Monday, September 20, 2010

A softer place to land

Once upon a time (mid 2006), my husband, daughter and I were living on the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington State. We had been there for a little over 3 and a half years. So naturally it was just about time to move again. But before we were set to move, I begged my husband to buy a new dining room set. The one we had at the time was our first set that was bought at the Navy Exchange and annoyed the bejesus out of me! It was a tile top table with rubber like "grout". Every piece of crumbs or dirt stuck to said "grout".

 Anyway....while doing a little window shopping we came across a table that I instantly fell in love with. It was a pub height table, with a fold out leaf that makes it a 52" square. And it had a 50% sale ticket on it! It was a little more than we had expected to spend, but I knew I just HAD to have it.

Fast forward 4 years and it would be the first piece of furniture that I would sell in a heart beat. It didn't take long after assembling the tall beauty in our home to realize that the chair seats weren't deep enough to comfortably sit in for an extended amount of time. Eating dinner as a family each night wasn't an issue. But when having friends over to play cards.....let's just say that everyone left wishing we hadn't sat in our chairs the whole time.

And because of that I have loathed that table for some time. But I couldn't dare tell my husband that! No way! I had begged him to buy it.

Then my friend Andrea over at Walking in my Socks posted  pictures on Facebook about reupholstering her dining room chairs. Why didn't I think of that? That would be perfect. Almost.

There was still the issue of the seats not being deep enough for comfort. So as luck would have it, one night while playing Phase 10 with friends with our butts killing us, I mentioned that I would love to know how to make new seats for said chairs. And that's when it happened. My great friend, Nick, nonchalantly said that such a task would be easy and that he'd help me. Woah! what?? Awesome!!!!!

So I was on am mission to gather the supplies:

-a sheet of plywood
-and my chosen material to cover them

We used several tools as well. I had a couple and he brought what we didn't have.
- a jigsaw
- belt sander
- staple gun
- various cutting tools (scissors, scalpel , and trauma shears) *hubby is a corpsman that likes to have various tools of the trade around. I'm sure fabric scissors would have done the job just as well

So let's start with the pictorial tutorial. Ready? (Forgive me, but I didn't get to take any pics of the very beginning. I was being the helpful assistant)

It all started with the piece of plywood my husband picked out at Lowe's that I shared here.
Nick used the current seat as a template to trace onto the plywood. Then together we talked about how much larger we should go with the new seats. Keeping in mind that we shouldn't go too big because the chair bases were made to support the current size and shouldn't push the envelope too far. I believe we agreed on 2 and a half inches for the depth. And we added about 1 inch to each side.

So we used this high tech working station to begin working on.
Bet you're jealous of our ultra fancy work table right about now. We even sat it on top of another table so that we weren't breaking our backs as we worked. But it was also used so that if we accidentally nicked it, I wouldn't mind :)

So we had the seat traced out, and Nick got to work on cutting it out with his jigsaw. Then using the sander in the picture above, sanded the edges smooth. I could start to see that this was going to work!! Yay!!

To show you how much bigger the new seats are ......

 Oh yea, baby! I can't believe that this is actually coming And only after 4 years of totally hating these chairs.

So after we had them all cut.

It took us a little longer than we had expected to get them all cut out and sanded. And Nick still had to go to work that night. So we hurriedly took one of the sanded seats inside to work on upholstering them. Knowing my husband's knack for hording collecting medical supplies, he asked him if he had any scalpels. Yes those kinds of scalpels. The ones surgeons cut human flesh open with. I was actually shocked when he came out of the garage with some. I guess he had them left over from his "stay" in Iraq. We used them to cut the fabric to get it to lay as flat as possible.

Together we stumbled through the process. Almost literally. I watched him first to see if he had any simple solutions to all the rounded corners. As to which he admitted he was just as clueless as I was.


If those aren't hospital corners, I don't know what is....HA!

Once we had gotten to this point, I was pretty sure that I could finish up on my own. I appreciated Nick's help and didn't need to keep any longer than I already had.

Before I go on,  I want to stop to say Thank You Nick for all your help! I would have never been able to come up with this fix. You have saved our butts....literally!! :)

Before going to bed, I came up with the grand idea to paint the bottom of each seat black so that when I did a hack job on the upholstering, that maybe it wouldn't stand out so much. So I painted them and let them dry overnight.

Hey look at that! My fancy work table also doubles as a painting chair. Who knew??

So today I worked on the other million chairs. Ok you got me...I don't REALLY have a million chairs. But isn't 8 pretty dang close? I certainly think so.

The hammer was to pound in any staples that were stubborn
I had to keep reassuring myself that this side normally wouldn't be seen

Ready for install

If you're still with me, you're a real trooper! You deserve that cookie calling your name! Oh wait, those calls are from MY kitchen. Well at least I'll have some comfy seats to sit on while enjoying them ;)

1 comment:

  1. Amber, I love them! You did an amazing job. Aaaaa! You didn't tell me you went with black vinyl too - love it. So easy to keep clean, still IN LOVE with mine!


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