Tag Archives: Customized

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.

Watching Paint Dry

Is there anything quite as dull as painting? No? Phew, because essentially that’s what we have been doing a lot of lately. I had intended to blog about it, but thought if I talked about paint drying and roller techniques, you’re likely going to revolt. So let’s talk about shelves instead.

Granted, it’s not quite as exciting as a paint drying blog, but oh wow have they turned out well. Now I may have had a little help on this, or had an unfinished job to complete. Depends on how you look at it I suppose. Either way, my friendly brother in-law built the frames for us and then got distracted by the pubs of Brighton. A large hangover later and he was on his way back home. So here we were, itching to get going on the new house, but didn’t want to wait until the next visit.

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Cut Shelves MDF

Carpentry can’t be that hard right? Wrong. You need the patience of a saint, which I don’t have. Plus, whoever built our house back in the 1800’s must have lost an eye or had a peg leg. Nothing is level and I mean nothing. So whoever came up with that old saying ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ clearly meant something different.

And you would think with all this work I’d give it in, put my feet up and wait it out until the carpenter brother in-law returned. However, I am in no way capable of waiting around for very much. Especially when I’ve got grand visions of a wall mounted TV with shelves to hold all my gadgets and gizmos. Alas, you may be aware that Anna is a bit of a whizz at the numbers, whilst I seem pretty handy with a circular saw. So I recruited Anna in to measure each shelf, whilst I trimmed them down and hoped the circular saw wouldn’t cut a limb off.

Clamped Shelf

Installed Shelves

After some careful cutting, sanding, hammering and little wood filler (hey, we’re not all perfect) they were in. Next step is the painting, but I already mentioned I’d spare you that dreary information. We are now moving onto grander plans – the smelly old kitchen is being ripped out and we will have a fancy all-singing, all-dancing new one in place soon. So finally we’ll start blogging about food again. All we need now is an idea of what recipe to christen the kitchen with. Any ideas?

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We’ve Been Floored

Seven days ago, we rolled up our sleeves and started the ultimate DIY project. You see we’ve upped sticks and moved further down the coast to Shoreham-by-Sea, to take part in what must be our biggest fixer upper experience. So without doubt, we will now be cluttering your social network feeds with shiny, happy scenes on how well we are doing fixing up an old house.

So all good right? Well not entirely, it’s an old place and we are a little rusty on DIY skills. Plus, there’s currently no kitchen, so odds are blogging about food might be on the slim side these next few weeks.

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We started with the floors. We’ve always wanted big dark stripped down floorboards, like we’d seen in all those fancy magazines. That should be easy to acheive? Just rip up the carpet, a quick rub with some sandpaper and job done…oh, how wrong we were.

The carpets were pink, so Barbie or an old lady with bad taste clearly lived here before us. They needed to go, so off we went ripping it up and pretending we weren’t inhaling 20 years of dust. We discovered chipboard under it. Yes that’s chipboard, not big lovely solid wood floorboards. Two hours later and garden filled with chipboard, we finally got down to the floorboards. Only there were holes everywhere, hence the chipboard. By this time, our dreams of a large wooden floor were dwindling quickly. Secretly, I was now thinking that maybe pink carpet wasn’t such a bad idea.

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A trip to our old friends at the reclaimed timber yard was clearly in order. We manged to find loads of matching floorboards to fill the holes. Bingo right? We’ll let’s say, I learnt a valuable lesson to never nail floorboards down in the middle. It’s likely there’s a water pipe there and you’ll knock a nail into it…or three nails, on three separate occasions if you’re me.

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Sanding the floorboards was fairly easy, but super boring. Up and down the grain of the wood all day long, only breaking the mundane task when you get to change sandpaper. Although, I did get a top tip from a mate to mix the sawdust with a bit of PVA to make a natural wood filler. You just rub it into the gaps and carry on sanding. Genius.

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After a spot of varnishing we managed to whip those floors back into shape. Whilst it was hard work, it was well worth it. The floor turned out great and I now have a new best friend in the local plumber. Plus, I have a garden full of pink carpet, give me a shout if you’d like it.

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.

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