Bamboo, Cushions, and Piping… Oh My

These chairs were literally finished the day before Hurricane Sandy hit… which explains the lag in posting about them.

This space is the Achilles heel of our little house.  At the foot of the stairs, but not the foyer, is this landing area.  But it’s too big to be a landing.  And too small to be a space.  It’s a pass through.  An after thought.  But front and center.

We’ve tried many different schemes.  Next week, I’m sure we’ll try another.  Here’s how it looked when we toured the house.

The view from the actual foyer… through the dead landing area and into her office. We opened up a covered window and made that office area our dining room. Stairs are to the right, living room is to the left.

These were the stairs. Pure 70s. This is what you see standing in the living room. The dining room is to the left, actual foyer to the right… are you getting your bearings a bit?

When we first moved in, all we had in here was an old family desk.

Here’s how the space looked from the stairs so you can see into the living room.

And then we moved the desk to make room for a pair of Craigslist chairs and a consignment store ottoman.

And again.

And again.

This small couch is reupholstered and up in the playroom, the rug and corner table were sold on Craigslist, the ottoman and the desk chair have been recovered… if it ain’t right, change it up.

By the way… we’ve since replaced the dated stairs which opens up the space immensely… here’s a pic from the photo wall post that gives you a glimpse of the new and improved spindle action.

I saw this pair of bamboo chairs on Craigslist for $45 and figured why not try a little something different.  I needed to tie in the blue from the living room with the Robert Allen Khanjali Peacock fabric on the desk chair.  I went to Home Depot with a swatch of the Khanjali Peacock, but ultimately had them color match a blue chevron I have lined up for two smaller chairs in the living room.

I had some helpers with the paint.

But the cushions are where I’m going to get my swagger on.  I came, I saw, I conquered PIPING!  It’s not as hard as it looks, but it also makes you realize the immaculate precision of the upholsterer.  I won’t go into too much detail on the cushions because I essentially followed this amazing post by Sew Mama Sew! to the letter.  I used 3″ foam (which, p.s. is expensive so find a coupon if you can… a heaven sent good samaritan handed me her 40% off coupon at the cash wrap so I saved $25 or so) and found the fabric at a discount fabric store near me. My upholsterer sold me some batting to wrap around the foam for $2.  Bottom line, chairs cost well under $100 for the pair- I like.

I don’t have an electric bread knife which is what works best, but a regular old sharp knife worked just fine to cut the foam down to the right size.

Learning my way around a zipper foot on the sewing machine took a minute, but if you don’t look too closely, I think these cushions are just what I was hoping for.  There are some exposed seams here and there, but thanks to the genius of Sew Mama Sew!, I will now make all of my own cushions because- let’s be honest- the piping is what makes them look one step more than a home ec project.

I didn’t do a zipper on my cushions for two reasons: 1) these chairs are fundamentally decorative and may be pulled in as extra seating occasionally, but I didn’t think I’d need to be pulling the cushion covers off  for cleaning, 2) I forgot to buy zippers and was thrilled to have an excuse not to tackle that step.  I left one edge open and hand sewed it closed.

Cross your arms, bob your head and channel your inner I Dream of Jeannie. Here ya go:  Landing Layout #6.

I couldn’t take a through shot of this space because our dining room is still filled with everything we brought up from the basement before the hurricane. All that clutter sitting there just out of the camera’s prying eye!


p.s. This is what the space looked like before I took these pictures. Just so you can see how Eleanor slowly takes over every room in the house.


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