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 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 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' 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 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.

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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! 


This past Saturday we were fortunate enough to actually be at home all day and just lounge...okay, so maybe I'm stretching it a little on the lounge we ever just lounge?  We're the couple whose minds are always running.  Even Anthony's runs, along with his mouth, while he's asleep.  So anyway, we spent our day at home cleaning up the leaves in the yard, sweeping the patio, and tidying up the house.  By noon we were done and Anthony began his hide-out in the office for the rest of the day writing a paper for a grad class.  Then there was me.  Of course I can't just sit and watch T.V. or take a, I sought and found a project.

The small decorative pillow in our guestroom is simply an old pillow covered and folded with a standard size (not to mention very irregular) pillow case. 
 Yes, it's weird but I needed a decorative pillow that was white and that was all I had.  The problem, along with the pillow case being way to big, is that there's a gaping hole in the seam on one side.  This is how, Operation "Make a new pillow cover out of the existing case" began.

First, I turned the case inside out so that I could cut it to the shape I needed it to be.  Then, of course, it has to be sewn inside-out to look good right-side-out.  :) 
Can you see how irregular it was?  It figures since I only paid about 50 cents for it awhile ago. 
Since I wanted this to be a quick project because I had to cook dinner, I opted for heat 'n bond tape (so every time I write "sew", I really mean "iron together tape").  So after measuring my pillow, cutting the pillowcase to my measurements, and then ironing my seams together, I had a perfect pillow cover for my decorative pillow.  The end...or is it?

This is when I noticed I had some more time to fiddle around and saw the excess "pillow-edging" or whatever have you, just lying there silently begging to be used.
  And this is how my mind works:  Hmmm...what could I do with that?  Put it around the entire edge of my pillow?  No, it's not long enough.  Just sew one long piece across the face of my pillow to add character?  Okay, maybe.  (Thinking, thinking, thinking.)  Hey, why don't I cut a few pieces of equal lengths, sew in the edges, and create a 'pleated' look down the front of my pillow?!  Yeah!  (I know, my mind is a crazy place.)

So, I measured, cut, and sewed five equal pieces of edging.  

Then I figured out where the center mark on my pillow was and penciled in 5 equally spaced marks where each completed 'pleat' would go. 

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Side Note:
Have excess fabric lying around?  You can give a bland pillow cover character by doing what I did with any type of fabric, ribbon, or ruffles (or all of them together).  Using two or more coordinating colors or patterns would also be so fun.  You can also extend the pleats to cover the entire front (and back if you wish) of your pillow to create an entirely new cover.  Just have fun! 
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Finally, my afternoon delight...a new pillow cover.  

Free, taking up 45 minutes of my time, and just in time for dinner!  :)