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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

French Style Side Chair Makeover {Chalk Paint and Vintage Linen}

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Can I just tell you that there's nothing like fracturing my wrist to make me want to reupholster furniture...

                                                                                                                                  ...no, really, I mean it.



There's nothing quite like not being able to move my wrist or use two of the fingers on my left hand that motivates me to finally get around to painting and reupholstering the Craig's List chairs that I've had for the past nine months. Or to wear my skinny jeans which, for the record, haven't been out of the closet since early November...but that's another story.


Don't get me wrong, I knew that it was going to be a bit of a challenge without the use of my dominant hand for things like... hammering... or painting but, Hey, I love a good challenge and I wasn't going to let a a little fracture slow me down!


I decided to view this whole thing as a "learning experience" and, let me tell you, I've learned quite a few things in the last three weeks.

Practical things...like the fact that it's a little embarrassing to have someone else cut your meat at dinner in a restaurant when you're over the age of....oh....about...five!?



I've learned that, while it may not be intuitive to most people, there is a direct correlation between my lack of dexterity with my non-dominant hand and the number of teeny, tiny, upholstery tacks that need to be removed from chairs that I want to reupholster...using a needle nosed pliers...and a screwdriver.



Speaking of tacks, let me tell you, those little suckers can fly through the air when they break free of the wood...all the way across the room...at which point they become invisible to the human eye...and lethal to bare feet!

I worked on the chairs before and after work every day for a week.  I did manage to get the chairs stripped of their original fabric, painted, and waxed. I even used right handed scissors to cut the replacement fabric using the fabric that I had removed as the pattern. I was feeling pretty good about the way that things were going.

But then came (insert ominous music) ....the upholstery.



I shared the photo above on Facebook just over a week ago. What I didn't share was that it had taken me three hours to attach one piece of fabric onto the back of one chair.

Or that when I tried to attach the webbing by kneeling on the back of the chair and holding the webbing with my left elbow while trying to staple it with my opposite hand (kind of like a game of Twister that also involves power tools and furniture),


it became apparent, even to me that I wasn't going to be able to finish the upholstery without help. This, of course, brings me to Jamie.

Do you have someone in your life who is forever helping you out of unmanageable situations?  The kind of situations that you've gotten yourself into...on purpose!? For me, as it relates to furniture and all things upholstery, that person is my friend (and owner of La Grange Upholstery), Jamie.


 She's the person that I call when I'm in trouble.  She's the one who has bailed my sorry behind out of more than one furniture related jam (including the one that I was in  last week.)  I took my sad, half disassembled chairs and the cut pieces of vintage linen and candle wick fabric to her in the rain last Thursday.


I showed her my wrist... and my chairs.  I explained that I wanted to do the welting myself and that what I really needed was someone to fix the mess that I'd made...and add a little more padding...and stretch and staple the fabric. You know, things that require two working hands.

When I finally stopped talking long enough to take a breath, she calmly said, "Sure, we can do that" and "I know that you want them as soon as possible. I'll call you as soon as they're ready."


I picked the chairs up on Monday afternoon. Of course, they are beautiful. Because that's what Jamie does. She takes whatever I bring to her: chairs that need springs retied, cushions that I  want down-wrapped,  my brand new window seats that need custom cushions and makes them amazing. You name it, she's done it.  I've never thrown anything at her that she didn't handle perfectly...even when I wanted to do part of the work myself.

That's my favorite part about La Grange Upholstery,  Jamie works with me to make my vision a reality or to offer design advice and decorating suggestions when I need them. They have pick up and drop off service, and make design "house calls" too!


She's got a wonderful line of fabrics and fabulous taste....but don't just take my word for it...visit her website or her Facebook Page...and if you live in the area (South Chicago Suburbs ) and are looking for a reliable shop that does consistently beautiful work, give her a call....and tell her that I sent you.


The chairs were painted with two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen and then waxed, first with clear wax and then with dark wax. The back of the seats is upholstered with Natural Cotton Candlewick Fabric from JoAnn Fabrics and the fronts of the seats and back have vintage upholstery weight Hemp Linen from my stash. The welting is jute covered cotton cord which I also purchased from JoAnn Fabrics.

La Grange Upholstery did not compensate me for this post. My opinion about the remarkable job that they do and the fact that Jamie had repeatedly saved my sorry butt, are completely my own.

Of course, they're shared by my family, all of whom are immensely thankful to have the chairs and the staple gun out of the middle of the family room...the the tacks off of the floor and out of the rug!

xo,
Kimberly
Linking to:
Domestically Speaking: Power of Paint
Miss Mustard Seed
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Our Fifth House
The CSI Project

Featured at:
West Furniture Revival

35 comments:

  1. I wish I would have kept the craigslist guy;s email that I picked them up from for you...so you could show him how fabulous they look now!

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    1. He'd be mortified...don't you remember how he told you what "wonderful shape" they were in!? xo

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  2. These are so gorgeous and I want that jute trim. So glad you shared where you got it. I have several chairs to paint with seats to recover.

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    1. Hi Kim! The JoAnn SKU is 07865264 if you need it. Thanks so much for stuggesting the French Linen. I LOVE IT! I considered grain sack on these but went with something a little more neutral. I have another pair that I may try that on when I'm a little more capable. Hugs.

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  3. They turned out soooo beautiful - french chateau at it's best - would love to have these beauties!!!
    XXX

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    1. Thanks Suzan! I've got just a couple more projects and then hope to be able to finally share my home office. xo

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  4. Stunning, Kimberly! I can't get over the difference in how these chairs look now! You can see the potential was there, but you made it a reality. Love the color you painted them and the fabric is perfect. I can't believe you tackled them with one hand! You're lucky to have a friend like Jamie; she did a beautiful job.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! It's wonderful to have a friend who is a professional upholsterer that will do as much or as little as I need. I love to do these things but sometimes I need a "little" help...she's amazing!

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  5. These chairs are beyond fabulous, but I can't imagine that you had even managed to get as far as you did. They would have stayed tucked away with my skinny jeans for a few more months. I think I need a Jamie in my life, too!!

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    1. She's amazing...I'm so incredibly thankful for her! Skinny jeans these days...um...notsomuch. ;)

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  6. They are absolutely gorgeous! What a treasure to have a friend like that. Bravo for even attempting it on your own though, you crazy girl!!

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    1. I've been called many things...crazy and willful among them! I take that as a compliment!

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  7. You're my hero. Plus, those chairs are so gorgeous....and btw, another item for our SS list - have the same ones, EXACTLY, and re-did them. Serious. Gets weirder by the minute. You go with your skinny jeans, girl. luv ya, xoT.

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    1. SEE!!!! I TOLD you that we're related....I'm so happy to know that we're alike...just don't do the "broken" part...I've got that one covered for both of us! xo

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  8. I didn't realize we were neighbors!
    I had a similar experience when I was struck by a car while walking. I had a cast from my fingertips to my shoulder and felt compelled to upholster chairs. I am consummately more stubborn that most people so I was able to accomplish the task with nothing more than a litany of curse words to assist me!

    xo

    Andie

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    1. Clearly, I need to dust off my willfulness! Wow! I'm your newest follower...nice to "meet" you!

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  9. I've got two good hands and I'm procrastinating on my chairs. Maybe I should just load them up and take them on vacation to Chicago.

    Bliss

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    1. DO IT!!! Just let me know when and I'll clean the guest room! xo

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  10. looking at the 'befores' I don't know how you waited months to tackle them. That red pattern is an affront to the eyes. so much better after your magic touch.

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    1. Well, they were in the garage...but I'll admit, that I did want to scream just a little bit every time that I got into or out of my car! ;)

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  11. Beautiful!!! Happy I found your blog...check me out if you have a chance. www.thevintagebarnhome.com

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  12. Thanks for posting! I have 3 similar chairs I want to TRY to reupholster myself. So far I have taken all the fabric off and taken lots of pictures, so we'll see if I can get them all back together again. :) Now following.

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  13. Kimberly...beautiful chair makeover! Bliss mentioned you in her post today so I popped over to see who you are. Lovely blog. I joined! :)
    Holly @ downtoearthstyle.blogspot.com

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  14. the chairs look beautiful, i would love to feature them if that would be ok lease let me know,
    lauren

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  15. Great tutorial! Lots of work, but they are gorgeous. I'm featuring them in the Spotlight this week at the PoPP. Thanks for linking up.

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  16. How lovely! Great job on the chairs. Thanks for sharing this tutorial! I headed over here from SSS...love your office, especially that window seat!

    Have a great weekend!

    Emily

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  17. Wow!! Amazing job. Wish you weren't so far away...

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    1. I was just looking at your "big city bedroom reveal" and your linen bedspread...and thinking the SAME THING!

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  18. i just got your message on facebook , thanks so much and ill send you the link when i feature them!
    LAUREN

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  19. Thank you for sharing on The CSI Project. We are not superman or wonderwoman and sometimes need help in our projects. (For me its getting a friend help me paint some walls last weekend). I love your new chairs :) And I adore the fun fabric on the back.

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  20. You did really a amazing job,,where did you learn to make such artistic side chair,..you took 3 hours to attach fabric into the chair...why did you take too much time...anyway side chairs are looking gorgeous...thanks for sharing...
    Thanks
    Mollie
    French style furniture

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  21. What paint and color did you use? Looks fabulous.

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    1. I used Annie Sloan Chalk paint in "French Linen" and finished them with Dark Wax. Thanks!

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