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Ready for Reconstruction

We have an ottoman that we’d rather not have to look at. Yes, a few throw blankets and pillows can go a long way, but it’s ugly, boxy and was purchased years ago in a crazed moment of not thinking clearly. However! It’s functional (and was cheap, too). So, there it stayed, in the corner of our living room, used as an extra seat for overflow guests or feet propping during late night movies.

We’ve talked about recovering it for well over a year, even saving this link from Design Sponge, at least for a temporary fix. And yes, we’ve even discussed throwing it in the dumpster with not so much of a see ya! But you know by now we love a good DIY, and goodness knows we’re cheap. Er, thrifty. In the long haul, we’ve actually held dinnertime discussions of completely revamping it (my idea of a great conversation; Scott, maybe not as much) – chopping it in half, adding legs, new upholstery, and (ooh!) nailhead trim. Then in another moment of crazy, I decided what the hell! and went for it.

Mind you, we’ve yet to decide on fabric or final dimensions, but we knew we wanted to salvage what we could, scrimp any extra foam or batting, and crossed our fingers for decent, sturdy wood (hey, now). About midway through my staple pulling excursion (using nothing but a flat head screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and extreme patience) things were looking up. While we hoped for a sturdier MDF, the chip board would do, and there was certainly no shortage of batting.

But after flipping the splinterfest over, I realized there was no top. Well, aside from the thin fabric and shallow foam. And we very obviously would prefer a top. C’mon, now! Oy, no wonder it was never very comfortable.

Holy ships, I think our simple fantasy project just turned into something not so simple. Regardless, we’re still excited to transform it into something more suited to our tastes. And wouldn’t you know that Scott’s full of promises, you know, all this’ll be fine! I’ve got my big, manly reciprocating saw! Not sure what that is, but I’ll take it.

In the meantime, I’m turning to you for phase 2. What are your favorite fabric sources? I’m head over heels for fabric boards on Pinterest (a la Kirsten of Restored Style right here, or my weak attempt here), but aside from (which overwhelms me beyond words), we’re unsure of where to start. We’re thinking a bold, rich velvet. Or maybe a pretty graphic print. Or classic pinstripes. Um. Help.

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  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode7.20.11 - 8:46 AM

    Doesn’t it seem like projects NEVER take as little time and effort as expected? definitely has the best prices, hands down. However, it’s totally overwhelming and I think you need to find what you want elsewhere, then look for it on when you’re ready to buy.

    Premier Prints has a huuuuge selection of low-priced, great upholstery-weight fabrics, but you can search by color OR print, which helps. Yellow, for example (since your living room has little yellow accents) also has some good Dwell Studio fabrics, including geometrics. Just search “dwell studio” or “geometric” and then narrow down to “home decor fabrics.” Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel7.20.11 - 8:49 AM

    I just discovered Hawthorne Threads. The shop (owned by a husband-and-wife team) has lots of great geometric prints, they’re superfriendly, and the prices are good. I recently ordered a couple fabrics, and the delivery is quick too. Good luck on the fabric hunt! That always seems to be the part that takes the longest.ReplyCancel

  • misie7.20.11 - 9:08 AM

    Chevron prints are all the rage right now! West Elm sells some great upholstry prints as well.ReplyCancel

  • Jen7.20.11 - 10:35 AM

    That’s a REALLY cute little ottoman. What about doing slipcovers? Make a couple that you could switch out when the mood strikes? Or be able to wash/dry clean? And for the artist in you check out Spoonflower. You can design and print your own fabric!

  • Cait @ Hernando House7.20.11 - 12:55 PM

    I love and the Premier Prints site Jane mentioned. I’ve been eyeing all of the Premier Prints Suzani varieties, like the yellow we used for our art room curtains. And I love the slipcover idea that Jen had. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • aleksandra7.20.11 - 3:27 PM

    You will cringe when I reveal my (apparently) poor taste, but I thought it was cute to begin with? The purple feet were weird, but otherwise, it seemed fine. Of course, whatever you come up with will surely be much better.
    I would try etsy for a funky vintage fabric (how much do you need? Surely not more than 2 yds?). I also wonder if the slipcover idea could work. How fun would that be if it did??ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.20.11 - 7:30 PM

      Aleksandra, you made me laugh. Trust me that the photo must have been deceiving!

      While we talked about a slipcover, we’re really ready to overhaul the guy and give it sleeker lines and a lighter look. Will keep you updated, and thank you for all the advice!ReplyCancel

  • Jaimie7.20.11 - 6:09 PM

    I love that photo of the kitty looking into the box. My kitty would be all about sleeping in there.ReplyCancel

  • Jami Graham7.21.11 - 2:06 PM

    I agree with Premier Prints! I think a chevron print would be awesome as well but since it’s so small you could totally go for a bold print!

    I can’t wait to see how it turns out!ReplyCancel

  • Lori7.21.11 - 4:24 PM has some great upholstery fabrics. I ordered from them to make my own window blinds & was really happy!ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.21.11 - 5:26 PM

      You guys are great! I’m in fabric heaven. Now I’m just being indecisive!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa7.21.11 - 4:44 PM

    I use mostly, and I generally search under Waverly and Richloom to start. If you use geometric prints or stripes on the ottoman you will have to line up the pattern (using more fabric) or it will look funny. The easiest thing to do would be to use a solid or a floral (that doesn’t have a noticeable repeat).ReplyCancel

  • Sarah B.7.23.11 - 7:50 AM

    I checked out Sarah Richardson’s site and she had some great links to her fabric sources…super expensive but great eye candy. If you’re just doing the ottoman then you might be able to afford some of that amazing fabric from New York!
    I have a great fabric store here called FM Fabrics. They have designer fabrics at a discount, like $7 a yard. I could always find you some!


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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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