Thanks and praise go out to my friend Sam. Because of him I've been inspired to start a new blog series. I'm calling it Rose and Thorn.
It's a pretty simple concept, but let me explain. Rose and thorn could be used to describe the best and worst parts of anything really. Example: What were your rose (best) and thorn (worst) memories from the past week? From your day at work? Rose and thorn of the new person you're dating? And so on. It's fun, I promise, and everyone can join in.
In an effort to stay focused my Rose and Thorn posts are going to be strictly about things that are going on with our house. Ryan and I work on the house non-stop. It's as much of a job as our actual job. I think it'll be good for me to vent (and swoon) over the things we work on and accomplish each week.
Owning a home is hard work and I want sympathy and encouragement, dammit!
Here it goes.
ROSE AND THORN 01
Most of the beautiful furniture we buy goes directly to the shop because I need to share. the. wealth. But, this time I got to keep the cool new thing that we bought and I feel so great about it.
We found this vintage tufted leather settee online in early March.
It was originally from an old mansion in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Of course it was, look at it. The problem was this beautiful settee was currently residing at a horse ranch in Spokane. While obviously closer than Jackson Hole, Spokane is about a five hour drive from Seattle and in my opinion a five hour drive calls for an overnighter. We knew we wouldn't be able to pick this guy up for weeks but that wasn't going to stop me from trying. Luckily after putting down a deposit the owner was willing to hold onto it for us.
After almost four months we were able to schedule a trip to get this beauty. The trip ended up being one of our first big buying trips and one of our most memorable trips together. Spokane is a pretty nice place and the settee was as perfect as expected.
In an effort to keep this stunner I offered up the sofa in the tv room (I guess it's more of a tv nook) as a trade. It's an amazing sofa and it has been a loyal companion for years, but you can't stop true love, and true love is how I feel about this tufted leather settee.
The tv nook before.
Getting to the point.
This week's ROSE was learning that the settee would in fact fit up our tiny staircase and then staging the room around it. I love how this space turned out and my life is upgraded because I finally have side tables. Side tables are now something I would consider a necessity not a luxury for this space. I also feel great about getting rid of over half of the interior design books that I never ever look at.
The tv nook after.
I can't wait to finish watching Boardwalk Empire in here.
Time to be a downer.
This week's THORN:
One word. WEEDS. Weeds weeds weeds. I hate you. Landscaping has always been a job outside of my comfort zone so I never really noticed when it didn't look good or if it needed work until it got really bad. For some reason this is the year of noticing. For better and for worse.
I'm trying to be reasonable and not overwhelm myself. I've decided to take one small section of the yard and just focus on that until it's looking its best and is as low maintenance as possible.
Here's our side yard after a week of weeding and maintenance. We'd like to add a few more plants and a layer of topsoil. The tall plants are jasmine, we're training them to wrap around the fence. They're still babies but eventually they should cover the entire thing.
I figure that slowly, after a lot of hard work, the entire yard will somehow become manageable and low maintenance.
Until then my parking strips look like abandoned weed gardens.
What were your home related rose and thorn this week?
We're finally getting back into the blogging swing of things and we have some exciting news to share! A few months ago we (and our house) were chosen to be featured on the HGTV online series Home Diaries. Each mini-episode in this charming series features "the compelling stories behind unique homes located across the U.S., told from the perspectives of (really cool) homeowners." Thanks to the production team at Red Arrow Industries for posting about it and making us the first in the series.
Until we can get the video on our site directly you can view it here or by clicking on the image below. Keep an eye out for a sneak peak at our ever-changing showroom. You can make an appointment (by email or phone) to visit us and see all of the great stuff we have listed on our site along with some pieces that you can only find in the shop.
Hope you enjoy it!
This set of six Mid Century Thonet dining chairs have been patiently awaiting an overhaul. Luckily for them it was sunny in Seattle last week so I had a good excuse to finally get this project started. In addition to the great weather I was also fortunate to have help in the form of my brother-in-law, Zach. He wanted to learn how to refinish wood and I needed a second set of hands.
Many of our pieces can get by with a small bit of touchup; removing a spot of paint or sanding out and oiling a scuff. Not this set. The vinyl was splitting and peeling, the finish had worn through, and the stain was splotchy. These chairs needed to be fully sanded, restained and reupholstered.
This project, although extensive, was worth it for us because these are iconic chairs with a classic silhouette. I feel great giving them at least another 50 years of life.
Here's what I used for this project:Lint Free Rags (Old t-shirts work great)
After I had all of my supplies together we disassembled the chairs. This made sanding quicker and in this case it allowed us to send off the cushions to be reupholstered while we worked on the wood.
Next we sanded every piece down by hand. Here's Zach being a hero and taking on the bulk of the sanding. We started with 80 grit sandpaper and sanded with the grain until the finish and stain came off completely. Then we went over it again with 220 grit sandpaper. The 220 smoothed out the surface and allowed the stain to apply more evenly.
I have learned to never be lazy about sanding. It feels terrible to sand away for hours only to have the stain go on poorly and then be stuck sanding everything over again. Don't skimp on sanding.
Once we had the first leg sanded we tested out a few different shades and types of stains and settled on a gel stain in dark walnut. Oil-based stains are great for bringing out the highlights and natural colors of wood grain but they're harder to work with than gel stains. Gel stain applies much more evenly than oil-based and it is easier to clean up . Since I was looking to keep the color as even as possible and because I was working with Zach on his first project, gel stain was the best option.
Before and after the first coat of stain.
I'm nearly done staining the chairs and the frames should be ready by the time we get the cushions back from our upholsterer. These two plaids were our top choices. Michele decided on the vintage blue Pendleton plaid fabric because the teal stripe feels more summery than the burgundy. Everything should be finished in a week or two. I can't wait to see it all come together.