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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New DIY Workshop

My new hobby is refurbishing old furniture and items around the house.  I have a number of items that I have inherited from my Mother as she did from her Mother and most are so old that they are truly antiques.  I love antiques and would never throw out these items as they have some family meaning, even if they have no monetary value.  So I decided to give a number of them a facelift, partly inspired by the work of my friend Susan (Mrs Mac) on her blog (check her out http://mac-adventureswithbooks.blogspot.com/).

I started with an old wicker chair but this was before I had decided to blog about it and it was an experiment to see if I enjoyed doing it and was any good at it.  It turned out quite well.  It was very sturdy and I could not find one of similar quality to buy so I was pleased with it's new lease of life.

Motivated by this we decided to clear out the garage and put in a little workshop/table for me to potter about with.  This would also help me with the kitchen garden I am planning for next year (but more about that in the future). 

So we built these shelves with a worktop and I am enjoying pottering around each day.  It is a bit messy as I have not got around to organising it properly yet and I just finished my ottoman on it.

I took this old Ottoman which had been given to my sister by my Mother and she had then painted it from the original pukey pink to this gaudy gold but leaving the pukey pink on the inside.  It also had a number of scratches and stains inside.

The upholstery was redone very badly in a cream material which I pulled off to find the original and very dirty pink material.  I pulled this off as well thinking it would be easy to just cover the seat with some new material but the actual padding was the original padding and was so disgusting that I threw it out immediately.  It was so old it probably contained asbestos or some other now banned substance.

I just took my time playing around with it.  Filling the many tack holes in with Elmers Wood filler and sanding down with a medium sanding block.  I removed all the hardware to decide what to do with later.

After careful filling and sanding I decided to spray paint the outside with Antique Bronze.  This was to darken the gaudy gold and make it complement our old brass bed that it was going to live beside.

I wanted a contrast on the inside so I painted it with a sandy/oatmeal colour.  This took some time as I had to mask off each section carefully between coats. 

So after painting, and I was pleased with how the colours turned out, I started on the seat.  It needed some new cushioning and new cover.  I just bought some simple foam padding for the cushion and cut it to shape.

  I then chose some material (from Jo-Ann's stores, great place for sewing enthusiasts and crafters).  I wanted to get an old fashioned material that had a similar pattern to the original material to give the ottoman an authentic aged feel. 

This was my first ever attempt at upholstery so I, again, took my time and just thought through each problem as I encountered it.  The main one was how to tack the material down and make it pretty.  The options I thought of were to get decorative tacks or to somehow hide the tacks.  I couldn't find decorative tacks that I liked and I was also nervous about getting them in line and to look good so I went with the option of regular tacking and then hiding the tack heads in some way.  Again, Jo-Ann's was an inspiration as I found some material braiding that complemented my colour scheme and the wonderful product of Liquid Stitch.

 I will be using liquid stitch a lot in the future I am sure.  It can be used for hems and will go through washing and dry cleaning!  Anyway, it seemed to work for me as I like the look of the final result.

Finally, I had to put the thing back together.  I was left with the problem of getting hinges that looked good and a new handle, as the old handle was cheap looking and flimsy.  The hinges were troublesome as I couldn't get anything suitable in my local DIY stores, so I just decided to spray paint the old hinges and see what they looked like.  I think they look great! 

The handle was quite easy as there was a great choice in my local Lowes diy store, although, of course, being old and European the required screw size to fit it all together was not US standard but I managed to get one that was very close and works for now.

So here is the final result sitting, for now, at the bottom of our brass bed stead. 

Roll on my next project.  It is a big one as I am going to try and refurbish the old wooden cabinets in my daughters bathroom.  My inspiration for this project came from the blog http://www.centsationalgirl.com, really worth a read as it has given me a lot of practical advice and confidence to give it a go.  So watch this space for the results.


  1. Thanks for the mention, Hazel! Glad to see I inspired you because of course you know a bit of upcycling is fun! Nice first project and if you are like me you will get hooked. I have loads of fabric in a pile.... pity you are too far away!!!

    1. Hooked already and I love the phrase upcycling. You should check out http://www.centsationalgirl.com for inspiration as well. Xx