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Over the weekend, Scott and I tackled Phase 1: Disassembly of Operation Lovely Chair. (Not to be confused with pre-phases choosing fabric, take 1 and take 2.) We mentioned our fear of messing with old wood screws, caps and creaky joints, but to our surprise, it was easy. As in, we rolled up our sleeves, prepped our work space and set aside a few hours – and it only took 15 minutes.

Once we got started, we noticed 2 visible wood caps at the base of each arm. One of them had a few scuffs, which made us think that this chair had been disassembled at some point before us. Scott took a small flathead screwdriver and a mallet, wedging the screwdriver under the cap and lightly tapped the handle with the mallet. After a few tries, the cap popped right off!

Underneath, a long (warped) screw held the frame in place against the cushion. We used our drill with an extension to get it out, but a flathead screwdriver would’ve worked, too.

After doing this on both sides, we tried to wriggle the cushion free – but no luck. It was held in place underneath the seat cushion, but with no visible wood caps, we flipped the chair over…

… and pulled back the lining underneath to reveal one more screw. Well, there were actually two screws, one on each side, but one had come loose and wasn’t holding anything together anymore.

After taking out the last remaining screw, the entire cushion slipped out, and we had ourselves a disassembled chair. Phew!

We’d mentioned possibly sanding down the frame and staining the wood a darker walnut (or Minwax Jacobean, our favorite deep wood color), assuming the frame had been stained a honey hue. But with a closer look, we quickly realized that the original wood wasn’t stained at all! Rather, a clear lacquer (that had yellowed over time) covered the arms, but the actual wood color could be beautiful once we buff out the wear, tear and old watermarks:

Before sanding the entire frame (and to potentially save ourselves a headache), we’ll first try a light sand on the lacquered parts followed with an oil buff. Morgan at The Brick House is full of tips – so we’ll give this a go.

Phase 2 for Operation LC will be the frame refresh, and I’ll be dropping off the cushion and velvet to the upholstery experts this afternoon. We’ll finish her off with Phase 3: Assembly and reveal!

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - October 16, 2012 - 8:48 AM

    Hahaha. I love that you were settled in for the long haul and it only took you fifteen minutes. That is the best. Best. Best! Confession. I’ve never dropped something off at an upholsterer’s and i want to. Officially a goal of mine. Find something so special (and cheap) that I am too scared to mess it up myself.

    Can’t wait to see this dandelion in action.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 16, 2012 - 9:27 AM

    Julia, until my grandma’s chair, we had never been to a upholstery shop either. But after seeing the results, we’re sold! Especially on something more difficult than, say, a seat cushion or bench.

    Also, nothing beats a 15 minute project (when you had assumed hours of headache were ahead!).ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - October 16, 2012 - 9:31 AM

    I am watching this refurb closely, as I’ve inherited a chair that needs work, this one has embroidered cushions that have seen better days, but I really want to salvage them if I can. At the moment I just keep looking at it, I’m so scared!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 16, 2012 - 9:44 AM

    Kelly, we hope our refurb will help! We know the feeling though. It took us years to get moving on this girl.ReplyCancel

  • Christina - October 16, 2012 - 2:21 PM

    I’m SO glad you’re not staining that chair! I’m all for refinishing but the value of the chair is in the wood and it really only needs some danish oil/teak oil.ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - October 17, 2012 - 4:11 PM

    Get outta my head! Just teasing, but I think it’s hilarious that last weekend you built something with flanges (as did I) and this weekend you disassembled a vintage chair to refurbish it (as did I). So glad you were able to easily disassemble!

    Speaking of reupholstery, we finally found one for our white sofa (covering it in white pleather so it’s more pet-friendly) and clearly I have a thing or two to learn. I thought we could get the sofa back in 2 weeks . . . turns out they’re so popular it’s going to take a total of 10 weeks (8 for the waiting list). Here’s hoping yours isn’t as slow!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 17, 2012 - 4:48 PM

      Oh, no! Ours will take 2 weeks. Thank goodness! I don’t think we could stand to wait that long, eek!ReplyCancel

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On a recent visit to the annual Design Harvest we sipped hot cider, perused hand-made and custom furniture and made a quick pass through Urban Remains, where a small sidewalk sale happening.

This little bright blue toolbox caught our eye immediately. While the original $75 price tag was staggering, the sidewalk sale price of $30 was much easier to swallow. We had a few bucks burning a hole in our pocket, so home with us it came. We weren’t initially sure of the purpose it would serve, but we knew we’d come up with something. We seem to have developed a strange attraction to rusty industrial boxes lately, huh?

We toyed with a few ideas on the drive home, and at one point, Kim suggested a catch all on our console table, but we quickly realized it was much too big for that. But when we returned home, we easily discovered the perfect use for the box. Our old lazy susan booze storage system was getting a bit tired (you can see it tucked in the countertop right here, although we must have been low on, um, drink supplies at the time!), and the idea for the Booze Box was born! There was just one slight problem – the lid lacked any sort of mechanism to keep it from flopping all the way backwards when open.

Off to Home Depot we went, to scoop up a couple feet of #16 Jack Chain and a small bag of coarse threaded machine screws and nuts; we chose #6-32 1/2″, as it was the largest size that would fit through the loop of the chain. Total cost for additional supplies was around $3.

Home Depot will happily cut the chain to length for free, but since we weren’t sure of the exact length, we brought the whole thing home and used some snips to cut it to fit the project.

I then marked the spot where we wanted to drill the holes, and used a small drill bit on the highest speed setting to poke a few holes in the box.

After holes were drilled in each side of the box and lid, we looped the chain over the screws and hand tightened the nuts.

Only one chain was probably necessary, but we decided to utilize both sides of the box for symmetry’s sake. Here it is in all it’s industrial, paint chipped glory. As you can see, this is simple enough to work out as a cost-effective solution to any box whose lid won’t stay put.

We’re really happy with how it turned out, and it really adds a bit of cheerful color to an otherwise dark corner of the kitchen. The old, pine lazy susan has since been donated to our local non-profit thrift shop.

We love the contrast of the smooth perfect glass bottles against the hard-edged, imperfect box. Has anyone else repurposed an industrial tool box to hold something unexpected? Spill the goods!

  • Jacki - October 15, 2012 - 8:39 AM

    Absolutely love this project! Now I need to go find an industrial toolbox to shamelessly borrow your idea :)ReplyCancel

  • Kat B. - October 15, 2012 - 9:01 AM

    Liquor, cooking oils, unrefrigerated sauces/syrups . . . this box project has infinite possibilities! Pinned to my “When I Feel Like Martha Stewart” board. ~ KatReplyCancel

  • Heather - October 15, 2012 - 10:34 AM

    This is really cute, although we could never fit all of our liquor into it. Embarrassingly, we’d probably need something the size of a suitcase. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy - October 16, 2012 - 11:19 PM

    I’ll be honest, when I saw the first picture I thought “booze box – oh, perfect it has a place for a little lock on there.”

    My kids are way too young for me to be worrying about them swiping booze out of the liquor cabinet, but I know it’s going to happen one day. I’ve concluded that I’ll do what I can to try to stop them, but at the end of the day I will just beg them not to re-fill with water the share they’ve taken, lest they ruin the whole bottle (as I now understand I did more times than I care to admit). Teenagers. Ugh.

    Anyway, definitely like what you did there. I also like how you can look at that box and think “is it time to work? or time to drink?”ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 17, 2012 - 8:42 AM

      Jimmy, great points! (And too funny.)ReplyCancel

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When we picked up these finds from The City Flea, we told you we had a plan for each. The frame will be used as – get this – a frame (she’s actually in her new home, and she’s beautiful – more on that next week!), but the metal crate? It’s now being used to house our shoes. Practical, but cute too.

We have (scratch that - had) a serious where do we put our shoes? problem in this house, partially out of laziness, but mostly because it’s so annoying to bring our outside shoes all the way down the hall and back in our closets. I mean, can you just imagine how far that feels? (Ha!) For the most part, we each leave a pair outside our front door (I’m sure our neighbors must love us!), but it’d been normal to find a few of my kicks strewn in the hallway. Yup, even type-A me can slip – and it drove Scott crazy.

So! We picked up 4 small casters (you know we love those), a coir mat, and a couple packs of machine screws/nuts from the hardware store. I know almost nothing about how to select the proper size screw, but I can tell you that we simply took our caster and did a quick dry fit to find out we needed 2 packs of #10-24 x 1/2″ – enough for 16 screws/nuts total. The size will vary based on what casters you pick out, of course.

First, we flipped our crate over and eyeballed the placement of our casters, marking where our screws would need to go. We knew you wouldn’t be able to see the casters once the crate was in place (due to the placement of the vent holes on the bottom), so we just nudged them as far out as we could for balance.

Scott drilled our 16 holes (4 for each caster), and we secured the casters in place with the screws and nuts. We chose to have the end of the screw poke up and through the bottom of our bin, because we knew we’d be covering them with our coir mat.

About the mat: because we’d be using this for our shoe storage, we cut down a coir mat to fit the base of our crate. This will be helpful on rainy/snowy days, allowing our shoes to drain. To cut it to size, I flipped it over, made my measurements, and made several passes with my utility blade. The trick to getting a clean edge and keeping yourself safe is to make many “soft” cuts until you feel your blade go all the way through.

That’s it! We dubbed it the “Shoe Box” (because we seem to need a name for everything around here) and tucked it under our entryway console. You can tell that it’s virtually impossible to see our casters, but it’s nice to be able to slide this guy around if needed – you know, because, why not?

The fall weather has me stashing my every day boots for now, and although this photo might not make it seem like it, we can actually fit my boots and a pair of Scott’s shoes, too.

And, oh yeah, we replaced our entry rug! After pinning a few ideas, we settled on the 2′x3′ Kite Kilim during West Elm’s rug sale. While we loved our DIY FLOR for the last few years, it had been abused by Jack, the girls and us daily. Because it was right next to the front door, it was constantly filthy – even though I spot cleaned it weekly. In addition, our new living room FLOR is much larger than our previous shaggy rug, and with all the carpeted hardwood, well, everything just felt too, uh, ruggy.

We finally surrendered our idea of the big, grand entry rug, and we realized it made more sense to have a small rug as an anchor to our console. To be honest, we’re still getting used to the smaller scale, so we’ll live with it for a while and see how it goes. Nothing has to be permanent; isn’t that the best part of loving your home?

Try as I might (and because everything in our home is mini-sized) it’s impossible to take a photo of our console/crate/rug straight on (I can’t stand back far enough to get everything in the frame) – that is, unless, I shoot from outside our front door. Of course as soon as I opened the door, Jack took this as a sign we’d be going on a w-a-l-k, so he wouldn’t budge. On the up side, he weasled his way into a post on our Shoe Box. The ridiculous neck-stretch-air-sniff is due to our neighbor’s yummy cooking; the scent fills the entire main hall!

Shoe woes: solved! No more throngs of sneakers on our welcome mat, and no more agony (ugh!) over having to tote our shoes to our closets.

How do you stash yours? We wonder if living in one unit of a larger building makes this harder; by keeping one or two pairs outside our door, our neighbors have to see them everyday, too. What are the unspoken rules?

PS: When it comes to discarding your old FLOR, did you know you can recycle them? Sweet.

  • Lindsey d. - October 12, 2012 - 7:50 AM

    Love the crate! I have a very similar backdoor shoe holder, thanks to a $6 antique soft drink crate. Even when I don’t always manage to get my shoes into it (or they overflow), it gives me incentive to keep my pile of footwear at the backdoor a bit neater. Love it!

    http://slowtrier.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/wordless-wednesdays-6-antique-store-find-running-shoe-holder/ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - October 12, 2012 - 10:28 AM

    Oh, you guys are so cool. It’s perrrrfect. We had a serious shoe problem by our door. Like, 10 pairs at a time. I don’t even know where they all came from! We went with the slim shoe storage from Ikea which has been working like a charm, but it definitely isn’t as charming as this.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - October 12, 2012 - 11:05 AM

    I’m from the Grand Rapids area….lovin the crate!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - October 12, 2012 - 12:10 PM

    We are trying to rehab an old dresser. We have a TON of shoes and they always end up in a pile.ReplyCancel

  • emily @ go haus go - October 12, 2012 - 12:50 PM

    I love all the Cincinnati mentions on this blog! The Foxy Shazam shirt is the icing on the cake.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 14, 2012 - 1:40 PM

      Lindsey, what a great find!

      Emily, bravo for mentioning Foxy! Scott and I fight over who gets to wear that shirt all the time. We hope you’ve had a chance to see them live – they are TOO much!

      Thanks, guys!ReplyCancel

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