Thursday, April 30, 2009

Before N After Slip Covers

photo by Eddie Ross

Months ago I started thinking about getting the master bedroom ready for summer. I got a mountain grass rug (the same as sea grass), painted my dressers white, and got some new bedding including a deep drop ruffle white bed spread, and some some new toss pillows. I also put up some white sheer curtains. The last piece of the scheme was a white slip cover for the velvet slipper chair.

Everyone thinks about white slipcovers sooner or later. And everyone has them sooner or later. It might just be an off the peg one from someplace like Sure Fit, or maybe one from Ikea. These are fine, but they really can't compare with slipcovers made especially for your furniture.

I have had slipcovers made, but they were in chartreuse linen, and also in black and white toile. But I never had white slips made. When I wanted to have one made for the slipper chair, I called my upholstery man who quoted me around $400. I also checked a couple of other places, and the price was more or less the same, plus the cost of the fabric (around six yards).

It was more than I had to spend, so I went online and did some looking around. I thought I might find a ready made one for what I thought was a pretty generic chair shape. I didn't find one, but I found a great company called Before N After Slipcovers.

The price for a slipper chair white twill cover was around $150., and that I could do! So I just went to the site, and followed the instructions.

They give you diagrams to take measurements from, and I did it, sent them the order, and just waited for the turn around, which is about four weeks. I didn't mind the wait because it was still winter, and I was planning ahead.
I got follow up e-mails from a very nice and capable woman named Sue, and I decided to keep it simple, and not micro manage. A few weeks later my slipcover arrived in the mail.

Oops! I guess my measurements were not correct! I sent this picture off to Sue, and she asked me to measure again, and that she would re-do it. I had sent her several photos of my chair from every angle, and she e-mailed them back to me with little arrows on them as to where to EXACTLY measure. She never made me feel stupid or bad. She couldn't have been nicer about it. This is excellent customer service.
While I was waiting for the redo to come, I looked at the Before N After web site again, and found this really great chair seat slip for $55.

It made me think of the beloved queen of white slips and sea grass, Ms Joni Webb of Cote de Texas, who has written the definitive book on the subject.

Joni Webb's chairs

I also revisited some of Joni's postings about slip covers, and had the aha moment. I forgot to ask Sue if they pre-washed the fabric! I had done this with the green linen slips myself before I handed the fabric over to the seamstress. So I shot off another e-mail or two, requesting a pre- wash, or making the slip at least 20% larger.

Many of us own Parsons Chairs, and Before N After does many versions of slipcovers for this work horse of a chair starting at $109. They have a zillion fabric choices, or you can use your own fabric.

Anyhoo, my do over came a few days ago, perfect timing since it is well on the way to summer here already. It turned out so nice! And it looks great with all the other summery things I added. It's a little bigger in lieu of pre-washing.

Adding all the white accents with the blue walls really looks fresh.

I already had quite a few white accents, so it wasn't rocket science to add a few more.

The room feels more and more like being at the beach.

I've had the mountain grass rug down for a couple of months, and it is terrific! Dirt and dog hair do not show at all, and the grass smells sweet, and feels great on bare feet.

I've had this bench for years and years, and had the slip made for it at least ten years ago.

I'm loving the lamps I painted to look like alabaster. The photo is by Edgar Sierra, that he took right after Katrina. It was exhibited at The New Orleans Museum of Art.

My lady saints are in a niche on an antique twig table.

The other night table has another Katrina photo, showing a naked woman climbing out of the rubble of what once was her house.

All in all I am very happy with the changes I made for the summer.

If you're thinking of white slipcovers for the summer (or for all the time) give Before N After a try.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Walking To Work

It's been a couple of months since I joined the ranks of job holders. I work six days a week. I love it. Everyday I walk to work. Cholo is having great quality time with Mr. Mom aka Tangoman, but he clearly hates to see me go. Alberto will bring him by to visit me later.

The street we live on is gorgeous! Lined with ancient Live Oak trees, and filled with interesting and beautiful old houses inhabited by friendly people.

This is our house, a double shotgun converted to a single, built around the late 1890's. The attic window is gone, a Katrina casualty, and Alberto promises it will get fixed this year. It's hard to replace antique windows, and this one was a stained glass beauty.

It's about a five minute walk to Perch, about four blocks.

This is the next door neighbors house (Julie and Larry), one of the cutest houses on the block. When I first came to see our house for sale I was hoping this was the one!

Next to them is Mr. Stanley. He's Polish (like me), and nearly 90 years old. He stills drives, does his own yard work, and speaks Polish to me. He hasn't painted his house in a zillion years, and it kind of looks beautiful in a faded way. It's a big ol' Creole style house.

Then we have this house, a victim of a house flipper. It's rented now, by a couple of nice guys who have an adorable cat named Achilles. We also looked at this house because it was for sale at the same time, but all the New Orleans charm had been renovated out of it.

This is our friend Michael's house. He's a working musician here, a drummer. He also teaches music at Country Day School. His house had a "for sale" sign on it when we looked at ours, and I thought it was so cute. But it had already been sold. It's still a double house, so Michael makes rent money from one side of the house he doesn't live in.

All of three of these houses were once owned by The Methodist Home, an orphanage across the street. They were each used as a residence for children. My house had eight wayward girls living in it before we bought it. The Methodist Home moved away after Katrina, and it was sold to a woman who intends in turning it into a rehab facility for dogs.

Across the street is this teeny pink house with a glorious pink angel trumpet tree. These folks only use the house during Mardi Gras. Next to it on the right is Miss Wanda's house. She had a stroke during Katrina, and has sadly abandoned her house. I think these houses look so much like the Caribbean.

Next to Michael's house are these two brand new condos that broke ground after Katrina, and are still not finished. The architect did a pretty good job of getting the vernacular of the neighborhood right.

You can see this, by looking at the two houses directly across the street, which were also once group homes for orphanage. We looked at the blue house. We ultimately chose our house, because it was the largest, and also has a off street parking, with a garage on a a double lot.

I've gotten to the end of our street.

And here's a little neighborhood church! The pastor is darling, and he just loves Cholo. There's a service and choir practice on Wednesday night, and the gospel music on Sunday is wonderful.

We have some cool cars always parked on the street like this vintage Porsche...

...and this yellow Corvette.

Across the street from the church is an old corner store that has been converted into a home. The yellow roses are called Henry Fonda and I swear they bloom all year around!

Next to them is a house with this French Quarter style courtyard. It's so pretty!

Back on my side of the street next to the church is the home of Brian and Emily (and their dog Hank) a young hip couple. Emily loves to garden, and her back patio is fantastic!

Soon we come to this terrific two story apartment building. It's been apartments since it was built in the mid 1800's.

Across the street is a cute yellow house with French blue trim. Two great Basset hounds live here, Daisy and Sally.

This blue Victorian looks like a doll house.

Then there's this antebellum house that has been owned by the same family since it was built before the Civil War. It is huge!

The family doesn't live in the main house, but in the servant's quarters in the back, which have been renovated and modernized. I would just kill to look inside the main house!

Across the street is an old one family townhouse turned into luxury condos, both of which are for sale now.

There are also cute cottages in every style. This type of house reminds me of false front house in the wild west. This facade looks like an old bank.

Here's a really cute classic Creole cottage. The deep dormers are spectacular.

Okay we're at the corner of Washington Avenue and Magazine Street.

There's a gas station with a convenience store...

...Starbucks, and the best little French bistro called Coquette...

...and a fancy little dress store too.

I'm rounding the corner now onto Magazine Street.

There are a ton of great cafes and restaurants and coffee places and shops. I spy the Sake Cafe, a really good place for sushi. I work at "perch." which is next door to the Sake Cafe.

Here's the front gate to the shop. It's in a huge old house built in 1860.

Here's the front door!

I hope you can see why I just love walking to and from work everyday! The tree lined street I live on is always cool and shady, the majestic oaks always inspiring. All the different architecture and colors of the houses and gardens are daily eye candy. My neighbors are sweet, and you never pass a person on the street without being greeted, whether you know them or not.
I hope one day you can visit New Orleans, and come walking with me!

Cholo visits his mom at work