A Wink of Leather || First Flip of 2019

Welcome back StyleMutts! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family, friends, and food-but-not-too-much-so-you-feel-bloated food.

I myself tackled several projects around the house between Christmas and New Years (as I often like to do) and realized something...  It’s not so much the time off I enjoy most this time of year, but the moments leading up to a new year where all the challenges from the past year become eclipsed by the possibilities of the next.  What projects will I tackle? What ways will I surprise myself? What trouble will I get myself in to and then have to figure my way out of?

I like this mixture of hope and possibility.  And I’m not-so-much hoping I’ll become someone new or a better version of myself in 2019, I just want to keep being me. Doing what I love. With the people I love. And I recognize that I’m blessed already for having been doing just that all through 2018.

And I love what I do with you - sharing finished pieces or new ideas and pushing myself to try something I’ve never done before.  Friends, I managed to squeeze in one last project in 2018 to be the first project to share in the new year!

Meet Blondie:

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She’s not much too look at - just a neon shade of yellow wood finish but she had great lines so I brought her home to the workshop.  One of the things that stood out to me most was that she had such tall legs - and I got to thinking... I could really have some fun with that.

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First order of business: paint.  The original buttered wood wasn’t doing her any favors so I went with a good neutral: Silver Drop by Behr.

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The color is a soft blend of white and a delicate light gray.  It’s not too harsh but still very warm and fresh.

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To play up the height of the legs, I decided to add some interest with a “wink of leather” as Chelsea would say.

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I added crossing leather straps in an X shape that are secured to each leg.  They are completely removable if you need the under dresser storage but add such a fun surprise detail to an otherwise “Plain Jane.”

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Let’s take a closer look shall we? 

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Originally I tried riveting the leather together  but couldn’t get the straps to bind so I ended up using brass screws with a nut on the back to hold them taut and in place. 

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I also replaced the original ring pulls with bright brass whistle knobs.

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I love using these knobs in projects to give a easy modern upgrade (like here and here).

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If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece, this White + Leather moment is available for sale!  Email my contact info below for purchasing or third-party shipping options.

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White + Leather Dresser
Now Available for Sale
63”L x 18”D x 34”H
$695

 If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, email me at cate@stylemutthome.com

Quirky MCM Nightstand

One of the perks of being the furniture flipper in my friend group is sometimes they give me er... presents...  In the form of discarded furniture.  

This asymmetrical wonder came to me when a friend got a fish tank off craigslist that came with a quirky base.  They kept the tank and were about to kick it to the curb when they probably thought, "Waste not: Cate not" and passed it off to me for some hail Mary refurbishing.  

But the good news is, being quirky has its perks.  In fact, mid-century modern furniture is iconic-ly quirky.  Besides making the piece stand out in a space, there's something... endearing about their asymmetrical lines: 

Source:  1st Dibs

Source: 1st Dibs

Upon closer inspection, this little odd-ball was certainly a little worse for wear: deep scratches in the finish, funky Christmas tree pulls, yellowing paint...  It would be undoubtedly be easier to paint the whole thing but that burled wood grain!  So in the end I put in the extra elbow grease and restored him with some repurposed leather pulls.

Yes those stylized tree pulls had to go.  They were easy to unscrew but the awkwardly-placed holes made finding new pulls to fit difficult.  And the textured drawer fronts made filling them in to drill holes for new pulls just as challenging.  So here's where I had to get creative with a touch resourceful: I had an old camel leather string belt lying around and cut three lengths that were long enough to fit the off-center holes with a some extra slack for easy grabbing.  

I punched holes in the belt for the cabinet screws, threaded them through with a washer for extra reinforcement, and secured them on the inside with a nut.

To add to the quirk of this piece, there is a slot cut into the left side of the nightstand.  At first I couldn't make sense of it.  I mean, was the nightstand designer so lazy that he didn't want to have to open the top drawer to put some papers away?  But then I realized, this designer wasn't lazy - (s)he's tech savvy!  This slot turns the top drawer into a charging hub for your personal electronics so instead of having a rats nest of cords cluttering up your bedside surface real estate (like I do), you can stow them away discretely!

Keeping the piece two-toned lets the texture of the drawer fronts play off of the banding in the warm wood grain.

Keeping the burled wood grain did mean I couldn't mask some of the discoloration along the edges.

I'm not sure what caused the "worn" edges but they are completely flush so the surface is still baby-butt smooth.  Plus, I think the markings lend themselves well to the vintage character of the piece.  

As a beloved teacher once told me, you have to earn your wrinkles.  I think the same goes for vintage pieces: they don't get to be this old without collecting some storied markings along the way ;)  

Two-Toned Mid-Century Modern Nightstand
21.5"W x 14"D x 24.5"H
SOLD
$85

If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, please contact me at cate@stylemutthome.com.

How Riveting ||Flip List Item No.3||

As of today, I'm officially down to the last two items of my Furniture Flip Bucket List - with only two months left in the year to complete.  Huzzah!

Not sure why I ended up working backwards on this list, but since January 2015, I've crossed off items:
No.6
No.5
No.7
No.4
and now No.3: Rivet Something!

So to recap, a Riv·et (noun) is a short metal pin or bolt beaten or pressed down used for holding together two plates of metal [or other material] together.  I got my first rivet gun for Christmas and am ashamed to say I only JUST freed it from it's clam shell packaging for this project.  I claimed I was waiting for "the perfect occasion to break it in."  But the truth is I was scared.

Now there's really no reason to be intimidated by a rivet gun.  In fact, just about the only intimidating thing about this tool is the word gun in the title haha - it's not even a power tool and only costs $10 bucks!  But I confess breaking out a new tool I've never used before can make me second guess my skills.  But when I finally got an idea on how to use it, I sat down and watched a couple youtube videos to bolster my confidence and was ready to [timidly] roll.

The "worthy project" was an 80's style patio cart I acquired in early October.  It was a white powder-coated steel that almost looked like PVC pipe instead of metal.  It was tragic.

Plain Jane no?

My first instinct was to go gold using our beloved faux gold finish technique.  But when I  finished painting it, it felt flat to me.  I wanted to add something special to make it feel more... finished.

 
 

This is when I realized I already had just the tool for the job: my riveter.

Supplies needed:

Metal bar cart
Leather
Rivet Gun/ Riveter
Pop Rivets
Power Drill (not pictured)

Step 1: drill a pilot hole in the center of the handle.

Step 2: Line up the center of edge of the leather strip on the hole in the metal and drill a matching pilot hole in the leather.

Step 3: Load your rivet gun with a pop rivet (watch this video if you needed help like me) and thread the pop rivet tip through your pilot holes, pressing the tip of the rivet gun up against the cart.

Step 4. Squeeze the handles of your rivet gun until you hear the rivet "pop" (hence the name pop rivet).  When you pull the gun away, you should see the flattened tip of the rivet, securely fastening your leather to the metal. 

Step 5: using the center rivet as an anchor, wrap the leather around the handle - pulling it tight as you go. I cut my leather long enough to cover the center rivet and end almost at the underside of the handle so the seam will be hidden when I'm finished.  Then working from the outside in, repeat steps 1-4 all along the seam until the leather is completely riveted in place.

In retrospect, it would have been easier to do this  treatment with wide leather cording and wrap around the handle several times - you would only need a rivet to anchor at the  beginning and one to finish at the end.  Maybe I'll try that next time ;)

I also added leather cuffs to the feet of the cart to give it a bit more... masculinity.  I'm hoping it'll attract a buyer like Marshall's leather cuff did Lily (How I Met Your Mother fans...?).

I love the two tiers of textured glass.

Leather Wrapped Bar Cart
$160
SOLD

And hey friends!  We are looking for fellow leather-lovers to share more leather decor crafts on StyleMutt Home.  If you have a project to share, tag your pics with #stylemuttsloveleather and let's get this party started!