Walter Lamb-o that Patio Chair!

This post was a slow birth. Like reallllly slow.  
I actually found and redid these chairs about 2 years ago, started a "how to" post and forgot to finish it. Sorry. But since I did these 2 years ago I can safely say this worked AND held up.

When I found these chairs they had great aluminum bamboo frames with not so awesome vinyl straps.

Now, I'm not saying I don't like vinyl strapping. I do. 
It can give you a retro, Slim Aarons vibe real quick if done right.
Like here, yes. 
Sunshine vintage Palm Spring amazingness...
bring me my caftan & drink.

But mine needed love and were crappy brown. 
I wanted a different replacement material other than vinyl.
After lots of searching I stumbled on some vintage Walter Lamb rope chairs.
The rope gives it a modern nautical feel, and my bamboo frames had a classic, chinoiserie look. 
I was ready to marry the two together!

So let's skip to the DIY, OK?

What you'll need:
-A chair While this tutorial is meant for vinyl strap replacement, you don't have to have them.
It just needs to have two sides that you can weave back and forth from.  I  

-Polyester Rope  I went with 1000 ft spool of this one.  It had a soft smooth texture, was mildew resistant and had low stretch.  Avoid cotton- it can sag if it gets wet, hold moisture (wet bums) and grow mildew. Also street clear of scratchy nylon versions (pain in the bum).

-Fasteners  If you are removing vinyl strapping you will probably have a metal S, E, or J clip.  You might be able to reuse yours or just buy new ones here.  If you don't have clips I recommend visiting the hardware store and getting some aluminum sleeve crimps or a rope clamp sized to the diameter of your rope so you can have a secure attachment for the rope.  You can always get creative with knots, but I'm no Boy Scout and I don't want you falling through. And if you are using wood frames you can secure with nails or staples.

These are the S clips that were on my chair.  The larger opening attaches to the frame and the smaller opening clamps onto the strap/rope:
-Heavy Duty Piece of Cardboard or Wood Or something to wrap the rope around to make a shuttle.  The rope can tangle very fast, so I cut my lengths and then wrapped them on a shuttle to make the weaving part hassle-free.
Pliers and Vice Grips

Now let's change that seat!
1) Remove all the old vinyl strapping. The fastest way to do this is to cut right down the middle of each strap and the brackets or rivets holding them in place should pop off on each side.  Check your clips to see if they are reusable. 

  Clean, sand and paint the chair frame if needed. I decided to go black.

My rope came on a 1000 ft. spool which is a lot of rope to manage and weave back and forth.
I cut it into manageable lengths for the seats and the backs.
To figure your lengths do this little equation:
CxD= total rope needed for seat (I recommend adding 10% just incase)

So for example, (A) the area I wanted to cover on my seat was 18" deep. 
(B) My rope was .25" thick, multiples by 2 = .5   So 18 divided by .5 = 9 (C)

Next I took a piece of rope and wrapped it twice around the left side of the frame, brought it over to the right, wrapped it twice on that side, and then back over to the left.  I measured that length and it was 48"(D) and I multiplied it by (C) 9.  I would need 432" of rope for my seat. I added a few extra feet just in case.

I did the same equation for my seat backs.  They only needed to be 12" high, so they needed less.
Once I had my length cut, I wrapped it around the shuttle and slip that into a plastic back to keep it from catching or tangling.
Attach your rope to your faster.  I used vice grips to pinch the clasp onto my rope.
 I placed my clip onto the frame of my chair and began wrapping the rope. 
You might need an extra set of hands to get started.

The rope will cover the clasps.
The weave will be very similar to how you wrapped the rope when you first measured.
Wrap over the sides twice, bring it across to the opposite side and under and over twice again.
Bring it back over to the opposite side and repeat.  Be sure to pull tight and have a bit of tension on the rope so it doesn't sag.

 I used the vice grips to hold the rope in place when I needed a break.
 The pattern you are trying to achieve is a figure 8 that occurs in the center of the seat, and by wrapping the sides twice before going back across you get a nice spacing between the ropes.
When you get to the end you will add another clip to secure it. I had someone hold the clasp in place on tree chair frame when I was about an inch away from finishing and then I wrapped my rope over it and tucked the end into the clasp. I then squeezed the clasp shut onto the rope with vice grips and cut the rope.
 It took a little practice, but by my third chair you could barely see the clips!

This is the chair after 2 years of use, still going strong!

Faux Shagreen Tutorial

 Hey there!  I just completed the mother of all DIYs (in my opinion) for the sheer fact that it took all my patience to get this done.  Faux Shagreen...
 Shagreen is the skin, or leather, from a stingray and it has a spotty, pebbled texture.  It's used on furniture and small objects and usually pieced together since the stingray hides are rather small.  The hides are usually dyed, so the colors are endless.  
I had been wanting to redo my IKEA Docksta tabletop and shagreen was on the list of possibilities.  I have seen DIYs where folks wrap furniture in shagreen textured wallpaper or leather, but since this was an "eating" area I didn't want texture and the mess of food getting stuck in it. It had to be painted.  I also wanted to exaggerate the finish into larger than usual sections, so my version is a bit more of a fantasy shagreen.  I Googled "round shagreen tables" and found a blue mockup that was just the inspiration I was looking for:

Depending on the area you are painting, I highly recommend Google to get some ideas for the color and layout of sections.

You will need:
Choose a color palette...
Base color (lighter tone) in any finish except flat
Acrylic glaze tinted 2 shades darker than the base color
Large piece of cheesecloth
Brush for applying paint and glaze
Painters tape for Delicate Surfaces
Several Sharpie Paint Pens (I used white)
Pencil and ruler
Clear Coat to seal final finish
 I began by base coating my table with 2 coats of Benjamin Moore's Slate Blue (satin finish).
Once it was dry I made a navy glaze using 2 parts Ben Moores latex glaze and 1 part Ben Moore (eggshell finish) paint in Newburyport Blue.  I brushed a coat on quickly, staying a bit lighter in the center.  This step needs to be done fast before the glaze has time to dry, so if you are doing a large surface, tape it into sections or have a friend help.
 Take the piece of cheesecloth and pat the glaze, removing most of it and leaving a soft leathery texture.  Let it dry for a couple hours.
 While it dries,  find some images of shagreen and use them as a guide.  You don't need to follow these next few steps if you are just doing a small area, but in my case, I had 8 sections and I wanted them to be pretty consistent.  I traced the center part of a shagreen image, concentration on many of the larger circles that ran up it.  I then used a stencil cutter to cut those circles out.
This was going to be my template for the centers of each section.
I traced the circles with a white pencil and filled them in with my Sharpie paint pen.  
(You can stencil this as well, but I had no luck.  The first attempt was great, but then the paint started to bleed under the stencil and it got ugly.)
 This pattern became the foundation for each section.
I filled in around that area first more tightly...
 and then added looser, more spaced out dots along the rest of the section.
And I repeated this for all the remaining sections.  I highly recommend binge watching some trash TV while doing this to pass the time- because it takes a while!  
The smaller the surface the better... My table was 42" across, and a section took about an hour.  I don't recommend going this big for your first project because you will just down right hate me.  It was a solid 2 day project, but I am totally caught up on Vanderpump now. 
Once its done and dry, clear coat twice with a latex polyurethane in a satin or low-sheen. 
I wasn't in the mood for glossy here.

Not gonna lie, it was a long, boring slow-moving project but the end result was SO worth it!
I absolutely LOVE this table now.
I'm not going to let anyone eat here for a few days, and lord help the kid that uses markers at this table.  I might actually do a third coat of polyurethane now that I think of it.

Part 2- the Bath

I feel like I have so much to cram in here!  
Next up on the wayback dial is our master bath renovation circa Fall 2016.

The mahogany counter came out of an old bar in NYC that got demolished.  My mother had found it and kept it hoarded away for years for us.  Thanks Mom! The rail along the back was a fun place to keep toothbrush cups and toiletries.

The mirrors were super sentimental.  
They were the original window screen frames from the first house we lived in Salem.  I added mirrored glass and new brass latches.  They opened and acted as medicine cabinets.

The single centered sink happened for a couple reasons.  As much as two sinks would have been normal and good, it left no counter space for your crap.  I like to spread out my make up and hair appliances.  The raised marble vessels were pretty big and forced you to teeter things on the edge.  
Also, my husband and I don't get ready simultaneously so we only needed one sink at a time... gotta keep the mystery alive.  We nixed a sink, and the round mirrors both opened toward the sink so you could see in the mirror when brushing your teeth.  Not for everyone, I know, but honestly I can brush my teeth blindfolded (flossing not so much). 
Used the same cabinets in my kitchen, good old IKEA. I loved the double hidden drawers to hold all my makeup and junk. (I so wish I took pictures of them- I was so organized!) And towels were folded away neatly in the bottom drawers.

To make this master bathroom we combined the kids bath (yellow) with our bath (blue).
They were back to back and mirror images of each other. Remember these? 

Heres a crappy pano of when we gutted them.  It gave us a 14' wide x 10' deep space to play with.

Our wish list included:
-big shower with no glass or door to clean
-deep tub to soak
-reusing the old round window frames from our first house
-incorporating the old mahogany bar top 
-a neutral palate 

 We played with a ton of configurations and in the end we decided to do something like this...
use the left side for a long shower with a wall between the tub,
toilet vanity on the right.  This also used existing plumbing to save some $$.

The shower was my favorite.  
It was enormous at 10' long and 4 1/2' wide. It was heavenly.  I could seriously do yoga and cartwheels in it if I wanted to.  It was like your own personal locker room shower, although you could probably fit 6 people in it and have a dance party if thats what your into.  Not judging.

Lord I miss that shower!  
It spoiled me for all other showers.  The one at our new house feels like a space capsule.

In the end, when we decided to sell, we replaced the round mirrors with plate glass because we know that most buyers weren't quirky like us and wanted to see themselves when they brushed their teeth. And I gotta say it made the bathroom feel even bigger!

I really wish I had taken better pictures of this space.  
(Note crappy phone photo with the seat up above. "Hi!") 

Off topic, speaking of photos, I have a quick question... 
What is the best photo organizing tool to use?  I have a Mac with like 150,000 pictures on it and I need to clean it up.  Same for my 25,000+ emails on my phone... I don't have time to go through every picture individually.
What do you guys use? What makes your life easier?  HELP!

We only got to use this bath for less than a year when we decided to move. 
 It has been my favorite house by far. We stayed here the longest, 8 years- a record, and I loved that we took our time on it and didn't rush into renovating right off the bat.  
We had so many good memories here. 

She came a long way from the chocolate brownie she used to be when we first bought her. 

You were a good house Neptune Street! 
As my husband likes to tell me, a house is just a house- its the memories you make in it that you get to take with you forever.  Off to make new ones.


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