Monthly Archives: December 2014

Dumpster Dive Table #1

There’s an area in our neighborhood that people can drop off large things they want to dispose of, so Nik and I venture over there to scope it out once in a while. This past week we found a couple of nice tables that we promptly claimed and dragged home: IMG_1222        IMG_1223 The weather wasn’t too bad last weekend, so Nik got to work on the smaller table. He stripped and sanded the top, then stained it dark walnut. We used the blue paint that I had refinished a side table with a couple weeks ago, and then I sealed the whole piece up with water-based poly. IMG_1270                IMG_1268 IMG_1267        IMG_1266 I love the carved wood details this delicate little table has. It was a perfect (free!) weekend project.

Belted Chair

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Nik had found a new treasure in the dumpster up the street (in his defense, it was OUTSIDE the dumpster). It was an interesting old arm chair with nice wooden details in the arms and legs, and Nik was able to look past the puke-yellow-green crusty (yuck) velvet that covered this chair and see something with potential. I let him drag it inside for a picture, and then I shunned the chair to our outside patio.

chair 1Nik went to work stripping off all the old fabric and stuffing:

chair 3         chair 4 chair 5         chair 6

After all that, just the bare bones were left:

chair 7Nik painted this in the same color we painted our bar in, a dark blue color:

chair 8

Then Nik had the idea of using woven belts to make the back of the chair. We had gotten this idea after seeing an entire dining set at an art gallery in which all the chairs were made out of belts. We made a trip to the Goodwill store and cleared out a fair portion of their belt section, at $1.29 per belt. Nik figured out what belts would go where, and started neatly screwing in the belts to the bottom part of the frame…and then to the top.

chair 9    chair 10

chair 11    chair 13

Then he selected belts to go horizontally and he wove them into the vertical belts. They got screwed into the back of the chair as well, and trimmed off with a sharp razor.

chair 14        chair 16

Of course, he had to do a comfort check, and luckily it passed!

chair 17The antique cushion on this chair actually had metal springs in it covered with a weird burlap material, but to make all that metal cushy again, Nik put a layer of batting, a piece of 2″ foam cut to shape, and then another layer of batting over it. The final batting was stapled into the wooden frame of the seat to hold everything securely.

chair 19    IMG_1215

Next, he put some cushioning batting and a layer of our upholstery material on the little arm pieces, and stapled that in place.

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And finally came the hard part of upholstering the cushion. This was hard because this cushion had no normal straight edges! Through much effort though, we decided how to do it, and had to put a few neat tucks into it to accommodate the curved edges. The fabric was the same material we made our upholstered headboard out of, over a year ago, and it is simple, cheap canvas drop cloth from the hardware store, about $13 for I’d say about 10’x14′ piece of this material.

IMG_0024Here are some pictures of us in the middle of stapling the front down:IMG_1233

And tucking the sides:

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Then we added trim with a hot glue gun over all the stapled areas:

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And here’s the finished piece! Some of the upholstery tucks look a bit funny on camera, but it looks a little nicer in person and most importantly, its very comfortable to sit on!

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chair 1

This is yet another piece that I was very skeptical about, but as usual, Nik pulled off his creative idea and made a beautiful statement piece!

Botanical Print Decor and Upcoming Projects

A few months ago, Nik found some cool botanical prints from an 1800’s book that were up on Ebay, so he bid on them and got 3 for about $20, including shipping. IMG_1002 IMG_1001 IMG_0999 One is about carnivorous plants, one has pictures of plant diseases, and the last one has orchids. We bought several different frames to try these in, and finally settled on one that came with matting. I got the frames (50% off of course) at AC Moore, and they came out to about $10-12 each. The pictures didn’t quite fit in the matting, plus we wanted to see the worn book edges since it made them more interesting. I used photo corner holders, and they ended up like this: IMG_1123And then we hung them up at the bottom of our stairs. The whole project was about $55, and we love how they look! IMG_1137On another note…I convinced my friends who have gotten into furniture refinishing to do a joint project with us that was too large for us to move/store on our own. Its a mid-century china cabinet, and it has a fair bit of damage to surfaces/edges but it is mostly wood and veneer so hopefully the damage is something we can work with. Its about 5′ tall and 4′ wide and has some cool drawers, and glass panels covering the shelves (not pictured). The actual color is closer to the right picture that shows the cabinet fronts: IMG_1209          IMG_1206 Because of the damage, we’ll probably be doing a combination of paint and stain on this, and replacing the wood backing since it has an unrepairable hole in it. We only paid $50 for this, and mid century things are popular, so I think we’ll be able to get a lot for this piece once we fix it up! I don’t know if we’ll start working on this before the new year, because I’ve got some projects to finish up first – that weathered table we started on months ago will get finished up this weekend, as well as a surprise furniture piece I’m refinishing for my brother, and the crazy chair Nik has been hard at work on.

Finally Finished Blue Side Table

I decided to wrap up an old project yesterday that’s been sitting around 99% finished for over a month – the little blue side table. This piece started out like this: IMG_0935

And after stripping, sanding, staining, and sealing the top and painting the body blue, it was up to this point:

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And then I was indecisive about whether I wanted to antique it by rubbing stain over the paint, or antique it by sanding small areas, so I put it on the back burner. This weekend I decided I wanted to slightly antique the edges with sanding, just to break up the monotony of the color. I’m not a big fan of pieces that have strong antiquing finishes added, but the color was just too plain on this piece to let it be. For example, look at the edge of the drawer before and after a little sanding:

IMG_1190 IMG_1191

It gives it a little more depth, right? I did this by very gently sanding with 220 grit fine sand paper. Some places you can see the white primer showing through, other places there is wood showing through. Depending on where it is on the piece, some of the wood underneath is dark or light.

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I went around and did this to all sharp edges, and then I dragged it inside and gave it a good coat of water-based poly which actually helped accentuate the sanded areas a bit more. I added handles we had left over from another piece, and now it’s finally done!

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Little Chest and Side Table

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! As I said in my last post, my parents picked up some pieces from an unfinished furniture store to keep Nik and I busy during our visit so I wanted to put a few pictures of those on here.

For a little bit of back story (and way too much personal information!), I had a wonderful kitty that my parents have thankfully adopted from me so I could move in with Nik, who is very allergic to cats.


My cat has always had a weird affinity for bathrooms, and she loves to be near people while they’re in there (maybe its the sound of running water? who knows…). So, my parents bought a little end table so she’d have a small place to perch in the bathroom. This end table was made out of parawood, which is a newer type of hardwood from Asia that is cheap so it is often used for less expensive furniture that can still claim to be made out of wood. The second piece was a little pine chest, perfect for sitting on to put on shoes that also has a bit of storage. Here are the pieces. Of course I forgot to take a pic before I stained the tops of each…so imagine they’re all raw wood and the lid of the chest isn’t flipped over:

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We stained the top of each of them a hybrid stain color that we mixed with about equal parts special walnut and red chestnut, since my parents have a stained wood vanity in their bathroom we were trying to match. The stained sections were sealed with water-based poly. My mom wanted some color in her bathroom, and after much deliberation she decided on a light spring green color called “Spring Moss” by Valspar. I think this color is decidedly banana yellow, but she insists that it has the perfect hint of green she was looking for. We painted multiple coats of this paint, and we choose semi-gloss paint and primer in one so we wouldn’t have to seal it since the sheen is protective. Unfinished wood is very thirsty, and even after a coat of primer followed by 3 coats of paint, I still felt like a 4th coat would’ve been ideal but we ran out of time. Here is how the side table turned out:

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And the chest:

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We knocked these out in about 3 days, so I think this was a success. Now I just need to get a picture of my cat enjoying her new perch – maybe when I visit for Christmas!