Saturday, June 30, 2007

DIY weekend - recovering chairs

I don't know why, but the weekend around the 4th of July always finds me tackling some unexpected DIY project. Today, I decided that it was time to recover the seat cushions on a pair of arm chairs that I use in my living room and at my dining room table when I have need.

I bought these chairs several years ago and the fabric on them (see above) was fine - would never show wear and mostly matched my decor. Every once in a while, I'd think about recovering them, but would somehow manage to distract myself from the task. But, over the winter, I decided that I wanted to change the color palette in my main living area - which encompasses my living room and dining room. My original color scheme was green, cream and black, and touches of cranberry red. I'd also started adding in gold. But, I've come to feel that it's too heavy a color palette and the idea of lighting up to a green (it's my favorite!), cream and pink palette has really taken hold. I've lived here seven years and still need to paint my living room walls (16' vaulted ceilings keep it from being a DIY project!). So, today, I was cleaning and putting sewing things away (gotta do it every now and again!) and got motivated to tackle this long put off project! I poked through my stockpile of fabrics and decided on this pretty green and pink fabric from Robert Allen called Vintage Berrie, colorway Willow.
I'd used this on pillow shams for a client last year, and there was just enough left for my chairs!

I decided I'd share with you the process to recover the seat cushions. It's probably the easiest upholstery job one can tackle. First, I yanked out all the staples from the original fabric, which revealed another level of upholstery fabric and a pretty mediocre backing job.

After ironing out the old cover, I used it as a pattern on the new fabric.

Since I have a pair of chairs, I used the new fabric cut out as the pattern for the second cover and laid it on the pattern in the same spot - so I'll have two matching patterned chairs.
Working from opposite sides, I used a staple gun and heavy duty staples to attach the new cover to the back of the chair. I started on the top and stapled a few inches, then the bottom for a few inches, then side to side, working my way to the corners. Depending on the weight of the fabric, you might need to trim the fabric on the corners to reduce the bulk. I also turned in the fabric to leave a clean edge (not done on the originals).

This isn't the best job one could do, but it does the trick. Anything more complicated, I'd be sure to use a professional upholsterer.
Et voila! Two matched arm chairs in a pretty new fabric! And if I weren't also documenting this for the blog, it would have taken maybe 45 minutes, tops.

And now... the walls and ceiling. gulp!

Check out my new upholstery blog!

Hot lights for a Cool Fourth!

Months ago, Monica over at Tayo Design sent me information on their Havaleena cordless lights. To me, these are perfect for outdoor picnics and celebrations - not something I was thinking about during a New England winter's day! But, they are perfect for the upcoming fourth of July celebration and the rest of the summer.

New England Home Magazine Announces Design Hall of Fame

My friends at New England Home magazine have announced the first ever New England Design Hall of Fame Awards. The awards gala will be held on November 7 in Boston's State Room. Nominees are now being accepted for those designers and architects who's life achievements have made a significant impact on the architecture and interiors of New England. So, click on over here to cast your vote, or get on the early list for an invite to what's sure to be the event of the season in the Boston design community! (and no, this isn't a request from me to be nominated - I'm not qualified, having been in business far less than the 20 years required!).

(click the image above to read the press release)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Meet The Artist: Judy Kensley McKie

Judy Kensley McKie is recognized as a premiere figure in the American studio furniture movement.

Her furniture in carved and painted wood and in cast bronze, marble, stone, and resin occupies a singular position in the field. The work is infused with a lively awareness of modernist and contemporary art and also of the approaches to design to be found in indigenous cultures throughout the world. Playfulness and power are summoned by her incorporation of sculptural, totemic animal forms. (courtesy of Gallery Naga. Click to read more.)

Don't these have a fantastic whimsy to them? My favorite is this rabbit table. The lines are elegant and lyrical and yet I'm reminded of something almost ancient Egyptian - as if they are keeping watch.

As seen in: New England Home Magazine

Media Talk - Design Talk

Starting today, I am a guest designer over at Design Talk. Check out my answers to very specific design questions such as white on off-white decorating and what to do when you can't change the rug!

Thanks to Design Talk for the opportunity!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Media Talk: The Times of London

Thanks to Lucia Adams, Property Editor, from The Times in London for including me in their roundup of top property blogs. I'm honored to be listed with Decor8, Design*Sponge, Mark Cutler Design and MoCoLoco in their Design & Interiors section.

Marie France - French finds in Norwell, MA

I was visiting with Shealagh, owner of Marie France - French Antiques and Decoration. Her shop is large, bright and airy and the interesting pieces she's collected have room to breath.

I love the shape of this chair.

This was part of the ornamentation in a theater - it would look great if it could be converted into a garden fountain.

This mirror is large and fab!

Marie France is located at 426 Washington Street, Norwell MA. Tel. 781-659-4611.

Great to meet you Shealagh!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Turnstyle Designs - Architectural Hardware

Sea Urchin cabinet knob

I just love this collection of nature inspired pewter architctural hardware from Turnstyle Designs. Based in the UK, they also have US distributors. While these details can often be pricey, they would certainly add a special finishing touch to a kitchen or bath.
Star fish cabinet knob

Rope door knob

Ammonite door knob

Meet the Artist: Adam Simha - MKS Design

I met Adam Simha, owner of MKS Design in Cambridge today. Adam creates "Original Modern Furniture. Mostly steel". I love that tag line, so simple a straight forward. Here are a few of his designs.

Adam is clearly very passionate about his work. And his family. The MKS in the business name are his wife's initials and on his website there is a pretty neat work of art by a certain 5-1/2 year old. Very sweet! Nice meeting you Adam!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Scene at Arclinea Boston

I went to a very fun event today that was hosted by contemporary kitchen design studio Arclinea. In conjunction with the Boston Society of Architects and with proceeds going to the Aids Action Committee, the event was called "Meet the Press". We were treated to the inside scoop of getting into major local publications such as The Boston Globe*, magazines Design New England, New England Home, Boston Magazine' Home & Garden and, on tv, NECN's New England Dream House* and national publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, Renovation Style*, Traditional Home and Metropolitan Home. As a designer and blogger, I was sometimes not sure which hat I should have been wearing! *publications I've either appeared in or been mentioned in - 3 down, 6 to go!

Back to Arclinea - they are in the middle of expanding their showroom - apparently their electrician had to turn on the lights for the event (!) - so I didn't take photos today. But, I plan on heading back to check out their new showroom when it's finished. Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you some of their work. Arclinea Boston is the first showroom in the US for Arclinea, an industry leader in the manufacturing of luxury, contemporary kitchens, designed and coordinated by the acclaimed Italian architect Antonio Citterio. And, they are collecting awards right and left! Here are a few examples of their work. While contemporary isn't my personal design style, one can't help being attracted to these clean and sleek spaces!

Thanks to owner Philip Guarino, Founder and President of Arclinea Boston, and to Pasqualino Pannone, AIA, LEED for making this event possible and for making us all so welcome! I look forward to visiting your new showroom soon!

Travel Tuesday - Dallas

This Tuesday, we're taking a trip to J.R. country - Dallas! I really like that these three hotels have such different design styles, yet all are fresh and fun in their own ways.

Palomar Hotel

Anyone have any Dallas recommendations for us?