Take a Seat

A few months ago we were cleaning up the garage and found a bunch of things we had forgotten about (out of sight, out of mind!). You already saw the Phoenix sewing machine base makeover we did. Here’s what else we found:


This was an old drafting chair that belonged to my uncle. I always intended to fix it up for my new craft studio.  I was thinking it might look great with a new leather seat painted with my Birdz of a Feather logo and I even posted a question on Hometalk for advice on how to do that (you guys are great!).


Once my studio started coming together though, I went in a different direction. First Hubs sanded away years of rust and gave it a new coat of paint. Here it is looking like it’s break dancing!

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We added some new floor protectors onto the bottom to keep the metal from scraping the new hardwood floors. A hex nut holds them on from underneath.

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I took the vinyl plastic off the seat cushion. The foam was still in good shape so I added some batting on top of it to soften the edges before the final upholstery.

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Batting is easy to add and is an extra step you shouldn’t miss when you’re reupholstering. That’s because it smooths down the edges of the foam underneath the final fabric so you don’t see any lumps and bumps showing through.

I put the seat, face down right onto the batting and cut around it leaving a good amount of  extra to wrap around.


I used a staple gun with a compressor to staple the batting all around the perimeter. Start at one end and then add a staple on the opposite side to keep it even. Then do the same on the right and left side. Fill in each quadrant with staples, going back and forth between opposite sides until complete.


Trim off the excess batting.


Nice and smooth!


Here it is, ready for the final fabric:


Follow the same steps described with the batting above to upholster the seat with your chosen fabric. If your fabric has a nap you might want to make note of where the holes are on the bottom, where the seat is fastened on, and make sure your fabric is fitted onto the seat in the direction your prefer. Make sure you don’t cover up the holes as you’re stapling the fabric on.

You can trim the fabric close to the staples to clean it up (I was so excited to see how the seat looks, that I forgot to trim it)! If you like, you can also cut a piece of plain cloth to staple on as a dust cover (I didn’t do that either).


Once you’re all done, screw the seat onto the base taking care to use screws that are long enough to hold it securely, but not so long that they’ll come out the front and ruin your new upholstery!


Here is the final reveal. Although it will be used with my cutting table, I photographed it by my desk area – which is much prettier to look at! Far more than the way it looks in my craft studio, every time I use it I’ll have fond memories of my uncle.  It’s a special piece and I’m happy I was able to breathe new life into it.

When you’re looking for inspiration on colour choices for the metal and upholstery, keep in mind where you’ll be using it. I love how the ‘new’ drafting chair compliments the colours in the carpet.


If you’re curious about the Paint Chip Portrait shown above, click here for the how-to!

I restrained myself from using my logo for the seat of this chair and I’m so happy with the outcome. However, I DID use my logo to upcycle a clock as you can see below:


I’ll also eventually add my logo to glass doors of the IKEA storage cabinets we built for the craft studio:

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It’s fun to be at the point where I’m just putting finishing touches on the craft studio!  If this project has inspired you, please pin and share on Facebook.

I’ll have two more chair makeovers coming soon. Follow my blog here or on Bloglovin’ to see those projects and more!

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This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

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Phoenix Rising

Constructing the mancave and craft studio in the basement has been a long 2+ year process for hubs and has generated many trips to the waste station. On one such trip, this caught my eye:


Someone had thrown out an old sewing machine on a metal stand. At the waste stations in our city taking materials is strictly prohibited, but I didn’t let that stop me. It happened to be my birthday that day and I was able to convince the person monitoring the site to let me take the base home with me (with great hesitation on his part) It just pains me that something so beautiful and potentially useful would just have gone into landfill!

The base made its way onto a shelf in our garage and was re-discovered a few weeks ago when hubs was reorganizing:

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Hubs was looking for a base on which to make a table top using reclaimed skid material and I thought this base would make a great conversation piece at the entrance to the mancave.

Here you can see a better picture of all the surface rust; Hubs spent a few hours sanding it all down.

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Hubs was going to repaint all the metal, but I just loved the old patina as-is (especially the gold lettering of the three Phoenix plaques). He eventually agreed with me and ended up clear coating it to protect it from rusting again. The refurbished metal looked awesome!

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Hubs then set about creating a new top for the base and took apart all the pieces of a skid. He wanted to preserve the rustic look of the wood so only gave it a light sanding to keep all the dings and dirt (i.e. character) intact. He then screwed each slat onto a piece of MDF at either end near the edges and clear coated to seal it.

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To hide the screws and edges, hubs bought some raw steel L-brackets and cut it to fit around the top, mitering the ends. A friend helped solder the seams together from underneath to give it a clean look on the surface and hubs finished it by drilling holes along the edges. The steel also got a coat of clear finish to prevent rusting.


Soldered metal ready for wood top


Skid top with finished metal edges

Hubs used gun blue creme to blacken zinc coated round head screws:



He then poked the screws through a piece of cardboard and clear coated them:


Screws are clear coated on a piece of cardboard

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Hubs predrilled the screw holes through the metal into the skid top….


and fastened each screw into the top:


Here is the finished top:

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All that was left was to screw the top onto the base. The mancave is still a work in progress so this was the best shot of the table I could get amongst the cardboard covered floors and messy boxes.

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Although the table is unique and decorative, it has a practical purpose too. Just behind where it sits is our full sized freezer. When I was designing the basement, I inset the freezer into the wall to hide it away from the main living area. Having a table right around the corner to drop things when we’re loading and unloading the freezer is very handy!

Just above the new table is where we recently mounted our airplane propeller:


Once the mancave is complete, I’ll be able to get some better reveal pictures of the space. More to come!

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One Hour Project – Organizing the Home Office

The following post may contain disturbing scenes of a messy office. Viewer discretion is advised!

Our office space is a mishmash of items and catchall of furniture that we don’t have a place for in the rest of the house. For instance, our worktop is a dining room table placed on top of some filing cabinets. The antique dresser is one that hubs refinished and surprised me with when we were married. It’s there because there isn’t another place for it in the house. The office is at the bottom of the list of projects we have planned for the house.

Since we’re gaining an hour to daylight savings time, I’m taking advantage of that hour to de-clutter our office. It’s a funny thing how living in a state of chaos can seem normal on a day-to-day basis. It wasn’t until I decided to reupholster my office chair, and moved it from the office to my craft studio to work on it, that I was ready to face how out-of-hand the clutter in our office space had become! Once I walked back in with a temporary chair, this is the site that beheld me:


Ugh! What an absolute mess! I knew I had to do something to bring back order out of the chaos. I started with purging all the unnecessary paperwork.

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Once I was pared back to the bare essentials, the one-hour solution was underway.

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I picked up the metal retail rack shown above from a store that was moving to another location and no longer needed it. It served me well in my former craft studio, however I didn’t have room for it in my new studio space. I thought I’d give it a try to tame the clutter in the office. The last time I used a storage tower to organize, it was to corral all my shoes, and that turned out great so what did I have to lose?

I positioned the tower in the space between my desk and antique dresser. Then I added a few Bygel storage cups on the horizontal rails for smaller items  – found for 1/2 price at Ikea when they were discontinued – to hold things such as pens, USB sticks and battery chargers. I started filling the shelves, and it was going well, but once I stepped back I realized that I was just concentrating all the clutter in one spot. It was almost as bad as looking at it all spread out!

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I quickly thought up a great solution to hide the view of clutter on the front of the tower. I brought some of my printed cartoon canvasses out of storage and added two picture hangers to the back.


Because I challenged myself to get this done in one hour, I merely stuck the metal hangers on with packing tape and then bent them at an angle.


The tape was surprisingly secure, since the canvasses are light, and the hangers are pretty stiff once they’re bent so will hold their shape.


All I had to do was hook them onto a horizontal rail and let gravity hold them in place. I spaced five of them all the way down the tower to cover the front.

These canvasses were just the thing I needed to give me something pleasant (and humorous) to look at. To print your own 8″ x 10″ art canvasses using your home computer, check out my tutorial.


I added some ‘S’-hooks onto the sides of the tower to hang items I wanted to have quick access to; they’ll allow me to grab things I use frequently, such as my camera, cords, scissors and clipboards etc.

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I also added a few rare earth magnets in one spot for my tape measure:


The magnets stick to the metal clip on the back of the tape measure to keep it in place. Hubs and I got to the point where we were constantly loosing tape measures around the house and repurchasing them to have on-hand. We must have a collection of at least a dozen (or two!) around the house but can never seem to find one when we need it. The tape measure dilemma has been a running joke between us for as long as we’ve been married. If I’m diligent about returning it to where it belongs, the hope is that I’ll never lose it again! A girl can hope, can’t she?


After only an hour of organizing the storage tower, I had clutter free surfaces again! I’m happy with how it turned out; now everything has a designated spot. Even my box of Kleenex found a place on one of the shelves.


For some ideas on how to embellish your office, and get it even more organized, check out my ‘inspire’-themed office decor:

Collage_First 3 HQ Challenge Projects

Now that the office is under control, in the next few weeks I’ll  show you how to reupholster this office chair:

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If you enjoyed this post, please pin on Pinterest and share on Facebook. If you’re interested in seeing the office chair makeover, be sure to follow me here on Birdz of a Feather or on Bloglovin’!

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