Makeover — Amanda’s “Mushroom Chair”

by Amanda Reass

Today come into the garden, kick back with a cold beverage and enjoy the story of the “Mushroom Chair,” a Makeover project from Design Junkie Amanda Reass of Columbus, Ohio.

Last October my fiancé and I moved into the house that my grandparents had lived in for 30+ years. We didn’t mind taking on the task of painting and updating the décor in exchange for low rent, and I was thrilled to take over Grandma’s garden.

Mushroom Chair in Amanda's Garden

At our previous house we had a front stoop that was just great for all my potted herbs and such, but I had no such luck with a spot for pots at the new place. We have a bit of a rabbit problem, so I didn’t want to leave them sitting on the patio, plus that was just not the most attractive option.

I was tooling around with various boxes and tables trying to come up with a solution for the potted plants; I started poking around in the garage when I stumbled upon this chair. It was all beat up and had definitely seen better days. The matching table and other three chairs were long gone. I decided that the chair would make a great plant stand, but it was in need of a big makeover.

Mushroom Chair Before

I later found out from my mom that when she was little, the chair (it was old and beat up even then) lived in the root cellar at the house on Ward Road–the house my grandparents lived in before the current one–down the street and around the corner.

She told me a mushroom grew out of the knot in the back. A mushroom so big that it made it into the Columbus paper. With a story like that I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it out!

The chrome was peeling off the legs and the vinyl and padding needed to be stripped from the seat. I unscrewed the back and seat, scrubbed the chrome with steel wool and sprayed it down with the highest setting on the hose sprayer. Once it was all cleaned up and dry, I spray painted the chair pumpkin orange. Many of my pots are green and yellow, so I thought a splash of orange would be a nice touch.

Mushroom Chair in Progress

Once the two coats of paint were dry, I painted the floral design on the back. I found a few vintage 70’s embroidery designs from Green Light GO! on Flickr that I really liked and thought would make a great design for the chair.

Using tracing paper, I took bits and pieces from the three designs to come up with something that filled the space appropriately and freehand painted it with basic acrylic craft paint.

Design Inspired by Embroidery

Here are the links to the floral designs:

List of supplies:

  1. Steel wool
  2. Scrub brush and soapy water
  3. 2 cans orange spray paint
  4. Tracing paper
  5. Acrylic craft paint – variety of colors
  6. Paint brushes – small and large sizes

Now the chair that once was home to a giant mushroom is a bright and cheerful garden plant stand!

Mushroom Chair After

Thanks Amanda for sharing the tale of your marvelous mushroom chair, and for the DIY instructions.


What’s your story about renovating a piece of family furniture?

Decorating to Go — Books

How often do things deliver more than promised? This book does. Billed as a volume to help you decorate temporary digs like rentals, dorms and such, Robin Bernard and Adrienne Nappi’s Decorating to Go, Easy Ways to Feather Your Temporary Nest (Creative Homeowner, 2009) is a dynamite little book for renters and homeowners alike.

Decorating to Go by Robin Bernard and Adrienne NappiIts pages are teeming with design and decorating concepts and DIY projects; even those with large decor libraries will find good ideas here.

There’s guidance on space planning like how to better define functional spaces and about smart furniture choices like buying and modifying pieces to serve multiple functions.

Bernard and Nappi help you simplify the quantity of your possessions to better work in a small space and give advice on making a comfortable spot for overnight guests.

Don’t miss the entries on how to work with the dreaded white walls, creative camouflage and arranging artwork. And the callout “Quick Tips” are espresso shots of assistance.

It’s not only how-to; Bernard and Nappi focus on expressing your personal style in your space.

A practical and pretty book, ideas are well-illustrated with oodles of photographs. I also enjoyed its fresh graphic design; fun typography never hurt a decorating book.

There’s gobs more here…pick up a copy and have some fun wherever you hang your hat.

Daring Decor — Challenge # 15

Today’s Challenge is about stepping out of your decorating comfort zone. Have you done it? I’m a colorholic, but still unsure sometimes about adding certain elements. A while back I was putting together a lounging corner in our master bedroom.

My Daring Corner

It was coming together fine with most of the pieces I chose:

  1. Double, sage velvet chaise — a splurge since much of our house is furnished with made-over pieces from garage sales and flea markets.
  2. Tiffany-style floor lamp. I adore stained glass lamps and snagged this one online.
  3. Cottage end table. Our buddy Jim (the painter) graciously coated in plum my antique-store score.
  4. Woven pillow cover, bought from the artisan-weaver himself at a local art fair.
  5. Faded crocheted throw with special meaning because it belonged to my best friend’s dad.

Here’s the daring part. Artwork. I wanted something interesting to accent the colorful traditional pieces. My search led me to eBay and the bold, impressionistic oil painting of filtered light through autumn trees. Lots of trees out the window so the theme worked.

Quilt SnippetBut It was quite bright in reds and golds; at the time this was daring. Would it work with the greens and plums of the corner? There is red and gold elsewhere in this mountain room; the color palette was inspired by this quilt that covers the bed. Still this painting was “wild” for me and it took some courage to go ahead with it.

You know what? I love it. It’s unexpected, vibrant and energizing. Yes, I probably will paint some color on the walls (a warm neutral I think) but otherwise I am thrilled with the space.

It’s my favorite spot to curl up with hubby, a kiddo, a book or this ever-present (red) laptop.

So this week’s Challenge is to share a story and a photo about somewhere you’ve been daring with your decor. Where somehow you stepped (or better leaped!) out of your comfort zone and went for it.

Maybe it was with a color on your walls or with a pattern on the fabric. Maybe with a piece of furniture or with the whole darn room. Maybe it was at your own home or designers (I know you are reading this) maybe it was for a client’s. Tell us what you did, why this was daring for you and how you felt before and after.

domino, The Book of DecoratingAnd if you haven’t practiced daring decor to date, I’m sending you courage vibes through the Internet right now (do you feel it?). Come on, Be Bold! Be Brave! Then share your photo and your story in the easy Challenge Entry Form here. We can’t wait to see yours.

There’s more to this–a random winner selected from the entrants to this Challenge will win this awesome addition for the home decorating library, Domino: The Book of Decorating! It’s packed with inspiring spaces and helpful tips, and perfect for those of you in domino mag withdrawal.

Daring Decor -- Challenge # 15

  • Submission Deadline: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
  • Ta-Da! Challenge Results: Thursday, October 1, 2009

Check out all 1 entries » | Submit your entry »

Peek at the latest 1 entries below....

1. Nancy Manning in Redondo Beach, CA 

1. From Nancy Manning in Redondo Beach, CA:

Nancy Manning's entry

This is what we fondly refer to as our “fauxaic” farm table. It used to have white legs which became scuffed with black shoe marks over the years. When we moved to a new home 10 years ago we wanted a fresh start. I couldn’t get new furniture at the time but, we could make the old things feel new. The maple butcher block top got refinished but I wanted something fun and exuberant for the legs with the look of a broken tile mosaic. My partner, Don & I painted the legs in glossy color bands and then did a blending on the apron. Then the scarey part. With the kids helping, we covered the whole thing in pieces of masking tape leaving space between to look like grout and sprayed the whole thing in flat black. We held our breath as it dried. Then we pulled off the tape and voila! We love the fun whimsical look and the fact that it was a family effort is a big plus.

Makeover — Lamp with Decorative Paper Shade

by Diana Durkes

Get your DIY on as furniture makeover and upcycler specialist, Contributor Diana Durkes joins us again today. Diana gives “New Life to the Tossed and Found” at her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.


This month’s makeover is a favorite of mine for adding fresh color or a new layer of pattern to a room. It’s also a great way to use the beautiful printed papers offered by art supply and specialty paper stores. So many patterns, so little time is my feeling when I browse through the amazing prints.

While walking the dog last week, I salvaged a plain, modern floor lamp from a neighborhood parkway. It worked perfectly; just needed a little polish, so perhaps the previous owner had set it out for anyone whose imagination might be sparked by the item.

Enter HomeWorkshop. With its simple lines, the floor lamp was a perfect partner for a decorative shade and a quick makeover.


For the floor lamp’s shade, I purchased a plain parchment drum from an outlet in Chicago that resells hotel furnishings upon redecoration, Cooper Used Hotel Furniture. Each shade there is $10. Cooper is stocked to the rafters with deals on traditionally styled furniture. For a future project, it might be worth a search to see if there’s a like store near you.


At Paper Source, a specialty paper store, I bought two sheets of flocked salmon paper and two sheets of opaque mesh to layer over it. Together the papers cost $16.75.


To glue the papers onto the shade, I used archival quality glue, which will not yellow over time like white household glue may. I measured and cut the papers to fit the shade. Then, I ran a bead around the top and bottom of the shade and glued two sheets of the salmon floral paper in place, also gluing the paper’s seams. I pressed the mesh sheets of paper on top, dotting with more glue as needed.

On this shade, since the top and bottom binding matched the paper, I chose to leave it bare. A thin grosgrain ribbon or paper binding can also be used to finish the binding, like I did when I made these shades.


In all, the lamp shade cost $27.75, and the lamp was free. I spent about an hour making the shade, time enjoyably spent. Here it is finished. I appreciate how the reborn lamp freshens and brightens my entryway (top).


Diana Durkes

Diana Durkes is a creative recycler and a confessed alley shopper. She gives a makeover to one found item each week, and publishes the before & after on her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.


How would you use decorative papers in your decor?

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Automatically Receive Content
Follow HomeWorkshop on Twitter Follow HomeWorkshop on Pinterest Follow HomeWorkshop RSS feed
Let's Go Shopping
Make your own thrifted shabby chic pieces in a weekend

Put our button on your site!
Copy the code below:

Fab Web Sites