Friday, August 27, 2010

A Small Project: New Dining Room Seats

I stumbled across this photo and thought I would share this project.  My mother-in-law, who doesn't care for anything antique, does have an older antique table and chairs.  After spending 25+ christmas dinners sitting on this orange stripe fabric, I offered to redo it.

I picked a Jacobean print fabric.  I thought it went nicely with the ?? heavy style of the chairs.  The table is also very heavy.  I'll add a photo of it next time I'm over there.  Don't you think it is a great facelift?   I had to redo the webbing on the chairs, so it took me an entire weekend, I'm not the fastest.  If I hadn't done the webbing, it would have only been a couple of hours.

It goes to show what you can do to beautify your home.  The important part is--the family was delighted with it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dining Room Project

This is a project from last summer. I didn't have much time to work on it. It was over 2000 miles away, and I had to order everything in advance, and show up with one weekend to pull it together. I didn't know exactly what was available from existing items, so there was a day of last minute shopping to pull it all together.

The dining room is a narrow long room. It's a condo, and while it's very roomy, the table had to be narrow so you can walk around it easily. The windows have a fabulous view, and I didn't want you to feel like you were crammed against the wall when you want to look out.

This is a room filled with leftovers from other rooms, other projects. The table was a George 3 breakfast table, a fabulous table, just not good for this application. The top wobbled. The chairs, a very cool pair of antique chairs, with the maker's name stenciled on the back of the seat, I'm not sure if you can see it in the photo. They have cane seats. The rug made the room look smaller than it is. The demilune table on the wall was a $20 garage sale piece. The tables were sent to the auction house. The tapestry was sold on Ebay. The sale of the items completely paid for the table. How nice is that!
Don't you love the silk drapes though!

The Table: My favorite French antique shop carries this farmhouse table. It is not antique, and that works best at times. You can order it in any size, length, width, etc. It has a wonderful finish with great patina. This table can also be used as a desk, back of the sofa, isn't it great!

I had a weekend to do the decorating, so I was scrambling to find a picture for the wall. I decided on the bird print. I liked the black on the frame, and the whimsy of the writing on the print. The dog painting seemed to heavy and stuffy for the effect I was going for.

The console table has drawers in it which provides some storage. It is narrow so it doesn't take up alot of room. I really like it. The top is marble. It is a reproduction, and I love it! The table painted finish doesn't match the finish of the chairs, but I think they work together all right. I was planning on adding some grey-blue antiquing to this. I didn't want to smell up the place with paint that weekend. What do you think--do you have any combinations of paint you like to use? I studied a fabulous painted piece once and it had a periwinkle blue covered with a brown stain and then a pale grey wash. It looked great--I'd never have guess that the base paint was a periwinkle!
I found some Italian faience plates (estate sale) which I paired with some vintage Borghese cherub statues on brackets (again,estate sale). The black cherubs pick up the black on the picture matting, and the faience plates look good with the picture also. I actually have 4 plates, but thought the two brackets and statues provide some interest vs. the 4 plates. When I was done I thought perhaps I should have hung the plates higher, I could have added the other two plates below the brackets. I didn't do the usual grouping on the floor before I hung them. That always helps when you are an amateur like myself.

The tole hydrangea had a black and ivory paint job, which looked to stark, so I painted it green and blue, and some gilding. It was a bit of late-night work, but I liked the feel of the tole. A collection of pitchers came in handy. The pottery beehive pitcher is fabulous even though it is new. It is by Juliska, check out their whole line. I debated about putting the pitcher in the middle of the table. It also looks good on the side of the table, but that was before I found the tole.

The camphor chest wound up underneath is by default, we were tripping over it and tucked it under the table.

We found some reproduction dining chairs have a soft finish on the wood, and the fabric is a natural linen fabric. We got 5 side chairs and one arm chair. The room was too small to really carry off 2 arm chairs. Is this acceptable?
I love the drum chandelier over the table. The crystal chunk finial is picked up in the drapery hardware from Restoration Hardware. Isn't this a great improvement? The owner is happy, loves the farmhouse table paired with the upholstered french chairs.  How nice is that, to have a new dining room over a weekend?

Antique Shop Stop

I am working on the bedroom-- see previous post. My inspiration room had some pale yellows going with the plum color. I am thinking about a couple of items in this shop.

First, the fantastic price they had on this secretary made me stop and think, do I have a spot for it? I really want to get this to use in the family room, but my husband pointed out the spray foam they used in the replaced leg--hardly a legit restoration... but the price of $995 (was $3200) made me think it wasn't any worse than particle board from Pottery Barn.
I love the serpentine front. The hardware IS original. I don't normally go for oak, but it has a certain charm here. The inside is really cool, there is a spoon rack, I'd keep the doors open with stuff inside.

I was thinking it would look great in the family room on the left side of the fireplace.

(Remember, we just moved in. I haven't decorated ANYTHING to my satisfaction be kind! The great part is you can watch the rooms evolve! I have a fabulous mirror to put over the fireplace, I know I know, the clock and photo have to go, but I like knowing what time it is and that picture is of my one medical school, she's awesome!  So I think I'm going to have to hire someone to help me figure out how to decorate this room....I definitely need some chairs/ottomans to make this room more comfy.  It has a monster flat panel to the right... and I am not thrilled with the sectional, I do like the leather with the nailhead trim, bargain priced and I needed something quickly.  Yes folks, we sometimes have to buy things that are available, because we need to live)

OK, back to the bedroom: Here are some things I am looking at.

#1 Settee done in a yellow damask. I am not sure of the age, could be 40's, although it feels like horsehair or something in the seat. I wasn't totally thrilled with the color of the wood frame.
You can see it more in the next photo. The problem is, it's not quite long enough to sit at the end of the bed. Do I get it anyway, and put it with an end table?
#2 french screen. It has some nice print silk on the back. I love anything carved wood, and these have wonderful carved swags on the top. Click on the photo to see the enlargement. It's great! The painted french chairs in front are cute, but they're soo small, and I try to get larger ones to be functional... I have no idea how I would use the french screen, I just thought it was a fabulous piece! I think this is probably the most unusual piece I'm considering. But the problem is, I keep looking at antique pieces that have no function. My family knows I am obsessed with screens. Click on the photo and check out the enlargement to see the details.

I already have one screen in the room. It's a big one:

However I am thinking the french folded screen at the antique shop might look good on the angled wall to the right of this dresser: It angles twice. I'm not at the house (700 miles away), and I can't believe I don't have a photo of the wall. You can see how it angles off to the right. The wall with the sampler on it is about 30", and then it angles again for about 2", going the same direction as the wall the dresser is on. (I plan on using the dogs for lamps, I have a weakness for dog lamps)

#3 neoclassic bench. I'm thinking this is turn of the century or newer.

This bench is just cute. It's only 33" wide, 27" tall. 14" deep. Do I put this in front of another window, it's 24" tall, but it was called a "window bench". I'm a sucker for anything that isn't solid guilded. In this case, I love the wood and gilding mix. What's with the plaster dog sitting on my bench?

#4 Pair of blue french chairs. OK, this isn't for the master bedroom--these would be for a guest room in done in blue and tan toile. Yes, I toile is my favorite print. They are a really good price...
While I would describe myself as someone who loves Georgian furniture first and foremost, I'm afraid I have a real weakness for anything carved with roses on it, or for french chairs.

#5 Metallic Embroidered Fabric. Why don't I just put all of these pieces on layaway. Again, click on this photo and check out the embroidery--it completely covers this piece. It's probably 6 feet long, 56" wide. I was thinking it could be used as a lining of a bed canopy or something? I hate cutting up antique textiles. I really shouldn't let any of these pieces get away. A bit expensive.

I'm not going to ask you about this chair, I have a weakness for anything with worm holes... attached to wood, of course... They had a pair. One is a bit wobbly, must go off to my restorer who painstakingly fixes these things by taking them apart and regluing them. The fabric is installed upside down on these. Anyway, the chairs are hand made, they are period pieces.

What would you pick if you had to pick one item?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Toile Bedroom

I've been busy working out in the garden this summer. We bought a house to retire to in 5 years (oh yea, we're already retired.  I keep forgetting--we seem to work like dogs all the time.) It is near our parents, both who are in their 80's and need some additional help. We plan on building a casita here for my parents, and my husband's parents are 12 miles away.  Having lived in the same house for 25 years, I have to figure out how to make this house feel like "home".

One problem is that there are 46 windows in the house, that's alot of windows! I want window covering for privacy when we are away, because I want to be able to keep the windows open when we are there. The summer sun in really hot, and I need to keep the windows closed from about 11 to 3 during the day when the sun hits these windows. The bedroom has a curved wall, I am looking for suggestions on what to do with this. What you are seeing in the windows are vinyl mini blinds from Lowes that I purchased to get something up quickly. Isn't it amazing that they had the size in stock.

The patio door has a nice Pierre Deux fabric, Quatre Saisons. They had this colorway on sale for $15/yard, regularly $80. I was planning on a traditional blue toile, but decided for budget reasons to go with this color. I have not regretted the decision. Finding the transferware below that looks lovely with the fabric only made me feel better about it! It's an interesting color, in the lighting throughout the day it can look from a plum color to brown.
The photo above shows how the transferware, circa 1835, goes with the toile fabric. I had to collect a whole new color of transferware for this room, it looks great together, and is another reason why I love antiques. Click on the photo to view a large photo--you can really appreciate the wonderful soft color of this "eggplant" fabric with the mulberry transferware.

I can't really put a "wall" of drapes on the 5 windows because I don't have enough space for stackback. I've thought about doing 5 individual balloon or roman shades in the Quatre fabric. I've also thought about venetian blinds. I prefer them over shutters, I can raise them for a nice unobstructed view, where opening shutters isn't the same. Bunny Williams (another designer I admire) always uses traditional blinds for light control, they really work so well.

Here is a photo of the view--you can see why I like keeping the windows open all of the time.
We really love the view, but I don't always love waking up with the sun. Mostly on days when I've been handmaking drapes til 2 AM, and I want to sleep in...

Anyway, here's a few more photo's of the room. I'd like to trade beds with the other house, I have a 4 poster that I can make a matching canopy.

The little hall chair has a squirrel on the back--isn't it cute! I found it at Hillsborough, a day after it opened. I ran the drapes up to the ceiling, because I've read all these blogs that say "make them as tall as you can". One of these days we'll be putting beams in the room, I don't know that I'll do crown moulding with the beams, but it will require lowering the drapes at that time. It sort of feels like we crammed it up at the ceiling, I'm thinking the next room I'll drop it about 4-6" ?  What do you think?

I struggled a bit with the drapery length. I've never "puddled" drapes, and was a bit worried about having a "puddle" in a doorway. My 83 year old dad, unsteady on his feet, would probably trip on puddled drapes. I have an extra 12 inches in the hem, I can change it. What do you think? Also, at times I like to make the drapes "extra wide" on a wall, but in this case, I didn't want to make it so wide, as I only had 6" between the door and the window to the left.

The 3 piece french chaise is really fun. We tend to use it more if it is set up as above. Below looks great, but we tend to sit in it arranged above rather than below.

I plan on recovering it, but will worry about that much later. The carpet in the room is what I would call gross shag. However, this is a new house, and I have no plans to dump money into new flooring until we move here full time. I think it photographs worse than it actually looks....

A room Charlotte Moss did is my inspiration for this room. It will take me a while, but I love this room!

The toile I have is busier than the fabric on the canopy, but evokes the same feeling to me. I would like to use similar colors in the room. I have the french chairs to recover. The pink, grey-plum, and the color of the wallpaper all are things I'd like to incorporate.

I loved the colors in this bold fabric, but the fabric is too bold for me. If it were a tiny flower like the canopy fabric in the inspiration room, I'd use it. It just gave me food for thought about colors. I liked the grey background. I did buy a green and purple plaid, thinking I'd use that inside the canopy, but once I took it to the other house, it looked terrible. The plaid reminded me of the 80's Waverly decorating, and it just didn't look good. A mistake. It's times like these when I realize a decorator (designer) could SAVE you costly mistakes.


Here's my question, I need to deal with those 5 windows. What would you do? I'm open to any suggestions!! Do I try to find a wallpaper similar to the inspiration room? I have enough fabric to do a canopy. (Thanks to Nancy at Pierre Deux in Dallas!) Or do I paint?. I've never found a decorator that has my taste, that I can afford. I appreciate comments!!

I am very busy outside gardening, but stay tuned for more updates. I will post as this room evolves.

Coming soon: I make my own drapes ALWAYS! I plan on posting my "how to", it's a great way to save money. After all, wouldn't you rather spend the money on a great antique! I line and interline the drapes, it's not that difficult.

Please leave me a post on your comments for the room!

PS.  I stopped by a furniture store and saw this Hendredon sofa with the softest color that reminded me of the Charlotte Moss room.  It used to be that I purchased Baker & Henredon because it was tough finding 8 way hand tied springs with down cushions.  Now you can get that at Pottery Barn or WS home.  Why do I want to spend $4700 on a Henredon sofa?  I just don't see what you are getting for the premium these days.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fortuny pillow #1

The summer is flying by, and I've been distracted by some toile that Pierre Deux had on sale on their website. While I love beautiful things, I am a bargain hunter to the core, and love making my decorating dollar stretch. So instead of finishing the pillows, I have been working on making drapes by hand, as I love quality made drapes (and they're so easy to make!!)

Above is my first pillow newly made. I decided to make a tiny welt out of the trim fabric that is on the Fortuny edge. I will post more later as I am going back to the Calif. house to finish making all those drapes. I purchased over 210 yards of fabric. I'd better take my thimble!

I will post again in a week or 2, so you can see the drapery project.