Monday, February 22, 2010

Staple gun Sunday

I don't mind the rain, in fact, I adore it. It gives me a reason to nest and play house! So Sunday I decided to tackle the annoying dining room chairs that have been staring blankly at me, literally. Originally I bought the set from a small contemporary furniture place because I liked the sturdy wood, and the size fit into the space I had to work with. But I never liked the plain cushions that came with it... it just felt too... how do you say, boring? Anyway, I have been scouring thrift stores for a print that would work, with no luck. I knew I wanted something geometric, or interesting without being loud. Also had to be durable considering the amount of work these chairs are under (hehe). By chance on Sunday I finally found a nice one! HomeFabrics in La Mesa is having a huge sale on cotton/ blend fabrics, so I had to check it out. Here's what I found:Regularly priced at about $8/yard, these were marked at $3.00/yd, what a steal! Not sure what they will go towards in the future, but I couldn't pass up a chance at a cool throw pillow or handbag... The chocolate brown starburst design is what I found for the chairs. I spent twice as much time browsing around the fabric store than the time it took to cover both chairs, it's that simple.

All you need is:
- Fabric (one yard of 56" tall covers 2 seats with room to spare, so add accordingly)
- Staple gun
- Fabric shears
-Screw driver
Start by removing the cushion from the frame. Most wood chairs have a top that's just screwed on, and if you prop it onto something upside down, it is easy to get off. My couch was the perfect height...
On something flat, lay out the fabric with the print side down. Using the cushion as a guide, center it onto the pattern as you want it to look. Sometimes it helps to just fold the fabric over the cushion to get an idea of where the edges will land, before you make any cuts. You can also align the edges with points on the design to get it right, or if you are a type A kind of person and have to have it perfect, you can measure it out and use a pencil to trace it (I'm "type A" but a little lazy on the ruler). Once you have that done, cut out the square, making sure to leave at least a 2 inch border around all edges. This is going to fold under the seat, so don't scrimp. It's better to have some to cut off, than to realise it's too short and have to start over. Once you have the first one cut, make sure it fits right, then use it as a template to cut the remaining. Then, center the fabric, again with the print side facing down. Staple the corners diagonally down first, then the sides. Use a staple every inch or so, to make sure it is secure.
Repeat for all the chairs. When you're done, screw the tops back onto the frame the same way they were taken off. Super simple!

Rainy Sunday + staple gun + fun fabric = new excuse for wine night at my place!

Before & After:

(That's Gizmo, admiring the new look!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Maiden Voyage to Little Italy

So today is the first day in a long while that I have spent an entire day doing fun stuff! Thank the Presidents for the time off... I finally got the chance to check out all the amazing design shops that saturate Little Italy. I was so engrossed with the beauty of the furniture, I barely took any photos, but I will definitely be back for more. Here are a few shots from my first stop at Architectural Salvage:I found racks of flawless vintage glass light fixtures, bins of letters, knobs and unique hardware and from upstairs you can see just how much they have to offer. This place is a treasure trove of little bits and pieces that can be used for art projects, renovating an older home, or just for finding one of a kind pieces to use when decorating. I love the rustic ugly of the collections, and can't wait to come back and scrounge for the perfect project. For more info go to their site at

My second stop was a place I could easily live in. Boomerang For Modern is basically staged to represent the ideal (modern) Mid Century lifestyle. Love it! Check it out
Although most pieces are past my personal price range, I can't say I wouldn't fork out the cash just to own one of those couches. Or a chair. Or teak bar. Or, well basically anything in there! Till then, I can at least appreciate what it has to offer and maybe mimic the look for less.
For example, under the window which you cannot see from this angle, I found a lovely ceramic planter. This concept looks relatively easy to make myself, and would look great with some native succulents tucked into it. Here's a closer look:

Also, just up the street is another shop neatly arranged with a split level of pristine Mid Century modern furniture. Klasskik isn't as expensive as Boomerang, but still has a lot to look at, minus smaller accessories other than lamps and rugs. I did fall for a circular sectional in a celery green... and noticed it sat upon a brown leather shag priced at $500.00, twice what I found at Home Fabrics and rugs about a year ago.
In comparison, for a 5x8 at Home Fabrics I believe they ran about $250.00, which is a pretty good deal for the durability you will get from the leather. Since the strips are individually woven into the backing, they can loosen up and fall out, which may not be the best choice if you have a young child, or if your kitties get the litter box mixed up easily! But for a more masculine look to a room, or to bring some texture, I think these are an awesome choice. Just shop around before you commit to spending that much...

Lastly, I have to mention my new favorite place to shop for just about anything vintage. Antiques on Kettner has a huge selection of finds just waiting to be discovered. They had cases and cases of retro kitchenware, Victorian, silver and Bakelite jewelry, not to mention tons of well taken care of knick-knacks that make for nice bits of character around your home. They are especially stacked with a wide variety of art, sculpture and architecture books that are reasonably priced. This place is a one stop shopping haven for every room in your home! I was so good I didn't buy anything, but trust me, I will be back with tote bags! Here's their website, but seriously, just go there in person. You will see what I mean.
I really can't think of a better area in San Diego where you can literally hit up a whole slew of places specializing in mid century, modern, and antique jems, all within walking distance. Although they are a bit pricey, it's worth a trip out just to get your creative juices flowing, or if you're like me and enjoy the excitement of finding something totally original. Plus, it's a great way to spend a day outside in beautiful weather. Happy Hunting!