September 25, 2013

Ikea Hack Coffee Table

Well... it's not so much an Ikea hack and as Ikea fix.  Here's the thing,  couple of weeks back, when I was trying to find a place to relax and instead started to build something to relax on and built the double lounger for my master deck, I had first tried to find relaxation in the Screened in Porch.

Not bad, right?  I built the couch and sewed the cushions using Ana White's plans, and we bought this Ikea coffee table on a whim for just $19.99 when it was on sale.  Obviously this space isn't done, but we had so much other stuff to work on, we sort of tabled it for another time.  (No pun intended.)  Cue that fateful Saturday when I was trying to relax, and while sitting on the sectional, I could get myself to stop obsessing about this:

 This coffee table clearly isn't outdoor friendly, and even though this space is mostly shielded from the elements, all it took was some humidity to make the fake veneer on the sides of the table peel.

So once the double lounger was built and I found myself with time between coats of varnish, I focused on this next little problem.  I searched online for all sorts of build plans, but didn't find anything I really like for the space.  After using it for a year I've found I really like the shape and size of the current table, the only thing I didn't like about it was the finish.  (Or lack there of in places.)  So I decided for now to attempt a cheap refinish to see if I could fix this piece into something I could love again.  

Step one was to peel off all the fake veneer that was lifting, and sand the rest of the piece completely.

Step two was to glue down one of the corner pieces that had started to lift.  I used gorilla glue and clamped it for about 24 hours.

Gratuitous baby helping shot.

Once I was comfortable with the fact that the remaining finish was flat and wouldn't lift up again, I covered the whole piece in 2 coats of primer.  I used the same microfiber rollers I LOVE that we used to paint the cabinets downstairs, and I swear they give you a flawless finish on furniture too.


A big priority for me in this room is to add a little more color and life, so I decided to go bold with my paint color.  I bought a $3 sample pot of Behr Premium paint, which was just enough to give me 2 coats.  Hellooooo table!

While I was at it I did a few upgrades to the space, which will make the teal table make a little more sense, promise.  More on that soon.

September 17, 2013

The Double Lounger Reveal

Let me introduce you to my skyline paradise.

And by skyline of course I mean the gorgeous, old trees that surround our home.  This little third floor getaway is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots.

I found the garden stool on sale at HomeGoods, and it's the perfect little spot to set a cocktail and a snack.  Who am I kidding, it was a Sunday afternoon and I was home with the kiddos.  It was a lemonade and some cheddar bunnies.  Keepin' it real.


The problem with using cheddar bunnies as props- snack bandits!

Those cheeks.  Those toes.

 This shot actually gives you a little glimpse of our new view lately. See the construction in the back?

 Way, waaaaay back to some of my first posts, we wrote how Ryder was passing the time watching the big trucks demolish the home next door while the Hubs and I pulled up the old tile floors.  (Back before I realized the importance of a good camera and blog photos apparently.)

Oh my gosh look at how little he was!

Wearing his big boots to protect his feet from the floor demo! (Tear)

Two years later they have finally started construction on a new home.  The boys love to pass the time now watching the construction in action (my boys!) and talking about what our new neighbors will be like.  I have to admit I also love my eagle-eye perch in the sky to watch the progress. I can't help it, I just can't shut it off.

Buzz kill-  this photo just reminds me how much work we still have to do up here.  The deck has never been treated or stained, and that's going to be a big project for us to tackle in 2014. 

But anytime I get bummin' about how much work we still have to do, I have to remind myself how far we've come.  Just a couple of weeks ago, this was the only piece of furniture we had on this deck.

What a sad, sad little chair.
And now we have this awesome little set up.

I've already spent some great quality time up here, blogging during nap time and hanging with the boys.  The Hubs and I laid out here under the stars the other night before bed and I wish I could have captured for you how beautiful the sky was.  The cool fall air had us cuddled together under a blanket, but the stars literally looked like they were going to fall on top of us.  It was breath taking.  And worth every single second of varnish application.

What do you think? All in this project came in just under $130, which is more than a $1300 savings from this similar Pottery Barn version.  I still have a cover to sew for it to keep it protected over the winter, but all I want to think about right now is cool autumn nights. 

Just joining us and want to see how it was built?  Here's the 3 step process:

September 12, 2013

Sewing Chase Lounge Cushions

My West Elm style double lounger, built with the fantastic plans from Ms. Ana White is now complete!

The only thing standing in my way of maximum relaxation is a comfy cushion.  Of course I did an online search first to see if I could save myself some work, but with this double chaise cushion pushin' $450 at Pottery Barn, I knew I was going to have to find a better way.  

First I had to find the foam.  I waited for the perfect combination of sale and coupon code for free shipping to swoop up this outdoor foam from JoAnn Fabrics.  It cost $54 all in, which was by far the single biggest purchase of this whole piece of furniture.

Ana's plans call for a 24" wide standard cushion, because she's smart like that.  I found that a 10' roll allowed me to get three 24" x 40" sections.  Perfect.

With the perfect foam purchased, I was on the hunt for the perfect fabric.  I found this at my favorite local discount fabric haunt- Mill End Fabrics.  Guess which one I chose:

I needed 4 1/4 yards of fabric total, but on sale for $4.50 a yard, this Sunbrella outdoor fabric cost me just shy of $20.  I win.

For those trying to create the same thing- here is my layout and cut plan:

I won't give an exhaustive step-by-step process here, because I appreciate that most of you all aren't interested in creating a double lounger cushion.  So here's the quick overview, and if you do have further questions on the process, feel free to ask them in the comments below. 

Step 1- Sew a 22" zipper, (of which I still had a bunch left over from this project), in between 2 Short Side Zipper pieces.  Once put together, lay a Short Side piece on top and trim so they are the exact width.  I find this way to be much easier than trying to cut your zipper pieces perfectly the first time.  Repeat 2 more time for 3 total zipper sides.

Step 2- Sew a Short Side and a Short Side Zipper piece between 2 Long Side pieces (right sides together, 1/4" seam) to create a full outside box- like this

Step 3- Pin the outside box to a Cushion Top piece and attach (again, right sides together, 1/4" seam).

Step 4- Make the straps that connect the cushions together by folding a strap piece in half and sewing together the 2 short sides (you know the drill- right sides together, 1/4" seam.)  Pull to right side out.  Repeat 5 more times for 6 total straps.

Step 5-  Pin 3 straps onto the edge of a Cushion Bottom piece.  Then pin your Cushion Top and Sides piece (which you connected together in Step 3) to the Cushion Bottom piece and sew- 1/4" seam, right sides together. 

It helps to leave your zipper slightly open so that you can easily turn your cover right side out.  When you do, and struggle to squeeze it onto your cushion like I struggle into a pair of skinny jeans, you have this:


See how those straps hang out of the bottom seam?  We'll get back to those.

Here's the fun part.  Do it again.

And again.  But the third time is a little tricky.  Instead of pinning in 3 loose straps, you need to pin on the straps from the other 2 cushions.  This requires you take the covers back off the cushions, (or don't put them on to begin with, I just wanted to make sure I was happy with them first) and pin the 3 straps from each cushion to opposite sides of your last remaining Cushion Bottom piece.  It's just takes a little care here as you're essentially sewing the two outside pieces inside of your center cushion.  Once completed though, you flip your cushion right side out and all 3 are magically attached.


I owe you all a big reveal of it all together in the space, but we're already a dozen photos deep in this post, and I'm getting a little long winded, so I'll give you all a break for the day.  More to come soon!

September 6, 2013

Finishing my Double Lounger

You may recall that last week I felt like relaxing so I built a double lounger to relax on.  It sort of makes sense.  Anyway, I was really proud of myself when after just 1 day of naps and bedtime I had this:

And it wasn't until that very moment that I read the super helpful instructions, "I also recommend finishing your boards first, unless of course, you own a sprayer. Painting those tiny gaps is going to be quite tedious otherwise."

Clearly I didn't do that. Awesome. 

Good thing my plan was to use my favorite wood finishing product of all time- India Ink.  Long time readers (hi mom!) might recall that I used this on the kitchen table I refinished and the outdoor sectional I built for the Screened In Porch.  

 I buy this magical wood staining juice at Dick Blick Art Supply, and the big quart sized bottle is just $13.  India Ink will give you a jet black finish in just two coats, rather than having to apply 5 or more coats of a dark stain to achieve the color.  But the even bigger benefit for me in this little snafu I got myself in, is that India Ink is the consistency of water.  It goes on thin and immediately soaks into the wood, so you don't have to worry about brush strokes, bubbles or flaws.  I just used a cheapo foam brush and it was pretty easy to jam it into all the little cracks and seams in my piece.

After coat number one you can see there were still some lighter parts in the wood, including all my little "invisible" nail holes.  I also clearly just missed a few spots.  Oops.

It was no problem though, coat numero dos covered the piece completely, and cleaned up any of the blotches or imperfections.

It still looks a little flat though- huh?  That's where the top coat comes in.  While I fully intend to make a cover for this piece, let's be real and admit that I'll forget to cover it up during more than one rainstorm in it's lifetime.  Since I didn't spring for the more expensive cedar or green treated wood that holds up to the elements better, I knew I was going to have to use a good quality top coat to protect it.  Enter Spar Varnish.

I found this marine grade wood coating at Lowes, and I figured if it could protect the wood on boats which are always in the water, it would help my lounger avoid damage from the occasional shower.  I bought the clear gloss to give my black piece a modern shine.  The varnish went on thin and milky white, a lot like a water based poly, but with far less of those pesky bubbles that plague polyurethane.  I thought it was really easy to use. 

Easy, yes.  Quick, no.  

That's because I had to apply 4 coats of this stuff, to both the underside and topside of my lounger.  Each coat took about an hour, since I had so much surface area to cover, and I had to be a lot more careful than I was with the India Ink with this stuff to avoid drips and runs.  So by far the longest part of this project was the 5 days I spent applying varnish.  Good news- it was totally worth it.  Here's the lounger, slightly dull with 2 coats of India Ink:

And here she is all glossy and pretty with 4 coats of marine varnish:

That's as sexy as a piece of furniture can get, no?  Probably not all that comfortable yet though.  Don't worry- I have big plans for a cushion on this piece.  I'll be relaxing on it and drinking a mojito in no time.  Or sitting on it while I build another project.  I can't help it guys, I'm not well.