Chair Reupholstery Tutorial

OK, so here’s a tutorial on how I reupholstered my office chair. 🙂

First you need to get rid of the old upholstery. I have no pictures of that, sadly, but that’s a different story with each chair anyway. Start by turning the piece around and see how the fabric is attached. The most usual options are either staples or tacks, which are short nails with a wide head. There’s tack pullers and wood staple removers in the stores, but I’ve just used a dull knife to get under the staple or tack and lift it up a bit, and then removed it with pliers.

Make sure to remove the fabric without ripping it (opening the seams is fine), because it’s easiest to use that as a template for the new fabric. I’ve removed all of the padding, although if that’s in good shape, it’s fine to just change the cover fabric with perhaps a new layer of batting to plump it up a bit.

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Here’s my chair with the new foam padding in place. Most vendors will cut the pieces for you, so I traced the shape of the cushions to a paper and took those to the store. I attached with super glue. I find that spray glue doesn’t work as well as the regular stuff, but YMMV.

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Top off with batting (I used polyester) and cut it to shape.

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Here I used the old cover to measure the new fabric and to mark and cut the handle spots. Just remember to leave enough extra on the sides – it’s going to be much easier to work with! 🙂

Now there’s gonna be a ton of pics to show you how to attach the fabric. Please click on them to make them bigger…

So here we go! Any questions? I’ll be happy to help if I can! 🙂

Just as a disclaimer, if you have real antique furniture to upholster or want to get a gorgeous finish with expensive fabric, I strongly recommend you seek out a professional for the job. I’m nowhere near a pro! I’ve pretty much just learned by reverse engineering the furniture I’ve taken apart to reupholster, seeing how it was done and imitating that. I don’t know if this is the correct way to reupholster things, but I’ve done a few regularly used pieces over the years and they seem to be holding up well, and look nice enough for my own use! 🙂

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Office Chair Makeover

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The Before…

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…and the After!

I think it’s from the 50s or 60s. The shape of the chair was around for many decades, I think, but the back rest and seat are a sandwich construction of a wood frame and plywood covers, and somehow that and the metal bits just suggest that era to me. Honestly though, I have no idea. Do share if you have some knowledge of this type of chairs! 🙂

At first I thought to use either a green or grey fabric, but the green fabric is a bit thin and the grey seemed dull when I’d looked at it for a while. I had some durable white canvas left over from the sofa project and figured I’ll just use that for now. I think I’ll sew a slipcover from the green – that way it’s easier to replace if it’s too thin to handle the use.

Here’s a tutorial on how I upholstered this chair! 🙂 Hope you like it!

Storage / Platform Bed

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I needed more storage in the apartment, because I hate crowded, poorly organized closets. I like to see my clothes and regularly used stuff at once, and find it very frustrating to have stuff piled high. I also liked the idea of a raised bed, thinking that would create some separation between the “bedroom” and “living room” portions of my one room. The sliding doors are another hack-in-progress, more on them later…

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So I doodled a bit (drawing’s not my strong suit, as evident above!) and came up with something that I liked. Originally I thought to incorporate some kind of a bookshelf to act as a rail so I wouldn’t fall from the bed, but pretty soon I realised this wasn’t going to be necessary. I haven’t fallen from my bed since I was 4 or something… It also looked nicer without the railing.

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Then I sketched it up with the measurements I knew I would work with. I had already decided to build the base out of Ikea kitchen cabinets and doors. I’ve seen a lot of raised beds in Ikea Hackers and elsewhere in the net, and the cabinet versions seemed to end up looking the nicest. They also played together with my new kitchen, helping to make the small space coherent and calm.

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Altogether there’s nine cabinets. Four 80 cm wide ones: 2 in the front and 2 in the back. There’s one 60 cm wide cabinet on the back, since the back wall is 230 cm and 60 cm was the widest that would fit. And then there’s four 40 cm wide cabinets: one in the front and three in the end.

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All of the cabinets rest on a simple wooden footing on the floor, but nothing is attached to the floor or the walls. The weight of the unit with the bed on top is plenty enough to keep it in place. I put loads of big felt pads under the footing to keep it from scratching the floor, in case I want to sell the place later. I’m not sure those are necessary, but they’re there now… I even remembered to paint the lumber footing before laying it on the floor, so I didn’t have to paint it in the spot!

The cabinets are attached to the footing and to the adjacent ones. Then I built the inner structure, adding lumber to hold most of the weight of the bed and to rigidify the part with no cabinets. The big pieces of lumber are on 2 corners of the bed and the cabinets and smaller lumber hold the back side of the bed. I also added 15 mm plywood on top of the cabinets to give them a nice finish and to keep with the theme of the kitchen (and to make the top level, where they’re not visible). Only the parts that are visible form under the mattress are treated – yes, I’m lazy. 🙂

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My bed is a box spring -type bed (the kinda mattress with a built-in wooden frame, they don’t seem to sell the exact same type at least in the States) from Ikea and I attached it to the cabinets and the plywood with L-brackets. That way I didn’t need to build a “roof” to my storage space: the mattress forms the roof. I just made sure to measure the base so that the mattress covers the opening!

A quick search didn’t come up with a tutorial on how to shorten the cabinets for the steps, so I’m thinking of doing one. But since I didn’t take pics the first time I did these, it might be a while…

Basically, I just sawed the sides of one 40 cm wide cabinet into two and drilled new holes to correspond to the required bits to assemble the cabinets. To someone with a bit of DIY experience it was pretty straightforward and easily figurable just by looking at the parts and how they were supposed to fit together. Of course I needed 2 cabinets for the hack (to have enough top and bottom parts), but I didn’t need to use the sides of the other cabinet. I also got around with just 1 door for these shorter ones!

I left the 80 cm wide middle cabinet open (no backing!) to form a doorway into my storage space. To keep it looking uniform I only used the 40 cm wide doors. Most of the plywood is attached with screws from underneath, but the smallest step was so low that it was easier to glue the cover piece on it. Oh, and then I put some thick cardboard covered with DC Fix (a semi-permanent plastic film/tape) over the end piece on top of the steps, to cover the hole there and make it look nice. That’s just attached with double sided tape and seems to be holding up fine.

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And I even have a light under there, to make it easier to rummage for what I need… I think it turned out pretty nifty, and it’s definitely great to have so much storage!  It makes me happy just looking at it – there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a job well done!

Let me know if you find this helpful and please share if you build something similar! I’d love to see your interpretation of the storage bed! 🙂

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Spring Surprises in the Yard!

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My yard is all new to me, since I got this place last august. Is that a cherry? Whatever it may be, the pretty, pretty flowers came one day a bit more than a week ago, and then a couple days ago they just vanished! They were there one day and the next morning, they weren’t. What happened?! 🙂

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What a happy occurrence: I got a couple Hydrangeas just after I bought the place, and they were just outside in their pots for the whole winter. No cover, no insulation, nothing. I never thought they made it, but come spring there was a few tiny buds. I decided to prune them, some wikipedia article I checked suggested to prune them in the spring – and they started budding a lot more! Who would have thought they made it through the Finnish winter?! 😀

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And the last happy surprise was the tulips – I never knew my terrace had tulips! How utterly awesome!! 😀

I can’t wait for all the rest of the surprises as the summer advances… What is it going to look like here in a couple of weeks? It’s like getting new presents all the time! 🙂

Peacock Pillows

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The peacock tapestry I thrifted a couple weeks ago turned into pillows! It was super easy, too. The tapestry already had a separate fabric backing, which I cut in half along the middle line. Then I zigzagged 2 seams next to each other on the tapestry side and cut it between them, so that the edges wouldn’t fray. Then I sewed zippers to the cut edges. All done! 🙂

Renovation: Assembling the Kitchen!

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Right. So, after we had the old kitchen taken down and finished the new walls we could start assembling the new kitchen! I bought the cabinets and doors from Ikea – I’ve been happy with my previous Ikea-kitchens, they look nice and are very good value for money.

That nook that extends from the wall outwards was a challenge: it’s only 172 cm high. It had the fridge-freezer combi and that fit nicely, so I decided to stick with that. Another challenging point was that the lower cabinets needed to be extended from the wall about 8 cm in order to fit the plumbing there: my counter needed to be at least 70 cm deep. The normal depth is 62 cm, but a lot of places sell 80 cm deep counters for islands and such. The only problem was length – my counter is 3,20 m long. Apparently you can buy countertop materials in 62 cm for up to 400 cm long sheets, but the 80 cm deep sheets tend to extend to maximum 300 cm.

Since there was going to be a seam anyway (there was no way I was gonna shell out the cash for a MTM Corian counter!), I figured I could try something out. Plywood is relatively cheap and looks awesome, and it has held up nice with the Osmo wax in the table I made a couple of years ago. So I got a couple of sheets of the thickest birch plywood and we cut them to form on site.

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Plywood can be tricky to saw, mmkay. Any sawblade needs to be very sharp, and at least for circular saws there’s special plywood blades with a lot of small teeth. If you use an electrical jigsaw, like we did on the cutouts for the sink and the stove top, don’t use any forward motion in the blade. That will splinter the plywood. Some people recommend putting tape to the intended saw line and sawing through that, which might have helped. I only saw this tip after we had already finished the counter… 🙂 Anyway, no forward motion on the blade with very slow and careful forward motion with the saw did the trick for us.

Here you can also see the scaffolding we attached to the wall behind the cabinets. It extends the cabinets so that they can be attached to the wall as intended, but the plumbing has space underneath. Also the top cabinets are attached to the wall via scaffolding. That allows room for electrical wirings and whatnot, and it was easier to attach just 2 long scaffoldings to the concrete wall. The cabinets were much easier to attach to the scaffolding, in turn…

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Starting to take shape… the empty spot in the middle is for the dishwasher.

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Sanding the countertop would have been easier on top of another table, but we had already attached this in order to measure and cut out holes for the sink and stove top. The sides of the holes, especially for the stove top, were thin and we were scared to break the counter top if we moved it.

The cut outs are lined with a marine silicone/glue to keep any water out of the plywood. After attaching the sink (more silicone/glue and the snippets that are screwed in), I waxed the counter with Osmo products just like I did with the table. I’ve been using the kitchen for about 7 months now, and it seems I need to put another coat of the wax on… but this was to be expected. My friend has waxed their counter with the same products and she told me they needed to rewax a couple of times the first year and yearly after that.

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And here it is in all it’s glory! 🙂 The top cabinets are lined with plywood, I think that gives the outside a nice finish. I was a bit worried about placing the oven next to the fridge, but I’ve been cooking a lot and following how it behaves, and there seems to be very little escape heat on the sides of the oven. There’s plenty air space behind the oven and some between it and the fridge too.

I finished the back edge of the countertop with some more silicone/glue and a U-shaped aluminium profile. My first idea was to put glass next to the wall to protect the wallpaper, but I didn’t like the look of it. So I painted the wallpaper with a couple of coats of clear laqcuer. I figured I’ll see how long it lasts… So far it’s held up nice! I just wipe any spills with a damp cloth and they haven’t left stains.

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The oven, stove top , fridge, microwave (in the left cupboard) and faucet are from the old kitchen, so I only had to buy the dishwasher, extractor hood and sink. I dreamt of a new faucet, but the nice ones tend to cost a pretty penny. My plumber warned me against Ikea faucets, he had heard of a lot of leaks with them. In the end I figured I could update the faucet later.

The washing machine I had bought for my old place, so that didn’t add to the costs either. It needs so much extra space behind it that I can’t get a door to cover it, because the plumbing eats away what extra I had behind there. I’ve been thinking of a curtain to cover it up, but it doesn’t really bother me as it is, either, so that hasn’t been a high priority.

The parts aside from the plywood counter and finishings are Ikea, but the design and the magic to put them together is all my talented friends and me! I can’t even begin to say how happy I am with the new kitchen! It’s much more functional and pretty now!! 🙂