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!

 

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?

Furniture Friday - Another Louis Update

via Lonny

It's pictures like this that keep me going. My quest to re-upholster these beautiful Louis chairs has been very slow to say the least. But I'm happy to say that I started stripping the second chair but still need to:

  • remove a ton of staples (thank God I have the right tools)
  • sand
  • fill cracks then sand again
  • strip the remaining paint
  • start on the cushion

I'm hoping to get most of this done on the weekend as well as purchase my fabric! Now that the weather is warmer, I'm able to take my work outside on the balcony where there's a lot more space to work...

I wish I had taken a photo of all the staples I removed since that is the part that requires the most patience and effort. Insane but kind of a stress reliever. I can't wait to get the fabric on and get these chairs done (did I mention I have 2 more? Yup, I have FOUR). The BF will be helping out with the other 2 so I'm hoping that will speed up the process a little bit. Wish us luck! My next update will be the reveal, I promise!

Have a great long weekend all! xoxo

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!

Upholstery Colours

I'm stuck. I've seen so much fabric in the last couple of weeks and seeked advice from many people. No matter how bold I think of going, I always seem to gravite toward solid colours. Something classic in a gorgeous rich velvet is what I'm thinking. I've included four colour options below. But first here is what my living/dining area looks like. I have the exact same dining table and a similar bench, I have a chandelier (it's somewhat similar but more spanish and vintage looking), as well as the frame and plants. Also, I will be adding more blue and pink to the living room area. Hopefully this will help with your colour choices. I know which colour I'm leaning towards but I'd love to get your suggestions.

Sources: chandelier | Dining Table | Bench | Sheepskin Rug | Oriental Flower Pot | Plant | Poster

Here are the chairs. Which one do you like best?

black?

dark grey?

navy?

olive?

Can't wait to hear what your choices are! Help!

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!

Furniture Friday - Louis & A Great Find

Happy Friday All!

Today's post is a quick update on my Louis (if you still haven't seen or heard about him, you can read the string of posts here. I also want to showcase a great find that my Mamarazzi and I stumbled upon last weekend. Unbeknownst to her, I would like to do a quick poll to see what colours you think this pretty baby should be painted. So let's get started!

First off, the process of upholstering my Louis has become much more time consuming than I imagined but I have to say that I'm learning a ton of new things that will definitely help me in the future. I've gained knowledge on suitable fabrics for upholstery, tightening springs, stripping and refinishing and much more.

Once Louis was completely stripped of any staples and guck, I took him home for some love and applied a white wash stain to the wood frame. After that, I started off by tightening the springs with twine and winding them around tacks which are then hammered around the edges of the chair. I'm terrible with a hammer.

This burlap material is called webbing. It must be stretched tightly over the springs and not hang beyond the chair frame. It goes over top the springs to provide extra support.

It should look something like this. You'll see my weave is off, it should be over-under. That will be fixed on Monday.

And there he is! Looking great so far, if I may say so myself.

Next, my Mom and I stumbled upon this beautiful dresser which would look great as a media console for her TV wall. It's a little scratched but nothing a fresh coat of paint can't fix. It also has tons of storage which is great to store linens, mail and other fun stuff.

This is a terrible 'before' shot. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo before they moved it out. You can see this buffet table is much smaller. I'm not even sure what to call it, a cabinet maybe? Anyway, it was getting lost in that wall and Mamarazzi really wanted something larger with alot more character.

So here it is in her living room au naturel. Below you will find my photoshopped images of different colours. I'd love to get a poll going here. Which colour do you prefer? (please keep in mind her couch and loveseat is red).

Au naturel:

GreyBlack:

Emerald:

Blue:

Please leave a comment and let me know your preference! Thanks everyone and have a great weekend :)

Fabric Hunting Sunday

This past Sunday I started the fabric hunt for my Louis chairs. I decided to start by Queen and Spadina. Affordable Textiles, sounds like my kinda store.

Some pretty fabric at the front quickly caught my eye. Every time I walk by this store they seem to have the same bins of fabric outside. Maybe they're a hot seller? or no one wants them? Who knows. But I love the bold colours and pattern, especially the blue and green one. Unfortunately, this fabric is super thin and would be more suitable for clothing or perhaps throw pillows.

I remember being in these stores years ago and I forgot how claustrophobic they make me feel. These stores are PACKED with rows or fabric everywhere. I'm talking floor to ceiling tiny aisles that you have to squeeze through. And to my disappointment, none of this fabric was for upholstery. Doesn't my face say it all?

However, right when we were about to leave, I decided to try my luck with one more store and I did find 2 fabrics. A navy and a deep purple. I'm definitely leaning towards the navy since that's my accent colour in the living room. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I picked up that purple fabric though. It's not even an option anymore- it was slim pickins, maybe I just got excited. The navy also has a better texture and thickness. The only thing I'm concerned about is the grain. If you look closely, the navy fabric appears to have horizontal lines which can be fairly tricky when trying to reupholster a chair because these lines cannot be off or crooked in any way. I will need to consult my upholstery teacher and see what she thinks. Thoughts on navy? Love it or hate it?

Picture something like this but darker...

via Brooke Giannetti

So the hunt continues. My next stop will be Ottawa Street in Hamilton. I heard that's the place to go for upholstery. But whatever type of fabric I choose, I need to love it and it has to be versatile and durable. I'm thinking longevity, I've put in so much time and effort into these chairs, my grandchildren better take good care of them.

All that hunting left us famished so we rewarded ourselves with this:

Yes, I love random food shots. I can't even remember the last time I had a burger and fries so I had to include this photo. Doesn't it look glorious?

Upholstery 101

Just like a parent accompanying their child on the first day of school (not that I know what that feels like because I don't have children. I'm simply assuming here, please just go with it). I felt a mixture of emotions before my first upholstery class started; excitement, uneasiness and a little sad. After all, I wasn't going to be taking Louie back home with me that night. He was staying there for 9 weeks. I was having a bit of separation anxiety. I searched far and wide for Louie and now that I have him, I'm a little scared to lose him. Also, Louis was the smallest one in the class. There was an array of furniture that included wing back chairs, setees, loveseats and more. What if he got lost in the shuffle, or they misplaced him?

After scanning the room, I wondered whether I should have brought a heavier piece that required more elaborate finishing but after completing week one, I'm relieved I decided to bring Louie. I will probably be busy for the full 9 weeks. My instructor Evelyn is a master upholsterer and she does not believe in shortcuts. I actually left some fabric on the chair thinking that she may tell me to upholster over top of it. Boy was I wrong. After asking her if I should remove all the fabric and staples off the back, she quickly smirked and said, "why of course. No one said this was going to be easy". Evelyn is also...let's say, on the higher end of the age scale. She's old and sassy and is amazing at what she does. I love her already.

Wow, these pictures are gross. So from the above photo you can see I've started to remove the old fabric. Not by ripping it off but by carefully extracting the staples with a tack lifter and needle nose pliers. You may notice some masking tape under the fabric. It turns out the wood is a little soft so digging out the staples is leaving Louie all scratched up. Not good. I should actually be using a thicker tape.

aaaaand here's ugly picture number 2. That foam looks disgusting. Evelyn pulled a piece off with her fingers and it crumbled like feta cheese. So that's being replaced. It turns out the foam needs to be re-done, AND the springs need to be tightened. Poor Louie needs more TLC than I thought. I honestly thought it might be one of those quick upholstery jobs you see on decor blogs. You know, upholster over top the old fabric, stain the wood and Bam! you're done (don't they make it look so easy?). I guess when you're dealing with real antiques that have been upholstered several times, in order to make it your own it really becomes a labour of love. I'm so thankful I managed to enroll in this class because now I can learn the proper techniques that will keep Louie looking great for years to come.

Above are the sewing machines available for us to use. I must say they look a little intimidating but it will be interesting to see how these old babies run!

And what's an upholstery class without a chair legend? I'm all about the history of furniture.

So as you can see, Louis is fairly small compared to others in the class. He's alot more delicate but full of character and personality. I tried to tuck him in a safe place, and even left a little note on him.

Our next class is about choosing the right fabric. I can't wait! I'll also try and sneak some photos of the other chairs being worked on. I sure hope my classmates don't mind photos because I'll be snapping tons of pics!

To read past posts about Project Louis, click here.

Stay tuned for more updates,
xoxo Amy

My Louis

Hello! It's a new year and life has gotten super busy. My Louis XVI chairs have been collecting dust in my kitchen but now I have good news. I start my upholstery class on Monday and I am beyond excited! I've been waiting patiently and now I will finally learn how to re-upholster my beloved Louis.

I still haven't figured out what kind of finish I want for the wood. I've stripped the paint off 2 chairs and right now I'm thinking of going with a whitewashed look, letting some of the natural wood grain show. There are endless fabric options but I'm kind of torn between a bold pattern or a classic neutral. Any thoughts?

A bold black & white pattern...

source: www.cococozy.com

Mixing a bold pattern with solid fabric...

source: www.habituallychic.com

A neutral fabric with a tufted back...

source: www.zinhome.com

A bold solid colour...

source: www.apartmenttherapy.com

Another neutral fabric. Restoration Hardware style...

source: www.restorationhardware.com

Given that I love classics but also an eclectic mix of styles, I'm definitely leaning towards 2 of the above options. I'd love to hear what you think!

To read past posts about Project Louis, click here.