Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

From One to Two

I have a very large front foyer. It’s useless space really. The kind of space that if you’re coming from a tiny house and looking at mine, it seems like a blessing. It’s not. I’d rather have a wider living area. It’s always presented a challenge on what to actually PUT in such a big front entrance. I used to have a wooden bench along one wall that had a tiny storage compartment underneath. It was great when the kids were little-for sitting them down and pulling on boots and shoes but there was never enough storage space in the hallway. Our front closet is actually not located in the front hallway. Go figure! Walk about 10 steps from the front door, down one step to your right and there’s the front closet. Silly, really but I wasn’t about to knock down walls and all that.

I’ve never known where to put the countless hats, mitts, scarves, keys, slippers, etc. that a 5 person household accumulates. The closet holds our coats and shoes and not much else. I wanted more storage. Yes, there’s that word again-storage. I also wanted all this stuff out of sight. I have a thing about clutter, meaning I can’t stand it. Less is more, you know. The older I get, the more I want to rid my living space of stuff. It clutters my mind, all these possessions of ours.

This is where big old dressers come in handy. You know the ones people throw away? I  currently have a love affair with such dressers. They are wonderful storage pieces. I picked one up for free. Some of the stuff I get is really dusty dirty. I mean really but I can always see the potential of such pieces. I didn’t really want or need the mirror that came with it. I figured I’d just trash it unless it started speaking to me.

I never took a before picture. Envision 1980s reddish brown. I did a test to strip the top and see what was underneath. Unfortunately, only part of this was solid wood so painting was the solution. As with everything I paint, I prep. A good cleaning with mild soap and water usually does the trick. 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint. Reattach the original hardware. I kinda liked the hardware the way it was, so I decided not to change it out. And done.

It now houses all the winter gear. We each get our own drawer plus one for slippers and one for keys, phones, etc. It helps fill in the long wall in this too-big front entrance quite nicely.


It didn’t end there. What to do with the mirror? Since the main floor bathroom was getting a fresh coat of paint and the “builder’s” mirror was in there (accumulating rust by the way), I knew it had to go and I knew I had a perfectly good mirror from this piece. It had a wooden design thing on the top (again, no BEFORE picture), which Mr. Restyle removed for me. Then he removed the mirror and I painted the frame with the chalk paint from the Not So Pretty in Pink chair. 3 coats of the chalk paint and a coat of the Annie Sloan soft wax. Pop the mirror into the frame. Attach a french cleat to hold up the mirror. A french cleat is used to hold up pictures. It attaches to the wall and then the picture gets attached to it. Looks like this:


Here’s the mirror. That’s how you get 2 for 1!


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Not So Pretty in Pink

I have been on quite a thrifting/repurposing/refinishing furniture frenzy over the last few months. I find it extremely difficult to shop at retail stores these days! Most of the furniture in my house has been here since the early days of my marriage over 20 years ago and it’s high time to redo, redecorate and restyle.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting all of my great finds and how I’m slowly transforming the 90s look of my home. Having been a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years left no money in the budget for luxuries such as new furniture. Even now that I’ve been working full time for almost 10 years, with 3 teenagers in the house (one in university) we simply can’t keep up. I’ve learned my lesson over the years. Back in 2005 we purchased brand new family room sofas and after about 5 years they were ready for the dump. They just don’t make ’em like they used to, so I’m done with that. Unless you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on new sofas, loveseats and chairs, you need to find a better way. We live in such a disposable world. Almost everything that’s sold in the big box stores is made to last only a few years. This really ticks me off.

I started with this pink (what was I thinking? Remember the days of the hunter green/dusty rose colour scheme?) wingback chair. This is actually a good quality chair and I didn’t want to throw it away but I absolutely can’t stand pink and I knew I didn’t want to go through the trouble of reupholstering it. I’d read a lot about chalk paint and how it can be used to paint fabric. I watched Annie Sloan videos on Youtube and just went for it.

Mr. Restyle thought I was crazy. I did too, to be honest. Here’s the chair before.


Complete with baby milk stains and dirt.

I decided on Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Coco for my chair. There’s tons of information on chalk paint on the web. I particularly read a lot of blogs about using the paint on fabric before I attempted this.


I thought Coco would match my decor. Here’s a swatch of the colour:


To begin, I decided not to paint the legs because I like real wood. It’s important when using this to thoroughly spray your fabric with water first so that the material absorbs the paint otherwise it will be VERY stiff and crusty. Use a spray bottle. This paint thickens when the can is open so you have to keep mixing it. I’ve read that when used on furniture, a little goes a long way. This is NOT the case with fabric. I used more than 1 quart of this paint for the chair. It’s expensive. $42 a quart here in Canada and you have to look for a retailer that sells it. It’s not available at your local Home Depot, for example. I got mine at a place called The Painted Bench on Ottawa Street in Hamilton.

I poured some paint into another container and found that I had to keep squirting water into the container to keep it from thickening too much. Spray the surface with water but don’t over saturate, then you can just use a regular brush to start painting. You can buy special Annie Sloan brushes but honestly, you don’t need to. This is the scary part – the first touch of paint on the fabric but while I started this process, I thought if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just reupholster.

The chair after 1 coat of paint.


Not looking much different. This is when I started to worry but I let it dry overnight and repeated the process the next day. Believe it or not, you can sand the surface between coats. I didn’t do this as I was so afraid the sandpaper would rip the fabric. I actually only sanded between the 2nd and final coat to get the bumps off and to smooth it out. If I ever do this again, I’ll sand between coats. FOR SURE.

Even with chalk paint, the fabric will be stiff. I’ve read that you can use regular latex paint mixed with fabric medium to paint fabric too, so this is another option I might try next time.

I gave this chair 3 coats of the chalk paint. I painted the cushion in stages-top and sides one day, then the other side and kept repeating this until everything was covered. I have to say, I’m not really that crazy about the colour. I was hoping for more of a taupe/brown and I think this ended up being more on the grey side.

After everything was done, I applied Annie Sloan Soft Wax. The wax is used as a protective finish and helps soften up the fabric and give it more of a leathery feel as opposed to the stiff canvas touch. Apparently, it softens up over time. I have yet to see. I think the chair is still a bit stiff for my liking. As most people who’ve used this method have suggested, it’s not really a chair to cuddle up in. Apply the wax in small sections with a soft cloth then buff with a clean cloth. It will start to shine up and become softer. Once everything’s done you’ll notice that spills will just roll right off. This is the good part! One word of caution-after applying the wax, I noticed a few spots my paint brush missed so I went over them with the paint and it ended up looking lighter than the rest of the chair. I simply sanded the wax off with sandpaper and reapplied the paint then sealed it with the wax.

Here she is all done.








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