Clothed At Last, Clothed At Last, Thank God Almighty…

Monday, March 16th, 2009
I am not ashamed to admit that my idea of a good time on a weeknight is a martini and a date with Mr. Singer (my sewing machine). I am in love with him, but he is not that into me. I know he is not enamored with me because I lack sewing talent. I can thread the little guy, and run a straight stitch, but that’s all folks. Mr. Singer longs for a gal with better skills than mine. Nevertheless, I know enough to accomplish my next task: clothing the naked wall.

Meet my naked wall. Ever since the remodel of 2006 (the lost year), when we reconfigured our floorplan to incorporate a separate living room, this wall has taunted me. So exhibitionist in its nakedness, constantly reminding me that it lacked any coverings whatsoever. I would walk past it everyday, hanging my head *sigh*, holding fast to my “don’t decorate all at once, take your time, get it right” philosophy. But naked wall was wearing me down.

Ballard Designs is one of my go-to catalogue’s for inspiration. I saw them advertising a party table and custom slipcover option in burlap. Burlap. Okay, I know some designers are into it, but if you ask me, burlap belongs in a barn. I’m a soft texture kind of gal. [Don’t de-friend me if you like burlap.] But it wasn’t their fabric choice that got me so much as the PRICE. For a 42″ square party table they’re asking $129. For the custom fabric tablecloth, they’re asking an additional <*choke, cough, gag*> $217 to $457. Um, I think that’s a crime in some states.

[Confession: this look is kind of gorgeous]

Here’s my party table (48″ x 24″) that’s been collecting cobwebs for a year in my garage. I purchased it last year at Home Depot for $20 to use for parties.

I went to the local fabric store and practically stole this gorgeous embroidered linen fabric on sale for $6 a yard (orig $15 a yard). I hemmed the bottom with what I call the “double foldover” hem job.

Then I cut the top piece, and just like making a slipcover, I attached the fabric pieces together with pins (inside out). A few seams and 90 minutes later, I had myself a custom tablecloth. Check out this beautiful embroidery in the fabric. I also added some bronze trim around the seam, just to up the ante.

Then I got my end chairs at my dining room table to file for legal separation from the rest of my dining room set. They were bored there anyway and needed some space. With a new makeover (see this post), my dining room chairs now sit next to my Ballard style table. A few weeks ago, I ordered a set of four Paris prints from JCPenney on clearance for $129 (with free shipping!) Iron the linen tablecloth, add a few decorative items, and voila !

I amuse myself and say this is all temporary of course, because I covet this sofa from Crate and Barrel for the same wall and someday will talk Mr. CG into this worthy investment.

Until then, I am glad naked wall is clothed at last.


DIY: Fabric Headboard with Nailhead Trim

Saturday, February 28th, 2009
I have long been in love with fabric headboards, whether tufted, trimmed in wood, or trimmed with nailheads. I really wanted one for my master bedroom, with the perfect combination of feminine fabric and the masculine effect of nailhead trim. For the longest time, I thought I’d have to save up for one of those beauties from Restoration Hardware or Williams-Sonoma Home, which cost in the neighborhood of $1,000. (Yes, there are alternatives less than $500 online, but I don’t trust the quality…)

Here is the Restoration Hardware version:

And the Williams-Sonoma Home version: This DIY project is not complicated at all. It just takes a few supplies and an afternoon. Here is my final product. I am loving this look for our bedroom !


1.5 inch thick plywood cut to specifications (best to have a carpenter or someone handy with skillsaw do this, especially if you want some curvature.) (Cost: $25 for plywood + $35 labor)

Fabric of choice that is railroaded (to avoid seam down middle), or fabric with repeat that runs both horizontal and vertical. Purchase enough fabric to cover the entire headboard with at least 6 inches to spare on each side. [My fabric is Isaccs in Canvas, from Calico Corners. It is a neutral velvet with subtle diamond pattern sewn into fabric.] (Cost: $70)

Batting (Cost: $10)

Staple gun and staples

Nailhead trim kit (Cost: $12)

Rubber mallet (Cost: $6)

Interlocking brackets for wall hanging (Cost: $7 for 2 brackets)

Instructions: Begin by having plywood trimmed to your specifications. I gave my carpenter the exact width of my mattress, because I knew the batting and fabric would add 1/2 inch on each side. I drew a diagram of the curvature I desired, and he cut it to my specs.

Next, iron your fabric if necessary to remove any wrinkles. Lay the fabric down on a large, flat surface (like your dining room table). Lay the batting on top of the fabric. Lay the plywood on top of the fabric.

Next, pull the fabric and batting until it is smooth and tight (but not taut). Staple the first side with the staples about 8 inches apart. Avoid the corners for now. Move to the other side of your headboard and repeat. Make sure your fabric pattern repeat is lining up correctly. Now staple the bottom with staples about 8 inches apart, again avoiding the corners. Once you confirm your fabric pattern is straight, you are ready to move on to the corners and the top.

For the upper corners, pull the fabric so that it is smooth in the front as it curves around the corner. You will have to use the staple gun to overlap your fabric on the back in order to ensure a smooth rounded corner. Repeat on the other upper corner.

The hardest part of the whole project is getting the fabric just right around the top rounded edge. If you’ve chosen a flat top headboard, without any curve, you’ll not have to deal with this headache. Pull the fabric in the very center over the top and secure it with one staple. Gently work the fabric one side at a time from the center staple to the upper corner, smoothing and securing with one staple at a time. At first, staple every 6 inches or so, then come back and fill in when you have the fabric smoothed just right. You want to avoid any creases or fabric overlap from the front. Your fabric will be bunching on the rear side, but no one will see it so no worries.

Flip your headboard over in order to trim with nailheads. Walk your nailhead trim around the headboard, gently pounding in the nailheads with a rubber mallet. You cannot use a regular hammer since the metal head will destroy the delicate nailhead. I chose to use a trim kit that only required a nail every 5 spaces, making life a lot easier.

Have a a friend help you secure the interlocking brackets to the back, and the other bracket to a wall stud. Hang headboard behind bed.

Voila ! A wonderful headboard in just an afternoon. My husband loves it and still can’t believe I did it myself. Even my mom has asked me to do one for her guest room. Total cost: $165.