The Call of the Ikat…..

The master bedroom I am working on is coming along with a beautiful upholstered headboard in linen, a coordinating chair and limed wood side tables. I am now on the hunt for a fabric to off-set the fairly monochromatic color palette. In a design like that gets most of its “oomph” from texture rather than color, the use of a pattern to give the eye a rest I think is essential. It is in times like this, that I turn to ikat.

I know that ikat has been used extensively in design as of late….but that is why it is a classic pattern. It’s been around a couple of thousand years, so I think it is pretty safe to assume it won’t be going anywhere in the next 5-10 years. I am not sure which of these (or any I will use) but at the moment, the visual interest that a beautiful ikat print can add to a room is luring me in……


Source: Calico Corner


Source: Lewis & Sharon Textile Co.


Source: Ballard Design


Source: Lewis & Sharon Textile Co.


Source: Calico Corner


I am partial to the ikat print from Ballard Design.  Wouldn’t that look amazing as a set of drapes and an adorable bolster pillow for the bed?  As you can see, I am beyond excited over this room and can’t wait to officially start purchasing pieces!  However, on a sad note, I am a bit jealous that  I  will not be the one sleeping in it every night.  Do other designers feel this way when putting together a room for a client?  Inqiring minds want to know……


DIY X-Bench Makeover

I have wanted a pair of x-benches for the base of the bed in our master bedroom for a very long time.  I can’t quite explain it, but the look of two tailored upholstered benches at the foot of a bed makes me go weak in the knees.  I literally get giddy when I see pictures that have x-benches in them — I think it is a sickness, but one  I gladly endure.  However, in all my searches, I have never been able to find a set of benches that fit into my budget.  The closest I have come was the Ballard x-bench when it was on sale, but with the base price, upholstery and shipping times two, it was a major investment for two pieces of accent furniture.

So I waited and continued to look…..and look……and look.  I could not find anything remotely cute and within my budget.  However, on one of my daily searches for x-benches on Google, I ran across Caitlin Creer and her fantastic blog of the same name.  She had recently posted on how to decorate your first apartment and showcased a set of inexpensive x-benches.  Even better was that the benches were well within my budget ($50 each), which would leave a nice chunk of change to spend on fabric.  Even armed with this information, I was still not 100% ready to pull the trigger.  After a few ill-advised attempts to recreate DIY projects done by professional designers, I was wary of taking on a project and being disappointed.  Fortunately, one of my favorite blogs, Living Livelier completed the exact same project I wanted to tackle with fantastic results.

Now I didn’t have an excuse, so The Partner and I bit the bullet and ordered the benches from  Yes – Kmart….home of the Blue Light Special is the retailer who sells the x-benches.  And yes, they look like what you may expect for $50 from Kmart.  Cheap, cheesy and cheetah…….

Animal prints are NOT always fabulous!

Needless to say, the benches did not stay this way for too long.  Fortunately the bench ships flat, so the seat is ready to recover coming out of the box.  And let me restate for the record, the seat is U-G-L-Y…cheetah faux fur.  Yes, ladies and gent, faux fur…..

The print sorta made me dizzy.....

The day we ordered the benches, I made a quick trip to Calico Corner to select fabric to recover the seats.  I settled on fabric from Iman’s Home Collection,which surprisingly is quite nice.  I was a bit skeptical, but the weight, feel and workmanship of the embroidery is quite excellent in my opinion.   Now with the fabric and benches in hand, it was a quick process to recover the seats and attach the legs.  For myself, the longest part of the whole recovering process was settling on how I was going to do the corners of the seats.  One tip I do have for the corners is to trim excess fabric…trimming and tucking are your friend.  I am by no means a professional reupholster, but I found that making a 90 degree right angle cut in the corner of the fabric helps it lay flat and get a crisp seam/fold.

Overall, I am quite happy with the results and think they add a nice bit of texture and pattern to the room.

Not too shabby looking......

View from bedroom door....

Not too bad for a total budget of $180.  Here is how it broke down:

Bench Forms: – $45 each

Fabric: Calico Corner – $49.99/yd

Both stores were running specials and I got 10% plus free shipping from and 15% off from Calico Corner, so with tax supplies cost me about $180.  In addition to the fabric and bench, you will need to get a good heavy-duty staple gun and fabric shears, both of which I already owned.

While the room isn’t complete, this project definitely puts it towards the right direction.  Up next is deciding whether to add trim to the walls and paint color.