The Interior Frugalista

March 23, 2017

Mid-Century Modern Armchairs Get A Flower Power Makeover

It's the fourth Thursday of March and that means it's Furniture Fixer Uppers day. I always look forward to this series each month and I had planned on sharing today's makeover with you last month. You may remember a cold knocked me flat off my feet so I put this labor intensive makeover on the back burner.

Well it's a new month and I still have that cold but I wasn't going to let that stop me from finally giving this pair of Mid-Century Modern Danish Armchairs a flower power makeover.
Mid Century Modern Danish Armchairs After Makeover
There's a funny story about these chairs. We purchased them through a local online auction site and when picking them up discovered the seller was a cousin's ex-husband. That cousin was raised in our house, which we purchased from my Aunt and Uncle. Judging by the labels found under the chairs, they may have originated from this house (that hasn't been confirmed yet but is very likely). Talk about coming full circle.

Mid-Century Modern Danish Armchair Makeover


This is what the chairs used to look like...
Mid Century Modern Danish Armchairs Before
*This post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I used or recommend. See my disclosure policy.

Restoring the wood

After removing the hundreds of staples (the worse part of reupholstery) on each chair along with the filthy dirty upholstery, the next order of business was to restore the worn teak. With 150-grit sandpaper, I was able to remove the surface scratches and even out the wood tones.

Upholstery Tip #1

Before you remove one staple, ALWAYS take close up photos of every angle, every fold, every joint in the old upholstery. Trust me, you will refer to these photos often when adding each new piece of fabric.
Mid Century Modern Danish Armchairs Sanded
Using a damp cloth I removed the dust and followed up with a tack cloth. Next, using a lint free rag I applied Scandinavian Tung Oil (*affiliate link).

I was a little concerned about the oil because judging by the amount of dust on the top of the can, this stuff had been in the workshop for probably over a decade.
Mid Century Modern Armchairs Teak Wood Oiled
I was amazed how after just one coat it renewed the luster of the wood. I applied a second coat just in the places where the wood was worn.
Mid Century Modern Armchairs After Tung Oil
When I saw the bolt of fabric at Fabricland (Canadian retailer), I instantly knew it was THE fabric for these chairs. I just love the bold colors and floral print that just screams retro. For your convenience, should you want to purchase it, pictured below is the fabric label.
Mid Century Modern Armchair Fabric Label

Upholstery Tip #2

When purchasing fabric with a print, remember to allow for pattern repeats. Because we were doing two chairs and wanted the pattern repeats to be echoed on each chair, I purchased 4-meters (4.37 yards). I was hoping to have fabric left over to sew two matching pillows but unfortunately had just enough for both chairs. Keep this in mind should you want to sew cushions.

Cutting the new fabric

As I mentioned earlier, the original fabric was filthy dirty. Instead of using it for the pattern pieces to cut the new fabric, I traced each piece onto craft paper. I added an extra 4-inches all around each piece so there was room for error and labeled them accordingly.

With the fabric spread out on the floor, lay out the pattern pieces so you get the exact same pattern repeat for each piece per chair.

Upholstery Tip #3

When removing the original upholstery, label each piece on the back with a marker. They will become your pattern for cutting the new fabric.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may remember this sneak peek photo I shared earlier this week...
Mid Century Modern Armchairs Cutting New Fabric
Once the pattern pieces were laid out and we were 100% certain the pattern repeats were identical for each chair, we placed weights onto each pattern to hold the fabric in place while cutting. You could draw the pattern using tailor's chalk or a pencil but this method is much quicker.

Replacing the old muslin cover 

Thankfully the original stuffing and cotton batting were in good condition. All we had to do was replace the dirty muslin with new batting.
Mid Century Modern Armchairs With New Batting

Upholstery Tip #4

If you don't do a lot of upholstery projects, a heavy duty stapler (*affiliate link) does the task just fine. Electric staplers (*affiliate link) make the task much easier and are a great option if you tackle a few upholstery projects. If you're like us and do a fair bit of upholstery, a Pneumatic stapler (*affiliate link) is a game changer! While the compressor may be loud and annoying running in the background, the time you save makes the noise well worth it.

Upholstering the chairs 

Both chairs were upholstered at the same time to ensure the patterns on each piece lined up exactly the same, starting with the backs.
Mid Century Modern Armchairs Backs Reupholstered
Next, the seats were upholstered, lining up the pattern repeat to the backs (see the first photo in this post).
Mid Century Modern Armchairs Seat Reupholstered

Upholstery Tip #5

Start by putting a staple in the center of top or bottom. Pull the fabric taut (not too taut that it distorts the pattern) and staple the opposite center. Repeat on each side. Work your way around the entire piece.

Note: This is the step where you will be referring to those photos of the original upholstery so you can see how the original folds were on the corners.

I highly recommend this book by Cherry Dobson if you are just learning how to upholster. Rarely do we tackle an upholstery project without it being by our side.


Here is a close up of one of the chair backs completed...
Mid Century Modern Danish Armchairs Reupholstered Back

Adding upholstery tacks

On each fold, three Antique Brass Upholstery Tacks (*affiliate link) were added for a total of 18 per chair (as per the original upholstery).
Mid Century Modern Armchair Flower Power Fabric
I'm thrilled with how the chairs turned out - they are just like I had envisioned when picking out the fabric.
Mid Century Modern Danish Armchair Retro Flower Makeover

Before I share more beauty shots, let's talk a little bit about the Furniture Fixer Uppers series.


If you haven't heard about this series, six blogging friends who have a passion for rescuing furniture that has seen it's better days, come together to bring you six furniture makeovers that include tutorials and helpful tips. The goal is to inspire others to breath new life into dated furniture at a fraction of the cost of replacing it with something new.

If you missed the challenge in February, I transformed a set of Turned Leg Nesting Tables with Jacobean Floral stenciled tops.

Back to the chairs...

Starting with the left...
Mid Century Modern Armchair 1
...and now the right.
Mid Century Modern Armchair 2
I'm happy to report these Mid-Century Modern Armchairs sold quickly at a recent Spring Market and I could have sold them ten times over because people were just digging that flower power fabric.
Mid Century Modern Danish Armchairs Before and After
Surprisingly, the Funky Mid-Century Modern Bar makeover for January's challenge did not sell at the market.

You will find the MCM chairs shared at these fabulous LINK PARTIES.

Are you as excited as I am to see how the talented gals in this group transformed these Fixer Uppers? 
Furniture Fixer Uppers Before: March Blog Series
PRESS THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE THE AFTER PHOTOS


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March 15, 2017

Pining for paint (An Arabesque Stenciled Night Table Makeover)

You know when life tilts to crazy and all you want to do is crawl in a hole and escape? Into my hole, in the form of the basement workshop, I did. Nothing tunes out the chaos better than cranking up the stereo, pulling out a can of paint and escaping into the creative zone for a few hours.

I received a text message from Mr. Frugalista one afternoon asking if I could do anything with a pine two-drawer night table. Heck ya and how soon can you get it home? The price was right and it was in pretty good condition. So when the need to escape arose, this was the perfect project to get lost in.

An Arabesque Stenciled Night Table Makeover

A Pine Arabesque Stenciled Night Table Makeover


This is what the night table looked like before the makeover...
Pine Night Stand Before Makeover

After a good scrub with soap and water, I roughed up the pine with an 80-grit sanding sponge to give the paint some bite.

I painted this piece using chalk paint from Country Chic Paint in the colors Vanilla Frosting (a creamy white) and Elegance (a beautiful soft blue-green). Elegance is one of my favorite colors in their chalk paint line.

After the paint dried I protected the night stand with clear wax. To dirty it up with a time-worn appearance, I applied dark wax around the bottom skirt and where hands would normally grab the drawers to open and close.

Pine Night Table Chalk Painted

To add some personality I stenciled an Arabesque pattern along the top edge and center of each drawer front using the same Vanilla Frosting chalk paint color.

Pine Arabesque Stenciled Night Table

The pretty green glass knobs I had in my stash and were perfect to add some bling to this piece.

Pine Night Table With Green Glass Knobs

*I've included affiliate links in this post so you can find some of the products I used or recommend to complete this project.
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March 9, 2017

Mom's Wooden Stool Got A Befitting Makeover

I spent the better part of the afternoon trying to find a picture of my Mom sitting on HER stool. Being a Mother of seven children, many a potato was peeled and many a dish washed while sitting on this wooden stool. When she moved from an apartment to a assisted living suite where meals were provided, the stool became a plant stand with one of her crocheted doilies on the top.

Sadly, a few years later she was moved into a secured dementia unit and there was no room for her stool. I didn't have the heart to put it in the donation pile because of the memories attached to this little stool, so it came home with me.

The stool left little to be desired and in need of a makeover but I wanted to transform it in such a way that it honored the woman who rested her weary knees on it each day and so Mom's Wooden Stool Got A Befitting Makeover.

Mom's Stool Got A Makeover

Mom's Wooden Stool Makeover


This is what the stool looked like, nothing fancy and probably picked up at a discount store.

Mom's Stool Before A Makeover

The first thing I did was paint the entire stool with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in the color Old White. Using a script liner art brush, I carefully painted a circle in the center of the top using the color Liquorice by Country Chic Paint. With a small paint brush, I filled in the outer edge.

Mom's Stool Makeover chalk painted white

Next, I went over to The Graphics Fairy website to find an image that would be suitable to honor my Mom. That's when I found the most perfect French Apothecary Label. I then went to the Block Posters website and resized the graphic to fit the center of the stool.

How to transfer graphics onto furniture

Using one of my favorite image transfer techniques, I printed the graphic on my laser printer. I cut out the circle and lined it up to the center of the stool and held it in place with painter's tape. Next, I slipped a piece of carbon paper (graphite paper also works) underneath and simply traced over the details with a pen.

Labeling the stool wasn't enough, it needed a Pharmacist's handwritten prescription. In Word, I found a script font that I liked and typed "Remedy for Achy Bones" and resized it to fit the label. Repeating the same steps as above, I traced the handwritten prescription onto the label.

Now that the graphic was transferred onto the painted wood, I used a script liner art brush and black acrylic paint to go over the image. If this image transfer technique seems overwhelming, there are many other ways to transfer graphics. I suggest visiting 12-Easy Image Transfer Methods on The Graphics Fairy's site.

I personally find this image transfer technique very relaxing and go into a zone - it's like meditation for me.

Mom's Stool Makeover with befitting Apothecary Label Seat

Normally I wax my pieces but considering this stool may get a lot of use, I decided to protect it with a satin polyurethane.

I had to chuckle at that last sentence...

Because I didn't inherit my Mother's domestic willingness to put a square home-cooked meal on the table each night.

Nor did I inherit her willingness to hand wash dishes.

So not a potato will be peeled nor a dish hand washed ever again on this stool. Sorry, Mom 😏

Mom's Stool Makeover against Gallery Wall

The stool has taken permanent residence against a gallery wall in our hallway - far from the kitchen.

I didn't notice until writing the post that if you take a close look at the reflection in the mirror, on the bottom right is a partially visible framed photo of my Dad who passed in 2005. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Ahem, back to the makeover...

After finishing the makeover I didn't like how clean the stool was looking and so I decided to try something new. I rubbed dark wax over the poly and it worked to give it an aged appearance. I rubbed the joints and the bottoms of each leg with more dark wax to "dirty it up". I did the same over the apothecary label and I was much happier with the finish.

Mom's Befitting Stool Makeover with Prescription Apothecary Label

I'm so happy I decided to take Mom's stool home with me that day and I will cherish it always. Hopefully, I'll come across that photo of Mom sitting on her stool peeling potatoes and I will mod podge it onto the bottom of the seat for future generations.

Mom's Stool Got A Befitting Makeover Before and After
As Mom's Alzheimer's disease progressed, her hands would become more and more restless. In order to help calm those fidgeting hands and keep them busy during the many hours of idle time per day, I made her a Busy Blanket. It is a lap blanket that attaches to the sides of her wheelchair. If you know anyone who has a loved one suffering from this disease, here is the link to see how I made Mom's Alzheimer's Busy|Fidget Blanket.

You will find this project linked to these fabulous LINK PARTIES.

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March 3, 2017

The Small Mid-Century Modern Cabinet that had no legs

Hello friends, yes you read that title correctly. Mr. Frugalista, a.k.a. furniture buyer has a keen eye for finding great furniture pieces for me to makeover. But last year when he came home with just the top of a small Mid-Century Modern Cabinet I gave him the "what in the heck were you thinking?" look and "where the heck are the legs?"

Into the Don't Know What I'm Going To Do With This pile it went and life moved on.
Small Legless Mid Century Modern Cabinet Before

Fast forward a few months and he came home with a package of four cabriole legs that he picked up for a song. Into the Leg Pile, they went.

Last week while working on another makeover I noticed the legs resting upside down on the top of my paint cabinet. A few minutes later while walking to the laundry sink to clean paint brushes my eyes glanced over at the now very dusty legless cabinet. DING DING DING

Cabriole Legs paired with Mid Century Modern Cabinet

...and a Metallic Night Stand with curvy cabriole legs was born. Once the legs were attached to the base, it gave the cabinet a completely different look.

Metallic Night Stand from repurposed MCM Legless Cabinet

Small Mid Century Modern Cabinet Now Curvy Metallic Night Stand


The cabinet had some wear and tear so I filled the damaged spots with Dynamic Dyna Patch. Wanting the knobs on this piece to be like the jewelry on the little black dress, I removed the original hardware and filled the holes with wooden dowels and filler.

Drawer hardware holes filled on Mid Century Modern Cabinet Makeover

To ensure a good bond with the paint and to avoid tannin bleed from the red stain on the legs, I primed everything with a coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Primer.

Cabriole legs primed for Metallic Night Stand Makeover

In 2015 the good folks at Modern Masters sent me their Matte Metallic Platinum Silver Semi-Opaque paint to try on my Vintage Art Deco Waterfall Vanity makeover. Having some leftovers I decided it would be the perfect paint to add glam to this curvy night stand.

Curvy legs on Metallic Night Stand Makeover

I applied the first two coats with a small foam roller and wasn't happy with the results. It was looking like a hammered metal patina and I wanted a smooth as a baby's bottom finish. Using 220 grit sandpaper, I sanded the paint smooth and removed the dust with a tack cloth.

Tips for painting with metallics


  • For semi-opaque metallic paint, like I used, it will take three coats minimum.
  • Stir the paint well before painting and often during. The paint has real metal particles, pearlescent pigments along with traditional color pigments and they need to be blended well.
  • Prime with acrylic primer or low sheen acrylic paint close to the metallic paint color. In my case, I could have primed with a light or medium gray paint color but because I used a white primer, it took four coats to get complete coverage.
  • Use a good quality synthetic bristle paint brush.
  • Or roll with a 1/2-inch synthetic nap roller (hence the reason I wasn't getting good results using a foam roller). Be sure to rinse and dry brush first to remove loose lint.
  • Apply paint in long even brush strokes (I painted from end to end).
  • Work with a wet edge to eliminate roller edge or brush marks.
  • Don't go over the same spot twice while the paint is drying.
  • I found by dipping the tips of my brush in water (damp not soaking wet) and then into the paint on my final coat, eliminated any visible brush strokes.
  • Allow paint to dry a minimum of 24-hours before applying a protective top coat.
  • Be mindful that top coats can dull the metallic shimmer. It's best to use one specifically for metallic finishes. I used Modern Masters Top Coat in a satin finish.

Silver and gold metallic night stand makeover

I always like to line the drawers on my pieces and had this pretty silver metallic contact paper leftover from the Antique Scalloped Tilt Top Table. I should note that the drawers on this little cabinet have dovetail joints - they don't make them like that anymore.

Paper lined drawers in Metallic Night Stand Makeover

I found the center of each drawer front and using a 1/16-inch bit I drilled a pilot hole for each knob. Next, I used a drill bit the same size as the screws that came with the new knobs and finished drilling the holes. I don't remember when or where I purchased these pretty turquoise ceramic flower bloom knobs but I had just two in my stash. It's like they were waiting for this particular makeover.

Turquoise Floral Bloom Knobs on Metallic Night Stand Makeover

I found the gold stem on the knobs too stark against the metallic silver, making the piece feel unbalanced. I rubbed Metallic Gold Gilding Wax along the top and bottom edges and that was the perfect finishing touch.

Mid Century Modern Cabinet turned Curvy Metallic Night Stand

I love pairing silver and gold with a pop of color like turquoise. I have to say these colors would look fabulous in our master bedroom. To sell or not to sell, that is the question?

Accessorizing a Metallic Night Stand Makeover

You'd never know that under this sexy curvaceous metallic night stand is a discarded legless mid-century cabinet.

Metallic Night Stand Repurposed MCM Cabinet Before and After
You'll find this project shared at these fabulous LINK PARTIES.

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February 23, 2017

Turned Leg Nesting Tables With Jacobean Floral Tops

It's the fourth Thursday of February and you know what that means, it's the second installment of the Furniture Fixer Uppers series. I had been planning for weeks to share a fun and funky mid-century modern makeover with you today. The fabric was purchased, the prep was started and then BAM I got hit with a bug that knocked me flat off my feet. 

Determined not to miss this challenge, one sleepless night during a coughing fit I took my box of kleenex and pajama-clad body downstairs to look for something that would take the least amount of physical exertion to makeover. I had this set of Turned Leg Nesting Tables on the workbench queue but I kept putting it off because I couldn't narrow down a paint color.

When you feel like you've been hit by a bus, it's amazing how quickly you can make a decision. My gut was saying green and so green it was.
Turned Leg Nesting Tables
Here they are pulled open...
Turned Legs Nesting Table Trio
The paint finish is looking rather dull in these photos because I ran out of energy before taking the photos to apply a protective finish.

Turned Leg Nesting Tables With Jacobean Floral Stenciled Tops


This is what the tables used to look like...
Turned Leg Nesting Tables Before
The plan was to take photos of each step to include in my tutorial but it took everything in me just to pick up a paint brush, let alone a camera. Most of this makeover was done on a rolling mechanics stool - oh how I can't live without this gem in my workshop.

*This post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I used or suggest to complete this project. See my full disclosure policy.

Prepping for paint

I always have a bucket of warm water, rubber gloves, an old toothbrush, clean cloth, dish soap, and a bottle of liquid sander/deglosser at the ready to give these pieces a good scrub. You can see in the photo above there was paint splattered on the feet so I carefully removed it with a 3M scouring pad.

Because of the light glossy finish, I ran a medium grit sanding sponge over the wood to give the paint some bite. When using a mineral based chalk paint you don't necessarily have to do this step but I'd rather error on the side of caution.

It's hard to tell in the before photo but there were a lot of scratches on the top of the largest nesting table and so I filled those and sanded smooth once dry.
Turned Leg Nesting Tables painted in color sea glass

Painting the tables

I used mineral-based chalk paint by Dixie Belle Paint Company in the color Sea Glass, isn't it such a beautiful color? I applied it with a paintbrush and just love the self-leveling qualities of the paint. I like to dip just the tips of my brush in water and then the paint to achieve long smooth strokes before having to reload my brush. It only took two coats for full coverage.  
Turned Legs Nesting Tables with white details

Accenting with white paint

To break up all that green and add a little accent, I painted the grooves on the table skirts and feet using a large script liner art brush and white acrylic craft paint. I left the groove between the ball turned detail on the legs green because otherwise, it looked too whimsical.  
Jacobean Floral Stencil for nesting table makeover

Stenciling the top

I applied a Jacobean Floral stencil down the center horizontally across the top of each table using the same acrylic craft paint used to accent the grooves. I used a brush to apply the paint although a small foam roller would have been much quicker had my brain been functioning on all two cylinders.

I prefer using a swirling motion rather than dabbing motion when stenciling with a brush, offloading the excess paint onto a paper towel until my brush is almost dry.

I used Frog Delicate Surface Tape to hold the stencil onto the fairly fresh painted surface. Considering the paint was applied just mere hours before stenciling, I avoided using repositionable stencil spray adhesive.
Turned Leg Nesting Tables with Jacobean Floral Stenciled Tops
I'm quite pleased with how these tables turned out, especially considering how sick I was. The color will be even deeper once I apply a clear coat satin finish.
Turned Leg Nesting Table Skirts
Before I share more beauty shots, let's talk a little bit about the Furniture Fixer Uppers series.
It's a monthly series where six blogging friends, who have a passion for rescuing furniture that has seen it's better days, come together to bring you six furniture makeovers with tutorials and helpful tips. The goal is to inspire others to breath new life into dated furniture at a fraction of the cost of replacing it with something new.

If you missed our first challenge in January, I turned an old Mid-Century Modern Bookshelf into a Funky Bar.

Like the bar, my nesting tables were looking rather dated and beat up and not something you would want on display in your home. But they were in perfect working condition and would be a shame to end up in the landfill. With a little paint and some creativity, they were completely transformed and can be used for many years to come.
Turned Leg Nesting Tables Makeover
I'm quite pleased with how they turned out and I hope you like them too.

Turned Leg Nesting Tables Before and After
You will find this project shared at these fabulous LINK PARTIES.

Are you as excited as I am to see how the talented gals in this group transformed these Fixer Uppers? We had a little chuckle over how two members picked the very same dresser without realizing it. Let's head over to each of their blogs by pressing the links below...
Edition Two Furniture Fixer Uppers Before
PRESS THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE THE AFTER PHOTOS
Just The Woods


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