I am officially a Chicago resident and have been living here for over a week now! I thought today I would share with you some of the DIY upgrades I made to my belongings before leaving for Chicagoland. I spent the weeks leading up to my move working hard to raise my furniture to a suitable level of attractiveness to adorn my already cute apartment.
I bought this fun telephone desk at the vendor’s mall in my home town for a pretty good bargain. As you can see, I was proud enough of the purchase that I decided it must be displayed on instagram with a fancy filter. For some reason, that is the only picture that remains of the “before” version of the desk, so enjoy the overall yellowy tone.
The first thing that needed to be done was a seat cushion costume change. I can appreciate an interesting orange textile in general, but it really seemed to be dragging this specific piece of furniture back to the 70s. It’s also important to note that I already own two large orange furniture pieces, and I don’t really want to feel like I’m living inside of a giant pumpkin. So I went out and found myself a nice, fresh teal fabric to use for my seat.
I also decided that since this is probably the most unique piece of furniture I own, I should really do something to make a showpiece out of it. Enter chevron tape and spray paint! Chevron is a big deal right now, so they actually make specially shaped painter’s tape that helps you incorporate chevron into all of your DIY projects. I don’t really like chevron that much but I do like diamonds, and if you connect the tips of your chevron tape instead of creating parallel lines you get an alternating diamond pattern!
I chose a very light cream color for the diamonds so they can stay neutral if my color palette ever changes and I want a different colored seat cushion. And here is the end result!
Unfortunately, I still can’t seem to find a great spot for this in my apartment. Figures.
My next project actually involved a bit of carpentry. Are you amazed? Well, it was pretty mild carpentry, but it didn’t feel mild to my arms because I used a hand saw.
So there was a chair at my house that no one was using, and I was like, “hmm, maybe I need a chair for my apartment!” Good idea, right? Then I was like, “And maybe I should make this chair serve double duty as a sitting place and a storage place!” Good idea too, yeah? Well, more like good concept. I’m still not sure it was worth the work, but I am proud of myself for doing it. Here is a picture of the chair laying on the ground without the seat because I forgot to take a real “before” picture.
So here’s what I did:
There were two-inch panels coming down from the seat of the chair on all four sides. I decided to measure and cut a wooden base to attach to the bottom of the panels to create a box under the seat. Then I covered the seat in the same material as my telephone desk and attached it with hinges so that it could open as a lid. My dad was nice enough to help me drill holes in the chair to attach the hinges. Here are some pictures.
The saw that built a muscle in my arm.
Attaching the base to the chair
The original cushion was black, by the way.
Wow, a box! And hinges!
It turned out well and can hold small things, like that pair of scissors in the picture (with room to spare!). I might cover the inside of the box with wallpaper sometime to make it prettier, but that is a project best saved for a rainy day in Chicago.
File Cabinet and Octagonal Table
These were just painting projects. They were both black and boring. Black used to be a go-to color for me a few years ago when I was dark and mysterious, but it just doesn’t fit with my new scheme, and I was really needing some more bluish greens in my life. For my file cabinet I just picked a color of spray paint I liked (I believe it was called something oceany like “sea spray” or “ocean potion”) and then I just taped over the handles and painted that thing! Yay! So easy, and it looks pretty too!
Of course, I decided to make my table more complicated by painting a pattern on the top. I could go into detail about the process, but I actually took thorough step by step pictures of this one so I will let them speak for me.
What a lovely color!
Oh my, a design!
Wait, what happened?
Ah, yes, the old “peeling the tape off” trick!
I had a little accident when I was finishing this one. I had to wait until the paint was dry on the top and then I flipped the table over onto a drop cloth to touch up the under side of the legs. But when the legs were dry and I went to put it right-side-up again, there were marks from the drop cloth on the surface of the table. Ooops! I may try to fix it one day, but you can only see the weird, crumpled-plastic-like marks if you get up close.
If you ever come to visit and want to marvel at the HGTV-like beauty that is my apartment, just stay a few feet away from the coffee table.
Am I on HGTV?