Category Archives: Furniture

Outdoor and indoor furniture

It’s been a while…

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well I think the past 8-9 months have definitely proved this to be the case.

Back in April when Chris and I moved into our dream ‘fixer upper’ home, I fanatically wondered over the many projects that we would undertake to build what would be our perfect house…both inside and out. Lists upon lists were written of what we needed to finish each and every room, magazines were thoroughly leafed through and pages torn out for creative reference, conversations over the differences of 50 shades of light grey were had and also what seemed like personal financial investment was given in places like B&Q, Wickes, Farrow&Ball and the local reclaimed Wood Store. However, it was what we always wanted. A project, something we could mould to reflect who were are and something we would fall completely in love with.

So, here we are 9 months down the line and I can safely say that we are on our way to achieving just that. With the main rooms of the house done (apart from the bathroom…we are still deciding between the wet room option or the traditional bath/shower combo…oh how our lives have changed), I am finding myself missing my smaller, more personal creative projects. Decorating a house is a challenging project in so many ways, that I have found myself craving my sketch book, staple gun and sewing machine.

I decided a step change was needed, therefore I took to our basic wooden chest with an idea to give it a bit of a make over. 

Wooden Chest

Inspired by a recent trip to a Flea Market in New York, I wanted to see if I could give this tired looking piece of furniture a trans-Atlantic makeover. The overall look for the chest was to be a more worn out, shabby chic look with a bit of an urban twist.

I firstly painted the wooden panels of the box with my trusty Annie Sloane chalk paint in three different colours – Grey, Off White and an Olive Green shade. After which I decided to add a numerical detail to the front of the chest using a stencil I made myself (the numbers turned out to be a bit wonky, which I kind of liked).

annie sloan paint

painting panels

sanding chest

painting numbers

After the paint was dry, I cut some upholsterers foam to size to fit on the top of the chest and softened it around the edges with some wadding. This was then covered with additional wadding and a large piece of cotton to ensure a comfy finish for the seat. I managed to buy some old sacks from the Saturday Market in Brighton and used these as my upholstery fabric layering an additional printed sack over the top as a design feature.

with seat foam

seating covered

I then used some thicker thread to hand sew the patterned sack into place and stapled all layers to the reverse of the chest lid, finishing by covering the messy edges with a neatly cut and sewn square of sacking.

finished product

The chest itself has already found pride of place in our study/creative space where I hope to use it as a perch to sit a doodle away in my sketch book, dreaming of more creative projects to undertake.

Top of the Table

Sometimes things don’t look quite as good as they once did. You might think that I’m referring to that lady from TopGun, but no I’m in fact talking about the TV stand I built a while ago. Epic it was, made out of old school floorboards and proudly holding up our TV like a trophy in the living room.

Then we moved home and it looked kind of awkward and out of place. We pretended it was a sideboard table for a bit, but who were we kidding, this was destined for the skip. Then we discovered these amazing hairpin legs and decided that perhaps we could save this little DIY project. The worktop was still awesome and would make a perfect coffee table, which we certainly still needed. So we decided to erm, remake it into something else. See what I did there.

Hairpin Table Legs

We ordered our hairpin legs from some dude on eBay who makes them to order. A week later a little note from the post man popped in the letterbox to say they were ready to collect.  So off I trotted to our Post Office to pick them up and marvel at what a great job I’d done finding them. Only I was presented with a very small envelope instead of our four table legs…erm, shit, I’ve ordered very small legs, but then thankfully I saw the error. “Excuse me Mrs Post Office lady, but I pretty sure we live at number 78 and this letter says number 76, unless of course it’s filled with money and in that case I’ll keep this letter” I smirked. I thought this was hilarious and brilliant, but Mrs Post office lady didn’t think so at all. I should point out I didn’t know if this person was actually a Mrs, or by the look of her a lady for that matter, but hey I needed these table legs so I kept it friendly.

Reclaimed Tabletop

Hairpin Table Flowers

Finally armed with the correct four table legs and can of Hammerite spray paint I was ready to go. It took four very light coats to get it just right. I’ve spent a fair amount of badly used spare time watching MTV ‘Pimp my Ride’ and I noticed they baked the cars after spraying to harden the paint. To replicate this I used our airing cupboard to bake the legs for 24 hours and it worked a treat. Next up I ripped off the old table top from the TV stand and re-painted the edges. To assemble I used a few 25mm screws to fix the legs in place and hey presto we had a new coffee table.

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

Making a New TV Stand

Now, I’m not going to start criticising the trusty Stair Banister TV Stand we did a while back. God knows, it’s seen us through some epic live TV events this summer. But, for all it’s simplicity in design, we’re not totally ready to accept it as a permanent feature in our living room. It’s better purposed to being used as a coffee table and unfortunately we’ve already got one of those.

What we needed was something new all together. Something to hide the mountain of cables gushing out the back of our various entertainment gadgets. So with a sad goodbye, we replaced the old TV Stand with a swish new cable hiding version. Here’s how you can make one of your own.

Tools you’ll need
Kreg Jig, circular saw, tape measure, pencil, drill, wood screws (3.0 25mm), wood glue, sandpaper and a spirit level.

Cutting List
Table Top – 89mm x 910mm. See the making a table top post to to replicate this one.
Legs – 4 x 350mm (35mm x 35mm)
Long sides – 4 x 820mm (35mm x 20mm)
Long side cladding – 3 x 820mm (7.5mm)
Short sides – 4 x 400mm (35mm x 20mm)
Short side cladding – 3 x 400mm (7.5mm)
Front divider – 1 x 200mm (35mm x 20mm)
MDF Shelf – 410mm x 820mm (9mm)
Shelf guides – 4 x 250mm (20mm x 20mm)

Glue the three sections of cladding together for the sides and back of the cabinet. Then screw the 35mm x 25mm side panels to the top and bottom, so it looks like the image below. These will need to be flush with each other, any overlap or you’ll be paying for it later. Set up your Kreg Jig to the 1″ point and drill the guide holes into the top of side panels.

 

Starting with the shorter sides, screw the side panels to the legs. Use a small amount of wood glue before you screw any pieces together, just to ensure it’s a good finish. You should now have two fully joined short side panels. Next you’ll need to follow the same process to join the larger back panel to the legs. You’ll now have three pieces joined together; the two sides and back of the cabinet. Finally, use the remaining two 35mm x 20mm long side panels and screw those into place. At every step, use your spirit level to make sure you’re screwing it together at a straight angle.

To give the shelf something to sit on, screw in the shelf guides along the bottom side panels. These will all need to be 9mm lower than the top of the top of all the side panels, so shelf sits flush. For the shelf to fit perfectly you’ll need to cut into the edges a bit. Draw a line down both sides that’s 10mm in from the edge. Then measure 15mm from the bottom of each side, so you have a half square on each corner. Cut this square out and it should just slide down into place. You might find it a little tight, just sand it a bit more until it fits.

 

Before you screw the top on you’ll need to set up a divider in the front. It’s up to you if you want this, but I needed a section between the PS3 and TiVo box. With the Kreg Jig, drill a 1″ hole at each end. Find the middle of the top and bottom panel, then use this point to screw it into place. Gently place the table top and screw it into place. Job done!

You’re done! Set up the TV, put your feet up and give yourself a pat on the back. Don’t worry we’re not totally turning out backs on the old TV stand, we’ll whip into something new one day soon. Just keep checking the site.