Living Room Re-Do, The Process


OK…Before I start rolling on this newest post, I must make a major organizational announcement. (Drum roll, please!) Bear’s position has been elevated from HDE (House Destruction Expert) to CDC (Chief Design Consultant)! He is very full of his bad self as a result of this promotion.

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What, you are probably wondering, caused this change of heart on my part? Well, as I was working on putting our living room back together (in advance of several groups of friends who are coming to visit next month, and because the Holidays will be here before you know it!), I realized that the pieces (the loveseat & the wool area rug) that Bear destroyed during his puppy days, were not good design decisions on my part. Truly, I never liked the fabric color and texture on the loveseat (the back of the loveseat is visible below):

moved sofa table

 The rug was nice, but the colors were very subdued, and it wouldn’t stop shedding:

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Truly, I love the replacements so much better. Bear clearly understands my design style, so he zeroed in on the pieces that just did not work. That, my friends, is talent! In the future, if something gets eaten, we will react with applause instead of tears! ;>}

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Back to the process of re-decorating the living room. Just before the Memorial Day week-end, we hauled our faded, 20-year-old wing chairs, whose seat cushions had mashed down to “pancake status”, (sitting in them killed Dad’s back!) to a local consignment shop, along with Dad’s end tables, & his heavy, federal-style round coffee table.

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He is actually the one who stated that the table just didn’t seem to work in the room. (Hooray! I was glad he came to that conclusion on his own!) Truthfully, I doubt any of the pieces sold, but at least they are no longer in the house.

Once the green light was given, I found a coffee table online on clearance (at Overstock.com). It was exactly what I wanted, & the price was extremely affordable.

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Next, I found an end table at a local thrift shop for $35. It was solid wood, with a maple finish. I used chalk paint, and it now matches the finish on the new coffee table. Even the legs have similar turnings!

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The rug is the big “pop of color” in the room, along with the coral walls. I wanted something lively & different. When I found this one on erugs.com, I knew it was THE ONE! (The listing described the background color as hot pink, but there is a lot of orange mixed in with the pink, so it works fine with the walls.) The good news is that it is polypropylene, so no shedding; and, I defy anyone to locate stains on it (very important with 2 dogs, & 2 grandsons!)

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With all of that color (many would say “too much color”!), it was imperative to keep the upholstery very neutral. You saw a preview of the chairs several posts ago, but here are close-ups of the real thing; I love the carvings!

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The loveseat, likewise, is very neutral. I used an off-white denim fabric to reupholster it. The original plan was to use a bright yellow fabric as piping on the arms & the seat cushion, but my zipper foot couldn’t handle the original plastic material used for piping, so that design detail was eliminated.

Let me be very clear about the re-upholstery project: it ain’t for the faint of heart! The how-to video I used was very clear about the process you should use when removing the original cover. First, as they are removed, each piece must be labeled, i.e., left arm, top, & bottom of the piece. (This may seem stupid, but I never made a firm determination which was the actual left or right of the loveseat; i.e., as you are standing & looking at it, or as you are seated on it.) Don’t laugh…an upholstery piece, when removed from its home, looks like a giant puzzle piece, & is generally unrecognizable as a left or right arm cover!

Next rule: Take lots of notes & pictures as you deconstruct the piece. I took a few notes, but since my writing is unintelligible even to me, they were few and far between. My phone & ipad were not conveniently located, so I never took any pics. :>{

However, as we all know:

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My project required a lot of sewing, unlike the one on the video. No problem with that, except the large, single seat cushion that I ordered on the internet. It was not the prettiest job (on the sides & back), but looks fine from the front, which is really all that matters.

Lessons learned: It takes a lot of hand strength to successfully reupholster anything. You need 2 people to do the job. However, it is important when you are pulling and stretching the fabric that it gets pulled equally in every direction. The mistake that Dad & I made when we applied the seat back (in the front of the loveseat, as opposed to the actual back!) is that the fabric was tugged too far to the left, which meant that there wasn’t quite enough fabric to fold over and cover the staples on the right arm cover. Fabric glue (E6000) helped, but I am thinking that a strategically placed throw might be a good decorative accessory for that side of the loveseat. ;>)

Our big “waterloo” came when we tried to attach the back piece (which, naturally was the LAST PIECE!) Theoretically, you only staple the back at the top of the loveseat; the remainder of the fabric folds down over those staples. Easy enough. The real issue comes with attaching the sides. Clearly, you cannot staple them, because the staples would show. The professionals use stretchers, which are flexible bars with long metal prongs sticking out of them. We saved the stretcher bars from our loveseat, but no matter how many times we tried to install them, we got saggy, baggy-looking sides. Plus, the metal teeth were falling out at an alarming rate! (Why is it that the last step in a difficult project always seems to be the most treacherous?)

It was time for Plan B. With the finish line in sight, I had to figure out a “kludge” to make the back of the loveseat presentable. (In our living room, it’s the first thing you see when you enter the house!) So I got out my trusty stapler and tacked the sides down. Ultimately, to cover the staples, I ordered Dritz upholstery tacks on a strip, so the spacing of the tacks would be would be uniform. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we could do.

Another thing I did (which in retrospect was probably a mistake) when the loveseat was in pieces, was to paint its wooden feet an off-white. Now, it looks like the piece is not grounded. Lesson learned!

The next post (Part 2) will be the living room reveal. You might wonder how difficult it would be to just take a picture & add it right here. Well, the entire family is needed to clean up Bear’s toys, torn boxes, empty juice bottles, and his personal favorite, plastic bubble wrap in order to make the living room presentable:

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Also, the CDC spends most of his day relaxing on the newly upholstered loveseat:

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Clearly, it gets his stamp of approval. He especially likes the fact that there is no crack between cushions. The problem is, it must be constantly covered with a painter’s canvas to keep it clean.

This weekend we will all do our best to clean up the space so that it will be picture-worthy!

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About vkroo11

I am passionate about writing, as well as design/DIY/decorating. I decided to combine these skills in a blog, that describes the joys and challenges of transforming a shaggy, baggy elephant of a mountian house into a stunning home.
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