Jul 152014

This adventure started when we moved into the new house (over a year ago now) and with any luck will be coming to an end in the very near future *fingers crossed*.  Our kitchen has a little breakfast bar area that the kids use all.the.time. for snacking, eating meals, art projects, playing games, homework and you get the picture.

bar area empty

Initially, the kids made due with bar stools we already owned, but they stood at bar height not counter height.  Which meant the kids skinny little legs could squeeze in, but not so much for adults.  Plus when you sat on them you had to hunch over the counter at a weird angle to do anything.  Not very comfortable for the sittee, although it was fairly entertaining for the observer.   After working with what we had for several weeks, I happened across some cute little counter height bar stools at Goodwill for $10 each and grabbed them up quickly.  They weren’t anything extraordinary, but being the right height and the right price made them all good in my book.

goodwill bar stool

And, the journey would have ended there if one of the stools hadn’t fallen apart (the lone remaining stool is above).  They lasted for months and months before the problems began.  At first it was just the occasional jiggle with one of the legs and we could deal with that, but eventually it became the occasional falling off of one of the legs and that wasn’t so workable.  So I started searching out some alternatives.  I knew I wanted to put something there more permanent and not have to revisit this little area for many a year to come.  What I found out was how crazy expensive new bar stools can be…seriously.  I mean there are cheaper stools out there (similar to what I found at GW), but the whole point was to find something that would last and be timeless in style (as in I didn’t want to regret my purchase a year from now).   After more searching I realized I would have to make them, if I didn’t want to spend a lot money (which I didn’t have anyway so it was more a reality check than anything).

I was fairly certain I wanted something with a back and these were the two plans that appealed to me the most in both style and cost of materials.  The Louis XVI Bar Stool from The Design Confidential and The Vintage Bar Stool Plan from Ana White’s site.   Both of which would need to be adjusted to counter height vs bar height.  After debating which one to build I decided to go with the TDC plan.  It involved curving a 2×4 using my circular and jig saws, so I was a little intimated.  Let’s just say a couple of 2×4′s may have been sacrificed as part of my learning curve, but I made it through.  Then I started to assemble one and realized it was too big.  The scale of the stools would be too big for our little bar area.  Ugh.  Thankfully, I had only spent $10 on 2×4′s at that point (I had the other wood necessary in my stash), I could salvage pretty much all the wood and most importantly the circular saw and I had become better friends with all the time we had spent together :) .  On to plan B, building the vintage stools.  I actually only built one because I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the “one” or not.

vintage bar stool

And, I’m glad I did because I just didn’t love it.  I tried to, but it just wasn’t happening.  I kept telling myself maybe if I paint it a different color, the black is just too much and blah, blah, blah.  None of my mental counseling had any effect.  On the bright side my son was thrilled to have a chair to sit on that didn’t  practically fall apart under him every time he sat down, so at least that part of the build was a success.  Also, if this style chair is for you – very easy to build and inexpensive material list.

two different stools

The journey paused here with the two mismatched bar stools for several more months, until I  got sick of looking at two mismatched stools had an epiphany and found the perfect little stools to DIY.  TO BE CONTINUED…

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Mar 282014

I purchased this chair many months ago from a local thrift shop with the intention of doing a little update and then replacing the large wooden office chair in my daughter’s room with this one.  At the time I had no idea that her room would be going through a complete overhaul, but thankfully I procrastinated held off on the project just long enough to make sure the update would coordinate with her new room colors.

The $2 Thrift Chair Before:

thrift chair beforeThe seat removed from the chair frame really easy with just a few screws and unsnapping of the legs from grooves on the bottom of the seat .  My concern was whether or not the two pieces of the seat would separate just as easy, but really no problems there either.  I used a flat head screwdriver and worked my way around, gently prying the two pieces apart.  This is what I had once done…

thrift store chair seatThe chair frame minus the seat…Nothing too dramatic there.  The wet purple rag is soaking the goodwill tag, so that I could remove it easily without any residue.   After the tag was removed, I did some sanding to remove a little rust and create a good base for the new paint.   I limited the paint choices to what I already had on hand to keep this project budget friendly (the current budget is $0 :) ).  Luckily, I had two partial cans of gray spray paint.  One was a Rustoleum dark semi-gloss spray in grey and the other also Rustoleum in a metallic grey – it’s official title – Dark Steel.  The Dark Steel was what I used to update the lamps in my bedroom, so I already knew I loved the color.  Plus, her rug is mainly a dark charcoal grey so it was a color already being used in her room.  I used the semi-gloss as a base coat and the metallic for the top coat.  I just barely had enough between the two.

thrift store chair frame

The seat was actually an easy project too.  I kept waiting for some big problem to arise, something to break or not fit.  You know the things that always pop up when you think a project is going to be super simple.  My kharma must have been good that day because the seat recovering was over and done in no time.  I used some left over shaggy hot pink fabric that was originally used on the DIY faux shag rug previously in my daughter’s room (before the latch hook rug was completed).  She loves the fabric, so it was an easy choice.  I wrapped it around the existing seat, cut off the extra leaving an inch or so around all the edges (the photo below is before I trimmed the excess), then flipped it fabric side down placed the metal base  inside the top and pushed the two pieces back together.  A rubber mallet helped really snug the two pieces back together completely.

thrift store chair new seat

After letting the paint dry on the frame for another day (I waited a full day on the seat before recovering it), it was time to see how it would all work together.  As with the rest of this project it all went back together with no problems, which really is just so weird for me.

Here is the updated thrift chair:

updated thrift chair

It’s crazy what a little bit of fabric and a couple coats of paint can accomplish.  It’s little projects like this that keep me coming back to thrift stores to find something old to make new again.

thrift store chair ba

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