Last fall I completed two projects from my garage: the hutch and the dresser. As winter rolled in, I said good bye to the idea of getting anything else done. I spent the colder months snuggling on my couch with a warm beverage and dreaming about what I would do when it finally warmed up again. That time is now upon us.
I knew I wanted my first project of the year to be Milo’s chair. I’ve been storing this since about August. My mom and sister had come to visit our new house and I took them to the Habitat Restore. I can’t remember if I was looking for anything specific, but we had just moved from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house. I’m pretty sure I wanted anything to fill my newly acquired space.
That weekend they had 50% off all furniture. Now The Restore has great prices anyways, but when furniture is 50% off you better believe I’m not leaving without buying something. I’m sure what I wanted at the time was a couch. I got something better: a chair for Milo.
It’s not the most beautiful piece of furniture. In fact, it was the Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree of merchandise. They didn’t have it with the rest of the sofas and chairs, it was tucked away in a corner. So unloved they were practically giving it away with a price tag of $10. Yes, $10 and that was before the weekend discount.
I saw so much opportunity with this chair. I mean, I didn’t want that chair in my house. But that chair with new upholstery could be amazing. I had seen tutorials on Pinterest figured it would be easy to tear the thing down to bare bones and give it new life.
My mom insisted on buying it for Milo. Even if it had been the full $10 I’m sure she would have bought it. But at $5, we pretty much robbed them.
I put the chair on the backburner because there were easier and more urgent projects to complete. At the time, Milo was 7 months old and not even crawling. He didn’t need the chair any time soon. I’m glad that I was patient because it gave me a chance to show my mother-in-law the chair. Now many of you don’t know my MIL, but she knows everything related to interior design. When I told her about my plans, her response was “I recently read how you can paint upholstery. I can send you the link if you’d like.” So she sent me the link and I watched the video. I was definitely intrigued, especially because it would require a much smaller skill set. I made my mind up that painting was the way I would go, and just needed spring to come so I could get started.
The plan was for the chair to go in Milo’s room. It would be his own special place to sit and read. I would have bought either a dark brown or black paint, something neutral that would go with anything. But I had to ask myself, “What would Nick do?” He would buy something bright and colorful, so I settled on a blue.
Now I’ll be honest, I went with a cheap Walmart paint. I’m aware of the Annie Sloan paint and that I probably good have gotten even better results with it, but I wasn’t willing to pay Annie Sloan prices on my first project. Especially one for a toddler who is going to stain this thing like crazy.
I won’t go into a tutorial, you can learn from the masters at Better Homes and Gardens if you’re interested. But I will give some pointers: when they say wet the fabric, they mean get the darn thing wet. Chalk paint is thick and it doesn’t spread easily without water. The idea of watering my canvas was so foreign, I was really shy on the water the first coat. I learned the second time around.
Another thing I thought was crazy: sanding the fabric between coats. Again, the first time I was so timid. I’m not sure if the sandpaper actually touched the chair. But sanding actually makes the fabric smooth, so put your elbow into and don’t be afraid.
I had pictured this perfectly blue chair. But between buying a really light color to paint with and not using proper technique, I got a chair with a little more character. I still couldn’t be happier. I think it looks eclectic, which is totally my style.
Along the way, I also had a change of heart about where it would go when it was finished. The first time Milo saw the chair, he got this big grin and climbed right up in it. I realized how important it his to give him his own space, something to claim as his own. So even though it throws off the rest of the room, Milo’s chair is in the living room. For the first time when we’re all hanging out, Milo has his own place to sit. Although, Milo doesn’t actually sit very often. So he has his own chair to climb on and hang off of.
This project was really good for me. I had to admit to myself that I’m just a beginner and wouldn’t get perfect results. I made some mistakes, but nothing you wouldn’t expect when trying something new. I’ll get better at it, I just need more practice.