People may think of a number of descriptive words for me, but D0-It-Yourself is not among them.
One of my favorite blogs that I read all the time is Young House Love, and they are all about the DIY. But they’re DIY on crack. They knock down walls and paint brick and tear out concrete. They do an incredible job of making it look accessible, but it still scares the junk out of me.
Enter our hideous bar stools that the previous owner of our home left us — and refused to pick up when we found she had left them (but we could hardly blame her — they’re hideous, after all):
Not only is the pattern like something from a Ringling Brother’s Circus, but one of them was actually stained:
How did we live with them for 16 months? If I think about that question too long I will go into convulsions, so in the interest of time, let’s skip that question.
When Mike and I decided that we finally had to get rid them, naturally we planned to throw them away and buy new ones. But then some DIY-type friends heard our plan and were aghast that we’d waste money and resources on “such a simple project.”
Sure. Simple for you. This coming from the people who carve their own dining room tables.
We promptly ignored their suggestion and proceeded to look for new bar stools. However, upon finding that any decent bar stool was at least $150 a pop, we figured why not try to fix our current ones? If we fail we can always throw the embarrassment in the garbage and THEN spend the $450.
Off to the fabric store we went. We chose a fabric, bought a staple gun and some backing and headed home for the dirty work.
First we took the stools apart to determine if we’d need to strip the fabric.
We decided that the backing on our new fabric was thick enough to prevent any of the old fabric from showing through, so we left the seat fabric on.
The fabric on the back of the stool, however, had to come off. That was not a fun process.
Isn’t it a beautiful pattern?
Everything worked like a charm until this point. The next step was nothing short of maddening. We had to align the fabric perfectly, staple it correctly and tightly, and make sure the corners didn’t look freaky. We alternated between talking to each other through gritted teeth like seamstresses on Project Runway, and cheering each other on like we were at the Mathletes Finals.
After dozens of removed staples, we finally had it:
…and then we realized we had to do it again two more times, and we almost decided it would be easier if we just sold our house and left the new owners with two torn apart stools. Let history repeat itself, we said.
But we motored through, and finished all three seats and one seat back.
Those of you paying attention realize this leaves two seat backs unfinished. How long do you think it took Mr. and Mrs. Reph to finish those last two seat backs? I’ll give you some hints:
- it’s the same amount of time it takes to get five credits at a university
- it’s the same amount of time it takes to grow 1/3 of a baby
- it’s the same amount of time that Seattleites enjoy the weather each year
Three months, people. Three months. For three months, two of our chairs sat there without backs. For three months, we told our guests we’d “just started” this project and that we were going to complete it “this weekend.” It was sometimes the last thing one of us would say to the other before falling asleep, “You know, we really need to finish those bar stools. No seriously. It’s embarrassing.” The other would always dutifully reply, “I know. Totally. Let’s do it this weekend. Oh wait, we’re out-of-town. Next weekend, then. For sure.”
This went on for three months.
Until this week. This week, in a fit of energy, we decided it had to come to an end. We got home from a date, walked right into the dining room and started stapling like it was our jobs.
Ladies and gentlemen:
Aren’t they pretty? But really, the attractiveness doesn’t even matter to me at this point. The point is that they are done, complete, finito.
And just as I hoped, they bring in the red from the family room behind them, and help add a little color and interest to the space.
The other side of the victory is that what should have cost $450 ended up only costing $35 ($20 for the fabric and backing, $15 for the staple gun). Even though they aren’t perfectly done, I’ll take imperfect at $35 over perfect at $450…at least for now.
Instead of teaching us that we are DIY-capable, this certainly proved to us that we should never remodel a home. It took us three months to do the backs of two stools; I don’t think we should be knocking down walls and replacing granite counter-tops. For the sake of our marriage, obviously.