Thursday, June 16, 2011

Upcycled Chair

When we bought our 90-year old house and started clearing out the attic, we found a few things we decided to keep.  One of them was a chair.  For the six-month renovation it was the only place to sit in the house.  I used to come up to the house with the baby.  I'd work on the house and the baby would sleep or play on a little mat.  And then I'd sit in the old, dusty attic chair to nurse.

I'm so glad that phase of life has passed, but I love the memories this little chair holds for us!  And it must have been through a lot.

As I started unpicking the upholstery I found three layers of fabric.  This little chair has been well loved and gone through a lot of facelifts already!  The worst part about this project was working with the very dirty original fabric.  I wanted to keep it as a pattern, and couldn't wash it for fear it would shrink.  Finally I got to the bare bones.

The wood was in great condition.  I just gave it a good scrub with water and wood soap.  And then gave it a clean and condition with steel wool and boiled linseed oil.  The cushion, on the other hand, was shot.   I checked on cut foam options, but decided to go with a clearance cushion at Ikea.  It was the right(ish) size, cost less and by unpicking the covering I got a good pattern and "free" zipper.

I sewed a new cushion cover and then recovered the chair in fabric that matches the Nursing Chair.  (When we found the attic chair, I ordered the fabric from Suppose before they ran out.  The fabric has been sitting in the sewing cupboard waiting patiently for this day.)

And voila!  The chair has been "upcycled".  But seriously, given this is at least the third makeover this chair has seen, I think the chair just sees it as a new outfit.

Now we kind of have a set!

Toy Chest

We helped some friends with a house clearance (I love getting rid of things) and they let us have this sweet ottoman.  I loved the paper inside, but it was water damaged.

I took off the lid, removed the fabric/stuffing and hardware and repainted the wicker (or rattan, if you prefer) with white spray paint (sorry environment.)

The original foam stuffing had deteriorated to dust.  I wanted a really comfortable, plush top so I used long pillows for the stuffing.  And then used fabric from Alexander Henry.  (It's a Hoot in Blue from Suppose)  I love the fabric.  Though he probably wouldn't publicize it, I think Niall likes it too.  When we visited Suppose last year he said we had to get it and make something out of it.  It's also the color palate we used to paint the house.  I took some of the fabric every time we were picking out paint colors.  Niall could pick a color but the hue/tint had to match the owls!

I boiled the hardware to remove the old paint, and then put it back on the ottoman and attached the lid.  We filled it with Margaret's toys and the job's done!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Painted Stairs-Loft

When we converted the loft we had a joiner custom make stairs for the space.  They were expensive, and we didn't have money left in the budget for carpet.  And guess what?  The banister is wood so we could sand and finish it.  But the risers and treads are made of MDF, so we decided to paint the stairs.

The new staircase started out looking like this.

The carpenter put in the spindles and banister.  I was so excited to get a staircase I didn't clarify the details on the price with the builder.  It would have been nice to have a fancy dowel post, but the carpenter finished off the plain post nicely.  The stairs have looked like this for the past two months.

The carpenter put in a banister upstairs, but we were short one spindle.  The carpenter showed me how to put it in and finish the railing.  I had to do some searching around town and finally found one that matched.

I put it in, sanded and then sealed the pine banister with Osmo Clear Polyx Oil.  Then I prepped and painted the risers.  And then we prepped and painted the treads.

Once the paint dried we took off the tape and I touched up some parts with a little tiny paint brush.  Here's how the loft stairs look now.

The rail at the top has all the spindles. 

Painting the stairs was one of the last big projects on the immediate "to do" list.  It feels good to finally have them done!

Painted Stairs-Main Floor

The carpeted stairs took a real beating in the remodel. Since the carpet was glued to the stairs in some places, we couldn't remove it and put it back in. We covered it, but when the lath and plaster ceiling came down the stairs were covered in black dust. No amount of cleaning could save them. So we decided to paint the stairs. It only took us two months from start to finish.

Here's the before picture, April 15, 2011.

We pulled out the carpet and were left with this.  I was pleasantly surprised.  For 90 year old stairs, they were in good condition.   The treads were all solid, with a few minor dings. 

Niall went out of town for a week. While the baby napped, I spent about 30 hours prepping the stairs.  I took out hundreds of staples, patched, sanded, cleaned, chipped away paint and then took out the staples I had missed, patched and sanded again. I watched a lot of episodes of Castle while doing the prep work. Thanks, Castle, for making prepping the stairs less boring.

Niall came home and the stairs looked like this.  He said (in the nicest way possible) that he couldn't tell I'd done any work.

Next I taped and painted the risers.  This took a while because they needed so many coats.  And I got sidetracked doing other projects.  I started with four coats of a satin finish acrylic in white.  Then added two top coats of Ronseal Floor Paint in white.

Then we taped the treads for painting.  Holy cow.  Taping took AGES.  So much longer than painting took.  With everything we've done so far the prep work always takes much longer than painting.

We painted every other tread so we could still get up and down.  Three coats on each tread of Ronseal Floor Paint-Slate.  At one point Niall wanted to leave the stairs like this.

But we ended up painting every tread gray.  I put little pieces of tape on the "safe" treads so we'd know which ones were dry for walking.

Finally the paint dried and we pulled off the tape.  I was disappointed that despite meticulously taping the lines weren't perfect.  I did touch-up with a tiny paint brush and this is as good as it gets.

Presto!  Painted stairs.

We spent about 40 GBP on paint and supplies.  And about 45 hours (seriously) of labor over two months.  I like how the stairs look, but painted stairs aren't for everyone.  It was definitely the most economic solution for us.  Plus, back in 1920 when the house was built, I'm told the stairs would have been painted with possibly a carpet runner down the middle.  I think painted stairs are so much easier to clean than carpeted.  But they're nosier.  And my mom and dad have expressed concern about how safe they are.  

I'm a clutz anyway, but I do hold the handrail tightly when I carry the baby down the stairs.  We painted the loft stairs at the same time, I'll put those photos in a separate post.

We're happy the stairs don't no longer have the dirty carpet

And have an easy-clean paint job.