Friday, June 24, 2011

The Brandon Project

Last fall my daughter met a guy - actually they'd met briefly 5 years ago but last fall's "met" was more like "MET". 

Yup, they fell in love and so last month they moved in together.

Meet Brandon - he's the big one on the right holding his nephew.
Quick recap for those who are joining us "late in the season" - my daughter is 24, a structural engineer, and works in San Francisco. She lives in a lovely studio apartment with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. When she moved from college last summer, we had a lot of fun decorating her new digs in modern "Mary Tyler Moore".

We were aiming for a sleek shabby chic.

...with pink as our accent color.
But now that she's no longer living alone...well...let's just say that the fuchsia curtains and floral slipper chair are a bit too much on the feminine side for a man who owns a garage full of tools and 5 lacrosse sticks.

And Brandon (who also enjoys watching sports from a reclining position) is not a little guy - he's 6'4" - so her moss green "love seat" was more of a "hate seat" for him. Luckily, she was able to foster it out to a loving home (with shorter residents) and they adopted a new full size couch from a friend who was moving to New York.

This adoption was a giant step in the direction of transforming "hers" into "theirs".

Except..."The couch has some small rips and the satin cushions are dingy," Erica told me on the phone.

"We can reupholster it!" I declared feeling like supermom. That is, until I realized that their house blues weren't limited to a touch of older couch flu...it was really more of chronic condition that had spread to many of the furnishings.

In order to transform their space into the sleek and modern flat they desired we were going to reupholster:
1. the aforementioned couch,
2. the clashing ottoman,
3. the floral slipper chair,
4. the fake Tuscan painting,
5. the dining chair cushions,
6. and two lampshades.

I'm tired just typing all that!

We began treatment with a stiff shot of antibiotics in the form of a trip to Home Fabrics. With the help of some girlfriends we ferreted out some bargain fabrics in a terrific new color palate.

Erica and Megan pose for their "Engineers Decorate!" pilot episode cover shot.
Back home Brandon liked the fabrics...mostly. The grey for the couch was a go; the stylized brocade had enough Asian influence to intrigue him; even the geometric was well-received; but the bright - almost chartreuse - yellow for the slipper chair? Well...it was a worry.

True confessions here...it had me a little worried too. I mean, any fabric you have to sew wearing sunglasses gives rise to some misgivings.

But Erica has always had a gift for color and she's still got it. Wait until you see the final result.

Now don't think for a second that I was doing all this work on my own - these two are a fun-loving couple and game for just about anything. So I dressed them up like Mariachis and handed them staple removers.

"Ready to remove staples boss!"
Okay, they dressed themselves like Mariachis (for the Bay to Breakers Parade) but I did give them staple removers and they dug right in...and started removing the 1,000+ staples holding the old fabrics in place.
Erica was a good sport about removing staples...in the beginning.

Brandon had the best technique so removed more than his fair share.

I'd remembered extra tools, gloves, my air compressor, upholstery stapler, sewing machine, etc. - everything we'd need for the transformation...except the power cord for my sewing machine.  A quick trip to Target and Erica became the proud owner of her first sewing machine. (Will someone please explain to me how a $150 machine can do 90% of the things my 20 year old $3,000 Elna can do?) 

Of course there was still loads of hand-sewing to do...
We started with the couch since it was the one "have to finish" item on our list. Remember, we'd vowed to complete all of this in a single weekend as both Brandon and Erica had to be back to work bright and early Monday morning.

The finished couch looks very tailored with the grey suit-weight upholstery, Ultrasuede bolsters, and geometric throw cushions.
This is the "before" slipper chair pic.

We'd already reupholstered the slipper chair once before to make it pink so it went quickly.


The color totally works - it's more than an occasional chair - it's art!
They pretty much completed the ottoman redo on their own.
Just to refresh your memory - the old ottoman was green and skirted - very feminine.
The new ottoman is sleek and tailored - nice!
We made it! By Sunday night all the reupholstering was done and all that was left were minor adjustments and the clean-up.


It's like the apartment "grew up" - martinis anyone?

And that slipper chair is the star of the show.
The happy (but exhausted) couple are super happy that it's all over.

1 comment:

  1. Erica and BrandonJune 25, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    We LOVE it!!! Thank you sooooo much for all your help. Love you mum!!

    ReplyDelete