Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eleanor: Phase One, Step Two

In comparison to removing the fabric, this step was super easy. This post is more about keeping you updated then anything else. I simply sanded the wood trim, then I vacuumed the saw dust, followed by a wet rag.

Now that Phase One is complete, I'm off to the fabric store...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eleanor: Phase One, Step One

Phase One: Stripping down, Step One: Removing Fabric

As I circled the sofa wondering where in the world I should start I noticed the cording was loose on one side so I yanked it and it came right up. This was as good a starting point as any so I jumped right in.

The cording came up super easy and most of the glue that was used came up with it. I actually used pliers to pull the cording up initially because I was afraid of poking myself with staples, but once I started yanking it up I noticed that it was just held on with glue. I just pulled and a section of the cording would come up and then I would move the pliers done the line and pull up the next section.
After the cording came the fabric. Again I just took the pliers and yanked at a loose corner and worked at the fabric with the pliers until the entire section was removed.

I removed one section of both cording and fabric at a time until the whole sofa was done. I was sure to label each section as if seated in the sofa and saved each piece in the garage because I will use them as templates for the new fabric.

So I did the outside of one arm first, and then the next arm, and followed with the very back of the sofa.
Again, the process was the same and very straight forward, it was just bigger than the sides. Pull the cording off followed by the fabric. 

Lucky for me most of the staples came out when I yanked on the fabric, but I would say a quarter of staples stuck in the wood of the frame. So as I finished each section I took a flat head screw driver, stuck it through the middle of the staple and loosened it up enough to yank it out with my pliers. 

Lifting up the fabric I could see where the front of the back rest and the seat connected at the back. After the back was completely removed I moved to the front of the back rest, again repeating the basic steps: remove cording and then fabric. I also had a little helper throughout this process.

The front of the backrest proved to be the most difficult as of yet because the bottom was tucked underneath and stapled into the back.

So I removed the top and sides of the fabric and then did the bottom. I took my pliers and yanked at each section of fabric where the staple was and most times it came right up. There was a few times I had to get the screw driver and pliers out.
The insides of the arms were the same as the front of the back rest. I removed the cording in one piece. Next, the top and sides of the fabric, followed by the bottom which was tucked underneath to the outside of the arm.

 This is a view from the inside of the arm. The top and sides of the fabric have been removed, the bottom is tucked under the arm.

I had to pull staples out of the bottom of the batting on both arms because I couldn't get to the stapled fabric on the outside without moving the batting out of the way. Because the batting on the couch was still in good shape I tried to leave as many staples in the batting as possible so as not to shift it in any way.

Finally, I took the seat fabric off. This was simple and the fabric came right up. Here is the whole now naked sofa.

This whole process took me about three to four hours. The most time consuming part is removing the staples that are stuck in the wood. As I said most of the staples came up with the fabric, but a good portion still needed to be removed.

Now on with Step Two: sanding.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bringing The Cinema Home: By Mario Estrada

I have a fun surprise for you today. A guest post from my dear friend Mario. Mario and his partner created a home movie theatre right in their home and he was gracious enough to share with us how he did it. Can I just add I've watched a movie in this theatre and it's awesome!!! I wish I had one in my home. Mario and his partner did a great job and I'm super excited to share his post with you so without further adieu let me introduce you to my friend Mario...

I love going to the movies. It's doesn't matter if it's an A or D flick to me, the exhilaration of getting lost in a world of fantasy is the most exciting part. I don't however, enjoy sticky floors, screaming children, and inconsiderate phone users. It is these reasons that my partner and I decided to sacrifice a downstairs bedroom to construct a home theatre. Sure the prospect of a home theatre can be daunting, but replicating the cinema environment was pretty easy.

We began by removing everything from the spare room, including the closet doors. Once the room was clear, our next challenge was sound. How does one enjoy the full experience of an action packed flick without a significant amount of sound? You can't, but we can't have the whole house booming either.

We needed to soundproof the room, so, we meandered to Lowes after finding out that real Sound Studio foam was out of our budget. Besides, this will become a theatre, not a studio. While at Lowes, we found a medium quality sound board at about $9 a sheet that we promptly picked up and screwed into the barren walls (we even covered the window and ceiling as well).

After our soundboard was secured I had my better half run all the necessary cables for the speakers and projector to the front of the theatre because they would be hidden when complete. Next we had to solve the issue of seating. Having removed the closet, we constructed a riser made of 2x8 plywood and plywood sheets to fit inside the space left by the closet. Barren wood is unsightly, so we used spare carpet remnants to cover the riser before affixing rope light to the step's edge for safety. Once the back row was raised, we installed the projector to the closet ceiling and projected the image to the adjacent soundproofed wall.

Soundproofing is brown, non-descript and not very conducive for image viewing so I needed to create a screen. Spackle is cheap, abundant, and with enough patience and practice will coat soundboard. Long smooth strokes are key to a smooth finish, but don't worry if it's a little rough, several coats are needed and a light sanding when dry is recommended. I learned a hard lesson the first year, so I'll impart my solution now to save you frustration later. Use drywall tape between the seams on the screen to prevent cracks and separation due to expansion/contraction caused by the seasons. Once the screen is spackled, dry and sanded, a coat of paint is all that's needed. There are companies who sell special movie screen paint but this is about ingenuity and creativity, so I started with "Silverscreen" colored paint from Lowes and added a metalic accent paint to the mixture. How much? Well, I added just a splash. The whole point to to get the metal flakes into the paint to help reflect the light to give the screen a bit of sharpness. Paint is great because you can always do another coat.

We've sound proofed, installed a projector, run wires, created a back row, and made a screen, now it's time to cover the walls. Knowing my local fabric shop wouldn't have nearly the amount of fabric necessary to cover a room a trip to the metro Fabric District was in order. Felt is expensive, Satin more so... but Chenille is cheap and comes in large bolts for upholstery use. The best part about lining a room with fabric is that you can get a discount for purchasing the entire bolt and not just a section. Rushing home with my fabric in tow I immediately got to work on covering the walls. Sure draping the fabric covers ugly soundboard, but pleating it while stapling it to the wall makes it look like a curtain. (Remember it's going to be dark, no one will see the staples but I used magic marker to minimize the shine).

At this point all that was needed was to add furniture and speakers. Three recliners in the closet and three in the middle of the room facing the freshly spackled and painted screen, give the illusion of a real theatre. The projector behind you above your head ensures no one walking by becomes part of the movie, and the media center in front of you gives you full control of all theatre functions. Using a receiver allowed us connect more than one device and even incorporate our gaming systems.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


If you've ever seen the movie "Gone in Sixty Seconds" you know that Eleanor is Nicholas Cage's unattainable car. Everytime Nicholas Cage goes to steal that car something bad happens and he never gets away with the car until the very end of the movie. Well, that's what this sofa is to me, my Eleanor. I recently came accross this sofa for free, which of course is the best price. The sofa frame is in great shape, although it definitely needs to be reupholstered, needs new back cushions because there aren't any, and the wood needs work too.

And although we aren't in NEED of a new sofa; our three sided nine foot by nine foot sofa is still in decent condition after Jake, the dog, and the cats. But we are in need of a smaller sofa, a three sided nine foot by nine foot sofa is just too big in our small family room. It's hard to tell in the pic but this sofa is about eight feet long and unlike our current sofa it doesn't have two extra enormous sides popping out which is a bonus in our small family room.

So I've decided to face my Eleanor and reupholster this bad boy. I've done some reupholstering in the past: dining room chairs, bar stools, even a chaise lounge; but never a whole sofa. So I've decided I definitly need to baby step this one, so stay tuned for the progress and we'll get through this one together! I hope!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bathroom Animal Jars

I made this for Jake's bathroom to hold cotton balls and q-tips. This is super easy, but unfortunately I did this project pre-blog so I only have after photos.

First, I went to party city and picked up some jungle animal figurines for .50 cents each. I grabbed some washed out baby jars and I painted the lids in a bronze/gold color. I also painted the animals. Next, I glued the animals to the lid. I let them sit for a couple of hours and I was done. This project was super easy and super cheap. The jars/animals took about an hour to paint and glue. And the only thing I paid for was the animal figurines at $2.50 plus tax. I already had the baby food jars and the paint.

There you have it, pretty and easy little jars for the bathroom. You could also make these for art supplies, kitchen supplies, etc. there are a million different uses.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Orchid Care

Just wanted to share a little tip with you that I learned from my mom this past month about orchid care. And since orchids are everywhere these days I thought I would share.

My mom was out visiting and I had asked if she could water my orchid. My mom then informed me that all I needed to do was put three ice cubes in the pot each week. And I don't know about you, but the directions on my orchid read: add 1/4 to 1/3 cup just until soil is damp enough to keep moisture in, drain excess, do this once per week. I'm not entirely sure what that all even means. Damp enough to keep moisture in; how damp is that?

Luckily, my mom couldn't have made it any easier for the girl that kills everything!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tree Trunk Table

As I was in the garage staining the farmhouse table, Nick decided to take Jakey on a walk. They came strolling home with this bad boy. The church down the street was cutting down a giant tree, we think a type of Pine but we're not positive? So Nick asked the tree cutters if he could have a piece so I could make a table; now that's true love!

Since we don't have a yard, it sat in our garage for two or three months to dry out. And having the trunk inside an enclosed area like this actually worked to my benefit because it dried out faster than if it had been outside.
Next, I debarked it. This is easier to do than it looks. I took a long screw driver and a hammer. I would stick the screw driver in between the bark and the tree and pull down, if it got stuck I would use the hammer. Seriously, this is super easy and only took me about half an hour.

After debarking I realized there were some mold spots on the trunk. After a little internet research we realized that was because it wasn't in a good air flow spot in our garage. The trunk was in a corner on it's side and the sides that were blocked got moldy. I know...rookie mistake.

So I took a spray bottle of half vinegar/half water (in my world vinegar cleans everything) and at least I was right for the trunk. It immediately killed all the mold. Unfortunately, the mold left some mold stains. I tried several mold and mildew stain removers but could not get rid of all of the green spots.

I know from the pics it looks like I'm actually making the boys do all the work; but in reality they only really posed for the photo op and then went about their business!

So I decided to just go ahead with the sanding and to my surprise the mold spots sanded right off. I guess the mold had gotten deep enough to stain but not deep enough for the sander! So after about an hour of sanding I decided the trunk was smooth enough. Seriously, you could sand this thing forever and ever.

Next, we rubbed in some linseed oil. It was highly recommended online and was only $8 at home depot. The oil was easy to rub on, I used a foam brush and it dried in about half an hour.

Then we screwed a few wheels on and rolled this bad boy in to the house to become our new coffee table.

Actually, as a coffee table the trunk feels a bit small; seems funny to say right, how can a tree trunk be too small? So, I think I may move it to be an end table somewhere. But for now it works.

I guess all the tree trunk activity really wore him out. I've also been toying with the idea of staining it darker or even painting it. But I don't want to ruin the trunk either. I'll probably change my mind a thousand times before finally making a decision and when I do, you'll be the first to hear about it!

Update: You can view some modifications we made here.