Saturday, November 12, 2011

Project number one ... and what I learned

Well, we’ve moved into our new-to-us house!  We are so excited to no longer be renting!  Although we rented a great house, for a great price, we were definitely ready to be homeowners again.  There is just something about owning a home that you can take pride in.  And, having a couple design/decorating bones in my body, I am thrilled at the fact that we can do whatever we want to this house!  We can paint the rooms, rip up the carpet, renovate the bathroom.  Whatever we want to do, it’s up to us!  
Which leads me to my first project.  Project number one!  I have been so excited to move into our own home the past month or so.  I had been collecting pictures online of design ideas that I liked enough to somehow implement in our new home.  I was armed and ready!  And then I got here.  And the fear set in.  What if I do something wrong?  What if visitors don’t like my “improvements”?  What if I don’t like my “improvements”?  I was paralyzed with fear.  And, with all the projects I had in my little brain, I did NOT know where to start!  I was feeling overwhelmed and scared.  Mind you, we’ve only been moved in for a week now, but I am just so anxious for this place to feel like “us”.
This weekend I bought a chair that would be my jumping off point.  I was so excited when I saw it.  I thought “I can do something with that!”  My husband’s family was in town to see us this weekend and we decided to check out Repurpose, an amazing reclaimed antiques/consignment store located in downtown Northville, MI owned by Cari Cucksey of HGTV’s “Cash & Cari”.  We loved looking around the store!  It was so cool to see it in real life since I had seen it on tv!  We didn’t find anything to buy there, but we did notice that Cari was having a sale at her warehouse in Canton, so we decided to take a little drive over there and see what we could find.  And, that’s where my first project and I met!  And, I got to meet Cari!  Well, I didn’t actually introduce myself and say hi, but I saw her!  (Must work on that shyness!!)  Anyway, I got the chair home and immediately wanted to work on it.  But since we had company, we had to wait a day!  GASP!!  :)  My husband, daughter, and I went out to the fabric store the next day and picked one fabric after narrowing the hundreds of patterns down to three.  Once we picked out the fabric, it was off to get paint.  I wanted to keep it simple, since this was to be my FIRST project, so we just went with spray paint.  And the fear set in again!  I was stuck!  I stood there in front of the plethora of spray paint colors, just staring.  I couldn’t do it.  I had my fabric in front of me so I could match or at least coordinate a color, but I just didn’t know what direction to go!  Thank goodness my husband was there!  He was able to calm me down and remind me that I can do it over if I get it wrong the first time.  And, guess what?  I did get it wrong!  I picked out a light gray color that day and later that night, once I had seen the fabric, chair, and paint all sitting nicely together, I decided that I wanted something different.  So, back to the store we went.  Well, I decided on DARK gray (I know, not a huge difference!) that actually has a little bit of a steel blue tint to it, and I am really liking the end result!  It is not as “crazy” as I thought I would have ended up with, but I love it just the same.  Okay, so I went a little safe with the choices, but at least I made decisions and completed the project!

Now, for what I learned from this experience!

  1. I learned not to use spray paint below 50 degrees!  I primed the chair (after giving it a good sanding) just before the sun went down, and it was just too cold.  The primer didn’t come out of the can worth crap and it was SO frustrating!  I actually came inside pouting to my husband and swearing that I’m no good at anything!  (Yeah, there was a minor meltdown there!)  But he told me that it was probably the temperature outside and not to worry.  So, I ended my painting efforts for the night and moved on to the reupholstery...much warmer!  :)
  2. When cutting foam for your padded seat, make sure to cut it evenly and straight!  I cut my foam with a scissors, not really thinking that it would matter if the edges were a little tattered.  Well, I was wrong!  When I stretched the fabric over the foam, I could see that it was uneven.  You can’t really tell by looking at the chair now, unless I pointed it out, but it annoys me, since I know it’s there!  I’m not really sure how I am going to improve this for my future uses, but I have read a couple ideas online.  One is to use a straight edge (scrap wood or a ruler) and a razor blade.  Another idea is to use an electric knife.  We’ll see by trial and error which I like better...or if I find another idea in the process.
  3. When doing your first reupholstering project, be sure to pay attention to how it was done the first time.  If you like how it looked, it is good to imitate that “style” as best you can.  Then you have an idea of what to do.  Doing that really helped me decide how far staples should be apart and how to fold corners, etc.  It really made me feel more confident about what I was doing!

I hope you all enjoy my little project and maybe even get inspired to do a project of your own!
Finishes/materials used:
fabric: “HS Strobe” / Strobe Citron/Grey - Home Seasons 
paint:  Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Gloss dark gray


  1. I just bought a new old chair to re-do. All I'm going to do is spray paint because there is no cushion like yours. Your post made me feel a little more confident to work on a project just like yours. I can't decide on the fabric or paint at all though. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Teresa, I'm glad my post encouraged you! Remember, you can always change it if you hate it! But I'm sure you won't! I'd love to see a picture of your chair when you finish fixing it up!