Curb Appeal of a Different Sort

A few summers ago, (back when my kids still wanted to go on bike rides with their mom) I spotted this old dilapidate chair on the curb just waiting to be claimed. To the embarrassment of my kids, I went and knocked on the door of the home it sat in front of and inquired about the chair. Sure enough, it was up for grabs…yay!! I asked if they would mind tucking it in their garage, so I could come back with the van and pick it up. They agreed and I was excited beyond words!

I picked it up and planted it in our garage. Unfortunately, when I had a closer look I realized that the new upholstery would entail more skill than any of my previous projects. There was no way to hide all of the tacks, as I had in the other simple projects I had done. As a result, I let fear get the better of me and avoided it for almost two years. It was only when Tim threatened to toss it that I knew I had to at least give it a try. I took apart the seat and back and used the very old and stinky upholstery pieces as a pattern for the new fabric. The chair frame required sanding just to rough up the surface in preparation for paint. I decided to paint it white (Surprise!  Surprise!) and then got to work reinforcing the seat and adding additional padding (salvaged from our old leather chair).

Once the seat was re-built, it was time to try my hand at covering the seat, back and arms.  I did my best to tack the pieces in place as inconspicuously as possible and then hot glued a simple lace rope around the edges to hide the staples/tacks. On close inspection, it’s certainly not perfect, but to the casual observer it looks pretty good for my first crack at real upholstering. If you asked an expert, I’m sure I did everything wrong, but when you consider this was picked up off the curb and the fabric was on clearance for $7…it’s quite the steal! Love these trash to treasure deals!

*As an after thought, I decided to paint and re-upholster the arm chair that we had kept from the original set we bought with our old antique dining room table. It was an easy job as the seat lifts off and all of the staples are hidden below. (This is the kind of project I like!!)

Bedroom Makeover: Part 2 ~ Upcycled Desk and Chair

The desk and chair in Shay’s room have been in our home for years. If I remember correctly, I think the set was a freebie from a friend (or maybe a really cheap second-hand purchase).  Over the years, I’m sure that the top has been painted at least 4 times. It’s an easy job and the plain black base allows it fit with almost any decor. It is a perfect kid’s room desk and despite its age, has really stood the test of time.

hockey theme room

BEFORE:  Desk, chair and hockey shelf from Shay’s old hockey themed room.

upcycled desk and chair

AFTER: A new paint job and some updated fabric will help coordinate these old items into Shay’s new bedroom design.


Shay actually loved the style of the top, but wanted me to redo it so that the colours were consistent with his new decor. Basically, all I did was give the urethane on top a light sand so the paint would stick, prime it and then play with some paint to get the desired look. I did add a bit of glaze to the paint because I already had it on hand. The glaze is great for mixing colours together and slows the dry time slightly so that you can “play” with the paint a bit more.  Once the painting was done, I added three coats of urethane to seal it and make it more durable.

Since I was already in the midst of painting, I also decided to give the hockey stick shelf a bit of a new look, by painting the shelves black. I really like the black as opposed to the original red even though I’m not yet sure that the shelf will remain in Shay’s new room. Either way, I thought that fresh paint in a more neutral colour would make it more marketable on Kijiji when we post all of his other Jets/hockey room stick shelf

Of course, the previously reupholstered blue chair would no longer work. I have upcycled a few of these old style folding chairs, so giving this a new look was probably no more than a half hour job. You simply remove the screws. lay new fabric overtop (or remove the old first) and use a staple gun to secure it in place. I had left over fabric from previous projects, so the fabric cost me nothing.

upcycled chair