Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Tale of Two Hutches...

Happy Halloween!!!  I have to admit, it is my FAVORITE holiday.  Picking out costumes with the kids, going house to house trick-or-treating...and decorating my own house like it's being attacked by giant spiders!  Always a good time in my book :D  Although deorating is getting more and more creative with the onset of Pinterest, I've gotta step up my game next year.
Hope you and yours have a fun, safe and Happy Halloween :)  Here are some pics of ours last couple years;
Halloween 2010-love how color coordinated they ended up!

Halloween 2011 ( disclaimer: I made my husband put cat ears on for pic:p)

He later switched  to a brain sucking spider-much better!
Kids with 'Skully' our beloved skeleton who has been with us for as long as long as they have! That's a black rose we tuck into his mouth.  He usually kicks back on the front porch for Halloween.
But this year he's excited to be hangin' out in the bushes.

Okay, on to furniture: Finding a decently priced hutch is difficult and often they are too large or do not come apart from the table or cabinet they sit on making it impossible to transport without renting a truck.  The older, prettier ones usually have the shelves affixed as well, so painting every nook and cranny is more challenging.  But I managed to find this one on Craigslist (of course). It was in two pieces and was much newer.  It also had a particle board backing which was a disappointment but was still sturdy and in fine condition so I went with it.  You can always replace the backs with something cut to size from the lumbar section of your hardware store too, I was just being lazy.

This is a good example of when to use chalk paint, the real thing or making your own.  A newer piece like this, begs for something more of a matte finish to add age to it.  You could use a matte latex as well, but I was concerned about how well a latex would adhere to this piece due to it's slick surfaces.  Lots of prep work (deglossing and/or sanding) was avoided by making chalk paint this time.  Another key technique is glazing, which I did all over.  The lines on this were so simple-very little detail, so adding a glaze brought out the crevices, curves and made it look less 'contemporary'.

I removed the original wood knobs, and replaced with cut glass and brass ones.

Well, it must have worked-I sold it to a famous movie director currently shooting a western here in Austin!!  It's going to be staged in a candy shop where some scenes will take place.  I am so excited!  Although I was kinda bummed it won't enjoy a nice, quiet new home displaying someones treasures.  I wonder what happens to movie furniture once they are done with it?  Now I'm on the look out for some old apothecary jars for him to place on the shelves....anyone with a tip please let me know?:)

The second one is another contemporary piece I picked up off craigs.  Even more simple than the previous one, but it was solid pine and having the 'beadboard' look with the planks was something I thought would be so adorable when finished.  I painted it in a stark cool white to give it a beachy/cottage feel and distressed it.  No glaze and no wax on this one, just sealed it with varathane.
Photo from the craigslisting

I picked up the chicken wire basket at Marshall's.

Lots of storage options!

To me this piece seems really versatile in that I can totally see it in a bathroom storing towels, pretty soaps, etc, or in a kitchen displaying teacups and old silver, or even as an entry way console for keys, bags and backpacks. I just love it, however it doesn't 'fit' our homes style so I must let it go. 

Alright off to trick or treat-have a great night everyone, no matter how you celebrate! XO

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Louis XVI Chairs-Learning upholstery

Happy Fall to Y'all ;)
It's so nice to have some relief from the blazing sun, however it is still in the upper 80's and quite humid here.  But the mornings are cooler and the breeze is back so while I'm not able to bust out the riding boots, jackets and scarves (well I could but I'd look like a crazy person), it's a nice break.

This post is long overdue-I took an upholstery class over the summer at the Austin Upholstery Studio that was AWESOME! It's taught by two accomplished upholsterers (Mike and Paulette)  who run their own shop where the class is taught.  They keep the class sizes small so it's really fun and I met a lot of wonderful people, all of whom had a different reason for wanting to learn upholstery.  You can bring any kind of furniture piece too, from a stool to a couch (however you probably won't finish that couch within the 6 wk class time)  I chose to redo a couple Louis XVI antique chairs I picked up last year that have been collecting dust in my garage.  I won't get into too much detail on how-to's as you can find many tutorials online already and I didn't take pics of every step unfortunately.

First we had to strip them, which I did mostly at home.  These were stuffed with hog hair! What they used back in the day.

All stripped and ready to be painted-I painted them in an antique white before taking back in to the studio.

I think I have mentioned somewhere (etsy, facebook, or maybe here on this blog) that many of my family members are painters (artists), upholsterers, seamstresses, and antique restorers.  So by osmosis I guess, I picked up a few things-including the confidence to attempt some of these.  But WOW, do I know my limits, and upholstery is definitely one of them.  It takes so much patience, skill and diligence.  I more than a few times felt like I had gotten in over my head, and it didn't help that I picked one of the most difficult styles to reupholster :p

These chairs had springs in them, which are completely hand tied and meticulously retied with twine until all are sitting straight, pulled down to different heights and tensions, and tightly connected to each other...all to create the perfect curve and support of the seat.  My fingers were raw after the first hour and it took almost 6 hours for me to get the first one done :[

The blue tape was to mark the direction all the springs were to be facing. 
You then cover with burlap and begin the process of creating a seat-something I didn't get pics of but it's lots of foam, edge-roll and poly filling.
That's Mike, one of my instructors helping me decide how to do the corners.
Once the class was over I still had homework to do;  affix the welt cording with a glue gun and reapply wax to seal the frames.
And Voila!  Ready for a new home :)

I just love the details these chairs have!!

Dark wax helped to showcase the lines and curves better.

Well that's how I spent some of my summer.  I still have 3 more of these beauties waiting to be redone, it may be until next summer before I get the courage to try again though!  We'll see.  Thanks for reading, more soon! XO