Category Archives: DIY

Shaker Hook Peg Rail

I’m patting myself on the back right now, not for finally posting a non-food story, but because I think I’ve replicated something we saw on Grand Designs. Now I’m not saying it’s a house made out of a water tower, but more along the lines of some bespoke shaker hook peg rails we saw in one of the bedrooms.

Shaker Pegs

Not just any hanging hooks, but a place where Anna’s coveted collection of finds can now be displayed where they can bask in all their glory. We followed just a couple of simple rules by ensuring the backdrop was plain and nuetral (white) and the hooks had strong standout in a sold matt grey. To make it we took long panels of pine and placed shaker hooks at equal distance. They’re very easy to install. You just need a marked drill bit to get the depth and bit of glue to hold them in.

So now Anna has a place to display all her beautiful items that might otherwise have been tucked away in a box somewhere. Here’s how you can make some yourself….

Drill Bit

Glue Peg

Line of Hooks

Grey Hook

Grey Hooks

The story so far

…….and we’re back! It’s been ages since we blogged anything and that’s because, erm, we were enjoying cocktails in the Summer sunshine working on our house project. You may remember we undertook a bit of a fixer upper earlier in the year and I’ll be honest it has been challenging. We may have fallen out a couple of times over paint colour and I might have hammered some nails into the wrong place, but hey we’re finally starting to get there.  In fact, we’re finally starting to unpack some of those long forgotten boxes with mumblings of ‘oh yes, I forgot we had a lamp’.

So here’s a little photo blog on what we’ve been up to over the summer…

The first day
This is when Anna threw up in her mouth and I got weak legged and slumped to the floor. I don’t think we quite knew what we’d let ourselves in for. I won’t lie. It was a dark time.


Underneath the carpet should be floorboards right? Wrong. We had chipboard and underneath that some very large holes. There’s a whole floorboards post on dealing with that issue.






Stripping paint and getting dusty
If there’s one thing I loathe it’s stripping paint. Not just any old paint though, there must have been 60 years of the stuff there. It took ages and our reward? The chance to repaint it all over again.




Starting to see the light
So after fixing the floorboards, replacing the windows, re-plastering the walls, re-painting everything and all the bits in between we’re finally starting to see the light. Almost there with just a kitchen and all of upstairs to finish.




Sitting Comfortably

I think it would be fair to say that I have fallen in love with re-furbishing vintage and antique chairs and whilst it has been a complete learning curve for me, I have to admit that I have enjoyed all of the challenges that each of our Chair Projects have thrown at us. Believe me, these two were no exception.

We discovered these two ornate chairs in a gorgeous Flea Market in Hove called Department. Once we started to strip them back, we could see that they had already been re-upholstered once before. Lets just say that I think whoever did them before had got a little staple happy from looking at the Mount Everest size mountain of staples we had to remove from the two chairs.

Chairs Before

Close Up Stripping Of Chair

We wanted to try something a bit different on these chairs, something a bit more rustic and so after some hardy negotiating at our favourite Brighton Street Market, we came away with some Hemp upholstery fabric and decorative nail strips (which we had previously used, and loved, in one our New Throne post). I had a visual in mind of what I wanted the chairs to look like, so I turned to my trusty friend Annie Sloane to provide the paint distressed wood furniture finish that would complete our rustic worn-down vintage look.

Now, I know that you may have probably read through our chair blogs before and whilst obviously riveted by our tales of upholstery trials and tribulations, I wanted to focus more on the distressed paint effect achieved on this particular project. I read recently that Annie Sloane’s paints are a bit like a bug, “once bitten, your home won’t ever look the same again” and I realised how true that was. I counted back over our many projects and realised that we had equally fallen in love with this fantastic paint, along with the rest of the furniture restoration fanatics out there. So I thought I would share with you, how we achieved the look we wanted on these chairs.

Chalk Paint Close Up

The beauty with using Chalk Paint is that most wood surfaces do not need any preparation prior to applying the paint itself. However a good friend of ours said it was always best to give any varnished surface a good sanding to help the paint hold even better. We found this to be true.

Sanded Chair

Ensure that you use a good quality paintbrush and apply the paint quite thickly. Don’t be afraid to move the brush in different directions, garaunteeing that the paint gets worked into every nook and cranny. Depending on the finish you want to acheive, you may want to add another coat, however one coat is sometimes enough, as it’s very thick paint.

Close Up of painted chair

Once the paint (whether one coats or two) is dry then pick your sandpaper of choice. Again, depending on the look you want to achieve you may want to go for either a fine grain sandpaper or more of a coarser grain. For our chair we used a coarse grain sandpaper as we wanted the wood underneath to be quite noticeable. Be sure to think about where you are rubbing the paint away. Think about where the paint could naturally be worn away over time and concentrate your efforts on those areas more.

sanding chair

One alternative to sand paper is wire wool. This can sometimes be a bit more aggressive, but is easier to control around more rounded surfaces.

Wire wool chair

To seal the the painted surface, use a soft cloth to rub in a coat of clear wax. As we were using white chalk paint we only used the clear wax, but there is a darker wax you can buy that gives a more distressed and worn look. We had used this on our TV stand project earlier in the summer.

Annie Sloane Wax


Waxing the chair

After the paint was applied and finished with the wax, we set about stapling the fabric to the main body of the chairs. Again we had used the previous fabric as a template to cut out the hemp upholstery fabric.

Fabric templates

Close up of fabric

We decided to add back in the upholstery buttons which had previously been blocked up and covered when the chairs were re-upholstered before. Knowing that finish would look the better for it, we covered the twenty buttons needed. To see how to do this in more detail, you can read our blog entry ‘Push The Button‘.

Buttons front


buttons back

After stapling like crazy and applying the finishing touches of the decorative nail strip’s, the twin chairs were finished and ready. Actually I’m sitting in one as I type this now.

two chairs option 3

Fixie Racer Conversion


I’ve always fancied the idea of a fixie and thought why not give an old clapped out racer a new lease of life. I found an old Dawes racer at the Brighton YMCA who have a load of old bikes. They recycle all old bikes forgotten, and left locked up around Brighton. I was specifically looking for a 70′s racer as has a rear drop which allows me to add tension to the chain. The newer bikes don’t seem to have this.

Screwdrivers, Allen Keys, Cone Wrenches, Cable Cutting tool, Plyers, Crank Puller, Socket Wrench and a Hammer. I found a really good bike tool set from Halfords for under £20 which had everything I needed, plus some tools I’ve never worked out or will probably ever need!

Stripping the bike
The bike was incredibly rusty and greasy so it took ages to try get the parks apart. I started with the easy stuff like cables, brakes, wheels etc. The part I got really stuck on was removung the crank. You’ll need a special tool for this called a crank puller. Don’t use a hammer as it will do more damage than good and the tool was under £10. Watch this video for tips on how to remove it.

Removing a bike crank with a crank puller

Once I got all the parts taken off the bike it was time to clean the frame up before spraying it. There was a fair bit of rust which I had to get off and stripped as much paint off as possible. You can look to get it stripped down through sandblasting for a really clean finish, but I thought as this was first fixie re-build I wanted to keep the costs down. It took ages but I managed to get it as smooth a possible.

To start the spraying I used grey primer for the base coat, which was a spray tin available from any car body shop. Most of the tips I found were to use many light coats, side to side spraying and not to do it close. I sprayed the bike outside as there was little wind or rain, below is an example of the forks with the full primer undercoat. After it dried I used a gloss black as the final coat. Again, I used many coats to build up the final finish and then left the finished parts to harden in a hot shed for a week.

Putting it all back together

I think this probably took the longest amount of time, in no part due to the work, but mostly because I’d misplaced all the parts and they took ages to clean the old grease off. I managed to source new rims from Ebay and installed two options on the rear. A fixed gear and a normal single gear. The idea is to just switch the wheel around if you want want it fixed or not.





I found some classic pedals with brown leather straps to match the old school brown bar tape. They’re all from the Old Bicycle shop, check out their site if you’re looking for rare bike parts.

This was a great weekend project, and made me feel like I was kid again mucking around with my old bike parts. Highly recommended!

View a gallery of the fixie project – Photo Gallery