Thursday, 14 November 2013

Refurbished Carver Chair

I thought I would start this blog with the finish today....just for something different. At least the finished chair all wrapped up, as it was last weekend, as an engagement present for a lovely young couple I know who are soon to be married.

 I had always thought this chair was special. I bought it at a community fundraising auction in a little country town. The picture below shows exactly what it looked like, except perhaps it was a little dirtier. I knew I wanted to try and fix it, although at the time I had no idea what to do with that big gaping hole where the seat should have been.

 The first step involved sanding back, not too hard a job this time given it was already pretty much in a raw state. I chose to paint it with Blake & Taylor furniture paint. My young engaged couple chose their own colours...although they had no idea they were doing so at the time. A lovely combination of Old White and French Linen.

 I used two coats of each paint colour on the chair, no need to prime with this easy to apply paint. I then rubbed it all over with a piece of steel wool, a little harder in spots to lightly distress, and then finished off with a natural beeswax finish.

 Here it is all ready for the upholstery work, which for the first time required me to use webbing.

 I used elastic webbing for the seat as the lovely salesperson at the upholstery supply shop told me I should...good enough reason for me...well actually she said it was much stronger than the jute version which is normally used for the backs of chairs now. Simply a matter of stretching the webbing one piece at a time and then weaving over and under in a criss cross pattern. All pretty easy...with the right tool! Which is this, a web stretcher.

That rubbery piece at the top rests against the chair while the sharp piece at the end pulls the web tight., so you can tack it into place. This little baby didn't come cheap. I paid over $40 AU for it two years ago, but if you are planning on doing a few of these jobs then it's an absolute must. I couldn't have done without it!

Once the webbing was in place, a covering of hessian (burlap) is tacked into place. This is how it looks underneath. I love seeing things come together!

Once the hessian was completed, the steps are exactly the same as the window seat / storage box that I completed a few months ago, you can follow the directions here But in a nutshell, it involves, foam, Dacron, calico and then fabric.

Tacking around the back corners of the chair was tricky...I would imagine it gets easier with practise, but also the right tools again. I ran out of tacks and sent my hubby off to buy some more. He came back with more tacks and this..a proper upholstery tool. I love him! So much easier!

Final steps involve attaching the trim with a hot glue gun and attaching the bottom cloth.

And here it is the finished product.
 Did you notice the beautiful upholstery linen on the chair? It is the lovely Bohemian Blooms from the very talented designer Thea Samios of Thea and Sami 
I had some left over from a previous project.

and the Before and After...always such fun!

I hope you like it! Lisa xx

Friday, 13 September 2013

Refurbished School Bookcase

I really cannot remember how long this old education department bookcase has been in our home. 
We either bought it at a school fair or claimed it when it was being thrown out at our local school
...I can't even remember the details it's been so long.
What I can tell you is that it has always been large, solid and very practical. It has also always looked well past its prime. It had stains, pin holes, a few small gouges and the varnish had pretty well gone on the top. I wish I had a better photo than this of it in its original condition, but this will have to do!

The bookcase has always been on my to-do list, but because it was so practical and held so much, it was always keenly sought after in each of our children's bedrooms. So much so that when one child moved out, the other often had it in their room and packed full of things before I had a chance to get to it.
Recently my youngest son was the third of our children to leave home, and of course my youngest and sole remaining child at home desired the bookcase for her room. This time I put my foot down. It was not being used again until it was fixed up!

Filling up the holes with wood Polyfilla was the first step. It then received a good going over with the mouse sander. I found this bookcase easier to work on with it laying down on it's back.

This was the selection of Blake & Taylor Furniture Paints that I chose from. I settled on French Linen for the interior of the bookcase and Old White for around the outside and the edges.

Because it is still not uncommon for it to rain each day I brought the bookcase inside to my usual painting spot. Inside the front door...not ideal but at least it is sunny and bright! Just gets a little tricky when someone knocks on the door :)

Here is the bookcase after a couple of coats of the French Linen. In all I painted three coats on the interior. Because it is Blake & Taylor's paint I didn't need to prime, which I love, and the paint is just so easy to apply and cleans up easily with water. 

It was at this stage that my foggy brain realised I remembered I now had a spare room to work in and so I moved the whole show into my son's old room and stretched out...aaahhhh!
Here I am beginning to apply the first coat of the Old White...can you see why I love this colour? This photo also gives you an idea of what the bookcase actually looked like before painting.

Applying the white took a few hours because I'm a bit fussy when it comes to the finish. The edges needed a very controlled hand, so I just took my time. For those of you who have been following my blog, each of the colours from Blake & Taylor that I have used so far are still all coming from the same 1 litre tin each...this paint is very economical!

You're probably wondering exactly what colour the French Linen looks like. The two last photos show what the colour can look like depending on the light. At first I thought it was the camera, but the paint can look either like natural linen (which is the colour), or sometimes almost grey depending on the light inside the house. Fortunately I like both looks.

The final step was a natural beeswax finish. Normally I would carry everything outside in the light to show you the true colours, but as my husband has been away on school camp all week, I've had to lug this baby all over the place myself...I just couldn't bring myself to move it again.

And again!
 A very modern look for a bookcase that has served
 many, many years in classrooms and bedrooms.

 The before and after. I have one very happy daughter. I hope you like it too. Lisa xx

Friday, 30 August 2013

Vintage Weddings

Weddings are such beautiful events. A time when all is right with the world for the couple who are choosing to become a family. My youngest son recently became engaged, and so my thoughts have naturally turned to weddings and the importance of love and family.

Being a lover of all things vintage I popped over here to see what other Australian Etsy sellers have found that could help to make a vintage themed wedding complete. Enjoy! Lisa xx
Vintage Gloves Women's - White
Sparrow Finds

Monday, 26 August 2013

Refurbished Window Seat / Storage Box

Have you ever purchased something and been so glad that you did, for months and even years afterwards? That's how I feel, and I'm sure will continue to feel about this piece of furniture, 
even though I've only had it a little over a year.

It caught my eye at an auction, and it was an impulse buy. I needed somewhere to store packaging supplies for my Etsy store, and it's ability to double as a seat was an added bonus.

I don't really know what to call it, so I have sort of settled on window seat / storage box because it is both and I've yet to come up with a more creative description :)

This baby is huge! It measure 233cm x 45cm x 45cm which in Imperial measurements is
 a whopping 7.64 feet long.

Fortunately although it is big, and well made, it isn't overly heavy. Two people can carry it quite comfortably...when it's empty.

There was of course a problem once we got it home... what my 16 year old daughter succinctly named as 'its ugliness factor'. Being 16 and very sensitive to her mother's odd tastes and love of all things vintage...she was not overly impressed! Pretty much everyone else agreed that the thick dark varnish and orange toned swirly Art Deco upholstery had to go!

But these things take time and it wasn't until earlier this year that I made a start on its rescue! The following steps took place over a four month period because it was for our home and I wasn't in any hurry, but it could have easily been completed in a couple of days if you had all the materials on hand.

Removing the upholstery was fairly straightforward, if a little dusty. I have this handy tool that I purchased previously that makes removing tacks and staples a breeze. There actually wasn't all that much to the upholstery. Just the top cover and some filling, which seemed like lots of scrap material and stuffing.

I did have some maintenance to do. First I removed the lid. The base of the box had been attacked by wood borers at one stage, and although they had long since gone I felt that seeing as I was going to refinish it, I may as well replace the base as well. A lovely man at my local hardware store cut two pieces of a solid plywood sheet to my measurements so it was simply a matter of hitting out the old base and nailing in the new...simple!

Can you see the old varnish on the left, that's what I wanted to be rid of. The mouse sander came in handy and an hour or so all over did the job.

I chose to paint the panels and around the lid with Blake & Taylor's French Linen furniture paint. This paint is so easy to apply, and doesn't require a primer. Two coats did the job. I still wanted the nice pieces of wood to be exposed and so I waxed both the woodwork and the paint work with a natural beeswax and then reattached the lid.

Next came the upholstery. I had some seating foam cut to size. I used some spray adhesive between the foam and the box so that it wouldn't move around while I put everything together.  My biggest concern with this project was that the foam would look boxy, something I didn't want. So I trimmed the sharp edges from around the foam facing up with an electric knife...amazing...just forgot to take a pic. The next step was to cover the foam with some Dacron which I bought by the metre from a foam / upholstery supplier. I sprayed the underside of the Dacron to stop it moving as well. I learnt from my last upholstered chair project that the Dacron really helps to soften the foam and makes for a very comfy seat! You can see that project here. The final step is to cover it all with unbleached calico.

Covering the foam and Dacron with the calico before you put on the top coat of fabric is really important. Because you can pull the calico nice and tight around the fillings, which allows the calico to take the bulk of the strain from the tacks rather than your more expensive fabric. Lay the calico on top of your Dacron, tack in the centre of each side of the project, stretching as you go, then keep working your way around each side, I hammered a couple of tacks on each side at a time always keeping the project straight and taut. I only hammered the tacks in halfway until I was happy with the result, then when happy I drove all the tacks home. Neaten up around the calico by trimming with scissors. The project is now ready for the final fabric.

I had previously ordered some lovely swatches of hand printed linen fabric from Thea & Sami, I have been stalking her website for a couple of years now and was very keen to purchase some of her beautiful work. The decision was a hard one! Finally I settled on the one I wanted.

Bohemian Blooms, white on natural linen...perfect!

Putting on the top fabric was by following the same process as the calico, with the exception that I folded under the edges of the linen for a neat edge.

Finally I attached the trim 10 cm at a time to cover the tacks using a hot glue gun...being careful to make sure no hot glue got on the linen or me!

I'm very happy with the final result! Much easier than I had anticipated and definitely within the reach of most people, just by taking your time and thinking carefully about each step before you do it.


I think this piece of furniture is going to have a long life at our home. 
I hope you like it as much as I do. 
Lisa xx