Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Make This // An Upholstered Faux-Leather Bed

The looming launch date for the next The One Room Challenge (beginning this week!), lit a little fire under my feet to get this long-promised tutorial up on the blog. Today, I'm sharing a step by step to make the faux leather bed I made for the ORC back in the Fall when I made over our master bedroom.

I owe the success of this project to two items on my materials list - the french cleat hanging system that enables a fully supported bed frame without the need to build out a larger wood skeleton and also the buttery look and feel of some very 'looks like the real' thing vinyl, that I was able to score for a song here locally.  This project comes together quickly, relatively inexpensively and best of all - easy. You can do this with just the very few materials listed below.

In addition to those listed, you will also need to start with a standard metal mattress frame. You will be connecting the side boards to this using the french cleat. Note that while the bottom of the frame will typically not have this "bar" to hang the end board from, you will be connecting all three sides together using the corner braces so it will be fully supported. 

You do not need to invest in pretty boards for this project. Source the most inexpensive common pine boards and plywood you can from your local Home Improvement store. Do invest in your faux leather yardage. Though I found mine at a discount home fabric outlet, I have provided a good online source in  links (I actually have swatches in hand to validate the quality). 

The basic concept and the construction of the bed is simple - you'll be upholstering the face and sides of the headboard (I did not account for material to upholster the back as it sits up against a wall), then the sides as well. The upholstered headboard will sit up against your wall, on the floor. The remainder of the upholstered bed frame will hang securely around the bed base and eventually slide up to meet the headboard. 

You may also choose to bolt your headboard to the top of the metal mattress frame (there are usually pre-drilled holes in the metal for such a purpose). I did not find that step necessary.  Additionally, I have provided steps and measurements for our queen sized bed set up. Use these as a guide, but double check all measurements both before you buy the materials and then again before you begin cutting your yardage and upholstering. I actually came up a half a yard short lengthwise when making my own, which forced me to sew together shorter pieces for the sides. It was a happy accident for me as I ended up preferring this stitched seam detail on the face of my sideboards. The instructions here do not call for this step and the additional half yard of fabric has been added.

When putting the frame together, just remember that the end-board will fit between the two sides and then be braced with the corner brackets.

The frame is easily removed for cleaning and linen changing if needed (I covered our box spring in a pin-stripe that I occasionally remove and launder). 

We've been so pleased to finally have a fully upholstered bed at a fraction of the cost for a similar style. To see the final room design from the Fall '14 round of The One Room Challenge, created and hosted by Linda of Calling It Home, click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Let's get it out of the way early.  I realize that there are many purists out there who will flat out tell you that you never, ever paint brick in the same vein that wood enthusiasts will implore you to restore wood, but never paint it. If I'm being completely honest, I myself have a hard time seeing the original state of any crafted surface irreparably changed. Even still, I want to explore another way of looking at things and maybe even convert the traditionalist in you by praising the virtues of painted brick.

It's true. I may just be the girl most likely to wield a paint brush, but there are plenty of good reasons to consider painting out that brick wall you've been giving dirty looks to for the past 5 years. First and foremost- I am always a supporter of changing anything in your home that you are having a hard time living with. If you're unhappy with your brick wall or fireplace and think you'd be happier painting it out a bright white or gray or blue or yellow- by all means, go for it. Just know that once you do, you can't go back (well, you might be able to, but trust me when I say you really don't want to go through that hassle). 

Your gut is probably right in telling you that you can brighten up an otherwise dark and dated room by painting out the multi-colored brick walls in a bright white. One of my favorite aspects of a painted brick wall is the architectural interest you'll achieve or keep simply through texture variation. It may not have to be a different color than the rest of the room.  You can still break up what might otherwise be a white box of a room simply through a tone on tone accent wall of brick.

Achieve a more striking, yet neutral backdrop by painting out the brick in a dark charcoal tone. Be prepared to fall in love with all of your warm hued and brightly colored furnishings all over again. The wall plays a pivotal role, but will probably take a back seat to anything you put in front of it. 

We chose to paint out some accent brickwork around our back patio with a dark gray, much like the photo above. It was a bit of a game changer for us. We saved money by not having to replace brick that was not aesthetically pleasing and once painted, found that it neutralized an area that would have otherwise been an unwanted focal point. 

The virtues of paint stand well enough on their own. But I think by retaining the brick, we are still using the texture variation to our advantage. Take the room below for example. There is clear evidence that this was likely once a more rustic space. But what understated grandeur came from painting out the herringbone floors and that beautiful accent archway just a shade darker than the adjacent walls. It's clean, updated and elegant and arguably more striking because the renovators retained the pattern in the floors and ruggedness of the brick.

I would argue that painting brick is in a way preserving the original craftsmanship - not disposing of it. Making use of the existing material is an eco-concious compromise. Why tear down a well built structure simply because a more modern look is desired? A freshly painted brick exterior can be just as synonymous with classic tradition as unaltered brick. But I also think there's something to be said for bringing a fresh perspective to an older building or outdated space through unified color. 

Not all brickwork is created equal. You may love everything about that new house you just bought, except for the 1980's all-red brick everything kitchen that nearly broke the deal. Likewise, brick that has been repaired and patched over may have lost its once more polished look. If you find yourself considering an impulsive 10pm paint job, know that there is some prep-work and a few bigger considerations to vet out before you go at it. 

I focused primarily on paint here, but a wash or stain might actually be a better alternative for your particular situation. Here are some helpful links to help you do your own research. 

image sources: 
1/ via Rue Magazine  2/ via int2architecture  3/ Creative Flats via Airbnb  4/ Mercer Street Loft by Martin Raffone via Houzz  5/ House to Home via Happy Interiors Blog  6/ Studio Eginstill via Petitepassport.com  7/ Hays Town Makeover by Ty Larkins  8/Sara Blee  9/Designer Nancy Duffey via Romabio


Monday, March 23, 2015


It's been over two months since I've written a post for this blog. I've wanted to write many times since then, I've even had "write blog post" on my daily list more times than I can count. It's not that this blog hasn't been important to me, it's just that I had to let other things be important too. 

The upside is that over the last 10 weeks, I've accumulated so many wonderful tales and projects to talk to you about and I can't wait. I also took the time to sort of reset - both goals and personal aspirations within my own life, as well as my point of view for future posts here on the blog. I took time away from other blogs as well so that I could remember to hear my own voice. When creating content for five posts a week, I think its entirely too easy to get caught up in a vacuum of expectations about what you think people want to see and hear. In the end, I have a clearer vision for what I want to share with you all here at Holtwood Hipster and as fresh posts unfold over the next days and weeks, I hope you'll have a clearer vision about me and what I want to put out there in the world. 

I'm anxious to share and if you are still checking in here once in a while to see if a new post has been written, I am also very, very grateful that you do. 


image source:  for the love of the south
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