Submitted by Linda
You may remember this photo of my dear friend Heidi looking at fabrics with me at Calico Corners during her quick California getaway in January. Well, it is now April, and I'm finally ready to unveil my 'minimal, simple' kitchen makeover. By simple, I mean that I didn't want to change my paint, or the color scheme. Rather, I wanted to upgrade my fabrics, pillows and window treatments. Piece of cake, right?My first objective was to keep this quilt as my focal point, made by my grandma in the 1920's, and the yellow paint that coordinates with it.
For those of you who know the Laura Numeroff story, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, you remember that he's going to need a glass of milk, and so on and so on. Well, I believe that this story hold deep truths for anyone doing home improvement (you replace the doors, now the molding looks wrong), cleaning (you clean a pantry shelf, and now the rest of the pantry looks terrible), or decorating (you change your fabrics, and now some of the pictures or knick knacks don't work).
The original issue was, the fabric on these chairs needed to be replaced. In fact, after having numerous teenagers sit on these chairs, you can see that we were down to four from the original six chairs, and these four were shaky beyond repair. Be sure to notice the old rocker to the right of the couch - it will be transformed later on.
Despite my navy leather couch, I decided to add black to my color scheme. We found new black chairs at Ikea, but they didn't have upholstered cushions, just a wooden seat. Because of all the time we end up sitting at our kitchen table with family and friends, I really wanted them covered with fabric and thick foam, rather than having a 'tie-on' chair pad. After experimenting with different widths of foam, and using an electric knife to 'carve' the foam, Craig worked his magic and covered all 6 chairs.
I think he did a beautiful job! The next step was to replace the window valances in the kitchen and over the slider. I have really enjoyed having this bright fruity fabric, but if was definitely time for refreshing.
For the windows we chose a Waverly french country print with florals and roosters and a coordinating plaid. My friend Diane came over to help me decide what type of window treatments to do (since dear Heidi was back home in Chicago), and we decided on a "rolled stagecoach" valance. After another trip to Calico Corners to look carefully at the sample valance and it's installation, my mom and I went to work, measuring, cutting, sewing, laughing, with my dad at the ready to hang it once we were done. I put my mom to work on the sewing machine while I cut, pressed, and made iced tea.
Remember the "quick and simple" strategy? Figuring out and creating that valance took us one whole Saturday! Here is the fruit of our workmanship:
Next up, the valance above the slider. Here's the 'before' picture: and yes, that is a birthday balloon on the left.We tackled this 2nd valance on the Monday of my spring break. Though we had figured out some of the logistics on valance #1, the dimensions were different, and we needed to piece the fabric so that the design lined up. I didn't realize that the fabric had a specific repetition to it, but as we were working, we had to be very attentive to the placement of the rooster, etc. By the end of Monday, valance #2 was up. You can see drink dispensers in the background on the patio - yes, we're hosting another gathering soon!
On the Tuesday of my spring break, my folks were back to tackle this sweet little rocker. My parents had bought two of these when they had moved from Nebraska to Oregon, around 1962. I remember my mom changing the upholstery on this chair over the years, and when they scaled down, I nabbed one. The other one is still in my parents' bedroom.
Here you can see the contrast between the old fabric and the new. Notice my cute beehive pincushion, which also has a tape measure hidden inside.
Again, in the spirit of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, when we disassembled the rocker, we discovered that the webbing under the seat was tattered and torn. I shouldn't have been surprised....the chair is practically 50 years old! I was able to find new webbing, and my dad got right to work - out with the old and in with the new.
Because I am known for sticking with a color scheme for a long time, I said to my dad, "Next time I change my fabrics in here, you'll be a little old man and won't be able to help me, so I'll have to hire someone to recover it!" His response, was "Next time it needs to be recovered, throw it out!" (My dear dad is not a big fan of antiques). But in the spirit of remembering our fun time working on it, I grabbed a black sharpie and wrote our names and the date on the underside of the chair - it says Linda, JoJo (Michelle's nickname for JoAnn), and Norm, with my trademark heart.
Here it is! I love, love, LOVE the tassel trim along the bottom of the ruffle. You may notice that we gathered the ruffle rather than making pleats like last time. I used the two valance fabrics, and incorporated the black and tan checked fabric from the chair seats.
The back cushion was a remnant that I bought for $1 at Calico Corners, and the design is roosters and chicken wire! I love the way the different fabrics all work together.
Silly me! I didn't take a before pic of this darling yellow chair. This chair was in my sister-in-law Renee's room when she was little, and I snagged it from her parents (my in-laws) years ago. I think she may want it back someday! It needed a bit of repair and repainting, which Norm and Craig handled. Then we added the sweetest toile fabric cushion with a polka dotty trim and small pillow with black dingle balls. What's not to love about dingle balls? You may remember that needlepoint rooster pillow from our very first outing in January.
So, except for a few minor details, the kitchen is officially refreshed! I love the new look.
I'm so grateful for the folks who helped me along the way- I could have never done it alone. Thank you Heidi, Diane, Craig, Norm and JoAnn!