Archive for the ‘Transformations’ Category

Fabulous French Restoration


Some time ago, I picked up a set of five fantastic french chairs that just sang my name….took them home and eyed them over and over thinking of what fabulous things I could do with them. I love to live with items for awhile until one way or another they find a way to communicate what they are wanting me to do…These particular chairs at first glance looked pretty darn good but not 100% by any means. The seats were spring construction and by the way they were sagging I could tell they would need a total overhaul. I opened up the fabric and peaked in and had to laugh at what I saw….there were a total of three springs that were literally standing on end loosely in the cavity. They weren’t even sewn or tied down! So began the long process of tearing off every bit of fabric, removing and tossing the springs and pulling hundreds and hundreds of staples. Down to the bare bones and a couple of nasty blisters later I could start again to examine and think about my plan.

Firstly, a new plywood seat was in order. Unfortunately an easy removable seat was not going to happen…you know, the kind you can screw on and off? This kind of chair had to have the seat cushion connected and upholstered right to the frame. Too bad…my work is cut out for me! So my ever so helpful hubby cut a template using the existing foam inside (which by the way was also crumbling and unusable) and made the five seats lickity split and attached all of them. First I had to reinforce all the legs which were loose and wobbling. Glue, clamping and some good ole PL400 (a construction adhesive) worked like a charm.

Next, I sprayed with a chalk paint color called “driftwood” which I bought in B.C. I wish I could remember the name of the shop but I liked their custom color selection so I bought a jar to try. After two heavy coats and drying time, I applied a mix of clear and dark wax for a base finish look. Then I concentrated more heavily around the perimeter of the backrest of the chair with the dark wax to create a worn look. I almost always clearcoat for protection. Next came a three inch foam seat which all had to be cut out to fit. By now, I had been advertising the chairs and had a lovely lady from Saskatchewan buy all five. She was travelling to Calgary to visit family soon so they were put aside to await her arrival with fabric she wanted to use. It was a tricky order as she was visiting a few days and I had to complete the order for her to take back home on a deadline. The fabric she brought was a pre-washed drop cloth which just thrilled me to bits as for it’s heaviness and it’s fantastic worn french country look. It took me an additional 2 days to upholster all chairs. I sewed a matching trim and added the upholstery tacks. We also added a bit of gold gilding using gold wax on the floral carvings.

Pretty pleased I am with these as was my client! Now to say goodbye to another satisfying project of beauty!

This is how they started. At first glance not too shabby, even the fabric was pretty but they had some hidden surprises! 




This is the Fabulous Finish!







See You Next Project! Have a Great Week!

Dining Chair Redeux


I found these dining chairs in the summer and have been working on them when I have the time out at the acreage. The nice thing is having the space to work on these projects without having to clean and up and put away every day, I can just leave as is until I next get to them without infringing on any space while we make a mess throughout the house. So I finally got them all finished up after a few months only to have fallen in love with them and trying to think of ways to use them in my home….maybe the craft room? However, with that beautiful white fabric, may be susceptible to dusty hands!  I decided to keep for now and see how the house comes together and if there’s a place for them. If not, they will go up onto the website or be included in a Spring sale. These were tough…lots ‘n lots of staples to pull, gluing and tightening, painting a few layers of cream with antique glazing, then the task of upholstering by myself in a nice heavy linen/cotton french fabric. It was well worth the effort as they’ve come out beautifully.











Quality Control for Shabby Chic


Good day everyone! I wanted to talk about QUALITY for a moment regarding SHABBY CHIC furniture! I was shopping recently in the U.S. and brought back a number of items I found from the trip. I just love looking for new projects and sometimes I purchase stuff that is in relatively good shape but not quite up to the standards I put on myself and the pieces I refinish. Now sometimes the price reflects the quality of the item and there is a fair price on it. Other times, I notice that there are a lot of expensive items put out there that just fall short of what I would put in my house as far as quality goes.

I ALWAYS use one guideline for myself, and that is if I won’t put it in my house, why would you want to put it in yours? After refinishing this particular project I thought it would be good to reveal what exactly I do with my projects to have them qualify to the standards I set.

The item has to be CLEAN: no cobwebs, dust, grime, rust, cup rings or any kind of grit or dirt. The item is STURDY: no wobbles, weak spots, or shortcut fixes that will eventually weaken and break. If painted, I do a process that ensures that there will be NO CHIPPING. I sand all pieces thoroughly to assist the paint to adhere to the surface. In most cases it is PRIMED. I sand between each paint coat so you get a nice smooth finish. Plus I CLEARCOAT every painted piece with a satin finish to protect from scratching and powdering off. The UNDERSIDE of any one piece whether it’s a chair, vanity, sideboard, table, etc. is well done so that if you flip it over, the bottom surface doesn’t look like an unsightly mess. If the piece is UPHOLSTERED, I make a judgement as to the difficulty of the item and whether I can upholster it myself. This saves a lot of money as you know upholstery can be quite expensive! If I can’t do a particular project myself, I hire a professional. Again, I won’t put out anything that is a COMPROMISE to quality. I do not mark up any upholstery expenses (I do the drop off, pickup and fabric choice at no charge for my time). I truly believe in passing on every penny of savings onto the customer wherever possible.

Here is an example of a vanity I purchased that was already done in a shabby chic finish. Upon close inspection, I found it was lumpy (dirt had not been cleaned off), the paint was peeling (no primer was used), it smelled (like a barn!), the mirror was unusable (deteriorated), the underside had cobwebs and grime…so you can see it was not even close to a pristine piece of furniture…I took this piece and put it through a proper, detailed refinishing process so that it is now 100%, right down to replacing the mirror and painting the insides of the drawers.

I hope this post helps you understand the steps taken to bring you the best product possible! I take a lot of pride in my ability to always bring you the best of what I do, complete with a GUARANTEE of quality.

BEFORE refinishing (looks ok doesn’t it? But I guarantee when you get it home, all the issues I listed out above will rear their ugly heads!


AFTER refinishing: