New Header

Image Map

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

From Eeeck to Chic

While we were working on the antique desk, The Boy mentioned that he'd like to move the accent table that we used to hold our laptop into the library to free up space in the family room.

Great idea!

Then I had what I thought (at the time) was an even better idea: I'd paint it Antique White to match the desk.

So here's where we started with our Pier 1 accent table...kind of:

I forgot to take a picture of the original table.
So - this isn't it. But it is the same color and texture.
Pretend with me, ok?

All went really well, though I think I found something that came close to conquering Zinsser 1-2-3 primer, which is supposed to seal any surface. Ummm...even with the Zinsser, it took three coats of paint - plus a coat of Zinsser 1-2-3 - to cover up the original dark wood. The original color kept bleeding through.

VERY frustrating. And nerve wracking. But I finally got the dratted thing painted, even the rattan sides.

Except there was one small problem:

Finally white - and not white/brown!

Can you see it? Here - let me show you a closer look:

Ack! What is this?!?

Eeeck! Talk about a major paint fail. The paint didn't go on the rattan well at all. It was clumpy and gross. The Boy helpfully noted that this is why people usually spray paint rattan and wicker.


So, I had a few options. I could:
  1. Keep the stand as-is, pretending that clumpy painted rattan was the look I was going for.
  2. Keep the stand as-is and never tell anyone that I'd actually painted it ("It was the store's fault. Honest!")
  3. Throw the stand away.
  4. Figure out another solution.
Since The Boy would totally rat me out if I went for #1 or #2, and I'm not a throw-it-away-without-a-fight kind of girl, #4 was the logical solution.

Call it desperation inspiration, but it occurred to me that I could cover the rattan and "fake" an upholstered look.

Off I headed to Hancock Fabrics. After a bit of digging, I found a fantastic piece of upholstery-grade fabric in the clearance bin. It was on sale for .89/yard (originally priced $9.99/yard!!). I could hardly believe my luck at finding something so cheaply, so I splurged and bought 2 yards to guard against any mistakes.

Living large with a $2 splurge. That's the way I roll.

Who would put such a pretty print on such deep discount?
I see a fabric obsession in my future...

I cut my fabric to fit the rattan, plus 1 additional inch on each side. I folded each side over 1/2 inch and ironed to create a hem of sorts with a nice crisp edge.

Measure twice, cut once.
Size and iron and size again before adhering.

The next challenge was finding a way to adhere the fabric to the rattan. I thought about hot glue, but decided it would make too bumpy an edge as the glue dried. My Aleene's craft glue had become a giant ball of putty over time.

That left Mod Podge. It works on paper...fabric isn't that different than paper. It was worth making an effort. And what could hurt? Big Spender Shannah had extra fabric in case anything went wrong.

So I applied a thick layer of Mod Podge to the wrong side of the fabric and carefully put the fabric on the rattan. I was paranoid, so I let the fabric dry for 24 hours before flipping my table over to do another side.

Do the math: 3 sides needed covering. Paranoid-24 hour dry time. Applying fabric took 3 days. (Worth it for the peace of mind in knowing that my fabric wouldn't peel off when I flipped the table over.)

Sponge brushes are a fantastic investment.
Especially if you buy them when Michaels has its annual
20 foam brushes for $1 sale.

But it worked! Beautifully, too. Now I just needed to figure out a way to make everything look more finished. And I realized what always makes upholstery look finished: upholstery tacks!

However, the thought of applying who-knows-how-many upholstery tacks was not appealing. I decided to use nail head trim instead.

Little did I know that no store in Dallas-Fort Worth carries nail head trim anymore. Why? Who knows. I finally found several sources online to order it.

I bought a 10-yard roll. I only needed 3 yards.
But you never can be too careful.

Next I used my handy wire snippers to cut the trim to the length I needed.

Trim, trim everywhere!

The trim attaches with actual nail heads every third nail. It's a simple matter to apply the nail heads when you're working with rattan. You just need to firmly push them in with your thumb. If you're applying to a harder surface (ie: wood), you'll need to use a rubber mallet (or a hammer inside a sock) to protect the nail head from smooshedge.

Smooshedge isn't a word. I made it up. But you get the point. Hammer a nailhead and you'll smoosh it.

My thumb was really tired.

Voila! The finished product!! It's perfectly imperfect - and I think it totally looks like something you might get at Ballard Designs.

How awesome does this look?!?

And here's the accent table sitting next to our desk. We still need to work on organizing and decorating the desk and table. But I was so excited to show it off that I don't care that it doesn't look completely put together.

Our new mini-office.
Now for curtains and lamps and...

I have to say that this is one of my favorite projects and not just because it turned out so nicely. I think this is a perfect example of perseverance through likely failure.

So don't give up! If you have a huge disaster in the midst of a project, think about how you might be able to salvage it in some other creative way.

Like me, you might end up with a something that goes from Eeeck! to Chic!


Linking this post to my favorite home and style blogs:


  1. LOVE IT! What an amazing outcome. So glad you risked it!

    Sherry (& John)

  2. I think you need your own show on HDTV. You don't have enough to keep your creativity busy, do you?

  3. Too kind! I agree with Sherry, a completely amazing result! Bravo!

  4. Thanks all!! This was such a fun project.

    I only wish The Boy had enjoyed the process as much as I did...he was ready for me to be "done already!"

  5. What a great solution! It does look so chic now. I love the contrast of the rustic nail head trim with the white.

  6. Great makeover, looks so elegant and beautiful, bravo:))
    Hugs, Biljana