Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kitchen improvement

My kitchen has not made it to the top of our many renovation projects. But I felt it could be a little better then it has been for quite some time. Over the last year things have gotten worse and eventually I could not see the gaping hole under the sink and the always messy open shelves.

This is before:
Counter top mess, open shelves mess....

The 'desk', files with school papers and important phone orderly stored in my IPhone! And in a file called 'home' in the first drawer to the left!!!

Eventually I will get a new kitchen, but for now I have a good feeling and it does not bother me that much that I have a vintage stove and perhaps the smallest fully functioning kitchen in the neighborhood....No, now I am rather proud of it!(OK, somewhat)

And this is after!

It needed strict editing, sorting and cleaning to come up with a pleasing solution. The things I use the most needed to be within reach, others made it out of the kitchen altogether.

I made these curtains out of painter's drop cloth. I washed the material before sewing, to have no shrinking later, measured and mounted them under the counters. A little tricky, but it works...

I eliminated the 'desk', which never satisfied my craving for some control and I am now much happier with my small display of coffee and tea pots, all whats left is the phone and my IPhone charger....

I even managed a small counter top light, which in the evening casts a friendly shine through my kitchen and into the family room.

Looking much better now from where I see my kitchen when I sit on my desk and write my posts....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chairs and a bench re-upholstery

A few weeks ago I undertook the challenge of re-upholstering my six dining chairs and a bench belonging to the set. They have been with us over the last 10 years and daily meals with two small children have left their marks.
It was time for change.

As always, it was great fun to select new fabrics and since my dining room is colorful and has beautiful silk curtains, which also were hang the day we moved in 10 years ago, there was the challenge to find suitable fabrics, able to fit in.
Easily enough the first visit to my local fabric store provided me with samples which made it right away on to the furniture!!!

Am I lucky or what?
Here a view into the room with the interim chairs, lasting about two years, while the others were stored away! Thinking of my then still rather messy kids I could not fathom to change fabrics just to get them ruined quickly. We do not have a eat-in kitchen an literally everything happens on this table and these chairs. As a matter of fact, I am writing this post right here at this very table.

First I started with the bench, trying out my skills in re-upholstering and working with the staple gun. It was a bit tough at first. The fabric rather thick and it needed work getting the fabric stretched just enough. Centering the pattern was another thing I worried about. But I was happy with the result to tackle all six chairs - with another fabric.

After a day break in-between - to relax my hands...
I started work at the chairs. The preparation was key. Cutting batting and fabric to size, unscrewing all cushions from the seat base and having enough time without interruption was needed to get it done in one go.
The challenge this time? Getting the fabric straight onto the chairs, this small pattern is tricky.

First one done!

And about six hours later.... all done! So worth it! Cost for fabric and staple gun plus staples: $140.00. Saved about $900.00 for the labor costs of upholstery at the shop plus three weeks waiting time to get it done! A little planning and elbow grease made it possible.

Anybody with chairs in need for a little TLC?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Design project 2009- 2010

Samples of my latest completed design work.
Assignment: Moving, selecting and downsizing for a couple from a 5-bedroom house to the renovation and complete design and decoration of a 2-bedroom condominium.
Duration: One year.

Work in progress in the two bedroom condo.

While renovating...
We selected window decorations and truck loads of new furniture, while keeping an eye on existing pieces, artwork and decorative items which had been collected by the client over a life time!
I wanted to give them an updated style, without estranging them from their pieces, they had loved for many years. Almost everything holds memories, a story or history!
They have a lovely collection of original artwork, many paintings we had to find wall space for without overwhelming the much smaller space.
There were some road blocks along the way. Fabrics we had ordered came back not available anymore, a sofa ordered in March was delivered with the wrong fabric in October and arrived finally in March 2010!
We had curtains made, inches shorter then needed...well, let's say the fair share of difficulty given the size of the project.
I love how we found our way to connect and to listen to each others ideas. How eventually the husband said, lets do as Victoria says... after viewing 100 coffee tables and not coming to a decision...Yeah! Victory with the coffee table. Compromises and adjustments along the way and here is the result!

Entering through a small entrance you reach the vestibule, a pleasant space to arrive at home. Chair, side table, bench and chest are new. Floor lamp existed as did all the art work. I found this gorgeous mirror in the basement! Ceiling fixture from the old house, a transformed gas light...

View from the entrance area into the living room. Master bedroom and bathroom to the left.

In the living room we brought the side tables, mirror, all table lamps, the wonderful wing chair, which got new lovely upholstery from the old house. The two peach colored armchairs came straight from their as well! No need to do anything, I had found the small lyra table in the basement, had it restored and voila, makes a lovely conversation area next to the new - new (!) sofa, separating the seating area from the door to the balcony and the writing desk at the window. The coffee table and side board are new.

The peach colored arm chairs were the beginning of the color scheme...we took our clues from there, matched the green velvet of the sofa, the cushions and the upholstery fabric on the wing chair. The curtains in living room and adjacent dining area are similar in color but different in pattern. The side chair as well a found one in the home, the desk came, lamp and all the accessories.

View towards the den.

Looking into the dining area.

The dining set and side board are new, the chandelier came from one of the home owners former bedrooms, we found these lovely wall sconces and I thought they were a perfect fit next to the amazing oil painting from the 19th century.

The darkest room in the new appartement is the den, we made it cozy with blue gray walls and a fun floor covering. A lively pattern lifts up the space. The recliner, sofa bed and floor lamp are new, everything else came from the former den. This room perhaps is still the closest to my client's former house, almost similar in size and layout.

Glimps into her bathroom. Our strongest budget consideration went into these two bathrooms. We wanted clean fresh lines without breaking the bank.

We discussed lengthly the pros and cons of a second bathtub in his bathroom and in the end decided on a new walk in shower.

We have thought of every detail in the new space, we considered many options and the result is a warm, comfortable appartement, were my clients feel at home, surrounded by many of their lovely collections and some practical and new things, which they grew to love quickly!