As we announced yesterday, we're super excited and flattered to be one of the homes selected for Alexandria's 2012 Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend's Designer Tour of Homes! (And it's not too late to enter to win two tickets to this event.) But as much as we're looking forward to lending our home to this charitable cause, we have a lot of work to do to prepare. And to be totally honest, I'm kind of worried about getting it all done in time.
For the tour, the first floor of our home will be shown, which means we have exactly two and a half weeks to get it in tip top shape. Not only do we have extensive holiday decorating to complete (with the help of local designer, Sarah Bohl, and local florist, Helen Olivia), but we have now have a very hard deadline for completing our sun porch makeover. You know, the room that, back in January, through the purchase of a clearance rug at HomeGoods, was the catalyst for our unplanned kitchen makeover? Yep, that very same 8x10 space we've been working on all year.
Making over this room was one of my public New Year's resolutions, and in January I took down the floral window coverings, and attempted to freshen up the space with a new rug and bamboo blinds. Sadly, that's where I got stuck.
All creative inspiration vanished, and the room sat in a sad state, mid-identity crisis for many months. I lamented my decorating woes back in May, and with encouragement from many of you, finally got my decorating mojo back.
Painting of the room commenced, and the new Benjamin Moore London Fog color really transformed the room. Next we had the idea to move the awkwardly placed wine fridge into the kitchen in order to build a wine bar.
With the solid wall freed up, we moved the tall white hutch that once stood in the kitchen into this space.
The wicker bench that sat on the window wall had seen better days (thanks to Oliver's love to chew on all things wicker). So we knew we wanted to replace this piece of furniture, and I wanted to be able to carve out a seating/dining area in the room -- somewhere we could enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee in the morning. My thought was that I'd move the asian table to the center of the window wall to serve as a cafe table, and would then purchase a chair for either side.
Here's where the next hurdle comes in. As with the story of Goldilocks, none of the chairs I found were just right. For months I searched online furniture retailers, eBay and Craigslist, local furniture stores, and antiques stores. Many times I thought I had found "the ones."
I really like the look of club chairs, and found several good options online at Rugs USA and Overstock. But upon closer inspection, we realized they would partially block the back door due to their depth.
I also found a pair of classic wing back chairs from Joss and Main that seemed like they were just perfect. But their "no return" policy made me nervous, as they pushed the boundaries of how large we could go in this space.
After months of searching, I found these two petite chairs at Random Harvest, a local Old Town home furnishings store. They were vintage, I loved the shape -- although not the price tag -- but they still seemed like a contender. But sadly the scale was just too small.
So that brings us up to current day. Knowing my search had stretched over many months, and knowing the home tour and our hard deadline is looming, I had to get serious about pulling the trigger. What seemed to be my last hope was a trip out to Lucketts, Virginia to explore the quirky and eclectic antiques shops out that way.
While at Lucketts, I found this really cool old bugle for $10. I plan to incorporate this into our Christmas decorations this year. But sadly, there weren't any chairs that fit the bill, and I don't think the bugle would be able to do double duty as additional sun porch seating.
As a last ditch effort, we decided to stop at the Leesburg outlet mall on the way home, and it was there, in the Restoration Hardware outlet, that the decorating angels started to sing. As we walked in the door, I spotted a sign that alerted me to a dining and lighting sale going on. Beneath the sign sat a substantial inventory of dining chairs to choose from.
I don't know why I hadn't thought to go in this direction. After all, the occasional chairs that I'd been looking at were all much too large for the space. Dining chairs, on the other hand, could be just the right scale.
I quickly located two matching chairs that I liked.
After sitting in them, I was happy to find they passed the comfort test. The arms provided adequate side support and substance, while the seats themselves were soft but supportive. I then broke out my measuring tape and confirmed they were the exact dimensions we were looking for. Lastly, they had legs that would complement the asian table base, and the price was a steal. These babies were marked down from $419 each (can you believe it?) to a mere $199. With an additional 15% off thanks to the sale, they would ring in at roughly $175 each including tax. Score!!
As we left the store I felt like I was the woman in the IKEA commercial who yells to her husband, "GET THE CAR!" The price was so great, I felt like I was practically stealing these chairs.
The store wrapped them up in protective plastic, and we flexed our math muscles to determine how to precisely wedge them into our car's trunk space to get them home. It was a tight squeeze, thanks to our other purchases and two friends in the backseat, but we managed with no room to spare.
Due to their light color, Lulu's jowls, and Mel's penchant for vomiting on upholstered furniture in this room (it's an endearing quality of his, I assure you), I knew we needed to protect the fabric before removing the plastic and putting them into use.
I had a can of scotch guard in the basement, left over from when I reupholstered the dining room chairs, so I pulled it out and got to work.
After applying a thin coat to each chair and allowing about two to three hours time to dry, we moved them back into the room and took a step back to enjoy the look of our new seating. Mel has already made himself at home.
I realize that scotch guard can't work miracles, but I'm hoping it will extend the life of the light fabric, and if need be, down the road I can always have the chairs reupholstered in something darker and more durable. Given what a deal I scored on the chairs, I won't mind putting a little extra money towards them in the futures. (We're also taking an extra precaution by placing Mel's new cat bed on his preferred chair.)
All in all, I'm thrilled with how they look, and they really help finish off that side of the sun porch. In the two and a half weeks until the tour, we still need to:
- retrofit the blinds so they're inside mount
- purchase or make curtain rods
- hem and install the curtains
- purchase a new lamp, pillows and accessories
- and...if there's time...finish the rehab of a chair that belonged to my great grandfather, so that it can sit next to the white hutch on the other side (I know, this last one may be pushing it)
And for good measure, here's another look back at the room when we first moved in.
Here's what it looked like earlier this year.
And here it is today, nearing completion.
So what do you think of the new look? Do these chairs seem like the right fit? Can you imagine yourself sitting here, spending a lazy Sunday morning with a newspaper and a mug of hot coffee or tea? With a few pillows and accessories added, in the words of Goldilocks, I think they'll be juuust right.