Thrifted Thursday: My Louis Chair Makeover

louis chair makeover Happy Thursday everyone!  I can't believe I FINALLY get to share this with you all, it's been a long time coming!

My favourite thrifted item:

Do I even  have to say it?  haha. It all started when I saw these gorgeous french chairs from Restoration Hardware.  But $250.00 PER chair was definitely not within my budget (since I needed 3) so I decided to hold off and see if I could find some at a thrift store.

Where I bought the piece:

My boss found some Louis chairs at a Consignment Shop called Chicaboom. That same week I rushed over and picked up the chairs. They worked out to $50 per chair and I got not 3 but 4 of them!  The grand total for 4 chairs worked out to less than 1 chair at Restoration Hardware. Booyah!  But they looked something like THIS:

louis chair makeover, before photo

What drew me to the piece:

What I really love about the louis chair is it's versatility. It goes with every decor style and it's such a classic shape. I love the fluted legs, carved detail and round back.  I also wasn't happy with my Ikea parson chairs because the backs were so high.  The height of the Louis backs were just perfect.  Also, because our dining table is rectangular with white glass and chrome legs, I wanted to introduce more of an organic shape and the Louis chairs create a nice contrast against the hard edges of our modern table. I also wanted to infuse some old world charm, something with a little more character since the space was looking a little bland. Here is what it looked like before:

dining area makeover, before photo

The hard part:

This became a huge labour of love that definitely took much longer than I thought it would.  I even took an upholstery class in January to help me learn the basics. I stripped, ripped, removed staples (which was the worst part), hammered, spray painted and so much more. Instead of boring you guys with a long and wordy explanation, I decided to put together a little collage in chronological order of all the work (a.k.a. blood, sweat, tears and A LOT of cursing) that went into this project:

louis chair makeover progress

And with the help of some incredible people like David (shown above removing staples and spray painting), my girlfriends Mom (who sewed the piping for me. Thanks Mrs. Pham), as well as my amazing parents who helped SO much (Dad smiling above) we were able to restore my 4 Louis chairs!

How I use it:

I have 3 Louis chairs on one side of my dining table and a rustic wooden bench on the other. They are so lightweight and can be moved around the condo easily should we need extra seating when friends are over.  As you can see, I opted for a grey fabric which is extremely durable (I chose to forget about the velvet since any little spill would freak me out) and I love throwing my colourful pillows on them!  For my home, I prefer to go with neutral colours on my major furniture pieces and introduce more colour and pattern with accessories and art.

And here are the After photos:

louis chair makeover, before and after

louis chair makeover

Louis chair makeover

louis chair makeover

Louis chair makeover

louis chair makeover


louis chair makeover

louis chair makeover

We're still planning on changing a few things in the dining area but we're so happy to finally have our Louis chairs finished and ready to use.  It was definitely a valuable learning experience for me as well as my parents who also love to re-upholster furniture.  Would I do it again?  Hell no.  I say that now but I have 2 other chairs waiting in line!

I actually have about 12 posts documenting my entire process.  It's not very pretty but if you want to see more, you can click this link:  Project Louis.

Do you also have love for the Louis chair?  Or had a really hard time with one of your upholstery projects?  I'd love to know!


The Big Project

living room concept Remember that Living Room Project I posted about?  And my dilemma with the seating options?  Well, it's finally done!  I told you I was indecisive; I didn't even pick any of the seating options I posted about.  Because my client likes to entertain, I decided to go with a sectional for extra seating :)

Sadly, all I have left to share are these in-progress shots of my concept boards.  I really wish I took photos of the final product because I spent so many hours drafting and crafting away.  It was a nice change to work with my hands instead of a computer however, I did find myself thinking "ctrl-z" when I made a boo-boo.  I guess my brain is really hardwired with shortcuts and code!

drafting floorplan and elevations

I haven't drafted in over 10 years so I'm a little rusty.  I had so much fun with the dining area because I included my Louis chairs in the design.  And of course I included the table of all tables, my fave, the iconic Saarinen tulip table.  Ahhh.... so pretty and so darn expensive.  I then topped it off with a pretty chandy, the Meurice from Jonathan Adler to be exact.  What can I say, my client had a pretty big budget!

Have any of you taken design or drafting courses?  What are your favourite parts?

Have a blessed day everyone! xo




Louis Got A Paint Job

I know I promised no more updates until Louis is done but this is one long project and my weekend progress is definitely worth sharing. So let me start off by saying that this paint is the SH*T. Pardon my french but it's incredible. I honestly saved days of work by using it.

What started off looking like this:

Needed something like this:

To end up looking like this (once I completed an upholstery course):

I decided I wanted a whitewash look on the frame, something that looked a little more rustic which brought out the wood grain. Besides removing the staples, stripping this chair of it's terrible green paint was one of the most laborious parts. Louis has so much detail and tiny crevices that the stripping needed to be done very slowly and the whitewashing done in layers to achieve that weathered look. The process went something like this: strip, strip, sand, strip, sand, clean, whitewash, whitewash again, and again (all this X 4). Honestly, I was running out of patience. AND THEN...I discovered this paint:

And it changed my life. I tried it on a piece of the chair and I love how crisp and white it looked. And the best part, I didn't have to strip the chair beforehand! So we just went off and decided to give all 4 chairs a nice first coat of paint. Here's my boyfriend helping out, he's now an expert spray painter:

And here is what it looks like now with the first coat of Rustoleum Paint and Primer:

LOVING IT. I was afraid a bright white would take away the beautiful detail of the chair but I don't think it does. I think it actually gives it a more modern look. So happy with the progress on #ProjectLouis. What do you think of Louis and his new paint job?

Project Louis Update

I still remember my first upholstery class like it was yesterday. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I have to say the entire experience was amazing and truly eye-opening. Now I understand why it is SO expensive to professionally reupholster chairs! This is a skilled craft that when done correctly, can protect your chair from sagging and just general wear and tear. I learned about tightening springs, choosing the right upholstery fabric, how to use a magnetic hammer (total stress reliever by the way) and so much more. And these are just the basics, there's so much more to learn.

I'm happy and excited to see how far Louis has come. Last night was my last class and I finally managed to get my new cushion on and wrapped with canvas. Most students don't manage to finish their pieces with one course, especially if it's an elaborate chair or setee. I'm actually pleased with how far I've come considering I've only been working on it one night a week. But back to the foam...instead of regular foam I've used these wonderful soft layers of cotton batting. It feels so soft and luxurious and much more durable then my current Ikea dining chairs. This canvas fabric is the last step before putting on my fabric. WOO HOO!

Do you remember what Louis looked like before? You can see other posts about Project Louis here. But here's a quick before shot:

I feel like a proud mother. Now the question is, do I sign up for another class or give it a shot on my own? How will I get the fabric on myself without ruining the foundation and all that hard work? EEK!

Ottawa Street, Hamilton

On Saturday we took a quick last-minute trip to Ottawa Street in search of some fabric for Louis. I can't believe I've never explored this area before. It was a street filled with upholstery stores and antique shops, definitely a pleasant surprise!

There was tons and tons of fabric to choose from and the layout was much more inviting than the Queen Street shops I previously visited. No claustrophobia, just spacious and clean:

I even stopped off at a consignment shop that my girlfriend told me about, The Millionaire's Daughter. They had some great antique pieces but most of her stuff was mighty pricey. You know me, I'm a bargain hunter and thrift store kinda gal.

I am planning on making another visit sometime soon. It will have to be a day where I can take my time and peruse the other shops as well as grab a bite to eat at Cafe Limoncello (thanks to Rosita for the reco!). If you're ever in the need for some upholstery or drapery fabric, I suggest checking this place out. I left with tons of swatches for my Louis chairs. I still haven't decided what type of fabric to go with but once I narrow it down I will definitely post my top choices. I could use the advice, I am so torn!