More X-Bench Goodness…..

Shannon Berrey of Shannon Berrey Designs sent me a quick note detailing how she used the same x-benches from Sears that I recently recovered for my bedroom.  However, Shannon took her redesign of the x-benches into a completely different direction by painting the base and sewing slip covers.  The benches were part of a showcase room she did and all I can say is WOW!

Shannon Berrey's Cashiers' Showcase Room

I love the green color Shannon chose for the base of the benches along with the fun striped fabric of the slip covers.  The benches really anchor what is a fun, contemporary and simply awesome little girl/tween’s room.   The room has it all from pattern, texture to personalization!  If I had a daughter, this would be close to the room I would want to give her.

But what I love more is that this simple bench from Sears/Kmart has been re-interpreted by myself and three other bloggers/designers in very different ways.  It just emphasizes that investing in a piece of furniture with good lines can be the basis for various design jumping points.  If you have used this x-bench in your home decorating projects, please send me a pic!  I would love to see how we all are using it in our own unique and fun ways!

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.

Fabrics a Supermodel Would Love….

 This second block for school, did not come any easier than the first.  It was still filled with the same angst and frustrations as my first three weeks of class, but its over and I did well in my classes (well at least the best of my knowledge).  Much to my delight, we were given Friday off, so I hightailed it home on Thursday afternoon for some quality time with The Partner.  It was so nice to be home and not worry about homework, but simply relax, basking in the wonderment which is my fantastic boyfriend.

This morning I decided to treat myself to a bit of shopping.  In days of yore, that would have meant grabbing my Saks card and heading to the Saks Men Store for some quality one-on-one time with the 4th Floor.  Instead, I dragged The Partner out to Pleasanton, CA for a mid-morning trip to Calico Corners.  I have heard stories about Calico Corners from decorator friends and have seen blog postings on the net, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the store lived up to its reputation of having a variety of decorating grade fabrics at decent price points.  I did not find one “Holly Hobby” or “Granny Gingham” in the lot of fabrics.  What I did find was a nicely organized store with a variety of fabrics (cottons, jacquards, wovens, silks, synthetics) in a multitude of styles.  Perfect!After weeks of limiting myself to Discount Fabrics and Joann’s in search of deals, it was nice to find myself surrounded by styles that I have seen in Sunset Magazine, Elle Decor and House Beautiful; beautiful fabrics that were on-trend but still budget friendly. 

Well let me qualify those last two words — budget friendly.  I know for many people, “budget friendly” can mean many things, so I qualify that for me, I was looking for fabrics that were under $50/yard since I only needed two yards maximum for the K-Mart x-bench project (click here to see the benches).  I know that $100 bucks for two yards of fabric is not necessarily frugal, but I figured that I spent less than $100 on the two benches, I could splurge on a mid-priced fabric.  In my head, I convinced myself that I was SAVING money since I did not purchase the Ballard Design x-benches at over $250 a pop with the fabric I wanted, ergo for less than the price of ONE Ballard Design bench, I was getting two upholstered benches.  So it was really like I was saving over $300 by spending $200.  Twisted logic right?  But it works in my own little warped mind……Any case, The Partner and I found several suitable fabric  candidates for the benches but decided to purchase fabric from Iman’s new line of home decorating fabrics.  I know…I know….celebrity endorsed products are rarely actually any good.  In fact, they are normally pretty awful for the most part, but honestly, I swear the line of fabrics from Iman are beautiful.  I mean, after all, she was a supermodel and has consistently been on multiple international best dressed lists for the last 20 years, so that says something for her tastes right? 

From ikats to floral prints, the line covers the gamut from traditional to modern…however, almost all of them have a slant towards a refreshing twist on classic motifs.  So here were some of the candidates from Iman’s fabric line: 


Java Moon


Alexandria Scroll


Deauville Dance


Assyrian Vine




After a bit of debate with The Partner, we decided to go with the Assyrian Vine but in a slightly different color combination: 


Assyrian Vine (Brown)


You can’t really tell in the pictures, but the blue version of the Assyrian Vine fabric is actually turquoise, aqua, navy with a tiny bit of orange-red in the leaves.  It is a beautiful fabric and would have coördinated with our current bedding perfectly.  But in its ability to match also lays the fabrics greatest weakness; the fabric would have clashed when the two other sets of bedding we use throughout the year.  So we opted for the brown/gold version of the Assyrian Vine which has golds, turquoise and hits of navy blue in the embroidery.  This was a much better option as it does not match but merely coördinates with all three sets of sheets/duvets.  Plus it provides a much-needed hit of lightness and color to our otherwise dark/muted bedroom (that will be changed very soon). 

So the decision was made and the fabric purchased.  Unfortunately, it has to be ordered from a central warehouse, and the design is currently on back-order through 10/8 which isn’t that bad.  However, they will be shopping it directly to my home free of charge, so its nice I don’t need to make the 30 minute commute back to Pleasanton to pick up the fabric. The fabric retails for $49.99/yard normally, but we received an additional 15% off because the store was having a sale which ends tomorrow (10/2).  If you miss the sale, click here to find a coupon for $20 off $100.  So now the waiting …fortunately I have the selecting of a paint for the main floor bathroom to occupy me until the fabric arrives.

More on paint selection tomorrow…..