Friday, May 22, 2015


These slipcovers are done with a sailcloth Sunbrella.  It is the nicest Sunbrella I've ever worked with!

The fabric is very soft and feels really nice.

My client bought these two sofas on Craigslist from an elderly lady.  They are custom made from Calico Corners, and she (my client) paid only $200 for them!  And while they were not ugly, they were not to my client's liking, fabric-wise.

That's where slipcovers come in.  I am often asked how one should decide whether or not to slipcover a piece of furniture.  I always say, if you love it and it is comfortable, do it.  If you just hate the fabric and do not want to have it reupholstered, do it.  If it is uncomfortable, don't bother.  If the piece is from IKEA, don't bother.

Overall, the white fabric really brightened up the room.  My client was thrilled with the result and said it was the best Mother's Day 'present' she received this year.  Since her kids were not around, new slipcovers were the next best thing!

The before - not bad, just boring.

Friday, May 8, 2015


The City of Coronado was incorporated in 1890, and is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.  This Sunday, Mother's Day, is the Coronado Historic Home Tour.  The homes on the tour represent six of the styles of architecture that built Coronado.  Those on the tour include Mid-Century Modern, Palmer, Spanish Eclectic, Tudor, Craftsman and Spanish Revival.  
In addition to these six, there are five other (addresses provided in your ticket booklet for 'drive-by' touring) typical styles constructed here over the last 12 decades, and those are: Victorian, Mission Revival, Colonial Revival, Arts and Crafts and Pueblo Revival.

I have the great fortune of having done work in 3 of the 6 houses this year!  And in the picture above, the Tudor, I did the sofa slipcover to the left and the chair and ottoman in the center of the picture.  

Also, as seen above in the picture to the bottom left, in the living room, I made the pillows, and the bottom right shows the outside patio in the back of the house, where I did the cushions.  There are also various other window treatments, bedding, etc. that I have done over the last 10 or more years.

The other two homes I have work in are the Craftsman and the Spanish Eclectic.

If you live locally in San Diego, I highly recommend you come to Coronado on Sunday and enjoy the  exquisite homes on the tour.  The hours are 11 am to 4 pm, and tickets are available at the Visitor Center at 1100 Orange Avenue.  Check out the web site for more information:

Saturday, May 2, 2015


A few weeks back I got an email from a client.  In part it said,  "Hope you will remember us as you made 9 Roman Shades for our our home in Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, in October 2005 when we moved to San Diego. Despite being put up and down every morning and every night, they still look like new."  

Of course I remembered them.  What the email also said was that, if I was interested, they needed more roman shades.  

So, I went yesterday to measure and pick up the fabric for the roman shades in the guest room.

As I had never gotten pictures of the ones I did 10 years ago, I took the opportunity to take them yesterday.  

When I first walked in the master bedroom, my first thought was, 'I did not make these.'  But really, how could they think I had if I hadn't.  When I looked closer, I realized that I had, in fact, made them.

What I do remember about this job was how each shade, all 9 of them, came out exactly the same, and by that I mean I cut them all from the top down.  So even though they had varying finished lengths, the tops were all identical.  I was impressed, and so were my clients.

I am happy that after all these years the shades still look really good.  And clearly my clients are happy as well since I am making more shades for their lovely home in Fairbanks Ranch.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


In the new mountain home...

My client's in La Jolla bought a house in the mountains and had me make new cushions for the Stickley chairs, one of which was real and one a reproduction.  The challenge (do I ever have a job that does NOT present some kind of a challenge?) was they were two different sizes and one was actually upholstered in leather (the reproduction) and the original had a seat cushion with springs in it.  To make them seem to go together better, we decided to simply replace the old cushions with new ones.

I had to reupholster the ottoman.  Luckily, I was able to leave the old leather in place.  Although I am so not an upholsterer, something like this is relatively easy, which means I am able to do it without tearing my hair out.

The fabric is a really soft, wide-wale corduroy with a black and white check contrast welting.  To really make them fit into the mountain house decor, I appliquéd the leather pine trees to the back cushions.  There are also two throw pillows with the appliqués for the leather sofa.  And if they ever get tired of the tree, the cushions can simply be turned around.

All the pictures, except the first, were taken in my client's garage before the chairs were moved up to the mountains.

The reproduction Stickley chair and ottoman.

Friday, April 17, 2015


This cushion would qualify as plain, but only because it disappears into its surroundings.  In the kitchen of my client's house this window seat adds the perfect spot to relax.  The white Sunbrella makes for an indestructible cover.

Because the window seat is so low, we opted to do a thicker-than-normal cushion.  Plus, the window frame stuck out enough that it helps keep the cushion in place.  Even though we used white, since it is Sunbrella, stains will not be a problem.

On to the fancy...this chair, one of two, is in the sitting room of the downstairs guest room.  The black and white embroidered fabric dresses up the vintage wicker chairs.  The contrast welting is the white Sunbrella.

The guest room can be seen in the background.  The room is predominately white with a black iron bed.   A black and white duvet is folded at the foot of the bed, and ties in nicely with the cushions in the sitting room.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Okay, so the photos today are not so interesting in that I took the shot from one side and then the other.  In my defense, I was unable to take it straight on because of the sun.

This is a sort of relaxed balloon shade.  Or maybe a flat cloud shade.  Whatever you call it, it turned out pretty cute.  I made it from Laura Ashley panels that my client purchased at Home Goods.  In the picture above, to the left, notice the painting of an Old English clients dog, Daisy.  At the bottom of this post I included a picture of Daisy last week on her 3rd birthday.

This is one of three houses here in Coronado that will be on the Home Tour this Mother's Day.  Unfortunately, this room is upstairs, so will not be seen by visitors.  Bummer!  But on the plus side, I also made cushions on the first floor that will be seen.

Miss Daisy!

Friday, April 3, 2015


Let me say right up front that leather is NOT my favorite thing to slipcover.  It's because it is a true SLIP COVER.  In other words, it slips because it doesn't have anything to grab onto.

The fabric we used is Sunbrella.  Also, to the right in the above picture and the one below, you can see striped towels (from the Hotel Del Coronado, found abandoned on the beach) which are covering the seat cushions on the chairs I made new covers for.  I'll do those in a different post.  They are covered to protect the cushions from the kitty cats!

In an attempt to keep the slipcover in place, my client had an under-the-rug mesh pad that we put directly on the ottoman before putting the slipcover on.  (I ran into my client today and didn't think to ask how this is working.)

The other thing I did was sew cording, which just happened to be the exact color of the fabric, on the seam line and tie the skirt to the ottoman for extra security in keeping it in place.

And unless you get on the floor and look under the skirt, the ties are not visible.  

Friday, March 20, 2015


I did the slipcovers for the bar stools in November or December.  I had one of the chairs at my house and when I delivered them, only one of the other stools could be located.  The house was still being renovated, and we all knew that there were three stools originally.  Eventually, the 'lost' chair was found, and the kitchen was finally finished.

The fabric is a dark gray Sunbrella with a contrast flat welt and banding on the skirt in an aqua check.

At the bar in the kitchen.

With one of the paisley throw pillows, just for a little more color.

  The nice thing about the slipcovers is since they are made with Sunbrella, the wear and tear will be minimal, and they can simply be wiped down if food is spilled on them.

Friday, March 13, 2015


I have tried and tried to get good pictures of these draperies, and this is the best I was able to do.  

The above picture was taken before the furniture was even in the living room.  The fabric is from Designers Guild Limited through Osborne & Little Inc.  The pattern is called Orsoglio and the color is Azure.  The panels have inverted pleats, puddle on the floor, and to make them even more luxurious, they are interlined.  Though the fabric looks and acts like silk, it is a cotton/polyester blend.

In the next two pictures, you can see why I had trouble taking pictures.  When the draperies are open, it is too bright outside, and all that really shows up is the street.  It seemed I was always at this house during the middle of the day, which meant the sun was always an issue.

Short of going over at night to take pictures, I did the best I could with what I had to work with.  And why I did not take a shot from further back, I have no idea.  The sectional is full of pillows that I made, but for some reason it did not occur to me to put both pillows and draperies in the same picture.  Actually, I just looked again and there is one:

And it's a great picture of the street outside the window, but not so much the draperies, or even the pillows on the sofa.  Oh, well, I think you get the idea!

Friday, March 6, 2015


I delivered these balloon valances (the other is not visible in pictures) a couple weeks before Christmas.  When my client saw them up, she said, "I don't like them.  I don't like khaki."  Well, that upset me greatly, though I did my best to remain calm.  It would have been very helpful to me if she or the designer had mentioned this kind-of-important fact to me before I made them.  And when I saw the picture of it, I thought, 'she's right, they really don't look that good.'

The solution was to unmount them from the boards, which would involve removing the million staples I had used to make sure it was nice and secure,  and reverse the pleats so that the turquoise that ended up inside the poofs would be out and the khaki that she did not care for would be inside.  I literally thought, and worried, about this all through Christmas.  And when I got back, I texted her and said that, of course, I would happily fix them.

Turned out, though that the designer had fooled with them and was able to somehow pull enough of the turquoise out of the pleat that the client was happy.  I had to admit when I saw it that it wasn't bad.  Yes, the khaki is still prominent, but at least the prettier color is now showing.

Although it is not so evident in the pictures, this fabric is really quite lovely.  And incredibly expensive!  It is from Designers Guild and, at wholesale, it is $250 a yard.  The fabric alone for these two windows was $1000!

  I learned a valuable lesson on this job...make sure the likes and dislikes of certain colors are communicated clearly to me.  I make what I am told to make, but I do not want a client to be unhappy with something that I've done, whether my fault or not.  And while it would have been a huge pain to 'fix' these balloon shades, I would have done it.  Even though my client was not initially happy, in the end, she was.  And that made me happy!

Friday, February 27, 2015


This vintage rattan chair and ottoman got new covers!

I forgot to look at the selvage to see the mill and pattern name of this fabric.  Sorry about that.  I do know it is an outdoor fabric (but not Sunbrella) and so is pretty indestructible.

The pattern was fairly large, so to take advantage of all the different scenes, I did not match the seat, back and ottoman pieces.  Also, if you turn them over, they still do not match.  Fronts and backs are all different.  It was the only way to not completely waste fabric.

From the side

I also made a couple of covers for the throw pillows my client already had.

There are also two 19" x 16" pillows in a tweed-y fabric for the newly reupholstered vintage rattan sofa.  I did not take a close-up, so they are only visible to the far sides of the pictures.  Again, sorry about that.

My client wanted me to slipcover this piece, but what you cannot see is how impossible this would have been.  It actually folds out flat, kind of like a futon.  A slipcover would not have worked.

This is the fabric that was on it before and the temporary solution that we came up with 4 or 5 years ago to put off having the sofa recovered at that point.  I made a sort of 'slip' that tied on the sides.  We were not trying to hide the fact that it was a slip, just extending the life of the sofa.

It worked very well, but the time came to do it properly.  And my client's husband had always wanted a green sofa, which it finally is.

This home in Pacific Beach is my clients' winter home; that is, they are here in winter to get out of the cold and snow of Rhode Island.  

Friday, February 20, 2015


I love small things: tiny seashells and sea urchins, sand dollars the size of erasers, minuscule buttons, small bottles, really anything lilliputian.  Not sure why or when this started, but for as long as I can remember this has been the case.  Maybe because I am tall, and growing up I hated it and wanted to be short, which really wasn't a possibility.  

When I saw this 2 1/4" tall object in a shop here on Coronado, I had to open it to see what was inside.  I was not disappointed!

Teeny, tiny colored pencils!  Twelve of them!

They are from Japan.

I, of course, would never actually use them because they wouldn't be so pretty.

I have them sitting on my desk and any time I notice them, I smile.  That's as good a reason as any to have them around, don't you think?

Thanks to my angel trumpet for lending its leaf for the first picture and to my chippy, weather-worn table for the others.