Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Since my recent employment of multiple jobs, it's been too long since my last post. I hardly have time to sleep with my recent obsession of catching up with Lost. Yes, I know, I don't have a life. But with the gloom of the ending winter, lately, all I feel like doing is curling up in front of the TV with Clio and Mr. Z. However, this week there is hope for warmer weather! The days are getting longer, the weather tolerable, and the dreadful puffy coat washed and stored for next year.

Spring cleaning time! This kind of weather inspires me to furnish the old apartment with some new comforts. This project happened several months ago, but I've been procrastinating writing about it because I didn't have decent "before". Unfortunately not much can be done about that, so here goes... I inherited an old faux "Eames" chair and a "Van Gough" table. When I first picked them up, I must admit, they were in sad shape. But somehow Z and I saw the possibilities in them, and figured that infusing something old with new life was sometimes better than buying something new.

(Before photo of disassembled chair)


The chair had major structural issues. The base was constructed in a way that could not support eccentric weight or lateral force and therefore "wabbled" due to undersized/stripped fasteners. Being the engineer, Mr. Z had access to a workshop where he could do some welding and drill industrial sized holes in thick metal objects. He took the base to fix, while I took the cushions to a local Bushwick upholsterer ($175). I found a new respect for upholsterers that day, as the guys at Nassau Reupholstery did an excellent job for a very reasonable price. He even had the perfect light colored wool fabric in stock and re-filled the stuffing of each cushion. But if you plan to go, you should call Andrés at 917-586-4605, because the rest of the guys there don't speak English.

I don't want to leave out the fact that apart from just fixing the base and re-cushioning the chair, Mr. Z spent hours cleaning, sanding the edges, and refinishing the shell of the chair. Not everyone has that kind of patience or the love of refurbishing old goods, so the chair turned out much better than I expected. Oh, I wish I had better before pictures!

The table didn't really cost a lot to re-furbish, but it did take a lot of time. There was a Van Gough Starry Nights-inspired scene painted on the table top. It was sort of a nightmare sanding all of it off, according to Mr. Z. Originally the plan had been to expose and refinish the natural wood underneath, but it turned out to be a plastic veneer that could not be made to look nice. So plan B was to finish the top like the old 50's counter tops - white with gold flakes. I couldn't find gold flakes so I got silver instead, and in the end I think they worked out better than gold would have.

The edges were sanded and finished with a pin-stripe (the ones for cars). The table top must have taken a week to do because Mr. Z insisted that the top have a thick, glossy layer of polycrylic clear coat.

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