Webbing a Wooden Couch Frame

If you have any furniture with a wood frame and loose cushions, it’s a good bet you you have a piece of furniture supported by webbing. And if your furniture is old and the webbing is original, it’s another good bet it’s not supporting your butt–or anyone else’s for that matter–the way it used to.

This is a problem we’ve been experiencing for a few months with the ’60s platform couch in our living room. The couch felt less than totally stable, and I was constantly noticing that the cushion slid forward when anyone sat on it. When we bought it, I didn’t really know to check under the cushions, but when I finally gave the seat some attention, I discovered the culprit was some mega stretched-out and partially deteriorated webbing.

Loose webbing on a vintage wooden couch frame

Sure, this looks like it might make a comfy hammock, but in general you don’t want your butt to continue sinking toward the ground after you’ve already had a seat. It was past time for new webbing.

Luckily, webbing the seat of a couch is a pretty simple and relatively inexpensive project you can easily do yourself with only a couple tools and supplies. It didn’t make much mess, and the only things needed were a roll of jute webbing, two pair of pliers, a pneumatic staple gun, a some 5/8″ staples.

First, Justin removed the old webbing.
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Then, it was just a matter of attaching the new webbing in a simple weave pattern. We made sure to cut the webbing a few inches longer than the seat on both ends. When securing it, we stapled each end, then folded the excess over and stapled again for added stability.

Stapling jute webbing
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We finished the short side first.
New webbing on a wooden couch frame

Using the same stapling technique, I weaved the longer pieces through the shorter pieces.
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The only real trick to this is keeping the webbing taut. There is a contraption called a webbing stretcher that exists for this expressed purpose, and if you are one person doing this job, you will probably need one. Because Justin helped with this, he was able to pull while I stapled. What worked best was for him to grab the webbing using two sets of pliers rather than his two hands. He also sat on the floor and pushed the against the couch with his feet for even more superior resistance (I’ll leave you to ponder that image in your free time).

That’s all folks! Done.
Weaving new webbing on a wooden couch frame

And done.
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The webbing cost around $35 for 75 yards, and we used about 15 yards for this project, so all in all, it cost about $8 and took an hour of our weekend. Still, this small change made a world of difference in the comfort of our couch and probably the longevity of frame and cushions alike. As an added bonus, my husband got to play Justin Plierhands for a short while, and an evening at my place no longer means guests will enjoy saggy bottom with their sparkling conversation. Everybody wins.

Crazy for Brass Pineapples

I’m not a great romantic, but I have experienced love at first sight once in my life. I know what you’re thinking, but it actually was not first time I set eyes on my future-husband as he stood in front of a box of Krispy Kremes.

Rather, it was a few weeks ago when I was cruising Instagram and came upon a specimen of rare and exotic beauty: a brass pineapple:
pineapple
(from the JudysJunktion Etsy shop)

Ever since, I simply can’t get these pineapples out of my head. I’m admiring them on Etsy and Pinterest, watching them on eBay–in short, stalking them to the best of my web browsing abilities. Though I only just discovered them, brass pineapples are a fairly common vintage decor item. They typically function as either a candle holder or a jar and come in a glorious array of sizes, styles, and materials:
pineapple
(from thewhitepepper Etsy shop)

pineapple3
(from Merchant Archive)
pineapple4
(from the SadRosetta Etsy shop)

But while they are relatively easy to find, they are not–unfortunately–cheap to buy. Small ones tend to start in the $75-100 range and go up quickly from there. For now, I’m resigned to loving these pineapples from afar, but one day, in the everlasting words of Wayne Campbell:

Upholstered! 1964 Paoli Chair

There was snow on the ground when we found these three 1964 Paoli chairs at an estate sale last winter.
1964 Paoli chairs before reupholstery, found at an estate sale
Since then, they’ve spent a lot of time chilling out in the basement, waiting to get a little TLC. But for everything there is a season, and apparently summer is the season for Paoli chairs, because they are finally done!
 Reupholstered white mid century Paoli chairReupholstered blue or gray mid century Paoli chair
You can follow the upholstery process for chair three below.

Stripping

The process of stripping these Paoli chairs was far less dramatic and eventful than the loveseat, which was dangerous and, frankly, a little disgusting. I started with the chair upside down to get easier access to the staples.
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The good news is that all the staples were on the narrow underside of the seat back. Once those were removed, I detached the fabric and moved on to the seat.
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I must have seemed like I needed some assistance, because Jellybeans came out to supervise my efforts.
White dog helping me upholster
Boom! With the staples gone from the seat, the stripping process is done. QC came back to check the cushion density one last time, just to make sure it was good for sitting and all.
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Sewing the Seat Cushion Cover

You’ll have to excuse me if some of this seems like one of those cooking shows where the host suddenly pulls the finished dish out of the oven. Since this was the third of these chairs I did and the second in the same fabric, I had already cut my material to size. However, I do promise to cover measuring for yardage, pattern making, and cutting fabric in future posts.

The seat cushion cover consists of two parts: the seat and the boxing. The original chair also had piping, but I opted to go sans piping for this time because I wanted a clean, modern look and  thought a simple cover accomplished that better. I did use piping on the first chair, and that looked great, too.

With the seat and boxing fabric already cut, the first step was to trace the outline of the seat cushion onto the seat fabric. On the first chair, I did a truly embarrassing amount of seam ripping before finally accepting that this cushion is an irregular shape, and eyeballing it while you sew is not an especially effective way of getting that shape right.

This time I broke out the chalk pencil to make sure my seam placement was exact. It’s okay to draw on the correct side of the fabric–the side that will be showing on the final product. A lot of the chalk line will not show after you have sewn, and what does show can be patted out with a damp cloth. I made the curve of the cushion my boundary, marking for my seam where the cushion began to slope downward. This cushion had a little bit of edge there, which made the process pretty easy.
Measuring fabric for a seat cushion
Next, I brought out the boxing (two pieces, already sewn together). I wanted to place the side seams of the boxing near where the back leg of the chair meets the seat so that they would be less visible. This is also the way the previous seat was assembled, so it’s not as if I had to think of that genius strategy on my own.

I laid out the boxing so that the seams met the seat and the same place on both sides. Then, I made a horizontal marking on the seat fabric to indicate where the boxing seam should go.
Fitting boxing for a seat cushion Marking a seat cushion to be sewed
Before sewing, I pinned the boxing to the seat fabric.
Pinning boxing to a seat cushion before sewing
When pining, I made sure to do the following three things:

  1. Arrange the top side of the seat fabric and the boxing so they are facing each other (ie–the seat fabric is facing up, and the boxing is facing down), and the boxing is inside the seat cushion. That way, when I folded the boxing back over, it was underneath the seat and ready to cover the bottom of the cushion.
  2. Begin by pinning the BOTH boxing seams on the horizontal markings I just made. If you start with just one, there is no guarantee you will distribute the fabric exactly as needed for the other one to line up.
  3. Pin on top of the yellow line drawn on the seat fabric. It wasn’t visible once I added the boxing, so the pins became my guide when sewing, like so:

Sewing boxing for a seat cushion

Upholstering the Seat Cushion

Then I covered the whole seat with a half layer of dacron and stapled it to the bottom, just to even out the cushion and freshen the padding a little bit. I also noticed on the other chairs that there could be a slight bulge where the seat cushion met the plywood bottom, so I put an extra strip of dacron across the front to smooth out that area. At this point, my cushion looked like this:
Covering a cushion in dacron
Now I was ready to add the seat cushion cover. It fit pretty tightly, which I just what I wanted. I smoothed as I went, making sure the seams were where I wanted them, and the grain of the fabric was straight.

After flipping the cushion over, I pulled the boxing down and secured it to the bottom. The top and bottom of a piece should always be stapled before you move to the sides. I checked the front periodically to make sure I was pulling evenly and not getting my seam out of alignment. When completely stapled, the bottom looked like this:
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To complete the seat, I added a piece of cambric, which is a fancy word for the black dust cover that’s always hanging off the bottom of old sofas. Strictly speaking, this is optional, since cambric doesn’t really do anything functional. It does, however, make the whole job look more finished and keeps strings from the raw edge of your fabric and bits of dacron from being visible. Attaching cambric is about the easiest part of the entire project. Just cut it to shape and staple around the outside. It’s nice to fold the edge of the cambric under before stapling, but it won’t unravel, so if there isn’t enough fabric to fold, no one will be the wiser.
Applying cambric or a dust cover to the bottom of furniture

Upholstering the Seat Back

I try to reuse the original materials from furniture whenever possible. It’s greener and easier on the wallet. The cotton batting from this chair was in fine condition, so back on it went. To add extra padding and a smooth finished surface, I added a layer of dacron over the batting and stapled it to the back.
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First, I upholstered the front side of the seat back by draping the fabric over the front and securing it on the back top and underneath the bottom of the seat. As with the seat cushion, I smoothed and stapled the top and bottom of the fabric before doing anything with the side, like this:
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When I had stapled the back top and bottom all the way across, I needed to make a release cut. This small split in the fabric where the arm meets the back enabled fabric to be wrapped around the arm
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After making release cuts on both sides, I finished stapling the top and bottom of the back. When I came to the arms, I folded the extra fabric from the cut underneath before stapling. The front and back then looked like this:
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Now I was ready to move to the seat back and was kind of almost done. I positioned the top of the fabric at the top of the seat back and draped the rest backwards over the seat front. I stapled across the top to secure, then added a piece of cardboard tack strip and stapled again in the same manner. This ensures a straight, clean edge on the back of the chair.
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I added a half sheet of dacron to cover over where the tack strip was applied and smooth out the whole surface. Then, I flipped the back fabric down and stapled it to the underside of the seat back. I folded the fabric under as I stapled so that no raw edges were exposed. With the bottom completed, only the sides were still loose.
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The sides of this back were finished with a nail head trim. To apply nail head, all I needed was nail head (of course) and a mallet to whack the tacks with. Some of the original tacks bent when I removed them, so I had to get new ones to finish this chair. At $1.50 for 24, they were a minor expense.
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And voila!
Nail head trim on the back of a chair
To be honest, I forgot to take a picture when I first attached the nail head, which is why the above pic is not a sketchy basement pic like the rest AND already has cording where the seat back meets the arm. Oops! That’s a teaser for you as we head into the LAST STEP(s).

Sewing Double Welt Cording

Double welt cording is good for finishing areas of furniture where wood meets upholstery. When sewn, the raw edge of the fabric hides on the bottom of the cording, and it can be attached with staples. Back at the sewing machine, I cut a small piece of fabric and two short pieces of 5/32″ cording.

5/32" cording IMG_3282
You can get a cording foot or a double cording foot for your sewing machine, but I don’t have either yet, so I used the zipper foot that came with my machine. I attached it on the left side and moved the needle to the left position so it could get as close as possible to the cording.
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I folded fabric over the first piece of cording and sewed, then arranged the second piece right next to it and folded over again.This time, the seam needed to be placed in between the two pieces of cording. This is where the zipper foot isn’t totally adequate to the project. The cording is too thick for the presser foot to be lowered, but if the presser foot is left up, the threads on the back side can get pretty messy. When only dealing with small pieces like this, I prefer to hand sew. On the finished cording, notice I made the fabric about a 1/2″ longer than the cording. This makes it much easier to staple.
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I positioned the cording on the joint of the arm, stapled, and that’s a wrap (no pun intended). The last chair could finally be joined up with its twin.

Gray mid century Paoli chairs, reupholstered
As much as I enjoyed working on these chairs, I am excited to get them the heck out of my basement. They need to move on to forever homes where they can be displayed and loved, as the furniture gods intended.

Custom Framing on the Cheap

There’s a familiar cycle of discussion in my house where Justin and I decide we’re going “splurge” on some item or improvement, look into buying it or having it done, and then decide there’s probably no way we could sleep at night knowing we’d forked over X amount on Y thing.

And that’s exactly what happened when we wanted to frame this signed, numbered print by mid-century artist Howard Bradford that we bought a few months ago.
Howard Bradford landscape print
At a total size of 26″x40″, we figured it’s a large print–and the nicest art we’ve ever owned–so with framing and matting it could be a great statement piece for somewhere in the house. Not only that, but we had a strategy: a simple, my minimalist frame and basic mat, something that would be budget conscious and put the emphasis on the print itself. AND, we had a COUPON.

So, one Friday night, we took our vision, our coupon, and the mailing tube with our print down to Michael’s to have all our dreams dashed. At the framing counter, a whole series of complications arose that are not worth recounting except to say that we were ultimately quoted a few prices ranging from $350 to over $1000. For that amount, I can feed three hungry chihuahuas for probably something like five years, including puppy ice cream on all of their birthdays, so the answer was pretty obviously a “no.”

The solution we came up with was to find a frame, have a custom mat cut separately, and assemble the thing ourselves. Finding a reasonably priced frame for a 26″x40″ print proved kind of difficult in its own right, though. Most frames large enough were for movie posters–which are 27″x40″–and were plastic and kind of cheap looking. Eventually I started looking not for a frame but for pre-framed art that I could tear apart and take the frame, and soon after I found just what I needed on clearance at Gordman’s for $19. The first thing I did was remove the paper from the back so I could access the print itself:
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It was a basic black frame, which didn’t go with our Howard Bradford print at all, so I hauled out the paint to give it a make over. I didn’t want to risk trying to remove a piece of glass that large, so I taped paper over the glass to protect it and applied the primer:
Spray painting a picture frame Prime and spray paint to use pre framed art for custom framing
The paper turned out to be a huge mistake. The primer was too heavy and ended up causing some of the paper to get stuck to the underside of the frame, so I spend another 15 minutes using a razor blade to shave off small strips of paint and paper:
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When it came time to spray paint, Justin suggested a different approach. We used a piece of poster board to shield the glass and moved it around the frame as we sprayed. Since spray paint is a much lighter application anyway, it worked great. If I were to do this project again, I would definitely save myself some time and use a spray primer. The gold spray paint was left over from the deer head in the living room:
Gold metallic Krylon spray paint on a large picture frame

We did return to Michael’s to get a mat cut in an off-white color. This took about a day and cost $43. It fit perfectly with the frame and print:
Close up of gold spray painted picture frame
After that, it was just the routine process of assembling and hanging. So for a grand total of $62, we achieved our goal of getting a simple, budget-friendly frame that complements the print.

And I’m sleeping just fine.
Dark green bedroom, neutral curtains, printed pillows, framed art above bed

Room Tour: Kitchen

Before:

You may think on first glance that the old kitchen color here bears some resemblance to our current living room, but you’re going to have to trust me when I say all greens are not created equal. Our living room color is painted in “Extended Olive Branch,” making it the color of world peace and harmony. The kitchen color could better be described as “Aging Celery,” a light green with brown sponge painting that did not exactly whet the appetite:
Green kitchen with wood cabinets and stone tile
The kitchen also continued the trend of interesting lighting choices: on one side of the room, track lighting with bright blue shades and on the other a kind of sad-looking ceiling fan with a hummingbird pull, presumably to make it look less sad.
Green kitchen with sponge painting before pass through was installed

Updates:

Despite some of the design choices, there were good things about our kitchen. It’s a nice size, the footprint works well, and it was recently updated, so we were able to achieve a big impact with pretty low-budget updates.

Changes included painting the walls, trim, and cabinets, replacing the cabinet hardware, installing new lighting and a new back splash, and of course the opening up the pass-through, which made an equally big difference in this space as it did in the living room.

The longest-lasting and most labor-intensive project in the kitchen was definitely the back splash. First the old tile got knocked out:
Knocking out back splash tile
During the course of the demo, we uncovered some of the kitchen’s past looks. Behind the tile there was wallpaper from two different eras. There was large area of yellow floral wallpaper over the stove:
Uncovered vintage wallpaper in kitchen
There were also a few other smaller areas that covered with this green geometric pattern. Here’s a close-up of both designs:
Vintage yellow and brown floral wallpaper Vintage green geometric wallpaper
There are lots of times I wish I could peek in on my house during different periods in time just to see what it looked like, so finding this wallpaper got my imagination going. After all the tile and plaster was removed, we were left with just the lath showing:
Bare lath after back splash was removed
And actually, we lived with it like this for a while. It wasn’t bad in a raw, industrial kind of way, though of course the new back splash tile is way better.

After:

Gray and white cabinets with granite counter tops and glass mosaic back splash
The back splash came from Lowe’s, and I snagged the hardware on eBay.
Kitchen pass through, Sears and Roebuck vintage atomic barstools
Vintage atomic bar stools by Sears and Roebuck – Craigslist
Blue, gray and brown glass mosaic tile back splash
The tile kind of makes the whole room, in my opinion.
Neutral glass mosaic back splash tile from Lowe's

Planned updates:

One of our intentions when adding the pass-through was to create a breakfast bar that would allow for extra seating close to the table. That plan is still in place, but there are a few items in front of it in the reno queue, so it may be a year or more down the line.

Dream updates:

We bought our house with the short term in mind and promised ourselves not to made costly updates if they were unnecessary or purely for cosmetic reasons. That doesn’t mean a girl can’t or doesn’t dream about what she might do if a million dollars did casually fall out of the cushions of some couch. I’m a simple girl, though, and my kitchen wish list is pretty simple, too:

  • New flooring – I’m really not a fan of the the multi-color stone tile. It’s not that it’s that bad, but it’s just about the last thing I ever would have chosen. I would have opted for a cork that looks similar to wood, or maybe a rectangular tile in a nice herringbone pattern.
    http://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/fb/02/fb/fb02fbfb58d8ec48cfbfd00e919561a6.jpg?resize=306%2C408
  • Stackable washer/dryer in the pantry – Our pantry has oddly configured storage that is really only being used to house tools, dog stuff, and other miscellaneous items that could easily be moved into the basement.
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    Our current laundry set-up is a small washer and dryer in the basement–small because they are the only units that can fit down our 27″-wide staircase. I would LOVE to have plumbing run to the pantry and give myself a roomy main floor laundry space. Maybe it would even cut down on the size of my laundry piles? Indeed, a girl can dream.

Room Tour: Living/Dining Room

Before:
For whatever reason, we only took one before picture of our living room area:Green living room before updates
My guess is that compared to some of the other weird things going on around the house, there didn’t seem like a whole lot to see here. Just your basic grass green walls with gold sponge painting (it’s hard to see in the photo, but trust me–it was there). Then, of course, the table lamp in the middle of the floor completes the look. The only oddity in the room was a built-on shelf in the corner behind the front door, which you can see a little bit in this photo:
Arched door way in a bungalow
These were in several rooms, and we called them built-ons rather than built-ins for the simple reason that they were just kind of hanging off the walls.

Updates:
The biggest change we made in this room was to add a pass-through to the kitchen. This really helps the space feel larger and brighter.
Kitchen pass through, stainless steel pendant light
Justin and his dad installed the pass-through (un-installed the wall?) in one of those quintessential men-bonding-with-powertools kind of situations. Our walls are plaster, which means the demo was a two-step process involving 1) knocking out the plaster and 2) cutting through the lath, a set of narrow wooden strips nailed horizontally behind the plaster. There was lots of dust and a few shallow flesh wounds, but in the end they did a great job, and the pass-through is one of my favorite changes in the whole house.

Other changes consisted of tearing down the built-on, painting the walls, sanding and painting all the trim, cutting out and patching bubbles in the plaster, and installing a new stainless steel pendant light over the dining area. All throughout this process, we failed to take a single picture. I recall a conversation taking place a few times that went something like:

“Wow, you should really be taking pictures of this.”
“Yeah, I know.”

And here we are today.

After + Furniture:

Green living room with platform couch, Noguchi style table
A white dog adds a touch of elegance to any room.
Green living room with platform couch, Noguchi style table, Buckstaff chairs

1960s platform couch reupholstered in brown tweed
1960s platform couch (reupholstered) – Craigslist
Red velvet mid century Buckstaff chairs, Noguchi style table, Broyhill Brasilia commode side table
Vintage Buckstaff chairs – yard sale
Broyhill Brasilia side table/commode – flea market
Reproduction Noguchi coffee table – Craigslist
Vintage rug – yard sale
Mid century credenza
1965 credenza – Craigslist
Bookcase – Ikea
Mid century chrome and glass dining table, stainless steel pendant light
Vintage glass and chrome dining table – flea market
Rug (not vintage but still fabulous) – yard sale
1964 RCA Victrola Record Player Console
1964 RCA Victrola stereo/record console (it works!) – yard sale
We actually found an advertisement from a March 1965 Minnesota newspaper showing what this particular console went for back in the day:
victrola_ad

Planned updates:

No large-scale plans for the living room area. Until recently, I’d been on a mad hunt for a new set of rugs (the rug now in our bedroom was previously in front of the couch), but that ended about three weeks ago when I found both rugs pictured at the same yard sale. Now, my main goal is to finally get some stuff up on the walls. That, and throw more parties.

Stripped! Mid-Century Loveseat

As a teenager, I hate hate hated science and especially dreaded dissection day in biology class. But when it comes to furniture, I kind of enjoy ripping stuff open and digging around in its guts.

Even so, this mid-century loveseat was hiding a few surprises I definitely was not expecting.

Purple mid-century loveseat rescued from a yard sale

We found the loveseat at a garage sale. We’d been looking for a small couch for our TV room, but most loveseats we found were either too large and overstuffed or outside our price range. I loved this one for its classic lines and small size. But, the host of the garage sale wasn’t sure she could let it go, so we left our phone number and asked her to give us a call if she changed her mind. And bingo–we got the call that very evening to pick up the loveseat AND a matching pair of mid-century chairs. Victory!

The woman who sold us the couch told us it had been living in her garage, but sometimes the thrill of the find temporarily suspends my powers of reasoning, so it didn’t really penetrate what conditions it had been subject to or what might have had access to it.

Soon after we got the couch home, Justin tore the dust cover off the bottom to find this:

Snake skin found inside loveseat

THAT IS A SNAKESKIN, PEOPLE.

And that was just the beginning. Also in the process of stripping this couch, I found a more than generous amount of mouse poop, and no fewer than 7 LIVE brown recluses + a few additional dead ones. For a while I was pretty sure I had also found some snake eggs, but they turned out to be acorns (hence the poop):

Mouse poop and eaten acorn found in furniture batting

Let’s just say I was extremely relieved when the couch was down to the frame and I could finally be fairly sure nothing else poisonous was going to crawl out of it.

Now, on to the actual stripping! Have you ever stopped to consider what’s keeping the cover on your couch? Before I started working on furniture, I really never had. But now I can tell you–it’s staples. Lots of them. For this particular couch, about this many of them:

Staples removed from a loveseat during reupholstery

AND you have to remove them all pretty much by hand, so stripping upholstered furniture is a labor intensive process that can be quite time consuming.

Here are the tools and supplies I used:

Tools for stripping furniture: pliers, staple remover, gloves, dust mask

1. Staple remover – This grabs and pries out the staples. If you don’t have a staple remover, you can use a small flat head screwdriver, but be very careful. Prying out stuck staples sometimes takes a lot of force, and if your tool loses purchase on the staple, the screwdriver can come back flying toward your eyeball. I speak from experience here and feel very lucky to be typing this still with two good eyes.

2. Pliers – Removes staples after you have pried them up with the staple remover.

3. Leather gloves – Protects your hands from scrapes and cuts. These are really important. Especially if you’re working on older furniture, staples can break in half, leaving them hidden in fabric or padding. On one of my first projects, I was pretty sure I was going to have to get a tetanus shot after I got a splinter from a shard of rusty staple (figured out later that my last shot was still good–whew!).

4. Dust mask or particulate respirator – Keeps your lungs feeling good. Ripping furniture and digging out padding releases tons of dust, fibers, and other unknown stuff that you don’t really want to inhale. I hadn’t thought about this too much until I talked to a retiring upholsterer who said he had developed respiratory problems from years of exposure to dust and the chemicals in fabrics. Now I play it safe.

5. Goggles – Like a dust mask for your eyes! All that floating stuff you block out of your nose and mouth can still make it up to your eyeballs, and it can be ridiculously painful. Again, play it safe.

When you start removing fabric, you want to work in the reverse order from how it was attached. That’s why you’ll notice I begin with the back of the couch and work my way forward.

Day 1:

Stripped couch or sofa

Day 2:

Stripped couch or sofa

Day 3:

Couch or sofa stripped to the springs

Couch or sofa stripped to the springs

Couch or sofa stripped to the springs

Now comes the fun part! This little lady is free of creepy-crawlies and ready for some new threads.

House Tour

The purpose of this house tour is just to give an general snapshot of what the house looked like when we bought it and what it looks like now. I’ll post separate room tours to talk about the updates in each space and where we got some of the stuff.

A few basic stats about the place:

Year: 1930
Style: American Craftsman Bungalow
Size: 3 bed, 1 bath in 1224 sq ft finished space and about 900 sq ft unfinished basement

Living/Dining

Pre reno living room. Green paint with gold sponge painting.

1144 living1-2

Kitchen

Pre reno kitchen with lime green paint, crazy hummingbird fan pull

Two tone white and gray cabinets with glass mosaic tile

Bedroom 1/Office

Pre reno peach colored office

Gray paint, industrial desk, Ikea curtains

Bathroom

Pre reno yellow bathroom with pedestal sink and storage

Light blue bathroom with white cabinets and ceramic tile

Bedroom 2/TV Room

Pre reno lime green paint with orange stenciling and crazy art installation

Chevron rug and mid-century bench

Master Bedroom

Pre reno master bedroom with light turquoise paint

Elegant dark green paint and mid-century bedroom set

In the next set of posts I’ll go room by room with lots more pictures, reno details, and decor. Stay tuned!

How It All Began

This whole thing started in February 2013, when my then-boyfriend and I bought the craziest looking house on the block.

Scratch that–let’s really take it from the top.

This whole thing started almost 7 years ago, in November 2007. Justin and I had just started dating, and one of the first things we did together was to paint the living room of his rental house a pretty bold apple green. Even though I kind of look back now and think, “That looks exactly like the color a 22 and 23-year old would paint the living room of a rental house,” I still find it to be pretty fabulous in that way.

From then on, we made small improvements to every place we lived, but we also had lots of ideas about big improvements we weren’t allowed to make–and really wouldn’t have made sense in a rental anyway. We dreamed about being homeowners and having the freedom to tear up anything we wanted!

Fast forward to the winter of 2012. I’ve been a real estate window shopper for several years, which means basically that I like to cruise Zillow and the local MLS just to see what’s out there. In late December, I happened to get an idea that one particular thing that was out there was in our budget (nope), might be a good place for us (completely wrong location), and that we should get someone to show it to us. Surprisingly, Justin agreed to see it, and though all of the wrong things about this house became pretty apparent in person, a chat with our real estate agent convinced us that NOW was the time to buy. Suddenly we were house shopping for real!

After about three weeks of relentlessly searching the MLS for a place in our new budget and preferred neighborhood, I had the inventory pretty well memorized when I figured I’d just go peek in the windows of a house I’d seen online several times and decided it is clearly not “the one.” When I got there, I realized I’d actually seen it in person, too, and thought it was a little freaky in a Tim Burton “weird-but-not-sinister” kind of way. It looked like this:

Freaky bungalow with a crazy yard before renovation

Believe it or not, this turned out to be our house after all. Great location, right price, perfect for two people who’d been waiting to sand, paint, tile (and who knows what else!) the hell out of their own home.

Now, not everyone was super on-board. The first time my mother was inside, the real estate agent asked her what she thought and she said, “As long as they like it!” I still enjoy bringing that up.

So we closed on the house in late February, spent a month sanding and painting almost literally every sand-able and paint-able surface in the place, and moved in around Easter.

In that time, we also got engaged! This is me on the Brooklyn Bridge a few minutes before the proposal. Clearly I have no idea that it’s coming or that I really need to practice my “showcase” hand:

IMG_0722

We got married in October 2013 and had the reception at our house. Here we are on the big day:

View More: http://climerphoto.pass.us/brittany-justin-wedding
(Photo credit: Climer Photography)

And that’s pretty much the long and short of it. After being in our home for almost a year and a half, we still love it, and we are still working on it almost every day. BUT, we no longer live in the craziest looking house on the block.

Dark gray bungalow with a yellow door and white trim

Reno pics coming soon!