First re-upholstery project: There’s a first time for everything…

I’ve always wanted to learn how to re-upholster furniture.  It all started with a sofa that we had when I was a kid that was super(!) comfy, but so ugly you wouldn’t believe.  (As a side note, she tried reupholstering it years later and actually managed to make it even uglier.  It was later relegated to being the “dog sofa,” and just thinking about it makes me sad.)  Nevertheless, an obsession with upholstery was born!

Flash forward 25+ years, and you find the adult Leah learning how to do just that thanks to 3rd Ward in Williamsburg.  This is my first project:

I found this mid-century beauty on the street in Philadelphia about 5 years ago tossed out with someone’s garbage.  It was perfect except for a big rip in the seat, and so I towed it home with me.  I knew that one day I’d redo that vinyl upholstery with something better.  Like they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

So starting on Saturday, I began the process of deconstruction.  This is what it looked like after I got the back panel off.  The back was basically a piece of cardboard covered with vinyl tacked on with upholstery tacks.

Then I took off the bottom panel.  There were several layers of fabric to get through here funny enough, and one of the great things I found inside was a stamp dating the chair to Oct 1959.  (Pretty cool!)  The springs are serious heavy duty with metal attachments like the kind you have in a mattress…not the normal 8-way hand-tied springs in most upholstery.  (This chair is meant to last forever!)

So this is the chair fully deconstructed.  The legs & arms were attached via two bolts and six flat-head screws.  Less than what I would have thought, but very easy to disassemble once the fabric was off and the frame was exposed.  (The frame is oak I believe by the way which is also interesting…for those other furniture nerds out there.)  The seat springs were covered with a horsehair “cushion” for lack of a better word (which I plan to re-use since it’s perfectly fine…but I will be augmenting it with new foam and batting).  I did keep all the cotton batting too “just in case.”  Also, I plan on re-finishing the arms/legs since the old polyurethane is worn off and looking ratty.

Now the big question is what do I put on it?  I’m debating between several at the moment.  I love those thick wool fabrics in both solid colors and blanket squares too.  Then I’ve found a couple more that are interesting, but nothing concrete yet.  Any suggestions?  Someone suggested leather…but possibly too difficult for my first round of upholstery.  (?!?)

p.s. if you haven’t looked into 3rd ward, i highly suggest it.  They have awesome classes on almost everything.


The Beauty of the Bulb: Light bulb-exposing industrial lighting trend

I love my cfl’s for the sole purpose of saving energy costs, don’t get me wrong…but I hate the light quality that they produce. Therefore I’ve relegated them to use in our reading lights, lamps with patterned shades [to help disguise the light color], and any overhead lights with frosted glass shades.  So with that disclaimer, I launch into a post about bare bulb lighting.  It seems to be everywhere these days, as are edison bulbs.  (Even my mother-in-law has used them in her new guest house!)  And now that we’ve moved into a new apartment with TERRIBLE cheap, brass apartment light fixtures, we’re looking for some relatively inexpensive light fixtures that we can replace these gaudy brass ones with.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking…why would you replace them?  This isn’t your apartment!  Well…true that.  But we will be living here for quite some time, and when we move we can always put back up the ugly ones and take the new ones with us.  Sooo…with that being said, here are a few of the bulb-exposing fixtures that have caught our eye during our lighting search.

1. Burnside Bulb Pendant from Rejuvenation $112, comes in 12 finishes and different classic cord colors. 2. Blazon Gleam Copper Pendant from Anthropologie $98.  3. Barely There Pendant from Anthropologie $248. 4. Mechanic’s Beacon Pendant – Large Flower from Anthropologie, $148. 5. Defiance Bare Bulb ceiling mount fixture at Schoolhouse Electric, $89. 6.  Clark Flushmount Ceiling Fixture by Wilmette Lighting at Affordable Lamps, $200. It reminds me of this Roost table lamp, but for your ceiling!  7. Clark Modern Pendant Light by Wilmette Lighting at Affordable Lamps, $292.

1.  Wayland Pendant from Schoolhouse Electric, $151 as shown 2.  Porcelain Bare Bulb from any local hardware store, $3.50  3.  Lyon Ceiling Mount fixture from Schoolhouse Electric, $127 as shown 4.  Vintage Pendant Lights from Moon River Chattel, $300

1. Dose of Color Fabric Cord bare bulbs at Anthropologie, $68 (These also look great when used with a lampshade as a hanging pendant over a dining table.  The fabric cord is a great pop of color!)  2.  Roost Berlin Pendant Light from Velocity Art & Design, $163

Soon, you’ll see what we ended up choosing for ourselves and our new apartment!  Hint:  One of these we already owned and brought with us.  A second we chose out of this grouping, and the third wasn’t on here at all.  Haha!  (Everything can’t be bare bulb, y’know!  After all, variety is the spice of life!)

Iron (Antique) Bed Love, Part 2

Well, I guess by the title you know which choice we made for our master bedroom!  Although we liked the quality of Charles Rogers’ beds, we didn’t really like any of their king size styles.  (Definitely have to give them props for making quality beds with iron & real brass versus aluminum and painted brass finish like the competition though!)  So that just left one last option — hunting for an antique bed frame that we could convert to a king size…and someone to do it.  After a lot of digging I discovered that there aren’t that many people who are willing to take on the trouble to convert an antique bed.  Who knew?!  My search only turned up just a couple of people across the nation!  The perfect choice for us was Hobnail Antique Beds in Pawling, NY.

Look at all those gorgeous antique beds!  I had a wonderful afternoon with the owner, Jerry.  In the two hours I was there chatting with him and choosing the perfect bed for us, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the finished product and thrilled to meet someone who took so much pride in his craftsmanship.  Jerry strips, cuts, welds, and paints the beds himself.  I got to look at some of the beds he was currently working on and as well as a few he’d just finished and his craftsmanship was beautiful.  You couldn’t even tell these beds hadn’t always been a queen/king size.  Also, he made some beds for a few famous folk, including Cyndi Lauper and Kevin Bacon.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the bed that we chose.  It’s actually two twin beds that are going to be put together to become a king! ( Sorry about the terrible quality of the photos.  I forgot my normal camera and was using the iphone.)

Here’s a closer up version of what the bed looks like.  There is a brass bar on the headboard and footboard.  One of the big reasons we liked it, was the simple style of the castings…and how close together the bars are — which is good for making sure your pillows don’t fall back behind the headboard!  (Some people like to read in bed, y’know!)

Jerry was kind enough to pose with my new beds…and in about a month they’ll be done!  I can’t wait!!!!

So if you’re looking for a quality iron bed that’s converted to your modern-day queen or king size, I can’t recommend Hobnail Antique Beds enough.  (Oh, and his prices are competitive with new beds…what more info do you need?!)

I don’t think you know how badly I “need” this…

Terrain at Styers has just started selling their wares online.  I’m pretty fortunate to live close enough to the store to just drive down there and go shopping, and yet I never do…and therefore I look through their website and lust after some of their items.  One in particular is this vintage Texas Glider.

texas glider

It would look so perfect on my new back deck.  Once it’s finished of course.

Invitation Inspiration

I can’t even HANDLE the BEAUTY!!  I mean…making all your invitations out of vintage hankies?!  OMG…If I had more energy (and money) to start digging for vintage hankies, then I probably would.  As it stands now, I’m probably going to have to let this idea go by the wayside, but it literally KILLS me to do it!!

invite inspiration2

via bird & banner (oh, B&B how I love thee.)

invite inspiration

via Green Wedding Shoes

Besides, if I used this as a Save the Date idea, how in the world would I top it for an invitation?   Everything else after that would surely seem like a letdown.  I just wish there was a way (that I knew of) to get the feeling of using a vintage hankie without having to collect 100 hankies.  Hmm…  if any of you have any thoughts on that, let me know!  (Or if you have any great invitation ideas for DIY.)

Vera’s Back!

vera1Recently, I had the pleasure of getting to speak with some of the lovely people at The Vera Company about their newest projects licensing classic Vera prints to retailers to reproduce & reinterpret her designs for their products.  It was so refreshing to chat with them to learn more about who this iconic designer was (because previously I had NO idea!), and also just to meet people who were so passionate about her designs.  It definitely made me excited about her too!  Apparently she designed during the 60’s, 70’s and the 80’s, and you can see that reflected in her designs.  At any rate, now some of her designs are being re-interpreted onto new items like these dessert plates so keep on the lookout at stores across the country for new Vera products.  (I seriously LOVE these!  N are you reading this?  My birthday is coming up soon!!  Haha.)

vera-plate1Here’s a link to stores across the country where you can find new Vera products.  But also for those vintage junkies amongst us, it turns out that with a few quick searches on Etsy and ebay you can pick up some fabulous classic Vera originals for not that much money!  I could definitely imagine the ones below framed, sewn into pillows, or even just worn as they are.  Her prints are so great mainly because they’re just so happy…and that happiness seems to be translated through the design.  I also like that many of them have a very watercolor feel to them.  Anyways…here are a few of the great vintage ones I found:


Classic Plaid Vera Scarf & Brooch Set $38 on Etsy


Classic Vera silk scarf $36 on Etsy


Geometric print Vera silk scarf for only $13 on Etsy.

Look for your own Vera originals on Ebay and on Etsy.