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!