Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turning an ordinary chair into a work of art or vice versa and how it benefitted veterans through Habitat for Humanity

I recently participated in a fundraising event as I wrote about in a prior post.  There were so many incredible chairs I just had to share them with you.  The creativity is amazing.
 A week before the Gala Live Auction event there was a  Kickoff Party at Rosenbaum Fine Art and Decor . It was a fabulous showcase for these artfully created chairs.  They were displayed in their gallery as true works of  art.  Here are some of these outstanding chairs. Take a look.
“Surfer’s Paradise QLD”  was inspired by the designer's love of the ocean. The original chair was purchased from a Habitat for Humanigty Restore. It even lights up!
 The Affirmation Chair” inspired us …”Don’t count the days, make the days count” !
 “Home Sweet Home",  This patriotic swing would be perfect on anyone’s porch or patio.
“Anastasia Chair”

This show stopper, “Lady Payton’s Sunken Treasure”  delighted everyone. The attention to detail and creative placement of shells, crystals and fan coral was incredible and equally as beautiful from the back, a work of art!
 “You Can Sit With Me” drew much attention.
“The Bone Appetit Seat” high chair designed for dogs! There are stairs up the back, an opening for the dog to enter the seat and holes for food and water dishes.

“The Very Vane Vanity” is fashioned out of a vintage mink cape and a vanity chair that the designer found at a garage sale and artfully refinished and restored. 

No, this is not the aritst but we suspect it is the model for the “Elisa Francesca Chair”.

This portrait appears to be the artist’s beautiful wife. The gold leaf detail combined with the exquisite art is breathtaking.

You can see why everyone had to get a closer look. This admirer is a friend of the artist.
“Reef-Side Seat” is a rattan chair encrusted with seashells.

“Heroes Heartz = Freedom @ Home”  is highlighted by this heart painted on the back. 

Another chair whose back was even more fabulous than the front is “Fit for a Queen”.

“P.S. I Love You”  is a tribute to military heroes of a by-gone time. It is covered with postcards, stamps and photos sent from soldiers overseas to their loved ones back home.

Also covered in a different kind of nostalgia is “Tres Cher Chair” 
Honoring our military heroes with a Bronze Star is this hand crafted barstool, “The Archer”.


“Presenting Flora the Fish"

“Joy Chair” underwent an extreme makeover. Taking remants of various fabrics the designer brought it back to life.

The Last Sunset” is inspired by a relaxing day by the beach. Both designers come from military families and were drawn to Take a Seat because it was close to their hearts.


“The Vintage Snake Chair” was donated by Astoria Compass. It was one of the first chairs the company produced when it was founded in 1970. The handcarved detail and antique gold accents make this chair very special. 

I was thrilled to be a part of such an outstanding event.  Without all these designers and artists who contributed their talent  the Take a Seat  fundraiser would not have been such a great success. Each one had something very special to say. They were all amazing.  It is just about impossible to pick a favorite. Which one do you like the best?  Which is the most creative? The most patriotic?  The most elegant?  Which chair speaks to you?
I wish I could have shown all the chairs but you can see them including “before and afters” of the chairs, bios of the Chair Designers and the stories behind their chairs if you go to  and click on the tab Take a Seat  for a drop down menu showing the TAS Designers 2014  tab.
As always I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box. Send me photos of your "fabcyling" projects!  I look forward from hearing from you.
                                      Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with a decorating project please contact me at

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Recycling a chair for the Take a Seat charity auction

Have your ever heard of Fabcycling?  That's where you take something that has seen better days and turn it into something fabulousl..David Bromstad spoke about it once in an article I read.  It was very timely because I had just registered to design a chair for a charity auction called Take a Seat.  Sponsored by IFDA (International Furniture and Design Association) as a fundraiser to benetfit veterans through Habitat for Humanity, designers and artists are challenged to turn old chairs or salvaged material into works of art.

So what was I going to do?  We had this old office chair at home.  It truly had been well used.  Could this be my candidate?

What could I do with this?

One day my design partner Ellie and I were packing up a condo for a client.  She was going to renovate and asked us to donate everything.  I spotted the draperies blowing in the breeze.  The white cotton duck fabric was like a blank canvas.   Could I paint on them and use the fabric to cover the chair?

I was inspired by my love for Flow Blue China.  Should I paint a pretty blue design on these panels like the pattern on this plate?

It was clear.  I needed HELP!  I shared my idea with Ellie.  Right away she said, "Oh, I can embellish your design with beads."  Excellent idea, or so I thought.  As we started to forage for beads in our box of remnants we could not find any color beads we could use.  But we did find an old belt that was made from strands of beads.  The only thing was, they were black!.

So out went the first idea and now we decided to design a black and white chair. This would be a work in progress....create as we go.

I draped the fabric over the chair this way and that.

Hmmm, this is a pretty detail.  We could add buttons or tassels.  The wheels were begining to turn.
Upholstering would be a challenge.  How could I make this work? What about a slipcover?
We should make a pattern but this is not going to be as easy as I thought.
 Upholstering was a challenge but a slipcover sounded doable and Ellie could do the sewing!

So Ellie began to work her magic exploring different ideas.

What could we do with the top part?
Something like this could work, but what should we do about the chrome base and black casters?  Could they painted white?
The back was puzzling.  What should we do with all that bunched up fabric?  We decided to consult our drapery lady who promptly trimmed it out.  
As we went along there were little challenges but finally it all came together.

We added cording along the top and around the seat, draped the belt across the inside of the back, added buttons on the ends from an old coat and used 2 small old buttons with velcro to secure the top part to the seat.
We hot-glued a black band around the skirt and decided and embellished it with beads from a craft store.
We placed a tassel that resembled the belt on the back of the chair at the top of the train.
Since we had a few beads left over we though they would add a finishing touch to the bottom of the train.
Here it is.  But what about the wrinkles?  Could we actually iron it? Yes but it was tricky.  It's good we designed this slipcover in two parts.
Ta Da!
All the chairs for the auction were put on display at a local art gallery and a lighting showroom.  It was exciting to see what the other chair designers had done.  (Future post.)


Here we are with our chair.  In handling it did get a bit messed up but then it's a slipcover!
The excitement was building for the Gala Live Auction.  The setting was perfect.  All the chairs were delivered and placed among the sculpture in the garden.
 Our chair went to the live auction and took it's place  in the sculpture garden of  The Boca Museum along with all the other wonderful creative chairs.
This was a labor of love.  In the beginning we didn't really know what we wanted to do or how we were going to do it but we knew if we kept going and trying different things somehow it would work out.  Every time we had a challenge we figured out a solution.

All the chairs sold, even ours.  At first we thought the person who bid on it bought it to donate back to charity, but when we spoke with him later he said no.  His sister saw it on the IFDA Florida website and asked him to bid on it for her!  She wants to use it as her vanity chair.  It is fun to know our chair has a new home and a new life.  Now that is Fabcyling!

Have you ever made something new out of something old?  Have you repuposed something for a totally new use?  I always love watching Flea Market Flip on TV and there are so many many clever ideas on Pinterest showing how people have turned things like an old chest of drawers into kitchen island or a bench into a coffee table or a coffee table into an ottoman .....the creativity of people astounds me.  What inspires you to get creative with something that is ready to be retired?

As always I invite you to share your experiences and ideas in the comment box.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with an interior decorating/design project please contact me at