Greetings friends. My family and I recently purchased a new house and we're slowly making it our own, one room at a time...
This DIY project is merely a tutorial on how I winterized a perfectly swoon-worthy vintage mod chair. This winterizing, if you will, seemed like the perfect solution to creating a cozier corner nook in my teeny Brooklyn flat. The winter here has been a fickle mix of harsh winds, snow, rain, hail, and sunshine—sometimes all in one day. It is COLD, and I have to admit that often times the NY winter weather triggers fond memories of frolicking in the San Francisco Indian summer month of February...
I was initially inspired to create this look after noticing the surge of chunky knit all over the interior design world. While trolling Etsy for a proper desk chair, I discovered the shop CIRCA60 that had an array of mid-century modern pieces. This chair was perfect! The owners were kind enough to let me put down a deposit (during my frugal holiday season) until I could schedule a trip to Jersey to pick up the chair and avoid a $60 shipping fee. The mod look of this side lounge chair was the perfect complement to the other items in my apartment. The vinyl, however, made for a not so comfortable place to sit when ice cold.
You should probably know that when I lived in San Francisco, I fell hard for ImagiKnit—a quaint yarn store on the corner of Dolores and 18th street. They offer an array of yarns, classes, and even have an old school yarn spinning machine. I picked up about 14 skeins back in October, on a mission to crochet a chunky queen size blanket for my soon to be cold New York bed. I successfully finished crocheting all 14 skeins over one weekend. But it wasn't until my next trip to ImagiKnit, and an extensive search on the Internet, that I learned the yarn had been discontinued. And so, I decided to use this 4x10 half-finished blanket to re-create the chunky knit look on this mod lounge chair.
Because the chair was in pretty good vintage condition, with the exception of some minor tears, I chose to cover the original upholstery instead of completely stripping it. I did, however, dissemble the chair to wrap the crocheted fabric around the mold. To my surprise, while unscrewing the bottom, I discovered that the chair was originally made in Brooklyn on 100 Jewel street—a ten minute bike ride from my apartment!
After securing the ends where the fabric had been cut, I wrapped it around the mold of the chair, being sure to smooth away any major lumps. The best way to do this (as shown above) is to cut a piece of yarn, double it, and create a web-like drawstring. This will create a secure fit around the mold of your chair, allowing the fabric to be evenly pulled taught to your liking. I chose to keep it slightly loose for added cuddliness and cushion.
Reassembling was a breeze since I had photographs documenting exactly how the swivel-bottom was attached to the seat. I would recommend using a power drill and setting it to the lowest speed in order to keep the screw from stripping the holes and tearing through your crocheted or knitted fabric.
The entire process took about 5 hours (not including the three days of crocheting). All and all, I would say that I'm very pleased by how the cozier version of my lounge chair turned out. I was able to unravel some scraps into a fresh ball of yarn for another project. And the entire other half of the blanket is now being used as a dog blanket. Zing!
Do you have any questions, ideas or suggestions on this or another DIY project? Drop me a line in the comment box below. We're always obliged to inspiring ideas here at LOCZIdesign!
A few months back our blog featured the dip dye/ombre trend that we've seen in homes, on strands of hair and clothing this past year. We promised you that we'd try it out for ourselves and so this week we're giving you a quick tutorial. It turns out that dip dye is not only a trend, but a sustainable way to re-purpose the old fabric in your household that have seen better days.
I live in an apartment with my dog Kocoa who loves to push his head through the curtains to look outside of the window. Fabrics and linens, primarily with whites, tend to become dingy over the years no matter how much washing and or bleaching you do (though I am personally not a fan of bleach). So I re-visited the the dip dye trend to color correct the stains that frequently appear. As a very resourceful person with sometimes limited resources, I found the project to be easy as pie and I'm sure you will too.
- Plastic bin and or any large deep container
- Spray bottle (or empty hair product bottle from your recycling)
- Rubber Gloves
- Liquid or Powder Dye
- Some sort of dowel rod ( I just used my curtain rod )
- Launder fabric to wash out (paw prints) or any stains that won't allow the dye to fully absorb.
- Prepare an area outside for your project using unfolded boxes, a throw cloth or something of the sort, so you won't have to worry about dripping.
- Fill your bin with hot water about 1/4 of the way up and dip half of the curtain into the water without the dye, then take the curtain out.
4. First making sure that the water is still hot, add your dye (we used Tulip in Royal Blue) to the bin, mixing it thoroughly so that the dye distributes evenly onto your fabric. There should be more detailed instructions regarding the water to dye ratio on the packet — which ultimately depends on how dark you plan to dye your fabric. We used two packets for about 2 gallons of hot water.
5. With the fabric securely attached to your rod, slowly dip the wet curtain into the dye. We dipped it about three quarters of the way in, lifting several inches every 10 minutes or so. Keeping the end of the curtain in the dye longer than the rest. Doing so creates an overall ombre look. (Obviously, the longer you leave the curtain in the dye, the more saturated the color becomes. We left our two curtain panels in for about 1 hour)
6. As you go, be sure to use the water bottle to spray any dye splashes so that there aren't any blunt marks of dye on your fabric.
7. Hang curtains to dry outside in the sunshine, then rinse your fabric in cold water until the water runs clear. Hang to dry again and enjoy!
We get a lot of uneven light in my flat during the day, creating a lot of shadows, making it difficult to get the best photo. Even so, the overall appearance and vibe of the home has already changed dramatically because of the ombre pop of color.
If you're not fully committed to experimenting with your curtains, try dipping old woven baskets, wooden cooking spoons, table cloths or napkins. The possibilities are truly endless! And be sure to send us photos of your projects — we'd love to share them on our blog.
*Note. This will take longer than it appears to. We wouldn't want to give the impression that reupholstering is an easy task. It is time consuming and only for the detail-oriented and most prepared doers. Yet, once done and done right — you will sit comfortably knowing that reupholstering is another skill-set to check off your list!
Renee and I set out a plan to up-cycle a second-hand chair in need of love. We got our inspiration from the emerging chair designer, Yinka Ilori, featured at this year's International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) that LOCZI attended in New York. What really captivated us about his piece was the use of batik fabric that appears to have come full circle in the more recent year's high-end fashion scene. Batik's original origins are still known to be a mystery (mainly because of its span across the entire globe). It is loosely translated to mean 'to dot'. Some translate it as 'wax writing' or 'drawing with a broken line'.
We began our up-cycle chair project on a sunny Sunday afternoon and
headed down to one of our favorite spots for vintage finds, the Alameda Flea Market in the Bernal Heights/ Bayshore hood of San Francisco. We set out to find a piece of furniture that was simple, low in cost, and with enough integrity to stand on
its own. There were several vintage Knoll chairs displayed by vendors that we quickly fell in love with, but the range of $200 - $400+ was a range that seemed out of principle — if we were going to up-cycle a chair, it was going to be one with more 'humble ' beginnings.
It didn't take long, but under a stack of dusty books, we found our blue beauty. The vendor quickly told us — as a selling point it seemed (which was initially more of a deterrent), that our vintage office chair was made in San Quentin by an inmate right before his execution. According to the vendor, there was a large facility in the Prison where inmates learned carpentry, upholstery and other skills. And though its history bore a somewhat somber vibe, this chair seemed like the perfect piece for our cause. After making a quick and final round, like true bargain shoppers, we returned to the chair and swooped it up for $40.00.
Our next stop: the fabric store. There were an overwhelming amount of options at Discount Fabrics on Howard street in the SOMA district. We inicially went with an Ikat fabric. But tucked away in a couple barrels we found a jackpot of batik's — most of them made in Nigeria. From there we also purchased our pipping, tacks, and foam. Making our final trip to the hardware store where we added a quarter-inch wood paneling sheet, an automatic staple gun, and spray paint to our list of supplies.
Four hours later, we found ourselves deep in the disassembling of our blue beauty. The original fabric was extremely dusty, old, and hadn't been cleaned in its entire existence. So we found it best to strip it down to the carcass exposing only its wood backing by ripping out individual staples from the arm rests, back and seat of the chair — ensuring that all the man-made materials and energy of our chair were going to be new and clean!
Next up: spray painting. We pulled out the protective gear and headed to the nearest rooftop sanding down the existing walnut to give it two beautiful coats of satiny black. By the end of that task we were exhausted from the already 10 hour day and decided to throw the towel in and come back to our project well rested and energized.
Refreshed and ready for the next and final steps of cutting the fabric, foam, wood and assembling, we measured the most suitible layout of the fabric, and ironed it. But not before gluing down the cut foam cushioning onto the arms, seat and back of our chair. The foam turned out to be more time consuming than we thought. Much like cutting out a pattern: be sure that when you cut the foam, all sides are measured for the comfort and movement of the fabric and arms that will rest on the chair.
After the foam, our stapling troubles began. We stapled down the fabric around each cushion, carefully measuring the pattern and fabric to its proper center in congruence with the other pieces of fabric on the chair. The reupholstering of the back was hard work. It required some female MacGyver techniques that if you take a look below, will help you understand its layout better than I can describe. Just be sure that as you take apart the existing fabric — you remember how it was assembled. This helps. Each piece
of furniture is different and the original craftsman may have known what process works best for your piece. So try to stay true to its original construction to leave out any unnecessary errors.
Our automatic stapler gave out before we were actually able to staple so we manually stapled each piece of fabric, holding down its place in the exact positioning before stapling. With this material, it was important to be careful not to rip the fabric and keeping it smooth and wrinkle-free before and after each staple.
About five hours later (20-something hours total) when all the stapling, smoothing, measuring and centering had been completed, we were surprisingly pleased by our final product! The San Quentin story though originally strange and eerie makes this project more than just a up-cycled or reupholstering project, but a transformation of spirit. Made with love and devotion on both ends there's no doubt that the future owner of this chair should a will be no doubt a positive force. LOCZIdesign plans to auction this chair during our next designedCOLLECTIVE in late October. Its proceeds will go directly to one of the many outreach programs in our community.