DIY ModPodge Chair Hack in Redbook

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Its another Redbook DIY, folks. Its surprisingly easy (although don’t make our mistakes … read on). This one was inspired by the queen of DIY, Jenny Komenda from this post – and by inspired I pretty much mean REALLY INSPIRED, if you know what I mean. Thanks, Jenny (and congrats on your new baby).

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack_ingredients

Items Needed:

Chair: Any solid piece chair will work, but after doing the DIY on this chair we realized that it would have been much easier to Modpodge the fabric to a chair that didn’t have SO many curves and lips. Maybe something a little simpler or without arms would have been a better choice. Trust me. This chair is adorable but it was way more of a challenge to get rid of the bubbles (and there were some that never went away) because of the curve.

Modpodge: There are all different kinds depending on if you want it to be shiny, satin, flat, or if you are using fabric with the modpodge vs. paper. Get the kind that works best for your specific chair. We used the general purpose Matte finish, which seemed to work well for us.

Foam Paint Brush: foam is always easier than a traditional paint brush for something like this, and buying a cheap one at the store means that you can toss it in the garbage when you finish the project rather than spending the time to clean it.

Fabric: our fabric was sourced from The Fabric Store which is a local fabric store here in LA. But we decided to go with something that didn’t have too big of a pattern and that was also a bit abstract, just in case we made mistakes. Our fabric was also very thin which made it very easy to get it to stick to the chair with the modpodge.

Razor: you will use this to trim away the excess fabric once the chair and fabric have adhered to one another.

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack_modpodge

Step 1:

Take the legs off of your chair (if possible) and lay the chair upside down. Lay your fabric over the chair to make sure that you will have enough and that it is positioned correctly. Then begin to apply the modpodge to the chair. The more you use the easier it will be to adjust the fabric and get it to stick to the chair. You can’t really use too much with a project like this, but DO make sure that you work in small areas so that your modpodge doesn’t dry before you lay the fabric down on top of it. Once you have painted a small patch of modpodge lay the fabric over on top of it and press it down. Continue doing this until you have adhered the entire piece of fabric to the chair.

Step 2:

This is definitely an optional step but we decided to do it just to prolong the life of the chair. Once the fabric has adhered to the chair, apply an even coat of modpodge to the entire fabric area. It will not appear to go on clear but will dry that way so don’t get worried if it looks like you are ruining your new piece of fabric with modpodge. This last layer will help to seal the fabric to the chair and prevent it from getting dirt, moisture, or anything else on it. It also prevents the fabric from fraying and makes it very easy to clean up when you spill something on it.

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack_trimming

Step 3:

Once your chair is all dry, carefully trim away all of the excess fabric around the edges. You can also go over the edges once again with a layer of modpodge if any of the fabric starts to peel up while you are trimming.

Step 4:

Reattach legs, sit on chair and stare at your awesome vintage pencil collection (Vintage, from Nickey Kehoe).

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack

Resources: vintage desk from MidcenturyLA | vintage pencil collection from Nickey Kehoe | knock off Eiffel chairs from random source, but you can buy them here. 

All photos by David Tsay with Styling by Scott horne, art direction by Me.

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Design Mistake #1: The Generic Sofa

I get this question all the time in interviews: What is the #1 mistake that people make when designing (or shopping for) their home? After doing so many makeovers over the last 5 years of real people, I’ve found some consistent solid mistakes to avoid. So, I started writing a post about it and that post was like 15 pages long. I figured that obviously this could be a series.

Biggest Design Mistakes_buying generic furniture_roundup_emily henderson_expert advice

I’m not sure there is a #1 mistake, but buying cheap generic furniture is up there. So often I come into a house and the people have good taste, but they already had a sofa that we had to work with, and that sofa was bad. They didn’t want to replace it because it wasn’t that old and they didn’t mind it. I’ve had to break the news to them over and over, that with this sofa they will never get the room they want. Sure, we have worked with said sofa, and done the best we could, but trust me that a big bad sofa in your room is a bummer (and I’ve never even really blogged about those projects).

But just saying ‘don’t buy cheap generic furniture’ is kinda a dick thing to say. I’m not saying buy expensive sofas (at all) nor am I suggesting to buy super stylized sofas. No one loves a simple sofa more than me because they are so easy to style. But there are some sofas that transcend bad in a way that is hard to come back from; bad fabric, bad shape, weird curved legs or winged arms, multiple fabrics and just what I like to all ‘try-hard’ details. Those are the details that are screaming at you, saying ‘HEY!!! I’M FANCY! LOOK AT ALL MY TUFTS AND NAILHEADS AND CONTRASTING SEAMS, AND SHINY FABRIC, ETC’. Its like putting a hideous, yellow, 80’s bad prom dress on your screaming pet hyena. You are already embarrassed that you have a hyena as a pet, so you don’t really need to attract more attention to it, right?

Here are sofa shapes/styles that you should avoid. If you need more examples simply google image search ‘couch’. It ain’t pretty out there.

Sofas to avoid_roundup_emily henderson

Some of the things on that list could be fine, by the way. I really like this winged sofa, this winged sofa and I don’t mind this vintage two-toned sofa, so if your sofa fits into any of those categories and now you are crying, know that I’m speaking in generalities and it still depends on the sofa (and if you actually own one of these, I’m sorry!!).  Also some of those could be fine if the fabric was different, or if the legs were updated (see me backtracking?? I feel bad already).

I started to think about why people buy generic/bad sofas and I think its two different reasons: cost and availability. These are sofas that are generally inexpensive, and don’t have a long lead time – you can get them in under a week, not the usual 8- 10 weeks that even Pottery Barn and Room and Board have. They tend to be from those ‘furniture liquidation’ or ‘Dave’s Furniture’ stores that are in every town. You can actually go in and sit on them, make the decision together, get it within a week, etc. I get it. I can’t really solve that last problem – those stores just need to start carrying better furniture.

But, until stores across America start selling better furniture, I wanted to present to you some other super inexpensive options that you can buy online and have shipped to you. These sofas are all under $600. That, my friends, is crazy.

Best Sofas under $600_budget sofa_modern_midcentury_affordable_roundup_emily henderson

1. Target Grey Convertable Sofa | 2. Roscoe Grey Sofa | 3. Zuo White Sofa  | 4. Everett Sofa Grey | 5. UO Grey Convertable Sofa |6. Brown Leather Sofa | 7. Navy Convertable Sofa | 8. Grey Tufted Sofa | 9. Retro Chestnut Sofa | 10. Bradley Grey Linen | 11. Tufted White Sofa | 12. Light Blue Sofa | 13. Sienna Futon Grey | 14. Black Leather Couch

You can’t argue with those prices.

Have I personally sat on them? Can I vouch for their quality, comfort and the conditions of where/how they were produced? NO. But are they such better options than your average $500 sofa? YES. Plus, they are all available for purchase online with no lead time (besides delivery, obviously).

For those of you who can spend a bit more ($600 – $1000) I’d like to introduce you to some SURPRISINGLY good inexpensive sofas. Some are from fine retailers that you know (Cb2, West Elm, Target, Urban Outfitters, etc) and some are from surprising retailers that happen to have pretty good inexpensive sofas (Lamps Plus, for instance).

Best Sofas under $1000_budget sofa_modern_midcentury_affordable_roundup_emily henderson_revised1

 

1.Grey and Wood Tufted Sofa | 2. Grey Haze Sofa| 3. Cherie Teal Sofa | 4. Larson Grey Sofa | 5. Tufted Tan Velvet Sofa | 6. Pink Rue Sofa | 7. Albion Sofa | 8. Rachel Slipcover Cream | 9. Grey Wool Tufted | 10. Tufted Highback Blue | 11. Black Leather Sofa | 12. Grey Sofa Bed | 13. Tufted Grey Chesterfield | 14. Midcentury Modern Grey and Wood |

Of course my best recommendation for buying inexpensive but better quality furniture is to go the used/vintage route (Craigslist, KrrbLA, flea market) plus it’s better for the earth. A $399 sofa does provoke the question ‘How is that possible???‘ and I’m really scared of the answer.

But you know what always irritates me is when rich pretentious fashion editors advise us that we should simply save and ‘invest’ in that perfect $600 blazer or $1200 pair of boots that will last for 6 generations, Its like obviously, that is a good idea, if you have that kinda cash lying around in your walk-in LisaVanderpump closet. I remember being so broke in my 20’s that every time I read that in a magazine I would scream, YOU ARE RICH AND YOU PROBABLY GOT THOSE BEAUTIFUL ‘INVESTMENT’ CHLOE BOOTS FOR FREE!!!!! For us normal people when its Friday afternoon and you have fun plans to go out that night and you have $450 in your bank account, a trip to Forever 21 to buy a fun top whose hem will probably rip out within weeks, just makes you so happy. Same with your home – when you don’t have an extra $2 -$4k to drop on that awesome sofa, sometimes just having a new, simple, inexpensive one will make you so much happier when you walk through that door.  Then when you get rich you can buy this one (for me).

1 Dresser styled 4 different Ways

Much like my love for Fresca, Vietnamese food, marathon-ing tv shows (strangely into The Arrow and The Affair right now) and thrifting, my love for mixing all styles together never wanes. Sure, there are times when one style get more attention, or a new style captures my eye, but ultimately as long as its good, I don’t care what style it is. Of course mixing them together does get tricky at times (which is one of the biggest chapters in my upcoming book), but it can be done.

Welcome to 1 dresser, styled four different ways:

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Click through to break down these style and vote for your favorite!

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Target Chapter 7; Navy blue Accent Wall Bedroom Makeover

The 90’s ruined ‘the accent wall’. It just got too wacky and people were putting them everywhere and not following the rules. In fact, maybe there were no ‘accent wall’ rules so people were just running around their house, carrying 4 different paint colors, screaming ‘Paint that wall coral! Paint that wall chocolate-brown! Paint that wall sage!!!’ It  became a wacky gimmick instead of an appropriate design decision. But lately it has made a small comeback. A careful, well-thought out, small comeback.

Target Accent Wall_Emily Henderson_Bedroom_Blue_Bedding_Midcentury Modern 3

For this Target video we transformed this bedroom (below) in one afternoon, mainly by adding an accent wall. And I’m pretty into it.

Target Emily Henderson_bedroom_white blue orange casual calm bedroom

Click through for the whole post.

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Rustic California Home – Reading Nook

Have you ever dreamt of having a cozy little reading nook in the middle of your house? Have you ever dreamt of curling up in it and reading Sydney Shelton books back to back whilst pretending that your screaming children are tended to in the next room? Backtrack question: Have you ever even read a Sydney Shelton book? Fun fact about me: I have read EVERY SINGLE ONE that was written by the time I was 18. And Danielle Steele. And V.C. Andrews. In fact,  I know in my heart and brain that I will someday write a romance novel. It’s actually not a joke; I’ve talked about it for 15 years now. Ironically, I got my degree in English. As in literature. Kill me.

When I’m done with my novel, I will knock on this house’s door and invite myself to sit in this reading nook and read said novel. Where else should one read an epic love triangle/forbidden love story?

Until then, I’ll keep on designing and shooting makeovers. So lets get on with it:

Reading Nook Before

When we started this house it was under construction, which made my job easier (read the back story here). All the contractors were in place and the schedule was dictated. This room was particularily easy as far as construction – the built-ins were happening, then we’d paint and refinish the floor (which we did, throughout the house).

Reading Nook Before 1

We painted it my favorite blue – Hague Blue from Farrow and Ball. Those sconces were temporary. We had to have sconces in for inspections but our sconces hadn’t arrived yet so I picked up these piece of garbage sconces for like $12 from Home Depot. The electrician put white plates on the outlets, when they still need to be traded out for darker ones.

Then it was time to play with furniture.

Reading Nook Progress 1

I really like the theater seats that they bought in there because its an appropriate space for them – its a hallway, and these seats were more sculptural than functional. They just kinda fit. That little green dresser in there was so cute, for sure (and now lives in the dining room), but once they decided they wanted it to be a reading nook/library we changed it up and put that leather chair in there.

Emily Henderson_Hague Blue Reading Nook_Leather Chair_Gallery Wall_Bookshelves

Here she is now. They switched out the leather chairs. They sold me back my vintage 70’s leather one because they already had this bad boy that was originally downstairs and it looked pretty good up here. So to save some dough we switched it out. And no, I don’t make it a habit of ‘buying things back from clients’, but I actually LOVED that chair and knew I could sell it. I think I bought it originally for $350 from a vintage store, sold it to them for $800 (I sell things based on how much its worth not any formula from purchase price) and then I sold it for $1200 at the end (I think the OKL sale). Not a bad profit. Although I secretly still wish I had it.

Anyway, thats how it looks now, and its just this jewel of a room in the middle of the house. This room opens to the kitchen, master bedroom, nursery, dining room and the guest bathroom. So its the perfect pass through with that awesome navy blue. They have tones of this going throughout the house so its not jarring, its just kinda wonderful.

Emily Henderson_Hague Blue Reading Nook_Leather Chair_Gallery Wall_Bookshelves1

Emily Henderson_Hague Blue Reading Nook_Leather Chair_Gallery Wall_Bookshelves2

Emily Henderson_Hague Blue Reading Nook_Leather Chair_Gallery Wall_Bookshelves3

Emily Henderson_Hague Blue Reading Nook_Leather Chair_Gallery Wall_Bookshelves4

Yes, that is my side table up there that I’d had for years, but it just looked really good here so I sold it to them. I forget how much I charged them but probably around $200 because I’m a terrible business person and when I want a project to look good I somehow come down in price at the last minute.

Emily Henderson_Hague Blue Reading Nook_Leather Chair_Gallery Wall_Bookshelves5

I wish I could take credit for that family photo wall, but she actually did it without me. I told you she had good taste. We moved some around so it felt more balanced. She used a variety of frame finishes and colors, but all white, black or wood, so it looks cohesive and totally home-y, homey.

The shots above are from a couple weeks ago. We reshot it because Country Living only shot/published one photo, and that didn’t seem like a complete makeover for the blog (magazines tend to run few photos because of page space). But this is how they shot it (below), not too different but so fun to see:

navy-blue-den

You might be thinking that they de-saturated the colors in the rug (or that we saturated them) but i’m pretty sure they just used the rug from the living room. It’s hard to tell. I like the other rug more here because, as you know, I love color. Since they wanted to shoot from that angle they moved the side table which makes sense for the shot, but less sense for the space (because it ended up being basically in front of the chair).

Reading nook

Wall color – Farrow & Ball Hague Blue

For those of you who want to recreate this look, get to it:

Get the Look Reading Nook_Combined

Get the Look:

1. Wall Sconce | 2. Leather Club Chair  | 3. Side Table | 4. Black and White Art | 5. Rug | 6. Decorative Books | 7. Wood Object | 8. Woven Basket | 9. Blue Throw

Get the Look for Less:

1. Wall Sconce |2. Leather Club Chair | 3.  Side Table | 4. Black and White Art | 5. Rug | 6. Decorative Books | 7. Wood Object | 8. Woven Basket | 9. Blue Throw

We shot a video in there over a year ago (I think I was 3 months pregnant here) so you can see the space, although the propping is way different. xx

Reading Nook Before_after

All before photos by my terrible iphone, the Country Living photo by Max Kim Bee, and all my after photos by Tessa Neustadt.  Video by Sharkpig. 

Check out the living room, guest room and master bedroom, too!