Thursday, May 17, 2012

CHAIR REHAB: Giving one old chair a new life

My husband and I have been wanting to find a really cool occasional chair for a while now.  When I saw this old chair at the flea market, I knew immediately that I had to have it.   It had great classic lines, and and the proportions were perfect.   The paint was chipped and the fabric was horrendous, but I didn't care.   I knew that I could turn it into something beautiful.  

After my friend Jackie and I were done walking around the rest of the other booths, I went back to get the chair.  I was able to get a good price on it-- only $50.  And Jackie is such a great friend that she actually carried the chair back to the car for me..... on top of her head, and when it was starting to rain! lol

Here's how I gave it a makeover:

1: First, I used a Phillip's head to unscrew the seat cushion from the support brackets under the chair.  Most chair cushions are secured the same way.  Look for an opening in the upholstery lining underneath; screws go through the actual seat cushion and secure into the corner frames of the chair.  Simply unscrew the seat cushion, and set the screws aside. 

2. I measured out the fabric that I picked to recover the cushion, cutting 3-4 inches wider than the actual size of the cushion.  I laid the fabric out face down on a flat surface, and placed the cushion in the center of the fabric also facing down.  It's basically like wrapping a present.  Pull fabric taut and fold over, and using a staple gun, secure around the circumference of the seat.

3. To prep for painting, I cleaned the chair thoroughly using soap and water, and then I let it dry.  Depending on the existing finish on the chair, you might need to use a fine-grade sand paper to rough up the surface before painting. 

4. I wanted the finish of the chair to be neutral, so I opted for a paint mixture of ivory, vanilla, and white as my base coat.  I decided to use a basic acrylic paint, and then seal it with a gloss protectant.  Using a 1.5 inch brush, I applied a thick base coat using wide heavy strokes.  I let the first coat dry, then repeated the same process.  Make sure you cover every area of the surface-- including small nooks and crannies.

5. I wanted an antique-weathered finish on my chair, and that required a few extra steps.  I picked dark brown and medium brown acrylic paints to assist in acheiving my antique finish.  First, I mixed equal parts of each of the paints together, then I added 1/2 of the total liquid amount in water to create a sepia tinted opaque stain.

6.  I used a natural hair brush to liberally apply the paint to the recessed and details areas of the chair.  Then, before the paint has an opportunity to dry (acrylic dries quickly!), I wiped off the excess paint using a damp paper towel or cloth.  There isn't an exact formula for this technique..... you just have to adjust as you paint to get the color/tint or look that you are going for.  When I was antiquing the chair, I found that sometimes it helped to dip a wet paper towel into the paint and apply by hand onto the areas that I had missed.  Doing this actually helped add depth and texture that I couldn't have gotten any other way, so it ended up being a good thing.

7. Once you get the look that you want and the paint has completely dried, you must seal the paint to protect the finish!!  I like using this:

I know, I's in a spray can.  But I love using it because it basically works on just about anything.  As long as you can apply in long, even strokes, it gives your projects a nice subtle gloss protective finish.  I've used it on everything from wood, to fabric, to plastic, and paint and I've yet to have any issues.  It's the easiest, in my opinion.

8. Time to put the seat of the chair back on!  All I did was place the re-upholstered cushion back on to the frame, and using the screws I set aside before, screwed them back onto the chair frame through the holes in the bottom of the seat.

Voila!!  I'm pretty pleased with the end result.  If you have any pictures of chair rehab projects that you've done, please share!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Fabulous Summer Finds for $100 or Less

I'm a big believer that things don't have to be expensive in order to be cute.   Even though I was born with disproportionately expensive tastes, I love finding adorable designer look-a-likes almost as much as I love the real thing.  

I regularly wear my favorite designers right next to things like a  $4.99 ring that I bought at H&M.   I guess in my head, the inexpensive item balances out the other when it comes to the overall budget of the whole outfit!   It sounds funny, but if you think about it, mixing the "cheap" with the "chic" does make sense.   Saving money by carefully integrating some more affordable pieces into your wardrobe gives you more money to spend on the rest of your look!  

$100 should be MORE than enough when it comes to a single piece of fashion--- although judging by a lot of high-end price tags, I don't think designers got the memo.   You should be able to strike a balance between style, fashion trends, and quality in the >$100 price range.   Sometimes you have to search beyond Forever21 and H&M, but if you look hard enough, you can find stylish additions for your wardrobe for less than $100.  

Here are some of my favorites for Summer:


Bracelets under $100
Bracelets under $100 part II
1. Black & White Harlequin Bangle, $15 (available at
2. Gold Stud Stretch Bracelet, $59 (available at
3. Yellow Leather Wrap Bracelet, $59 (available at
4. Navy and White Enamel Stripe Bangle, $30 (available at
5. Faux Tortoise-Shell Stretch Bracelet, $4.88 (available at
6. Anabel's Chunky Pink Acrylic Cuff, $23 (available at
7. Horseshoe Clap Woven Leather Bracelet, $32 (available at


More Dresses under $100
Dresses under $100

1. Pleated Ivory Strap Dress, $56 (available at
2. Floral Belted Dress, $90 (available at
3. Taupe Ruffle Strap Sun Dress, $56 (available at
4. Strapless Blue & White Floral Dress, $40 (available at
5. Coral Bandeau Dippy Hem Maxi, $65 (available at
6. Bohemian Floral Chiffon Maxi, $43 (available at
7. Pale Yellow Tuxedo Ruffle Sun Dress, $20 (available at
8. Monrow Maxi Tank Dress, $74 (available at
9. 2 in 1 White & Coral Criss Cross Dress, $35 (available at
10. Striped Corset Top Clover Dress, $63 (available at


Earrings under $100
Earrings under $100 Part II
1. Khloe's Crystal Blue Pear Earrings, $23 (available at
2. Alvina Abramova Blue Opal Earrings, $50 (available at
3. Crystal Beaded Gold Hoop Earrings, $38 (available at
4. Peach Caviar Stud Earrings, $12 (available at
5. Pink Seedbead Knot Earrings, $9.09 (available at
6. Vanessa Mooney Bright Multi Wafer Disc Hoops, $42 (available at
7. Moschitto Filigree Resin Earrings
8. Friis & Co Gold Fly Earrings, $23 (available at


Tops under $100
Tops under $100 part II

1. White Bow-Front Blouse, $24 (available at
2. Aqua V-back Sun Tank, $46 (available at
3. French Connection Matelot Tank Top, $52 (available at
4. Element Kaleidescope Tank, $24 (available at
5. Mustard Yellow Bow-tie Open Back Tank, $44 (available at
6. Navy Cotton Button Camisole with Bow, $50 (available at
7. Teal Tanager Tank, $49 (available at
8. Cotton Colorblock Tee, $45 (available at
9. Polka Dot Chiffon Bow-neck Blouse, $21 (available at


Necklaces under $100
Necklaces under $100 Part II
1. Stella & Dot Turquoise Rope Necklace, $59 (available at
2. Sakdidet Road Feather Necklace, $49 (available at
3. Haberdash House Resin Chain Necklace, $40 (available at
4. Chunky Stone Necklace, $40 (available at
5. Pow Pendant Necklace, $11 (available at
6. Miso Nude Acrylic Bead Necklace, $19 (available at
7. Green Tessellate Necklace, $85 (available at
8. Kenneth Jay Lane Red Spike Necklace, $80 (available at
9. Brass Little Bird Necklace, $24 (available at


Shorts under $100
Shorts under $100 Part II
1. 3" Pink Chino Cotton Short, $45 (available at
2. DVF 1974 Miggy Shorts, $57 (available at
3. Lipsy Lace Shorts, $57 (available at
4. Yellow Chino Cotton Short, $45 (available at
5. Paul & Joe High Waist Yellow Shorts, $60 (available at
6. Mini Delicious Apple Shorts, $55 (available at
7. White Cotton Sateen Bermuda Shorts, $29 (available at
8. Green Bungalow Stripe Shorts, $60 (available at
9. Purple Stretch Twill Short, $50 (available at


Shoes under $100
Shoes under $100 part II

1. DVF Lush Rubber Flip Flops, $50 (available at
2. DV by Dolce Vita Archer, $69 (available at
3. Nine West "Laffnplay" Wedge Sandals, $89 (available at
4. France Leather Link Flat Sandal, $64 (available at
5. Nine West Nancita Flip Flop, $45 (available at
6. Steve Madden Tampaa Wedge, $90 (available at
7. Metallic Trimmed Thong Sandal, $15 (available at
8. Harley Plaited Gold Sandals, $44 (available at
9. Tassle T-Strap Thong Sandal, $13 (available at
10. Seychelles Midas Touch, $95 (available at


Bags under $100
Bags under $100 part II

1. Urban Expressions Wood-handled Cloth Bag, $45 (available at
2. Warehouse Straw Shopper, $51 (available at
3. Yellow Stripe Beach Shopper, $39 (available at
4. Kelly & Kate Two-Toned Straw Tote, $40 (available at
5. Coral Double-Pocket Clutch, $50 (available at
6. Bird Print Chain Clutch, $23 (available at
7. Color Block Cross Body Bag, $25 (available at
8. G. Corazon6 Patent Top Handle Bag, $80 (available at
9. Sailor Tote, $20 (available at
10. Hard-Framed Straw Satchel, $40 (available at

The time to get the best selection for Summer is NOW---- so get shopping!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Paint + Furniture :)

Ever since I discovered Etsy, I've been on this "paint-wood-furniture-plastic-or-anything-else-that-I-see" kick.   And for good reason--- look at how easy it is to turn ugly into chic with a few coats of paint!   My other discovery -- flea markets -- has only served to fuel this obsession even further.  
Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

Now, my Grandmother would absolutely FREAK if she knew just how much I love to paint wood.  

Last week when I was visiting her, I made the mistake of disclosing that I intended to take these maple greek-revival chairs that my Aunt was giving me and paint them white.

Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

Baaaaaad idea.   I thought she was going to have an annurism.  

People from her generation are of the mindset that there is a special place in hell for people who paint anything made of wood.   People like me see the dated wood furniture that people from her generation left by the curb, and we give it new life and a modern look with some paint and updated hardware :-)

See??   How can you possibly argue with that makeover?  

Source: via Michelle on Pinterest
Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

In love with the idea of this vintage french blue dresser...possibly for a baby's room?

amazing how-to in 3 steps from

I wish that I was brave enough to paint my own furniture a bold pop color, but for now I think i'll stick with white, cream, muted greys/silver, and blue-greens.