DIY

DIY Chunky Knit Lounge Chair

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 To my surprise, while unscrewing the bottom, I discovered that the chair was originally made in Brooklyn on 100 Jewel street—a ten minute bike ride from my apartment!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 dissembling the chair and removing the swivel-bottom walnut legs, I cleaned the vinyl to remove any grime and fully assess for damage and tears. (I plan to eventually purchase a legit vinyl repair kit to bring this beauty back to life in the spring!) Next: I measure my half-blanket and cut the "fabric" to the chair's mold. Because the blanket was longer in length than width, each loop that had been cut was securely tied, and looped again so it would not unravel. I recommend starting from scratch with your fabric. It's best to do this properly by crocheting or knitting your yarn in a circle granny stitch pattern instead of a long single stitch chain pattern.

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!

Color Correction: Dip Dye Curtain Tutorial

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.

Supplies Needed:

  • 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 )


Instructions:

  1. Launder fabric to wash out (paw prints) or any stains that won't allow the dye to fully absorb.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

The Up-Cycle Chair Project

*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.


Working With What You Have

It's okay, we're not judging you because you bought that IKEA couch. And If you don't already know, LOCZIdesign believes that everyone benefits from good design. Our mission after all is to "create spaces that balance and inspire" — at every budget level. With this in mind, we're delighted to let you in on some of our favorite companies creating IKEA upgrades. And though we prefer to venture locally for one-of-a-kind, artisan furnishing design, we understand that sometimes all your home may need is a furniture facelift.

Meet Semihandmade, a group of custom craftsman whose company, based in Los Angeles, started in 2003 as a sustainable fine custom furniture and cabinetry. In 2010, they commenced Semihandmade with the idea of offering similar high-end handmade craftsmanship to a larger scope of consumers — more affordably.

They do this by customizing IKEA cabinets and kitchens with doors, panels and drawer faces that are measured to fit any IKEA cabinetry, new or old — saving you money and landfill space. What really makes this all a perfect fit is that IKEA offers the flexibility of buying their cabinetry in pieces either with or without doors, allowing you to choose from semihandmade's array of selected door materials such as DIY (unfinished), classic, specialty, or premium doors (from salvaged from framing lumber, old redwood from wineries, and old basketball courts).

How many times have you spilled coffee or pasta sauce onto your new white, off-white, cream IKEA couch? Or better yet, have you ever been to a friend's housewarming only to realize you have the same exact sofa pattern as your friend? Well it's happened to me and there's a company that has you in mind when it comes what we all love in life: variety.

Bemz, the Swedish based firm says that "the IKEA sofa inspired their business idea. An idea so self-evident that Lesley [the owner] couldn’t believe that anyone else hadn’t thought of it first...Today Bernz is marketed and sold in 35 countries worldwide, and has revolutionised the accessories market in the furniture industry. That is why Bemz focuses on individual design, and personal expression." With 180 classic and modern design fabrics to choose from, you'll never have to worry about the haunting same prom dress-like disaster again.

Lastly we give you the low down on our absolute favorite little upcoming company, Prettypegs, the radically cute furniture legs shop that swaps out perfectly with your already purchased IKEA furnishings. Prettypegs' vision is to create a new way of presenting rooms by adding color and personality to furniture from brands like IKEA. Founders, Jana Cagin and Mikael Söderblom decided that they too wanted more variety in the typical pine or plastic legs provided.

"We always strive to be classic yet new and in the forefront of everything we do and our proud to say that all Prettypegs are produced in Sweden in line with our proud Scandinavian design heritage." Well, we especially are smitten about their newest prettypeg (coming soon) the Essy that undoubtedly resembles the Alexander McQueen's 10-Inch Stilettos seen down the runway and on red-carpets alike — talk about legs!

At the end of the day, it's really all about working with what you have. This keeps things more sustainable and functional for those of us that aren't quite ready to committ to a full-scale remodel. Maybe this is a good time to let you know that we, in addition to full-service remodels, also happily provide the LOCZI Design Remix for that exact reason. Because ultimately as designers we know that the significance of creating a space that truly reflects your style, energy, and budget are the most important elements of design.

 

The Dip Dye of July

I hope you're not completely over the idea of barbecuing. It is, after-all, the second Friday of the work which means (after reading this) there will be more gatherings to attend. Bringing me to yesterday afternoon, where I sat half slumped and completely full over a decorated picnic table. I couldn't help but notice the bright indigo ombré table cloth beneath me.

It appears that this summer's most contagious trend has taken over, mostly for its transmittable qualities. And no wonder, it is literally possible to dip-dye pretty much anything you can get your crafty hands on: curtains, your best friend's hair, throw pillows, finger-nails, jeans, and even a wooden stool — if you desire to do so.

Ombré dyeing is ideal for old white linens that have seen the last of their days. It also allows you to either experiment or keep things slightly conservative if you can't commit to completely dyeing something a solid color. What's more, you have full power to chose your dye, whether it's organic or a vibrant color you may have gotten from your travels. We obviously have the dip-dye bug — and it wouldn't feel right if we didn't try this ourselves, so do check back for our LOCZI DIY tutorial to see what we came up with. Below is a handful of our favorite inspirations to either buy or try for yourself.

Last Minute Holiday Crafting

Call it telepathy, but I get the strange feeling that you still haven't completed your holiday shopping. Well, you're in luck. I spent yesterday afternoon with a local green craft artisan, Lavinia Lindsay, and have a DIY holiday project to share. Perhaps this will inspire you to check off your shopping list with a sustainable, handmade gift to graciously give. Living walls have grown a lot of popularity in the Bay Area.

I saw one the other day outside of the Center City Hospitality House on Market street. It was filled with succulents, tropical greenery and native California ornamental grass varieties. It's an amazing alternative to artwork, or painting that bland wall in your home. Utilizing living objects, like plants for a craft project, is both functional and eco-friendly. It filters the air and adds charm for as long as their kept alive!

 

In this style of living wall art, you can start small by reusing out-dated wall hangings or discarded frames. We started our craft adventure at Goodwill, an easy place to find an inexpensive backing for your piece. We gathered framed art here, but you can use boards, drift wood or virtually anything flat enough to use as a backing.

Next stop (and undoubtably the most fun), was the nursery. There we picked up several Tillandsias, commonly known as air-plants, reindeer moss, and lichens. These species of greenery work well with living walls because they don't need soil, and require little maintenance. All you need is a spray bottle to mist them once a week. You can also use fertilizer once a month to give them some extra love.

The possibilities with these little guys are endless. Create shapes, different dimensions and ecosystems. Keep it as simple or embellish with as many plant objects of your choosing. In the frame below, the inscription below was used a guide---a sort of hidden message in the mini garden intended for the person who will receive your gift.

You wouldn't believe it, but Lavinia completed the first several wall hangings in less than an hour---which means you most certainly have plenty of time left to make one in time for the holiday!

Once you've got the hang of this, you can set your sights on more lofty projects! Paige is currently in London and shot this picture of their only living wall, 10 stories tall, its beauty is unparalleled. Happy crafting and Happy Holidays! Enjoy.