search bar

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sentimental Old Wing Backed Chair Transformation

Okay, here it is… My husband’s birthday is 2 days after Christmas, which sometimes presents a problem. Christmas gifts from me are generally whatever someone wants, but when it comes to your birthday I prefer to give something more personal. This is the story about his birthday present this year, his hideous old family wing back chair, and my hesitation about the project.

The history of the chair goes like this… The chair originally belonged to Andy’s grandmother: 1925 is about as near as anyone can figure for how long it has been around. At four years old, Andy’s grandfather used to sit with him, in that chair, and teach him how to read. When his grandparents passed away, somehow Andy’s sister ended up with the chair. She had it recovered to the current country blue with tiny pink flowers. When she didn’t want the chair anymore she offered it to Andy, and now for many years, this chair has floated from room to room not fitting in anywhere. The colors were all wrong. My colors of course are fall colors, and Andy’s colors are mostly black, silver and grey, with a touch of ultra blue. Andy was doing some cleaning out and was considering giving the chair back to his mother (97 years old) so that someone else could claim it. But I didn’t want him to give up on his sentiment for the chair so I convinced him to let me see what I could do with it.  Originally I was going to cover it with a re-purposed charcoal colored wool moving blanket, so it could go back in his home office, but… I was watching what everyone was doing to upholstery with Chalk Paint, and going back and forth in my mind because I wondered what would happen over time, if he sat in it and the paint cracked or started peeling off, or worse. I eventually decided that I would try painting it, and ultimately… I’m so glad I did. His fond memories of his “Good” grandfather teaching him to read are preserved in that chair, (now a soft weathered grey), that now sits in his home office, where he can cozy up in it any time he wants.

I also made a little throw pillow to go with the chair. You can see it in the last photo of the chair. I scanned the drawing that Andy had done in 1975 (on notebook paper), and printed it out on fabric to make the pillow top. The original drawing is framed and hangs in my laundry room and I love it!

Here are some photos of the chair during the process and the pillow. I hope you Enjoy!

The original fabric... fade spots everywhere, but still in good condition. 

I started with the bottom of the chair


 The first of three coats working from outside in towards the back

 Side views

 Look at the contrast!

 The third coat and a very wet chair!

  The chair is dry after 3 days, now a light sanding. Yep, sanding.

 My finished present, and it looks like it was always this color.

 The original 1975 drawing of "Mouse House".

 The final touch.

Well... what do you think?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Name Game for Spare / Bonus / Extra space in your house

Recently asked me to curate a board about Spare Room Flips, for their social media platforms. While doing the research for the project I noticed that all of us use different names for our extra spaces. The keyword search was like playing the “Name” game. Just for fun you should try it! 

No matter what you call your SPARE / BONUS / EXTRA room/space; Closet, Game, Craft, Library, Exercise, Play, Man Cave, Garden, Sun, Studio, Shop, Theater, Media or Office, you are playing the “Name” game too, and Hometalk is there to help make you a winner! For those of you that don’t know about Hometalk, it’s a great website to go to for ideas and information about anything home and garden, or to just get some crafty ideas. It’s like a how to directory, and there are a lot of really creative people participating.  Check out these examples of Hometalk inspired - Spare / Bonus / Extra space makeovers.  Just click on the images and you will be directed to the pages for these great posts. Enjoy!                                                                       

Here is my contribution to this clipboard

Here is my Clipboard on Hometalk. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Gifts for my Tuesday Workshop Friends

A great little Christmas gift for my Tuesday Workshop friends was what I needed. Something that they could actually use... Something that I hadn't already taught them how to do.

Well, after driving around to my go-to thrift stores, I found a few of these ordinary knife blocks.

After cleaning, drilling, sanding, painting and filling with supplies....

Vintage oil cans with a little bling make great note or photo holders!

Customize these any way you want.

Well... What do you think?

Monday, December 1, 2014

House Flipping Project at #4 Johnson Avenue

In 2007 my brother David and I decided to partner up on a house flipping project. I searched many neighborhoods and looked at dozens of houses before finding what I hoped would be our "project" house. Most of the houses I looked at were not as old, and didn't have near as many problems as the one we ended up buying, but.... have you ever had a house just speak to your heart? Well... this one spoke to mine. I could envision how each room would look even before we signed on the dotted line.

We both had full-time jobs that we could not afford to give up, so we ended up working nights and weekends and all vacation days for five full months, and considering all we had to go through that really wasn't too bad. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Here's a little history about what we now call the Boylston area, in the years right before #4 Johnson Avenue came into existence. From 1917 to 1919, during World War I, this area was called Camp Sheridan. Located in North Montgomery, Alabama, this was the training camp for the Army National Guard and many notable infantry Divisions. It cost 3,700,000.00 to construct, and at the end of the war it was used as the demobilization center until it was abandoned on March 15, 1919.

Then in 1923 the construction of a "Mill Village" began for the West Boylston Textile Mfg. Co. Constructed first was the village that housed the workers, then the Mill was completed. 

This is a photo of the Mill that was completed in 1927 

This is the first known photo of the house we purchased. Construction on this house 
was completed in 1923, and was the home of the mill's foreman.
 I don't know this for a fact, but it was said by some of the neighbors, that this house 
was also a meeting house of the "Daughters of the Confederacy", an organization formed to support the wounded soldiers of WWI and their families, and is still alive today supporting our troops.

#4 Johnson Avenue was built in 1923. The first and largest house in this particular neighborhood, with approximately 2570 square feet, was built for the foreman of the West Boylston Manufacturing Textile Mill, that now sits closed and abandoned across the street in front of the house. Across the side street to the left of the house, and visible from the kitchen window, sits a beautiful old church, and as the sun sets, the beautiful stained glass windows come alive with glowing color.

It was a vacant, bank owned property, listed for $69,900. Armed with a 14 page inspection that would scare the daylights out of anyone, we negotiated the price down to $39,400.

One other thing you need to know... I had not lived in Montgomery for very long, I didn't have any preconceived ideas about which areas of town were considered good, bad or completely undesirable. As soon as my project was made public by the media, (I'll talk about that later), lots of people that I knew told me that I had made a big mistake, and that I bought a house in a bad area and should have asked them about it first. I will tell you this ... I know, with all my heart, after living through the whole process, and knowing what I know now... I would not have changed a thing. Those people, the ones that told me I had made a big mistake, were in SO many ways... SO VERY WRONG!

From the very first day we had visitors. Many of the neighbors, (mostly senior citizens), came by, and then some of the members of the church came over. Some people came daily, first to see what we were doing, then to see the progress, some to tell us stories of the past occupants and history of the area, and some stopped by to see if we had any work for them, which on occasion we did. As the work progressed on our project, people around the neighborhood started clean-up and fix-up projects of their own. Then somehow, the City joined in and sent out dumpsters that sat on one of the vacant corner lots for 1 week so anyone could put anything it with no charge for hauling it away. They were full by the weekend! I don't know how it happened, but the media got wind of our project while they were running a series of stories about Montgomery neighborhoods. They came and interviewed us and a couple of neighbors about the impact of our project. It seemed that we were having a big influence that even we were unaware of. At the end of our project we had a huge open house party. We invited the entire neighborhood, the church members, all of the people that had ever done any work on our project, the local real estate people, friends, family, and of course our banker. It was a great day and I was proud of the job that we had done. Looking back, I am thankful for the time spent with my brother. We told each other our own stories, and shared many memories during that time. I am thankful for Andy, who not only documented the process with photos and video, but repeatedly brought food and drinks to keep us going, and as a home designer, gave his architectural input when we really needed it! I'm thankful to all the visitors for adding to our lives, each in special ways. I'm thankful that nothing bad ever happened at our project house. And... I'm thankful to God... for taking me down Johnson Avenue.

Here is a video Andy made for me so that I could show my daughter how my project turned out. Keep that in mind during the narration when he refers to me as "your mother". LOL!

Take a look!!

These were just a few of the issues that we had to deal with.
*All new electrical:  New electrical panels
                                  No grounded Outlets
                                 Multiple wires to one fuse
                                 Huge plug in the middle of the kitchen floor!
*All new Plumbing: Pipes were worn out, broken or missing
*Replace broken windows
*Replace exterior doors
*Repair screen on front porch
*Repair siding on exterior of house
*Replace chain link fence with privacy fence
*Repair HVAC system
*Paint inside and out
*Completely redo landscape
*Completely overhaul 2 baths and kitchen
*Repair plaster walls
*Repair wood floors
*Replace all light fixtures
*Create master suite
*Repair 5 fireplaces
*Repair damaged roof and shingles

There is no way to cram a five month project into one little post, but I hope that if you are considering doing a project, you follow your heart, you do the right thing, and you don't let other people decide what is right or wrong for you. You never know what you can do until you try.

Be brave! Be creative!