair over ten years ago at a consignment shop and have had a love-hate relationship with it ever since.  I love it and my husband hates it. Or at least he did.  IMG_4332

With the mini-makeover of my lake house basement master bedroom and in conjunction with our ongoing downsizing and merging of household items, I tagged this piece for that room.  The green and red stripe Ethan Allan chaise style chair and ottoman would be perfect for it with a new slipcover.

I decided to use a bleached drop cloth mainly because it was handy, cheap and I needed a lot of fabric. I wanted something that was bleachable, washable and replaceable in case I needed to redo the seat cushion.

The back features two short side zippers for easier removal over the large scrolled back.  I added a little functional detail by sewing on frog-closures to the pleats on the chair and ottoman.  I love the touch of nautical look it gives the chair and ottoman.  IMG_4673

This chair is a prime example of an excellent piece to slipcover.  It has great construction, simple lines, highly functional and a new purpose and home.

What a great place to put your feet up on, read a good book or take a nap.  I think my husband likes (and maybe even loves) it now.  Stay tuned for the complete room makeover.  Just a few finishing touches and it’s ready to go!

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Decorating · Lakehouse · Sewing · Slipcovers

Bonus Chairs in Boucle’

I found these two chairs and ottoman for $100 with the intention of slipcovering them for my  soon to be finished bonus room/workroom/she-shed/study/escape room at the lake.  I was looking for matching club chairs that wouldn’t be too big but would be comfortable enough to snuggle up on and were in good condition.

Almost immediately after I got them home, I started to doubt my decision.  They “looked” stiff and uncomfortable.  I considered reselling them and starting over before I invested any more in them, but after further “comfort testing”,  I decided it was probably the  dark and “office-like” fabric that was getting under my skin.  If I found the right fabric, they might just work.  Since I’m a hands-on kind of person, I went fabric shopping so I could actually feel the fabric and drape.  I found a knobby textured yet soft boucle fabric.   It reminds me a little bit of terry cloth, but not snaggy.  Normally I don’t recommend upholstery fabric for slipcovers as it is harder to sew, doesn’t have the drape of natural fibers, and isn’t machine washable.  Since these chairs had very simple lines, would be in a room with very little traffic and I wasn’t planning on removing them to wash them, I didn’t think this would be a problem.  I planned to Scotch Guard them as well.

I chose a neutral color so I could accent them with pops of seasonal colored throw pillows.   A tan velvet piping  and two-inch velvet band on the bottom gave the chairs even more softness and elevated these chairs to another level.  I LOVE them.

I think they turned out great and now meet all my criteria….matching, comfortable, soft and versatile.    My plan was to use these as the fall/winter slipcovers and make something lighter and “lakey” for the spring and summer (stay tuned).   That’s the beauty of slipcovers.  You can actually change your mind and recover them if you get tired of the fabric or just want to change things up by the season or your mood. 

If you are trying to decide if slipcovering is right for you, checkout one of my favorite blogs and inspirations,  The Slipcover Maker to know when it is a good idea to go with a slipcover and when it is not.  detailsbydenise_3x5-smaller

 

 

 

Decorating · Lakehouse · Sewing · Slipcovers

Wings & the Test of Time

I never considered myself the “wingback” type, but for an affordable $35 it seemed like a good buy and would help fill an empty room in our new home twenty one years ago.  The seam on the pink cushion is busted but other than that it doesn’t look much different today than back then.   The chair served us well for the next twenty years by just moving it around from house to house and room to room whether it be a bedroom corner, a music room, a study, or a nook in my kitchen.  But over the years, my taste in color, style and fabric also changed.  

This chair had been through the sea-foam green and dusty pink decade and then with the help of a slipcover, went on through the gold and burgundy years .  It would not only be my first piece to slipcover but later served as my inspiration for Details by Denise.  I found an inexpensive home décor fabric, a slipcover pattern, some self-motivation and eventually finished it.   These days I am feeling a lot more neutral…with a touch of blue.  So, with a new spot for it in a corner of my lake house bedroom, it was time for a new slipcover. 

I have always wanted to try a fabric combination and wingback chairs are perfect for this concept.  I picked out a two-toned brown striped linen, and a blue and brown plaid.   I had two challenges…. dealing with stripes and matching plaids.  I made the cushion with plaid on one side and stripe of the flip side to change it up if I wanted to, but I really like the look of the plaid.  I only have one wingback but I am sort of partial to it.  I can’t bear to part with it, so I guess I will keep reinventing it as my mood or colors changes.

You can never go wrong with something neutral for slipcovers for the most versatility, but sometimes you just want it a little unexpected and interesting.  You could consider using old quilts, chenille or matelassé bedspreads, ticking or drop cloth for parts or all of your slipcover.  Pinterest is a wonderful place to search for ideas. 

If you have ever wondered about slipping a piece that needs an update, I would love to help you design it and make that thought a reality.  Now is the time if you want it done before the end of the year.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Tickled Pink

My client has an eye for flair and design and was constantly drawn to blue and pink. The blues are navy, bright and bold, creating a contemporary yet fun and inviting atmosphere.  The pink is fuchsia or dark pink in small pops mainly from accessories such as pillows, flowers and pictures, but enough to make a statement and draw you in.

 

 When she wanted to change her two side chairs  in her front room she  tried painting them blue.  Not impressed with the outcome, but not willing to give up on finding a way to salvage and reinvent the two comfortable chairs, she decided on another option, slipcovers.   Initially she imagined white chairs with blue trim.  Though it was what she always envisioned, her gut was saying to step out of the box and be a little daring. 

Sometimes it just takes time and patience for the piece of inspiration to present itself.  It could be a picture, a pillow or some unexpected element that inspires you.  For my client, that was a beautiful rug she found at Homegoods for her kitchen. It was from this rug that she got the idea to trim the chairs with fuchsia.  I totally agree!   IMG_3547

There are endless possibilities with slipcovers depending on your fabric, trim, back and hem details.  If you can dream it and have the inspiration, I can help make that vision a reality.  If you have a piece or two you have been thinking about, let me know how I can help. 

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

White after Labor Day

At some point in your life you probably have acquired a piece or two of furniture from your parents. A piece that was well used, familiar, and probably a little shabby looking (and not in a “shabby chic” sort of way).  However, chances are the furniture was not the right color or look for your décor.  As long as the furniture is comfortable and fits well into your space, there is no reason not to update it to fit your design style.  Enter slipcovers.

 

Louisa had acquired two pieces from her parents, a solid, tight-back dark rose-colored loveseat full of worn spots, snagged and fraying fabric, but oh so comfortable.  She also had acquired a Lazyboy swivel rocker that was in great condition except for the fact that it was blue and looked a little dated. 

Secretly it’s everyone’s dream to have a space of their own to retreat to. Whether you call it a man-cave or she-shed., it’s a brilliant concept.  Louisa has a loft in her apartment that she was converting to her she-shed.  She was envisioning a clean crisp look and modern sophistication with a little frill and fun.

Since her floor plan was a two-story loft style, it was important she chose a fabric that would blend well with the rest of the apartments modern clean lines.  It also needed to be heavy enough to cover the darker textured loveseat fabric.  She decided on a 12 oz. white preshrunk 100% cotton bull denim. 

The loveseat would be pretty straightforward taking into consideration the big rolled tight back and scrolled arms.   Before, the loveseat seemed heavy, big and oversized.  After, with the custom-fitted slipcover, it looks light, fresh and not so overwhelming.

 

The swivel rocker had an attached pillow back that needed to be addressed.  I decided to create a underslip to redesign the lines of the chair that would be easier to create a slipcover but still keep the look of a pillow back.  It worked well and will stay in place when you sit and rock on the chair.

 

  Louisa had two requests for the rocker, a box pleated skirt and button back.  I nailed the current skirt onto the bottom on the chair so it would not interfere with the new flirty skirt that gave the rocker a bit of a flare. Large white buttons for the back closure of the chair is not only functional but gave it the rocker  an interesting focal point so when she swivels around, the chair will look great from any direction.

 

White or off white is a popular and smart option for slipcovers.  It is basically a blank canvas that you can update with throws and pillows with the change in color trends, seasons or your mood.  If choosing white makes you nervous, think of it like your favorite pair of white jeans. Care of the slipcover is pretty much the same.  If you follow the washing instructions and treat stains or spills accordingly you will have white slipcovers for years to come that will only soften with each washing but gain character…just like your favorite pair of white jeans…even after Labor Day.   

 

Labor Day is around the corner, but it is not too early to think about the holidays (some store’s already have Halloween and some Christmas decor out)!   If you are looking to update an old piece and want to have it ready for the holidays, now is the time to start the process to allow plenty of time to find the right fabric and work out the design details.  I am currently taking orders for October.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Have cushions, will travel.

Here is another example of a great patio furniture set that was in desperate need of a cushion update. The fabric was faded, worn,  stained, dated and basically just needed an update.  Because all of the cushions are custom fitted to this furniture with rounded edges and shaped to fit each piece perfectly, it made sense for Jessica to have new cushions made instead of buying ready-made.

Not only would they fit better, she could pick the exact color scheme she wanted in a fabric that would stand up to several years of wear and tear, dogs and kids.  Jessica chose a Sunbrella fabric in Cast Shale with a Sunbrella canvas black for the piping contrast from Decorativefabricsdirect.com. 

Though Jessica lives in PA, she travels back and forth to northern VA for business periodically.  So she loaded up her vehicle with the thirteen cushions.  After making thirty five yards of piping, I began work on the custom cushions for a three-seat patio couch, two-seat loveseat, side chair and ottoman.

This fabric was a dream to work with.  It was lightweight, non-directional and the same on both sides. What more could a  slipcover girl ask for?  It’s also easy to clean, durable, and a solution dyed acrylic that resists mildew, stains and fading. What more could a family with an active lifestyle ask for?

I have a busy month ahead with more cushions, twin chairs, a loveseat and swivel rocker all waiting for their chance to get redone.  If you have a special piece you need done for the holidays, now’s the time to start planning.  Give me a call. 

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Creative Things · family · Sewing · Slipcovers

Ben’s Big Boy Chair

When you think of slipcovers, you typically think of a wingback, club chair, parson chair, side chair, benches, the list goes on.   But let’s think outside the box for just a moment.

My grandson was about to turn one and I received an idea for a birthday gift for him. 

Original Chair: Before
Before: pink girls chair

His sister, Addy, had a Pottery Barn chair with her name appliqued on the back of it and my daughter thought it would nice for him to have his own chair.  But those chairs are expensive new, so I thought, what if I found a used one and redid it? It would be more personal to me, a challenge for something new to try, and the thought of making something handmade for him was appealing.  I found one for $25 on a local yard sale facebook page.   It was pink and had the name “Aberly” appliqued on the back but it had good bones (hee hee, foam inside). 

And so I began the deconstruction and transformation from a little girl’s pink  “Aberly” chair to a blue denim boy’s “Ben” chair with bright green trim.  I cut out the letters for his name out of fabric with little trucks and appliqued it to the inside back of the chair.

I trimmed the chair in a bright green piping, incorporated a back storage pocket and a coordinating handle for easy carrying.  A zipper on three sides of the bottom on the chair reveals the foam blocks tucked into their designated spaces and kept in place  by Velcro panels. The fabric was prewashed and would be easy to remove and put back together.

This was such a fun project to deconstruct and figure out and it gave me such joy to be able to give him something especially made for him. 

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Crafty Things · Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Bathroom Rejuvenation

When you buy a house (not new) your imagination runs wild and free on big plans to remodel or update.  Initially I dreamt of gutting the basement master bathroom, replacing the huge shower, painting the vanity, doing something with the mirrors, maybe change the floor and add a soaker tub.  If I was a true do-it-yourselfer, that wouldn’t be too far out of reach.  That was my initial vision.  As other more important projects took a hold,  my initial plans for that bathroom soon became less important and cost-effective. But there still were a few issues I had with the bathroom.  This bathroom had no windows and felt cold, nothing a little creativity, paint and a sewing machine couldn’t fix.

I decided on a spa theme.  We had put in a hot tub earlier in the year and I thought this bathroom would a great place to change, grab a robe, and some flip-flops and get ready to relax. So piece by piece, issue by issue, I went to work.

Floor:  Since tiling was out of my comfort zone and budget in terms of time and money, I knew finding the right area rug would be a better option to address the plain cold tile. It would probably be the single most expensive fix for this bathroom and if I found the right rug the other pieces of my design puzzle would fall in place.  I found this natural fiber braided 8×10 rug at The Home Store. I love how it lifts up the room, is warm on the feet and pulls in the natural cabinets and blue color (bonus…its reversible!)  And because this rug compliments the vanity perfectly, I was no longer compelled to paint the vanity. reversible area rug

Paint:  Once I had the rug, I knew I was sort of limited in my choices of paint colors.  I didn’t want to go neutral as that would be hard to pick the exact color to go with the vanity/floors.  I really just wanted a warmer shade of blue than what was currently on the walls.  I decided to go with Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue but not after trying out all the different shades of blue that I already had in samples of several walls of the room.

Mirrors:   I never understood the choice of the mirrors over the vanity. The beautiful round mirrors had a rich wood tone that, in my opinion, clashed with the vanity.  So I painted the mirrors the darkest color on the paint strip (2 shades darker than the paint on the walls) and then hotglued a rope around the indent in the mirror.  Instantly nautical and coordinates perfectly with the vanity and rug!  Yay, three pieces of the puzzle were done.

Wall Mirror.  There were still a few things I wanted to do to cozy up the bathroom. I’ve had this big red/gold mirror for thirteen years and love it, but did not have anywhere in my entire house that it “fit”.  While still in my creative painting mood, I decided to paint this piece as well.  So I taped off the mirror with plastic, deglossed the finish, put a coat of the blue paint and then embellished it with some leftover tan and cream-colored paint I had.  Not too bad!  I looks fantastic laying up against the wall as you enter the bathroom, compliments the rug, vanity and mirrors yet doesn’t overpower the room.

Seating.  Besides the toilet, there was no place to sit and change.  The room was certainly big enough to accommodate something.  I stole a black vinyl bench from my daughter’s bedroom, with her permission.  It would be the perfect fit for another big wall in this bathroom.  Of course, the black wouldn’t do, but nothing a slipcover couldn’t cover up.  I looked for the right fabric, got many samples and in the end, used a bleached drop cloth.  I made a floor length pleated  cover  with a separate boxed and tufted cushion.  I am so glad I went a little wild and used a tan ticking for the boxing. It again pulls the tan out of the rug and vanity. It is so comfortable sit down on too while you get ready for the day or the hot tub.

Room Divider.  We had purchased this room divider for another purpose earlier in the year but wasn’t being used to it’s full potential, so I stole it for another room.  By placing it in front of the commode area, you now have a bit more privacy in case there is more than one of you in the room at the same time. It also is great to hang a towel on for the shower, and once again breaks the room up a bit and adds more of the warm  natural tan color.

Accessories.  A few serene pictures, a spa candle, new coordinated towels, sample size products for guests in a pretty jar finishes this room off.   I find myself wanting to visit this room because of the relaxing feeling it gives me. Isn’t this what we want every room to feel like? 

Shower.   The  shower is still big.  Theres no getting around that.  I jazzed it up a little by adding some green glass jars on the shelf to bring the color upwards. For something whimsical, I placed a little mermaid on the shelf (my granddaughter Addy loves).  I stole an idea from Pinterest regarding the shower rod with hanging baskets spring-rodded between two walls of the shower. It worked great unless you overload the baskets.   I really like the idea and so will work on a more permanent solution that is similar.  The last piece of the shower that I would love to do is a smooth stone shower floor.   I have one in my master shower and it is heavenly.  The smooth roundness of the natural stones feels so rejuvenating on your feet.  This will definitely be added to my winter project list. Eventually I will carry this serene feeling into redoing the master bedroom that this bathroom is attached to. I just need to get inspired by something and right now the lake is calling me!

Spa-a-a-a-h.

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Decorating · family · Sewing · Slipcovers

Graduation

Terre  was on a mission to pull together her living room for her daughter’s high school graduation and the faded striped chair and fraying ottoman either had to go or get a redo. The Pennsylvania House chair was in good shape except for the faded fabric and dated red stripe that didn’t go with her new neutral and relaxed room. 

The ottoman on the other hand was questionable.  She wasn’t sure it was salvageable and neither was I.  The top fabric had worn so thin that it had frayed.  With my newly acquired samples from Big Duck in hand, we found the perfect shade of fabric. fabric swatches Unfortunately, they wouldn’t have the yardage she needed until after the graduation so she picked a second choice, a Bull Denim Cotton Poly Blend in Sand.  It washed up beautifully with very little wrinkles.   Although it was preshrunk, I was advised by the fabric company to wash it again as there still might be up to 3% shrinkage left. I didn’t want to take any chances as she definitely wanted to be able to wash the slipcovers.   

With just four days until the festivities there wasn’t any time to waste.  I went to work first on the chair. Following the lines of the chair, the fabric covered the red perfectly and felt so soft to the touch.  We kept it simple with cording on the bottom to show off the wood legs.  It would be a great chair to snuggle up on, put your feet up on the ottoman and read a book….or take a nap.

The ottoman took a bit of research and thinking.  I mended what I could, pressed on a fusible interfacing and finally made a muslin wrap to pull the ottoman all together, hiding the top fix and giving it a clean start before making the slipcover.

  Once I took the time to fix the ottoman, the construction of the cover was pretty straight forward.  Again, we kept it simple with a corded bottom to match the chair.  The cover fits like a glove and the new ensemble really brightens up that corner of the room, pulling it all together.  And the best thing is, it’s washable!  I’d say this chair and ottoman graduated with honors.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Cushions

The pollen is done for the most part, and you have cleaned and re-cleaned the patios and porches to rid it of the fine yellow mist of gunk that seems to get into the tiniest of cracks.  Now that this is behind us and warmer weather is finally here, it’s time to put out our porch patio cushions, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, your summer reading and relax.   But wait….your cushions may need attention too after years of wear, weather, sun and neglect.

My first client, Pam, sent me a picture of her tired and depleted swing cushions and wanted to know if I could help.  I sent her to JoAnn’s to pick out the fabric, some 3” foam and with a wave of my wand (if only), I made her these two delightful apple green—the season’s hot color– cushions perfectly coordinated with her throw pillows.  It certainly brightens the shady porch.

Mary had a bit more of a challenge.   Her cushions were in  desperate need of replacement.  The cushions were literally disintegrating when you touched them or picked them up.  The sun had completely dried out the fabric over the years to the point of crumbling.  The question was whether to buy new cushions or to make new covers. 

Her current furniture frames were still in excellent condition.  She had several chairs on her back porch but also wanted to coordinate with the current front porch décor.   Since she needed to find a fabric that would withstand the intense sunlight in the back yard over the summer, she decided to have cushions made in the exact same Sunbrella fabric she currently had on her wicker chairs and a coordinating fabric from Outdoorfabrics.com.  It has a great rating with a 5 year warranty against fading and mildew. 

When all was said and done, I made ten cushions, two double cushions for her recliners, two ottoman cushions and six dining chair cushions!  What a burst of color and brightness for this front porch and back deck with a coordinated and uniform look.  The little bit of extra time to match all of the stripes running up and down the cushions makes all the difference. 

Mary sent this fun picture to me. Completely unware that she had a top that just happened to match the Dolce Oasis stripe pattern on her new cushions.  Coincidence?   I think Mary really loves that print. And why not. It is vibrant, fun and full of life.  She certainly will get alot more years out of her patio set now. fabric match

It seems this year, more than in the past, I noticed a ton of options for cushions in the stores.   Many of these fabric are  spun polyester in which the color and design is printed on the base fabric.  Though these fabrics may wear well for a few years they typically are approved for 300 (some up to 800) hours of UV exposure so they may fade a lot faster.  Fabrics such as Sunbrella (and there are other brands too) are made out of 100% acrylic in which the fibers that the fabric is made of are dyed in a color solution before being woven into the design, not printed on the base fabric. Interesting huh?   By doing this, you now have a product that will be more fade resistant when in direct sunlight often for 2000 or more hours of UV exposure.  Of course, it makes sense that it is also more expensive.  So when contemplating your choice of whether to buy or cover your cushions, be sure to take this into consideration so you get years of enjoyment for your investment. Lots of fun stuff coming up this summer! Stay tune and let me know if you have a project you need done!

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