Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bench Redo

A couple weeks ago I found this bench at the Salvation Army. That particular day they were having a sale- if you bought a piece of furniture and took it that day, you got 30% off. This baby was marked $7.99, and lucky for me, they considered it furniture. I got to take it home for just about $5. 

I purchased 2 yards of brown zebra print fabric (WAY too much) from Joann's, a button covering kit, 10 yards of nail head trim (didn't need that much, but that's how it came), and an upholstery needle. I spent approximately $40 on these supplies, but I have many things left over for other projects.
It look me a couple hours to remove the original fabric-- tons of nails, thumb tacks and staples holding that stuff on. 

Once I got that off, I was lucky to discover a rather clean and intact seat. The structure of the seat itself seems to be pretty solid, I was expecting it to be questionable. 

It only took about two hours to recover, make the buttons and put them on, and add the nail head trim. These steps were all very easy! I was surprised. Putting the buttons on was probably the most time consuming step. I tried to tuft it a little- it was hard to achieve the level of tufting that I wanted. I think its something I can rework in the future, perhaps with some stronger thread.

The last step was to paint the legs of the bench. I cleaned them first (gross!) and then sanded, and used a dark brown paint with a shiny finish. I am honestly considering painting the legs black now because I don't think the brown is dark enough. The zebra print is brown, and the lighter brown paint makes it look more black.

The last part of the project (save potentially repainting the legs) is to figure out where this beauty is going to go. Franklin and Eleanor are enjoying using it in the living room as an elevated bed, so it may stay there for now. There is also the option if it becoming a foot rest/table in my office (with the chair that I bought with the intention of recovering). Now that I have tried my hand at recovering something, maybe I will attempt the chair!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Apartment Tour: Living Room

The next installment of my apartment tour is of my living room. The living room has been subject to some of my most time consuming and in depth projects. There is only one thing in my living room now that I had when I moved here not quite two years ago. Needless to say, the living room has been one large project since I moved in.

This is the left side of my living room. In the window you can see three hanging planters-- they are small metal buckets I got in the dollar section at Target, hanging from clear fishing line. I modeled this project after a project I saw to hang plants upside down. I was originally going to make some upside down planters, with the intention of getting the plants out of the reach of Franklin and Ellie, but I wasn't sure how the plants would hold up upside down. Ultimately I think this is a better solution--and they came in this lime green color straight from the store, no other work for me.
The vase shelves behind the couch are from Target, along with the green vase and the sparkly picks in the vase. These picks were part of Target's Christmas decorations and I immediately decided I needed them upon seeing them. I was good though, and waited until they were 50% off before I bought any. The picture leaning against the wall is actually a little tile with a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it, brought back from Paris from a good friend. The little animal next to the Eiffel Tower is from my boss at my last job in Chicago, from her trip to Mexico.
The silver lamp on the left side of the couch is a find from the Christmas Tree Shop. This lamp was originally in the office, but it has made its way out to the living room as I have rearranged lamps. It's hard to see in the above pictures, but the lamp on the right side of the couch is the Eiffel Tower!! I got this lamp as a Christmas gift a few years ago, but it is from Target. It started out with a red shade, but I recently replaced it with a white shade to match the other lamps in the room.
The table the Eiffel Tower is sitting on is one of my refinishing projects that I wrote about here. I got the table for a very small amount at the Salvation Army, brought it home and sanded, painted and polyurethaned it. I really like the shape of it and its clean lines.

One of the biggest projects I've done in the living room is the armoire. The armoire is really the project that started the blog. I bought it at the Salvation Army for under $75. It was cherry colored wood and had old, outdated hardware. It took me quite a while to sand it all, prime and paint the inside and outside, spray paint the existing hinges (because I could not find any others that were the correct shape) and replace the hardware. My apartment was literally taken over by this project for a couple weeks last summer. You can read more about this colossal project here, here here and here. Overall I am extremely proud of this project, and also it is a really functional piece of furniture. Not only does it hold my TV and DVD player, its also a great perch for kitties and an excellent place for my plants to get some sun.

On the other side of the room lives my my newest lamp acquisition (read more here and here), and my kitchen.
The bookcase was a purchase from a friend when he left Chicago after college (thanks Kenneth! I love it), and the other table is one I found on the side of the road. I love the detailing on the legs of the table. I actually had the table for several months in my office, unpainted. Then on the morning of this photshoot I decided I needed to paint and use it. I painted it black for this purpose, but I think one day I will do something a little more exciting with it. The Big Ben tower was a gift that goes along with the Eiffel tower. The plant is an African Violet-- I love how they flower, and I seem to be relatively successful in keeping them alive and happy. The basket is an inexpensive one from Target, and if you can see inside the basket- there are some glass orbs that were gifted to me as an 'apartment warming' present. I believe they are from the Christmas Tree Shop. The big awesome mirror above the table is a steal from Walmart. The mirror is about 2 X3, and I paid something crazy like $10 for it. I don't know if it was mismarked or just on sale, but it was an excellent find. This mirror was at one point my "headboard" but I like it much better in this location.

Well, I think that's all for the apartment tour! Rest assured I have many other things to share with you!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Apartment Tour: Kitchen

The next room in my apartment tour is the kitchen. The kitchen is obviously the center of the apartment, but also a difficult one for me to decorate. When I moved into my apartment, the cabinets were two toned- dark brown doors and tan frames. I lived with them for quite a while as-is before I couldn't resist the urge to paint them anymore. Inspired by the many posts I see on various decorating and renovating blogs with beautiful white cabinets, I decided to paint my own cabinets white. I feel that it worked as planned- it looks much cleaner and brighter.
In the after picture you can also see my collection of pink, flowery plates (although this was taken before the addition of the Liberty of London plate.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcome to My Home, Volume 1: Liberty of London for Target Mixing Bowls

On a recent Target trip, I found a selection of Liberty of London items on clearance, including a set of mixing bowls and several plates, along with jewelry boxes, trays, lampshades and pillows. The mixing bowls immediately caught my eye because I think they are beautiful, and I had recently decided that I needed some serving dishes. As a bonus, they match the "theme" of pink and flowery that I have going in my kitchen. Needless to say, these babies came home with me, and have made an excellent addition to my kitchen. 

Target's website lists these as available for preorder, shipping June 11th.I think they must be getting a new shipment of them. In addition, they have three other color schemes available.

 Another thing I picked up was a pink, flowery salad plate to add to my wall. I was originally hesitant because the plate is plastic and I was afraid it would be obvious. I decided to take the risk because the plate was only $1 and I was sure I could find another use for it if necessary. Lucky for me, when I added the plate to the wall display, you couldn't tell at all. I was very happy!

(all pictures from