Let’s file this under “slowest kitchen makeover ever,” shall we?
When we moved here, more than fourteen years ago now, our kitchen looked a lot like this:
(These photos were actually taken in 2007, but nothing much had really changed in the intervening nine years, aside from a few knickknacks.)
Back then, as a housewarming gift, my brother-in-law upholstered the seat cushions of our outdoor-furniture-turned-kitchen-set for us in a nice navy blue stripe. My mother-in-law sewed us a valence in the same fabric. And I went shopping for all of the dark blue accessories I could lay my hands on. It worked for me for a long time (as you probably guessed when I said it all looked the same after nine years).
A few summers ago, we decided the table and chairs should be dark blue, too, and so Neil took them outside and gave them a good coat of spray paint. In the meantime, I was starting to add little bits of red where I could: new crock pot, new rice cooker, a couple of towels. I had started making my own napkins and aprons, too, and (just recently) towels.
Fourteen years have not been kind to the fabric on these poor chairs. Trust me, it’s much worse than it looks.
So yesterday, I finally decided to act on a thought I’ve been entertaining for, like, ever, and I cut into some French General Panier de Fleurs (that I’d originally planned to make into an apron and a couple of napkins), and covered those worse-for-wear seat cushions right up:
Now, isn’t that better? The thing is, I don’t really know the first thing about upholstery. I mean, I can guess, but as far as doing it right? Well, I’m sure that there are a million and one tricks of the trade that I am not wise to. But I was in the moment here, following-through on an urge, and I just couldn’t see myself taking the time to research at that point. Add to that the fact that I wasn’t entirely sure Neil would like the fabric I picked out, and you’ll understand why I did these the way that I did:
Yes, that’s masking tape. I just stretched the fabric right over the existing cushions, and taped it in place. As it turns out, Neil is ok with the fabric choice, so I may just wander over to see my brother-in-law, upholsterer extraodinaire, and see if I can sweet-talk him into slapping a few staples on these suckers.
Or, oh, I dunno, un-assembling the whole shebang and doing it right 😉
I love the new look, and I especially enjoy the fact that the seats are no longer filthy-looking. That’s a huge plus.
My only hesitation? The pattern on the chairs might be too busy to allow me to use a festive vintage tablecloth now and then. I might be better off if the chairs were striped. Or solid. I’ll mull that over before I make these covers permanent. For now, though, paired with just a simple vintage towel on the table? ♥ love ♥
But here’s the thing: once the seats had gotten their makeover, it seemed only right that I have a new curtain, too. Don’t you agree? I had half an hour before Neil got home, and a yard of another print from Panier de Fleurs (that I’d originally planned to make into a half-dozen napkins).
As it turns out, the space across my window is pretty close to the 45″ width of the fabric. And as luck would have it, I really didn’t want a bunched-up valence like I already had. I wanted a flat, smooth curtain. So I cut the piece I had in half to use 1/2 yard for a new curtain, and the remaining 1/2 yard for three napkins (eventually; someday).
I was in a rush, and I didn’t measure properly when I was hemming the darn thing, so it’s about 1/2-inch longer on the left than it is on the right. I’ll fix that later. Aside from that, I really like it! The darker taupe color ties in with the tiles by the oven, and the dark blue ties in with the furniture and other accessories.
It was so simple to make. Assuming you already have a piece of fabric that is the proper width, all you would need to do is:
- cut to 18 inches in length (or more, or less, to taste)
- fold over selvedges, press, and stich them down
- for the bottom hem, fold up 1/2-inch and press, fold another half-inch, press, and stitch down
- for the rod casing at the top, fold down 1/2-inch and press, fold an additional 1.5 inches and press
- stitch down the casing at the foldover edge, and stitch again about 1/2-inch from the top of the curtain
- thread curtain rod between the two rows of stitching and hang the curtain
Somewhere in there you might want to measure everything so that you don’t have to re-do half of it later. Ahem.
So there you have it, the world’s slowest kitchen makeover, still in progress. It’s taken roughly three years to paint and recover the furniture, replace the towels, accessorize, and change the curtain: all things that could easily have been done in the space of a week. But then, that’s just how we roll.
Next, I’d like someone to light a fire under me to replace that floor. Dark tile might be nice.