I Love Lamp

If you've seen "Anchorman", you've probably heard this line.  Personally, it's one of my least favorite movies but Anthony can't stop laughing during it so for his sake, we get this title.  But, on to the real reason why 'I love lamp'.  We were blessed to go home to Anthony's family in New York this year for Christmas.  It was the first Christmas we've spent with family since we've been married!  It was an awesome two weeks filled with lots of laughs, tons of good food (thanks mom), and hours upon hours of playing games - Bananagrams, Scattergories, Golf, Skip-bo, Phase Ten, and Settlers of Catan...awesome games.  Since we flew there and are tightwads, meaning we didn't want to pay checked baggage fees (thankfully we got one checked bag free through our credit card), we bought most of our presents after we got there to save space.  We already had ideas of what we were getting for everyone except for mom and dad.  Then we saw their lamps.  Let me first say this, we love our mom and dad  but their lamps, well, they were a little ancient.  Ancient but with great curves!  So of course my mind goes straight to how-can-I-refurbish-them mode and then on to spray paint.  Anthony jumps right on board thinking of colors and then we get to the next hurdle...would they let us?  I felt bad just taking the lamps and totally changing them without asking, even if it will be their Christmas present, so we nonchalantly asked, "Hey, do you like your lamps?  I guess what we mean is, could we get you new ones?"  They gave us the "sure, we'd love new lamps!" answer we were longing to hear and to Wal-Mart we went to snatch up some paint and new shades.  Based on the colors in their living room, we 'compromised' on oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.  I really wanted to paint them a glossy brick red but in the end, Anthony convinced me that oil-rubbed bronze made more sense and was a more neutral, subtle choice.  
So here they are right before go-time:
I taped off the light bulb socket and switch to make sure I didn't get any paint inside the lamp.
Also, we had to be discreet since mom and dad didn't know we were actually re-doing their old lamps so we brought the lamps over to grandma's house where we painted them in her basement since it was too cold outside.  I learned to obey the directions on the back of spray paint cans last year where it says, "apply in temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees".  If you don't, the paint will develop lines and look cracked...take my word for it.

Since they're made out of metal (gold) and ceramic (green), I went the safe route and primed before I painted. 
All primed!  On to the best part...painting!

This is after 4 light coats of paint:
I sprayed right-side up, upside down, left side, front side, back side...every inch.  They looked amazing!!!  I say "Pottery Barn style meets the Bean Team Budget".  We forwent (is that a word?) our budget a little with these lamps since we wanted only the best for our mom and dad.  In the end, we ended up spending $6 on paint (of which we used barely any of the primer and a little under half the can of paint) and $30 on some sweet shades that completed our project.  So, two new, custom, stylish lamps complete with sentimental value for $36 bucks...a great Christmas present if you ask us.  The question remaining after we were done was "do you think they'll recognize the lamps?"  We were dying to find out...
Nope! They thought they were entirely new lamps!  How's that for boosting our egos?  We did reveal the fact that they were their old lamps and were delighted at their surprise and joy...and what a Merry Christmas it was!   :)

Because we're over-achievers in the home improvement area, you're probably not surprised to find out that we went on to re-painting and decorating mom and dad's spare bathroom.  Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures but the bathroom went from a bright orange to a very light grayish-green (Valspar's Tea Stain).  We had a blast doing it and look forward to tackling another room on our next vacation...the question is, who's house will it be?  Any volunteers?  ;)

My Favorite Color is White

White spray paint is a staple item in our household.  Currently we are loaded up with satin and gloss sheens just in case a random spray-painting mood comes on.  My philosophy is that ANYTHING looks good spray painted white...Anthony agrees but always comes up with another color when I share my "this would look good white" idea.
Recently, I went to a great discount store (after seeing that they were having a '75% off clearance items' sale) and found these two vases for $2 each.
 I liked the colors, but I didn't like them together and they didn't match our decor.  So...
four dollars (plus tax), a little bit of white spray paint, and a sunny day later, this is what I created:
The spray paint (Krylon from Wal-Mart) stuck great to the glass without me having to use primer, although I did put on a couple of thin coats.
Much brighter and ready to add some light and style to our 'empty' fireplace ledge. 

The Berr Chair Finale

It's all done and we've gone from 'old school' (quite literally)...

to 21st century cool and modern!

When I took it back to it's proud owners, they told me that the hook on the side of the chair (right side, close to the top) was where the child would hang her rosary and when it came time for prayer, she would stand up, turn around, and kneel on the seat facing the back of the chair.  The top ledge would serve as the top ledge of a little kneeler.  How cool is that?!  It's definitely going to be filed in the back of my mind in hopes that one day, we'll be able to DIY a chair like that for our kids...it would make a cute little desk chair or even just an accent chair, with double-duty as a place for prayer.  I love it!!!

The Berr Chair: Be Seated

On to, potentially, the most important part of the chair...because what is a chair without a seat, right? 
When we reupholstered our dining room chairs, we were fortunate not to have to buy new foam as the existing stuff had held up pretty darn good and was still comfy on the tush.  This wasn't the case with the 'Berr Chair'.  When Anthony removed the old seat cover, the cushion was literally falling in pieces to the floor and scattering in the wind.  He joked that it was probably asbestos...joking hopefully being the key word.  Either way, he took the seat outside so as to not litter our living room with tiny pieces of old foam.  Here's the seat stripped clean of old pleather material, asbestos?, and tiny nails that were a pain in the patooshkie to get out.

On to the the foam.  I wanted the chair to be really comfortable so I opted for a high-density, 2 inch, pre-cut into a square foam that I got at JoAnn Fabrics for $7 using a coupon.  Using the serrated knife from our kitchen (you use what you got, right?) I held the foam together with the seat and zipped along each side to create the foam of the seat's dreams.
Side note:  I did this holding the seat edge I was cutting over the end of our fireplace ledge in case you were wondering how I managed to not destroy our floors.  Fireplace turned make-shift work bench...like I said, you use what you got.

The next part was the biggest learning experience for us as we tried to upholster the foam seat.  You see, the high-density foam is pretty darn firm and so it was hard to staple the fabric on to get a 'professional' look...read on. 
 First we made sure to spray the fabric with Scotch Gard (very smelly so I did it outside) and then I simply laid the seat foam-facing-fabric-wise, wrapped the fabric around and up, and Anthony stapled.  What did we get?  A square-edged seat that looked like a cardboard box wrapped up with pretty fabric.  Not what I was envisioning.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture.

Out came the staples and in came the scissors.  I ended up trimming off the top edge to made a diagonal edge in hopes that that would cure the problem.  Then, with Anthony's help, I knelt on the edge of the side of the seat while he stapled so that when the fabric attached and I 'un-knelt', it would be pulled really tight to give a rounded effect to the cushioning underneath.

All done!

Cute, comfy, rounded, and ready to be paired with the 'Berr Chair'! 
P.S.  If you guessed that we'd used this fabric, kudos to you!

The Berr Chair: Prime Time

Onto the next phase of the 'Berr Chair' renovation:  priming.  I made sure to use an oil-based primer which keeps stains from seeping through caused by the wood of the chair...I'm not sure how stains come through or even appear (since I sanded and cleaned it like mad) but I made the mistake of using water-based primer on a wood desk I painted and staining did come through.  A few months after the desk incident, I read that you should only use oil-based primer on wood and had an 'ah-hah!' moment.  Another helpful hint I learned:  you can paint water-based paint over oil-based primer but never oil-based paint over water-based primer.  Got it?  Good.

Here's the chair during the priming process:
 I ended up painting two coats of primer for more coverage, better protection, and just so I could use less paint.

Here it is, all primed and proper:

Going for a smooth, more sleek look, I ended up using spray paint vs. regular, latex paint.  I went with Krylon's (from Wal-Mart for $3) semi-gloss white paint because it has a spray nozzle that sprays in a line (you can change it from spraying horizontally or vertically too) and I think that gives a better coverage...or gives a better coverage in less time than paints that spray in a circle.

So, out came my handy-dandy, spray-painting plywood and away I went.
This is after 4 very light coats.  I wanted to make sure I didn't have any drippage so the lighter the coats, the better.  I ended up putting on 8 coats...I know, that's a lot.  But, it looks amazing!  Just wait until you see it...in a future post!  :)

Missed phase one?  Read about it here.

The Berr Chair (Phase I)

(Pronounced The 'Bear' Chair).  This is the (beginning of a) story about a lone, antique, Belgium school chair...and me...and the family it belongs to.  You see we are good friends to an amazing family who happened to have a chair sitting around that, well, was quite past it's prime.  I was over babysitting one day when I laid my eyes on the tired little chair and (of course) started dreaming of how it could be made 'young' again.  I didn't know what they had planned for it but, for lack of projects going on at our house, I asked if I could refinish it for them.  To my joy and surprise, they said they would love it if I did.  Home came the little chair with me and off went my mind reeling with different colors and fabrics.  Here it is, tired and worn out from the past century:

After removing the old seat (which will return in cushy cuteness), I grabbed some sand paper that had been left over from a Vacation Bible School project and took the project outside.  In order for the paint to stick, I needed to sand down the chair just enough to get most of the existing varnish off (which had already been mostly scratched off by years of use...and Belgium kids who needed their little fingernails clipped). 

Sanding can make quite the mess, so doing it outside makes clean up a lot easier. 
After the "Berr Chair" was sanded enough, I wiped it down with a damp cloth.  I didn't use too much water to wipe it down because too much could warp the 'naked' wood.  The damp cloth, rinsed out a few times, was all I needed to get all the sanding powder off so that it didn't get mixed in the paint.

.           .           .
Next time on "Bean In Love":  See the "Berr Chair" go to 'prime time' and get the fresh coat of paint it's been waiting decades for!

Also, stay tuned and find out what color we decided to paint it and which of these three fabrics will allow for comfortable seating!