Authentic Mid-Century

Working on cleaning out our guest house we have some large pieces of furniture that just have to go.

The mid-century dresser was inherited by our son from his grandmother.
The mid-century dresser was inherited by our son from his grandmother.

For example we have been storing a vintage mid-century dresser in the Cottage that has come down in the family to our son.

The chest has 10 drawers.
The chest has 10 drawers.

He has no place to keep it so I offered to put it on Craigslist for him.

This dresser is 69" long by 18.25" deep by 29" tall.
This dresser is 69″ long by 18.25″ deep by 29″ tall.

It’s listed locally and hopefully will be gone by the end of the holiday weekend.

Are you reluctant to weed through your furniture?

One More Detail?

When I recovered the dining room chair seats I decided to use fabric I already had on hand.

The shades are made from linen I inherited on a roll from Mother.
The shades are made from linen I inherited on a roll from Mother.

The fabric I used to cover the chair seats I had previously used to make the window shades in the dining room and living room.

Before and After
Before and After

However now that the chairs are finished I think they’re a little plain.

I mocked a blue line detail.
I mocked a blue line detail.

I’m thinking of adding threes line to the chair seat so it will look like a grain sack.

Any thoughts?

Another Mirror Change-up

We’ve been using this small (too small) mirror in the conservatory bathroom until 1) the tile backsplash is in and 2) I can find a more appropriate size.

The frame of the mirror in the conservatory bathroom should be painted a fun color.
The frame of the mirror in the conservatory bathroom should be painted a fun color.

Most bathroom mirrors start at 21 inches which is just too large so I’ve been searching for something vintage or rustic or both.

This space will ultimately need a very special size mirror after the backsplash is tiled.
This space will ultimately need a very special size mirror after the backsplash is tiled.

The  present mirror hangs too low and is too small for Charlie to get a good look at himself. He mentions it frequently.

The approximately 12" by 18" mirror was free.
The approximately 12″ by 18″ mirror was free.

I found a small rustic mirror on the “FREE” table at church which I still thought was too small but which I thought Charlie would like better.

Tiny knobs -- less than half an inch in diameter.
Tiny knobs — less than half an inch in diameter.

I removed the hooks because they didn’t make sense hanging over the sink and they were cheap looking.

The tiny knobs hid the holes where the hooks had been.
The tiny knobs hid the holes where the hooks had been.

I found in my stash some small knobs that would cover the 3 holes left from the hooks.

The mirror is not very heavy so a small hanger is enough to hold it onto the wall. I could have used the hanger holes left and right but decided not to.
The mirror is not very heavy so a small hanger is enough to hold it onto the wall. I could have used the hanger holes left and right but decided not to.

I tacked a central hanger on the back so I could use the same nail as the first mirror.

Too bad this mirror is a little longer.
Too bad this mirror is a little longer.

Charlie still can’t see himself unless he steps closer to the mirror.

Before
Before
A little change made a big improvement in the look of the mirror.
After — a little change made a big improvement in the look of the mirror.

And I’m still looking for a better mirror.

Do you try to make “freebies” work?

Fixing the Dining Room Chair Seats – Part Two

I described the beginning of the recushioning of the vintage dining room chairs here.

Three pieces each direction was a little too much so I opted for two.
Three pieces each direction was a little too much so I opted for two.

After finishing the webbing on the first frame I decided that I had used too much webbing and so reduced the remaining chairs to 2 vertical pieces and 2 horizontal pieces.

Turn under the raw edges of the muslin and staple over the webbing.
Turn under the raw edges of the muslin and staple over the webbing.

Next step is to cut and attach a fabric layer over the webbing.

The applied muslin can be seen through the woven webbing.
From the underside the applied muslin can be seen through the woven webbing.

Some sites call for burlap; I used unbleached cotton muslin.

The foam is marked with a Sharpie. (I moved the frame out of position so the marking could be seen.)
The foam is marked with a Sharpie. (I moved the frame out of position so the marking could be seen.)

Trace with a marker the outline of the seat frame onto 1-inch high density foam. I used foam that was already approximately the size of the seats. I laid the front edge of the seat frame against the edge of the foam so only three sides would need to be cut.

Since this foam is only an inch thick it was easy to trim with scissors being careful to cut a perpendicular edge.
Since this foam is only an inch thick it was easy to trim with scissors being careful to cut a perpendicular edge.

I carefully trimmed the excess with scissors. (My preferred method of cutting foam is an electric knife but I couldn’t find ours.)

The layers: wood seat frame, woven jute webbing (not seen), muslin, foam,
The layers from bottom to top: wood seat frame, woven jute webbing (not seen), muslin, foam, batting.

On top of the foam a layer of batting is applied that is just a bit larger than the foam.

My linen upholstery fabric was cut to approximately 22" by 23".
My linen upholstery fabric was cut to approximately 22″ by 23″.

Finally a layer of the upholstery fabric is cut with enough excess to totally cover the top and sides of the cushion and be pulled to the underside for stapling.  After the fabric is cut but before it’s applied is a good time to iron it.

The front of the seat cushion should line up with the straight edge of the fabric.
The front of the seat cushion should line up with the straight edge of the fabric.

Starting with the front put a staple in the middle of the upholstery fabric.  Pull it taut to the back of the cushion and staple again near the center. Then do the same on both side making sure the fabric stays on the straight of grain.

The staples must go through extra thickness at the corners.
The staples must go through extra thickness at the corners.
Take time to make the corners as neat as possible. My corners are on the front and back of the cushion.
Take time to make the corners as neat as possible. My corners are on the front and back of the cushion.

Adjust the corners so they lie flat in a neat pleat.

When the cushion is fully stapled I'll trim some of the excess fabric.
When the cushion is fully stapled I’ll trim some of the excess fabric.

Staple all around the perimeter of the fabric pulling taut to remove bubbles but not so tight as to pull on the bias.

Before and After
Before and After

Place the newly upholstered cushion into the chair.

What project took you a lot longer than expected?

Fixing the Dining Room Chair Seats – Part One

The dining room chairs are vintage, maybe even antique, but they’re still useful.

Carved cane-back antique chairs - set of four
Carved cane-back antique chairs – set of four

Or they would be useful if the seats were repaired.

There were a lot of ancient tacks to pull.
There were a lot of ancient tacks to pull.

Last week I got together all the supplies to repair the chairs but was having difficulty removing the old tacks of which there were many.

Layers of the old chair cushions include cotton batting, excelsior, webbing, and burlap.
Layers of the old chair cushions include cotton batting, horse hair, webbing, and burlap.

Taking the old seats apart was really holding me up until a friend said that’s the kind of mindless work she liked to do.  So I let her take apart 3 of the 4 cushions. I’m keeping the 4th one in tact to make sure I know how to put them back together.

The cushion frames have corresponding Roman numerals pressed into the undersides.
The cushion frames have corresponding Roman numerals pressed into the undersides.

The cushions are marked with Roman numerals to identify to which chair frame they belong and I marked top and bottom just to be sure I got it right.

The first staples go into the jute webbing held in the opposite direction from its ultimate position.
The first staples go into the jute webbing held in the opposite direction from its ultimate position.

The process starts with laying a piece of jute webbing on the top of the frame. Then staple the webbing to the frame and wrap it back over itself. Staple again.

The webbing is stapled in two layers.
The webbing is stapled in two layers.

Stretch it taut across the frame and repeat the stapling process.

Cushion top
Cushion top

Fill the frame both vertically and horizontally, weaving the strips as you go along.

The underside of the cushion.
The underside of the cushion.

I filled the first frame with 3 vertical and 3 horizontal strips.

This frame looks like it was made from an old crate.
This frame looks like it was made from an old crate.

I used only 2 horizontal strips on subsequent frames to reduce the bulk and the amount of webbing necessary.

The first cushion definitely the "learner".
The first cushion definitely the “learner”.

Having almost finished a prototype I plan to finish applying all the webbing before proceeding with additional steps of adding padding and top fabric.

What’s your latest DIY project?

A Busy Week

This week started off busy and is slated to continue that way.

Tennis Racquets -- all for one price.
Tennis Racquets — all for one price.

Yesterday I sold our old tennis racquets for $15 after listing them on Craigslist. It was a bargain and the buyer arrived in a Lincoln. I gave her a 2-hour window and of course she arrived at the end of the window.

The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.
The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.

Tuesday night we start our summer book club.

The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We'll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.
The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We’ll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.

I’ve rearranged the furniture in the conservatory so 10 of us can fit in this room to discuss To Kill a Mocking Bird.

Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.
Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.

I told Charlie he has to clear out his stuff from the conservatory floor.

The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner -- unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.
The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner — unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.

I also asked him “very nicely” to put an air conditioner in the window in the corner.  Generally the house stays at a comfortable temperature but we’re expecting hot and humid days and some of my guests suffer from over heating.

The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.
The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.

Then on Friday we’re hosting a screening of Young @ Heart for my choir.  This is also happening in the conservatory.

The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.
The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.

I invited 19 people but am realistically expecting 10 to 12.  We’ll move the coffee table out of the room (under the dining room table) and set up chairs facing the television.

Do you like to entertain?

Fixing the French Garden Chairs – Part Two

Yesterday’s post described the deconstruction necessary before making the repairs to the French Garden chairs.

The chair slats break when they get rotten.
The chair slats break when they get rotten.

Using primed pine mullions I scribed the length onto the onto the new piece matching the slats on the original chairs.

Newly cut slat.
Newly cut slat.

I cut the slats to length with a power miter saw and also trimmed the corners by adjusting the saw to 45 degrees.

In the end I held the sander stationery and rotated the end of the slat against the rotating disc.
In the end I held the sander stationery and rotated the end of the slat against the rotating disc.

I sanded the sharp edges off the corners with a radial hand sander.  (I tried using a Dremel tool which was both inefficient and spotty.)

Instead of re-riveting the slats, we used nuts and bolts.
Instead of re-riveting the slats, we used nuts and bolts.

Using one of the broken slats as a guide I marked the screw holes and drilled them so the bolt would be a tight fit. Charlie screwed in the bolts (from our supply) and secured them with nuts on the underside.

The chairs feel very secure.
The chairs feel very secure.

We fixed 6 entire chairs. In order to finish the final 3 we need a trip to Home Depot for more lumber supplies.

Any difference in material should be equalized with paint.
Any difference in material should be equalized with paint.

When all the chairs are repaired I’m planning to give them a fresh coat of paint with our pneumatic paint sprayer.

Did you have a productive weekend?