Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trash to Treasure: Julie's Chair Makeover

Such a fun project to share with you today. Julie Gueraseva, who I worked with at the Hallmark magazine (check out her art direction and design work here!), did this amazing makeover. Here's how:

"I was lucky to come across this chair on the street in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The frame was solid wood, heavy, with a nice silhouette. It seemed too interesting to end up in a trash heap somewhere and I thought that the ugly vinyl seat was begging for a face lift. I brought it home, looked at some design blogs and magazines for inspiration and eventually decided on a monochromatic color palette of black and white.

The chair frame had a thick nasty dark brown varnish. My vision was to pain the chair a gleaming white, so I knew right away the existing varnish would need to be removed. I bought some non-toxic varnish stripping gel/solvent, a few metal scrapers, sanding sheets, white paint, clear high-shine gloss and gloves at Home Depot.

Removing varnish from a chair and painting it is a lengthy process. First you cover the frame in the solvent, then after some time, scrape of the varnish and finally sand the whole frame down to a nice smooth finish. Next you lay down two coats of paint on the chair, and when it's dry finish off the with the clear gloss (optional). Be sure to do all this in a well-ventilated space, and use non-toxic materials if possible.

You can choose to reupholster the seat yourself (a fairly uncomplicated process if you have the time and patience), or take it somewhere to have it professionally done, which is what I did. I went to a fabric/reupholstery shop and took a long time to select just the right type of fabric. Then I just brought the chair in, and two weeks later I had a beautiful new seat and chair!

Take some to investigate the wealthier areas in your city or town and you just might come across a gem!"