Friday, July 18, 2014

Diary of a Dive - Part 5 - Dining/Desk Area

If you've been following along, I'm fixing up an old, run down studio apartment. It's 266 square feet to be exact, and not only is it my living space, I do freelance design and crafts from here as well. (What can I say, I'm hopelessly creative...)  What furnishings that fit have to be multi purpose.

(Click on the photos for larger views)


Towards that end, my dining table gets pressed into service as a desk more than it does as an eating area, hence why there is a table lamp on it. (The table is usually pressed tighter to the wall as a result, but for photos - or dinner guests, it gets pulled out.) 

Dining/Desk Area

The broken mini blinds got pitched and they were replaced with inexpensive 2" vinyl blinds from a home center. I already had the toile fabric to make the top part of the valance and sewed it in a scalloped pattern. As nice pearl colored buttons are pricey, (and I needed quite a few), I instead found a clearance, costume jewelry pearl necklace (Target) and just took it apart and sewed them on like buttons. (A plethora of pearly buttons for the same cost as 2 buttons! Bargain!  And they don't droop like the 1/2 round buttons do.)

Waverly Country House Toile Red Fabric

 The curtain panels themselves I also had from a previous apartment, but they were made from...

...wait for it...


Cost Plus World Market: Indian Gauze Canopy

Oh Yes I Did!

I love the tightly pleated and crimped gauze, but it's hard to find as a curtain panel...or even as fabric by the yard. So I stumbled across this Canopy from World Market, and just cut off the muslin from the top of the canopy and kept the crimped gauze.  I had a mucho % off coupon, so all together, it was cheaper than buying curtain panels -or even just fabric!  As it already had curtain ties that had attached to the bamboo hoop, I just tied them around a standard $3, white curtain rod. As the canopy is very long, I cut off the excess and used it for the second tier of the valance.

The rest are all things I had. The lamp was my mom's, and it was in our house when I was a kid.  However, it did have a beat up frilly brown, circa 1960's shade on it, which may have had something to do with why mom didn't want it anymore. The shade got ditched immediately and replaced with something more elegant. 

The hurricane lamps I bought ages ago from one of those internet 'Everything is 12 bucks' stores. The red bows were actually just for Christmas, but I liked them, so they stayed up. The little vase of fake flowers are actually pens. A friend of mine's daughter made them for my birthday one year. Pretty AND handy! 

And of course, my vintage style poster of a Jules Cheret print. Ice skating, natch. 

 The dining table and chairs were a thrift shop find for some ridiculous price, like $45 or something. In fairness, the table was in good shape, but the sets original 6 chairs were already in some form of falling apart

Thrift Store find...with new fabric seat

 Two chairs imploded almost immediately, but for the remaining four, I recovered the seats. I found this beautiful fabric (Raymond Waites, Abington Ruby Red) which is sadly discontinued. I did the armchairs in the red floral with what I had left, but the side chairs all had to be done in a coordinating solid red fabric. 

And if anyone ever comes across that fabric in their travels, email me!!!

At any rate, the remaining chairs will need to be replaced eventually. I'm thinking these chairs.

Of course, the seats will be recovered in red. Hence, why I'd love to find more of that fabric someday.

All good things in time...

~ Coming up: Working our way through the other side of the apartment. Sofa/bed, How I incorporated my obvious book fetish, created a reasonable closet and the bathroom.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Diary of a Dive - Part 4 - Updating Old Furniture

By Michelle Portesi
I found this lovely hutch in a second hand store for a mere $200 over a decade ago. I loved its overall shape and style, but I confess, I really hated the stain color. Kind of a dark ashy brown that had yellowed with age. Emulating the hinky look of that period, their idea of 'antiquing' it was to take a black paint crayon and make little squiggly marks all over it. (You can't see them in the photo, but trust me, they're there.) I also wasn't wild about the wired open doors either.

I originally bought it to
put my TV in. The center section fit the older style 24" TV perfectly width wise, and the VCR tapes fit perfectly in the drawers.

This was before flat screen TV's were affordable, and the old style TV was super deep, requiring that I cut a hole in the hutch's back to shove the rest of the TV's hind quarters through,

 in addition to needing a hole for the electrical plug. I admit, I did a sloppy job of cutting the hole, but since you couldn't see it when the TV was in it, I grinned and ignored it.  I always knew that eventually I'd get around to refurbishing it, and I vacillated for years as to whether to strip it down entirely and re-stain it a nicer color, or give in to my 'cottage look' proclivities, and just paint it white.
Guess which idea finally won? LOL  

Now that I no longer use it for the TV, I wanted to turn it back into the hutch's original purpose, which was for your typical dining room dishware and accoutrements storage. I had some mirror cut to size for the back of the hutch, which nicely covered my sloppily cut hole.  I pulled out the wired inserts from the doors, with the intent of replacing them with beveled glass...that is until I priced them out...  

 YIKES! Just those two small glass door inserts alone were going to cost over double what I originally paid for the hutch!  So I may need to rethink that option and decide if I just want to eventually put in some less expensive antique patterned glass, or live without until the day I can afford the beveled. (...and that could be a  l-o-o-o-o-n-g wait...)

I painted the old, turn of the last century, vintage, Windsor desk chair while I was at it. Yes, call me a blasphemer for painting it. The current finish was completely trashed, and I had already stripped it, sanded it and re-stained it once already when I had first bought it oh so many moons ago. It was a hot mess even way back then. One could even see all the hues of the chair's former transformations on the bottom of the seat.

The desk chair was the first piece of furniture I purchased when I moved out on my own and I still love its petite and delicately bended shape. It's had several decades of hard use and many moves - and that's in addition to the many years it had already racked up long before I bought it. Oh, all the stories it could tell!

But I digress...

The hutch has quite a bit of elaborate routing and carving, and I wanted a vintage feel, so I got some light grained sand paper and gently rubbed some of the edges so that the previous stain underneath would show through and showcase all of the hutches intricate detail. The handles to the hutch were beautifully shaped, but they were made of ugly colored, cheap pot metal, so I painted those white too with spray enamel. Originally I was going to seal the whole thing with water based varnish, but it really yellowed the white paint, so I bought some high quality furniture paste wax and sealed it that way. It only slightly darkened the white paint (and with no yellowing) which left the hutch with a lovely satin sheen that wasn't too glossy.

Next up, I'll be re-upholstered and painting a bench seat that doubles as my coffee table and extra dining table seating. And being hopelessly creative, I've got lots of fabric I've been carting around for years that needs to be used.

Reduce . Reuse . Recycle

In a small studio apartment, everything has to be multi-purpose!