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Entries in mid-century (8)


Before & After // Saarinen Executive Chair

I've been really excited about taking on re-upholstering this chair for awhile now. Chris picked it up a couple of months ago, but it's been at the bottom of the pile. Now that I'm a full-timer, I started on this chair this first week at my "new job". It is a Saarinen Executive Chair. For a little history on the designer, Earo Saarinen, click here. But for a quick recap, he's the creative mind behind the infamous womb chair, tulip table and chair, plus renowned as "Shaping the Future".



Back to my chair: 

This chair was incredibly dirty & smelly! I wouldn't be surprised if there was actual urine in this chair, gloves were a must! I actually thought these photos don't show enough of the grime, they make the chair look good! 

one) First I started by striping the chair of its fabric. This chair was assembled with nails and each nail must be removed. All of this was done outside as the process was incredibly disgusting! Re-upholstering is usually anything but glamorous! ;) 

two) As I started seeing what was underneath, I wasn't too surprised. The old foam had harden and turned to mush. With a scraper, the old foam was removed to show the fiberglass shell. 

three) Here is the top of the chair with an original number layered inside of the fiberglass. It was interesting to find this. 

four) After carefully cutting all of the pieces, I decided it was best to follow the sage advice of many books to make paper patterns. This helped tremendously! In fact, I'm saving them in case (Chris says when), we find one again. 

five) Pinned patterns to new bright red wool to cut! Side note about fabric: Finding the right fabric is always very difficult. Many times there is multiple trips to Fabric Depot. In this case, I spent hours at Fabric Depot, Jo-Ann's (bought fabric, but wasn't thrilled with it when I arrived home), Fabric World (NEVER go here, it's in North Portland and it a complete waste of a drive), the Whole 9 Yards (great shop, but not enough options unless you want to special order and wait 3-4 weeks), and finally Mill End Fabrics. Last time I went to Mill End, I thought I'd never return, I really didn't like the selection four months ago. This time, LOVED IT! So, so, so many fabrics that I'd love to use in my pieces. Plus I learned they just ordered over 100 of new bolts, many that are textured solids (my personal fave!). Plus they honor Fabric Depot's coupons! I'll definitely be making the drive to Mill End more often! 

Here is the after! I'm super pleased with how it came out! I knew this chair would be a challenge and it was! All of the curves = bumpy fabric! It's not perfect, but pretty close! I couldn't be more pleased! 

Many of the seams had to be hand stitched with a blind stitch. Lots of love went into this chair, but well worth it! It will soon be for sale on etsy, (I'll update this post with a link when it's live), or you could buy the current version from Design Within Reach (or out of reach depending on who's talking)  for lots of money! ;) 


Before & After // Kodawood Chair

Last weekend, we picked up many chairs at a sale, I wanted to start on this chair first. At first glance all you see is the ugly fabric, but then you see the beautiful lines! In addition to it needing an overall, the bottom springs were broken. As I started to strip off the old fabric, this beautiful vintage fabric was underneath the top portion of the seat. I contemplated leaving it, but soon discovered the bottom seat did not have this vintage fabric. So, off everything went! Surprisingly, the back of the top portion has a beautiful wood finish. Previously this had been hidden by the fabric. I decided to keep with the original wood. 

After stripping everything, re-webbing the bottom seat, and installing new foam cushions, I chose this fun, textured, orange fabric. One of the hardest parts of upholstery is choosing the fabric (I've been known to spend days searching all of the fabric stores in Portland)! However, this piece was pretty easy, I had picked up this orange fabric previously and I knew this would be the right piece to use it on. I love how the colors of the wood and fabric play off of one another. 

Hopefully, you all aren't getting tired of my reupholstery photos! I have a great one coming up tomorrow! :) If you're interested in purchasing this chair, it's for sale here. 



What I Wish We Kept

Many people ask or comment on how much fun it must be to do what Chris and I do. We do have a great time, however, it's not always so fun to have to sell pieces that we love instantaneously. Here are all of the recent pieces that I wish we could have kept, if this were not the way we make a living.

I still mourn over that sofa, but hopefully, we'll find something else that we could keep in the future. Occasionally, we can keep some pieces but only if I really beg! Currently, I'm begging that we can keep the pair of teak and brass lamps (pictured above, Chris just got them this weekend and they haven't sold yet) that are currently making our living room look spectacular! Hint, hint! ;)

Have you ever let something slip through your fingers that you regret purchasing/selling?


Reupholstery // Vintage Dining Room Chairs

I must confess...I hate reupholstering. Don't get me wrong I love a good before and after and I'm always thrilled with the outcome. However, it's the process that really gets to me. With quilting and sewing I love the process, deciding which prints should go together, sewing them on my machine, etc. But with upholstery the process consists of a lot of pulling, tugging, hand cramps with the staple gun, sometimes blood, always sweat, and maybe a few tears. This project really was no different.

These chairs were screaming to be reupholstered! Save me from my 80's doom! Chris and I decided to play it safe and buy some black vinyl for this project from the amazing Fabric Depot (I don't know what we'd do without it!).

Aren't they beautiful now! I'd love to keep them, but this is how we make our living after all. They will be for sale soon. Check out Chris's site for updates.

Will I take on my projects in the future? Of course, I'm currently working on making cushions for a settee. But it doesn't mean that I'll always enjoy the process. However, mayble there will come a day where I'll eventually begin to love the process, perhaps it will include an airgun stapler! ;)


Vintage Magnets // DIY

As I cut through lots of old magazines, I kept seeing tiny little pieces, that would be perfect for something small. I remembered a project that How About Orange made with bottlecaps, and then the idea came to do something similar with the scraps I had leftover from the magazines. I'm loving how they turned out, and will be making lots more! Enjoy!


You can re-use old bottle caps, but I really liked these new ones (10 cents each at Collage) since the magnet fits perfectly inside the unused seal. Spray paint the top side of the bottle caps, one coat seemed to be plenty. Allow 30 minutes to dry. 

Second, glue magnets to the inside of the bottle cap. The magnets I used are 3/4 inches in diameter. The landed flush with the rim of the bottle cap. If you haven't heard of E-6000 glue, go get some! It's the best super glue, it's clear and industrail strength. It works with almost everything! 

Use a 1-inch circle punch to cut out circles from magazines. You might want to make a negative template, so that as you are scouring through you can preview what would be in the small circle. 

Apply a thin layer of mod podge to the top of the bottle cap, place your magazine circle over it. Finally, apply a second thin layer over the top of the piece. Allow 10 minutes to dry.

That's it!

Vintage Bottlecap Magnets - useful and pretty!