Saturday, August 16, 2014

Diary of a Dive - Part 7 - Living room - Bedroom Area

Being that this is a studio, there is no separate bedroom and living room space. I really didn't want to have the entire space taken up by a huge bed, and I hated the idea of having friends over only to feel like they were hanging out in my bedroom.

Having a full sized bed wouldn't fit anyway as the front door was in the way. A friend had an old camp size twin bed (they're narrower) and red comforter she didn't want, and once I added some large throw pillows, I had a sofa that doubled as a bed. (I'm short. I don't need that much space.)

Front door view. Ugly white thing above the lamp is unfortunately where they chose to install the carbon monoxide detector.

At only 266 square feet, this place was definitely lacking in storage, especially for all the books I have. (I really have been trying to pare them down. But in my defense, a lot of them are design books, and I do use them for work.) Plus all the dvd's, cd's and other everyday items we all tend to accumulate.

I had two short bookcases already and I knew I wanted them to go behind the entire length of the 'sofa/bed', but they were each only 24" wide. So I split them up, bought some shelving, had them cut to 36" and just attached them to the two existing bookcases. And Voila! I had a place for dvd's and cd's that I didn't necessarily have to look at all the time since they were hidden behind the throw pillows.

Bed/Sofa and my newly covered bench seat/coffee table/ottoman

The beauty of using a twin bed and some very large throw pillows was that all I had to do to access the items on the shelving was to move the pillows. Even the lightweight metal bed frame is easily slid on the coir rug to get at items on the bottom shelves. (I hide a winter down comforter, blankets and even a blow up bed for a guest should anyone need a place to crash in my tiny abode.)

CD's, DVDs, and books...most hidden from view but still easily accessed.

Now you'll remember, all the apartment had was a VERY small closet - and that was the extent of the storage for the entire place. Well that just wouldn't do.

I purchased an inexpensive freestanding cloth wardrobe and faced it opposite the existing closet... creating a small walk in closet that you couldn't see from the main living area unless you were going into the bathroom. Not only did I now have storage for clothes and such, but I even had room for a laundry hamper.

cheapo wardrobe

But let's face it, the cloth wardrobe was hideously ugly, and well, more I found two inexpensive tall bookshelves and flanked the back and the side of the cheapie wardrobe to hide it.

Walk in closet created with wardrobe flanked with bookshelf.

 In addition, I now had a place for my obsolete and ugly TV which was still in a watchable place, but not the focal point of the room. (I doubt you'll ever find a designer that's wild about that.)

I even have some room left for my Santa Collection, which I really have cut back on. (Really! I have!!! ) Which was nice considering December was my month to host our AAUW Gourmet Group. With a little chair rearranging, I actually did fit 10 ladies in here that evening!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Diary of a Dive, Part 6 - Rehabbing a multi purpose bench seat

~By Michelle Portesi

I found this bench seat some time ago at the local Home Goods/TJ Maxx. (Don't you just love that place?) As I mentioned in my previous post, 2 of the chairs to my thrift store dining table were falling apart and finally imploded entirely.  I needed some sort of replacement to make the table useable for more than 4 people, but even more importantly, I wanted something that would be primarily used as a coffee table/ottoman as well. The apartment is tiny, so anything I bring into it needs to have multiple purposes if at all possible, and this was just the ticket.

bench seat with lower shelf

That being said, I hated the fabric on it, (It looked like a bunch of baseballs!) the wood's stain didn't match anything I owned, and as you can see, it's pretty obvious where I put my feet up on the thing.  Fabric is notoriously hard to keep clean when one's personal outlook for interiors is casual and you believe its reason for existence is to be used. My furniture tends to get heavy abuse - and it shows.

Gee, who would want to sit on this dirty thing?

My intention was to paint and reupholster it and the original plan was to make the top section a slipcover with an elastic hem that could be easily taken off and thrown in the wash. Heck, I could even make a couple of them and change them out when they got too dirty or the spirit moved me. (I did mention that I've got way too much fabric I've been carting around for years that needs to be used didn't I ?...)

Bench Seat, Ottoman, Coffee Table- AND it has extra storage!

Anyway, I cleaned the dirt off the fabric as best I could and since I didn't want the old fabric pattern (and remaining dirt discoloration) to show through the new fabric, I just painted it along with the frame to match my other furniture. I was going to cover the top with a red fabric to coordinate with the striped fabric, but I already have a lot of red in here, (as you'll see in a future post) and as a little red goes a long way, I decided it was just too much.

Yes, I know. Now I have to go through all of those magazines and pitch some.

I really liked the lightness of the top, but let's face it, any shade of white in this application was going to be filthy in no time. And I certainly DID think that a painted fabric would be a cracked hot mess if I used it as is. So I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the new painted top was not only 'leather like', but was very easily scrubbable...and what dirt that eventually would not scrub off could just be repainted. Since it's a latex based paint, the fabric has some elasticity and  bounces back from any dents left by feet propped up on it - AND, without cracking.

Who'd of thunk it?

I'll probably eventually make the elastic top slipcover as I originally planned, but as I haven't decided what to cover it with yet, this will do just fine for the time being.