transform your space into
your personal haven

a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


editor's note 

o lounge 
o nourish 
o host


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o Minor Makeover Miracles small decorating changes that can make a big difference
Handy Household Tools  

o Lighten Up! make the most of your artifical lighting

copyright 1999-2000

the Furniture FACELift Fiasco, a cautionary tale 
in two parts
| 1 2 3 4 5

I was sure it would be easy. Re-doing the chair, that is. One simple ugly chair, formerly part of a dining room set, purchased for a couple of bucks by my boyfriend before I moved in with him. Just two rectangular cushions and a wooden frame. I figured I could start the project on Saturday, finish it up by Sunday, no problem. The books Id flipped through at Borders all assured me that re-upholstering was a cinch. Re-finishing, Id been told, was pretty straightforward too requiring a lot of sanding, to be sure, followed by just a couple of coats of stain and varnish, but certainly nothing that required previous experience to be able to do properly. Every single book and magazine article Id read led me to believe that all it took was a bit of patience and a fair amount of energy.

The books, the magazines, the do-it-yourself guides they all LIE. Heres the truth: it took a lot of patience, a heap of energy, two weekends, and nothing went as smoothly as Id expected. If youre thinking of re-doing an old thrift shop find by giving it a re-finish and re-upholstering, Im not going to fool you: its a pain in the behind. But youll have an advantage, should you decide to tackle your first furniture facelift, because Im going to show you exactly how to proceed, plus warn you about all those pesky problems you will almost assuredly encounter. Consider this cautionary tale a guide to everything that can 

go wrong in the re-finishing and re-upholstering process Ill take you through the process, mistake by mistake. May you benefit from my hindsight.

The up-side of all this effort is the re-finishing and re-upholstering process is remarkably cheap, and the end-product really will be a vast improvement, even if, like me, youve somehow managed to make every mistake possible in the whole re-finishing/re-upholstering process.

the story begins ... part I: re-finishing

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