The Courage To Reupholster A Sofa and (a Sort of) How To

I'm finally writing about this pretty camel back sofa I got last year, which went through a makeover. Now, I know this sofa is not perfect. I fully recognize areas that might be too lumpy or not pulled tight enough. Therefore, I must apologize to all of you perfectionists out there, but I'm just thrilled it's done and not looking half done. I am by no means a professional upholster. I upholstered a small chair a few years ago. I really wanted to bring this to an upholsterer but that darn budget forces me to take measures into my own hands, literally. I am so glad I did it. I had several friends come over and help me take this couch apart (I bribed them with lunch) and a good friend that helped me sew the cushion. 

One friend who came over to help me said encouragingly, "Tracy, you just have to look at this as your practice sofa. Who cares if it's not perfect? Try your best and don't worry about it." Oh, how wise! These were just the words I needed to hear to get over some of my fears of upholstering a whole sofa, which sounded daunting sometimes. Actually, it's good advice for anything we do, especially in design. There has to be some trial and error and we learn from our mistakes which help for the next project that we do. 

If you ever find yourself wanting to rescue that chair or sofa and you know you'll need to reupholster it, then know you can do it! You will need to have some determination, goals and band aids near by when you take that succor apart. 

The sofa project took a long time because it got put on the back burner with other projects several times. I hope to be able to explain some tips and things that helped me upholster the sofa. Every sofa or chair is different and I'll explain the things that helped me with my particular sofa. 

Step 1: Find your vision and sturdy fabric
I had read how velvet is a wonderful durable upholstery fabric so I wanted to go with that type. Also, I knew I wanted to stick to something solid in color (as a beginner upholster). It would be difficult to match up stripes or a patterns. 

Finding navy blue velvet was not common. I ended up finding some on Ebay for $12/yard. 

upholstery chart
                                                          image source
This chart helped me know about how much fabric to expect. It's always a good idea to buy extra fabric than what it calls for so you can feel safe you have enough.

2. Research
I looked up some You Tube videos and found this one most helpful here. Also, Jenny from LGN has some incredible upholstery tutorials. There are also several books out there that are helpful like this one, which I got at the library. 

Step 3: Stripping the sofa
You need:
-flat head screwdriver
-a bowl (to collect staples) and band aids (it's easy to hurt your hands doing this part. You could wear work gloves.)
Save all your pieces of fabric and label them. You will use these pieces as your template for your new fabric.Also, save the welting/rope to reuse it for the welting. My little girls added some stuffed animal friends on the sofa to keep me company. 
Step 4: Stapling the sofa:
You'll need: 
-Staple gun
-Air compressor with upholstery staples in the gun. This way it went fast!! (optional)
-the new fabric (cut pieces)
-Curved needle (I needed this in one section)
- I used cardboard for the front arm
- Fabri-tac adhesive
-Nail head trim (optional)
Once all your fabric has come off then you're ready for the stapling to begin! And yes, this looks like a mess. The other major motivator to work on the sofa was so our puppy wouldn't eat the whole thing. Don't you love all the little stuffing on the floor?
The curved arm originally had welting around it. I decided to make a separate piece to cover this area. Here's a good shot of the air compressor we used too.
Once I stapled the arm as best as I could I traced the shape of the arm onto a cereal box or thin cardboard.
The cereal box got covered with velvet using  fabri-tac upholstery adhesive. This stuff is great because it doesn't show any marks of glue once its dried and it really sticks well (it's a permanent adhesive that says its washable too).

                      Once the fabric was covered then I used brass nail head trim to hammer into place.

Work with what you have. Towards the end of the project I was running out of fabric. It wasn't too difficult to sew two pieces together on the machine and then staple the whole thing to the back. Again, this is not a perfect job, but I figured mostly the sofa will be against a wall so we won't see the back sewn piece.
The front bottom part of the sofa was tricky because the seat cushion was tightly sewn covering the springs and I didn't want to take that apart (which would have been a ton more work). I ended up using a curved needle and hand sewing the velvet to that section and stapling the bottom section.
Curved needle sewing isn't as scary as I thought. If you have the right tools, things go a lot more smoothly.
The cushion was sewn by my friend who has a great sewing machine. I asked her help because there were some sections where we were sewing through four layers of velvet (because of the welting). My basic sewing machine would not be able to handle all that work. I'm not going to explain the cushion sewing since she did most of it.
Overall, I'm happy to have a piece of furniture in our library room now besides our piano. Someday, we will add side chairs and a small coffee table, but this room is baby steps to being done. It's good for the soul to try challenging, out of our norm projects and I'm glad I did.


Chairish and The Accent Chair

Chairish Vintage Accent Chairs

 Bamboo Chair (Lonny image)   /  French Bergere Chairs  (image source)  /  Navy Blue Slipper (Lonny image)

I've been looking for the perfect accent chairs to go in front of my fireplace and other areas of my house for awhile. I look through Craigslist often, but sometimes it's hard to find what you want, looking through so many things you don't want. Have you heard of Chairish? Chairish is similar to Craigslist, but it's clean look and pieces curated by their staff make it much easier to find what you are looking for. It's 'a place for design lovers to buy or sell vintage furniture' and items. Their staff will even take the picture of the item you want to sell and put a white background behind it so it comes out looking clean and magazine worthy.  They've made it easy to find a beautiful vintage pieces. Chairish asked me to show some of my favorite vintage accent chairs from their site.

Above and below are chairs from Chairish and inspirational images to help you see how they might work in a room. Like Craigslist, you can pick up the furniture/item locally or they provide shipping. I'm dying to get my hands on a bamboo chair or chairs. Those matching pair of French Bergere chairs are classic and would work in any room. A slipper chair also works in any room. I'm partial to that velvet navy blue slipper chair with twisty legs.

Accent Chairs

How fun are those leopard print Louis style chairs? They would look good at flanking the ends of a dining table or by a dresser like the image above. I've seen some folding theater chairs lately and think they look really cool as a bench or for a mudroom. I would love to get one of those fiberglass rockers too. They look great in children's rooms. 

Accent chairs help fill a tricky corner, provide a unique desk chair, or put two together to bring symmetry to a room. They can provide a punch of color, or they tie the whole room together. Anyone would be lucky ducks to get their hands on these chairs. Have you ever bought or sold items on Chairish before? I haven't yet, but I think I might put a few things up for sale soon.


A Few Ways To Add Pops of Pink

Happy Valentine's day (early)! I'm excited for this weekend to go out with my hubby on Valentine's day. We also have some family coming to visit for the long weekend, which will be fun. In honor of Valentine's day, I want to show some ways to add pops of pink or coral to your home. 
.wouldn't you feel so welcome to come in and see a lovely rug stretching out in front of you? Love the ceiling lamps, too!
Keep the walls white and neutral and add a Persian rug with pink in it. 
2015 Better Homes and Gardens Color Palette of the Year.  Gorgeous colors!  Especially loving Fresh Berry and Behr Essential Teal. Paint color names and brands on link.
BHG came out with their 2015 color pallet including some shades of coral, light pink and deep pink (almost purple). You would be spot on to use pops of pink in your home. 
pops of color
Add a pop of pink with ribbon trim to white curtain panels. 
styling bookshelves
Paint the back of a bookcase a pop of pink. 
If you're hesitant to paint your kid's room in their favorite bright hue, consider adding a ribbon trim insead for a bright pop of color.
family circle
Paint or use a ribbon trim around the walls of your room to give a unique look and without having to stick to that whole color on the wall.
Don't necessarily like these prints, but like the idea of a collection of small, framed prints over a couch
Use pink in a couple of pillows or art. 
Did you notice all these images have the right balance because there are neutral wall colors and pops of color? Neutral walls help so much when you want to have contrasting colors. Have you used pops of pink in your home? I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Farm Table Plans

Our next project the hubs and I are making is a long farm table for our home. The one we have now is an old school workshop table I painted white (it had loads of bubblegum and some names scribbled underneath, which required a lot of cleaning). We have some beautiful cherry wood a friend of ours gave us. Um, that's an amazing gift! We were thrilled and now need to work out what kind of legs our new table will have. We've used tablelegs.com before on a console table. However, if we do an X style table then we don't need to order any legs. Here are some images of tables I really like. What style do you like most? 
Modern Farmhouse
Pure Home
beach house dining room:  great ball chandelier; wood shades; wicker chairs + trestle table; distressed wood floors
Tim Clark
Sophisticated dining room {PHOTO: Michael Graydon}
Farm house table
Those chunky legs are what I think I lean towards.
Love the table
Country Living 
However, I like the straight and simple lines of this table too. 
Amazing Table
I'm trying to look at just the tables, but all those chairs are beautiful too. Notice how none of the tables and chairs are matchy. Creating a mix of styles make these farm tables updated and current looking. Here's the cherry wood that Steve has started working on. Can't wait!


Cute Valentine Card for Schoolmates

Lately, in our house you will see the craft table covered in pink and red papers, glitter and paints. My girls are getting ready for their Valentine card handouts at school. I really enjoy looking at Pintrest and blogs for original ideas. However, this year, I came up with a chocolate coin in the center of a watercolor heart. I found some chocolate coins in the dollar isle of Target and had my darling girl paint watercolor hearts and voila... a simple and cute Valentine's card.
I just love the way watercolor hearts turn out. Are your kids in the middle of Valentine cards too? 


Art for Children's Rooms

Etsy Art Children's rooms

1. Map        2. Clouds art, Emily Jeffords        3. Similar one Here
4. Whales chart       5. Stand Tall      6. Ampersand screen print 

Lately, I've been organizing our twin's room and realized I don't have much art work in there. It's a room I've put on the back burner for awhile. Do you have rooms like that in your house too? I found some darling art work on Etsy, where I love to shop. Also, I thought I would show some other great ideas for the DIYer who doesn't mind making some art, or displaying their children's art. 

Children's paintings framed as art / by Sawyer Berson
Simply frame your children's paintings. Give them a brush and some paper and you'll have your very own abstract originals. 

Timothy's Nursery Design
You could easily create your own pen-net like this IMAGINE one. 

Frame some lovely fabric. 

Last year, I made this silhouette print for one of our daughter's rooms. They're actually very easy to make. 

Great idea to make heart art out of Instagram pics.
Bright Bold & Beautiful
I love collage art, especially displaying family faces.

Why have I not cut out my own ampersand with some colorful fabric?

There are so many great ideas for printing out free art, making your own art or displaying your children's art. What have you done in your children's rooms for art on the walls? I hope to show you some progress soon of the twins room, at present, it's a bit on the scary side. 


DIY Ship Lap Wall

As part of our laundry room makeover for the ORC back in November we put up a ship lap wall with hooks on top. Originally, I wanted to ship lap the whole room, but when you're on a budget, you need to work with what you've got. I love the look of ship lap on walls. I think it gives more architectural interest to a space. Putting up a ship lap wall is super easy! Here's our tutorial:
Material List:
2 sheets of birch 3/16'' thick plywood (@$25 each)
liquid nails for paneling ($5)
nail gun with brads
nickels (for the spacing)
Paint (we used Benjamin Moore China White)
                                               Here's a good BEFORE picture: BORING!
-Cut strips of plywood at 5 7/8'' width. You can use a full sheet of plywood with almost no scrap with that measurement. Home Depot or Lowes can cut your plywood for you too. Sometimes they charge a small fee, but it's worth it if you don't have the tools or room to cut it yourself.
-Lightly sand the cut edges
-Lay out the first row slightly above the baseboard.
-Use Liquid Nails to adhere the paneling to the wall.
-Use the level to make sure it's straight.
-Nail in place using brads and a nail gun if you have it.
-Lay out the next row using a nickel as a spacer. You'll want to stagger the ends so the seams don't line up.
Once the boards are adhered and sanded, then you can prime the boards. Steve's got his nice painting clothes on for you.
I chose hooks from IKEA that we installed right onto the boards.
We topped the last row with a piece of decorative trim. We used bullnose trim, but you can use any type of trim or nothing at all.
I definitely see us doing more ship lap walls in our home. I think ship lap looks classic and nautical, which is my favorite look. The half wall with the boards, nails, paint and trim piece above cost about $100. Have you done ship lap walls before?