The great chair adventure!

This weekend I refinished four chairs... One quick chair refresh, two director chairs and I dismantled my free chair. Remember this guy from last weekend? He's been stripped of the old upholstery, the wood has been cleaned and restained then I glued the wobbly bits. He's ready for new upholstery!

There were two layers of upholstery in parts. So I took out the staples and removed most of the old, vinyl fabric. I also vacuumed the bottom of the chair since there were cooties and dead bugs.

I then used steel wool to gently clean up the surface of the wood. I then stained and oiled the wood... Wow! This chair has good bones and the wood grain is stunning!

I was able to save the decorative tacks and can reuse them for this chair update or another!

I then looked into my fabric stash. These two fabric pieces are from the thrift store. Unfortunately the top piece wasn't wide enough to use for my free chair update. But the bottom piece will work!

I'm going to go to Dressew to find a plain fabric for the back part of the chair - the seat will use my thrift store fabric. The combo hopefully should look FAB!

So here's where I left off Sunday aft... Most of the upholstery, staples and decorative tacks removed, the wood has been refinished and I've glued the loose arm.

I'm really feeling good about this chair update. Love the design of the chair and I think the upholstery I have will look stunning. *fingers crossed*

Here's the back of the seat. I tacked the piece of cardboard back into place. I'm ready to go!

Stay tuned! Next weekend I'll find some plain upholstery fabric and get started (and hopefully finished) on this chair refresh. Then I'll have an update on my two director chairs. Kicking chair butt!


One pretty darn kick butt chair update

This weekend was filled with chair refinishing, seat reupholstering and getting into the groove of making discarded chairs look pretty. So much fun! For the most part... At times there was some hard labour happening but so worth it. And the weekend ended with only one minor self injury moment. Yahoo!

I'm in the process of updating four chairs - two director chairs, one free chair and then one chair from the Sechelt dump. I decided to 'refresh' my dump chair from a few years ago. I bought this chair for $1 from the Sechelt dump and managed to refinish it one afternoon.

I removed the shellac (super yuck!) then reupholstered it. This is the chair when I first saw it... So desperate for some TLC.

This is my original chair refresh... It looks so much better without the shellac and some new fabric.

I took this thrift store fabric out thinking I could use it for my free chair update - unfortunately I only have one long strip of the fabric and the width isn't wide enough for the free chair but just wide enough for my dump chair. Phew! I bought a bunch of this from the thrift store for $2.99. I love the colours, the design - it's so swoon worthy!

I placed it on the dump chair and I knew I needed to make this refresh happen!

The first fabric is nice and I love it but wow - the new fabric was so me! I was gonna update the fabric and knew I would be keeping this chair for a long time!

While I was dismantling the chair anyways I cleaned up the finish. I used steel wool to remove some marks then restained the finish. I adore wooden chairs - no paint, just au natural with an oil or stain that brings out the grain. Once I removed the shellac from this chair, the wood grain just stood out and made this chair a stunner.

After a couple of hours of sanding, staining and then reupholstering, here's my $1 chair. WOW! $1 for the chair, about $0.50 worth of thrift store fabric and maybe another $1 for supplies... I'm so happy with this refresh. Yay!

These two were made for each other... The chair, the fabric... I'm in love!

I'm hoping I can find more chairs to update with the rest of this fabric. This one I'm keeping but maybe I'll update more chairs to give to friends, etc. Why not!

What a difference a few bucks makes and a few hours of time... From super drab to super FAB in no time. Definitely one of my FAV chairs!

Now I've decided to either refresh this chair or sell it... I think I'll keep my free chair update (will be posting an update on this one soon!) which means I need to get rid of a chair. How many chairs does a girl need?!

I do love this fabric...

And the details in the wood.

Here's hoping I can find a happy home for this chair...

So there ya go! I'm officially in love with my recent chair update and hoping to finish off the other three chairs soon... And maybe I'll be finding more discarded chairs to relove. So happy to be back in the upcycling, refinishing, reloving game!


FAB free secondhand stuff on Facebook

Oh free treasures can be da best! You can scour Craigslist, Kijiji or your local streets and alleys for kewl free finds but my latest FAV hot spot is Facebook. So many groups for buying, selling, trading or donating these days. It's awesome!

I grabbed this free chair from a Facebook group last weekend - turns out the pick up location was 2 blocks away from my place. Easy peasy! Thankfully the chair has good bones. I just need to glue one of the arms since the wood dowel is broken. Otherwise I'll just need to wipe the surface - no sanding, oiling, etc.

The big job will be the upholstery... We'll see if I'm up to reupholstering this baby!

I still have a bunch of grey ultra suede I could use plus tons of various upholstery tacks. It's kind of ridiculous how much hardware I have stockpiled in my craft area. Who knew! Tacks, drawer pulls, nails, screws, random old hardware... Eh gad!

I love the wood grain! Maybe this one needs some funky fabric for the upholstery... Either a big punch of colour or I go with the grey ultra suede... We'll see!

So here's to free finds... And Facebook groups. Ya just never know where you're going to find that next treasure.

Now to get to work! I still need to finish off my director chair updates.


My latest TinyLetter news is out!

My latest TinyLetter newsletter, It's been a long time TinyLetter peeps!, went out last week. My last update was months ago so this update was jam-packed with loads of news, happenings and even one of my latest FAV DIYs. Hope you enjoy all the TBD goodness... It's been an awesome few months and I'm ramping up for more craftiness - Crafternoons, chair updates and partnering with more kewl peeps. Yay!

Find me on TinyLetter at www.tinyletter.com/ThriftyByDesign. You can subscribe for upcoming news or read my archived newsletters. Enjoy!


Top 5 thrifting hot spots in North Vancouver

Turns out the sleepy shores of North Vancouver are not so sleepy these days. North Vancouver is getting hip with night markets, outdoor music and movies, free yoga and dancing plus... THRIFTING! The North Shore has some pretty awesome places for getting kewl stuff on the cheap while being sustainable. You can easily donate old clothes, dated home decor or leftover building supplies. And then find those one-of-a-kind pieces for yourself. I'm rockin' the $5 dresses these days thanks to a few of the places mentioned below.

So here ya go... Plan a trek across the water and hit one, two or all of these spots!

1. Salvation Army: 1451 Fell Avenue
The Sally Ann at Fell and Marine is one of my FAVs for furniture. I've found great fabric, clothes and home decor too but it seems to have the best selection of furniture. The prices are starting to creep up but you can still score a funky find here on a budget.

My FAV clothing finds from this Sally Ann have been a few upmarket dresses... I even found a brand new Mat and Natt bag for $10.

I never EVER buy new frames... You can find art, frames and mirrors on the cheap easily.

2. Salvation Army: 241 Lonsdale Avenue
The Sally Ann at Lonsdale and 3rd has tons of home decor treasures, shoes, funky clothes and accessories. They do have furniture - I found my stunning teak coffee table here a few years ago. Total score for $15! This Sally Ann is a bit picked over and I suspect dealers are always trolling the furniture donations which is why lately I don't see too many furniture pieces that I'm tempted by. It's still definitely worth adding to your thrifting adventures!

There's loads of clothing, shoes and accessory finds for men, women and kids.

More frames... They have an extensive area for home decor pieces. You'd be surprised what you can find!

3. The Good Stuff Connection: 154 West 3rd Street
The Good Stuff Connection is at 3rd and Chesterfield. It's the smallest of the top 5 but still worth a visit. The main things you'll score here are clothes, shoes and home decor... Plus kids toys.

I don't drop by here as much as I should but I hear you can get deals on crafty supplies too.

4. Auxiliary to the Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Shop: 128 West 15th Street
And my FAV spot is the Lions Gate Thrift Shop... And not just cause of the thrifting but the volunteers are so darn lovely and fun. Plus 100% of the proceeds go the Lions Gate Hospital. This is where I've scored many a FAB dress, blouse, home decor item and tons of vintage buttons! I even drop by when gathering supplies for an upcoming Crafternoon. This place ROCKS!

This one is worth trekking to... It's still a bit unknown so you can really luck out on awesome finds plus their prices are super reasonable.

5. Habitat for Humanity ReStore: 340 Lynn Avenue
Lastly ya gotta check out the North Vancouver ReStore. They recently moved into this space and it's perfect... They have tons of furniture, home decor, hardware and other nifty supplies.

The back area is huge and filled with appliances, furniture, doors and other random items. Love it!

A plethora of chairs and couches...

So that's my hit list for thrifting in North Vancouver. Plan a day of exploring and see what treasures you can find. Hope you get lucky! xo


Oh Crafternoons at NVCL... How I've missed you!

Crafternoons at the North Vancouver City Library are back! Yay! I miss my NVCL peeps... Join me September 10th, October 22nd and December 10th from 1:30pm to 3:30pm for crafty awesomeness! Thanks to Vancouver Foundation and their Neighbourhood Small Grant program for supporting the upcycling workshops the past few years. You guys are da bomb!

This year I'm switching it up... I'm bringing in local upcycler extraordinaires to host the Crafternoons. First up is Adea from Billy Would Designs.

Adea upcycles old skateboards into stunning jewelry and accessories. So darn kewl!

Hope to see you September 10th for an afternoon of crafting, meeting new peeps and having fun! xo


Refinishing furniture truly is a labour of love

Remember these collapsible director chairs I mentioned a few weeks ago? They had been stored in my parents' shed for awhile and it was time to drag them out and make them pretty.

Well I started a major overhaul on them a couple of weeks ago. Holy smokers... It's become a labour of love. Removing the paint has been a bit more time consuming than I thought it would be! But I suspect it's going to be well worth it!

I started on the first chair by scraping off the paint. Talk about a workout!

I decided not to dismantle them since some of the hardware would need to be replaced once I removed it. But check it out - there's a lovely wood grain under all that icky paint! Exciting!

Chair one took awhile as I eased back into furniture refinishing mode... Funny how you get rusty when you haven't worked on a furniture update in a long time!

Not perfect but with some sanding I hope to get rid of the bits of white paint in the hard to reach spots.

Here's the chair au natural... So much potential for awesomeness!

Chair one and chair two... What a difference!

This was one afternoon of hard labour...

Next afternoon of refinishing included sanding then staining...

Isn't the stain way better than the paint finish? Now I just need to clean up the bits of white... Eh gad... Being a perfectionist in this area means my investment of time on this update has skyrocketed.

But wow it's definitely worth it!

So that's afternoon number two of working on my director chairs... From dated and ugly to hopefully stunning and modern.

Next I'll get chair two scraped, sanded and stained then it'll be time to stitch up the funky fabric for the seat and back rest. I'm using some thrift store fabric I picked up awhile ago. Stay tuned!