Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cushed MCM Chairs

I finally finished the necessary work on the pair of mid century modern arm chairs I picked up at an estate sale way too long ago (over a year—eek!). They weren't in bad shape but as you can see, they were missing some crucial parts.

I couldn't find webbing material similar to what remained on the chairs, so I opted for some woven straps that reminded me of cotton seatbelts and tacked them down using a staple gun.

The webbing didn't take long to replace but it took me a long time to make these cushions or should I say build up the nerves to get started. I'm no seamstress or upholsterer and was entirely intimidated with the task of making cushions for the chairs. At first I wasn't even sure how to start but after seeing a few similar chairs on craigslist and one identical match in Emily's room on the finale of HGTV's Design Star, I knew I could do it. So, with the first task of project-cushions accomplished, aka growing a pair, I was ready to get my hands dirty.

The second task was finding fabric, which speaking from experience, I knew wasn't going to be easy. I had three basic criteria I needed the fabric to fulfill: 1. neutral color, 2. upholstery quality, 3. I had to like it. Pretty simple huh? Well, let's just talk about that. First I scoured my go-to discount shop in Chicago, Textile Discount Outlet, and when I left empty-handed was highly disappointed. However, I didn't give up and visited three other large fabric stores warehouses, perused the selections at Hobby Lobby, and even stopped at Joann's—still nothing. Then one magical weekend when we were up in Minnesota paying a visit to our friends and family, I was venting my fabric-finding frustration and my friend's boyfriend mention a store in the area that may have something. To all y'all that live in the Twin Cities area, and have a fabric fetish but don't know where to look, let me introduce you to Mill End Textiles (this is the Rochester store).

I hope the photos speak for themselves, but let me tell you that the selection there was fantastic. The Rochester store wasn't extremely large but I easily found fabric for the chair cushions as well as another project I had been needing fabric for. The best part, it was a holiday weekend and everything was discounted on-top of the already terribly low prices. We bought 4 yards for the chairs and only paid $20 and probably have at least 1.5 yards of fabric left. Woo hoo!

With that checked off my list, the next tasks I completed were purchasing foam and finding a box-cushion sewing tutorial online that I could follow easily. Unfortunately, foam is not cheap so I patiently waited for it to go on sale at Joann's and when it did, I was on it like peanut butter on jelly. In the meantime, I found this great tutorial on Sew Mama Sew and read it about a hundred times. I followed the steps to a T, omitting the handles, making one of the seats first. Can you guess which one (I hope not!)?

I am so please with my work not only because this project was a huge skill- and time-undertaking (it took about three hours to make one cushion) but because I think I did an excellent job for a first-timer and now we have two more functioning chairs! What do you think? Did you ever think I would actually finish this project?

BTW: According to Urban Dictionary, "cushed meanz dat u feel comfortable".

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another episode of Hoarders

Shield your eyes! Anyone who knows me (and most of you do) are probably in shock by the condition of the office in these photos. These first few photos shown here I took just after I set my 2010 action plan (see those curtains, remember when I moved them to the dining room?).

And rather than slowly working on this room throughout the year, over the course of the following months it got worse.

What's that do I hear? Somebody whispering "hoarder!"? I know, I know, this is pretty bad and I would be the first to admit it. I mean look! There are empty wrapping paper rolls, posters delicately laid over the back of my office chair and on the floor, stacks of pillow forms, no empty square inch on the surface of either of our desks, not too mention the hundreds of other things crammed and hidden behind other junk. Can you blame me for never sharing this awful room with you? (Look at Harley peering into the empty box as if to say "What! These boxes are empty?")

I planned on posting a before and after of just the simple clearing out of everything, but I really want you to experience the full before and after effect once I post pictures, and honestly, this room truly is a work-in-progress. So, I leave you today with these images simmering in your creative minds thinking "what will the room look like?"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HOW's Goodies

In June I took a short hiatus to attend the HOW Design Conference in Denver, Colorado. I had a great time and am very grateful to my employer for sending me. In addition to absorbing as much creativity as I could, and being inspired by the wonderful lecturers, I picked up a boat-load of goodies including the Eat Local screen-printed dish towel that I framed and hung in our mini hallway. Here's an overview shot of my bounty.

Mohawk paper handed out hundreds of these reuseable Baggu shopping bags, which google told me normally cost $8 a sack!

French paper company handed out these awesome frisbees, which Justin and I needed since our former frisbee took a trip down the river last summer.

They also handed out these paper specs that were en masse at the white party.

The mini peace lily on my desk now hails the name Mr. French but isn't afraid of his Kanye West tendencies. Bravo French.

From Hoefler & Frere-Jones I received some typography fortune cookies. You may see this saying as my google status every now and then "Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill; use too many fonts and your eyes will fall out." True story.

And no goodie bag is complete without a handful of pins. The ones on the paper board are from Shutterstock and, if I remember correctly, the others are from Veer.

For the first two weeks back in the office, I rocked them like a champ.

Did anyone else attend the HOW Design Conference? What goods top your list?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inspiring our office

Let me remind you of a little 2010 action plan I set many many moons ago: cleaning-up, decorating, and designing the office so it is a functioning space. I admit that I have been holding back on you all because Justin and I have slowly been tackling this eye-sore for the last few months, but before I share any progress, I want to share my inspiration and color palette for this soon-to-be working zone.

Did I wet your design appetite? Be sure to check back soon for first ever photos of what we are now referring to as our office!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Custom Coasters

Raise your hand if you have seen a coaster set like this before? Come on, you know what I'm talking about! They are generally glass, about 1/4" thick, and have a small window—about the size of a business card—for a photo? Ah yes, now we're on the same page.

After we moved in to our home and filled it with furniture, I didn't want sweaty drinks casting rings on the new wood surfaces, so I picked up a boxed set of these coasters from Goodwill for a couple bucks. However, I also didn't want our guests placing a bottle of beer on pics of our beautiful faces so on my computer I created a few patterns in Adobe Illustrator, printed them out, cut them down to size, and slid them into place.

Now, we have a custom set of drink coasters that, if the mood strikes, I can easily update with new patterns or, if moved to a different room, can easily change to match the room's decor.

If you don't have a computer or software to create your own art, you could buy some wrapping paper, look through magazines for patterns, or even bust out some crayons and markers for some real fun—use your imagination!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Best of CS Interiors: Fall 2010

As soon as I saw the new fall issue of CS Interiors on the stands, I dashed across the sidewalk, weaved through the pedestrian traffic, and grabbed a copy all for myself. I know I have shown why I love this publication time and time and time and time again, but I must reiterate that it is a fountain of beautiful photos and amazing home decor, mostly native to the Chicago area or created by Chicago-bread talent.

The fall 2010 issue is chock full of great inspiration, in fact, one of the ads caught my eye as well. Check out this beautiful (I'm guessing) ceramic rhino bust from Branca. Ever since taxidermy has come into the trendy home decor spot light, I have loved the alternative materials companies have made animal busts from including this little guy.

The article accompanying this photo was called The New Clutter, fitting, no? What strikes me in this photo is not only the abundance of old photos on the wall, yes there are a lot, but rather the manner in which they are used, as a wallpaper. It may not toot everyone's horn, but the large amount of photos applied en masse diminishes the "cluttered" look and appears as a varied texture, lush and rich paired with the red-burgundy leather couch.

Photo by Maia Harms, CS Interiors

Another way, albeit less hectic, to round up a collection is to create a framed collage, such as this one found in the home of Jerry Kleiner and Marisa Molinaro. I am always drawn to gallery-looking collections in homes and this one joins the pile in my inspiration folder. It can be quite difficult to successfully create an assorted framed collage but one tip I picked up from this image is to limit the frames you use to two colors, such as what Kleiner and Molinaro used (black and gold).

Photo by Tony Soluri, CS Interiors

When I glimpsed these voluptuous jug table lamps by C.A.I. Designers I was attracted to their bodies. The curves of the base are so lovely and large but in any other material they would appear heavy and overweight. However, because the base is transparent glass, and is paired with a well proportioned light-colored drum shade, the lamp is graceful and would look elegant sitting right on my office desk.

CS Interiors

It's not every day that a model home interior looks this mod. When charged with the task of designing the models of Aqua Parkhomes, designer Jeanne Gang called upon art guru Mark Rowland for some fine art finessing. With their two powers combined, they created a bedroom, and model, worth spending all your life savings. The triptych of tree photographs is by Jin Lee and is completely DIY worthy and doable.

Photo by Maia Harms, CS Interiors

Last, is this kinetic light fixture titled Gleam by RockPaperRobot. With the click of a button this $9,000 fixture can "widen or bend" and "cluster or radiate" depending on the mood of the operator. Aside from the price tag, I love everything about this baby. Adjustable lighting in every room is a dream I have and a motorized chandelier seems right up my alley.

CS Interiors

Thanks CS Interiors for another fabulous issue. I can't wait for winter 2010!

Want to flip through the whole issue? Read it online!
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