It’s been a while since I’ve shared one of my home decorating projects so I thought I’d give you a before and after look at my dining room chair makeover. I’ve been holding on to these photos for ages! I picked up these Duncan Phyfe style mahogany harp back chairs on from a friendly Craigslist seller in New Jersey about a year and a half ago. I paid $80 for all 4 chairs…an awesome deal! They were nicked, dinged, and the upholstery…let’s not even talk about it. Beyond awful. These definitely needed some TLC.
I knew I wanted to paint them because I felt the mahogany was a bit too dark and heavy. Painting them would not only lighten them up but also allow me to camouflage the imperfections in the wood.
Now, I love a good DIY project but sometimes I just don’t have the time or patience so I’d rather just pay a professional to do the work that I don’t have the time for or don’t want to risk screwing up…so for this project, I did a partial DIY and re-finished the chair frames myself while I had new cushions professionally fabricated by my upholsterer. Above are the supplies I used to tackle the chair frame: A Ryobi hand sander with various sanding pads, fine grit sand paper for smoothing, Zinsser’s 123 primer, Benjamin Moore eggshell finish paint and various paint brushes.
The first step I took was to sand off the finish and smooth out the most noticeable imperfections. It took a lot of elbow grease and energy but after about an hour and a half I had all 4 chairs all prepped and ready to go. (Note: You’ll want to do this outdoors where it’s well ventilated and you wont have to worry about dust flying everywhere.)
Next I gave each chair a good coat of primer followed by two coats of paint. The color is called Boothbay Gray which has a slight blue tone.
After the paint dried my chair frames patiently awaited their new cushions…
And finally…the finished product! I chose a striped Suzanne Rheinstein for Lee Jofa fabric called Piedmont Stripe. The leaf green color looks great against the chairs’ blue gray frame. Below are a few more shots of the
Photos: Top Left – Carter Smith/Elle.com. Top Right – Suzy Hoodless
Despite the cold, rainy weather, Spring is officially here and I’ve been dreaming up rooms filled with spring greens, lovely lavender, pops of pink and feminine florals. With inspiration from model/actress Devon Aoki in a beautiful spring garden and a pretty pastel room by British designer Suzy Hoodless, here are some ideas for how you can infuse a bit of spring into your home this season!
PAINT: (L-R) Lily Lavender, Sugarplum, Vintage Taupe – Benjamin Moore Paints. FABRICS: (L-R) Simple Pleasures – Duralee, Velvet $30/yd – Mood Fabrics, Riviera in Flight $19.99/yd – Iman Home, Flower Field $21.59/yd – Calico Corners. ACCESSORIES: 1. Moroccan Pouf $206.99 – Overstock.com, 2. Ceramic Lamp $159.99 – Target, 3. Tempo Velvet Pillow $39.95 – Crate & Barrel, Caspian Plateau Rug $998 – Anthropologie, 5. Chinese Garden Stool $129 – Wisteria, 6. Tree of Life Framed Art $2000 – Anthropologie, 7. Bexley Throw $49.95 – Crate & Barrel.
A design by Ryan Korban for pro Skateboarder Chad Muska. Photographer: Patrick Cline. Photo via 1st Dibs
From chic house tours and party planning tips from a top Hollywood decorator to the new crop of tween design bloggers whose names you should know, here are our favorite articles from around the web that you must read this weekend!
*LA based celebrity interior designer Nathan Turner shares his top party planning tips with Elle Decor (ElleDecor.com)
*Check out 1st Dibs for a great profile on edgy “it” designer Ryan Korban (1st Dibs)
*First there was 14-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, now meet the new wave of tween design bloggers hitting the scene. (Shelterpop)
*Jen Ramos of MadebyGirl gives readers a tour of a beautiful, bright & sunny California home. (MadebyGirl)
**New York Social Diary goes inside the tailored, modern and masculine apartment of NYC based decorators Jim Aman and John Meeks. (New York Social Diary)
Have a wonderful weekend!
PS – If you haven’t heard, we’re conducting our first ever reader survey and I’d love to hear from you! My goal is to get a better understanding of who you are and the type of content you’re most interested in reading here on So Haute! Plus, by completing the survey you’ll be eligible to win a fab limited-edition Christian Chiaze print from 20×200! Click here to take the survey!
I also want to give a huge thanks to everyone who has already completed the survey! I’m so inspired by all of your feedback…both positive and constructive and I’m grateful to have the most amazing and supportive readers ever! I’m learning so much from each and every one of you and look forward to continuing to bring you fresh and inspiring content on a regular basis! xo Nicole
Undecorate – by Christiane Lemieux.
DwellStudio Founder and Creative Director Christiane Lemieux has just released her first coffee table book, out today, that celebrates the art of achieving an unfussy, effortlessly chic home. It’s titled Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design and after eagerly anticipating its arrival for more than a year, I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy. As expected, the book is chock full of inspiration and I’m utterly obsessed with it! Undecorate gives us a glimpse inside 20 real homes across America to explore the concept of “undecorating” – a term Christiane coined to describe perfectly imperfect approach to decor which really boils down to achieving a comfortable, lived in home that’s designed over time and truly reflects your personal style. I think it’s worth noting that the book’s foreward was written by Deborah Needleman who now helms WSJ but was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Domino – a magazine I credit with giving this effortless decorating style its mainstream appeal.
One of the excerpts from the book that resonated with me was when Christiane talks about how the rise of the internet and design blogs have influenced her decorating decisions in recent years. Whereas she used to look to top tier decorators for design direction, she now prefers blogs and finds more inspiration from decorating amateurs with real ideas and a totally fresh approach. In fact, there are even a few blogger homes featured in Undecorate including the homes of Lisa Borgnes Giramonti from A Bloomsbury Life and Valerie Hart from Visual Vamp!
Christiane was kind enough to share some insider scoop about the book with me as well as reveal details on other exciting projects DwellStudio has in the works. Read on to hear all about it plus get a little sneak peek inside Undecorate!
What made you decide to write a book?
It’s funny – it was very organic and a natural next step. I had been noodling this idea in my head and then I had a meeting with Clarkson Potter and it all fell into place. The part I did not take into consideration was the actual execution. Getting a book done is a lot of work…wow!
Tell us about how the project finally came together…
You know – I’m not even sure. I gave my amazing editor Doris Cooper some ideas and voila – we had a book. It was totally fluid. I am so glad it happened because it was one of the most amazing things I’ve done.
How did you land on the title Undecorate?
It really says exactly what I am getting at in the book. I really believe we look at interior design and decor in a more fluid way these days…we do things ourselves and the project is never really done. It’s never really decorated. We also – through blogs and social media – invite each each other in and work together and decorate together. It’s always an evolving process.
I love that you chose Melanie Acevedo to shoot your book – I’ve always been drawn to her photographs! Was working with her an obvious choice? What was it like collaborating with her?
I had another photographer lined up and then Mel came to my office with her portfolio…it was love at first sight! AND one of the dummy spreads we had created for the book for concept board had her photography – talk about a sign! We had an amazing time working together. We went on a journey across the country and got to photograph these amazing homes and people.
Of all the amazing homes and people you photographed for Undecorate…do you have a favorite?
I fell in love with each and every person we shot – seriously. It was like 20 amazing parties. We did have an amazing cocktail-infused evening with Chase Booth and Gray Davis at their gorgeous place in Copeck lake. We all cooked dinner and went swimming. It was perfect.
Your book refers to undecorating as a movement…what do you think it is about this effortless style that resonates with people?
I think there are no barriers to entry. If you love something – you can make it work in your interior. We shot to the most amazing place in Chicago where the owners Heidi and Art lived with their Jaguar cars…it was gorgeous. The cars functioned like sculptures.
What do you think is the key to achieving an “undecorated” look?
I think it’s personal. Don’t follow rules – follow your instincts. Do the things you like and it will come together. There are a lot of interiors out there that look the same. Undecorating is about soul and personality.
Aside from Undecorate, what’s next for the brand?
We are launching furniture in 3 weeks at High Point. Now that was a project! I will say that everything we designed is very influenced by my experience with the book…It’s personal, eclectic and people can truly put this collection together and make it their own.
Finally, what does home mean to you?
Home is the place I go for refuge. The place where I get comfort….It’s family and being surrounded by the things and people I love.
You can order your copy of Undecorate here and to check out DwellStudio’s latest offerings visit DwellStudio.com!
Book photography by Melanie Acevedo. Photography of Undecorate by Nicole Gibbons
Large scale art can be expensive but you can create an easy and affordable art installation for your home simply by stretching a few pieces of your favorite fabric onto a canvas, like San Francisco based interior design firm Massuco Warner Miller did in the cozy living room shown above.
Start by finding an inexpensive fabric that you love and purchase about 3 yards. I recommend choosing a colorful patterned fabric like the KWID Imperial Trellis linen shown in this room. You’ll also need a few easy to find supplies which include 3 canvases from your local craft store (groups of odd numbers always looks best!), a pair of sharp craft scissors and a staple gun. Next, all you need to do is attach your fabric to the canvas using a staple gun, one side at a time, stretching it as you go around so the fabric lays taut across the canvas. After you’ve finished all three they’re ready to hang! How’s that for a bright idea?! And it’s really that easy!