Up-cycling and the “Maker” Bug

For the last several months I have been pouring over landscaping plans. I’ve been debating between simply removing and replacing the concrete patio, or installing a new deck. I’ve debated between going basic (cedar) or upgrading to ipe. I’m seriously considering installing the deck right on top of the existing (ugly) concrete patio and creating a flush-mounted deck. The wood will provide a nice variation of surfaces and “warm” up what will end up being a contemporary landscape.

I love this look:


Of course, I’m not planning on lawn, but instead a mix of drought-resistant plants and Mediterranean food–citrus, olive trees, figs, quince, etc. I plan to have various “pour in place” concrete pavers, also.

Up-cycling two folding chairs

All this will be a big investment. I was getting antsy to do *something.* (Patience not being a virtue of mine.) So I decided to tackle an up-cycling project I’ve noodling around my mind: extending the life of some old, ugly and sad metal folding chairs.

chairs before

I dug up some old fabric in mom’s garage, spent the afternoon taking the chairs apart and spray painting them a glossy ivory, and “reupholstering” the seats and backs. I am lucky not to have a callous on my hand from using the manual staple gun. I could have done a better job on the back, but stretching the fabric at an angle was tricky. The seats look pretty, in my humble assessment.

chairs after

I have four additional folding chairs up in Napa, which my mother kept in pristine condition. Unfortunately they are just “meh” in terms of styling. I’m tempted to do the same to them.

Meanwhile, I’m plotting out the outdoor furniture. I want to create two lounge, or conversation, areas. One will be on the deck itself and one will be further out around a “fire feature.” I also want a dining table & chairs. There are so many options, in a wide range of styles. I’m leaning toward a contemporary Mediterranean, wine-country-vintage-modern-chic look. Similar to the interior of the house.

I already bought some fabulous fabric at Joann’s Fabric for 40% off, which I’ll use for pillows and possible dining seat cushions.

The Bug

I have experienced such great satisfaction when I complete these small projects. In cleaning out my mom’s house, I decided to keep her sewing machine. I am considering taking a sewing class so I can make my own cushions for outside, or to make simple things like outdoor curtains or a tablecloth.

I’ve also loved these “furniture” painting projects. A few weeks ago I built and painted a shelf from IKEA, which is now an etagere (seen in this photo):


I still have my old dresser from childhood and have had my eye on it as a potential “big” project. I may have to invest in a paint sprayer rather than buying can after can. Stay tuned!!


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