Craigslist Find: Blue Vinyl Chairs…..

So let me get the obvious stuff out of the way….thank you to everyone who is supporting my Joss and Main Curated Sale.  Things are selling out and while I like to think its due to my killer tastes, it’s really because of y’all.   So selfishly, I am going to say KEEP BUYING!  Think of it as doing your patriotic duty to help spur the economy!

Okay, that aside, today I am off to look at a pair of 1960s vintage blue vinyl office chairs that I found on Craigslist…..

I am instantly drawn to the shape of the chairs and think they would look fabulous in one of my client projects.  They definitely need some TLC but I envision them as beautiful sculptural  accents in a living room or den.

I would recover the chair in a light creamy linen with  (maybe black) linen contrast welt.  Or  I see these in a masculine herringbone with chocolate leather welting, but in either case, it is the shape the chair that really is the star!

I go look at them today and fingers crossed I can get them for a good deal!  Speaking of other drool worthy furniture, check out the article I did for CasaSugar on my “covet-worthy lust list” from Spring High Point Market.

Okay, off to run some errands and see my potential new scores!  So tell me, what one piece of furniture is on your “lust list” for Spring/Summer?

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Design Projects Revisited…..

I thought it would be fun to look at all the different design projects that have been completed in the past 12 months.  If you are like me, you sometimes feel you haven’t “done” alot but it is always amazing to look back and see how much thought, effort and work went into these various projects…..

One Minute Night Light

Wood & Brass Lamp

Tree Stump Planter

Terrarium Tutorial 

Moroccan Tea Table

Coaster Shadow Box Tutorial

Patio  Planter Boxes

Nailhead Trim Nightstands

Mini Succulent Planters

Master Bedroom Display Shelving

Piet Mondrian Inspired Nursery Art

But I have to admit that my favorite project of the year was the thrift store chair I recovered in a rug from Uzbekistan.  It’s bright, bold and definitely follows my emerging design aesthetic that things don’t need to cost a fortune to look like a million bucks!

Guest Room Chair

You know my favorite but do you have a favorite from this year’s projects?  Let me know!

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My Selfish Act: New Chair For Guest Room……

The Partner thinks I am abnormal — well I am but not for the reasons he thinks.  He thinks I have an issue with sharing, which I will readily admit that I do.  It has been a struggle with my personality since I was little.  I tend to hoard things I like and don’t share — potato chips, cookies, clothes, etc…..if I like it, I don’t want anyone else to have it.

So when I happened up this cane chair a few months ago (okay to keep it real, I found it in February), it was cute but nothing special.  I would have gladly shared it with anyone who was willing to take it off my hands for the $28 I paid for it…..

As I said, it sat in my garage for months with a tarp on it, collecting dust and clearly no takers.  So in June I finally said “Enough” (actually The Partner threatened to take it to the curb and put a “free” sign on it) and decided to do something with said chair.  I toyed around with a variety of ideas, but eventually settled on recovering it with a handmade rug I picked up from Anthropologie for $40.

The rug itself was a gift from the upholstery angels.  Made in Uzbekistan, the front side consisted of colorful hand embroidered butterflies in an abstract form while the back was simple off-white duck cloth.  Fortunately, for me, the rug was constructed in such a way that a simple cross stitch was used to hold the two sides together, so I simply used a seam ripper (my teeth) and pulled the pieces apart.  So what I ended up with was two large 4×6 pieces of cloth – just enough to do the entire chair for under $50.

Since I was using a thick & unconventional material to cover the chair, I opted to use a professional upholstery person.  While I think I could have done the job myself but between the fabric selection, sewing, welting, tufting and staining, I felt it was worth the added investment to hire a professional especially in light that the fabric (aka rug) didn’t have any additional yardage so there was no room for error.

I waited 2 weeks and got a call from Rene that the chair was ready.  I went to his place with every intention of placing the chair on eBay or Craigslist to sell.  But then I fell in love………

This is where my inability to share kicked in — the chair was WAY cuter than I anticipated and I didn’t want to share it with the world.  It was MINE!  MINE!!!!  So I did what any respectable designer does….I went home and promptly went through my house trying to figure out where it would go.  Lucky for me, we had an Ikea Poang chair in the guest room that I never loved – actually I hated it from Day One but The Partner loved it.

Fortunately for me (and the chair), The Partner was away visiting family, so out went his beloved Poang and in went this beauty……

Not that all was lost…I sold the Poang chair for a tidy sum and used the money to buy a few new accessories for the room including a great brass tray and stretching the monkey painting I blogged about here.

While not my intention, by placing the new chair in the guest room it gave the room a needed jolt of personality.  Now the room is a mix of clashing  patterns (in a good way) that make it fun but still relaxing.  A few more tweaks and I will take some new pictures of the revised room.

So tell me….what do you think of my “selfish” act of keeping the chair for myself…

Would you have done the same?

Okay have a GREAT long weekend and take some time to relax!

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Houston, We Have a Problem……

The more I design, the more I realize that a large portion of my new career is solving problems of various sorts.  Things I thought were a “slam dunk” aren’t and those “easy projects” are quickly becoming multi-step endeavors. However, it’s this type of problem solving and thinking that drew me to the field and keeps me on my toes. 

Case in point is the chair I am looking to recover in my master bedroom.  I thought I had found the perfect solution in the form of a zebra-print linen fabric.  It was bold, graphic and masculine; it would have been the perfect choice to transform a ho-hum chair into a statement piece.  If you can’t tell, I am using the past-tense to describe the chair and the fabric.  I talked to the upholsterer this weekend and was informed that my remanent piece was not large enough to cover the front of the chair as I assumed.  The original plan was to cover the chair’s front in the zebra print and the back in a contrasting fabric.  However, it would now appear that I would need to cover the chair in 3 different fabrics to cover it completely – not the look I was hoping to obtain, so it was back to the drawing board.

After running some errands, I stopped by one of my favorite discount warehouses in San Francisco and rummaged their racks.  I can across this fabric, which I think is a strong contender to replace the zebra print:

It’s a large-scale plaid linen weave with metallic gold thread running through it.  While it isn’t my beloved zebra-print, the large-scale of the pattern makes a statement of its own in the room.  The gold thread speaks to the metallic thread in the upholstered headboard as well as the gold/bronze accents in the room.  An added bonus is that there is more than enough yardage to get the 3 yards the upholsterer says I need to cover the chair.  And did I mention that it is only $12.95 a yard? So for $40 I could solve my chair issue.  So I bit the bullet and bought it and am quite happy with how it looks on the chair:

This unexpected change in my plans does have a silver lining as it allows me to bring in an accent fabric I have been sitting on since it found it on sale for $3.97 a yard.  The accent fabric is a grey linen with gold polka-dots that will be used to make a lumbar and accent pillows.

The fabric picks up the colors in the new bedding (which I will show y’all tomorrow) and brings in a smokey grey color that I think may be the basis for the wall color.  One final benefit of this fabric change is that it allows me to keep the fabric currently on the x-benches at the foot of the bed.  I originally thought I would need to change the fabric when I intended to use the zebra-print linen but now with the new palette, I am actually liking everything together:

Overall, while I am still disappointed that I will not be using the zebra-print in the bedroom, my little problem afforded me the opportunity in the end to find a new fabric I love, to use fabric from my stash and save money by keeping the same fabric on my x-benches.  So in the end, my little problem may have been a blessing in disguise.

Do you have a story on how a design “problem” became a design “blessing”? If so, shoot me an email or leave a comment! 

Have a great Monday!!

You Could Be a Textile Designer…..

Have you ever thought about designing your own textiles?  I know I have especially when I am digging through racks of fabric swatches in hopes of finding the pattern that I have in my mind’s eye.  Wouldn’t it be easier (and less stressful) if you could some turn that mental image of the perfect fabric into reality?  Well the folks over at Spoonflower were reading my mind (so to speak)….

The concept behind Spoonflower is pretty straight forward – anyone can upload a design and have it printed on fabric for your own use or for sale. You can buy sizes from 8″ samples to full yardage.  Spoonflower gives users several fabric options from quilting cotton to upholstery-grade cotton twill and even silk crêpe de chine.  Prices range from $18-$32 depending on your fabric selection with the silk crêpe de chine maxing out the pricing structure.

One note of caution before diving into designing your dream fabrics – there is a small upfront cost due to the fact that you must purchase samples of all the designs you create prior to them going into production.  Fortunately the cost is minimal since you can order up to 8 samples for $20.

For myself, this opens up a WORLD of opportunities regarding curtain and drape treatments especially since they have a linen/cotton fabric option.  I am always at a loss finding cost-conscious fabric options for curtains that are stylish and in the color palette I am using.  Even better is that Spoonflower offers a 10% if you order your own design and a 20% discount of you order over 20 yards of your design.  And did I mention that there is no required minimum yardage order?  So order 1 yard or 100 yards – you have total control.

Thanks to Spoonflower, I can now add “textile designer extraordinaire” to my résumé…. (not really but I can day-dream).

White Elephant Sale Recap

So last weekend I ended up going to the White Elephant Sale in Oakland, CA.  It is a HUGE sale put on yearly by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board as a fundraiser.   It’s massive people….honestly, I wasn’t ready for the magnitude of it — 96,000 square feet divided into 17 departments ranging from furniture to artwork to baby clothes and everything in between.  This was one “mutha” of a sale with a crazy amount of people. 

And now a word about the people – these peeps are hard-core!  I mean straight up would “cut you for a discount set of Spode dishes” hardcore.  I actually got  into a bit of a shouting match with a woman over this pair of chairs….

This set of cane chairs was only $75 and in great condition minus the ugly fabric.  All they needed was to be recovered in some groovy fabric and potentially restained or painted – a perfect find for my friend who was on the hunt for a pair of chairs like this.  So I found a floor attendant and paid for them.  When I went back to pick them up, a woman was sitting in one of the chairs and I asked her to move so I could load the chairs  up for the trip home.  She informed me that she has bought the chairs and her husband was paying for them now.   I told her that couldn’t be possible since I had just purchased the chairs and have the receipt to prove it. She then told me that they were her chairs and it was a mistake.  I finally had to get an attendant over to settle the issue at which time the older woman told me I was a “thief” and an “a**hole” for taking the chairs away from her.

Okay then.  Words sorta escape me on what the woman was thinking but as I said, these are some hard-core folks.

However, after that little weird fiasco, I scored some other treasures including:

A set of 6 milk glass sherbet dishes for $12.  They will be the perfect addition to my Easter tablescape.

This cute painting for $5……I am pretty sure it will go in our half bath and replace the existing $3 dollar paintings.

And I was also lucky enough to find upholstery grade fabric (8.5 yards of it to precise) for a whopping $20.

I love the greige background color and the abstract floral design.  I think it would be a great pattern for dining chairs or a DIY headboard.  It will also be quite handy to have this on “file” as many of my recent design jobs are coming with pretty strict budgets, so having a few aces up my sleeve.

Overall, I was quite pleased that for slightly more than $100 I was able to get two chairs, a set of glasses, 8.5 yards of material and a piece of art. 

So I am curious, what has been your best thrift store or garage sale find?  Leave a comment and tell me about it!

It Was Animal Magnetism……

Good morning! 

My weekend was uneventful on multiple levels.  For the life of me, I could not muster the energy to complete any of my looming house projects (hello mirror trim!).  I don’t know whether it’s fear of commitment, self sabotage or just plain lazy but nothing stained these fingers except for the day glo orange color of Cheetos.  However, I did close the deal on one item of business — my master bedroom chair.

Bought about 7 years ago from Crate and Barrel, it has served us well in our various homes.  However, as I start in earnest redecorating the master bedroom, it now looks out-of-place in the mostly tonal room (brown, black, bronze and cream).  Thanks to its green microsuede cover, it reminds me of the girl who had to wear her older sister’s dress to prom — it just doesn’t quite fit.

Well one of the few things I DID do this weekend was make a trek out to my local discount fabric store to see if I could find a deal on drapery fabric (epic fail!).  What I did find was a great remanent piece of fabric for $1.50.  I don’t know if it was the artificial goodness of cheese pumping through my veins but the fabric struck me as the perfect pattern for the chair. 

I think it gives the chair a needed kick in the rear and makes a really bold statement thanks to the print.  I also like that since it’s the first piece of furniture that you see when you walk up into the bedroom loft, it totally sets the tone & mood for the room.  Finally, it was a print that I found to be masculine without resorting to plaids and checks. 

But here is the issue, I only found about 3/4 of a yard at the store – barely enough to do the seat and the front.  The back would need to be done in a different fabric – potentially a burlap.  However, I am hoping that just maybe, that this fabric my be the answer to my problem….

This print from Premier Prints’s Zebra collection (Java on Linen), if not a perfect match, is pretty darn close and at $11.99 a yard, I can actually purchase enough to easily cover the chair, saving the remanent piece I bought for another project.

So what do you think?  I know the animal prints are pretty much a mainstay in design, but are you drawn to the call of the wild?  Does a leopard print make your heart race?  Do you do a little dance each time you see a zebra stripe?  I can say that when I look at the fabric, just a small portion of me wants to do a Tarzan yell and thump my chest.  While not my normal reaction to fabric, I think this may be telling me it’s a keeper.